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Nonprofits are bringing a spotlight to our sector’s issues this year and they’re doing it by engaging candidates.

Engaging candidates on a nonpartisan basis shows future elected officials that our nonprofits are paying attention and that our communities vote.

The Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers hosted a gubernatorial forum on September 24 focused on issues specifically facing the human services sector. Held at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, the event attracted about 700 attendees. Republican candidate Charlie Baker, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley, and independent candidates Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick all participated.  The council collected questions from human service clients and staff prior to the event, and about half of the questions were asked directly by stakeholders through video vignettes. Topics included increased salaries, job training for those with barriers to employment, access to educational opportunities, low cost health insurance options and full implementation of the landmark rate-setting law Chapter 257. Full video of the forum is available online.

Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition (PAFCO), in partnership with 18 health and human service organizations, hosted a forum for gubernatorial and Secretary of State candidates focused on a variety of health and human service topics. The event attracted over 400 attendees who had the opportunity to hear from the candidates on the issues that impact PAFCO’s member organizations and the families that they serve, as well as some of Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens including people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, and people with disabilities. True to their constituents, ASL interpreters, Spanish interpreters, and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) were provided. Although all candidates were invited, only Secretary of State candidate Terry Goddard and gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal attended. “We had hoped all the candidates would participate and we invite Ms. Reagan and Mr. Ducey to join us in an honest conversation about these issues anytime between now and Election Day,” said Phil Pangrazio, President and CEO of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.

The N.C. Center for Nonprofits invited all 263 candidates running for the N.C. House of Representatives and N.C. Senate in the 2014 election to answer four questions that are of interest to nonprofits across the state. The Center encouraged their members to reach out to candidates in their district to complete the questionnaire, noting that  “Nothing motivates a candidate more than a request from someone who votes in his or her district!” The Center posted completed questionnaires on their website and distributed them to all members, which includes board, staff, and volunteers at more than 1,500 nonprofit organizations serving all 100 counties of North Carolina.

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) distributed a questionnaire to gubernatorial candidates that captures important opportunities and challenges impacting the state’s nonprofit sector. Central to the creation of the questionnaire are the five public policy themes at the core of MNN’s long-term legislative agenda. Candidate responses were posted online and MNN encouraged their affiliates to share the responses and start online conversations.

There’s still time to talk to candidates ahead of November 4th. Browse all of our nonpartisan resources on candidate engagement.

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