GOTV Activities for Nonprofits
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GOTV stands for Get Out The Vote! GOTV is not a single activity but coordinated activities that encourage people to vote. Nonprofits that have a 501(c)3 tax status can be well positioned to help with GOTV activities, as long as they are nonpartisan ones and have no evidence of bias for a particular candidate or political party. When planning your GOTV activities, carefully follow the federal and state tax and campaign laws, or you will risk losing your organization’s tax exempt status and face other penalties.
Whether you work directly with early childhood educators, children, and/or families or serve primarily as a policy or research organization, here are some activities your 501(c)3 organization can conduct leading up to and on Election Day to encourage your members, employees, families, and community members to get registered, get involved, and vote for the candidate of their choice.
|GOTV Activities for Nonprofits||Before Election Day||On Election Day|
|Allow staff to engage in nonpartisan GOTV activities (like those on this list!).||✔||✔|
|Give staff time off to vote.||✔|
|Encourage staff to sign up as poll workers or translators on Election Day.||✔|
|Provide rides to the polls or promote organizations that provide rides.||✔|
|Hold a GOTV party or event that outlines these activities and how people can get involved.||✔|
|Determine which organizations are holding phone banks (where volunteers call registered voters and remind them to vote) and volunteer—or host your own phone bank.||✔||✔|
|Leverage your organization’s existing communication vehicles to remind people. via emails, newsletters, and social media. to vote.||✔||✔|
|Ask the local board of elections for a voter list for your community, and cross check it with your membership lists so you can understand who is not registered to vote.||✔|
|Leverage your organization’s existing meetings to remind people to vote.||✔|
|Create visibility about Election Day using posters in your offices.||✔||✔|
|Share telephone or website information for nonpartisan voter information, like “Where do I vote?” or “When do the polls open or close?”||✔||✔|
|Give out nonpartisan voter information (where, how, and when do I vote?).||✔||✔|
Election Day Activities
Maybe you’ve been communicating about an upcoming election for weeks (or months!)—but maybe not. Either way, here are some activities you can do ON Election Day to make sure people in your network exercise their right and responsibility to vote:
Leverage Communication Vehicles
Use your existing email, mail, and newsletter distribution lists to share a final reminder about Election Day with your members, volunteers, families, and staff and make a push for folks to get out and vote. Your message can be as simple as:
- Remember, today is Election Day! Do not forget to vote!
- Today is Election Day! If you have questions about your polling place or the hours for voting, call 1-866-Our-Vote (1-866-687-8683) or visit www.vote411.org for information.
- Your vote counts. Your vote matters. Support early childhood education, and vote today!
Encourage Staff to Help Out on Election Day
- Allow staff time off to vote
- Allow staff to spend part or all of Election Day doing nonpartisan get-out-the vote activities
- Encourage staff and volunteers to sign up as poll workers or translators
Provide Rides to the Polls
Helping people get to the polls is a great way to ensure that they vote. You can do this on your own or in conjunction with others. Here are some things to do to create a successful strategy:
- Before Election Day, tell people that you will be offering rides to the polls on Election Day, and let them know that sign-ups are required. (Note that there will probably still be last minute requests and changes, especially if the weather conditions are poor.)
- Determine whether your organization will lead the effort or work with others.
- Establish how many cars, vans, and people will be involved/available.
- Train volunteers to ensure they remain nonpartisan during their interaction with the voters they transport (such as not asking them whom they are going to vote for).
- Divide Election Day into two-hour blocks of time (or more, depending on capacity).
- Have one person act as “dispatcher” to organize drivers and the requests for transportation that come in from voters.
These tools are drawn from a larger Get Out The Vote guide prepared for NAEYC by Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC. You can search the larger guide here.