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Nonprofit Advocacy

“Arguably, the most important public policies we have in the United States
have come from nonprofit organizations lobbying for their causes….
These achievements may be largely attributed to the strong leadership of
executive directors and board members who knew that direct service alone
would not change the flawed or missing public policies that
contributed to the problems their organizations were trying to alleviate.”

--David F. Arons, in Nonprofit Governance and Management

At its core, this portion of our website is about democracy. When nonprofits engage in advocacy and lobbying activities, they can advance their individual missions. They can also fulfill their collective mission of being sanctuaries where Americans gather to serve as champions of the public’s interests.

The Power of Nonprofits: A Proud Tradition of Serving Americans

Advocacy is deeply-rooted in nonprofits’ DNA. From before the time our nation was formed through today, citizens have assembled in groups to influence public policy. This section of our website presents a small sampling of our sector’s successful history serving as a gathering place for Americans to amplify their voices to influence public policy for the common good.

The Power of Knowledge: Nonprofit Advocacy Is Legal, Needed, and Easy

Despite our sector’s distinguished record as advocates for the people, recent research reveals that nonprofits today see multiple barriers blocking their participation in the public policy arena. This section of our website demonstrates that nonprofit lobbying is perfectly legal, explains why nonprofit lobbying is needed now more than ever as an essential activity, and reveals that nonprofit staff members and volunteers already have the necessary skills to influence public policy. Engage in the process. Your voice needs to be heard.

The Power of Information: Nonprofit Advocacy Reference Materials

This section of our website presents recent research, information about federal, state, and local lobbying laws, various forms, and additional sources of information for future reference, including lists of written materials and organizations that will help you succeed.

Read about how to evaluate advocacy (courtesy of The Innovation Network's compiliation)

Read about how to safeguard your nonprofit's advocacy activities by filing the 501(h) election.