Is Your Nonprofit Prepared For The US Election?

The 2020 US presidential election could affect your nonprofit—no matter the outcome. Learn how you can prepare your organization for Nov. 3.


If you’re reading this, you are likely concerned about this year’s US presidential election. Will it be free, fair, respected, and safe? As a nonprofit leader, you’re also likely concerned about your organization’s response both internally and externally. You are not alone!

GlobalGiving recently held an all-staff scenario planning session to ensure we are prepared to act according to our mission to help nonprofits everywhere.

Here are six timely nonprofit election resources to guide your election preparation strategy, take care of your team, and support our shared democratic values:

    1. Plan for election scenarios.

    For the best researched guide to election scenario planning for nonprofits, we recommend M+R’s Hold The Line: A Guide to Defending Democracy for Nonprofits. We also learned a lot from listening to the report authors discuss election scenarios in this hour-long webinar. If you can handle more hypotheticals, dive into “What’s the worst that could happen?” from The Washington Post and this report from the Transition Integrity Project.

    2. Managers, get ready!

    As leaders in your organization, here are five things you can do to get election-ready, as well as suggestions from The Management Center on topics to bring up in your employee check-ins.

    3. Anticipate that election results could affect nonprofit donations.

    In 2016, this giving phenomenon was called the “Trump Bump” and brought 120,000 contributions worth more than $7.2 million to progressive causes the week after the election. If your organization is in the political arena, prepare your messaging and make sure your website can handle a potential uptick in traffic.

    4. Know what’s in bounds.

    Here’s a checklist detailing what 501(c)(3) public charities can and can’t do as it relates to elections. It also never hurts to brush up on your legal understanding of the difference between advocacy and lobbying.

    5. See how measures others are taking could affect your organization.

    Facebook is preparing for Election Day, and M+R breaks down what the social media platform’s new ad policies mean for you. Getting your ads into Facebook Ads Manager before Election Day could help prevent issues.

    6. Continue to learn more.

    There’s still time to research and learn from nonprofit election resources like this webinar from ComNetworkDC that covers how young Americans are engaging with causes during the election period and offers practical advice for crafting messages that will resonate with them. Although the outcomes of the election are uncertain, planning and preparation will help you respond in the moment and continue your organization’s important work long after Nov. 3.

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    Featured Photo: Dropping mail-in Ballot into mailbox by Cindy Shebley via Flickr
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