At Democracy Works, we believe voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we build technology for both voters and election administrators that simplifies the process and ensures that no voter should ever have to miss an election.
TurboVote, our first service, helps voters register, stay registered, and cast a ballot in every election, from municipal to national. TurboVote signed up its millionth voter in 2016 by building the largest college, nonprofit, and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country, including 176 campuses, companies like Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and dozens more. Our other work includes the Voting Information Project, an Election Technology Cooperative, and Ballot Scout.
The TurboVote Partnerships team—whom you’ll be supporting—recruits schools, organizations, and local groups to promote voter engagement through the strategic use of TurboVote. Over 100 colleges and universities and more than a dozen nonprofit organizations and corporations currently use TurboVote.
In 2018, one of our focus areas is to invest in our existing collegiate partners and find creative ways to help them build more comprehensive programs for voter engagement. Through strategic thinking, community building, and active partner support, our goal (with your help!) is to empower TurboVote campuses to foster an exciting culture of democratic engagement amongst students throughout the midterm election season.
As this is a startup, you’ll get to wear a lot of hats. You should be:
- at home in an agile, fast-paced collaborative environment.
- excited about the intersection of technology and voter engagement.
- comfortable with oral and written communications in a variety of settings, including phone presence, email outreach, and presentation skills.
- self-motivated and highly organized.
- a relationship-builder and all-around “people person.”
Experience in political organizing, leading an organization, editing and designing, or business development is a plus, but not a requirement.
Your job will include:
- adding valuable capacity to the TurboVote implementation team, contributing to projects that directly support our mission in an important election year.
- creating content (think: one-pagers, adding to our Toolkit) that will help our partners successfully promote TurboVote on campus.
- collecting and maintaining data on our partners so every contact gets the customized outreach they need.
- offering a student’s perspective around creative ways to reach, motivate, and rally our partners to register and turn out student voters.
This full-time position is located in Brooklyn from early June to mid-August (or, approximately 10 weeks). You will be expected to join the DW team in the office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the work week. This intern position is one among a team of fellow student interns working together to support the Partnerships team.
We are inspired by the idea of building an awesome and truly diverse team, so we strongly encourage applicants of all races, colors, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices.
2017 TurboVote Director's Intern Eloise Kaehny (pictured far left)
2017 Intern Reflection:
I am excited to be working at TurboVote/Democracy Works this summer in Brooklyn, NY. The office environment is friendly, open, and emphasizes "radical transparency" in all aspects of employees' work. This transparency provides many opportunities for me and my four co-interns, or “summer associates,” to work on a variety of projects with employees in different positions, from content creation to sales to customer management. From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm each day, the staff and interns work to make TurboVote accessible and easy to use for as many voters as we can.
Interns are exposed to the workings of the entire Democracy Works organization, creating not only an authentic experience within the org but also a highly educational one. As a result, I am more and more knowledgeable about American civic engagement and American election laws each day, and am gaining skills in salesmanship, communication, and policy research.
Eloise Kaehny '19
2016 Intern Reflection:
My internship at Democracy Works with TurboVote has been even more satisfying than the trendy food trucks right outside its doors in Dumbo (Brooklyn), one of the coolest areas in New York. At Democracy Works, I’m not just an intern (my official title is “Summer Associate"); instead, I am contributing meaningfully to the organization’s many mission-driven projects and I feel my opinions are valued by the rest of the team. By virtue of interning at a civic tech startup, some days I am helping to build out content for the website, and other days I am on the phone with current or potential partners, whether it be a large corporate partner or representatives from one of TurboVote’s 200 college partnerships. I’ve also learned more about the nuances of U.S. election law and the range of voter registration laws from state to state than I ever thought possible, which has been extremely interesting, especially since I did not have a very strong political background coming into the summer.
