New Report Stresses Importance of Advocacy for Nonprofits + Need for Grants for Advocacy

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Laurel Last April, Donors Forum and the Listening Post Project, an initiative from the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, convened a group of 20 thought leaders from the region's nonprofit community.  Together, we explored the realities of nonprofit involvement in the policy process, the importance of advocacy, and increasing political engagement in order to support the sector.

The Listening Post Project recently released a report that summarizes the discussion (PDF download) and underlines the societal importance and organizational benefit of advocacy for all nonprofits, regardless of size or perceived capacity.  The key points addressed during the discussion were:

  1. Advocacy efforts must directly involve nonprofit organizations themselves;
  2. Intermediary organizations should play an active role in supporting the advocacy efforts of individual organizations;
  3. Foundations must be better educated on the need to fund advocacy; and
  4. The policy community itself needs to be educated and engaged.



While there are some obvious hurdles in mobilizing a greater portion of the nonprofit community in advocacy and lobbying, our discussion and this report are a reminder of the ways in which foundations, nonprofit associations, and direct service organizations can better leverage existing resources and assets to support political engagement.

~ Laurel O'Sullivan,, Senior Director, Public Policy, Donors Forum