Guest Commentary: Making Smart Investments in Democracy

courtesy Indivisible Yolo

by Vera Sandronsky

The new year and an election year is upon us. Fears about whether our democracy will continue after the 2024 election are commonplace conversations. Now is the time to take part in the work to ensure democracy will continue for our children, our grandchildren, and the planet.

Many progressive activists have been politically engaged before through registering voters, canvassing, or writing postcards. I have been working for several years with Indivisible Yolo whose mission is to promote progressive policies by activating people to engage in their democracy at all levels of government. Indivisible Yolo’s election advocacy for 2024 is focused on electing Democrats to congressional districts 13 and 22. California is key in returning the House to Democratic control. You can learn about opportunities for voter mobilization and sign up for the Indivisible Yolo weekly newsletter by going to the website at

To extend the work beyond the reach of our volunteer efforts as progressive activists, we need both DOERS and DONORS. What is often overlooked is that fundraising is activism too. The question then becomes how to give most strategically so that our dollars can have the biggest impact.

In early 2020 I learned about an all-volunteer group called Walk the Walk that identifies grassroots organizations throughout the country that support voter education and mobilization in their communities. Contributing to these organizations was an important change in my approach to political giving. In early 2021 I learned about Galvanize, which focuses on messaging to moderate women voters in swing states. By giving to Galvanize I am contributing to Democratic outcomes in states that are far from my home.

Many of us (I’ve done this too) give money to candidates in response to fear and frustration about a particular political race or in response to a political event. And the candidates may have virtually no chance of winning (a notable example Amy McGrath, Mitch McConnell’s challenger in 2020, raised $88 million). We strongly opposed McConnell and grasped at anything to get him out, but he was reelected and that was always the expected outcome. So much money wasted!

There is a time and place to give money to candidates in the election cycle (and there are organizations like Sister District that have a thoughtful and focused approach to candidate giving), but now we need to focus on giving to the in-district organizations in CD 13 and CD 22.  When we invest in these groups, we are investing in voters, and we are also investing for the long-term, beyond a specific election. Money given to a candidate doesn’t stay in the community after the election, but money given to in-district organizations does. That’s why organizations like Indivisible Yolo and the California Grassroots Alliance have created donation links in support of groups working on the ground like Communities for a New California Action Fund (CNC) working in CD 13 and CD 22. CNC has also been endorsed by David Callahan of Blue Tent, an important national resource for the entire spectrum of progressive political giving as part of their Peoples House project.

Please give generously and share with your friends and family how they too can make wise investments in our democracy. We grow our movement of smart giving by giving sooner rather than later and giving strategically.


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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