What compels someone to vote for a specific candidate? Why do they vote for some measures but against others? Ask any professional pollster and they’ll tell you that even when all the demographic data lines up, there are still ghosts in the machine — blind turns they can’t see coming.
But there is one question when it comes to voting that no longer needs to be pondered — “Can nonprofits actually increase voting?”
The answer is a resounding “YES” and we have the data to back it up!
In our evaluation of the Track the Vote program, we concluded two major takeaways:
- Those contacted by nonprofits were younger, more diverse and of a lower income than all registered voters in the study’s geographic target (7 states).
- When nonprofits did nonpartisan voter enagement in their communities, the result is shocking — those contacted by nonprofits are 6 percentage point MORE likely to vote than those NOT contacted by nonprofits.
These findings were also found in the latest version of our Engaging New Voters report which focused on voters under 30 but still found that “nonprofit voters” were 5-7 percentage point MORE likely to vote than their peers. Most encouraging was the finding that for those young people that filled out “Pledge to Vote” cards, that figure climbed to 14 percentage points!
So now that there is no longer any doubt about the efficacy of nonprofits increasing the likelihood of voting, what are you and your organization prepared to do? Maybe you have all the excitement but none of the plans. Not a problem.
We have a TON of resources for you, but our recommendation is to start right here with this Voter Engagement Checklist.
The checklist covers the fundamental questions you should be asking — “what are the rules for 501c(3) organizations when it comes to nonpartisan voter engagement?” — as well as essential things you probably haven’t thought about, like getting buy-in from leadership.
While there are many more to take, consider this your first step into the world of voter engagement for your organization but be aware, even though the midterms JUST ended, next year’s elections are closer than you think, so get planning!