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  • Pat Libby

Getting people to vote is sexy

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Pretty much everyone I talk to feels enraged about what’s happening in America.

The rat-tat-tat of heartburn-inducing news that’s reported nearly every hour of every day on our beeping blinking cell phones is enough to drive anyone to book themselves into a monastery for a week-long silent retreat.

Yet rather than channel their frustration into action, many nonprofit leaders feel they’re already doing everything possible to make life better for people.

They don’t think that registering people to vote is core to their nonprofit’s mission.

Think again.

Almost half of all nonprofit revenue comes from the government (never mind all of those public policies that effect nonprofits and the people we serve)!

Nonprofits can empower Board members, staff, and the people our work impacts by showing them how they can make a difference by voting!

I've got to be honest with you: people don't vote.

Here are the facts:

Yup, I'm talking about the United States.

If we nonprofit people really mean it when we say that we’re committed to building a civil society, we’ve got to enable and inspire people to vote.

ANY charitable nonprofit in America can do the following, without it affecting its tax exempt status:

  • Have voter registration forms available in your office and wherever you provide services

  • Distribute maps that show people where the polls are located

  • Organize car pools or pick-ups to help people get to voting places

And the really awesome thing is:


If you don't believe me, click here to see the registration deadline for your state.

So, how do we inspire people to register and vote?

I just read this really cool article in the Fall 2018 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review called “The Science of What Makes People Care,” that gave me some insights.

Try this: Feeling down about what’s happening in America (or, alternatively, feeling charged about the way things are going)? Show your feelings by VOTING for people who share your views!

Be an important part of making change happen!

Want to feel doubly good? Convince friends to go with you to the polls. The more change the merrier.

And remember: Voting day this year is on Tuesday, November 6th.

Maybe even: voting and registering people to vote is really sexy.

(I’m not sure about that last one but I’ll do anything I can to get people to register and vote).

The truth is, we can't change the world by ourselves.

So please, take some time to create a plan for how your nonprofit can help REGISTER and ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO VOTE.

Links referenced:


Pat Libby is a management consultant to nonprofits and philanthropies. She has served as an academic, senior executive, board member, and consultant to innumerable nonprofit organizations and foundations for more than three decades.

Get in touch with questions or to get more information!


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