How do you like to read the news? Connect with friends? Engage campaigns? If you answered the internet, you’re not alone. Pew found that more than half of all American adults (54%) were “online political users” in 2010.

These people looked online for news about politics and campaigns, watched videos, shared election content, and used social networking sites for political purposes. In contrast, only 31% of adults used the internet for campaign-related purposes in 2006.

Unsurprisingly, for many internet users and young people, the internet was a more popular resource than newspapers, and was second only to television.

It’s not just the internet—cell phones also played a large role in last year’s midterm. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 26% of adults surveyed said they had used their mobile phones for political activities around the 2010 election. These people used their phones to tell others that they had voted, to read election news, to send text messages, and to spread the word about the conditions at various polling sites. Young people (ages 18-29) and digitally connected people were most likely to use their mobile phones for political purposes.

Unfortunately, only 22% of online political users who voted said that they were encouraged to vote by material they found online during the 2010 campaign. We can do better than that. Start by making sure that your nonprofit uses its online presence to encourage voting and provide helpful election information. With small, simple steps nonprofits can do their part to ensure that all internet users are encouraged to vote. Visit Nonprofit VOTE for tips and ideas.

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