Ashleigh Milson


Charities Aid Foundation

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8 June 2017

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for, as the UK goes to the polls in the latest in a relentless cycle of elections. We’re urging everyone to go out to vote, and to encourage others to, including your peers, friends, families and even dogs to go to the polls (If you’ve not followed it yet, the #DogsAtPollingStations is a great way to keep entertained throughout polling day).

But why should you vote? Voting is a key part of civic engagement, which is the quintessence of charities, but there are also loads of other reasons to cast your ballot. We’ve put together some of the best here:

1. You’re in great company: CAF’s research has shown that people who vote are more likely to give to be involved in other forms of civic engagement such as volunteering for a charity. It is during election campaigns that the issues of the day come to the fore, and they are a real opportunity to put forward views on changes we want to see to our society. Taking part in this, and indeed voting, is a key part of a creating a caring community that wants to see change for the better.

2. Feel the people power: Voting makes a difference! Whether it’s ensuring that your chosen candidate doesn’t lose their deposit, or if you’re in a swing seat being one of a handful that can decide who enters Downing Street, every vote counts! Election day is about everyone coming together to make change happen. By choosing the candidate who most closely aligns with your views and priorities, you’re helping to make a difference. Even if you want to leave your ballot paper blank as a protest vote, voting should make us all feel powerful. Protesting is of course one of the best known tools for campaigners!

3. Who your next MP is will have a big impact on your local charities: MPs are key figures in promoting the work of local charities and ensuring their voice is heard in Parliament. An MP’s support for a local charity can give a boost to their cause, and MP’s with exposure to charities are more likely to be positive about the sector.

4. You’re choosing who you want to write to about local issues: Lots of charities ask supporters to write to their MP as a way of influencing the political debate. Political campaigning is at the heart of charities who want to ensure changes in the law, and who your MP is defining who your local advocate is. Having an MP who shares your concerns for causes can help amplify your voice.

5. Many people have campaigned for the right to vote: Lots of people have campaigned throughout history for the right to vote, so we shouldn’t take the opportunity for granted. Such campaigns demonstrate the importance of charity advocacy, who often campaign on behalf of the most vulnerable in society.

6. You’d like to adopt a rescue dog - In case none of the above reasons have persuaded you of the importance of voting - London based charity Every Dog Matters are running a fantastic campaign on polling day, monopolising on the #dogsatpollingstations by placing cardboard cut-outs of dogs waiting to be rehomed. Now that’s getting the most out of voting, bringing home a rescue dog. Find out more here  

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