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Transform Your Communities Through Advocacy

Posted Jul 27, 2021 04:26 PM
Nonprofits play a vital role in educating the public about policy issues and actions that directly affect our communities. Knowing your advocacy rights – and strategies for effectively conducting advocacy – is crucial to doing it right.

501 Commons, Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy, Win/Win Network, and Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) are teaming up to present our annual two-part advocacy workshop on Sept. 16 and 17.

Part One: Advocacy and Lobbying 101: Legal Tips for 501(c)3 Nonprofit Advocates
Thursday, Sept. 16 | 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. | Online via Zoom

Elected officials vote on bills, make public statements, issue executive decisions, and set the course for public policy on a wide range of issues. These actions may be consistent with or conflict with your organization’s position on an issue. Gain a clear understanding of how to maximize your advocacy, what kinds of advocacy activities 501(c)3s can engage in, and when an act of communication is considered lobbying. You will also learn:

  • How federal tax law permits lobbying for charities and how lobbying is defined.
  • One easy step most charities can take to maximize the amount they’re allowed to spend on lobbying.
  • Yearly lobbying limits for charities.
  • Tips for taking advantage of the narrow definitions of lobbying (which will help charities make the most of their lobbying limit).
  • The application of these rules to ballot measure activities.

Part Two: Nonpartisan Advocacy in Partisan Times
Friday, Sept. 17 | 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. | Online via Zoom

Election years provide a great opportunity for public charities to highlight issues and interact with candidates and the voting public. However, public charities cannot support or oppose candidates; and must avoid the appearance or reality of electioneering and other partisan activity, particularly in public and social media communications.

This session highlights common pitfalls and provides suggestions and tips for avoiding them, as well as:

  • How you can continue to advocate for your issues during election years.
  • How you can educate the public through candidate forums and questionnaires.
  • How you can respond to candidate statements.
  • How you can conduct nonpartisan voter registration and ensure get-out-the-vote efforts are conducted legally.
  • How you can safely support or oppose ballot measures without being partisan.
  • How staff and volunteers’ partisan activities in their personal time can be kept separate from their activities on behalf of the organization.