Helping People Vote (Getting Out the Vote)
Getting out the vote—encouraging and facilitating your communities to vote—is a way your nonprofit can do its part to support active civic engagement and promote democracy. Helping people vote is a safe, nonpartisan activity for any charity as long as you’re not telling or suggesting to someone whom to vote for.
501(c)(3)s must leave the partisan work to the parties, candidates, or other more political organizations such as 501(c)(4) advocacy organizations. A 501(c)(3) should generally not work in partnership with these types of organizations unless absolutely certain that the activity will be conducted in a nonpartisan fashion.
There are many nonpartisan ways to encourage people to vote as the election approaches, including:
- Using your communications – emails, newsletters, social media and daily interactions – to remind people about the election
- Using meetings and events already taking place to create excitement around the election
- Educating your audience highlighting reasons to vote as well as information on the voting process
- Asking your clients, constituents and staff if they need help voting
- Creating visibility about the election through posters and displays in your front office and other public areas
- Participating in nonpartisan get out the vote drives
- Advertising rides to the polls offered by community organizations and agencies
- Provide an 800 number or website to contact for nonpartisan voter information like “Where do I vote?” or “When do the polls open or close?”
- Canvass your neighborhood and give out nonpartisan voter information before the election or on Election Day itself
- Call clients, constituents and community members on or before Election Day
- Provide voting rights information for voters informing them of their rights on Election Day and numbers to call for help
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