Common Cause

On August 18, 1970, John Gardner announced the launching of a membership campaign for “Common Cause,” a nationwide, independent, non-partisan organization “for those Americans who want to help in the rebuilding of the nation.” Gardner, a Republican, came to Washington, DC in 1965 to serve as the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat. Gardner later became chair of the National Urban Coalition, a group advocating for poor, minority, and working-class residents in urban areas and also founded Independent Sector.

 During his time in the nation’s capital, a city teeming with special interest groups, he observed “everybody’s organized but the people.” That thought formed the seed of Common Cause, which Gardner established to represent citizens’ interests in Washington. Within six months, the organization had more than 100,000 members, many of them joining to oppose the Vietnam War.


Intern with Common Cause

 Each spring, summer and fall, Common Cause offers internships in Washington, DC to students from across the country.  Interns work closely with national staff on grassroots organizing efforts, research and writing of policy papers and investigative studies, outreach to members of Congress and their staffs, e-advocacy, and fundraising.

Through training and daily work experience, interns gain a deep understanding of the workings of Congress, the Executive Branch and grassroots lobbying.  Weekly briefings with key Common Cause staff keep interns up-to-date on our highest priority campaigns and the strategies we are pursuing.

Internship opportunities

  • Campaign Finance
  • Election Reform
  • Government Accountability
  • Press & Communications
  • Web Development & Online Activism
  • Development & Fundraising


Undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent graduates are welcome to apply.

Application Process

Please submit the following materials in .doc or .pdf format:

1) Cover letter, including why you want to intern at Common Cause

2) Resume

3) Two or three references, including email addresses and phone numbers

Submit all materials to

Other internship opportunities

Democracy Matters campus-based internships

Students who are interested in organizing on their campuses for campaign finance and election reform are encouraged to apply for paid internships with Democracy Matters, the youth arm of Common Cause.

Interning at a State Office

Many of our state offices also welcome interns.  Please contact your state office directly to find out about current opportunities.