We now know that 1-in-5 nonprofits do voter engagement work — but that number could be even higher! Foundations, both public and private, can play a key role in creating space for even more nonprofits across the nation to do voter engagement.
Foundations can use their communications channels to uplift voter engagement at nonprofits. Foundations can sponsor, host, or promote trainings for their grantees on staying nonpartisan, doing voter registration, and more. Foundations can use less restrictive grant agreements or including voter engagement questions in their RFPs. Foundations can also directly fund nonpartisan voter engagement, though private foundations have special restrictions around funding registration drives.
For more, see these toolkits, created in conjunction with Council on Foundations and Independent Sector, to guide foundations — private and public — on their road to fostering a more inclusive democracy.
CLICK THE COVER TO SEE THE TOOLKIT
There is strong data backing up the effectiveness of nonprofits doing nonpartisan voter engagement with the communities they serve. Studies like Nonprofit VOTE’s Nonprofit Power: Engaging Voters for a More Inclusive Democracy report show that nonprofits reach populations most likely to be overlooked by partisan campaigns and have a markedly positive impact on voter turnout with those they engage. Further, because nonprofits and community foundations are part of their communities’ fabric, their impact builds over time.