March 23, 2017

Turn Your Nonprofit’s Trustees Into Master Advocates

Last week at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Symposium hosted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, participants talked about the urgent need in today’s political climate for nonprofit leaders to educate lawmakers about their work.

During one panel discussion, Campion Advocacy Fund co-founder Sonya Campion described a new effort to encourage nonprofit board members to meet with lawmakers. Trustees are often reluctant to take on an advocacy role, but most of the time, nonprofit experts say, their discomfort stems from a need for guidance.

Led by BoardSource, the new effort is part of a program called Stand for Your Mission. The organization collaborated with the National Council of Nonprofits, the Campion and Knight Foundations, and other groups to help nonprofits understand advocacy and the role it can play in helping them survive budget cuts and changing political priorities.

The Stand for Your Mission program offers a number of free resources on its website such as "The Power of Board Advocacy: A Discussion Guide for Boards" (downloadable below.) The guide shows trustees and other charity executives how to build an advocacy strategy and provides an example of one charity’s board-led effort to bring music education back to schools in San Diego.

Stand for Your Mission also offers other tools and resources, including information about board members’ responsibilities and answers to some of the most common questions trustees have about advocacy.

For more information on meeting with policy makers, read "11 Ways for Nonprofits to Build Ties With Lawmakers" and watch the video "How to Get Board Members Involved in Advocacy." Both are part of our tool kit How Nonprofits Can Advocate Effectively ­— and Stay Within the Law.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.