What America’s Response to the 2016 Election Means for Our Industry

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You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that the 2016 election has been one of the most contentious in generations.

According a Washington Post/ABC News August poll, Clinton and Trump were found to be the two most unpopular presidential candidates in decades. Similarly, findings from a September Pew Research Center study revealed “widespread disenchantment toward this year’s presidential contest among American voters. Majorities of voters say they are frustrated (57%) and disgusted (55%) with the campaign, dwarfing those who say they are interested (31%), optimistic (15%) and excited (10%).”

Widespread Stress

The negative tone is actually starting to affect Americans’ well being. A recent American Psychological Association survey suggests more than half of Americans are feeling angst over the election due in large part to consuming daily news coverage full of arguments and negative stories, images and video on social media.

Widespread Hope

So, what does all this doom and gloom mean for organizations like yours? Long story short, Americans are disillusioned and craving hopeful messaging and positive impact. They want to see how kids’ lives are improving for the better. They want to know there are resources out there to help them and their loved ones. They want to feel good about themselves and their health.

That’s what organizations like yours and ours do — and have always existed to do.

Now, more than ever, you need to get your organization’s positive work and mission out there. Right now, in the thick of this heated election, you can be a voice of reason and hope.

It’s why we share blogposts like our recent charity challenge results.

How to Spread Hope

From now through the end of the year, you can increase engagement by:

  • Increasing positive messaging on social media
  • Sharing success stories
  • Offering diverse, accessible fitness offerings to encourage health  
  • Offering stress-management curriculum
  • Providing members with opportunities to give back to their community
  • Reaching out to members in your community with an invitation to join your good work

2 Positive Election Take-Aways to Inform Your Efforts

One good thing coming out of this political cycle is the wealth of information we’re gathering about the American people. Knowing the following two presenting issues can help us better serve our communities:

We have a changing American demographic

The U.S. electorate this year will be the country’s most racially and ethnically diverse ever. Nearly one-in-three eligible voters on Election Day (31%) will be Hispanic, black, Asian or another racial or ethnic minority, up from 29% in 2012. Much of this change is due to strong growth among Hispanic eligible voters, in particular U.S.-born youth.

To be a true community organization, we need offerings that engage diverse communities.

The economy is still the most important issue

  • Pew Research recently found that registered voters in the United States consider the economy the most important issue of the 2016 campaign. 84% of respondents reported that the economy is “very important” to their vote, slightly ahead of terrorism’s 80 percent.
  • Median household income, accounting for inflation, has dropped 7% since 2000, and the income gap widened between the wealthy and everyone else.
  • 74% of respondents in the June Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll said it was “harder” for most people to get ahead today than it was for previous generations

Finding ways to make our offerings affordable to the whole community will make our memberships and participation rates stronger.

Whatever your feelings are about the 2016 election, know that Americans are interested and following the changes our political system and its candidates are proposing. They are engaged around the dynamics and the issues, and it’s a good time for us to build and share a positive presence in our communities.

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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