Help motivote #MakeAmericaVoteAgain

motivote's team-based accountability platform makes voting fun, easy and social to increase young voter turnout.

Jess
Social Good
$4,775
pledged of $15,000 goal
51
Backers
9
Days Left
Support now
Project Ends on October 4, 2018

Project Description

motivote is a new digital platform that makes voting fun, social and easy — so young people actually do it. We help friends keep their social circles accountable for voting to increase turnout and ensure elected officials better represent the constituents they’re supposed to serve. Research-proven behavioral insights get individuals to the voting booth, filling a critical gap in the vote mobilization landscape.

 

Increasing young voter turnout is a must for changing the face of American democracy. Only 20% of 18-29 year-olds turned out in the last midterm elections, vs. 40% of all Americans and 60% of those age 60+. Unequal representation means unequal influence, and representatives don't reflect the constituents they're supposed to serve. 

How does motivote work?  Groups of friends form teams. Each player commits to vote, backed by a monetary pledge. Players compete and earn rewards while completing customized action steps as they prepare to vote. Come election day, if every player on a team votes, no one on the team is charged their pledge amount. If even one player doesn’t vote, every player’s pledge goes to a pre-selected nonprofit.

Exciting results from our early tests: When we piloted the tool in New York’s June 2018 primary elections, 87% of eligible users voted—compared to only 12% of voters overall. Our model brought unlikely voters into the fold, and closed the gap in turnout rates between voters over and under 30.

motivote’s business model offers mission-aligned PACs, campaigns and nonprofits a cost-effective mobilization tool that reaches young people where they actually are, while corporate partners gain visibility by sponsoring motivote at colleges.

We’re passionate about turning our idea into a successful new venture. Emily Graham, Rachel Konowitz and Jess Riegel, who met at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, have spent almost two years developing motivote.  Last summer, we participated in the NYU Summer Launchpad Accelerator, where we gained immeasurable insights and advice to help us move forward. motivote incorporated in spring 2018 as a C-corp.

Our fundraising goal of $15,000 will support our technology, operations and capacity-building efforts as we work to increase voter turnout. Our next milestone is to engage 10,000 voters in 20 states nationwide for the upcoming midterm elections. Your donation will support our first hires of a full-time engineer and seasonal college organizers along with the development of our mobile app.

Young people can change the face of democracy, but only if they actually vote. motivote is here to make that happen. Thank you for your support in helping us #MakeAmericaVoteAgain!

Read our FAQs (click tab above) for more info about all things motivote.

 

Updates

The Project FAQs

About Us

  • We're Emily, Rachel, and Jess! We came together in 2016 as MPA candidates through NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, in the inaugural class of the Social Impact, Innovation and Investment traction. Back in March 2017, we had the opportunity to propose a business case for a new social venture for our year-long capstone project.
  • We chose to focus on one specific but important slice of voting turnout: young voters (18-29) who vote at lower rates than any other age group. As we dug into why young people don't vote, we came across the role of "microbarriers" — stupid little things that get in the way of us taking action, even when we intend to do or value that action.
  • We started thinking about how principles of behavioral economics help people bridge intention and action by overcoming cognitive biases in other areas of life, like going to the gym or saving for retirement. Digging into models like DietBet (dieters with money on the line are 5X more likely to hit their goals) sparked the idea of creating a "commitment device" for voting. And motivote was born! (True story: our placeholder name was DietVote.) 

 

About Our Campaign:

  • What will the money be used for? In short, this fundraiser will let us make a meaningful impact in the midterm elections by building out our team and tech capacity. This campaign will support our first hires: a full-time engineer, an operations fellow, and seasonal college organizers to represent motivote. This investment will also fund the development of a scaleable, mobile-first web portal. 
  • Why should I donate now? We’re at a critical juncture as a company. Your investment at this stage can truly shape the direction and scope of our work. When we're ready to go to angel investors and venture capital firms, one of the criteria they look at is how much entrepreneurs have raised through crowdfunding and friends and family rounds. Your donation at this early stage is a vote of confidence in our vision. Not only does it allow us to execute our model now, it makes us stronger contenders in a crowded field of startups looking for capital.
  • I want to invest in motivote. Concurrent with our crowdfunding campaign, we're also raising a friends and family round through an equity-based investment vehicle called a safe. There is a minimum threshold of investment. Reach out to rachel@motivoteus.com if you want to learn more about this option and, in the meantime, you can read more about that here

 

About Our Model:

  • What do you do? motivote is driving a entirely new approach to voter mobilization. We harness the power of behavioral economics to bridge the gap between intending to vote and actually doing it. Financial and social nudges create close-the-loop accountability—with young voters at our core—and fill a critical gap in the vote mobilization landscape.

