Election 2020: How to Engage Your Friends in the Final Weeks

Engagement is Power

Did you know that 1 in 10 eligible voters for this upcoming election will be between the ages of 18 and 23? That’s a really big voting bloc with some serious potential to bring about meaningful change. And this is why getting your peeps to vote is so critical.

With the election right around the bend, now’s the time to whip your friends into action.

But this begs the question: How do you get your peers involved, especially when life’s a bit chaotic and everyone’s pulled in a million different directions? No sweat! Check out these pointers.

Hot Tips to Get Your Friends Involved in the Final Days

Think of this as a three-part approach. The first stage is about analyzing. The second is planning. The last piece is all about doing.

Part 1: Know Your Constituents

There’s not too much time left before The Big Day. So you have to make your efforts count. While it may seem counterproductive to take valuable moments for research and strategy, a little prep work upfront can actually save you boatloads of time and effort down the line. It can also help you get great returns on the time and work you’ve invested.

Now, don’t freak. We’re not proposing you conduct an elaborate multi-phased study here. Rather, we’re suggesting you just spend a small chunk of time just doing a deep think about the friends you want to get engaged.

One easy way to do this? You and your posse can do a brainstorming sesh to come up with answers to questions like:

  • What motivates my friends?
  • What interests my friends?
  • What issues matter most to my friends?
  • What challenges do my friends face?
  • Why aren’t my friends currently engaged?
  • In what ways are my friends active or engaged with other groups, causes, etc?
  • How do my friends generally like to communicate or engage?
  • What makes us friends? What do we have in common?

This little exercise can reveal possible clues to getting your buds onboard the Electoral Express. You’ll move into the next phase with a better understanding of what drives your friends, how they like to participate and relate to others, and what roadblocks might be in their way. This isn’t a PSA or anything, but knowledge is power. 😉

Part 2: Plan of Attack

Now that you’ve got a pretty good grasp of what makes your friends tick, you can start formulating some plans.

Given that time is short, consider opting for activities that offer lots of bang for the buck. By this, we mean do stuff that is quicker/easier to organize but still has significant impact. (Srsly, do you have any idea how involved planning a gala or parade is?!)

Based on what you discovered in Part 1, plan engagement initiatives that resonate with your crew.

And feel free to employ more than one approach!

Basically, you’re trying to confront their why not square on with an even better why to. You’re attempting to appeal to their senses with an irresistible, irrefutable opportunity. In the sales world, they refer to this as WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). It’s a tried-and-true technique!

Put it in perspective – yrs to live with laws, history, other countries

Illustrate how/why it matters

Part 3: Taking Action

This is probably the most fun — or at least the most exhilarating — part. This is what you’ve been waiting for: getting your friends engaged.

There’s no shortage of activities, events, or other initiatives you can do. The key is to do what speaks to your tribe (learned via Parts 1 and 2!). Here are some ideas* for what shape this phase might take:

  • Virtual party
  • Drive-in rally
  • Movie marathon
  • Volunteering
  • Canvassing your neighborhood
  • School assembly or club
  • Social media campaign
  • Challenge, contest, or competition
  • Peaceful protest
  • Create educational material
  • Voter registration drive

* Any of these that can’t be done online should, of course, follow proper CDC guidelines. Wear a mask and socially distance!

And here are some elements you may wish to incorporate into your get-your-friends-engaged activities:

  • Education. Your activity is a perfect chance to impart knowledge. Share with your friends any relevant history on voting, elections, campaigns, politics, etc. Let them know that people who get involved in civic endeavors when they’re young are more likely to remain more engaged throughout their lifetimes. Help them understand that, as young people, you have many more years than older folks to have to live with the consequences of a given election.
  • Validation. Sometimes people just want to feel like they’re being seen and heard, that their views matter. Your activity can provide a solid forum for that. Your peers can express how they feel on various issues and why. And you have a new opportunity to illustrate how engagement correlates. How empowering!
  • Connection. This is just the beginning. Ideally, you’re kickstarting a lifetime of ongoing engagement in your friends. Your activity can be a jumping off point for establishing lines of communication that continue even after this election. This is a natural lead-in to building a community of individuals who are actively rallying around a common cause.

tl;dr

Go you for being so engaged! And extra kudos for putting in the 110% to get your friends engaged, too.

You have so many options for getting your BFFs involved in the fast-approaching elections. The key is to figure out why they aren’t already eyeball-deep in activism and then plan activities that address into those reasons. An effective engagement activity will also enable education, validation, and connection building.

Good luck!


Get out there and vote. And while you’re at it, talk with your family and friends about why they need to vote. And register to vote. #IGNITEthevote