8 Steps to Develop an Evaluation Plan

Innovation Network identified eight key steps in our 2005 evaluation of a U.S. federal policy change campaign.These steps may also be useful in other advocacy evaluations.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , ,









A Model for Multilevel Advocacy Evaluation

The Colorado Trust provided three years of general operating support to nine advocacy organizations working to increase access to health through policy change work. The nine grantees had a variety of goals and strategies and had different levels of organizational capacity, but were evaluated using a uniform evaluation approach. The evaluation was designed to build grantees’ own evaluation capacity to incorporate real-time feedback, monitor progress toward goals, and to assess growth in the overall health advocacy community in Colorado. Individual grantees identified short- and intermediate- term outcomes related to The Trust’s intermediate outcomes, which were in turn related to the Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , ,









Advocacy and Lobbying Rules for Private Foundations

Three modules provide an overview of how lobbying laws apply to the work of private foundations, a review of the types of grants and funding options private foundations are allowed to provide, and guidelines and tools to help engage with grantees and legislators.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , , ,









Advocacy Capacity Tool

Assessing the capacity of the organizations you fund to deliver on those efforts can be difficult. ACT is a powerful tool for foundations that want to understand and evaluate the skills and readiness of their grantees, identify the specific gaps and opportunities in their own advocacy portfolios, and focus resources where they matter most.

Categories: Grantmaking, Grants Management, Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags:









Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption Rules for Private Foundations

The legal staff at the Gates Foundation developed this free resource, which covers the basic legal rules around anti-bribery/anti-corruption. It takes approximately twenty minutes to complete.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , ,









Community Foundations and Advocacy

This fact sheet shows how community foundations can play an active role in the public sector and can support lobbying, advocate, lobby, and support other election-related activities.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

Tags: , , ,









Expanding Organizational Advocacy Capacity: Reflections From the Field

Organizational advocacy capacity is an increasingly important area of inquiry, raising questions about the opportunities (and limits) for achieving and sustaining policy change. The California Endowment implemented the Clinic Consortia Policy and Advocacy Program to expand grantee advocacy capacity to support the policy and operational needs of California’s community clinics. In-person meetings with decision-makers and developing working relationships were among the key advocacy activities undertaken by 19 grantees. Grantees secured several policy wins through a variety of strategies, including mobilizing member clinics to be potent advocates. The “return on investment analysis” indicates that grantees secured policymaker support for clinic programs Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , ,









Expenditure Responsibility Rules for Private Foundations

Course covers: Grantees that do and do not require expenditure responsibility How it is exercised (pre-grant inquiries, grant agreements, separate accounts, reports, IRS) How to handle complicating issues (grants with subgrants, grants to private foundations, grants for capital expenditures, grants that support advocacy)

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , , ,









Finding the Win in Wicked Problems: Lessons From Evaluating Public Policy Advocacy

Many of the social issues private foundations and other philanthropies attempt to address — poverty, homelessness, global climate change — are wicked problems. That is, they defy easy definition, lack permanent solutions, and have multiple stakeholders. The wicked problems framework helps make explicit the challenging nature of the issue to be addressed, requires an inclusive style of leadership that seeks stakeholder involvement, and demands candid exchange among stakeholders about the nature of the problem and effectiveness of efforts to address it. A wicked problems framework provides a set of criteria and questions for evaluators of advocacy efforts to ask all Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , , ,









Foundation Advocacy Resources

This program helps foundations and nonprofits influence policy and public opinion by offering workshops, examples of documents, and technical assistance.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags:









Foundation Support for Election-Related Activity

Supporting election-related activities is an effective way for foundations to strengthen democracy by broadening the civic dialogue and giving a voice to underrepresented communities. Find out how your foundation can support election related activities in this fact sheet.

Categories: Grants Management, Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags:









Foundations and Ballot Measures

Foundations may support grantees that engage in ballot measure advocacy. This document discusses how foundations may influence ballot measures while staying within legal guidelines.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags:









Foundations for Civic Impact: Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit for Community Foundations

This toolkit is a collaborative project of Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI), CFLeads, Council on Foundations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It provides provide practical advice and essential knowledge to help community foundations integrate public policy practices into their everyday leadership work to achieve greater community impact.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

Tags: ,









GrantSafe

GrantSafe is a free online 501c3 lookup service specifically for private foundations that lets you quickly and easily confirm the IRS exempt status of any public charity before making a grant.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , ,









How Does Your Community Foundation’s Public Policy Work Stack Up?

This blog asks How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

Tags: , ,









Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy

This reference book is an indispensable guide for foundations in explaining the various roles they can play in the advocacy process. Investing in Change can serve as an in-depth guide to navigating the tax code surrounding support of public charities, or a quick reference guide to answer a specific question.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags:









Investing in Change: The Importance of Supporting Advocacy

When a foundation gives money directly to a program that provides community services, the impact is seen immediately: low-income children receive a new educational program or a charity hospital can provide health care to individuals in need. Supporting advocacy is a little different. The impact may be harder to see and measure at first, but changes in public policy are often a precursor to the meaningful, long-term success vital to tackling larger community challenges. This fact sheet shows how supporting advocacy is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools available to foundations for creating change.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