Besides the range of tangible skills I’m learning on a daily basis, the camaraderie among the interns and with the rest of the TurboVote team keeps me excited to go to work every day. There are 6 other interns from several different colleges who all bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to the associate table. We certainly all work really hard on our assigned projects and tasks, but we also spend valuable time dissecting political or social issues as well as trading stories and opinions on whatever is in the news that day. I’ve probably learned more from the intern table than I have in some of my classes.
Finally, the transparency and constant communication among the company’s team members is unparalleled. From our daily Slack check-ins to our organization-wide “all-hands" meetings, I am constantly kept abreast of what others are working on and the broader trajectory of the organization. This also gives me the opportunity to ask questions when I don’t understand something or if I want to learn more about others’ projects. One day I was curious about how non-profits record their revenue and budget, and the person in charge of those records was more than happy to sit down and explain it to me, despite being extremely busy. The fact that I felt comfortable enough to approach someone in the office I didn’t know speaks to the cooperative and supportive nature of the office. Everyone is extremely passionate about what they do and this passion translates to a constant willingness to teach, listen to, and consistently communicate with the interns.
I am only halfway through the summer, but I have already learned so much about the intersection of government and technology (a space that I had never explored) and I’m positive that the intellectual energy and supportive nature of the office will make it difficult for me to leave in a few weeks.
Berkeley Brown '18
This summer, I’ve had the privilege of interning at Democracy Works, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, civic tech startup that builds technology, including TurboVote, to make civic engagement more accessible. I work on the TurboVote Partnerships Team, which aims to both form new partnerships with colleges and universities interested in helping their students participate in our democracy, and assist existing partners in effectively implementing TurboVote on their campuses. Working closely with a team of five other Summer Associates, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct research to learn about the civic engagement climates on campuses across the country, build new partnerships by communicating by email and phone with students and faculty at several higher education institutions, create and host informational webinars for current and potential partners, and develop materials for colleges and universities that offer effective strategies for getting students registered and to the polls.
In addition to working with colleges and universities, I have had the opportunity to be involved with a new Democracy Works initiative, the TurboVote Challenge, made up of companies and organizations committed to 80% voter turnout by 2020. One of the highlights of my summer has been helping to organize and attending the TurboVote Challenge Summit, a two-day meeting during which all participating organizations shared their visions for our democracy and developed plans for increasing voter registration and turnout in the coming years. It has been exciting to witness Democracy Works’ shift from focusing primarily on civic engagement among college students to also working with organizations that are in a position to reach employees and customers of many ages and backgrounds. Democracy Works has also been a wonderful place to spend the summer, with its high-energy, open-office setup in Downtown Brooklyn, and its culture of value and respect for all team members, including those of us who are only around for the summer. I’ve loved being part of the effort to engage young voters leading up to the particularly historic 2016 presidential election, but the work of building a more inclusive democracy doesn’t end after this year. There is always more work to be done at Democracy Works and in the civic engagement space in general than could ever actually be completed, meaning that Director’s Interns are a highly valued, integral part of this organization and have an important role to play in changing the way Americans engage in our democracy.
Camille Traslavina '18
2014 Intern Reflection:
This summer I had the pleasure of interning at TurboVote, where I worked with an amazing team of seven other interns to increase civic engagement across the country and make registering to vote easy and fun. Together we set expectations for one another and agreed to work from 9:30 to 5:30 each day. The work environment was relaxed, progressive and a lot of fun. All the employees at TurboVote went out of their way to get to know the interns and spend one-on-one time with us.
Each day the interns reached out to college campuses about TurboVote and worked on a variety of special projects. Our task, ultimately, was to get schools and non-profits to partner, which we did by calling and emailing students staff and administrators. We discussed the importance of voter engagement, explained what TurboVote does and negotiated price and implementation. Interns developed and tested new outreach strategies and began work on system-wide partnerships. The organization is currently transitioning from a startup to a more established non-profit, but there is still plenty of flexibility and all the employees were receptive to new ideas. This summer gave me plenty of experience in teamwork, communication, salesmanship and contact management.
Max Kennedy '16