Building a More Diverse & Inclusive Membership Organization

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Organization:

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania

City:

Harrisburg

State:

Pennsylvania

Organization Overview:

The League of Women Voters encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. LWV does not support or oppose any political party or candidate but does take — and always has taken — stands on issues its members have studied. The purpose is to create in citizens a sense of responsibility for their nation’s problems. Through research and advocacy, LWV seeks to encourage the informed citizen who actively participates in government.

The League of Women Voters is the direct descendant of the US woman suffrage movement of the mid-19th to early 20th century. Six months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the National League of Women Voters came into existence and immediately began fulfilling its mission. In Pennsylvania, the League set out immediately to help cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia register thousands of women and teach them how to vote.

Through a rigorous study and consensus-taking process that is initiated by the grassroots membership, the League of Women Voters takes positions on issues such as voting and election reforms, criminal justice reform, fair funding for education, environmental protection, and more.

The PA League (LWVPA) is the umbrella organization for 30+ local leagues on the ground all across the state. LWVPA is operated by a small but mighty staff of 1.5, supported by a cohort of graduate student fellows. LWVPA is a membership-based organization. We currently 2500+ members across the state, a number we hope to grow!


Project Name:

Building a More Diverse & Inclusive Membership Organization
Project Type: 
Program Evaluation

Project Overview:

 For 101 years, the League of Women Voters of PA (LWVPA) has been a leading nonpartisan voice in educating voters and protecting the rights of all people to vote. After experiencing significant growth through the 20th century, LWVPA has recently witnessed significant decline in membership, and a lack of diversity among new members in terms of age, economic background, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. Recognizing this, the League is currently undergoing a major cultural shift to build a more diverse and inclusive organization. Under the leadership of the Equity Team, a statewide coalition of local league leaders, LWVPA seeks to better understand our member demographics and to develop a strategy for membership growth.

The stakeholders of this project are the LWVPA Board of Directors (including the Director of the Equity Initiative), the Executive Director, and the 2500+ LWVPA members who will benefit from membership growth.


Deliverable(s): The first deliverable will be a comprehensive survey of LWVPA membership. This project will also produce a programmatic logic model, an organizational theory of change, and will help contribute to a comprehensive program evaluation strategy. This could be accomplished through a series of qualitative interviews with board and staff and a facilitated session with the full board.


Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu