Project Vote Smart Reviews | Glassdoor

Project Vote Smart Reviews

Updated August 7, 2017
29 reviews

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2.6
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Richard Kimball
22 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The location--on a dude ranch in Montana --is spectacular, and there are lots of fun events and outdoor activities--and lots of people to do them with, (in 5 reviews)

  • The staff at Vote Smart, and even your directors, are great people (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Richard Kimball is a crazy person (in 7 reviews)

  • Upper management does not give beneficial leadership - most of the Board is remote (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Some aspects were amazing, others were infuriating"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Project Vote Smart full-time

    Pros

    The way I see it, three things go into your enjoyment of a job: The place, the people, and the work

    The place: If you're into the outdoors, Montana is a fantastic place. I doubt that I will ever have another job located in a more gorgeous place. The summers were incredible with a vast variety of activities readily available to us. Want to hike a mountain? Lets do it Tuesday. Want to play some soccer? That's what Wednesdays are for. How about fishing? The ranch/office is literally on top of prime fly fishing territory.

    The people: Because of the bizarre circumstances that VS puts everyone in, there is a special camaraderie built between much of the staff. Philipsburg is a tiny town without many other young people, so for the most part, people worked, lived, and socialized with each other 24/7. While this can certainly get awkward and tiresome, it can also be a blast for those who are able to get along. It's a sort of "misery loves company" crossed with "we're all in this together" vibe.

    The work: With the office being in the middle of the woods, the office is a fairly relaxed place. If you play your cards right, you can get into positions where you do learn a lot about politics. VS is also a great opportunity to gain management experience because you can work your way into those roles fairly quickly.

    Cons

    The place: They aren't in Montana anymore... and Iowa doesn't seem quite so endearing.
    At least Des Moines will have service industries though!

    The people: As previously mentioned, you are stuck with the same people in all aspects of your life. "Private life" was not a thing. And there always seemed to be a few people who could not ingratiate themselves into the social cliques and were therefore quite alienated from the rest of the staff. Also, there was almost no divide between the social happenings outside the office and inside.

    The work: Most all of the work is tedious data entry. VS did not provide staff with the best equipment and at times computers were almost inoperable. The organization acts very much like the staff are replaceable tools and it simply seeks to get the most production out of the least money as possible with little to no regard for the staff. And yet, upper management often spends large amounts of money in very peculiar ways...

    Upper management (i.e. the President who is also on the Executive Board along with his wife) involves itself a bit too much in certain day to day activities without really taking the time to listen or understand the staff. Major decisions are often made before the staff are even aware its a topic, and the decisions often oppose the majority opinion of the staff. Just this past year VS spent who knows how many resources trying to implement a pay wall that no one wanted or thought would work... and it didn't. Money is also often spent very questionably by upper management considering how frugal with organization is with its staff.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to the staff, they often know best since they deal with the stuff on a daily basis. And they are rooted in the 21st century. Also, have a bit more accountability or where the money is going - including anything and everything that upper management uses VS funds for.


  2. "richard is donald trump"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Project Vote Smart full-time

    Pros

    great people. was in montana.

    Cons

    everything else, especially management. Stifling when it comes to new ideas or ways to improve

    Advice to Management

    actually listen to literally anyone.

  3. "Over Worked and Under Paid Staff makes it difficult to enjoy working here."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Project Vote Smart full-time

    Pros

    This is a great job for someone right out of college. The work is ridiculously easy, the office is casual and fun and for someone with no experience, the pay isn't bad. It's really easy to get into a director position and manage people as well. The time off policy is really relaxed, you can take time off for pretty much any reasons but you won't get paid for it.

    Cons

    This is the least efficient place I've ever worked. Although a non-profit, the organization cuts too many corners in the sake of "saving money' while slowly putting it into the ground. The staff only consist of a dozen people who are often made to take on more work/responsibility than humanly possible. Instead of hiring more staff to free up work load and allow more productivity, they make one person do the job of two or three people, perfect example of this is the HR/Office manager and the Internship coordinator. This is not a work environment where you can voice your concerns, this is very much the type of place where you should be happy you have a job and are expected to "roll with the punches" and do everything that is asked of you, not matter how ridiculous. Any concerns you do have are quickly shot down. Upper level management always poses the question "what can we do better" yet they never take into account new ways or methods of doing things, instead they stick to methods that were created in the 80's that are no longer viable. The office feels like a boys club, there are no women in directorships (which is the only level of management a researcher can advance to) and the tone of upper management is extremely sexist, where women are rarely given credit for work done, but men are. While all these things are bad, the worse part of the organization is the president. Like all these reviews have mentioned, Richard Kimball is one of the nastiest men I have ever met. He is incredibly demanding and treats vote smart and its employees like his personal servants. He barks orders to employees via phone (since he doesn't even work in the office but is paid like he is) and expects everyone to do exactly what he says. He is old and dellusional and does not want vote smart to progress in this technical age despite constantly saying that he is looking for new ideas to get our message across. I personally feel that he does not care about the organizations mission, He makes everyone he works with miserable, so many people have quit who work directly under him, because he makes them feel like they are worthless and the work they are doing isn't good enough. For a boss, he is verbally abusive. When you put all these things together, plus the poor salary we make, you get a staff that is constantly looking for their next job and completely not dedicated to the cause. There is no room for advancement here, everyone is at an entry level, bottom of the barrel position. If you are lucky, there are director spots, but those are only given if the director leaves, and still there are only 4 director spots.

