Nonprofit VOTE has had the pleasure of working with several organizations doing voter engagement work. One of those organizations is the National Urban League, who also served as a premier partner for National Voter Registration Day. The NUL is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Its very history is intertwined with many movements for equality throughout our country since its founding in 1910. Working with over 90 affiliates in over 300 communities in 37 States and Washington, DC, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide. They thought it was important to extend their work into educating voters.
The NUL spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. In light of its advocacy, the NUL found an opportunity to strengthen education not just about their core issues (jobs, healthcare, social justice, housing, and education) but also about voter engagement. Just one problem, as with many nonprofits, their affiliate organizations shared the obvious uncertainty – what is the best and safest way to do nonpartisan voter engagement work? That question was precisely the one we looked to answer.
“We connected with Nonprofit VOTE because it was important to our affiliates to know, as a 501c3, what we can and cannot do in the voter engagement space,” says Ebony Baylor, Director of Civic Engagement. She went on to say that it helps the National Urban League’s mission of advocating for certain policies when the electorate is not only invigorated but informed on the issues.
As a result of the partnership with Nonprofit VOTE, the NUL produced a co-branded toolkit which shares a lot of the do’s and don’ts of nonprofits including the importance of staying nonpartisan and not endorsing candidates. “Our partnership with Nonprofit VOTE has been amazing, the toolkits answered a lot of those questions for our affiliates, so they can be specific about their voter engagement work,” says Baylor.
Nonprofit VOTE also provided trainings on the toolkit for their affiliate CEO’s as well as a webinar training. “In addition to the toolkits, being a Premier Partner for National Voter Registration Day was great, being able to send our affiliate organizations tangible assets like posters and stickers for the holiday was beyond helpful.”
For National Voter Registration Day, the NUL was able to get 52 of their community affiliates to sign on to register new voters and host events.
Looking forward, Baylor says that the NUL is looking to strengthen and extend their partnership with Nonprofit Vote as we head in to the 2019 and 2020 election cycles, as well as with the 2020 census.