2018 Election Program

A Guide to Activities for Nonprofits

The stakes are high for community nonprofits this election season. Connecticut will have a new Governor, administration, state agency commissioners, constitutional officers and legislature. These state officials will have the ability to shape public policy for coming years.

Before new and re-elected candidates are sworn into office, it is essential to engage with them to highlight the important work that you do, the issues that impact you, and the people you serve.

Election related activities are part of larger continuum of civic engagement for many in the nonprofit community. Engaging voters and candidates this election season can further your mission, have a positive impact on your communities, build relationships with potential and current elected officials, and increase the general understanding of policy issues important to nonprofits.

See below for more information on how to plan for different events, engage candidates and voters, and comply with state and federal laws throughout the process. If you are interested in pursuing other types of activities, please share your plans with us so we can support your efforts!

Register People to Vote

The Alliance is excited to announce, in partnership with the Office of the Secretary of the State, the availability of a unique online voter registration link for nonprofits. By using this unique URL, we will be able to track how many people registered to vote through nonprofit voter engagement events and activities at the conclusion of the election.

To maximize awareness and consistency, please embed the official “Nonprofits – REGISTER to Vote Here” logo and button to your website homepage or in your email communications.We ask that you please join us in registering as many nonprofit supporters as possible to vote this election season! Below are step-by-step instructions for using the unique URL and adding it to your website and communications.

Here is a direct link to the Nonprofit Online Voter Registration page: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/department.do?nvraCode=OP

Nonprofits REGISTER to Vote Here

Copy and paste this code into your website or HTML Email Communication:

<a href="https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/department.do?nvraCode=OP" target="_blank"><img src="http://ctnonprofitalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/vote-button-300x100.png" alt="Nonprofits REGISTER to Vote Here" width="550" height="183" class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-6984" />
Voting is an essential activity all nonprofits should embrace by encouraging and educating staff, clients and other supporters. Voter registration efforts have a significant impact on voter participation, and as long as you remain nonpartisan, you can and should engage in this work. In a presidential election, nine out of ten newly registered voters will turn out to vote. Research by Nonprofit VOTE demonstrates that when nonprofits talk to and assist their clients with registering to vote, individuals are much more likely to vote and more likely to talk to their friends and family about voting. Check out more resources from Nonprofit VOTE here.

Registering to vote in Connecticut is usually as easy as a few clicks. You can encourage your staff to register online here and host a voter registration drive with a few laptops or tablets. To access resources and learn more about how to organize a voter registration drive, click here.

Upcoming Events

Check out these upcoming election-related events at nonprofits across Connecticut:

  • August 16, Journey Found will host a voter registration drive during their Annual Picnic, 12pm-3pm, 60 Hilliard Street, Manchester
  • September 18, BHcare Valley Social Club will host a Candidates Forum, 8:30am-10:00 a.m., 435 E. Main Street, Ansonia. Email Emily Granelli to RSVP.
  • September 19, BHcare Options Program will host a Candidates Forum, 8:30am-10:00 a.m., 13 Sycamore Way, Branford. Email Emily Granelli to RSVP.
  • September 21, Nonprofit Alliance of Northeast Connecticut (NANC) is hosting a bus tour, “Thread City – It’s All Connected,” from 8:30am-2:00pm and will invite candidates, media, local municipal leaders and funders in Windham.
  • September 25, Disabilities Network of Eastern Connecticut will host Disabilities Network Day in Norwich, details TBA.
  • October 2, The Alliance Annual Nonprofit Conference will feature a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum, from 9:15-10:45 a.m. at the CT Convention Center in Hartford. Click here to learn more.
  • October 11, CT Council on Developmental Disabilities, CT Cross-Disability Lifespan Alliance, CT State Independent Living Council, Disability Rights CT, Inc., and University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will host a candidate forum to hear from the CT congressional and key statewide candidates on disability issues and concerns from 3pm-8pm at the Red Lion Hotel, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell. Click here to register.
  • October 12, The Coalition on Housing + Homelessness will host a legislative candidate breakfast for Meriden-Wallingford region at the Meriden Library from 8-10am. Contact Ann Faust, Executive Director, Ann@GrowStrongCT.org.
  • October 19, The Coalition on Housing + Homelessness will host legislative candidate breakfast for Middlesex county region at the Cross Street AME Zion Church from 8-10am. Contact Ann Faust, Executive Director, Ann@GrowStrongCT.org.
  • September 25 is National Voter Registration Day and these nonprofits are hosting voter registration drives:

  • BHcare in Ansonia & Branford
  • Northeast Alliance of Nonprofits in Windham
  • CCARC in New Britain
  • Disabilities Network of Eastern CT in Norwich
  • Sarah, Inc. in Westbrook
  • Network, Inc. in Vernon
  • Mental Health Connecticut & Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury
  • Harc, Inc. in Hartford
  • Network Inc., in Manchester
  • Contact Your Candidates

    Educating candidates on issues important to nonprofits is the first step to affecting policy change. The Candidate Bulletins below highlight three policy priorities of The Alliance. We hope you find these bulletins useful in kicking off and navigating policy discussions. Please feel free to share these bulletins with your candidates!

  • Candidate Bulletin: Funding Nonprofit Community Services
  • Candidate Bulletin: Safeguarding Nonprofit Tax Exemptions
  • Candidate Bulletin: Community Services Save the State Money
  • Results of the 2018 Connecticut Primary
  • 2018 Candidates Contact Information Connecticut State Senate and House of RepresentativesMembers only – Email for your copy!
  • Schedule Candidate Tours

    An easy way to engage candidates firsthand is to invite them to your facility for a tour. Whether they are running for the first time or have served for years, it is important for them to experience the work that you do, meet your clients and staff, and hear how you fit into the fabric of your community and our state. Keep facility tours simple and short; limit them to an hour or two and make arrangements beforehand for candidates to meet at different times with your staff and individuals that you serve who are comfortable sharing their stories.

    Host a Candidate Forum

    Hosting a candidate forum is an excellent way for candidates to hear about the issues directly from their constituents. A “Town Hall” format allows your staff, the individuals you serve, and other community members to ask candidates questions about issues that are important to them. Depending on your focus, the forum can serve to increase awareness about your organization and the community that you support, or address critical policy issues and funding needs. For more information on planning a candidate forum and keeping the event nonpartisan, click here.

    Nonpartisan Rules to Follow

    Regardless how you engage with candidates, make sure you follow the simple rules outlined below. The Alliance staff is ready and excited to help you plan, organize and execute these events.

    The IRS allows 501(c)(3) organizations to engage in election work, but you must maintain strict nonpartisanship – do not explicitly or implicitly endorse a candidate, and provide each side with equal access and opportunity. By following a few easy steps, you can educate candidates and engage your constituents in the political process.

    Candidate Appearances: Educating current and potential elected officials about what you do is essential to your advocacy efforts. If you are planning to host candidates at your organization, follow these simple rules and guidelines:

  • You must invite each candidate for a particular office. They don’t all have to attend, but they all must be invited.
  • For both a candidate forum or site visit, we recommend hosting opposing candidates on different dates. This will ensure a productive conversation and may result in better attendance from each candidate.
  • You must give each candidate equal opportunity and provide a similar venue, time and presentation format for each event.
  • You may also invite elected officials who are candidates to appear in their official capacity. If you do so, make sure that the candidate is chosen to speak solely for reasons other than their candidacy. While you can’t control what they say, take steps to ensure that the atmosphere of the event is kept free of campaign activity.
  • Candidates are free to arrive uninvited to any public event you host. If that occurs, take care that there is no actual or implied endorsement.