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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Project Vote Smart

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Democracy, Education, Voter Education & Registration, Voting Rights

Mission: Project Vote Smart is dedicated to providing voters with the essential information to self-govern effectively. Because a knowledgeable electorate is the strongest component of a functioning democracy, our organization strives to provide free, non-biased, in-depth, and accurate information about current officials, candidates, issues, legislation, and voting.

Geographic areas served: United States - Nationally

Programs: VoteEasy: Check out the award-winning interactive tool found at www.voteeasy.org. The Political Courage Test: See how we challenge the candidates to tell voters where they stand on the issues.

Community Stories

48 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Easy, comprehensive place to get information on elected officials. I no longer have to search through difficult websites via the government. I can see votes by all members of congress and legislature while also effectively sizing up my own local candidates. I don't know of any other means to have this sort of information so readily at my fingertips.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was referred to the votesmart.org some time ago and it has become the 'bible' for my understanding the issues, researching articles and speeches, and finally which representative best represents my views. Great site, very easy to use, and the only one I can find that provides facts in a non-partisan way.

Donor

Rating: 5

Wake up, people, wake up! Our mass media is not telling us how our representatives voted and on what. 30 years ago, I learned of the bipartisan Votesmart.org and started to support them after learning what they had/have to offer. Call 1888 VOTE-SMART to ask an intern your candidate question: their interns have been spending countless hours researching... You can also quickly find the answers you seek at VoteSmart.org's web site, where not only are 17 representative bills detailed with the Y/N votes indicated for your reps, but also 0-100% focus group ratings. Answer 13 simple questions in "VoteEasy" to watch the candidates that agree with you come forward or recede with representative percentages. Donate $10 and they will send you their biannual Voter's Self-Defense Manual rag listing the whole country's info. Check out their **** rating at the philanthropic accountability web site, CharityNavigator.org and donate, go intern yourself, tell ten people today. Voting is not a Democracy Sport.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm an intern at Vote Smart and I can personally attest to the fact that we operate under strict non-partisanship. The work done here is done with great care and love for our country. The people who work here honestly care about citizen's rights to know their politicians, no matter what they believe. It's a wonderful thing to see so many people working so hard for the greater good.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the greatest pleasure working with Project Vote Smart. The people here are dedicated to their work, which is to spread the facts about politicians. I would encourage you to visit their website http://votesmart.org to find information about your candidate's public statements, interest group ratings, campaign contributions, and issue positions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vote Smart is an amazing organization that provides a much needed service to the public!

1 Ashley171

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I decided to work for Vote Smart because of its mission. There are Conservatives and Liberals everywhere that believe in us and believe that the facts ARE important. It keeps me from feeling defeated by the current political climate and is a constant reminder of why I choose to contribute to the organization. The culture of the organization is unlike any non profit I've ever worked for. People ages 18 to 87 come and work together at our beautiful Montana ranch for the common goal to strengthen democracy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Vote Smart efficiently spends it's time and money to get accurate non-partisan information on all levels of government. The staff, although young, has the drive to make a difference in today's turbulent political climate, presenting the raw facts to voters instead of presenting information with a hidden agenda.

Curran C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Vote Smart is great cause and a fun place to work. The staff and interns work hard to make sure the voting public stays informed and up to date.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Vote Smart provides unbiased information on political candidates to Americans - this is much needed during this terrible election season! The organization does a great job of communicating with donors and provide an invaluable resource to voters, something that no other non-profit does as accurately.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Vote smart is saving democracy, one person at a time! They provide purely factual and non-partisan political information, so anyone can look up the right answers to any political questions they may have.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Project Vote Smart is an excellent resource for voter information on candidates running for and currently in office. It's ability to remain non-partisan is probably the most important aspect of this organization due to the mud slinging that you see in modern American politics today.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Votesmart is a great non-profit that is providing numerous amounts of information about the political system to everyday citizens who might not otherwise have the information available to them. The work we do is very important and takes lots of time and dedication. All the staff members work together to provide the best information possible while taken a vow of non-partisanship. Its all about the facts.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I once wrote to Project Vote Smart asking about a rating they had received from an organization that rates charities. The head of the project wrote me a long letter with a great explanation about how they don't easily fit into the rating categories and I am now a donor for life. They do amazing work on a shoestring budget, and manage to stay neutral while reporting facts.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization because they provide clear evidence about what exactly our leaders have accomplished. I am thankful for unbiased reporting without all the noise.

