Philanthropic Phillipe

Hi! I’m Phillipe! I’m a philanthropic partner and I’ve been hearing a lot about student voting rates increasing but I’m unsure of where to invest in the space to make the biggest impact.


I know there are a lot of partners and opportunities within the space and I want to figure out the best way to make the most impact. 

You might relate to me if you work at a foundation or you’re interested in supporting campuses and nonpartisan nonprofits that focus on increasing student voter participation. You may be focused on funding the democracy space more broadly and want to expand your focus to include young people and students, or you could be a partner already invested in this work and just want to deepen your involvement. 

We’ve got you, Philipa! Here are some opportunities to get involved.

Get up to speed on the latest research and most innovative college student voting initiatives!

Student Vote Research Network (SVRN) – The SVRN is a unique space for scholars, students, advocacy organizations, community practitioners, and philanthropic partners to collaborate on identifying the best ways to reach 100% student voter participation. Sign up here to receive research updates from the SVRN and read about the latest research on student voting.

ideas42’s Graduating Students into Voters – Grounded in behavioral science, this report discusses eight psychological barriers faced by student voters and nine actionable design principles college leaders can use to overcome them.

IDHE’s Election Imperatives Reports – Drawn from research of highly politically engaged institutions, this report from Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education offers researched-backed recommendations to increase student voting and to improve campus conditions for political learning, discourse, and agency during election seasons and beyond.

Ask Every Student – A joint initiative that provides resources, tools, funding and direct support to campuses that commit to working to integrate voter registration asks into existing campus processes and points of contact that touch every student on campus.

Find out more about the barriers that student voters face and how to expand voting access.

Check out this short documentary (12 mins) by Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook that explores the role of the student vote and exposes the various efforts being taken to suppress it.

The Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee is a community space that helps partners expand access to youth voting through policy, provides critical information about youth voting, and shares tools and resources for advocates to be successful in their efforts to expand young people’s access to the ballot.

The Voting Early is Easier initiative provides direct support to campus partners seeking to place a polling location on their campus. 

Consider becoming an official SLSV Coalition Partner and connect directly with local leaders!

We know that there are often funding bubbles with the same partners in many different spaces – typically those who have access to or have been invited into funder spaces. Expand your contacts and meet new potential partners by participating directly in the SLSV Coalition! Become an official SLSV Coalition partner to get access to the SLSV Coalition’s monthly meetings and the SLSV Coalition Slack. 

Reach out to our Executive Director, Clarissa Unger, at clarissa@slsvcoalition.org to find out how to get involved in our work!

Want to dive deeper on resources? Go to the SLSV Coalition Resource Library and use filters to find what you’re looking for. 

You don’t need to do this alone. Check out some of these SLSV Partners who can help you!

Check out the SLSV Coalition’s Partner Directory to learn about and/or connect with SLSV Coalition partners. You can use filters to search by type of partner, by specific state the partner serves, by stakeholder focus, impact area or resources offered.

Thanks, but I have more questions!

You can have a huge impact on the #StudentVote movement by financially contributing to the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition. Campuses rely on resources and support from nonprofit partners and networks like ours to help grow their civic engagement work, pay student workers, and so much more! 

You can scale your money’s impact by donating to the SLSV Coalition and investing in local leaders across the country. Learn more about what financial support means!

Take a look at the campus case studies in the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education’s Democracy Counts reports. These case studies highlight campuses like the University of Texas at Austin, a campus that more than tripled its student turnout rate from 17.6% in 2014 to 54.8% in 2018. This much of an increase doesn’t just happen on its own, and we’ve seen increases this high on many different campuses that are active in the student voting space!

Consider including questions in your request for proposals that ask whether organizations promote the SLSV Checklist with the campuses they work with; if they are building their campus action plans using the Strengthening American Democracy Guide and Votes & Ballots; if they encourage campuses to measure their voter registration and turnout rates by participating in NSLVE; or if they support campuses in integrating Ask Every Student full-participation strategies. 

Consider including questions in your request for proposals that ask campuses what their institutions are doing to promote student registration, education, and turnout, and to ensure that students have access to voting. This can help foundations better understand the steps campuses are taking to promote voter engagement among their students and encourage these institutions to do so while sending a message that this is something your foundation cares about. For more ideas, check out this Voter Engagement Toolkit for Private Foundations from Nonprofit Vote. 

Revisit the SLSV Guiding Principles and ask your partners which principles resonate most with their work and what they are doing to actualize those principles. Seek to understand whether the partner is going beyond making statements and truly centering and uplifting local leaders of different racial and ethnic groups. Ask how nonprofit partners choose which campuses they work with and whether they support minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and community colleges. Look at the makeup of their teams and ask questions about their Board of Directors. Further, ask to see their annual goals and look closely to see whether diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice values are woven throughout. 

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Feel free to reach out directly to SLSV Coalition Executive Director Clarissa Unger at clarissa@slsvcoalition.org.