Local Elections 2022 – how can small and local charities get involved?

Rachel Cain, Public Affairs and National Programmes Officer at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, details ways in which small charities can get involved in the local elections this year. 

Why small and local charities should get involved

There are council elections taking place across England and Wales on Thursday 5 May – and now is the time to make sure your charity gets involved.

A local election can be a great opportunity to get your voices heard and shape decision making in your area. But what role can you play as a small and local charity?

Firstly, you can play an important role in ensuring the people in your community get their voices heard – by voting, and by sharing their experiences and ideas with decision-makers. Voting is a way to exercise power and agency in your local area. Many of the people you work with may feel that they don’t always have the power and agency in their own life or community, so it’s a really good opportunity to stand up and be heard.

In order to vote in the May local elections, you must register to vote by Thursday 14 April. Some people in your community might face barriers in registering to vote – whether due to their learning disability, or because they are homeless or staying in a refuge, for example. Our guide has all the information you need about the simple steps to overcome these barriers, and the role your charity can play in helping people to do this. You could even look at how you can incorporate registering to vote into your regular activities in the next few weeks – for example, as part of a drop-in session or social group.

The second reason that local elections matter for small charities is that it’s a valuable opportunity to engage with local decision makers. Building relationships with local councillors can be useful for a whole host of reasons. Councillors can champion your issues by asking questions or raising concerns in the local authority, they can help to build your profile or media attention, or they can do casework to provide support and advocacy for the people you work with.

Engaging with your local councillors 

Of course, you can engage with councillors at any time – but elections is when they are most likely to say yes. As a small charity providing frontline support, you have valuable insights to share with local councillors about what’s happening in their and your community.

 

Your staff, volunteers and the people who your charity supports are all key stakeholders for a councillor to engage with, and crucially, you are voters too. Think about:

  • what you want to achieve locally
  • how a councillor can help, so that you can go to them with a specific, realistic and clearly defined ask – whether that’s a commitment to attend your AGM, a meeting with your mayor or a commitment to keep in touch regularly.

 

And it doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, you can make it fun and memorable, inviting them to an event or to one of your regular activities that shows your charity at its best. Or just take the opportunity to chat informally to candidates about the important role you play as a charity, the services you provide and the key issues that you think the council and any incoming councillors if and once elected should focus on.

it’s important that your charity and its representatives remain impartial and must be careful not to endorse any particular candidate or party – our guide and video have more advice on how to deal with this.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our guide and video for further information about how you can get involved. And let us know what you get up to – we’d love to hear how you’ve engaged in local elections this year and what impact it’s had.

Watch how small charities can get involved with local elections

At this session we shared how your small and local charity can get involved with the local elections in May 2022.

 

As charities providing frontline support, they have valuable insight into the issues that matter locally, and elections can be a good time to share this with local representatives to ensure they champion your interests.

 

It's also important that the people in your community have the opportunity to register to vote and make their voice heard on election day, and your charity can play a role in supporting this.

Support to help you influence as a small charity

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