The League of Women Voters of the United States staff works to promote the League’s mission and work at the national level, and to support over 800 state and local Leagues in their work on League priority issues within the Campaign for Making Democracy Work®. The intended purpose of this document is to capture and demonstrate the work LWVUS does at the national level as well as to serve as a guide of the services LWVUS provides for local and state Leagues.
This is a living document that will undergo updates and additions as it evolves.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What we do at the national office
LWVUS Staff consists of 25 dedicated professionals in Washington, DC. We are a small team committed to advancing the organization’s priorities through advocacy, development, communications and messaging, executive administration, and more. Meet the LWVUS leadership and staff.
How we support state and local Leagues
LWVUS staff can support state and local Leagues in the following areas:
Litigation & Advocacy
State and local Leagues considering joining litigation or an amicus brief at the federal level must complete the Federal Action Form on the League Management Site. This easy-to-complete form gets the essential information to the national Advocacy and Litigation team and allows Leagues to upload relevant documents to the action form for rapid response. Once the national office approves a state or local League’s participation in a federal action, national staff is available to review engagement letters, press releases, briefs for amici, and court filings.
The national office is also available to provide communications support to state Leagues regarding filed litigation. The national communications team can provide talking points, writing/revision support for press releases, media contact lists, media training, etc., where the team deems appropriate and useful. Leagues can connect with the national communications team at [email protected].
State and local Leagues that would like to take action at the federal level must complete the Federal Action Form on the League Management Site to connect with LWVUS staff. The LWVUS board and staff set the legislative priorities at the federal level. It is important for those Leagues wishing to take action at the federal level to communicate with the LWVUS office to ensure that the League is speaking with one voice. Leagues can connect with the national communications team at [email protected].
In addition to professional staff, the LWVUS Lobby Corps plays a key role in promoting League issues and communicating LWVUS positions to members of Congress. The LWVUS Lobby Corps is made up of League volunteers from the DC, Maryland & Virginia area. The work of Lobby Corps members increases the influence that the League has on Capitol Hill and helps further our engagement on the Hill for issues that matter most to our work. The Lobby Corps will follow up with state League presidents regarding their visits in order to facilitate the sharing of information across all levels of League.
On priority issues within the Campaign for Making Democracy Work, LWVUS and LWVEF provide a wide variety of support to state Leagues, including toolkits & templates, strategic guidance and training, communications, and, when possible, pass-through grant funding (see below). The goal of these tools is to help state and local Leagues identify the most relevant and useful resources for high priority advocacy topics (e.g. redistricting, census, voter protection, etc.). Many of the resources are formatted for printing and aimed at helping Leagues educate and activate the public using unified messaging. State Leagues can connect with the national office on state advocacy issues through their national office organizer.
On a limited basis, LWVUS and LWVEF are fortunate to be able to provide state and/or local Leagues with pass-through grant funding to support their work on core Making Democracy Work and Election Services issues. Pass-through grant opportunities are announced via the League Update newsletter email. The national office will provide training, toolkits, visibility resources and more as part of the grant process, and is available to work directly with grantee Leagues to address any issues throughout the grant period. Leagues with questions about an active grant can contact the main point of contact listed in their grant contract.
The national office is also available to provide communications support to state Leagues regarding grant activities. The national communications team can provide talking points, writing/revision support for press releases, media contact lists, media training, etc., where the team deems appropriate and useful. Leagues can connect with the national office through their national office grant contact.
Advocacy Issues Information Exchange
LWVUS supports a variety of methods to help Leagues connect with one another and LWVUS. These include a Facebook discussion group for ERA and Google groups on NPVIC, money in politics, and redistricting. To join any of these Google groups, click "apply to this group" on the group page. To join the Facebook group, click "join group" at the top of the page (a Facebook profile is required to join the ERA group). LWVUS and LWVEF also facilitate regular webinars, called Wellstone webinars, for Leagues participating in pass-through grants. To access past Wellstone webinars, visit the LWV/Wellstone Training Series page on the League Management Site under Mission Impact Tools (top menu)>Voting Rights Tools.
