Election Day is right around the corner and that means that deadlines for voter registration are even closer! Nonprofit organizations can play a crucial role in registration (and other GOTV activities) for their staff, members, activists, and other stakeholders who look to you for trusted information.
I’ve gathered the top takeaways from the recent event “How to Turn Out YOUR Vote for Election 2012,” sponsored by Votenet, which featured speakers from organizations like Rock the Vote and Voto Latino. Here’s what you need to know to best drive voter registration within your organization:
- Registration directly correlates to voter turn out, so don’t underestimate the power of your efforts in making a difference on Election Day!
- One of the biggest challenges can be convincing your constituents of the value of voting and how their vote counts. The solution? Play to your organizations specific interests/issues when talking politics. And of course, there’s the big picture – “If your vote doesn’t matter, then why are candidates spending millions to try to win you over?”
- Make registration easy and convenient. This means embracing online registration tools and even social networking integration applications. Bring registration to where your base spends time!
- Treat voter registration like any other issue campaign that your organization takes on. Make it fun and interesting so that people will want to get involved and use all of the tools you’d use in other campaigns (ads, social networks, email, etc.).
- Yes, it’s voter registration, but you can’t get too political. If you tell people who to vote for or do blatant bashing, you run the risk of alienating people.
So what will be your next step in making sure your base is registered to vote?
Shana Glickfield is a partner at the Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm based in Washington, DC.