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  • Pat Libby

What does disco music and the November elections have in common?

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows I love disco. Most mornings you can find me bopping through the neighborhood with my dog, Miles, while we boogie oogie oogie ‘till we just can’t boogie no more (to be fair, he’d rather sniff than dance).

I love disco because it’s all about the beat. The lyrics are mostly about dancing (and sex), and it’s fun, mindless, and distracting. When I’m dancing with Miles, my mind isn’t thinking about the November election which otherwise occupies many of my brain cells.

Specifically, I’m thinking about how I can teach, cajole, and provide easy-to-understand resources that everyday citizens and nonprofit leaders can use to influence elections and public policies.

Fortunately, I’m not the only person obsessed with these thoughts which makes my job a bit easier (assuming, that people in the blogosphere are paying attention).

What I find is that people want to do something but don’t know how to take the first step.

Here are some EASY things YOU CAN DO to get involved both locally and nationally:

1. Organize a “help people find and get to the polls” postcard writing party as part of The Reclaim our Vote Project!

The Reclaim our Vote Project comes from The Center for Common Ground, a non-partisan organization that promotes voter engagement across the country and in particular, in communities that have low voter participation. By organizing a postcard party, you can help disconnected voters understand where to vote, when to vote, and provide them with info about how to get a ride to the polls (among other things). It’s easy to do, fun to do in a group, and as an added bonus, you can have disco playing in the background while you’re writing!

2. Educate yourself by attending a FREE or low-cost ONLINE workshop

Bethany Snyder, a brilliant and engaging activist/consultant/advocacy rock star, is holding a virtual workshop on August 30th entitled Beyond the Ballot: How your Organization can Win this November" which will walk you through the steps of creating a non-partisan voter guide.

Bethany is also hosting a FREE national ONLINE ADVOCACY CONFERENCE on November 17-18 to train nonprofit leaders about what they can do. It’s a spectacular line-up of who’s who in this sphere (including yours truly). You can find out more here.

3. If you don’t like disco, listen to FREE educational podcasts while you walk.

Tune into this Nonprofit Funding Exchange podcast for insights on how to overcome your fears. This one is especially good for nonprofit leaders serving communities whose voices haven’t been heard.

Or, listen to the Alliance for Justice, The Rules of the Game Podcast for tips on how to mobilize your nonprofit peeps to take action.

4. Educate yourself and leaders of your nonprofit with some of these other FREE RESOURCES.

If you’d rather read than listen, there are TONS of fantastic materials that will help your organization understand what you CAN do as a nonprofit!

Check out these FREE tools from the Bolder Advocacy Resource Library.

AND, these helpful resources from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Regardless of what kind of music gets you moving, you want to be doing a victory dance on election night. If you do a few of these things, you can make a difference on the outcome!



Pat Libby is a change management consultant working principally with nonprofit corporations. She is author of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You, Oxford University Press, The Lobbying Strategy Handbook, second edition, Oxford University Press, and Cases in Nonprofit Management, SAGE. She has served as an academic, senior executive, board member, and consultant to innumerable nonprofit organizations and foundations for more than three decades.

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