  • How does it work? Groups of friends form teams. Each player commits to vote, backed by a monetary pledge. As they prepare to vote, friends hold each other accountable for getting educated and engaged. Players compete and earn rewards while completing customized action steps. Come election day, if every player on a team votes, no one on the team is charged their pledge amount. If even one player doesn’t vote, every player’s pledge goes to a pre-selected nonprofit.

  • How do you make money? motivote provides turnkey voting platforms and data insights for turnout-focused organizations for annual licensing fees based on the size and complexity of the organization. This is a frequently used model in the civic tech space. Mission-aligned PACs, campaigns and nonprofits gain a cost-effective mobilization strategy that reaches young people where they actually are. Corporate partners power motivote at colleges.

  • But does this actually work? Yes! In our most recent pilot, which took place in June 2018, 87% of motivote participants eligible to vote turned out for a New York primary election—vs. about 12% statewide. And of participants unlikely to vote in a primary election, 92% followed through. This signals motivote’s effectiveness in expanding the electorate, bringing previously inactive voters into the fold. Even more exciting is that participants over and under 30 voted at the same rate, closing the typical age-based turnout gap of 20-30 points.

  • What now? Based on this proven success and an appetite for innovative get-out-the-vote strategies, motivote is cultivating partnerships with campaigns, PACs, nonprofit organizations and corporations nationwide. We are currently operating pilots in NY, Florida, Arkansas and Michigan while building out plans to target 8-10 strategic districts in the midterms.

  • Why does this matter? Unequal representation means unequal influence. While we can provide an entire syllabus on the importance of voting, we want to highlight why voting in the primaries counts. Think of it as the semi-finals for a sports tournament. Primaries determine who gets to face off in the final game.

  • Take New York as an example:

    • New York House districts are SO uncompetitive that 90 percent are determined in the primary election. By the time the general election comes around, most races have already been decided.
    • Young people are particularly bad at turning out to vote in off-year elections. Over half (51.1%) of newly registered voters in 2017 were under the age of 30. However, only 13.4% of registered voters under 30 cast a ballot in 2017. Elected officials have NO incentive to respond to the policy priorities of young people if they can’t count on their votes.
    • New York comes in 41st among states in voter turnout. Low voter turnout can produce entrenched, unresponsive elected officials who are more beholden to their financial supporters than the electorate. 

Okay, voting is important. But how does motivote help me? 

  • Our interviews with hundreds of voters surfaced a common thread: People express a desire to vote and articulate the value of doing so, but when Election Day comes, sometimes “microbarriers” get in the way. Things like getting held up at work, missing a registration deadline, feeling uninformed about the candidates, giving up because a line was too long, and so on.
  • We feel a little frustrated with friends when they don't follow through, and a little guilty when it's us who dropped the ball. (Hey, we've been there.) Like going to the gym or doing your laundry, voting is one of those things that feels easier to plan than actually do when the time comes and other parts of life get in the way. 
  • We bridge the gap between intention and action, applying research-backed principles that help people hold themselves accountable to goals in other areas of life, like losing weight. In short: You don’t want to let down your friends, so you’re more likely to do it. We make it fun and social. Plus, prizes!
Kristen Yu
09/25/2018
Sticker swag
$25
beth budnick
09/25/2018
Social media shoutout
$18
Sarah Queller
09/21/2018
Social media shoutout
$18
Noa Gurvis
09/21/2018
Monetary Contribution
$40
Rachel L Konowitz
09/20/2018
Monetary Contribution
$30
charlesbowles5
09/20/2018
Sticker swag
$25
timchu
09/20/2018
Sticker swag
$25
Bryan Brown
09/20/2018
Sticker swag
$25
NOLA
09/19/2018
Voting Is Sexy Button
$50
Peter S. and Molly H.
09/19/2018
THE OG motivote t-shirt
$100
Monetary Contribution

Our eternal gratitude! 

5 Supporters
Contribute
$15
Social media shoutout

Hey, we are millennials. One of the few things we value more than avocado toast is social media credibility. We'll shout you out on our three platforms. 

5 Supporters
Select this reward
$25
Sticker swag

We deck out our laptops and cell phones with these "Make America Vote Again" stickers and people love them. There isn't a room we go into where we don't get a compliment or, at the very least, a curious comment. With your new set of stickers, you can stir up the conversation wherever you go, too! And it's a great segue into telling complete strangers about the amazing new business you're supporting. You might even get them to create a motivote team on the spot. 

