Election Toolkit

Election season presents an important opportunity to put afterschool on the radar of policy makers and the public in a visible and meaningful way. During election season, voters' concerns are brought to the forefront of the public debate.

Welcome to the afterschool election toolkit

Election season presents an important opportunity to put afterschool on the radar of policy makers and the public in a visible and meaningful way.

The resources in this toolkit will help you spark conversations about afterschool with candidates for office in your local community or state. Included are talking points, sample materials, and information on how your non-profit organization can participate in the electoral process.

Remote Advocacy during COVID

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for afterschool during this year’s election season will look a little different. Below are some ideas for how you can still engage candidates while keeping a safe social distance.

  • Organize a letter or email campaign – Encourage parents, youth, program staff, and other key stakeholders to write letters or send emails to elected officials.
  • Post on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Host a virtual site visit – Is your program still offering in-person opportunities? Take candidates on a virtual tour of your program to show how afterschool is responding to the pandemic. If you are providing virtual learning opportunities, consider inviting candidates to join a class.
  • Host a virtual Lights On Afterschool event – The lights are still on this year! Be sure to host a virtual Lights On Afterschool event on October 22, and invite candidates to join in the celebration!
  • Participate in a virtual town hall – Many candidates are moving from hosting in-person events to holding virtual town halls. Reach out to your local campaigns to see if they are holding any virtual events. You could also bring together a coalition of afterschool programs from your community to host your own virtual town hall or candidate forum. Just be sure to invite all candidates running for office.
  • Candidate questionnaire – Ask candidates to complete a candidate questionnaire.
  • Virtual voter registration drive – Get out the vote by hosting a digital voter registration drive! Rock the Vote has a great resource on how to host a digital or socially distance voter registration drive in your community.
Before you begin

Not sure where to start? Your first step should be to read through the Election Guidelines for 501 (c)(3) Organizations on the rules regarding lobbying and advocacy. Then think through your goals, your time, and your abilities. See below for ideas to get you started.

Then try...
  • Send letters/postcards to your elected officials.
  • Post on Facebook or Twitter.

Engage with candidates and the field

Face-to-face advocacy, voting, and analyzing candidate platforms are essential activities for citizens of a healthy democracy. And responsible participation doesn't end after inauguration day. Here's how to make sure afterschool stays on the docket—and in public policy.

Communicating for your campaign

A helpful way to think about your election outreach is to look at three major mediums: traditional media, social media, and community connections. These are our top strategies to reach these audiences.

Making the case for afterschool

We want candidates to know that supporting afterschool is important to voters. Afterschool keeps kids safe, inspires them to learn and helps America's working families. These three key points resonate with voters of every kind.

Of course, there's lots more to say about the needs of specific programs and communities. Use these messaging guides to develop talking points that work for your unique campaign!