Seat at the Table
This initiative seeks to establish structural mechanisms for the nonprofit and social sector to help shape and improve federal policies that support communities.
It also expands opportunities for the federal government to work more effectively with the social sector to achieve the shared goal of helping people.
Connecting Government and Nonprofits to Strengthen our Nation
Communities and families still feel the crush of COVID-19, an uncertain economy, racial injustice, and a changing climate. In difficult times, Americans trust nonprofits to strengthen our nation through the vital resources they provide.
Despite the scale and unique understanding of community needs, nonprofits are often on the “outside looking in” when federal policies are decided. While we are the “frontline” in making our communities vibrant and more equitable, our voice is not always heard by policymakers.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is an example – it saved millions of jobs in 2020, including nonprofit jobs. Yet, because it was designed without the experience of nonprofits, too many organizations, especially smaller nonprofits in under-served communities, struggled to navigate the system and access benefits.
The Nonprofit Stakeholders Engaging and Advancing Together (Nonprofit SEAT) Act of 2023 from the 118th Congress and the proposed Executive Order on Strengthening the Nonprofit Sector and its Partnership with the Federal Government give us the best opportunity we have had to make certain nonprofit expertise and experience is at the table. Permanently.
About “Seat at the Table” Initiative
Seat at the Table, an initiative through the proposed executive order and the Nonprofit SEAT Act, would create permanent, structural mechanisms for the sector to help shape and improve federal policy, while also expanding opportunities for the government to work more effectively with the sector to achieve shared goals.
The initiative would create a three-part structure to deepen this partnership.
The White House Office on the Nonprofit Sector (ONS) and Interagency Council will coordinate within the federal government to ensure policies are designed with an understanding of the sector’s capacity to realize critical priorities in a way that maximizes the benefit to communities and our nation.
The Advisory Board, made up of community-based and national nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, will consult with policymakers and provide critical insight on community and sector needs.
Why We Need a Seat at the Table
- Communities trust the nonprofit sector – the greater role nonprofits play in people’s lives, the more trusted they become, and this trust is the necessary precondition for making sustainable change possible. This is an invaluable asset we bring to government partners.
- Nonprofit organizations are the third largest employer of the private workforce, employing more than 12 million people in the U.S. and representing 5.6% of overall GDP. Yet, unlike the small business sector, we have no permanent voice in the federal government.
- Support for the Seat at the Table initiative will directly lead to better policy formulation, implementation, more support and opportunity for people in the U.S., and more equitable communities.
- Nonprofits need infrastructure and resources that they can depend on yearly. Leaders from across the sector can have these critical discussions and develop lasting change at the highest levels of government, so the important work of nonprofits can scale and become more sustainable.
This campaign was established to ensure the nonprofit sector has a permanent seat at the decision-making table in the federal government. It’s also a campaign that focuses on ensuring that the communities and missions we serve are never an afterthought in the policy-making process.
We have a chance to make a real change, and we need you because we are stronger together. Add your organization to a letter of support for the legislation that will be shared with Congress.
Have you already signed the letter of support? As a reliable and trusted source of information, you are uniquely qualified to inform the communities and nonprofits within your network about the importance of this work.
Use our advocacy toolkit resources to expand your organization’s mobilization efforts to ensure that nonprofit expertise is at the table. Permanently.