How theSkimm Mobilizes Female Millennials to Make Informed Decisions



theSkimm—the daily newsletter-turned-multimedia-powerhouse—has been on a mission to make it easier for female millennials to live a smarter life. Ahead of the midterms on Tuesday, November 6, it launched a campaign to get 100,000 people to vote.

theSkimm co-founders and co-CEOs Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin took the stage at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on October 24, discussing how they want to help female millennials make more informed, confident decisions in their lives, with voting being one of those decisions.

For the general election in 2016, theSkimm launched its nonpartisan “No Excuses” platform to inform and mobilize its highly engaged audience on the issues and candidates running for office.  “We registered 110,00 people to vote—95,000 of whom were women,” said Weisberg.

After such a successful campaign, Weisberg and Zakin feared the turnout and enthusiasm wouldn’t be as strong this year, which is why they turned to data to look at how female millennials view voting in the midterms, partnering with the Hive and Survey Monkey.

“We found that 73% of millennial women were dissatisfied with the direction of the country today,” said Zakin. “But only 46% were ‘absolutely certain’ they would vote in the midterm elections, which was lower than all other demos.”

For the 2018 midterms, theSkimm aimed to get 100,000 people to actually show up and vote. The team approached the campaign with a very grassroots angle, recruiting more than 30,000 Skimm’bassadors and loyal brand representatives, who were tasked with mobilizing their local communities to make sure individuals were registered, informed and got to the polls.

theSkimm also partnered with WeWork to set up boot camps, and selected 30 women across the country from very different backgrounds to be the Voter Captains. In the end, they saw a huge uptick in civic engagement from across the aisle. “TheSkimm is non-partisan,” said Weisberg. “We wanted to provide our community with the tools and information, so they are armed to cast an informed decision.”

The focus was not on specific political issues but rather about mobilizing people to show up and vote. “We put our Skimm’bassador captains through boot camps run out of our office, and had inspiring speakers come in to teach these women how to go back home and have conversations with people when they disagree with each other. 

The company’s underlying mission was to turn people’s anger into activation. “Everyone is fired up and angry. But we approached it by asking, ‘How do we turn that into activation? How do we turn that into a positive?’” explained Weisberg.

The Voter Captains applied what they learned at the boot camps into activation at home, turning yoga classes, book parties and happy hours into educational events about voting. “Getting our community involved has given them a sense of purpose, and gotten them out of personal crises, whether it’s losing a family member or going through something really traumatic,” said Zakin.

Ultimately, they want to show the wider community and their team they are are a millennial driven workforce, and that they want to give back. “For us, it’s all about bridging our day-to-day business with purpose-led initiatives we are really proud to be a part of,”Zakin said.