17 Supporters
Select this reward
$50
Voting Is Sexy Button

Seriously, what could be sexier than making your voice heard. Flaunt these fab buttons to let everyone know what really matters to you. 

7 Supporters
Select this reward
$100
THE OG motivote t-shirt

That's right, folks. THE ORIGINAL motivote tshirt. Designed before we even set up a website or had a pilot under our belts. Maybe you've seen us repping them around NYU or at pitch events. Even if you haven't been with us from the beginning, this t-shirt will sure make it look like you were!

11 Supporters
Select this reward
$150
RBG Dissent Collar Earrings

Rep the Notorious RBG on your EARLOBES. 

50% of profits from the sales of these earrings are split between three organizations:
-The Bronx Freedom Fund
-International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
-Center for Reproductive Rights
 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$200
"Voting is my superpower" tshirt

Show off your TRUE superpower -- making your voice heard by casting your vote. A heavy cotton, classic fit ladies scoop neck t-shirt. Available in multiple colors. 

2 Supporters
Select this reward
$500
FaceTime with the Founders + motivote tshirt + stickers

Or Google Hangouts. Or Skype. Up to you! Join us for a 20-min. chat to ask questions, hear about our progress, and share ideas on how to #MakeAmericaVoteAgain. Includes motivote t-shirt. 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$1,000
#FemaleFounders Who Lunch + motivote tshirt + stickers

To say thanks for your generous gift, Emily, Rachel and Jess will take you out to lunch (or coffee, or a drink — up to you!) the next time you're in the NYC area. Includes motivote t-shirt.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$2,000
Take Your Funder To Work Day + motivote tshirt + stickers

To thank you for this level of donation, we invite you to join Emily, Rachel and Jess for a "day in the life" of a startup founder. We'll develop our agenda with your background and interests in mind. Includes motivote t-shirt. (Hint: our office looks nothing like that stock photo.)

0 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Our eternal gratitude! 

5 Supporters
Contribute
$15
Social media shoutout

Hey, we are millennials. One of the few things we value more than avocado toast is social media credibility. We'll shout you out on our three platforms. 

5 Supporters
Select this reward
$25
Sticker swag

We deck out our laptops and cell phones with these "Make America Vote Again" stickers and people love them. There isn't a room we go into where we don't get a compliment or, at the very least, a curious comment. With your new set of stickers, you can stir up the conversation wherever you go, too! And it's a great segue into telling complete strangers about the amazing new business you're supporting. You might even get them to create a motivote team on the spot. 

17 Supporters
Select this reward
$50
Voting Is Sexy Button

Seriously, what could be sexier than making your voice heard. Flaunt these fab buttons to let everyone know what really matters to you. 

7 Supporters
Select this reward
$100
THE OG motivote t-shirt

That's right, folks. THE ORIGINAL motivote tshirt. Designed before we even set up a website or had a pilot under our belts. Maybe you've seen us repping them around NYU or at pitch events. Even if you haven't been with us from the beginning, this t-shirt will sure make it look like you were!

11 Supporters
Select this reward
$150
RBG Dissent Collar Earrings

Rep the Notorious RBG on your EARLOBES. 

50% of profits from the sales of these earrings are split between three organizations:
-The Bronx Freedom Fund
-International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
-Center for Reproductive Rights
 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$200
"Voting is my superpower" tshirt

Show off your TRUE superpower -- making your voice heard by casting your vote. A heavy cotton, classic fit ladies scoop neck t-shirt. Available in multiple colors. 

2 Supporters
Select this reward
$500
FaceTime with the Founders + motivote tshirt + stickers

Or Google Hangouts. Or Skype. Up to you! Join us for a 20-min. chat to ask questions, hear about our progress, and share ideas on how to #MakeAmericaVoteAgain. Includes motivote t-shirt. 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$1,000
#FemaleFounders Who Lunch + motivote tshirt + stickers

To say thanks for your generous gift, Emily, Rachel and Jess will take you out to lunch (or coffee, or a drink — up to you!) the next time you're in the NYC area. Includes motivote t-shirt.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
$2,000
Take Your Funder To Work Day + motivote tshirt + stickers

To thank you for this level of donation, we invite you to join Emily, Rachel and Jess for a "day in the life" of a startup founder. We'll develop our agenda with your background and interests in mind. Includes motivote t-shirt. (Hint: our office looks nothing like that stock photo.)

0 Supporters
Select this reward