6 Tips for Nonprofit Advocacy

meeting-fullDid you know that in issuing regulations on lobbying, the Internal Revenue Service has stated that public charities “may lobby freely” so long as lobbying is within specified limits?

Last week, I had the pleasure of sharing that message at the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands (NAM) Annual Summit http://www.nonprofitam.org/

The Summit was a great event, with fantastic attendance and an excellent keynote speech from Robert Egger of D.C. Central Kitchen http://www.dccentralkitchen.org/

I also had the chance to talk with nonprofit professionals about opportunities in advocacy work.  Sometimes nonprofits underestimate the value of building relationships with decision makers, and overestimate the rules.  Here are my top five tips for advocacy work in the nonprofit field:

  1. Build relationships:  add your local, state, and federal delegations to your mailing lists, invite them to events, and share your successes!
  2. Educate:  share reports, press coverage, and new statistics with decision makers at all levels – keep them posted on what’s new in your field.
  3. Learn about the Rules: check out the Alliance for Justice for information about nonprofit lobbying guidelines www.allianceforjustice.org
  4. Sign Up: receive updates about legislation from The Nebraska Legislature Bill Tracker http://www.nebraska.gov/billtracker/ and/or The Center for People in Need www.centerforpeopleinneed.org
  5. Use a Win-Win Approach:  do you want a legislator to attend your event?  give them good press! Think about what activities and approaches are a “win” for all involved.
  6. Take a Look:  check out the presentation from the NAM Conference here!  (attached)

In the words of the Alliance for Justice  “Lobbying by nonprofits isn’t just legal – it’s important, powerful, and fundamental to democracy.” Nebraska Appleseed reminds you of your power to engage, persuade and build change for families and communities in Nebraska.

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