9 Best Charities for Voting Rights in America (Complete 2021 List)

9 Best Charities for Voting Rights in America (Complete 2021 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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All American citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender, deserve the right to vote in free and fair elections. And although the Constitution grants Americans the equal right to vote, many people still encounter obstacles when attempting to do so. And with so many charities advocating for voting rights in the US, we had to ask: What are the best charities for voting rights in America?

The best charities for voting rights in America are the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. These charities increase voter participation by advocating for fair elections and defending equal voting rights.

Whether you want to campaign for voter rights in your community, encourage more people to vote, or volunteer in your local elections, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for voting rights in America are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Voting Rights in America Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen because of their impact on voting rights in America. They have outstanding transparency ratings, and work on local and federal levels to promote voting rights for all citizens. They also advocate for safe and equal access to the polls. 

These charities strive to increase voter participation by educating others on their right to vote. They carry out their work through advocacy programs, awareness-raising campaigns, and support services. They operate across the US and share the same goal of fighting for voter rights in America.

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Voting Rights in America

Below are our favorite charities for voting rights in America (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

American Civil Liberties Union: Defending American Citizens’ Right to Vote

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 by a group of civil rights activists including Helen Keller, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver, Jane Addams, Felix Frankfurter, and Arthur Garfield Hayes. The ACLU’s visionaries came together in an effort to defend the US Constitution and people’s civil liberties in a post-war era, which saw many people wrongfully arrested, deported, and detained without rights. Today, the organization continues to fight for Americans’ civil liberties, including the right to vote.

Their impact and transparency ratings: ACLU has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and has an impressive Accountability and Transparency score of 96 out of 100, also from Charity Navigator. The organization has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar – the highest rank possible. 

“To advocate for policies that make it easier for Americans to vote.”

American Civil Liberties Union

What they do: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends the voting rights of Americans through strategic litigation and public awareness campaigns. The organization advocates for equality by highlighting injustices that lead to voter suppression, and by challenging discriminatory legislation that hinders people from participating freely in elections. 

What they’ve achieved: In response to the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA), the ACLU created its Voting Rights Project, an advocacy initiative designed specifically for defending voting rights in America. Through the organization’s Voting Rights Project, it has filed more than 300 cases relating to citizens’ voting rights. For example, in 2020, the organization filed 37 legal actions in 20 US states demanding that voters from health-vulnerable and marginalized communities had better access to the polls.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the American Civil Liberties Union by donating directly through their website. You can also give over the phone, or sign up for a monthly membership to make regular donations. 

Brennan Center for Justice: Combatting Voter Suppression Through Public Policy Reforms

The Brennan Center for Justice was founded in 1995 by law clerks as a tribute to Justice William J. Brennan, a civil rights advocate and Supreme Court judge. The organization was established at New York University’s School of Law to serve as a research center for Brennan’s ideals which included civil liberties, public policies, and social justice. Since then, the Center has expanded to employ over 100 public policy advocates that defend civil rights, such as the right to vote.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Brennan Center for Justice has a 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 93 out of 100 – both from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2020, the Brennan Center for Justice spent approximately 73% of its income on its programs. Of those expenses, more than half was spent on its democracy-building and voting rights programs. 

To ensure that every eligible American can cast a ballot.

Brennan Center for Justice

What they do: The Brennan Center for Justice works to diminish inequalities that lead to voter suppression, especially in communities of color and amongst young people. The organization also develops voter reform policies, advocates voting rights restoration for convicted felons, and strives to improve voter equality for all people through groundbreaking research. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, the Brennan Center for Justice has delivered activism tool kits to all 50 US states on voter reforms and ways that states can encourage free and fair voter participation. For example, in 2020, the organization filed lawsuits in 3 US states (Michigan, Texas, and Pennsylvania) to challenge discriminatory laws that would suppress voters and lower participation. The Brennan Center for Justice has also implemented automatic voter registrations in 19 US states.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Brennan Center for Justice by donating directly through the organization’s website. You can also show your support by attending one of the Center’s virtual events.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: Advocates for the Voting Rights of Minorities 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1908 by Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling, and Dr. Henry Moscowitz, a group of journalists, liberals, and activists. They came together to discuss the violent race riots occurring in Springfield, Illinois, and created a call for civil rights and racial equality. This call was signed by over 60 people, including W.E.B. Du Bois, a famous civil rights activist. Since then, NAACP has implemented a number of initiatives to safeguard civil rights for people of color, including the right for minority voters to access the polls. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The organization maintains a 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. It currently holds a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, nearly 71% of the organization’s income was spent on its programming. 

“To make sure Black voters are engaged and encouraged to vote in every election.”

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

What they do: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mobilizes activists across the US to defend the rights of minorities, with an active presence in all 50 states. NAACP promotes voting rights and equality for all citizens through advocacy campaigns and grassroots movements. 

What they’ve achieved: With over 100 years of impact on civil rights in the US, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has amassed more than 2 million active members and advocates. In 2020, the organization used its expansive reach to make over 600,000 calls to potential voters, and sent out over 4.5 million pieces of mail to increase voter turnout. In the same year, the organization participated in more than 12 legal cases to defend the rights of Black voters.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the NAACP by donating via the organization’s website. You can also join your local NAACP group to volunteer, fight for civil rights, and take part in community activities.

Common Cause: Advancing Voting Rights Through Civic Engagement

Common Cause was founded in 1970 by John W, Gardner, a former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He recognized that many elected officials didn’t adequately represent the interests of their constituents, and established Common Cause to empower civic society.  The organization has since provided assistance in voting reforms across the country, and continues to advocate for fair democratic processes.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: Common Cause has a 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 96 out of 100 – both from Charity Navigator. It also has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2020, the organization spent nearly 83% of its annual income on its programs and services. 

To break down barriers to participation, ensure each of us has an equal voice and vote, and rebuild trust in our government.

Common Cause

What they do: Common Cause advocates for voter reforms that give more power to the public. The organization encourages more community involvement in election cycles so voters are able to choose officials that represent their interests. It also works to make elections more accessible by breaking down social barriers that hinder people from voting. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, Common Cause has expanded across 30 US states, and has 1.5 million active members and supporters. The organization is most notably known for its work in reforming the 26th Amendment, which legally changed the voting age from 21 to 18, giving more adults the right to vote. Common Cause has also influenced 17 states to adopt automatic voter registrations, including Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Common Cause by donating through their website. You can also take action by participating in some of the organization’s advocacy events. 

League of Women Voters: Promoting Voting Rights for Women

The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920, in Illinois, by a group of suffragists to advocate for women’s voting rights. The organization was established as a result of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, which legally gave women the right to vote. The founders used the opportunity to pave the way for new female voters and empower women to participate in democratic elections. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The League of Women Voters has an Accountability and Transparency rating of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. The organization also has a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

To protect the rights of eligible voters and expand access for those who’ve been left out of our democratic process.

League of Women Voters

What they do: The League of Women Voters promotes equal voting rights through advocacy programs and public policy reforms. The organization also encourages more women to take up roles in government and strives to increase voter participation amongst female voters. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, the League of Women Voters has won over 100 legal victories for voting rights. The organization has engaged more than 400,000 volunteers to help advocate for voting rights across the US. Due to its widespread influence, the organization has reached more than 10 million voters with its voting rights campaigns. For example, in 2018, it filed 4 lawsuits on behalf of suppressed voters. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the League of Women Voters by donating directly through their website. You can also take action by calling on your elected officials to support the Freedom to Vote Act. 

Ballotpedia: Providing Voters Unbiased Election Information

Ballotpedia was founded in 2007 by Leslie Graves, as a digital resource on government transparency laws. Graves was motivated by the government’s improper handling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, since many of hers went unanswered. The organization later merged with the Lucy Burns Institute (LBI), another political research charity, but continues to operate under the name Ballotpedia. Today, Ballotpedia is ranked as one of the top websites offering nonpartisan information on elections and voting rights.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Ballotpedia has an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. It also maintains a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar – the highest rank possible. 

To provide voters with information about their ballots.

Ballotpedia

What they do: Ballotpedia provides online tools and resources that allow voters to make informed decisions in their elections. The organization publishes accurate, unbiased, impartial information that’s readily accessible to millions of voters, especially in crucial periods leading up to elections.

