This guidebook was written by Francoise Stovall with input from Julia Brothers, Sarah Cooper, Johandra Delgado, Michael McNulty, and Amanda Pleasant and with overall guidance from Pat Merloe. Phil Brondyke designed the style of this guide. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) wishes to thank all the citizen election observation groups, including the members of the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), that provided examples, lessons learned, and photos from their own outreach and communications efforts and whose experiences have been reflected in this publication.

The development of this publication was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This guidebook complements other resources by NDI on electoral integrity and citizen election observation, such as NDI’s handbooks: How Domestic Organizations Monitor Elections, The Quick Count and Election Observation, Media Monitoring to Promote Democratic Elections, Monitoring and Mitigating Electoral Violence Through Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observation, and Votes Without Violence: A Citizen Observer’s Guide to Addressing Violence against Women in Elections. These and other resources are available online at

Note that the examples of social media, messaging, and other communications platforms used throughout this guide, including details about their interface, analytical tools, and capabilities, are reflective of when this document was written and produced in 2019. Platforms frequently introduce new features and tools, while new platforms are developed and others may be discontinued. Those using this guide should research updates made to these services as part of developing their communications strategies and plans.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that responds to the aspirations of people around the world to live in democratic societies that recognize and promote basic human rights. Since its founding in 1983, NDI and its local partners have worked to support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices by strengthening political parties, civic organizations and parliaments, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.