Nonprofit Voice 2020

The nonprofit sector is an economic powerhouse, a trusted source of information, and an essential partner for any policymaker with big goals. But these essential messages will only be heard if we use our voice, particularly during election season.

Elections provide nonprofits a unique window when elected officials and candidates are listening to the needs of voters and their communities.  Nonpartisan advocacy and engagement this year is a valuable way to ensure elected officials prioritize those issues once in office.

Included on this page are links to comprehensive resources on how to leverage elections to advance our missions.

Please visit the buttons below to dive into specific resources on three main strategies:

Public Health and a Healthy Democracy

In 2020, it is critically important for nonprofits to raise their collective voices to educate the public, voters, candidates, and policymakers about the inequalities that fuel the global pandemic.  Across the country, disparities in the frequency and severity of COVID-19 mirror disparities in democratic participation – demonstrating that that personal and democratic health are inextricably linked.

The Kansas Health Foundation asserts, “Increased health equity and improvement in health outcomes for all populations depend on a robust and vibrant democracy as health and civic disparities are intrinsically linked. Therefore, it is critical that an engaged electorate be part of the decision-making process, have their voice heard and their vote counted, especially those populations with lower health outcomes and greatest barriers to accessing care.”

Now, candidates and elected officials work to create new public policies to help our communities respond and recover following one of the biggest health and economic crises in over a century.  It is time for nonprofits to influence policymakers, educate candidates, and mobilize voters to ensure new policies build fair, equitable, and resilient communities in which all people thrive.

Everywhere I go, people with very different views tell me in very similar terms that they are troubled by the tone of our public dialogue and worried about the future of civic engagement. We need to do something about that because we’re not going to solve the serious challenges we face if we don’t: Closing the opportunity gap, confronting climate change, addressing the addiction and mental health crisis, creating welcoming and inclusive communities – all of those things depend on the health of our civic life and our democracy.
– New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

Winning New Supporters

In addition to election work bolstering nonprofits’ missions and their advocacy, it also is the primary vehicle to appeal to the next generation of nonprofit supporters.  According to research from the Millennial Impact Project, younger generations view voting, advocacy, and activism as activities highly likely to achieve real, long-term change.  Therefore, the report recommends nonprofits initiate engagement with young supporters through voter engagement and advocacy on issues important to them, prior to launching more traditional asks around charitable giving.