CalNonprofits Articles

Lately, we're hearing a lot of anxiety about the upcoming election. Across the political spectrum, people have strong feelings about this election and strong opinions about what they want to see happen. Some have a sense of impending triumph, but for many, there may be a sense of foreboding or angst as Election Day – one week from today – approaches. 

What should nonprofits consider as next week's election approaches?

Keep in mind that the election will likely not be decided on election night.

  • The election outcome could be delayed or held up for weeks. If so, the post-election period will be troubling; and our staff, volunteers, and community members are already experiencing many kinds of stress.
  • Many of us nonprofits work with vulnerable populations, and people are worried about election-night and post-election violence (as there was the last presidential election). In particular, we know that immigrants, Black people, and other people of color, people in certain religious groups, and women are more likely to be fearful.
  • Nonprofits believe in a strong democracy. We nonprofits owe our existence to democracy, and democratic ideals are behind much of our work.

What are some things we can do?

  • Acknowledge the anxiety and fears within your organization and perhaps in your communities. Acknowledge that the election is likely to have a significant impact on your communities and on your organization – this isn't just individual stress.
  • If appropriate, help members of your community think through how to stay safe. At the same time, try not to inflame fears.
  • Remember that it's fully legal for nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations to take positions on policy issues and ballot propositions, and to encourage their folks to participate in the democratic process.
  • Your organization can write a letter to any branch of the state or federal government urging them to take a particular action. If you are concerned about post-election happenings, you can let your local elected officials know. You can publicize a demonstration and encourage people to go to it; you can also explain risks or discourage people from attending a demonstration.
  • Remind everyone now that it's not too late to vote. And that despite some publicized problems, California has a stronger-than-most voting system.

Elections are a vital component of democracy and our way of life.Nonprofit bear

The peaceful transition of power in a democracy is an indicator of a nation's strength, and efforts to undermine elections hurt all of us.

Finally, keep in mind that regardless of the election's outcome, the nonprofit community will prevail. We will never stop doing everything we can to help people and to heal the planet. We will never stop standing up against injustice. We will never stop lifting up spirits. We will always be the place where new solutions arise and are tested. We are democracy come to life, and we will prevail.

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