Empowering California Voters to Shape Local Politics

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Case Study: ACLU of Northern California

In any democracy, voter participation is vital to progress. In order for voters to be active in shaping the policies and structures of their communities, however, they need to be properly educated on both the systems of government operation and the voting issues at hand. When it comes to criminal justice reform, District Attorneys have a lot of power. But without public understanding of a DA’s function and positions, people aren’t inclined to participate in the election process. As a result, many DAs are not representing their constituents’ values.

The ACLU of Northern California, an advocacy chapter committed to advancing civil liberties for all Californians, solicited our help in confronting this discrepancy. We were tasked with educating citizens on the critical role that District Attorneys play in the criminal justice system and where their DA candidates stood on central issues like mass incarceration, police accountability, and protecting undocumented immigrants. 

With the June primary elections on the horizon, we crafted a “Theory of Change” to establish a clear and actionable objective for the ACLU’s campaign. Our mission was to mobilize enough Californians to know their DA candidates and vote in the June 5th primaries so they could elect District Attorneys who better represent their values in the criminal justice system. 

To achieve this, we implemented a cross-channel advocacy campaign using targeted Facebook and Google Ads to drive voters to vote4da.org where they could learn candidate’s issue stances. Then, we built an impactful and informative email series to educate and mobilize ACLU supporter leads and formed strategic celebrity partnerships to generate engagement of social media using the hashtag #MeetYourDA. 

Using a targeted multi-channel approach, we were able to educate and mobilize California voters in just 5 weeks.

+100K

new visitors educated on Vote4DA.org

200%

increase in ACLU email supporter network

2,629

pledges to vote in the June 5th election

Strategy

Captivating Words and Images

Powerful work deserves powerful communications. Copywriting, infographics, email headers, landing pages—the list goes on—all help you move communities toward organizational goals.

Build & Engage Communities

Individuals allow organizations to achieve goals of all shapes and sizes. We seek out the right people and inspire them to get involved and take action.

Multi-Touchpoint Campaigns

Momentum matters. When we need supporters to take action, we strive to meet them where they are—on their twitter feed, in their inbox or chatting with their friends.

Implementation

  • Facebook Ads drive 12,000 website visitors

    Connecting the dots between criminal justice reform and the power of district attorneys, we reached more than 600,000 Californians in key districts with impactful Facebook ads. These ads drove nearly 12,000 visitors to learn more about their DA candidates.

  • Paid Search Ads outrank DA candidate ads

    By targeting Californians searching for information on elections and candidates, criminal justice, and DAs, we drove nearly 61,000 unique visitors to find their candidate positions. Our ads also outranked district attorney ads on Google search, allowing voters to first discover more information about the election and the power of DAs, making them more informed when they researched individual candidates. Through our search ads, we engaged more than 1,000 supporters in pledging to vote and contacting their candidates.

  • Email educates more than 6,000 supporters

    We created illuminating and potent welcome and weekly email series to educate California voters on their DA’s role in key criminal justice reform issues and mobilize them to find their DAs’ issue positions.  Our emails exceeded nonprofit industry average open and click-through rates, and encouraged subscribers to register to vote, find their polling place, vote-by-mail, and influence their own communities to vote on June 5th.

  • Celebrity tweets reach millions

    With a viral video from John Legend and tweets from celebrities including Tyra Banks, Olivia Munn, and Dax Shepard, we engaged millions in watching the “California, Meet Your DA” video. These tweets drove more than 6,000 individuals to find their candidates on the Vote4DA site.

Results

The ACLU’s Vote4DA campaign was tremendously successful. In just 5 weeks, our advocacy efforts led the search interest for the term “district attorney” in California to more than double since the 2014 election cycle. The campaign allowed voters to take part in local politics and create meaningful change– illustrated by DA challenger Diana Becton’s slim electoral victory of 921 votes in Contra Costa, California, a Democratic county where we educated 10,000 citizens on their DA candidates’ positions.

Here are some big numbers.

6,000+

supporters educated over email

600K+

Californians in key districts reached with Facebook ads

61K

unique visitors to vote4da.org with Google Ads

Ready to drive growth and impact through digital strategies?

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