There’s more than one way to influence policy. Larger public policy battles like health care reform, immigration, and civil rights often take place in multiple venues including legislatures, courts, executive agencies, candidate forums, and public forums on ballot measures. But even small policy campaigns present opportunities at federal, state, and local levels to influence the outcome via the following targeted advocacy avenues which are discussed later in this article: Administrative Advocacy Legislative Advocacy Ballot measures or referenda Nonpartisan election-related activities Litigation
Community Foundations can play an active role in the public sector and can support lobbying, advocate, lobby, and support other election-related activities. All of these actions however, have their limits.
IRS regulations pertaining to private foundations are often complicated and sometimes gray. Foundations that aren’t aware of the rules, or don’t follow them properly, expose themselves to risk. Foundation Source has developed the following 15-question assessment to help you identify activities that could increase your foundation’s exposure to risk. There are no right or wrong answers. Once you have submitted your responses, we will email you a customized report that outlines the specific rules governing your foundation’s activities. The report will also identify the extent of the risk and penalties when these rules are not followed. The goal is to help Read more
IRS regulations require that private foundations verify the exempt status of any 501(c)(3) public charity before making a grant, to ensure it is currently in good standing with the IRS. The most accurate and comprehensive source for this information is the IRS Business Master File (BMF). While the BMF is publicly available, it is neither simple nor easy for an individual to decipher. GrantSafe’s proprietary technology eliminates that hassle and complication. Finding an organization is now as easy as typing in the organization’s name or tax ID number. A green check mark or red “X” instantly tells you the status. Read more
Across the country, community foundations are recognizing the power of public policy work to advance their missions. Some do so by awarding grants for advocacy activities like public education and research. Others support nonprofits to lobby. And many others engage in advocacy themselves by taking positions on issues they care about. How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.
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. Supporting advocacy is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools available to foundations for creating change.
This free (and fun) video resource 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. Participants can return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.
Advocacy is an important tool to help an organization advance its mission. You know that and we know that, but perhaps you need some help convincing colleagues or board members that engaging in advocacy is essential for your organization. Recently, Bolder Advocacy Legal Director Abby Levine conducted a series of webinars in conjunction with the Stand for Your Mission (SFYM) campaign. The first webinar focuses on the importance of advocacy and makes the case for why and how organizations can benefit by standing up for their mission.