Got any summer plans? What if you could spend your days at your fav concerts and music festivals? If you’ve got a flair for music and a passion for registering voters, volunteer with HeadCount and they can hook you up!
HeadCount is a voter registration org started by Andy Bernstein and Marc Brownstein (you might recognize Brownstein from The Disco Biscuits). Instead of registering voters door-to-door, HeadCount volunteers go right where the action is- at concerts and music festivals. Since ’04 they’ve registered over 200,000 voters at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and more. They‘ve had a ton of success working with artists such as Jay-Z, The Roots, The Shins, among others. Intrigued? I got the chance to go behind the scenes with the HeadCount crew. Here are the 5 things I learned from hanging with HeadCount.
+ It’s a Good Time
When you think of registering voters, you might picture hauling around a clip board and lots of paperwork. When you’re registering voters HeadCount-style, you’re chatting with concert goers while Jay-Z is playing in the background (okay, there is some paperwork too). The venue is obviously a ton of fun, but the HeadCount volunteers are all hardcore music lovers at heart. Which makes the whole gig less of a boring political process and much more of night out with friends while doing good. Team HeadCount staked out the concert entrance and kept busy registering voters, answering questions, and talking politics (and music!) with the attendees. A raffle for Coachella tickets and concert swag didn’t hurt either. All in all, my night out with HeadCount was full of good vibes and good people. The great thing about music, as co-founder Andy Bernstein points out , is that “music brings a lot of people together.” Regardless of political beliefs or background.
+ Musicians are Big Fans of Theirs
Not only do they have heavy hitters like Jay-Z plugging them in PSAs, they also get a lot of love from the artists whose shows they set up shop at. One thing that boosts their registration numbers is shout-outs from musicians during the show that encourage concert-goers to go get registered. Artist relations coordinator, Jane Henderson, has seen it happen. “What’s really fun and cool about it is how artists get into it as well and appreciate what we’re doing. Which helps everyone else get into it also.” Not surprisingly, their most successful tour was with crooner (and part-time do-gooder) Jack Johnson. He also would drop by and thank the volunteers for their work before the show.
+ Registration Issues? They Got Your Back
Not only are the HeadCounters total bosses at registration paperwork (trust me, I’ve seen them in action) but they also are happy to answer all of your registration questions and help you out with any issues you encounter. In short, they got you.
+ They Take Care of Their Own
Volunteering at HeadCount gives you really great experience (coordinating events, processing paperwork, excellent people skills, the list goes on) and it shows. Head HeadCounter Andy Bernstein has a real appreciation for the hard work his volunteers put in, and shows it by giving them awesome recommendations. “We have a real commitment to our volunteers. We’re training and preparing people for the next thing in their lives whether it’s working in politics or music, organizing, etc. We know that this is a volunteer gig, and there should be a purpose. So when someone can get an awesome job out of it we’re just there to cheer them on. I’m always happy to recommend people.” Not surprisingly, a ton of volunteers have gone on to get full time jobs.
+ It’s Legit
Uhh, did I mention that HeadCount has registered over 200,000 voters since ’04? Not too shabby. They definitely got a good thing going, and it works.
Interested in getting involved with HeadCount? Check out their site for more info and volunteer opportunities!