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Why OC Votes

What would Orange County look like if everyone voted?

It is an important election year for the country, locally, regionally, and nationally. As part of our commitment to strengthening our communities, Charitable Ventures (“CV”) and Orange County Grantmakers (“OCG”) are reigniting the OC VotesGet Out the Vote Campaign for the duration of the year.

Launched initially during the 2020 Election and after the 2020 Census, OC Votes is a campaign developed to engage nonprofits and philanthropy – trusted, nonpartisan organizations focused on critical community issues – to strengthen Democracy through civic engagement.

We have amazing champions in this space. Nonprofits and funders on the front line of civic engagement, GOTV activities, and citizenship. However, because of the important guidelines restricting nonprofits and foundations from engaging in political lobbying, many of nonprofits and foundations tend to shy away from anything political…”just to be safe.”

We are here with an important message – it is both SAFE and LEGAL for nonprofits to encourage voting and to participate in elections if they honor the clear guidelines provided by the IRS.

We believe civic engagement and community building is the heart of the nonprofit industry, a critical strategy to meet community needs and help solve problems.  We also believe that no one knows better about what the community needs…than our community itself.

Who then, would be better than nonprofits in reaching community members with trusted information about how to exercise this important civil right in our society?

In this spirit, and in solidarity with citizens and residents across the country, we are inviting our colleagues to get energized and involved in the 2024 election.

Our campaign launched yesterday with a symposium for nonprofit election engagement, with expert speakers talking about advocacy, civic engagement, the role of the media, and Orange County’s own voting infrastructure.  We continuously share free resources and voting guides for distribution. We are highlighting the voices and good work of our regional civic engagement partners. We will be connecting communities to translated materials, toolkits, national organizations, and culturally relevant messaging and best practices.  In the months before the election, we will are focused on offering free sessions and webinars on election law, how to recognize AI generated disinformation, GOTV strategies, and how to reach the hardest to reach communities to increase voter engagement.

We encourage everyone to use the information that is useful to mobilize the communities you serve and work with…and please remember to encourage your own staff to exercise their voting rights!

Whether you are a c3 nonprofit, a c4 nonprofit, or a community initiative just getting out the vote – we can all do our part to support democracy.

For more information, please visit here.