We call ourselves the social sector, but I'm wondering how civic we really are. Have many of your organizations give you and your colleagues a few hours off to volunteer — as poll workers, for example?
It's vital that sharp, informed workers run the polls, so they can answer the full range of questions that arise, and deal with the occasional problem. In our community, all those folks are committed volunteers. In others, polls are run by party hacks or folks not so well informed on poll operations and voting laws.
The nonprofit sector has rallied for civic participation forever. It's one of the few calls for action common to most organizations, despite differences in issue focus, size or geographic location.
However, few nonprofits or grantmakers I know have a formal policy enabling employees to volunteer to improve the operation that lies at the base of our civic infrastructure. Does your organization?
Put your money where your mouth is, social sector. It's too late for tomorrow, but there are years of elections to come. And it's just this kind of active commitment that's the most effective communications strategy there is.
As Momma Schwartz used to say, "Actions speak louder than words."
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