Yes, you did just read the words “nonpartisan” and “election” in the same sentence. In the year 2018. Take it in.
Intermediaries are the gatekeepers of community knowledge, working with youth, families, educators, providers, foundations, and other stakeholders to address local needs, challenges, and desires. And election cycles are a valuable key to unlocking and disseminating this information. The upcoming 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential election provide excellent opportunities for intermediaries to build nonpartisan relationships with elected officials that last beyond the day ballots are cast.
Candidates on both sides of the aisle are seeking support and new ideas, and as a result, are looking to establish relationships and coalitions with organizations deeply embedded in their communities. So where do you come in? Be their resource! Help candidates adopt priorities and create policy solutions that meet the needs of your shared community.
Now how do you actually engage in nonpartisan advocacy during an election? Every Hour Counts has some pro tips listed below:
- Create a clear and concise advocacy platform, such as the Every Hour Counts Advocacy Platform, that serves as the linchpin for all of your advocacy efforts and can support candidates, policy makers, and the community in understanding the priorities of your expanded learning intermediary.
- Set your platform in motion! Below are just a few strategies and events that can help build relationships with candidates that last long after the election cycle. Check out Every Hour Counts’ Campaign Engagement Tip Sheet for the full list: Nonpartisan platform, one-page platform summary, voter guide, town hall, candidate debates, site visits, social media campaign, op-eds, Twitter town hall, and community education.
- Keep it nonpartisan. 501(c)3 organizations can risk losing their nonprofit status if they engage in partisan campaign activities! So, remember to engage with candidates and elected officials from all parties equally, sharing the same information and asking the same questions, and never endorsing any particular candidate or party. For more strategies check out our Campaign Engagement Tip Sheet.
- Follow up. Once the winning candidate takes office, the only way to ensure issues supported on the campaign trail become a reality is to follow up. Make sure your efforts to advance change are intentionally planned and sustained by engaging with candidates long after they’ve won office.