Essential Learning Series: The What, Who, and How of Nonprofit Advocacy Work
If you have heard the old adage “nonprofits cannot participate in lobbying,” this series is for you (and whoever told you that!). Through this three-part online classroom, we will:
- Quickly review the difference between advocacy and lobbying including IRS definitions and reporting requirements.
- Identify key ways the board and staff working together simultaneously decreases the organization’s risk while increasing its effectiveness.
- Learn how to put everything together into a winning campaign strategy.
At the end of the series, organizational leaders will understand:
- How 501(c)(3)s can get involved in issue based advocacy work.
- Policies and procedures that can be enacted to protect the organization and build its advocacy strength.
- The finer points of campaign planning.
Brush up on the basics today with the webinar short “Advocacy 101: Yes You Can: Basics for Beginners” and watch the two live webinars in this series below.
Advocacy 101: Yes You Can: Advocacy Basics for Beginners
One of the greatest myths surrounding 501(c)(3)s is that they cannot participate in advocacy or lobbying. This webinar short will deconstruct this idea, while providing clear delineations on what these two words actually mean and what activities are associated with them. Oftentimes, nonprofit organizations will use advocacy and lobbying interchangeably when promoting issue-based activism, but in fact, these words have very different definitions and are regulated differently by the IRS. In this webinar short, learn the specific differences between these two words, how they are defined by law, the regulations governing them, and what activities 501(c)(3)s can and cannot do.
Advocacy 102: Boards + Advocacy = A Winning Strategy
Thinking about dipping your organizational toe into the world of advocacy or expanding your advocacy work? This online training builds upon the webinar short, “Yes You Can: Advocacy Basics for Beginners,” seen above. In this full-length live webinar, we’ll delve into how to involve your Board of Directors to both protect and promote your organization’s work.
River Network staff will cover specific topics including board policies to adopt if you are exploring advocacy or lobbying activities, how to educate and involve your board in your existing advocacy efforts, and ways to weave advocacy into your organization’s culture. We’ll explain the “why” of board advocacy, provide actionable next steps to take with board members, and explore advocacy training topics to set you up for success.
- Why Advocate? resource from Stand for Your Mission
- Nonprofit Impact Matters report from the National Council of Nonprofits
- “Engaging Elected Officials in Your Work” webinar from Urban Waters Learning Network and River Network
- Advisory Councils: Nine Keys to Success resource from BoardSource
- Board Decisions Needed for Organizational Position Taking developed by Suzi Wilkins-Berl, River Network
- Sample Board Conflict of Interest Policy from River Network
- Sample Sign on Procedure from River Network
Advocacy 103: Planning + Resources = An Effective Campaign
Building upon the information learned in the first two of this three part series, we will provide you with a step by step process to prepare for and launch an effective issue campaign. Learn tips and tricks for outlining your campaign plan, how and why to identify key audiences, strategies for developing clear and memorable messages, and how to build your budget. Prepare yourself for the long game by learning why, when, and how to adapt your strategy, while keeping morale high by celebrating the small wins.
- “Organizing Successful Campaigns” webinar short from River Network
- River Voices: Creating a Rewarding Campaign
- Strengthening your Advocacy and Community Organizing presentation from Alliance for Justice and River Network