Weekly Now: Pizza to the Polls’ 2020 Comeback

A clever election-oriented organization sees a coronavirus-era surge. Also: A pandemic celebrity wedding announcement that puts a focus on a nonprofit’s mission.

It may sound strange to hear that there’s a growing nonprofit out there that excels at giving people free pizza, but the secret comes down to when and where that pizza is handed out.

Hint: Its big moment is on Election Day.

Founded in 2016, Pizza to the Polls has been growing steadily since its start, with growing demand in 2018, but with the challenges of going to the polls in 2020, the nonprofit’s general concept is coming into its own this year.

This year, the organization has sent more than 33,000 pizzas to 1,290 polling places across 40 states, a more than tenfold increase from its 2016 totals just during the early voting period.

In New York City alone, per Grub Street, 900 pizzas get sent to polling places daily.

Part of the success is the result of partnerships, program director Amirah Noaman told Today.

“The lines have been so much longer,” she said. “We’ve sent thousands of pizzas so far, and in addition to on-demand pizza we also launched a food truck program in partnership with UberEats, so we now have food trucks in 29 cities that are giving out individually wrapped snacks to people around polling places.”

Other news highlights:

A campaign to highlight unity in healthcare. Given the type of November we’re facing, it makes sense that the American Diabetes Association is working a message of unity and equality into its campaign for American Diabetes Month this year. ADA is launching the We Stand Greater Than campaign, which aims to highlight—and solve—systemic issues in diabetes care. “Health inequity is obvious and widespread. It contributes to worse outcomes and higher risk for diabetes and many other diseases. And it undermines the wellbeing of most Americans,” ADA CEO Tracey D. Brown said in a news release. “This is why the ADA has taken on this fight.”

A nonprofit’s celebrity news scoop. When A-list movie star Scarlett Johansson and Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchor and head writer Colin Jost revealed they got married, they could have shared the news on their own personal social media profiles, or with a major magazine. But instead, they went with Meals on Wheels America, a group focused on senior nutrition programs whose value has only increased in recent months. “We’re thrilled to break the news that Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost were married over the weekend in an intimate ceremony with their immediate family and loved ones, following COVID-19 safety precautions as directed by the CDC,” the group’s Instagram page stated, complete with a photoshopped picture of the Staten Island Ferry and the caption “Jost Married”—along with a wedding wish that fans support Meals on Wheels’ mission.

Sell the Experience

Volunteer roles can sometimes be difficult to fill, but the problem may come down to how those roles are being marketed, MemberClicks’ Callie Walker writes.

She says that the strategy may be not to highlight the status that a board role or committee membership might offer, but to emphasize the experiences. “If applicants are lacking, try really selling your committees by honing in on some of the experiences volunteers will get to have, along with some of the benefits they’ll reap,” she writes.

She offers a few suggestions on marketing lines worth trying. Check them out at the MemberClicks blog.


The Fall 2020 issue of Associations Now is online, full of great insights on how to move forward after 2020 shook up meetings in a big way.

Speaking of fall, with the last quarter of the year upon us, how can associations make the most of their year-end fundraising campaigns? Rasheeda Childress has a few ideas.

And one more seasonal tip of the hat: Fall 2020 might be the perfect time for a little data hygiene. Wes Trochlil of Effective Database Management recently spoke to me about some of his best tips on data housekeeping.

(vanbeets/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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