Voter Engagement - Updated for 2020 Cycle
This election cycle it is more important than ever to promote an active and engaged citizenship. Nonprofits whose communities participate and vote have more access to elected officials, increased trust on issues, and are better positioned to advance their missions.
Nonprofits represent democracy’s highest ideals of public service, active citizenship, and commitment to a better society. With their natural engagement assets and unparalleled reach, nonprofits are particularly well suited to encourage voter participation. Here’s how you can help strengthen our democracy.
Get Out the Vote – GOTV!
It’s legal, it’s important, and elections are determined by who turns out! When candidates are elected by a minority of eligible voters, they may not represent or understand the issues nonprofits care about. The nonprofit sector depends on good government and fair and open elections. Nonprofits are more likely to thrive in an environment where the government is held in high esteem and people are more likely to participate in the process.
Our friends at Blue Avocado have this to say about their voter engagement research…
“We tested various types of get-out-the-vote messages used in the 2018 midterm election to determine what resonates with potential voters. First, we found that every generation responds most strongly and positively to the same approach: voter-turnout messaging focused on issues (“I vote because we face important issues that deserve my attention and action”). Across all generations, this way of framing was most appealing, believable, relevant, relatable, and the one most likely to inspire voting.
However, the second-most appealing and inspiring message frame differed by age group. While Baby Boomers and Gen X respond most positively to messages of self-identity—voting as part of who they are—younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z) respond best to messages that they matter in society and therefore so does their vote—essentially an empowerment narrative.”
- Find resources to get started with voter engagement.
- Blue Avocado has some terrific resources and tips for nonprofit messaging around GOTV.
- Here’s a comprehensive (and FREE) toolkit from the United Way Worldwide and Nonprofit Vote – Voter Engagement Toolkit.
- Want to learn more? Stay legal with Bolder Advocacy’s Election Checklist for 501(c)(3) Public Charities or the Nonprofit Vote’s information on permissible election-related activities
- MANP has an FAQ page on how to engage in election activities such as how to (or not to) use social media for GOTV or how to do issue advocacy during election season.
Get the Candidates Talking About Nonprofits
Nonprofit businesses employ 1 in 6 Maine workers representing a workforce of over 95,000 and channel the energy of almost 345,000 volunteers annually. This is a voting block that candidates will want to reach. Learn how to use the data from our Adding Up Impact report to build connections with our Frames that Work toolkit and resources.
MANP does not endorse candidates or promote or endorse any political party. All activities of the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Project are designed to comply with the IRS guidelines for acceptable political activity of a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit organization. MANP’s goal is to educate candidates by making them aware of the impact and potential of the nonprofit sector, and to educate voters by soliciting information directly from candidates on how they would strengthen and partner with the sector if elected.