League Management Site
LWVUS maintains a section of LWV.org specifically for League members called the League Management Site. Here, League members can find the login to the League’s roster management portal and LWVUS bylaws and policies, as well as curated tools, downloadable graphics, press release templates and more. The League Management Site can be accessed via the purple button at the bottom of the LWV.org homepage. NOTE: to search using keywords within the League Management Site, use the search box found at the very top of the page (in the white menu bar). The magnifying glass icon button next to “About Us” in the black menu bar is only a search function for the LWV.org site.
League Update Newsletter
LWVUS sends a bi-weekly email newsletter to all state League presidents and other interested members. The League Update includes important information about grant opportunities, stories from nationwide Leagues about their work, information about upcoming webinars and trainings LWVUS offers, and surveys for Leagues to give feedback to help LWVUS better serve them. Those who wish to receive the League Update newsletter can subscribe here.
Earned Media Support
On priority issues in the Campaign for Making Democracy Work, LWVUS staff can help state Leagues with drafting press releases around major announcements and lawsuits where the team deems appropriate and useful. LWVUS staff can also build media contact lists and coordinate press distribution for state Leagues on priority issue subject matter. Leagues should fill out the Federal Action Form or contact [email protected] to connect with the national office communications team.
Templates & Talking Points
The LWVUS communications team regularly provides guidance and best practices via the League Management Site and the League Update email newsletter—including toolkits, social media materials, downloadable graphics, and press release templates for current events and upcoming priorities. Some of these are specific to a current issue or event, and some are more evergreen and adaptable for many different uses. For questions about templates and tools, contact [email protected].
The LWVUS communications team is responsible for monitoring the digital presence of the League’s brand across multiple platforms. On an annual basis, staff reviews League websites, social media platforms, and newsletters to ensure brand compliance to protect our trademark. Leagues should regularly review their use of the LWV brand using the Brand Standards outlined on the League Management Site.
Standard LWV Logo
Downloadable standard (not League-specific) LWV logos can be found on the League Management site along with brand standards for their usage.
State League Logos
Logos for every state League are available for download on the League Management Site.
Local League Logos
LWVUS is in the process of creating all local League logos and will make them available for download from the League Management site by the end of February 2019. Leagues should NOT attempt to build their own logos. If there is something Leagues must complete in an expedited manner before LWVUS can finish their customized logo, Leagues should use their current logo or the generic open logo (Logo 2 in the Brand Standards). Leagues can email the communications team at [email protected] with specific questions.
Photos and Graphics
As a reminder, when including images in League materials, be sure to review each image’s permissions closely before incorporating it. Using photos and graphics in League materials – including social media posts and newsletters – without the appropriate permissions can open up the League to legal action or fees. Even if your League has used photos in the past without permission, you can still be charged thousands of dollars in retroactive licensing fees. Incidents like these are not unique, and all Leagues should make efforts to avoid these types of situations. To help Leagues do so, here are some recommendations from LWVUS:
Use your own images. You always have ownership of the photos you take – you can never go wrong with using something your League has created.
Use images from the LWVUS Flickr site. All of these images are owned by the League of Women Voters and licensed for use by local and state Leagues.
Use free stock photos from legitimate websites that are licensed for public use. Pay special attention to any requirements on these images. Some images require an image credit back to the website and/or photographer. Here is a list of several of these reputable free image sources.
LWVUS monitors a closed Facebook group called League of Women Voters New Media Group for League members only to exchange ideas, share graphics, and trade social media communications tips. Members must have a Facebook page in order to join the group. Members can join by visiting the group page, clicking “request to join group,” and answering the question that appears in their message box asking them which League they belong to. Once a moderator has verified the requester’s League membership, the member will be added to the group.
LWVUS recommends that local and state League use MyLO to host and maintain their websites. MyLO, or My League Online, is a website hosting service provided by the League of Women Voters of California. Leagues may use whatever website host they choose, but LWVUS recommends MyLO. My League Online has easy auto-shared content and boosted search engine performance to drive traffic and increase engagement for your League website. Several attractive design and menu options are now available. Find out more at www.lwvc.org/mylo. If you have questions, you can email [email protected].
Technology & Communications Webinar
LWVUS will soon offer a new webinar for League members interested in technology and communications work for their Leagues. Participants will learn about technology initiatives at LWV and communications tools available to Leagues, with the opportunity to learn from other Leagues and provide feedback about initiatives. Learn about upcoming sessions in the League Update newsletter email.