1 Joyce18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a member of Project VoteSmart off and on for more than twenty years. The new VoteEasy feature is a kick! I am so impressed with all this organization offers in clear, non-partisan information. Recently I set up a display in my church's lobby (as long as it is non-partisan, it is legal) and also liked the website on Facebook. Project VoteSmart has always been a reliable source of information for me on candidates and issues, bills in Congress....so much easier to track than any other resource!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a marvelous, top notch organization. They accomplish a lot with very little.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I stumbled on this organization several years ago and have loved it ever since. I can access factual information about a candidate quickly from my computer anytime and it is current. On a vacation I visited the Montana headquarters and saw for myself the assorted young (and old) folks doing the research. They scrupulously check their personal views at the door and provide a service I have not found anywhere else. Sally Stanton

Gary13

Donor

Rating: 5

With a crazy election process such as this one is turning out be, it is good to know Project Vote Smart is there to clear the confusion.

1 Cape Tippett

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have found that Project Vote Smart does a remarkable job of providing information on candidates, parties, issues, and everything election-relation that I need/want. I usually start with Project Vote Smart for researching voting related info, and branch out from there as needed.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

No other organization provides such detailed and in-depth information on the workings of our various governmental elected servants and keeps it current so that it can be used as a guide to evaluate how our elected officials are serving the interests of those who have elected them. And the leadership of Vote Smart is constantly seeking ways to expand their services and methods of getting their results out to the public.

1 Karen94

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I am thankful to see this non-partisan non-profit addressing a critical national need. There is a deep-seated perception that the public is apathetic when it comes to engaging with civic issues and participating in elections. And some people ARE apathetic. But the lack of voter participation is a complex issue with many causes. Project Vote Smart squarely addresses two of them: (1) Project Vote Smart doesn't pick sides--we're all tired of politicians gerrymandering not only their districts and the election process itself, but also, gerrymandering the public into clumsy black-and-white choices about party affiliation. Like many, I'm more interested in the quality of the candidate. (2) Project Vote Smart presents clear information--I've been an information designer for 20 years--technical manuals, websites, grant proposals--and know how difficult it can be to present complex information simply. People are busy, so what may seem like apathy may simply be confusion and a lack of interest in trying to figure it out themselves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel priviledged to be able to give two weeks of my time working with the greatest group of young people to create an accurate, non-partisan database that is offered to all people who can access the web or call an 800 number. This database allows each person to determine what positions their candidate holds on 12 issues and, if that positiion agrees with their own. To build such a resource for all incumbents AND candidates at the federal and state level is a labor intensive effort. Volunteers are an important contributor. Their creation is available FREE to all who seek such knowledge. And this Republic cannot survive without educated politically involved citizens. It is the most patriotic mission imaginable.

Jo C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's hard to find a neutral resource in today's political climate. Project Vote Smart is such a resource and sorely needed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Project Vote Smart is the gold standard for accurate, up-to-date, unbiased information on political candidates. Its website, votesmart.org, will tell you everything you ever wanted to know, and more, about the candidates who are asking for your vote. It will tell you how they've voted in the past, what interest groups endorse them, and who contributes to their campaigns. For anyone who wants the facts, not the spin, votesmart.org is the destination of choice. Their award-winning "Vote Easy" feature is a design triumph and raises the bar for user-friendliness. As a volunteer, I worked on updating, checking and double-checking data that's entered on the website.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteer AND donor. I first encountered PVS in about 2002 while living in Asheville NC. A May, 2004, move to Bellingham WA provided an opportunity to visit the MT ranch. After meeting the people, volunteers and paid staff alike, and helping with some work for a day, I was hooked. I returned that autumn for a 2-week member internship and each year since. The trip from the Seattle area is pleasant, and there are many attractions within driving distance for weekend enlightenment. Far more impressive is the dedication of the staff and interns to PVS' important work, particularly since the Supreme Court's "property is speech" decision. Unfortunately, while many people fund candidates' access to the media, too few support PVS' efforts to bring truth and perspective to their claims. Being retired, I do what little I can for PVS and snd will continue to do so.

