Advocacy Volunteering for Nonprofits
Nonprofit advocacy volunteering can take many forms and has the potential to make significant impacts on your mission. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!
Many states are moving (or have moved, we see you, California and Maine 👀) into their legislative sessions across the country. This means the state’s elected representatives will meet to draft and vote on legislation, set policy priorities, and make decisions about taxation, education, and government spending.
Above all, nonprofits have a powerful potential to impact decisions that directly affect the communities they serve. But many nonprofit organizations stay away from advocacy work because of the MYTH that nonprofits cannot advocate. This is just not true; 501c3 charitable nonprofits can advocate and even lobby (here are the guidelines from the IRS). Would you be interested in learning more about lobbying and taking the 501h election? Check out this information from the National Council of Nonprofits.
Here we dive into how to bring your volunteers along in the advocacy journey of your nonprofit organization.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy includes many different activities, including research, education, and lobbying. All advocacy activities are meant to impact the public’s perception of a given topic, ensuring everyone has a voice in the policies that impact their lives.
Getting Started with Advocacy Volunteering
Want to get started on your nonprofit advocacy volunteering? Here are some ideas to get your relationships and skills going.
- Invite elected officials to tour your facility and bring your volunteers as tour guides.
- Teach your volunteers how to find their representatives and contact them. Your organization can put together a script of how they can advocate for policy priorities that align with your mission and community needs.
- Additionally, encourage everyone to vote! Nonprofits can work with Nonprofit Vote across the country to increase voter participation.
Maximize Your Nonprofit Advocacy Volunteers
Grow your nonprofit advocacy volunteering network by:
- First, providing ways for volunteers to sign up to receive information about your advocacy work. These messages can include ways for them to help educate others about the importance of the work you do.
- Bringing them into the conversation with legislators by having them write letters or call decision-makers telling them about the issues and needs. The people and communities you serve know all too well what the needs are. Together you can shine a light on problems that have been ignored.
- Pulling together an advocacy task force; these people will be your go-to’s when needing to share the impact of your nonprofit. This could include telling the nonprofit’s story to funders and donors, talking with reporters, or encouraging community groups to send volunteers to your events to help.
- Bringing volunteers to sit in on committee meetings or hearings. By including them in your meetings and work, it creates the opportunity for them to gain experience and bring their passions to the mission of your nonprofit.
- Partnering with other nonprofits in your area to bring together your communities around a common cause. Many times, during the legislative session, this will attract favorable media attention, creating higher visibility and increasing awareness of your work.
- Organizing a rally for your work, bringing your volunteers and community members together to advocate. This is especially important to show lawmakers that you have the strength of numbers on your side.
Ways to Activate Your Nonprofit Advocacy Volunteers
Now you know some strategies, so how do you activate your volunteers? Use tech to your advantage!
- Have an easy signup process for subscribing to advocacy alerts.
- Schedule shifts at your location for volunteers to come and write letters. If your volunteers are not able to make it for shifts, set up letter-writing packages that they can take home.
- Using your volunteer management system, create your Advocacy Task Force group. Then, when action needs to be taken quickly, you can send out the info ASAP. You can also use this group to send out invitations to join you at committee meetings.
- Partnering with other nonprofits in your area brings your collective power together. Collaboration has so many benefits, the least of which is an increased awareness for both your work and your partners.
So are you ready to add advocacy to your nonprofit’s goals? We can help you manage volunteers, events, and collaboration. Because supporting organizations that raise collective issues and elevate community impact is what we do.
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