    Advice to Management

    The president needs to step down at all cost, the organization will fold after the next election if he does not leave. The organization needs to have a complete face lift, including a new website, tools and re-structuring of the work place. New job roles need to be added, an actual HR person needs to be hired and staff should receive a more modest salary or else no one will stick around for long.


  4. "Can offer decent experience, but terrible management at all levels makes it basically impossible to work there"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Philipsburg, MT
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Philipsburg, MT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Project Vote Smart full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    As someone right out of college, the ability to manage people can be useful, and something that looks good on a resume. The previous location in Montana was beautiful and there was lots of outdoor activities.

    Cons

    Almost everything else. The overall level of professionalism at the organization was abysmal, and it often felt like a fraternity as opposed to an office in the worst possible ways. Being in a small town made it very difficult to separate work and outside life, which made professional interactions between staff, and interns, almost impossible. The policies and procedures were randomly enforced, making you feel like you could be fired at any time, while another staff could do the same thing and have no punishment. I often felt disrespected, and that like my work did not matter. The inability for the organization to update for the 21st century was extremely frustrating, and makes me believe that this organization will fail.

    Advice to Management

    Take advice from younger employees about technology; Richard Kimball needs to resign or become more flexible and cannot micromanage everything; Take professionalism seriously, this may be a more casual environment but it's still an office.


  5. "Offers great work experience to political science students"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Intern in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Intern in Austin, TX

    Pros

    You will become increasingly adept at analyzing technical legal documents. Throughout the internship process, you will be given additional responsibilities if you prove yourself to be capable and passionate.

    Cons

    The Austin office space leaves something to be desired. The intern working area is cramped and not the best, but that isn't too surprising of a non-profit organization.


  6. "Montana is Beautiful"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great location if you like outdoor activities such as hiking (Summer months). Everyone in the office is young and very close and very inclusive. the job is boring but easy and not stressful.

    Cons

    Remote location can result in many difficulties. days are long and often boring, sometimes your work seems useless.

    Advice to Management

    Take advice from people especially younger people regarding updating the website


  7. "Beautiful location, great coworkers, needs to be refocused"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Intern in Philipsburg, MT
    Former Employee - Intern in Philipsburg, MT
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great entry-level start
    Interns are treated with respect
    Great opportunities for young people looking for experience

    Cons

    Extremely rural working environment
    Work can seem menial at times (data entry)
    Not a strong working culture

    Advice to Management

    Continue to give interns more responsibility with job duties. Look for opportunities to have them work in multiple departments.

  8. "Eh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good for gaining general internship experience. You can make some longterm friends. Views are incredible. Food is free.

    Cons

    Your skills gained, if any, aren't invaluable.

    Advice to Management

    Why, I'd never!


  9. "Great idea, poor execution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Overall goal and mission of organization is very much needed these days.
    Working with people with similar interests and passion...make great friends for life.

    Cons

    Very poorly run...employees treated like disposable, replaceable drones. Management shows almost no respect or appreciation considering their employees' long hours and questionable compensation.

    Advice to Management

    Find new management and revitalize this org. so it can survive in the 21st century.


  10. "PVS Summer Intern- Outdoors/Mission, Terrible Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Wonderful location if you love the outdoors
    Great for an internship early in your college career if you are interested in campaigns/legislation
    Opportunity to learn SQL and meet other student interns (lots of summer interns)
    Non-partisan mission is a great value

    Cons

    Terrible management and owner that impedes effective management
    Extremely resistant to technological updates
    Mostly informs elderly people and can't see organization existing years from now
    Employee turnover
    Living on a ranch/small town with coworkers creates personal problems and erodes professionalism
    General lack of professionalism


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