On December 9, Rep. Betty McCollum announced on a call with nonprofit sector leaders her intention to introduce legislation early next year to strengthen the nonprofit sector and make the federal government a more productive partner with the sector to better serve communities.
Over the past two years, nonprofits of all sizes and missions helped the U.S. face a generational crisis. They undertook this challenge despite steep declines in income, disrupted operations, and skyrocketing demands for help. Congress and the Administration worked to pass legislation to help employers and local communities, but consistently misunderstood how best to support nonprofits – the third-largest workforce in the U.S. During an emergency like the pandemic, these vital organizations should be focused on their missions, rather than diverting time and resources to improve policymakers’ response and recovery strategies.
It is time for a better system that prioritizes the needs and expertise of nonprofits and their communities, rather than treating our sector as an afterthought. Rep. McCollum’s legislation, The Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act of 2022, will correct this longstanding inequity by establishing structures and policies to leverage the knowledge, trusted status, and reach of nonprofits to craft and implement better solutions for all. Please support this bill by adding your organization’s name to the sign-on letter for Congress. It’s your chance to ensure that nonprofit expertise is at the table. Permanently.
Overview and Highlights
Guarantee a Seat at the Federal Table: The bill establishes a formal partnership between federal policymakers and nonprofit organizations to ensure the needs of nonprofits and their communities are considered at the beginning of policy development and implementation. For example, the Paycheck Protection Program saved millions of nonprofit jobs. Unfortunately, it was not designed with nonprofits in mind. Many smaller organizations were left behind as they struggled to navigate the program and get help. The bill establishes:
- White House Office: Led by an Assistant to the President with deep expertise in nonprofits, it ensures policies are designed with an understanding of the sector’s capacity to realize critical priorities in a way that maximizes the benefit to communities.
- Interagency Council: Streamlines coordination across offices and departments in the Administration.
- Federal Advisory Board: Community-based and national nonprofit and philanthropic leaders who will consult with policymakers. Appointed by the President and Congress.
Recover and Grow Nonprofit Jobs: After losing 1.6 million nonprofit jobs in 2020, policymakers need real-time, accurate information on what is happening in the nonprofit workforce to develop better policies that protect and grow sector jobs. This bill enables the government to report quarterly jobs and economic data, just as they do for other industries, so nonprofits have data to better educate policymakers and support the organizations and employees in greatest need.
Increase Access to National Service: In addition to a traditional paid workforce, many nonprofits expand their capacity by partnering with national service programs, like AmeriCorps. Unfortunately, some nonprofits and prospective volunteers experience challenges accessing the current program. This bill calls for reforms to improve access to the program for small organizations and organizations representing underserved communities.
Lower Cost of Fundraising Across States: In 2020, as traditional, place-based fundraising opportunities declined, nonprofits needed to quickly adapt, some needing to raise funds outside their geographic area for the first time. Unfortunately, to do so, they needed to register in each new state separately. This bill supports an innovation to create a single online portal for nonprofits to register as fundraisers across multiple states, potentially saving individual nonprofits thousands of dollars in administrative costs.
Reduce Burden of Federal Funding and Regulations: Government funding is one of the larger sources of revenue for many nonprofits, but it often is accompanied by complex administrative requirements and regulations. This bill calls on federal agencies to simplify, expedite, and streamline formal partnerships with nonprofits to enable them to put more resources toward their missions.
Protect Nonprofit Voice in Election Years: Every election year, policymakers propose or enact new laws and executive orders that impact nonprofits and the communities we serve. Many nonprofits reported in past elections that they did not educate policymakers about how policies positively or negatively impact their missions because they were unsure whether it was legally permitted. This bill directs the Internal Revenue Service to clarify what nonprofits are permitted to do across the tax code during an election year so nonprofit leaders’ voices can be heard when a policy impacts their organizations’ work.
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