Nonprofits and Elections | Vote This Election Day!

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As organizations dedicated to the public good, charitable nonprofits have a vested interest in encouraging - on a nonpartisan basis - all Americans to participate in civic life by voting. People who vote are more engaged in their communities, contributing to a more vibrant civic life. We all have a responsibility to raise awareness about what’s at stake for charitable nonprofits in the November 6 elections.

Nonprofits are key players in helping everyone have a voice in their own future, provided we operate on a strictly nonpartisan basis, meaning simply, charitable nonprofits may “not participate in … any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” As the conveners of communities, nonprofits are vital in raising awareness, providing resources, and being a conduit for civic engagement. Nonprofits are where people come to address personal needs, find solutions, and work together to help their communities.

Do your part to Get Out The Vote today! Nonprofit VOTE has a helpful GOTV guide with 10 easy-to-implement tactics common to nonprofits and background information to help organizations remain nonpartisan and community focused. Here are just a few:

  • Include personal messages on internal and external communications with dates and voting information.
  • Have the CEO/ED send an email reminding staff of time off to vote policies.
  • Remind people to vote at events and meetings.
  • Post reminders on social media.

Personalize Your Ballot

All of the above information can be daunting, but nonprofits have stepped up to make sense of it for each registered voter in America. For example, The League of Women Voters' Vote 411 tool provides up-to-date information on polling locations and local ballots. Just enter your location information and see everything relevant to the elections in your area. Similarly, the Ballot Ready tool is used to create a personalized, interactive ballot based on your voting location that will inform you of the issues and candidates you will be voting on.

On the value of voting

“[T]he vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” 
~ President Lyndon B. Johnson, quoted in GoodReads/voting.

“As I've said before, the right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.''

~ President Ronald Reagan, commenting as he signed a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1982. He went on to say, “''To so many of our people - our Americans of Mexican descent, our black Americans - this measure is as important symbolically as it is practically. It says to every individual, 'Your vote is equal, your vote is meaningful, your vote is constitutional.'”

What’s at Stake on Election Day

Nonprofit Advocacy Matters, October 29, 2018, providing analyses on the issues and ballot questions that matter to nonprofits, as well as reviews of state and local races, attorneys general races, and the legislatures that voters will be shaping on Election Day.

Candidates Answering Nonprofit Questions, an Advocacy in Action article featuring responses to nonprofit questionnaires by candidates for governor and legislatures in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Wyoming. See also responses by Pennsylvania candidates.

Nonprofit Voting Resources

Nonprofit VOTE

Nonprofit Vote provides extensive information on voting and engaging new voters, including webinars, toolkits, and a reminder of the Benefits of Voting.

Nonprofits Pledge to Vote

Nonprofits Pledge to Vote, a program of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, is designed to connect missions to electoral engagement. People connected to nonprofits sign up stating, “I pledge to vote November 6 because nonprofit community services are essential.”

Vote with Your Mission

Vote With Your Mission is a long-running program of CalNonprofits that first asks the question: Why should our nonprofit invest our time in helping our employees, community members and volunteers to vote? Answer: Nonprofit voter engagement is a powerful way for nonprofits to “stand up” for their communities during this chaotic time. Why are nonprofits so effective at nonpartisan voter engagement? 1) We’re committed, 2) We’re present in communities, and 3) We’re trusted.

Additional Resources

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