International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Democracy for a better future.

aka IFES   |   Arlington, VA   |  www.ifes.org

Mission

Vision: Democracy for a better future. Mission: Together we build democracies that deliver for all. IFES advances democracy for a better future. We collaborate with civil society, public institutions and the private sector to build resilient democracies that deliver for everyone. As the global leader in the promotion and protection of democracy, our technical assistance and applied research develops trusted electoral bodies capable of conducting credible elections; effective and accountable governing institutions; civic and political processes in which all people can safely and equally participate; and innovative ways in which technology and data can positively serve elections and democracy. Since 1987, IFES has worked in more than 145 countries, from developing to mature democracies.

Ruling year info

1988

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Tony Banbury

Main address

2011 Crystal Drive 10th Floor

Arlington, VA 22202 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1527835

NTEE code info

Management & Technical Assistance (Q02)

Voter Education/Registration (R40)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Democracy and electoral integrity are increasingly under pressure around the world. This is why the work of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is more important than ever. For IFES — and all champions of democracy — “business as usual” is not an option. Democracy’s adversaries are working tirelessly to tear down democratic institutions and norms faster than we can build them. Despite the many difficulties, this is an exciting time, ripe with opportunities to innovate and strengthen existing approaches, while forging collaborative ways to empower all people to have a voice in how they are governed. IFES is poised to achieve what is required of us at this transformative moment in history. Together, we can overcome the greatest of challenges.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Trusted electoral institutions deliver credible elections

The heart and soul of IFES’ work is leveraging global best practices to build credible, resilient election management bodies (EMBs). This supports:

• Transparent, inclusive elections that deliver in crisis situations and resist manipulation by malign actors;
• Outcomes accepted by voters and peaceful transfers of power; and
• Empowered electoral officials who can proactively address emerging challenges and sustain public faith in elections.

To strengthen our efforts in 2020-24, IFES will innovate more data-driven programs, facilitate global information-sharing and design new tools and methods that build trust in election results.

Population(s) Served
Adults

IFES amplifies the efforts of public officials and civil society to promote good governance and rule of law. IFES empowers:

• Civic groups to fight corruption and the abuse of state resources, and to reform political finance systems;
• Public transparency and accountability mechanisms; and
• Global and regional peer networks of judges and election commissioners.

In 2020-24, IFES will continue to expand its anti-corruption and good governance portfolio. IFES will also innovate approaches to preserving electoral integrity, security and rule of law in conflict situations.

Population(s) Served
Adults

When all groups of society are represented, democracy thrives. Throughout its work, IFES promotes an informed and empowered citizenry by:

• Mainstreaming an intersectional approach to traditionally underrepresented groups;
• Promoting peaceful participation through conflict mediation and mitigation activities; and
• Innovating culturally tailored civic education and leadership programs.

IFES will further its award-winning inclusion programming by exploring new approaches to the
political inclusion of youth and displaced people.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Indigenous peoples
People with disabilities
Sexual identity

Adapting technology to advance — not degrade — democracy and elections is both a universal responsibility and complex challenge. IFES will do its part by:

• Delivering technology and information integrity solutions for civic engagement and electoral management;
• Working with electoral stakeholders to counter hate speech and use social media to promote tolerance, accessibility and inclusivity;
• Researching the evolving relationship between elections and technology, and developing cybersecurity and disinformation toolkits.

In 2020-24, IFES will achieve these goals with the support of the Technology for Democracy (T4D) Fund and its dedicated technology team.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our vision is democracy for a better future. Our mission is, "Together we build democracies that deliver for all."

We collaborate with civil society, public institutions and the private sector to build resilient democracies that deliver for everyone. As the global leader in the promotion and protection of democracy, our technical assistance and applied research develops trusted electoral bodies capable of conducting credible elections; effective and accountable governing institutions; civic and political processes in which all people can safely and equally participate; and innovative ways in which technology and data can positively serve elections and democracy.

For over 30 years, IFES has provided support for the growth of democracy around the world, while also working to guard against democratic reversals. Our work is underpinned by expert technical assistance to election management bodies (EMBs), legislatures, judiciaries, human rights institutions, anti-corruption bodies, and civil society; our approach focuses on making and sustaining democratic reforms that strengthen inclusive participation for all people, promote transparency and accountability, and ensure effective service delivery.

Our capabilities include:

-Strengthening rules-based democracies
-Technical assistance for electoral management and leadership
-Tackling corruption in electoral and political processes
-Capacity development and civil society engagement for good governance
-Advancing the meaningful participation all people in public life
-Promoting secure and safe electoral environments, particularly amidst COVID-19
-Media and technology that support - not degrade - democracy
-Rigorous global analysis, research and innovation

Since 1987, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has trained over 1 million poll workers; reached over 205 million people with civic and voter education; and released hundreds of publications for practitioners and decision-makers on election integrity, election dispute resolution, money and politics, election technologies, civil and voter registers, strategic planning for democratic institutions, and advancing democracy and elections during COVID-19. To give just a few examples of our successes:

-IFES builds the capacity of electoral institutions and officials to address emerging challenges and win public trust. Our work is underpinned by cutting-edge research and analysis; for example, IFES conducted Somalia, Sudan and Venezuela assessments that identify key threats to the integrity of future elections and propose recommendations to ensure their legitimacy.

-Pervasive corruption undermines political, judicial and electoral processes, and can have political, security and economic implications. With funding from the U.S. Department of State, IFES has partnered with domestic stakeholders and influencers in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Romania to identify, prioritize and create action plans to tackle anticorruption reform recommendations.

-IFES promotes political participation, justice and equal rights for all people, including women; persons with disabilities; youth; ethnic and religious minorities; internally displaced persons; and indigenous communities. In Myanmar, IFES’ She Leads program has empowered women to become leaders at all levels of their communities.

-Increasingly, technology and social media are abused by malign actors to undermine democracy and electoral systems. IFES is crafting creative, proactive solutions, with a new election technology and cyber-hygiene course; innovative research on Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity; and partnerships with technology companies via the Technology for Democracy (T4D) Fund (e.g., IFES and Facebook worked together to identify hate speech and disinformation in Ukraine’s 2019 elections).

IFES' work is never done, and there is still much left to accomplish. For the first time in nearly two decades, a majority of countries – 92 according to the V-Dem 2020 Democracy Report – are characterized as autocracies. This “third wave of autocratization” has affected even regions long assumed to be democratic strongholds. Now, the COVID-19 crisis has created new opportunities for would-be authoritarians to further cement their hold on government structures and erode the protection of human rights.

The world is changing, and IFES is changing with it. In 2019 we embarked on an ambitious strategic planning process. The resulting vision, mission, values and
strategic outcomes reflect our institutional learning and unique understanding of what is required to deliver credible elections and responsive governance in this unprecedented era.

Financials

International Foundation for Electoral Systems
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Board of directors
as of 1/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

The Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell


Board co-chair

Thomas A. Devine

The Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell

Kenneth Cutshaw

Thomas Devine

William Eacho

Irena Hadžiabdić

Steny Hoyer

William Hybl

Hon. M. Peter McPherson

The Hon. Denise Nappier

Catlin O'Neill

H.E. Andrés Pastrana

Daniel Runde

Donald Sweitzer

Amb. Tom McDonald

Randall Teague, Sr.

Amb. Theodore Sedgwick

The Hon. Rob Portman

June DeHart

Frank Donatelli

Attahiru Jega

Rob Nabors

The Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Camille Stewart

Sarah Tinsley

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/08/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data