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, Ballotpedia has reached over 25.3 million voters with its online resources and information. In election years, the organization has also assisted nearly 4 million people with its Sample Ballot Tool, which enables voters to receive customized information about their local and state elections. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Ballotpedia by donating through their website. You can also show your support by volunteering with the organization as a community researcher. 

FairVote: Giving Voters More Choices and Better Representation

FairVote was founded in 1992 by a group of civil rights activists that wanted to improve voter rights and representation in the US. With its headquarters based in Takoma Park, Maryland (though they were founded in Cincinnati, Ohio), the organization has contributed innovative voting reforms on Ranked Choice Voting, a voting system that has been adopted by states and cities across the country. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: FairVote has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator and a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, the organization spent nearly 86% of its income on its advocacy programs and campaigns. 

To research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American.

FairVote

What they do: FairVote advocates for voter reforms by encouraging the adoption of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a system that gives more choice and freedom to voters on their candidate selections. The organization also aims to empower voters through fairer election processes, so they feel more confident in their candidate selections.  

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, FairVote has influenced state-level voter reforms for elections in Alaska and Maine. The organization has also implemented voter reforms that increased voter turnout in 4 US states. For example, in 2019, FairVote assisted in implementing voter reforms in 11 cities across the country, which enabled voters to have more candidate choices when casting their ballots. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to FairVote by donating directly through the organization’s website. The organization also encourages volunteers to get involved by taking part in one-time actions, joining a local RCV group, or advocating for RCV to others. 

Spread the Vote: Giving All People Equal Opportunities to Vote

Spread the Vote was founded by Kat Calvin, a voting rights activist, in 2017. Calvin established the organization in Georgia to help voters suppressed by restrictive ID laws. Since then, the organization has spread across the country and provides voter registration and ID support services to voters of all backgrounds.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Spread the Vote has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, which showcases its commitment to voting rights across America. For example, in 2019, 100% of the organization’s income was spent on its voter support programs and services. 

We help members of our communities empower themselves to be heard at the polls: with IDs, registration, education, and turnout.

Spread the Vote

What they do: Spread the Vote helps obtain formal, government-issued IDs for people in marginalized communities, especially those in voter ID states. The organization also provides information and resources to make the voting process easier to navigate for first-time participants. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, Spread the Vote has expanded to more than 15 US states and has over 30 active chapters. The organization has approximately 600 trained volunteers working across the country, which has enabled them to reach over 5,000 people with their voter ID support services. Spread the Vote has also managed to help people obtain over 10,000 documents relating to their identification cards.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Spread the Vote by donating through the charity’s website. You can volunteer with the organization by helping out in states that have strict voter ID laws. You can also visit their online shop to purchase branded gear that shows your support.

Rock the Vote: Engaging Younger Voters Through Advocacy and Activism

Rock the Vote was founded by Jeff Ayer, a music producer, in 1990. He created the organization to increase voter participation amongst younger people. He used pop culture platforms, such as music and TV, to raise awareness on elections, and inform young eligible voters about their voting rights. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Rock the Vote has a Financial score of 89 out of a possible 100 from Charity Navigator. For example, in 2018, the organization spent 84% of its income on its voting rights programs. The organization also receives public support from a range of high-profile ambassadors, sponsors, and partners. Some of these include Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Lil’ Jon, and Will Smith.

To make democratic participation more accessible and defend young people’s right to vote.

Rock the Vote

What they do: Rock the Vote uses technology and social media to advocate for civic engagement among young voters. The organization offers voter registration tools, resources, and provides accessible voting information to young voters. It also holds democracy classes to educate youth on how to become activists for social change.

What they’ve achieved: Since its founding, Rock the Vote has used its influential reach to register more than 800,000 young voters across the US. The organization has helped another 499,934 voters check their voter registrations through an easy and free navigation tool. For example, in 2018, Rock the Vote encouraged more than 200,000 youth activists and volunteers in Florida to show support for an amendment involving voter rights. The organization also reached over 1,200 schools with its workshops on civic engagement.  

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to Rock the Vote by donating through the organization’s website. The charity welcomes volunteers to assist with its advocacy projects and community campaigns. You can also check out the organization’s online shop and purchase some branded fear to show your support. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for voting rights in America. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to voting rights in America – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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