Tags: ,









Is the Policy Win All? A Framework for Effective Social-Justice Advocacy

This article offers a theory-of-change framework to help those engaged in social-justice advocacy to reflect on whether social-justice values are being retained in the process. A reproductive rights effort in South Africa provides an example of how social justice values can be lost in the advocacy process. The failure to sustain work on the ground pointed to the need to maintain a base of support even after a policy victory. Strategies must be revisited as social and political contexts change. One of the critical social-justice values that supports the establishment and maintenance of alliances is collaboration, which must continue to Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , , ,









Keeping Track: A Guide to Recordkeeping for Advocacy Charities

The latest (Spring 2012) publication from Alliance for Justice is Keeping Track: A Guide to Recordkeeping for Advocacy Charities designed to help public charities comply with federal tax law by tracking their lobbying activities. Funders are encouraged to share this publication with their grantees that engage in lobbying. Lobbying is an essential tool for many 501(c)(3) public charities. In addition to activities such as public education, research, and policy advocacy, lobbying can be an effective tool for advancing an organization’s mission. Of course, the primary goal of recordkeeping is to meet the requirements of the IRS. “Keeping Track” explains that Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags:









Lobbying Defined for Private Foundations

This fact sheet explains what activities count as lobbying under federal tax law for private foundations. Under federal tax law, private foundations incur a prohibitive tax on any lobbying expenditures, so it is important for private foundations to know exactly what activities meet the definition of lobbying.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

Tags: ,









Mapping the Future: Foundations and the Redistricting Process

This fact sheet provides guidance for public foundations to safely and legally participate in the redistricting process and fund grantees that engage in this work.

Categories: Grants Management, Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags: ,









Philanthropic Foundations: Payout and Related Public Policy Issues

This 2004 brief reports on a discussion from the tenth “Emerging Issues in Philanthropy” seminar series of foundation payout and regulation.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , ,









Private Foundations May Advocate

While private foundations incur a prohibitive tax when they engage in or fund advocacy, they may still engage in a variety of advocacy activities. This fact sheet explains how private foundations can engage in a variety of advocacy activities.

Categories: Grants Management, Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags: , , ,









Program-Related Investment Rules for Private Foundations

This free (and fun) video defines and helps the user understand the basic legal rules for program-related investments. The video guides the user through the PRI process, and discusses how these investments can support the organization’s programmatic work and/or expand the organization’s charitable work. The training features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course in a way that reflects actual experiences.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , , ,









Proving Foundation Impact on Public Policy Empirically: The Case of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Consumer Choice for Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Foundations that work on national public policy issues face challenges in demonstrating impact. This case study of how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiative to support choice of program provider for developmentally disabled adults uses some advanced statistical techniques to demonstrate the impact of the foundation’s funding. This study suggests that to get the greatest impact on policy change, foundations should consider offering modest competitive grants to governmental departments; spending the funds in regional groupings; and focus on jurisdictions that have demonstrated interest in the policy area by spending their own funds.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , ,









Public Charity or Private Foundation

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization may be classified by the IRS as either a public charity (also called a public foundation) or a private foundation. Except for those nonprofits which are granted automatic charity status, such as churches, it is the organization’s responsibility to notify the IRS, by filing Form 1023, that it wants to be a public charity. Otherwise, it will automatically be categorized as a private foundation. Ensuring a correct categorization is important, because different regulations apply depending on your organization’s classification. This resource is designed to help you decide whether your organization should apply for public charity or Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags:









Public Foundations Can Lobby

501(c)(3) public charities, including grantmaking public charities like community foundations and women’s foundations, can lobby within the generous limits allowed by federal law. This fact sheet explains the lobbying rules for public foundations.

Categories: Grants Management, Legal Issues and Laws, General Grants 

Tags: ,









The Connection: Strategies for Creating and Operating 501c3s, 501c4s and Political Organizations

Released in September 2012, the third edition of The Connection: Strategies for Creating and Operating 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, and Political Organizations explains the different roles and functions of charities, social welfare organizations, PACs and other types of nonprofits. We clarify the federal rules and illuminate the ways these organizations can work together to accomplish common goals. The third edition reflects the fundamental changes that have occurred in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allowing corporations and labor unions to make independent expenditures, and the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags:









Turning the Ship: Moving From Clinical Treatment to Environmental Prevention: A Health Disparities Policy Advocacy Initiative

This article examines success factors for a statewide initiative to reduce health disparities by establishing environmental policies to reduce asthma risk factors for school-aged children. Twelve local coalitions and a statewide network focused on schools, housing, and outdoor air policies. Multiple types and levels of policy advocacy were encouraged by the Initiative so that issues at the local level linked to larger issues across the state, and conversely state-level policies supported local endeavors. Factors that contributed to the success of the initiative included: structuring the initiative on a systems change model; employing multiple technical assistance providers to assure fidelity to Read more

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , ,









What Every Grantmaker Should Know & Frequently Asked Legal Questions

As part of our continuing efforts to help foundations maintain and improve the effectiveness of their work, the Minnesota Council on Foundations has prepared this comprehensive resource to help private, corporate and community/public foundations understand their legal requirements and obligations. This publication and its companion piece, Principles for Grantmakers & Practice Options for Philanthropic Organizations, are key publications in MCF’s Philanthropy & Public Trust series.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws

Tags: , , ,









Words to Give By: Leading Voices in Advocacy Funding

A compilation of interviews with foundation leaders on the importance of supporting advocacy.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, Models & Approaches, General Grants 

Tags: