Registering and helping people vote is one way to further empower the people we serve. Moreover, voting is associated with a host of positive benefits. Compared to non-voters, voters are more likely to volunteer, contact their elected officials, and stay informed about local affairs. They are more likely to contribute to their neighborhood’s “social capital” and live in communities where neighbors are in contact with one another. Being a voter is associated with better health outcomes, reduced unemployment, lower recidivism rates and the like.
Because many 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.
This is not only because of the benefits to individual voters, but also because of the implications for the nonprofit and the sector. The nonprofit sector depends on good government and fair and open elections. Nonprofits are more likely to thrive in an environment where government is held in high esteem and people are more likely to participate in the process.
Having engaged constituents allows nonprofits to activate a group of voters who support their policy goals. This is important because elected officials and policy makers are more likely to pay attention to communities that vote.