Nonprofit Role in Advocacy.

This week marks Election Day around the country — from school boards and township trustees to mayors and governors. Each election cycle has a big impact on policy and funding as elected officials enact their priorities.

The positions that elected officials take are important to understand from a citizenship standpoint, but also for effective nonprofit board governance. Nonprofit leaders, including boards and chief executives, are often hesitant, though, to engage in advocacy because of a perception that it’s not allowed under IRS charitable status rules.

Advocacy is not lobbying. Advocacy is not only permitted, but encouraged from sector leader BoardSource.

BoardSource has a national initiative called “Stand for Your Mission,” which is a guide for boards and chief executives to follow that teaches how advocacy works and why it matters.

“Decisions are happening around us that affect our ability to achieve our missions.”

The report shares, “When we are at the table, we can ensure that our priorities are heard, that our communities are represented, that good ideas are funded, and that failing policies are questioned. We can help set the stage for real and lasting success for the people and issues we serve. The fact is, our respective missions will never be fulfilled if we are relegated to accepting the decisions that are made without us.”

With 20 million board members serving 1.5 million nonprofits nationally, surely the sector has the numbers needed to mobilize for policies and funding that advance our collective missions.

The “Stand for Your Mission” report outlines five steps to get started and role-based action plans for nonprofit chief executives, board members, or funders.

Will you take the challenge to stand for your mission by increasing the level of engagement your organization has with elected officials and policymakers?

Start small by adding this topic to your next board agenda — because election cycles matter.

Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO

2019-11-07T17:25:31+00:00