INTERNSHIP: Voter Engagement Summer Associate

Co-founded in 2010 by Harvard Kennedy School alumni Seth Flaxman and Kathryn Peters, Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that voting should fit the way we live. Our vision is straightforward: make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans so that no one misses 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 six millionth voter in 2018 by building the largest college, nonprofit, and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country, including more than 300 campuses, companies like Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, Google, Snap, and dozens more. We also helped (basically) everyone find their polling place through the Voting Information Project. Its data had 123 million impressions in 2016, and over 11 million voters looked up where to vote on GetToThePolls.com. Ballot Scout helps election administrators track absentee ballots through the mail, providing transparency in the vote-by-mail process and making it easier to follow up when things go awry. And in 2018, we became the organizational home of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

The Democracy Works Voter Engagement Team partners with corporations, nonprofits, colleges, and universities to promote voter engagement through the strategic use of TurboVote. In 2020, one of our focus areas is to invest in our existing 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 partners to foster an exciting culture of democratic engagement among their audiences.

Your summer will include:

  • Adding valuable capacity by contributing to projects that directly support our mission, which may include writing, research, and direct partner communication.
  • Creating content (think: blog posts, one-pagers, and partner newsletters) that will help our partners successfully promote TurboVote.
  • Collecting and maintaining data on our partners so that every contact gets the customized outreach they need.
  • Offering your perspective around creative ways to reach, motivate, and rally our partners to register and turn out their audiences.

You are:

  • Excited about the intersection of technology and nonpartisan voter engagement.
  • Comfortable with oral and written communication in a variety of settings, including phone presence, email outreach, and presentations.
  • Self-motivated, flexible, and happy working on independent projects.
  • A relationship-builder and all-around “people person.”

Physical demands

This position requires regular, daily use of a computer to conduct work and communicate with colleagues.

Social expectations

You will have regular 1:1s with your manager and meetings with others on the Voter Engagement team.

Time and travel expectations

This full-time, paid position is located in Brooklyn, NY for 10 weeks from early June to mid-August. You will be expected to join the Democracy Works team in the office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the work week. Please note that some members of the team work remotely from other time zones.

Democracy Works is committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do and aspires to have a team that's representative of the voters we serve. When hiring, we practice proactive outreach to top talent that’s underrepresented in our sector. We conduct an anonymized skills evaluation, to reduce implicit bias and resume-dependency in our process. We're a woman- and gay-founded nonprofit, and promote an inclusive culture that stands against racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism (to name a few). To be explicit, we strongly encourage applicants of all races, ethnicities, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service.

Feel free to contact work@democracy.works if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices, or if you need an accommodation for a medical condition during the hiring process.

2019 Intern Reflection:

I've been working at TurboVote for about a month and a half now, but it feels like I've been here for two weeks. Maybe three. The open-plan office, project-based work structure, and even the DUMBO neighborhood all contribute to an engaging, dynamic, welcoming environment where time really flies by. It also helps that the DemocracyWorks staff is highly committed both to the mission of the organization and to the summer associate program; they really empower us to take creative ownership of projects and contribute beyond what we're assigned. They also host a weekly speaker series, and various professional development trainings and events (I especially appreciated the LinkedIn workshop...my profile is pretty barren...).

The work I do primarily focuses on supporting our higher education partners. This involves everything from interviewing implementers and writing success stories for the website, to directing an overhaul of our toolkit. It's interesting, rewarding, and often collaborative as there are plenty of opportunities to loop other associates in to contribute to your projects, and help them out with theirs.

I wake up each morning and get on the subway excited to come to work, and couldn't ask for too much more than that. I can't recommend TurboVote enough!

Ella Michaels '22

2018 Intern Reflection:

I've had the amazing opportunity to work at Democracy Works this summer in Brooklyn, NY, where the civic tech space has uniquely given me the chance to directly impact and engage college campuses. The office location in Brooklyn DUMBO is extraordinary and nowhere like I've lived or worked before, from the refurbished warehouses and the food trucks on Jay Street. The young and energetic atmosphere create the perfect setting to be working with such important issues.

The open plan office fosters a collaborative, friendly environment where I'm able to work with my fellow interns (or "associates" as we're called) while simultaneously look across the room to see our CEO taking a business call. As a summer associate, I work with college campuses and aiding them in implementing TurboVote in the best and most efficient way possible. While some projects involve compiling data and doing research, others involve writing social media content and talking with school administrations.

I am truly grateful that I am able to work for Democracy Works. With all that I have learned and am learning, I am positive that by the end of the summer I will be equipped with the tools to work at other non-profits and startups with confidence.

Jennifer Lee '20

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

New York City, NY