GUIDE: Voter Registration Campaigns for Nonprofits

October 2, 2018  |  Gabby Weiss

For nonprofits which engage in advocacy around civic engagement or political issues, voter registration drives are a great tool for activating your volunteer base, deepening relationships within your community, and increasing local democratic participation.

To maintain 501c3 status, nonprofits must carefully avoid any partisan activity, actions that endorse a candidate or party. This makes voter registration campaigns an ideal way to set foot into the world of civic engagement.

For full instructions on running voter registration and other types of civic engagement campaigns, download our nonprofit guide today!

The most common methods of conducting voter registration are:

1. Clipboarding

“Clipboarding,” or simply standing in a highly trafficked public place with voter registration materials is the most common method of doing voter registration. All you need are clipboards, voter registration forms, and of course, your volunteers! It’s always best to check the rules of any location that you plan to be in advance, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable clipboarding experience.

2. Tabling at community events

Tabling at community event such as street festivals and farmers’ markets is another common tactic. It takes slightly more advance planning to secure a table spot, but may give you access to areas that otherwise don’t allow clipboarding.

3. Door-to-door canvassing

Old fashioned door knocking can also be used to conduct voter registration. Canvassing also takes some advance planning, as you’ll need to print and divide maps for your volunteers so that they each know which section they are responsible for (preventing one door from being knocked on by multiple people in one night). This type of canvassing is a great way to meet voters where they are and get to know your community.

Before you get started, check with your local election board to make sure that you’re using the right voter registration form, and to familiarize yourself with your state or county’s laws and regulations related to conducting voter registration.

For more tips on navigating legal boundaries and planning a full campaign, download the complete guide!