It's no longer a question of whether nonprofits should engage in public policy advocacy, but rather how we can afford not to. As the saying goes, ‘If you're not at the table, you're probably on the menu,’ and this especially applies to laws, regulations, and policies that affect nonprofits and the communities they serve. It's in our nature to get involved and make a positive impact, and it's crucial that policymakers recognize the vital role nonprofits play in promoting healthy communities.
Understanding the landscape of nonprofit engagement in public policy work is essential to creating a thriving and civically-engaged nonprofit sector. This research provides timely and valuable insights into the types of nonprofits that embrace advocacy, their motivations, and the barriers hindering broader participation. By empowering nonprofits with knowledge about how they can build their power through advocacy and transform policies and systems, we can accelerate the creation of a more equitable and just society.
Public policy affects every nonprofit in the country every day. With millions of staff, volunteers, donors, and board members, and a hands-on direct understanding of community needs, the sector can leverage its expertise and impact to change lives and shape the future of our country. At the same time, policy and laws can do harm to the people we serve if we don't speak up, show up, and stand up for our mission.
Nonprofits must engage in advocacy to share our stories of impact, community need and how we can help solve critical social issues. Being advocates, and engaging others in civic life, helps ensure that every individual and family, regardless of their background or where they live, has the support they need to thrive. Our sector must engage in advocacy if we want to drive real change and equity for all.
Advocacy represents the lifeblood of our democracy. Strengthening advocacy from across the nonprofit sector is vital for the ongoing health and security of our nation, particularly in the context of ensuring that our nation lives up to its deepest ideals and everyone is able to thrive.