Yes, You Can—and Should! Nonprofit Advocacy as a Core Competency

In a popular online nonprofit forum, a nonprofit leader recently asked about whether or not it was appropriate or possible for their organization to directly speak out about important issues of the day. Stating apprehension that the organization would be considered “too political,” this leader struggled with balancing a call to action with concern for […] Read more

Three Shifts Toward Changing Philanthropy’s Advocacy Narrative

Robert E. Ross, President of the California Endowment pointed out recently that, “philanthropy often vigorously works to protect its brand and doesn’t spend it enough.” Part of that insufficient brand spending includes advocacy. Advocacy is the single most effective strategy to achieve social impact. Without advocacy, achieving real social transformation is not possible. It provides […] Read more

For Nonprofit Organizations, Advocacy, Lobbying and Voter Registration Should Be the Norm—Not the Exception

In their efforts to uncover more deeply rooted causes of problems facing our community, nonprofits sometimes learn that there are existing laws, regulations or public and corporate policies that hurt the people they serve. Nonprofits can then take action through advocacy and lobbying to change or eliminate such laws, regulations and policies. And the law […] Read more

3 Steps to Move Your Board From Discussing to Leading with Advocacy

It’s the beginning of a new year, the perfect time for revisiting your board’s commitment to advocacy. If you’re a nonprofit in Illinois or Pennsylvania and your state still has not passed a budget for 2015 this commitment is even more imperative. Read the full post here… Read more

Investing in Policy and Advocacy: A Foundation Shares Lessons Learned

Working on advocacy and policy is challenging. Not only is it complex, fluid, and increasingly politicized, it is also challenging to measure progress and communicate success. Read the full post here… Read more

Nonprofits Move Toward Clarity And Collaboration

The historic, ongoing, struggle for annual operating dollars coupled, with an uncertain political and economic climate have resulted in a number of question marks within the nonprofit sector. While there may not be one clear answer, there are trends taking shape among not-for-profit organizations seeking to remain financially viable. As questions remain, industry experts are […] Read more

Coaching Board Members for Advocacy Pays Big Dividends

A study released last year showed that only one-third of nonprofit board members engage in basic advocacy: working with the charity’s leaders to educate policy makers about the organization’s mission and services. That’s a big problem, experts say. Board members often have connections that make them more likely to come into contact with elected officials […] Read more

Turn Your Nonprofit’s Trustees Into Master Advocates

Last week at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Symposium hosted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, participants talked about the urgent need in today’s political climate for nonprofit leaders to educate lawmakers about their work. During one panel discussion, Campion Advocacy Fund co-founder Sonya Campion described a new effort to encourage nonprofit board members to […] Read more

Are You Ready to Advocate?

On March 7, Independent Sector hosted a digital learning event about positioning your organization for advocacy success. Allison Grayson, director of policy development and analysis, moderated a discussion between Anne Wallestad, president and CEO of BoardSource, and Gary Bass, executive director of Bauman Foundation. In a 2016 poll, 78 percent of voters said they want […] Read more

Advocacy: An essential board responsibility

Advocacy is an essential board responsibility. That’s the new message being espoused by BoardSource in connection with the release of the third edition of Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards. I’ve long asserted that board members should consider whether advocacy (and in some cases lobbying) would be an effective strategy and if so, whether they have a fiduciary duty to lead the […] Read more