Democracy and Civic Engagement

We're champions of civic engagement and democracy. Through education, voter empowerment, and community involvement, we strive to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote counts.

Democracy and civic engagement panel at NWF annual meeting

What does civic engagement look like?

  • Non-partisan voter registration & "GOTV" (Get Out The Vote)
  • Public Education to Combat Disinformation
  • Poll Working
  • Advocacy to promote fair and equal access to the ballot
  • Engaging people in the work of our democracy at all levels

“Our Work for Wildlife Depends on a Healthy Democracy”

Why is this work important for conservation?

Legislators make decisions every day that can help (or harm) the places where wildlife and people live. As a voter, you have the power to help choose those legislators and they are well aware of the power you wield as a voter.

Apart from legislators, decision-makers in the executive branch, such as the president and governors, also hold significant sway in shaping policies affecting wildlife and communities. These leaders and their appointees impact environmental protections and public health regulations. By participating as a voter, you impact their selection and, consequently, the direction of these issues. From the presidential race to local elections, your vote can decide who is in or out. The National Wildlife Federation supports civic participation and fair elections to ensure your voice influences matters like wildlife conservation, environmental policies, and public health safeguards. Our ability to bring people together to advocate for wildlife depends on a healthy and functioning representative democracy.

NWF’s Civic Engagement Work

  • GOTV and Voter Education Campaigns
  • Voting Rights Advocacy
  • Anti-Corruption / Anti-Disinformation
  • Rapid Response to threats to democracy
  • Hosting Debates (including partnering on the first ever Environmental Justice Presidential debate in 2019)
  • In essence, all of our advocacy work that engages the public is civic engagement (comments, hearings, petitions, grassroots lobbying).

Risks to Democracy (an incomplete list)

Spread of disinformation to targeted voters

Organized plans that threaten to disrupt the integrity of polling places and challenge voters

Increased threats against poll workers

Strategies to delay or disrupt the counting of ballots

Strategies to prematurely declare victory before all ballots are counted

Strategies to deny the certification of results

General undermining of the faith in our democracy and voter depression

Continued issues of gerrymandering in drawing districts and the influence of money in politics

Take Action

At NWF we are dedicated to taking a collaborative approach to civic engagement and following the lead of pro-democracy organizations, coalitions and allies in this space, monitoring laws and court decisions, and continuing to expand upon our democracy and civic engagement work.

Vote

A healthy democracy depends on the engagement of its citizens. Each ballot cast in an election can have a lasting impact on wildlife, the environment and our communities.

Take Action Online

A sister organization of the National Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization working to raise the visibility of key conservation issues with voters and elected officials.

Engage Directly with Your Representatives

Your voice matters, and speaking directly to your Members of Congress and local representatives is impactful. Here's how:

  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to voice your support for the priorities and causes important to you.
  • Arrange a meeting with your congressperson's staff at a district office nearby or here in Washington, DC, if you plan to visit.
  • Participate in municipal and county meetings.

Stay Connected with Us

  • Our reach extends across the nation through various offices, including our Virginia headquarters, National Advocacy Center in Washington, DC, and regional centers in California, Montana, Colorado, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Maryland, and Vermont. We collaborate closely with our 52 state and territory affiliate partners to drive conservation efforts
  • Stay informed and engaged by signing up for our updates below.

Voting Toolkit

Your vote makes a difference. Find out who's on your ballot, check your voter registration status, register to vote, and more.

View Toolkit