September 25 is National Voter Registration Day!
With everything else your organization is working on, why should your nonprofit get involved in voter engagement? Our friends at Nonprofit VOTE share several reasons why the nonprofit sector is critical to voter engagement:
- A Working Democracy Is Critical to Nonprofit Goals and Missions: Nonprofits are more likely to thrive in an environment where government is held in high esteem and people are more likely to participate in the process.
- Wide Gaps in Who Votes Undermine Democracy and Our Nonprofits: For the past three decades voters have been disproportionately of higher income, older or more partisan in their interests. How would our world be different if everyone participated?
- Voting Benefits the People Who Participate: People who vote are associated with a host of positive civic, health and social factors. Compared to non-voters, voters are more likely to volunteer, contact their elected officials, and stay informed about local affairs. They are more likely to contribute to their neighborhood’s “social capital” and live in communities where neighbors are in contact with one another.
Many nonprofits work regularly with underrepresented populations – those we serve and sometimes our own employees. There are small simple steps nonprofits can take to encourage voter participation – even as simple as encouraging employees and volunteers to register to vote. Yes, nonprofits must remain strictly nonpartisan. But that doesn’t mean we must roll over and play dead to avoid speaking out during an election cycle. Nonprofits have the opportunity during this and every election season to advance our missions by calling attention to the issues that matter to the people and communities we serve.