By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
The Colorado Nonprofit Association wants you…to inspire voters! Trusted Voices: Nonprofits and Colorado’s Fiscal Future was the theme behind the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s September 27 meeting at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies. Attendees were not only given a brief, animated lesson on Colorado’s current debt crisis, but also a projection of the potential consequences should Colorado voters choose not to act. This is where the packed house of nonprofit representatives and supporters were called to action and asked to take a stance.
John Creighton, founder of public leadership consulting firm Conocer, argued that there are a number of Colorado voters who don’t want to talk about Colorado’s fiscal future because they feel current political conversations force them to stake out a point of view and defend it. Creighton and Director of the Colorado Participation Project, Lindsey Hodel, instead asked nonprofits to present themselves as trusted voices to Colorado citizens who want to learn more about the debit crisis and how to solve it. As Hodel said, every vote counts in upcoming elections (both locally and nationally), and nonprofits are in a position to draw more voters into the process by reaching out to clients, neighbors, staff, friends and everyone who has a personal connection to the organization. Speakers also gave suggestions for boosting voter turnout, such as going door to door to register voters or having paperwork to update voter registration available to staff and clients at events or meetings.
One of the specific items attendees were asked to draw attention to is Proposition 103, which would pose a tax increase to prevent drastic cuts to schools in the next few years. Helpful resources were presented for arguments for and against the issue, and everyone was encouraged to educate themselves and others on the issue. When entering into a discussion about tax increases or decreases, Creighton explained that a helpful approach is to ask the other person not about taxes, but about values they and the community hold true. Ask what public services we can and can’t live without while maintaining quality of life instead of focusing on the money. Taking this type of approach can help address the disparity between the 55%–67% of Coloradan’s who oppose tax increases and the 67%–80% who oppose any cuts to public services like roads and schools, according to a University of Denver study presented during the discussion.
Some audience members took the opportunity to share their values with the group when Hodel opened the floor for questions and comments. Several individuals expressed that although their nonprofit was not directly serving K–12 children, during tough economic times, nonprofits should support each other and consider a pro stance on Proposition 103.
However you decide to vote, the time is now to not only get yourself to the polls but to encourage others to embody the same passion you and your organization do.
For more information about this Colorado Nonprofit Association training and resources shared at the September 27 meeting, click here.