Building Out a Voter Engagement Grants Program

Voter engagement grants can take many forms, from smaller, supplemental grants to existing grantees to integrate voter engagement into the client and community outreach work they are already doing, to more robust voter engagement grant programs with open RFPs targeting groups already working  in the voter engagement space. Below are a sampling of such grant-making approaches. Consult the legal guidelines here in developing your program.

  • Jefferson Regional Foundation awarded mini grants awarded nonprofit organizations to conduct voter engagement work. A total of 13 organizations received $1,000 each to host voter registration events, canvass, transport residents to the polls, and to conduct outreach aimed at increasing voter turnout.
  • New Hampshire Charitable Foundation launched a voter outreach pilot program that provides grants to community-based organizations for the purpose of increasing local civic engagement and participation in nonpartisan voter outreach activities, with a special focus on BIPOC and other historically under-represented populations. In 2022, the foundation invited grassroot groups to apply and supported eleven groups – some with no prior history of doing voter outreach. One example from their pilot year was a community-based organization that primarily provides after school sports programming and family and caregiver supports. With foundation funding, the organization, a trusted and known entity in the community, was able to add nonpartisan voter outreach work into their existing programming.
  • The Ruth Mott Foundation launched a Civic Participation Fund, in partnership with United Way of Genesee County and Community Foundation of Greater Flint. The Ruth Mott Foundation has invested $30,000 through the fund to support civic engagement. The fund has supported 13 organizations and the foundation intends to invest again in the fund, which has a goal of growing and attracting contributions from outside of the local community to support voter education and voter participation in Flint.
  • The California Community Foundation launched the PIVOT Power Building Pooled Fund which aims to raise $10-15 million to be spent over the next three years (2023-2026) to support California’s key power building innovations and infrastructure. Specifically, the fund will focus on infrastructure for organizing, narrative communications, and independent revenue generation. CCF serves as a steering committee member and their former civic engagement program officer serves as the director of the fund.