Event Recap: Philanthropy as Catalyst for Voter Engagement at 2024 Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Conference

The Nonprofit VOTE team was excited to be in Los Angeles in May to share our Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Toolkit with philanthropic leaders at the 2024 Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) national conference

We hosted a session titled “Philanthropy as Catalyst for Voter Engagement” which brought together between 40-50 participants from a range of philanthropic organizations across the country.

Nonprofit VOTE Executive Director Brian Miller shared insights and best practices from the Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Toolkit, and then participants shared their examples and questions from the presentation content in an interactive gallery wall. Their insights informed the panel discussion that Brian led with three featured panelists – Antwone Roberts of the California Community Foundation; Rebecca Hamburg of California Donor Table; and Darryl Molina Sarmiento from Communities for a Better Environment.

Here are a handful of our favorite insights the panelists shared:

“Knowing the legal rules is certainly important, working with your attorneys to make sure you’re doing that and then working with your boards to make sure that they understand how it is aligning with your mission and strategy. Because if you’re not funding that kind of work [voter engagement], then you’re leaving something on the table to help solve those problems that you say you’re there to solve.” – Rebecca Hamburg

“The thing that I would emphasize is know your secret sauce…what makes your organization special, understand the role that your specific type of philanthropic institution can play, and then understand how you can leverage partnerships to fill in the gaps. So if you’re a private foundation or if your family foundation, understand how you can work with community foundations to do more advocacy work or to do more GOTV (get out the vote) work, understand how you can find the right non-profit partners to bring in.” – Antwone Roberts

“We, as community-based organizations organizing on the ground, have a certain amount of reach, but we have to integrate the voter engagement strategy to ensure that the community-led solutions are really rooted in the principles of deep democracy, which ensures that these solutions are coming from those that are being impacted on the ground, on a day-to-day basis.” – Darryl Molina Sarmiento