How You Can Help

Ambassador Program

Many Project Vote Smart members have requested a way to bring the information that Project Vote Smart provides into their communities. Answering this call, we have initiated the Project Vote Smart Ambassador Program. The Ambassador Program is a citizen outreach network that allows our members to bring the resources that Project Vote Smart provides directly to their neighborhoods.

The mission of the Project Vote Smart Ambassador Program is to enable our members to reach out to their communities, via presentations, and bring them the free factual information that the Project provides. Ambassadors help promote an informed voting community by spreading the word about the Project's free services and programs. Because Project Vote Smart has no advertising budget we depend upon the word of mouth promotion. Become an Ambassador, and help your neighbors get the facts, not the spin!

What is an Ambassador for Project Vote Smart?

An Ambassador is a member of Project Vote Smart who provides the Project's publications and voter information services to members of their community and makes presentations within their communities.

Introduction

Welcome to the Project Vote Smart Ambassador Program!

We are excited about the expansion of this citizen outreach group during the coming election year. Being an Ambassador for Project Vote Smart means bringing the tools for an effective democracy to your community. The mission of the Project Vote Smart Ambassador Program is to enable our members to reach out to their communities and bring them the free factual information that the Project provides. Ambassadors help promote an informed voting community by spreading the word about where to get unbiased facts about candidates, elected officials, and issues.

The following guide outlines the entire Ambassador Program. It contains all the information you need to find and set up presentations, give presentations, answer questions, request material and much more.

Setting Up a Presentation

The following steps outline the process of setting up a presentation:

  1. Locate a suitable organization, group, association or club. Use our list of suggested organizations for ideas about where you can present or ask us for help finding nearby organizations that would be interested in having you present a program.
  2. Call the organization and ask for the person who coordinates speaking engagements, or the program director.
  3. Ask if the group has any open slots for speakers, and if they would be interested in having a Project Vote Smart Ambassador come and speak to their group.
  4. If the contact person has not heard of Vote Smart tell them a little about it. Offer to send them a brochure. Tell them about the video.
  5. Find out if the group has a DVD player, as showing the Vote Smart DVD is a crucial part of the presentation.
  6. Find out approximately how many attendees you can expect. This will let you know how many brochures you will need.

We encourage our Ambassadors to set up their own presentations. However, if you need assistance in finding an appropriate group to present to, or in setting up a presentation once you've found a group, we can offer you assistance with this. Simply call the Ambassador Coordinator at (406) 859-8683, or email membership@votesmart.org. There is no minimum or maximum number of presentations you must give. We simply ask that you do as many as you are able or willing to do.

Giving a Presentation

The second step in the Ambassador Program is actually giving the presentation you just set up. Making an appearance as a Project Vote Smart Ambassador is quite simple. What follows is a basic outline of the presentation steps.

  1. Hand out brochures. Arrive at the presentation space early and find a place to display the brochures. You may want to stand at the door and hand them to people directly as they walk in. You can also place one on each seat. Every attendee should have a brochure in his or her hand.
  2. Please include these four points in your presentation:
    • Project Vote Smart covers the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the Federal Government and all 50 State Governments in six basic categories:
      1. Background and Contact info
      2. Issue Positions
      3. Voting Records
      4. Campaign Finances
      5. Special interest group ratings
      6. 6) Speeches and Public Statements.
    • Every candidate - Democrat, Republican, or third party - is treated with equal deference, and only relevant and unbiased facts are presented. Project Vote Smart does not lobby, support, or oppose any candidate, nor does it accept support from any organization that does.
    • In order to keep its unbiased, non-partisan integrity Project Vote Smart does not accept financial support from special interest groups, corporations, or the government. The Project is supported primarily by its 45,000 members. The Project also receives grants from philanthropic foundations.
    • Explain our VoteEasy online tool that allows anyone to instantly see which candidates agree with their own stances on major issues facing the nation. If possible, you can demonstrate this tool which is available at http://www.votesmart.org/voteeasy. The 2012 version will be released this fall.
  3. Show our entertaining and informative 10-minute DVD. The Project Vote Smart DVD is an inside look at why we do this work, how exactly it is accomplished, and where it all takes place. The video is the most important part of the presentation.
  4. If you feel comfortable doing so, answer any questions. After the video is over many people may have questions. If you feel comfortable answering questions, go for it! If someone asks a question that you cannot answer please have that person call Project Vote Smart directly. Remind them that our hotline is toll-free and open to everyone. You don't have to answer any questions. Only answer questions if you feel absolutely comfortable doing so.

Remember, these presentations are simple and easy! If you don't feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience, don't! Just show the video and pass out brochures.

Through the Ambassador Program we hope to find others who will support our efforts but you do not need to ask for contributions. Our primary goal is to inform people in your community of our existence, allowing them to use our services to obtain abundant, accurate information about those who govern and those who wish to. All of our services are available free of charge and though membership and contributions are appreciated, they are not required.

Reporting your Progress

After you give a presentation, let us know how it went! Give us a call or send an email. We love to hear from ambassadors, especially after a successful presentation!

Contacting Project Vote Smart

If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns about the Project Vote Smart Ambassador Program, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can be reached weekdays from 8am-5pm Mountain Time.

Suggested Venues

Some types of groups you might consider:

Some examples of these groups:

These are suggestions, something to get you started. Feel free to branch out. If you find another venue, go for it!