Written by Rinal Ray, author of Hubert Project E-Study “Nonprofit Advocacy Advances Organizational Mission”
“We don’t want to be too political.”
“We’ll lose donors if we weigh in on policy.”
“Isn’t it against the law?”
“We can’t afford a lobbyist.”
These are all things nonprofits leaders say about nonprofit advocacy and lobbying. While there might be some concerns or misinformation out there as reasons to not engage in advocacy, there are many reasons to advocate. In a time of polarizing rhetoric, uncertainty in the political and policy environment, and marginalization of community voices — nonprofit advocacy matters!
When nonprofits carry out their mission through direct service, they address immediate community needs. Nonprofits have an opportunity to advance their missions through advocacy to effect long-term, systemic change. Nonprofits are experts in the work they do and many pressing policy issues. They have trust and strong relationships with communities that are often overlooked. Nonprofits can and should advocate!
When nonprofits advocate, communities change. Nonprofit advocacy efforts have led to greater investment in affordable housing, improvements in public health, resources for youth developments and early childhood education, a cleaner environment, stronger democracy, higher wages, employment protections and continued efforts to address systemic racial disparities.
Use this concise e-study to ground yourself and your organization in the fundamentals of advocacy, and hear from advocates and legislators on what makes for effective advocacy. Learn the benefits of incorporating advocacy into the work of your nonprofit organization and get the tools, process, and rules to do so successfully.
Rinal is Deputy Public Policy Director for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.