LWVUS operates a number of technology platforms that are used by a variety of Leagues. Typically, these are governed through separate agreements which may have additional costs (e.g. Vote411.org) or as part of specific programs (e.g. State Grants), and each of these has their own support agreement and structure. LWVUS does not offer technical support or advice on specific products or platforms, but the Director of Technology is available by appointment to discuss the LWVUS technology roadmap as way for individual leagues to understand the direction of LWVUS technology efforts so they can be accounted for in in technology and infrastructure planning.
Technology & Communications Webinar
In 2019 LWVUS will offer a new webinar for League members interested in technology and communications work for their Leagues. Participants will learn about technology initiatives at LWV and communications tools available to Leagues, with the opportunity to learn from other Leagues and provide feedback about initiatives. Learn about upcoming sessions in the League Update newsletter email.
LWVEF manages VOTE411.org, the League’s premiere nationwide voter education resource. VOTE411.org serves millions of diverse voters every single year. National staff manage many aspects of VOTE411, including the technical needs, marketing the site, and promoting partnerships with other organizations and media partners.
The VOTE411.org voters’ guide program allows local and state Leagues to host information on the candidates and issues in their area on the website. There is a fee associated with the program, though the average cost per voter served ranges from 2 to 5 cents each year! For more information on how your League can provide candidate information on the website, contact Megan Brown at [email protected].
National staff maintains the site’s vast array of state-specific voting information (in partnership with key state and local Leagues), and provides training and technical support to the hundreds of Leagues who use VOTE411 to create voters’ guides for states and localities across the country. LWVEF also maintains a private Facebook group for League admins that participate in the voter guide system. If a League member is the admin for the VOTE411 program in their area, they can contact [email protected] to request an invitation to join the Facebook group.
LWVUS provides year-round training and sharing of election-specific resources on our core election services priorities: voter registration, voter education, voter mobilization and voter protection (see state advocacy section above). LWVUS maintains and regularly updates a wide array of resources on these topics, including webinar trainings, training manuals on specific topics, sample voters’ guide questions and debate materials, and more. These resources are shared in a timely manner via the League Update newsletter, through one-on-one support for Leagues, and through other direct channels. These resources are updated with the latest industry best practices, include, whenever possible, available polling and tested messaging, and incorporate feedback from the field to ensure all Leagues are benefiting from the best possible knowledge base.
On a limited basis, LWVUS and LWVEF are fortunate to be able to provide state and/or local Leagues with pass-through grant funding to support their work on core Making Democracy Work and Voter Services issues. Pass-through grant opportunities are announced via the League Update newsletter email. The national office will provide training, toolkits, visibility resources and more as part of the grant process, and is available to work directly with grantee Leagues to address any issues throughout the grant period. Leagues with questions about an active grant can contact the main point of contact listed on their grant contract.
LWVUS forges and maintains a large number of strategic partners with allied nonprofit organizations, corporations, media entities and more in order to further our election services goals and bring opportunities to state and local Leagues. All partnerships are driven with our overall strategic organizational goals in mind. When appropriate, partnership opportunities are shared with state and local leagues via the League Update newsletter.
In even-numbered years, LWVUS hosts a national convention for all Leagues. All local and state Leagues and ILOs are encouraged to send delegates, which are apportioned based on a formula defined in our bylaws. The 4-day event is where the board of directors is elected, budget is approved, and mission impact priorities are determined. The event is also an opportunity for important training and networking. A first call (save-the-date) to Convention is announced during the Fall proceeding the event, and information is regularly shared via the League Update newsletter and on the League Management Site. Questions about national convention should be sent to [email protected].
In odd-numbered years, LWV hosts a national council for all state League leaders. The focus of the event is primarily a training and networking. Questions about national council should be addressed to [email protected].
Fundraising Support for Local and State Leagues
LWVUS provides toolkits and templates to help local and state Leagues with their fundraising efforts. Leagues can find resources to help local and state Leagues fundraise via individuals, foundations, and through crowdfunding on the League Management site. Any additional questions should be directed to Kate Kennedy, CDO at [email protected].
Questions about donations to LWVUS/EF
Any questions about a donation to LWVUS or LWVEF should be directed to Rose Simmons, Direct Marketing Director at [email protected].
Removal from fundraising list
To be removed from a fundraising list including direct mail or email, please contact Catherine Collins, Development Data Specialist at [email protected].
The Roster Manager Portal is used to update your league’s information (membership, officers, location) in the LWVUS database. The membership information provided through the LWVUS Roster Manager Portal is used for a variety of purposes, including helping prospective members find a League and contact League officers, documenting voting rights at Convention, ensuring members get LWVUS e-newsletters, and assessing Per-Member Payment obligations. Important: local League information displayed on LWV.org comes directly from the Roster Management Portal, so if you see inaccurate information on LWV.org, please check to make sure your information is correct in the Roster Management Portal first.
For technical assistance with the Roster Manager Portal, please email [email protected]. Roster Support requests are generally responded to within two business days but may take longer during peak periods.
50-year membership certificate
For members who have reached their 50-year mark, LWV provides a certificate. For more information, email [email protected].
LWVEF operates the State and Local Grants Program at no cost to participating Leagues. This program allows state and local Leagues that are not 501c3 to collect tax-deductible donations. These funds are to be used locally to support core LWV mission activities like candidate forums, scholarships, voter registration events, and studies on core and local priorities. Contact [email protected] to learn more.
The National Office also responds to requests for assistance with completing IRS requirements, including acquiring an EIN, filing a yearly 990, and offering advice on which activities are allowed based on a League’s IRS tax status. For more information, contact [email protected].
The Ruth S. Shur Fellows are comprised of volunteers from across the country. The Fellows work with state League leaders around best practices to engage new members and volunteers, gain visibility in the community, and develop new leaders with the goal of furthering our mission impact work in communities throughout the nation. The program is currently focused on working with states on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. For more information, contact [email protected].
The LWVUS Board approves the formation, disbandment, and other changes of all League entities. State and local Leagues should send any organizational changes to LWVUS via online form. Below is a list of forms for various organizational changes. For more information, contact [email protected].
The League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse contains studies and research conducted by League members across the country. The purpose of the site is to share League study documents among state and local Leagues and with the public. LWVUS does not maintain or own the Clearinghouse site, but LWVUS does endorse it as a resource for Leagues.
Leagues that encounter emergency situations requiring LWVUS support can contact [email protected].
What we can’t assist with:
Although LWVUS staff would love to support state and local Leagues with all of their needs, due to bandwidth, we are unable to provide support around the following:
Sending email on behalf of state and local Leagues. LWVUS is happy to consider state and local League items for mention in the biweekly League Update newsletter, but we cannot email the national list on behalf of state and local Leagues.
Non-priority issues. The Impact on Issues handbook provides state and local Leagues with dozens of policy positions to leverage for action in their communities. LWVUS cannot assist with state and local League issues that do not fall within the Campaign for Making Democracy Work. Leagues are, of course, still encouraged to take on issues that pertain to their community outside of Impact on Issues.
Legal services/individual conflict resolution in the elections and partnerships space. While LWVUS makes every effort to support Leagues, especially through the wide array of election services resources and trainings we make available, we cannot in every case help resolve issues, especially as they arise in the area of debates and other events. Leagues should consult their own legal counsel to gain clarity on the rules governing candidate debates and forums and utilize LWVUS’s available best practices (under Election Tools on the League Management Site).
Website design. There are no current plans for LWVUS to provide state and local Leagues with website templates or design direction. LWV.org is integrated with the MyLO system for RSS content, which is the fastest way for state and local Leagues to utilize LWV.org content.
Insurance. Insurance varies greatly from state to state. LWVUS does not have any type of umbrella coverage. Leagues are encouraged to secure coverage from a local company.
The national office receives a variety of requests for partnerships and activities related to issues we don’t work on. We do our best to provide support, resources, or guidance where we can, but with our limited staff capacity we are unable to assist with every request.
We are grateful for all the work state and local Leagues are doing. If you have questions about this guide, please ask them at [email protected]. As we work to answer your questions and provide you with actionable support, we are committed to responding to every member request with 48 business hours. Friendly reminder: this is a living document, which we hope to evolve and build upon to better communicate how LWVUS can support Leagues. If you found this guide helpful, please share it with other Leagues and other members within your League.
State and local Leagues wishing to work on a federal issue or at the national level on an issue that has not been the subject of an LWVUS Action Alert can use this form to contact the national office to consult on the intended action. Once the form has been filled out, national League staff will receive a copy via email as will the person making the submission.