November 24, 2020

Nonprofits Can, and Should, Lobby for Policies That Drive Community Impact

Next Tuesday, December 1, is Giving Tuesday — a worldwide day to focus on giving to the nonprofits and causes that make a difference. Giving money is essential of course, especially amid an economic crisis that has hit nonprofits especially hard. But just as important is that people give their voice to the causes they care about and ensure that nonprofits and charities understand how valuable their voice and frontline experience is to make better public policy.

From food banks informing nutrition policy, to children’s charities voicing support for education funding, to mental health providers helping to craft legislation, laws are better when community organizations can provide their valuable insight. Nonprofits’ missions sometimes require them to take a step into the policy advocacy arena to “move the needle” on community impact. Thankfully, 501(c)(3)s can lobby — advocate for a specific policy directly with legislators or ask community members to appeal to their elected officials for a policy change — with certain limitations, and public policies are better for it.

As a 501(c)(3) policy-focused non-profit, Florida Policy Institute (FPI) has expertise on the ways in which nonprofits can lobby, and how to do it effectively, which is why FPI has put together a one-page Advocacy Toolkit aimed at non-profits and their allies. The Toolkit outlines strategies to engage board members, donors, and program participants in the advocacy and legislator education process.

In 2020, the worst health and economic crisis in a century has reinforced that not only is it okay for nonprofits to advocate, but that they should view it as a key tool to achieve their missions.

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