Clean and Prosperous America
Firing Up Young Voters
“Hey! Wanna take charge of your government instead of the other way around? VOTE!”
If only getting voters to the polls -- especially busy young voters -- were as simple as the rationale for casting a ballot.
Alas, the under-30 crowd, while long considered an electoral prize, has been frustratingly inconsistent. But with the 2020 election shaping up as the most high stakes and volatile in U.S. history, Clean and Prosperous America (CaPA), a national environmental nonprofit, doubled down on mobilizing young voters in battleground states like North Carolina.
CaPA selected GBW to quickly cut through the commotion, penetrate the youth bubble and rack up results. The challenges were formidable, ranging from the perennial difficulties of reaching busy young people to making any kind of message heard over the din of the election. With six weeks to go before Election Day, the following ‘Information and Inspiration’ strategy emerged:
Engage college media to move voters with peer-to-peer persuasion
Engage traditional general media to create a buzz reinforcing urgency
In all cases, highlight young people around the state engaged in get-out-the-vote advocacy as well as colorful, camera-friendly events
In true political ‘war room’ fashion, CaPA and GBW video conferenced daily to coordinate tactical execution and strategize on breaking opportunities. The campaign hit its targets, netting college outlets such as The Daily Tar Heel, powerful general interest print networks such as McClatchy and Gannett, specialty political press and widely viewed TV news stations.
Early voting results showed major gains in the young people’s share of the vote, which fueled more media outreach and coverage. By the time the election and counting had wound down, 18 to 29 year olds in North Carolina had driven up their share of the vote to 16 percent.
Says CaPA Marketing Director Bill McClain, “We arrived in North Carolina needing a marketing firm that could be strategic, aggressive, fast, flexible and effective -- all on short order without a great deal of orientation. GBW delivered.”