Exciting news! Swing Blue Alliance/Swing Left Greater Boston has a new partner in our shared mission to boost Democratic voter turnout and win elections: Candidates and Causes (C&C), an all-volunteer fundraising group based in eastern Massachusetts.
This terrific collaboration provides big benefits all around. C&C will harness SBA’s experienced volunteer network to amplify the reach of its highly successful “Circle of Friends” fundraising model. With C&C, SBA volunteers gain year-round access to a reliable source of vetted, consolidated, updated information and “one-click” giving.
Throughout the 2021/22 election cycle, Swing Blue/C&C fundraising appeals will focus on eight to 10 swing states by making recommendations in four main categories:
- Supporting state legislative races in competitive states where Democratic wins have the potential to change the balance of political power
- Assisting well-run grassroots organizations best positioned to motivate Democratic voters and fuel top candidates
- Helping to support and rebuild county and state Democratic parties
- Championing best practices such as data analytics and digital campaigning organizations — that can help down-ballot candidates do things they can’t afford on their own — but can make or break election results. (FYI, Republicans are way ahead in these areas!)
“We’re eager to give our volunteers the chance to streamline their giving and participate in high impact activities,” said Paula Joseph, C&C co-founder and SBA Boots on the Ground Coordinator. “C&C does all the research to vet the candidates, organizations, and initiatives we recommend, and our monthly Circle of Friends mailings give SBA hosts quick links and other tools to get involved and pass along to friends who may also want to help.”
Candidates & Causes: Investing in Dems from the Ground Up
Founded in 2017, Candidates & Causes focused initially on 2018 House races. In 2019, C&C did a pilot project to support Sister District-endorsed candidates for state legislative races in Virginia. In 2020, the organization turned its attention to Senate and House Dems in swing
states, grassroots groups, and state and county Democratic parties, raising more than $280,000 with just 20 circle leaders. Now, by partnering with our impactful, results-driven SBA volunteer network, C&C wants to stimulate fundraising to build Democratic strength in key states, while also boosting turnout up-ballot for competitive US Senate and House races.
C&C’s current priority is to invest in down-ballot candidates and local organizations with a pressing need for funds — and to provide real opportunities to engage voters, get Democrats to the polls, and win! The idea is to identify and support the people who can best engage the voters because they really know them, the issues, and the candidates. By working with local groups, C&C believes Democrats can build lasting strength that will reverberate well beyond the immediate elections to help Democratic candidates and causes throughout the country.
“One of the main reasons we’re concentrating on winnable down-ballot candidates and proven grassroots groups is that they lack the media coverage and massive donor support that goes to US House and Senate races and national activist and advocacy groups,” said C&C co-founder Chris Kane. “Expanding the electorate and helping Dems win state contests can have far-reaching effects for voter registration, redistricting, and issues like reproductive rights and gun safety, and can also create ‘reverse tailwinds’ that boost results for national Democratic candidates.”
Circle of Friends — How SBA and C&C Will Do the Work
The key component in the SBA C&C collaboration is a proven, powerful fundraising tool called “Circle of Friends.” Circle of Friends provides participants, called Circle Leaders, with a monthly appeal letter they send out to their activist friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Each letter contains information on two to four candidates and/or grassroots organizations who need fundraising help. C&C does all the research to find and vet the recommendations, so Circle Leaders can be confident of its accuracy and importance in the scheme of Democratic priorities. Leaders sign and send the letters, which have links for recipients who want to act, and can customize the letters if they choose to.
C&C has expertise in political science, public policy, political communications, and polling. Circle of Friends capitalizes on that knowledge to provide actionable information that’s easy to digest and use. By participating in Circle of Friends, SBA volunteers have the opportunity to simplify and amplify their political giving like never before.
“People who participate in Circle of Friends really appreciate knowing that they can trust the information they’re receiving,” said Kane. “Figuring out which Democratic races and organizations to support, especially down-ballot, can be overwhelming. Participating in Circle of Friends makes it easy to lend support where it’s needed most — and can have the biggest impact.”
“We’re really excited about this program because SBA didn’t have an equivalent fundraising model, nor the resources to find and vet candidates in all these races,” said Joseph. “Circle of Friends is an existing, proven process that SBA can offer to hosts and volunteers looking to do more without spending much more time,” she continued. “SBA members can utilize C&C’s fundraising recommendations to donate on their own, or become Circle Leaders and get other friends involved, too.”
Getting Started: Sign Up Now for a Circle of Friends Intro Session
We invite you to join one of our introductory information sessions. Please come and check out this amazing opportunity to take your Democratic activism even farther!
Marilyn Hirsch is a freelance copy and editorial writer based in MetroWest Boston.