This election season, charitable nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to advance their missions by calling attention to the issues that matter to the people and communities they serve. Yes, charitable nonprofits must remain strictly nonpartisan. But that doesn’t mean they must roll over and play dead to avoid speaking out during an election cycle.
We recommend “Nonprofits Shouldn’t Mistake Nonpartisanship with Neutrality in the 2012 Elections,” by Peter Manzo, president of United Ways of California, and Jan Masaoka, chief executive officer of CalNonprofits, to all nonprofit leaders and board members. The authors correct misperceptions about the rights of charitable nonprofits to participate in important public discussions and warn that those organizations that “hold back on advocacy forsake perhaps their biggest opportunities to make a difference.” Their main point: “In health, human services, the environment, education, social justice, and many other areas in which nonprofits work, the way to create large-scale change is to alter public policy.”
Manzo and Masaoka offer seven suggestions for getting involved in the policy arena:
- Take a Stand
- Mobilize the people who are most passionate about a cause
- Emphasize mission and values first and facts second
- Acknowledge the other side’s views as legitimate
- Don’t wait until an election
- Look for allies
- Get involved
Read the entire article published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.