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nameStudy Abroad Outreach 101.pdf

Global Student Outreach Plan

The Goal: To get out the vote among the 340,000 Americans who study abroad each year as well as full-degree and advanced degree students. Click here for updated international data from IIE to support!

Phase 1: Research and identify Study Abroad and local programs:  MARCH--APRIL

American students study abroad through a variety of methods:


Phase 2: Outreach to Study Abroad Programs  APRIL--MAY

Reach out to Study Abroad program contacts and local universities to explain that American student citizens can vote in the 2020 elections while Studying Abroad; introduce them to and the resources available through DA volunteers, such as communications materials and voter registration drive assistance.


Tools: - sample scripts, emails and letters to help with outreach

Phase 3: Recruit and Train Volunteers to staff the onsite drives  MARCH--AUGUST

You will need people to help train, staff and manage on-site drives.  While you can register the longer-term students at any time of the year, the Study Abroad crowd will be high volume over a very short window of time, especially in the Autumn term.  Many programs will allow you to attend their Introduction, Orientation or Student Activity Fairs.  These are usually held in late August/early September and will run up against some state registration deadlines almost immediately.


Tools:  2020 GOTV Voter Information Resources Home, 2020 Video: Voter Registration (New Volunteers Training), 2020 VFA - How to Photograph Your Signature,

Phase 4: Schedule On-Site Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request Drives  APRIL--JULY

Follow up with all your contacts about scheduling on-site drives to help students register and request absentee ballots.  Capitalise on the fact that student voting was up 40% in the 2018 mid-terms and emphasise to the contacts that you will conduct a non-partisan drive highlighting civic engagement (mention your VAOs, and if pressed you can also substitute if you have to instead of VFA in case of partisan concerns).  Discuss VFAs new photo-signature option, which is the only platform featuring a completely paperless experience for 36 states.  Experience shows that students are much more comfortable registering on their phones.  ALSO no more carting the Voting Assistance Guide around!  It's all available online.


Step 2:  Maintain a master schedule and assign volunteers to shifts.  Make sure each drive has the necessary supplies (see below).  Consider signing up for a free account at Sign Up Genius to manage volunteers–it allows volunteers to sign up independently and sends them reminders, freeing you to schedule more drives.

Phase 5: Register Students to Vote!  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER

Create a communication plan with each coordinator and schedule when you will follow-up with resources and materials. Each program will want to communication differently with their students. Offer all our Vote from Abroad resources and let the coordinator identify which they’d like to use. Follow-up regularly with new information, materials, etc. Push hard to hold an on-site drive.


Step 2: Prepare for your on-site drives.  Use our checklist to make sure you have everything you need!

2020 Study Abroad Communication Schedule:


       •Home univeristy staff targeted to include Vote from Abroad as a "best practices' for communication and promoting civic engagement for students

  • Vote from Abroad materials in student orientation packets and communications (emails, newsletters, social media, etc.)

  • Vote from Abroad posters and flyers in staff offices and student common areas

  • Email, newsletter, social media reminders to register to vote

  • On-campus Voter Registration Event

  • Email, newsletter, social media reminders to complete and submit ballot

  • Information about the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot