20 Oct A note from our Board President | Time to Vote
Dear Impact Relations Community,
On Monday, October 12th, I arrived 30 minutes before the start of early voting in my home state of Georgia, ready to have my voice heard. I waited an hour and 45 minutes before arriving at the last station before the voting booth. A wonderful volunteer asked me, “I hope your wait hasn’t been too long.” Without missing a beat, I replied, “waiting an hour and half to vote today is nothing compared to the more than three and a half years I’ve spent waiting for this day.” By 10:00 am, my vote was cast.
I am writing this note to our community because, at our core, we are communications professionals who embody positive change and the potential to make a difference. We work tirelessly with our companies and with our clients to make an impact. Voting is not only our civic duty, it is an opportunity for each of us to promote change — no matter which candidate for President, state representative or local county official you support.
As we are just two weeks from the election in the United States, I feel it’s important to remind our community of the tangible actions we can (and should) be taking. Here are three practical actions I would encourage you to consider as we enter into these last crucial days prior to November 3rd:
1. Make Time to Vote – I encourage all of us within the Impact Relations community to adopt and promote Time to Vote (www.maketimetovote.org). Time to Vote is a non-partisan organization that encourages employers to provide paid time off for employees to vote on Election Day or during early voting. If you work for an agency, you have the potential to double your impact by both participating in Time to Vote, and recommending the program to your clients. For hourly waged employees, the decision to take a couple hours off to vote isn’t practical, as it represents lost wages or may not even be permitted by the employer. For those organizations with salaried employees, you also can make it easier for your employees to vote by committing to not hold important meetings on November 3rd.
2. Put Your Skills to Work – I have long believed communications professionals have unique skills that help to drive awareness, education and even change. Find a candidate that aligns with your values, beliefs and passions, and use your unique capabilities to help get that candidate elected. Promote voting in a capacity that makes sense for your organization on social media, and use your own social platforms as a place to eloquently promote your candidate to your own personal and professional networks. Another way to help: take a day or two to help your candidate persuade their constituents to commit to creating a voting plan. You could also use your skills to help with last-minute registration of voters. Whatever your passion, remember you have the ability to make a difference, so don’t sit on the sidelines.
3. Remind People We’re In This Together – Here in the U. S., the country’s divisiveness has become so intense that on many days it has a lot of citizens feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. This may be due in part to the social media echo chambers where much of the right and left get their news and information. Again, as communications professionals, we have a deeper understanding of the power of words and how various messages can bring either discontent or calm. You are all uniquely positioned to determine what kind of messaging makes sense for your clients, but where possible, advise them to use language in their get out the vote initiatives that encourages a sense of interconnectedness and investment in a shared future, rather than one that “sticks it” to the other side.
The Global Impact Relations Network is a community of more than 500 inspiring leaders, from brand managers, to CEOs, to agencies of communicators. We’d like to hear from you on what other activities you, your organization or your clients are doing to support this year’s election. What other activities should our community be leading? Please email us at SupportTheVote@impactrelations.org.
Brad MacAfee | President of the Board
Global Impact Relations Network