Donor

Rating: 5

What a wonderful source of information, and it gets better every year. I have donated annually and several years back volunteered for a week in their Montana headquarters. During my visit I had a chance to see in person how carefully they record, accuracy check, and analyze the mountains of data they collect. PVS allows us voters to go way beyond the slogans, false and misleading statements of the candidates, and truly determine how well they represent our views and values. PVS should be the core resource for every voter at election time. Tom

Nadya C.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a retired grocery checker. 20 years ago I heard of this Project to provide accurate and unbiased information to voters. I was intrigued. Imagine being able to research candidates without wading through all the ads and mailers! Never would I have guessed 20 years ago all the misinformation and vitriol in our 'bought' elections today. I am so glad that in a small way I am contributing to civility and reason in our society today.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Anybody who puts any serious amount of thought behind politics should be completely jaded by the political system. It is ruled by two parties that seem to be more worried about getting elected than actually helping the people. The media is extremely biased and it's very difficult to separate fact from fiction. For months, I kept thinking that there has to be an unbiased source of information that will help me base my vote on who supports my views or ideals. Not who is the most popular, or who puts out the most attack ads. Eventually, after googling for this unbiased website, I stumbled onto Vote Smart. Vote Smart is absolutely everything I have been looking for. It presents just the facts, and nothing more. It is nonprofit, there's no advertising, and it's unbiased. Nobody should be allowed to vote this November without first learning exactly what and who they are voting for on Vote Smart. The media wants to you to believe that everything is black or white, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative. Don't buy that. Do the research and learn the facts. The value of Vote Smart to this country is indescribable. They are an organization that needs your support. The United States needs informed voters this November. Vote Smart is not going to single-handedly completely revolutionize our political system, but every little step helps. With more support and awareness, I strongly believe they can make a big difference. They have already made a difference in my life.

Donor

Rating: 5

What could be more important now than to find something that is truly 'spin-free' and 'fair & balanced.' They don't always tell me what I want to hear; they just tell me the truth.

Jerry K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great time as a "senior" working with young folks at the PVS headquarters in SW Montana. My work was data-input, fact-checking and envelope stuffing for two weeks....giving a little bit of help in this non-partisan effort to educate voters.

Donor

Rating: 5

PROJECT VOTE SMART provides faces, not opinions or spin. In my career as a teacher and librarian I have always promoted PVS as a tool vital to young voters who want to be truly informed before voting. How much more non-partisan could you want ? Remember both Barry Goldwater and George McGovern helped to launch PVS !!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have watched this organization grow over the years and seen its growth pains. It has come through stronger than ever and provides a service like no other.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm an old 83 year old . For many elections now I have been voting for the lesser evil, hoping that I ight finally find the TRUTH. I remember another time when spin was m,uch less than now...boy am I happy to find PROJECT VOTE SMART...at last I have a way of knowing who I'm votig for...thank you Project Vote Smart

Donor

Rating: 5

I found Votesmart.org while researching my book, and I have been hugely impressed with the quality of the service they offer. The Political Courage Test, in particular, should be something that every American demands their Representatives and Senators complete. It is shocking that only 35% of Congress completes this test, and even more shocking that those who refuse to complete the test often cite advice from their party leadership as the reason they dont complete the test.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As someone who has worked in Congress for both sides (a Democratic Senator and Republican Congressman), I have seen my share of partisan politics. From those experiences, I know first-hand that voters need access to unfiltered non-partisan information to be active members of our democratic society. Votesmart is one of the few sources where the public can get that information. Without donations from people with a stake in process versus the partisan programship, this important and unique resources might disaspper. I write to support the efforts and goals of Votesmart and its tireless employees and volunteers (that/who just also happen to be located in one of the most beautiful parts of the US - great for visiting - I have been and watched the team at work!).

