Join a nationwide celebration of democracy

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On September 20th, thousands of nonprofits will be participating in one of the largest celebrations of democracy in our nation’s history: the tenth annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Ok, it may not compete with the Semiquincentennial coming up in a few years to commemorate our nation’s 250th birthday, but it will still be plenty momentous.

Over the course of the holiday’s ten-year history, more than 4.7 million people have been registered to vote through the nonpartisan outreach efforts of nonprofits and others. The goal for this year is to register another 800,000 people. Let’s work together to make it happen!

Nonprofits are uniquely positioned to help our communities register and exercise their right to vote. We are places where people come together. We enjoy the trust of our communities. And we are already experts at remaining nonpartisan. This is more important than ever since many states have changed their rules about registration and procedures on how and where people can vote. We can help the people we serve exercise this most fundamental right.

It doesn’t take a lot to get involved in NVRD. We know so many nonprofits are stretched beyond thin right now, but you can participate without incurring any extra costs or doing a lot of extra work. You don’t need to host a big event. It can be as simple as asking the people your nonprofit serves if they are registered to vote. And, if they aren’t, connecting them with resources to do so. It can be as easy as having a laptop set up with the webpage to register open and ready for people to use.

National Voter Registration Day

 

Every voter can make a difference in an election. Where I’m sitting right now, a primary election for my next county executive, where more than 125,000 votes were cast, is coming down to a margin of fewer than 40 votes. A few votes one way or another can have an enormous impact on who writes the laws that affect your nonprofit’s ability to advance its mission.

The folks at NVRD and Nonprofit VOTE make it easy to participate. They have toolkits for social media, newsletters, and press releases; swag to show off your #VoteReady pride; and checklists and webinars on ensuring your events remain nonpartisan. This year, there are even grants available to help with the costs for hosting a voter registration event.

One other way to celebrate NVRD is announcing to your staff that they will have paid time off to vote, whether on Election Day or for early voting. The Nonprofit Staff Vote website has sample policies you can use, a map to help you see state-by-state requirements on the issue, and a template for announcing the policy to your staff.

Join us in offering staff time off to vote

 

Want to learn more? Check out this podcast about the history and future vision for NVRD. And tomorrow, Thursday, August 18 at 2pm Eastern, you can join Nonprofit VOTE, National Voter Education Week, Vote Early Day, and Election Hero Day for a webinar. Celebrating the Civic Holidays on Social Media.”

There are so many ways for your nonprofit to join in this celebration of democracy. Whether you help register five new voters or 500, you are making a difference for that new voter, for your community, and for our nation. Let’s celebrate together this September 20!

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