Nonprofit Advocacy as a Core Competency

Yes You Can - And Should.

Many nonprofit organizations have, at their core, a mission to enact social change—whether that’s ending homelessness, supporting access to healthcare or other services, or serving vulnerable populations. Yet, it’s obvious to many of us in the nonprofit sector that the communities we serve are feeling the direct impact of the current political climate.

The debates on hot-button topics like race, religion, immigration, healthcare, and the environment, to name a few, are leaving nonprofit clients and other stakeholder groups feeling scared, persecuted, further marginalized or afraid to seek out the very services nonprofits are offering.

In addition, funding for important programs hang in the balance, grant programs are being eliminated or redefined, and much needed legislation and appropriations are being held hostage by both state legislatures and the US Congress. The President and Congress have also suggested policies that may directly impact the ability of the nonprofit sector to fundraise, including proposed changes in the tax code that would eliminate the charitable deduction for more donors.

If any single sector is going to help respond to these critical debates and bring people together, it will be the nonprofit sector.

Long recognized as “mediating structures” that help to connect the public with institutions, nonprofit organizations represent the perspectives of people in front of decision-makers. Nonprofits have a fundamentally American role in helping to organize and educate the population for civic action and engagement, and indeed, to teach individuals the very basic skills of democracy itself.

Read Nonprofit Quarterly's quick primer on deciding what advocacy actions are right for your organization.

Summarized from an article written by Dyana P. Mason for Nonprofit Quarterly on November 17, 2017.


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