Client Served

Rating: 5

my name is leon ray and my reason for running for president of the U.S.A. as the write in on 11/6/12 is i want too speakout for the new silent majority who is the working poor .obama is for the middle class and romney is for the rich there haven`t had a candidate since 1988 too speakout out on the status for the working poor. can u help on sharing this with the public before nov 6,2012 ? we need a living wage of $ 11.00 an hour or wagereform act a bill of rights for the working poor who are likely facing one paycheck in being homeless and don`t forget our vets which we need a bill call no vets behind. u can call me at 281-650-8226 or email me at leonray2012@yahoo.com.

Donor

Rating: 5

A very low key positive fair outfit. They call 'um as the voting record shows what each politician behaves.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

My wife and I had an enjoyable two-week working vacation at Great Divide Ranch in October 2011. We were impressed with the dedication of staff and volunteers to fairness, accuracy and thoroughness, as well as their kindness and appreciation of each participant. That spirit continued even after the sad deaths of a staff member and a volunteer. After the day's work, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing for bull trout, reading in the Goldwater/Proxmire Library, hiking and just enjoying the beauty of the mountains or watching the flock of wild turkeys was refreshing. A word of caution: Adelaide Kimball is a gracious winner, but she is one powerful tennis player!

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is doing a vital job that no other (to my knowledge) is doing, that is they are working to inform voters. They are completely non-partisan, their only objective being to help voters find out what they need to know in order to choose their representative leaders wisely. In order to choose someone who represents you, you must know what a person really thinks, which can be reflected best by actions, rather than stump speeches. So Project Vote Smart came along to give us all we need in terms of voting records, non-campaign speech and answers to "pin you down" questionnaires which don't take platitudes for an answer. They do not care how you vote, but rather that you have the information you need in order to pick the people who will truly represent you.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor nd ardent suppoter of Project Vote Smart for 20 years. The information I have received has always been of great value in helping me make decisions about voting. I have never found another group that provides the quality of information they provide. I regret that circumstances of health have kept me from being a more active participant. What a joy it would have been to work personally at their headquarters with these wonderful people. I would strongly urge anyone who has not availed themselves of PVJ's information to do so in time to use it in the upcoming election. It is an election with so many grave consequences for our country. So get informed and get into that voting booth come Novembe!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been following Project Vote Smart since it's inception. It is an excellent way to figure out who the heck to vote for. I wouldn't have a clue without it and neither would most Americans, I think.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've supported Project Vote Smart for many years, & have found them - founders & volunteer staff - to be incredibly dedicated to what they do, & so helpful in sharing their vast knowledge with anyone who's smart enough to call them for information. They do such a valuable job in helping educate voters on their congresspeople's voting records, & they are a national treasure! Please support them so they can continue their very important work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Politicians lie. Cngenitally. Vote Smart provides the real story. It is an indispensible tool. the Founding Fathers would be proud. Elections should NOT be popularity contests. Votes should be made based on a candidates actual voting re cord. Vote Smart makes this possible.Yay, Votesmart!!

Steve N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Project Vote Smart fills a critical component of a viable democracy, namely, unbiased information on candidates and where they stand on issues of the day so that voters can be properly informed to responsibly choose candidates. Their communication skills are second-to-none, and they are unbelievably transparent. The Founders and staff have undeniably revitalized the democracy of the United States.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am very strongly non-partisan and it is stupid difficult to find non-biased information on politicians. Votesmart fills this void and goes above and beyond the call of duty with their Courage Test and the Vote Easy research tool.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This site has been a sanity saver. I know what I'm doing now and feel confident in my choices. Thanks a bunch to the VOTE SMART Staff. Keep up the good work!

1 Margene B.

Donor

Rating: 5

While the numbers seem to tell you that Project Vote Smart isn't using your money for their stated goals, I believe they are working on a shoe-string budget and the public is getting a LOT for their money. Their product is a unbiased chart showing how your elected officials have voted on topics of interest. They show the facts, not soundbites that the media provides you. Take a look at the small salaries the leaders of this organization gets paid. They are not raking in millions; they are making information available with volunteers and people who believe that our voting process needs information to work. SUPPORT THESE FOLKS doing a public service function!