Nonprofits, as well as businesses, universities, and governmental entities, are deeply intertwined with the communities we serve. No action we take is in isolation. Even seemingly “neutral” actions can perpetuate the status quo of racial inequity. It is this understanding that prompted Nonprofit VOTE to join with Independent Sector’s recent Racial Equity in Policy Week of Action. Without a conscious effort to keep a racial equity lens front and center, nonprofits can inadvertently find themselves on the wrong end of a policy. It’s important for us, as nonprofit leaders, to continuously ask the question, “What impact will this policy have on racial equity?”

It is through direct action, not simply goodwill, that we can ensure that these existing inequities do not perpetuate themselves. To change those inequities on voting, we look to America’s nonprofits, because they are governed by a different ethic than political campaigns, one that seeks to lift up the collective voices of communities they serve versus winning an election. It is that difference that makes a difference. Our own research definitively shows that voters engaged by nonprofits (disproportionately communities of color) vote at significantly higher rates following the nonprofit contact. Best of all, gaps in turnout between voters of color and white voters is narrowed in the process.

Knowing the positive impact of nonprofits doing voter engagement work has on racial equity and fostering a more inclusive democracy, we at Nonprofit VOTE provide an array of resources, toolkits, and webinars to help nonprofits across the nation act as true civic partners in helping the communities they serve vote. That’s what gets us up in the morning.

Read the full article about prioritizing racial equity by Brian Miller at Independent Sector.