Recently, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist called on tech firms to give their employees time off to vote this Election Day and some big brands like Spotify, Square and SurveyMonkey took notice. While making Election Day a holiday is a good way to show that a company values civic engagement, our CEO Matt Mahan toldInc. Magazine that employers can do more.
Some ideas he shared to develop a culture of corporate civic responsibility include:
Making it easy to register to vote by keeping voter registration forms at the office or enclosing them in onboarding materials for new employees
Inviting government officials to meet your employees — a local district representative, or someone who works in an area of government related to what your company does
Hosting events such as viewing parties for debates and election results
Matt also pointed out that fostering civic engagement among workers could even benefit a business’s bottom line.
At Brigade, we’ve made hosting a voter guide dinner a company tradition. The concept is simple: our employees, friends and family research candidates and ballot propositions and present the key reasons for/against each during a dinner-table conversation at our office. Everyone walks away with a much more robust knowledge of what’s on the ballot before Election Day.
We’ve also offered all-staff “lunch & learn” discussions with sitting politicians, candidates and other notables in the government and civic space. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve been joined by San Francisco Supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim who are battling for a California Senate seat in November.
Additionally, Brigade encourages employees to volunteer before and during Election Day and our executives lead by example. One served as a polling place supervisor during the California primary and others have participated in phone-banking, canvassing and other get-out-the-vote efforts for local, state and national campaigns.
Does your company offer civic engagement opportunities for employees? Let us know what they are!
The Brigade team has been on the road for the past two weeks at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Our goal was to raise awareness about the world’s first network for voters, and boy did Cleveland and Philadelphia deliver!
We had a great time talking to media, elected officials and delegates from around the country about our mission to leverage social and mobile technology reenergize public participation in our democracy.
Here are some highlights from our trip:
Our CEO Matt Mahan appeared on CNBC’s “Power Lunch”to talk about building Brigade and share his perspectives on the political climate in Silicon Valley. Click here to watch the segment.
We collaborated with REVOLT TV, Sean “Diddy” Combs’s new millennial-focused TV and digital network on content from the conventions as well as a pair of panel discussions about the importance of young voters in this election cycle.
We participated in “American Experiments,” a showcase for civic tech at the Microsoft Innovation Center on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, which drew an impressive crowd in Philadelphia.
We talked to dozens of journalists who were interested in our team’s insights on how mobile and social technologies can transform how Americans participate in the political and electoral process.
And finally, we witnessed history (and some impressive balloon drops) as Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton became their parties’ respective nominees for President of the United States.
Now, with the general election season in full-swing, we can’t wait to announce more ways we’ll be engaging voters — online and offline, locally and nationally — ahead of November. Stay tuned…
The Republican and Democratic presidential conventions are the Super Bowl of American politics and Brigade wants you to join us — in person and online. We’ll be in Cleveland next week as Donald Trump is anointed as the GOP nominee, and in Philadelphia the week after when Hillary Clinton formally becomes the first female presidential nominee from a major political party.
If you’re attending the conventions, here’s where to find us, learn how we’re empowering voters and score some Brigade swag:
Republican National Convention, Cleveland | July 18-21
Take a moment to relax, recharge and learn what voters think are the most pressing issues facing our country at Brigade’s demo lounge in the Atrium of the Huntington Convention Center, an interactive hub for technology and trends shaping this election season.
Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia | July 25-28
You can find Brigade’s demo lounge in Philly (powered by AT&T) at the Hilton Penn’s Landing, where we invite you to take a breather and explore a wide range of election-themed debates and discussions unfolding on our platform.
Brigade + REVOLT2Vote
During the RNC and DNC, Brigade will serve as the civic engagement partner for REVOLT 2 Vote, a new political unit of REVOLT, the multi-platform millennial-focused network launched by Sean “Diddy” Combs. Brigade will feature REVOLT 2 Vote literature in our demo lounges and members of our team will contribute to the network’s TV and digital coverage. We’ll also participate in REVOLT 2 Vote’s panel discussions on the Thursday of both conventions where experts will talk about how campaigns can better engage young people this election cycle.
Finally, you can learn more about Brigade at the REVOLT / AT&T “Wheels Up” late-night parties on the last night of each convention: in Cleveland at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in Philly at the Hilton Penn’s Landing.
*** Ticketing information and more details about the panels and “Wheels Up” parties will be announced soon. We’ll update this blog post accordingly. ***
REVOLT 2 Vote Presents: Young People and the 2016 Election
Thursday, July 21 2-4 p.m., Powerhouse (2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland) Click here to RSVP!
