Frequently Asked Questions

 

How does the Sister District Project work?

The Sister District Project (SDP) is a grassroots organization that matches volunteers in safe blue places with strategic state elections throughout the country. As a volunteer, you’ll join your local district team, led by volunteer District Captains (DCs). Your local district team will be your SDP home base. Every election cycle, SDP HQ will assign your team one or more Sister Races that you and your team will work together to support.


What kind of races will I support?

We focus on state races. (You can learn more here about why it’s so important to focus on these down-ballot elections.) Here you can see the list of our 2017 Sister Races.

We’re committed to only matching you with Sister Races that we're confident are worth your time and money---that is, only those races that have high strategic value, and where your dollars and hours will help to move the needle.

We’re also committed to coordinating with candidates to ensure that they receive the help they want and need. And keep in mind that election season is also when the campaigns actually need the most volunteer support, such as phone-banking and canvassing.


how do you choose the official sister races you support?

We have a top notch research and data team, lead by our political director, that analyzes quantitative data from past election cycles as well as qualitative data on the candidates and districts to inform our selection process. We support a portfolio of candidates with the strategic goals of (1) flipping or holding chambers, (2) busting Republican supermajorities, and (3) winning seats in badly gerrymandered states.


When will I get matched with my Sister Race?

The 2017 election cycle is over, and the races we supported can be found here. Elections are cyclical, and we wait until there is just one Democratic candidate before officially supporting campaigns (we do not get into primaries). Our next races will be paired after the primary filing deadline in Spring 2018. We may support some special elections in the interim, so make sure you are signed up to receive our emails!


can I volunteer for a race that is not an "official" sister race?

Yes, we encourage our teams and volunteers to get engaged year-round with the things they are passionate about. However, SDP HQ goes through an extensive legal, compliance, and candidate vetting process prior to officially supporting a campaign, and we do not have the resources to do that for unofficial races. Therefore, teams that want to support races that are not official Sister Races are responsible for their own compliance.


How do I connect with my local district team?

First, sign up on our website by entering your email address and zip code. After you register as a volunteer, you will receive a welcome email from us, and you should also receive a welcome email from your local district captains (DCs) who will begin looping you in to their activities. We’ve encouraged DCs to use whatever online platform is easiest for them, such as email, Slack, Facebook, or Google Groups. If you need help connecting with your DCs, please email support [at] sisterdistrict.com.


what is a district captain and can I be one?

A district captain (DC) is someone who has volunteered to lead his or her team in the community. We are always looking for enthusiastic folks who want to take on this role! If you've never been an activist before, don't worry. Our community can provide you with the support that you need to get up and running. Tasks include maintaining and managing your email list of volunteers, holding meetings, helping plan events, and communicating with HQ and your team about Sister District campaigns and operations. If you are interested, let us know when you sign up!


What will I be doing as a volunteer?

As a volunteer with SDP, your core mission is to support your assigned Sister Race. If you’ve volunteered with a campaign before, these tasks will be familiar to you:

Small donations. Campaigns need cash to run, especially the modest down-ballot races we support. We’ll make it easy by including a secure link that allows you to donate straight to the campaign. SDP does not take any of the money you donate to campaigns.

Fundraisers. You’re encouraged to organize and/or attend fundraisers in your home district to support your Sister Race. Depending on the campaign, it may be possible to feature a message from the candidate, or even a live stream conversation. These are a great way to build your local community too!

Phone-banking. Voter outreach is incredibly important, whether it’s persuasion calls or reminding people to vote. Whether you organize or attend a phone-bank, you’ll learn a lot and be able to do it as part of a team. (Please note that not every campaign needs this kind of help---some of our Sister Races cover very small areas, and may prefer to keep all phone-banking local. But we coordinate closely with campaigns so you can rest assured that when we do ask you to phone-bank, the campaign really wants and needs your help.)

Boots-on-the-ground. Where feasible and appropriate, we encourage you to travel to the location of your Sister Race. Person-to-person contact makes an enormous difference, through canvassing (knocking on doors), tabling, or attending town halls. The goals might be voter registration, persuasion, or GOTV (get-out-the-vote) on or near election day. This can be a rewarding opportunity to travel somewhere new and make meaningful connections. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure you have the training you need!

Social media. No matter what the Sister Race, we’ll ask you to spread the word. "Liking" posts helps promote them in other people’s feeds, and sharing your excitement and activities around your Sister Race helps build momentum.

Keep in mind that SDP’s focus is elections. Although there will be exceptions for special elections, much of the work we’ll be asking you to do happens during election high season, from June to November. 


Is the Sister District Project just for women?

Not at all! Everyone is welcome to work with us. The "Sister" in our name refers to the concept of pairing teams of volunteers with races in a different location (kind of like "Sister Cities"). We believe in gender justice and gender equity, and have many fantastic volunteers and candidates who are not female.


By the way, have you heard of Flippable or Swing Left?

We get this question all the time, and we’re happy to say that we’re in constant communication with the leadership teams of these groups, as well as others. We’re very grateful to be working together. Learn more about our allies here.


what type of organization is sister district?

The Sister District Project is a 527 political organization and PAC. The Sister District Action Network is a 501(c)(4) organization.