Copyright © 2012 Nonprofit VOTE. All Rights Reserved.
- Our Size
- In the last three decades, America's nonprofit sector has more than doubled in size. There are one million registered 501(c)(3) organizations and another half million advocacy and other nonprofit exempt organizations that, taken together, employ over 13.5 million people, rely on 61 million volunteers, and serve and engage millions more. Beyond the "independent sector" of 501(c)(3) exempt organizations are state and local government entities like libraries schools, and housing agencies, as well as centers of faith and voluntary associations.
- Our Composition
- Of 501(c)(3) charities, the human service sector is its largest part. More than 90% have a social or civic mission. While some are large colleges and hospitals, the vast majority of community-based nonprofits are small to medium sized health care clinics, neighborhood groups, schools and colleges, literacy and job training programs, disability programs, food pantries, affordable housing organizations, and new citizen and youth initiatives.
- Our Communities and Constituents
- The nonprofit sector serves underrepresented and underserved populations with a history of lower voter participation. Through their daily contact with clients, constituents, staff, volunteers, board members and communities, nonprofits can reach and connect with large numbers of potential voters.
- Our Credibility
- Nonprofits are trusted. A recent Harris Poll asked the public who they wished had more influence in political affairs, and respondents said they wanted nonprofits and small businesses to have a greater say in politics--second only to themselves!
- Our Social Missions
- Nonprofits have social missions of education, service and social uplift. Encouraging voting and other forms of participation is a natural part of every nonprofit's mission. An increasing number of nonprofits are incorporating civic engagement into their overall mission, regardless of the issues they address or the communities they serve.
- Our Committed Personnel
- America's service and nonprofit sector is comprised of committed individuals who work every day to strengthen communities and improve the lives of the people they serve. New studies on voting and "altruism" suggest that this caring is a helpful attribute for voting. A powerful reason to vote is the chance to create larger community benefits, but research also suggests that self-interest is of course part of the equation because the voter may get what they want too! But hoping for a larger group benefit like better schools, affordable health care, greater or less government action or a cleaner environment--whatever one's partisan beliefs--is a reason to take time to vote. People who care are better voters and well-equipped to encourage others to do so as well.
- Our Nonpartisan Status
- The nonpartisan charter of all 501(c)(3) organizations is an untapped asset. It is not only legal but well within our missions to encourage voter and civic participation. As 501(c)(3)s, nonprofits can do a wide variety of activities to support voting, so long as they are nonpartisan. Nonpartisanship helps create the trust we have among the people we serve and allows nonprofits to work closely with local election boards, Secretaries of States, and other nonpartisan entities involved in voting. In a democracy, nonprofits are a healthy complement to the partisan or semi-partisan entities that support candidates and provide a partisan approach to issues and getting out the vote.
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