National Council of Nonprofits Ramps Up Federal Policy Engagement

National Council of Nonprofits Ramps Up Federal Policy Engagement

Printer-friendly version

Nation’s largest network of nonprofits builds on recent successes
to advance and protect nonprofits in local communities across the country

The first 100 days of a new Administration and trifecta government in Washington will require swift and strategic action to protect the ability of nonprofits to advance their missions for people in local communities across the country. The National Council of Nonprofits, informed by its policy work at the federal, state, and local levels and its grassroots network – the largest in the country, with more than 25,000 nonprofit members – has analyzed what the elections will mean for nonprofit missions and already started ramping up to meet the forthcoming federal policy challenges and opportunities.

“The public policy arena is multi-dimensional and ever-shifting, with activities moving dynamically between the federal, state, and local levels of governments and across the legislative, executive, and judicial branches,” observed the organization’s president and CEO, Tim Delaney. “To do this vital policy work,” said board chair Renny Fagan, president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, “the National Council of Nonprofits draws on its staff’s and nationwide network’s extensive advocacy experience to impact policy decisions across all levels and branches of governments to help nonprofits and the people they serve.”

The recent elections put one political party in charge of the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and White House. Such “unified” rather than divided government, combined with pent-up energy for “change,” will propel a great deal of law-making at the federal level, especially in the first 100-120 days and certainly during the first year. For reasons both practical and philosophical, many federal policy changes will flow down to the states for ultimate resolution and implementation, which in turn will directly affect the work of nonprofits and foundations.

The board of the Council of Nonprofits updated the organization’s Public Policy Agenda for 2017, a statement of positions and priorities on public policy issues affecting nonprofits. As in the past, the Policy Agenda focuses on sector-wide matters, rather than subsector issues. Changes include calling on policymakers to recognize that nonprofits, which collectively employ more than 10 percent of the American workforce, have a stake as employers when decisions are made about changing healthcare laws. Another change provides greater emphasis to the importance of retaining the longstanding law requiring 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations to remain nonpartisan, to prevent nonprofits being regarded as Democratic charities or Republican charities.

In the coming weeks and months, the Council of Nonprofits and its nationwide network will build on our work with officials at all levels and in all branches of government and continue providing context and guidance for nonprofits seeking to make sense of unfolding changes, such as our recent work advocating for nonprofits’ interests with the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and Office of Management and Budget. We will also continue working with the National Association of State Charity Officials, providing leadership for reform of government-nonprofit contracting at all levels of government, and filing amicus curiae briefs as issues affecting nonprofits make their way through the courts.

More information and recent analyses


The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) is a trusted resource and proven advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Connecting the policy dots across all levels and branches of governments, the Council of Nonprofits keeps nonprofits informed and empowered to create a positive public policy environment that best supports nonprofits in advancing their missions. Working with and through the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – with 25,0000-plus organizational members - we identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at

Find Your State Association of Nonprofits

Connect with local resources and expertise


Connect With Us

1. Sign up for updates

Stay up-to-date with the latest nonprofit resources and trends by subscribing to our free e-newsletters.

2. Follow us on social media