Did you happen to catch Brigade on “Nightly Business Report,” TV’s longest-running evening business news broadcast, which airs on PBS stations nationwide? If not, here’s the show’s Bright Ideas segment from July 8, 2016 that tells Brigade’s story (so far) through interviews with our CEO Matt Mahan and President James Windon:
What are you doing this weekend? If your answer isn’t “attending Politicon, the extravaganza that Vanity Fair called a ‘Comic-Con style event for political aficionados’ and The New York Times deemed a ‘must’ for politicos,” change your plans and join us at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Brigade is pleased to be part of Politicon’s second term as the quintessential non-partisan event of the year — and this time around, we’re upping the ante.
In addition to recruiting new power players for the world’s first network for voters, we’re also sponsoring Politicon’s official digital photo booth in Democracy Village, a fun, interactive, civic action space for conference attendees. Grab a politician, pundit, comedian or TV talking head and snap a pic with them courtesy of Brigade.
There will be plenty of notables to choose from: Gov. Sarah Palin, James Carville, Glenn Beck, Larry Wilmore, Ann Coulter, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Bill Nye, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Roseanne Barr, Gov. Gary Johnson, Jay Pharoah, Chuck Todd, S.E. Cupp, Melissa Harris-Perry, Greg Proops, Paul Begala, Frank Luntz and Darrell Hammond… and more.
While you’re at POLITICON, use Brigade to start debates about topics being discussed onstage, tag them as #Politicon2016 and compete for the title of Brigade’s “Top Contributor.” While you’re at it, unlock and explore your political districts and see how you compare to fellow voters and the politicians who represent you.
Just create an account, make your voice heard and make your vote count with Brigade at Politicon, the unconventional political convention!
The past five months have been an exciting time in American politics as primary voters, in a series of dramatic and historic contests, picked their presumptive presidential nominees. It’s also been an exciting time for Brigade as we’ve continued to create the world’s first network for voters from the simple yet solid foundation we laid with our beta app. That work has resulted in a more robust and responsive Web experience on brigade.com and an upgraded iOS app.
Now, as the general election season begins, we’re eager to share what we believe will make Brigade a transformative platform to help fix our ailing democracy — a social product that can break through the opacity of a system in which most participants (i.e. voters) feel disconnected from each other, their representatives and decision-making processes.
To build on what we’ve learned from our growing community of users, and to borrow a phrase from the Declaration of Independence, we hold these truths to be self-evident:
Brigade is for voters who realize there is real power in real identity.
Verified voters on Brigade are powerful because their voice and their vote cannot be dismissed. Connecting users’ identities to public voting records forces politicians to be responsive to the people for whom they work. Our unparalleled voter verification technology allows you to confirm your status as a registered voter and confirm every election you have voted in.
Brigade is for voters who want to make sense of the system.
For too long, politicians have hidden behind the complexity of our electoral and governmental system. Not anymore. Brigade allows any voter to bring their offline political districts online and make sense of their districts, representatives and people who will ultimately vote with them.
Brigade is for voters who believe talking about issues is important but arguing about politics on social platforms built for other purposes is ineffective.
Debate, discussion and discourse are the building blocks of a functional democracy — but voters need the right environment for these conversations to be meaningful and actionable. Unlike other places on the Internet, Brigade is built for political debate and discussion and we work hard to ensure that exchanges are safe and respectful. Brigade lets you choose topics important to you and discuss them with fellow voters. On Brigade, your opinion counts.
Brigade is for voters who want to connect with the other voters affected by the same issues.
Brigade makes it easy to find other voters in your districts who are passionate about the same issues you are and are affected by the same problems you are. On Brigade, you can easily surface the big things people care about by district, recency, popularity and issue area.
Brigade is for voters who demand to know where politicians stand.
Brigade brings transparency to the political process, shining a light on every one of your politician’s stances on every issue that matters. It makes it easy to see if you see eye-to-eye with them — and your voting districts as a whole — on your top voting issues. Dig into demographic and party data to to find out who’s with you and who’s against you.
Brigade is for voters who want to make their vote count 365 days a year.
Going to the polls is the singularly most powerful thing you can do as a voter and it should make politicians keep their promises. Yet when we only use this weapon once every two or four years, its power is lost. Brigade helps voters reclaim the power of their vote and allow it to count 365 days a year.
So, there you have it — our “Founding Features.” We’d love for you to give our new tools a spin and let us know what you think. Our team is working hard to polish and perfect what we’ve released and add more great functionality as Election Day nears. Stay tuned for more…
Brigade and Shift are excited to host an exclusive evening of cocktails and conversation as a panel of experts discuss why there are so few openly LGBTQ executives in Silicon Valley and the broader business community, even as our country has made great strides toward equality for all.
The discussion — moderated by Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor — will kick off San Francisco Pride Week on Monday, June 20.
Featured panelists include:
George Arison, Founder & CEO, Shift
Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Airbnb
Brigade is a technology startup founded in 2014 to tackle the problem of declining citizen power and engagement in our democracy. Shift is a new peer-to-peer marketplace that uses technology to take the hassle and guesswork out of buying or selling a car. Both companies were named among Business Insider’s “San Francisco’s 25 Hottest Startups” to watch in 2016.