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Advocacy

Photo by: Sheri Granger Archuleta

Every nonprofit can and should get involved in advocacy to help advance its mission. Advocacy shapes the public debate about issues that affect nonprofits. It’s the number one way nonprofits can focus attention on the issues, and bring about real change. With the right tools and information, you’ll see how you can make advocacy work for your organization and your community.

National

Congress has a busy agenda for January and February:

  1. Pass a continuing resolution by February 18 to keep the government open;

  2. Protect voting rights;

  3. Pass as much as possible of the Build Back Better bill;

  4. Confirm the next Supreme Court Judge.

 

State

Eighty percent of laws and policies affecting nonprofits are created at the state level.

 

Get Engaged

The 2022 New Mexico legislative session is underway. See the Legislative Session page for information on nonprofit related bills and instructions for committee meeting participation.

Nonprofits & 2022 Session

Census 2020

Data, Dollars and Democracy

Nonprofits & Elections

What Is Advocacy?

Advocacy can take many forms.  In simple terms, it means making the case for your cause or mission.  When we talk about advocacy for nonprofits, we usually mean making your case in a way that will change public policy to help your cause. That means reaching audiences in a position to help make those changes. Advocacy could be any one of a number of things from research and public education to lobbying elected officials and voter engagement. These activities are especially important when you want to make sure that underrepresented and vulnerable communities have a voice in decisions that affect them.  Bolder Advocacy

What is Lobbying?

Lobbying is communicating with decision makers (elected officials and staff; voters on ballot measures), about existing or potential legislation, and urging a vote for or against. All three components of this definition are required: decision makers, actual legislation, AND asking for a vote.  National Council of Nonprofits

When Lobbying is not lobbying:  Self-Defense” Communications

Finally, communications concerning “self-defense” by an organization are not direct lobbying communications. To qualify under this fourth exception, a communication must be with a legislative body regarding possible actions of that body which could affect the organization’s existence, powers, duties, tax- exempt status, or the deductibility of contributions to the organization. So long as the subject matter of the communication is limited to these specific areas, an organization may communicate with legislative bodies, their staff or even their individual members, and may also make expenditures to initiate legislation dealing with these specific topics. Coalitions composed primarily of charities and members of affiliated groups of charities may use this self-defense exception on behalf of their members or affiliates as well as their own organization. However, this exception does not apply to any grass roots lobbying communications. Being A Player: A Guide to the IRS Lobbying Regulations for Advocacy Charities

Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age: guide to online lobbying and election-related activities.

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