In 2014, more than half of voters reported that they were not contacted by a party or a campaign.
Nonprofits have an important role to play in increasing turnout because we have relationships with many of the individuals that will not otherwise be contacted about voting. Moreover, past research show that nonprofits are effective at increasing turnout when we talk to potential voters.
Contact is just part of the story. Equally important is the reasons people don’t vote. Among those polled about why they didn’t vote this year, 20% said they didn’t have enough information or didn’t like their choices. Your organization can and should provide information about where and when to vote, as well as answer other questions about the voting process. This is critical because voting benefits both nonprofits and the people they serve. It is a key part of advocacy work and is also a successful client empowerment strategy.
Because of the relationships between nonprofits and nonvoters, our organizations are uniquely positioned to raise turnout among nonvoters and drastically change the composition of the electorate, especially during midterm elections. Low turnout means that there is enormous potential for nonprofits across the country to turn nonvoters into voters and to help make voting a habit for everyone in their communities. We hope that before the year is out your organization will commit itself to nonprofit voter engagement in 2015 and beyond.