As nonprofits, we play a critical role in taking care of the people in our communities, and voter engagement is an important piece of this. Not only does voter engagement equip the people we serve with the ability to advocate for themselves and educate lawmakers, but it also helps to ensure policy decisions are made from the perspectives of those who will be impacted.

As stewards of the community, nonprofits have a great deal of power when it comes to empowering people to vote. Research by Nonprofit VOTE revealed that, compared to registered voters in the same states, voters engaged by nonprofits were 2.4 times more likely to be people of color, 2.1 times more likely to have less than $30,000 in annual income, and 1.6 times more likely to be 18-24 years old. The study also found that nonprofits closed or significantly narrowed voter participation gaps, making elections more equitable: low-propensity Black voters engaged by nonprofits were 11 percentage points more likely to vote, low-income Hispanic voters 10 percentage points more likely to vote, and non-college Asian voters 7 percentage points more likely to vote. Furthermore, a recent poll by Independent Sector found that nine in 10 voters (87%) support local charities educating policymakers and businesses about the needs of the communities they serve.

Nonprofits have a fundamentally different goal that transcends any one election cycle: to ensure the communities we serve are heard during the election and after candidates and incumbents are sworn into office. But this goal can only be achieved if nonprofit constituents remain informed and engaged. Making an organizational commitment to conduct nonpartisan voter engagement year-round is a first and important step toward advancing long-term civic participation in communities served by nonprofits.

Read the full article about nonprofits and voter engagement by Angela Lee at Independent Sector.