How your nonprofit can make an impact via National Voter Registration Day

Printer-friendly version

Nonprofits play a vital role in American society, serving individuals and families, informing policymakers, and helping communities thrive. Operating above the partisan political fray thanks to the Johnson Amendment, 501(c)(3)s are nonpartisan actors serving all who need us. However, nonpartisan does not mean nonparticipatory. Our charitable organizations have the capacity – and the duty - to strengthen American democracy by registering and engaging voters to ensure full participation in the democratic process. Engaging voters benefits nonprofits, too, by building clout, awareness, and creating community leaders to champion your nonprofit’s mission.

Brian Miller, Executive Director of Nonprofit VOTENonprofits can get involved at any time, but the fourth Tuesday of September represents a nonpartisan day of action that we can—and should— all get behind. National Voter Registration Day, begun in 2012, has helped more than 1.6 million Americans register or update their registrations. This day coordinated engagement has the support of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Nationals Association of State Election Directors. Every year, millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, haven’t updated their registration, or aren’t sure how to register. National Voter Registration Day is an opportunity to join thousands of partners and volunteers in a single, coordinated day of action to ensure everyone can exercise their right to vote.

This year, National Voter Registration Day falls on September 25th. More than 1,800 partners from across the country have signed up to spread the word or host events. Your organization could play a crucial role. We don’t want any of the people served by your organization who may be eligible voters to miss a registration deadline. Your leadership is needed for us to reach everyone, which is why Secretaries of State Steve Simon (D-Minn.) and Kim Wyman (R-Wash.) are asking you to get involved, too.

How can your nonprofit help? It’s easy. When you sign up to partner, your nonprofit will receive free resources to support your nonprofit’s efforts, including posters and stickers, webinars, toolkits to organize events or publicize your participation, and updates from National Voter Registration Day. This is a no-risk, all-reward proposition since the IRS encourages nonprofit organizations to take part in voter registration drives, voter education campaigns, and other forms of nonpartisan voter engagement. And National Voter Registration Day has been formally recognized as a national day to celebrate democracy that your staff, those you serve, and the broader community can all take part in.

What can participation look like?

  1. A voter registration drive. Host a registration event at your organization or a high traffic area in your community. Don’t go it alone: collaborate with others and leverage volunteers to have the most impact. Use resources like the organizer’s toolkit to aid your planning.
  2. National Voter Registration Day stickerIntegrate into existing activities. Whether you’re a health center or an after-school club, there are ways to fit voter registration into your regular programming and activities on National Voter Registration Day or another day. If those you serve don’t know about NVRD before they walk in your doors on September 25th, make sure they leave knowing - and registered— preferably with a sticker!
  3. Engage your staff. For organizations that don’t have the capacity to do voter registration with the public or the people they serve, talking with staff and encouraging them to update or check their voter registration is a great way to recognize National Voter Registration Day.
  4. Shout it out. On social media, newsletters, or in your lobby, communicating when, where, and how to register in your state can make all the difference for people following you online or waiting in your lobby. Use hashtag #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and check out social media assets  that are available to take the guesswork out of promotion.

If we all work together, we can help every eligible American register and exercise their right to vote.


Find Your State Association of Nonprofits

Connect with local resources and expertise


Connect With Us

1. Sign up for updates

Stay up-to-date with the latest nonprofit resources and trends by subscribing to our free e-newsletters.

2. Follow us on social media