2020 In Review: A Look Back at a BIG Year for Bolder Advocacy


As 2020 finally comes to a close, we wanted to say thank you.  The nonprofit advocacy community is strong, diverse, and committed to equity and social justice. During a year when so many nonprofits worked from home and fought for our community in new and unique ways, Bolder Advocacy was there to help. Our compliance guidance, advocacy checklists, do’s and don’ts, and technical assistance broke records as organizations across the country creatively mobilized their communities to boost civic engagement and pursue policy change. Another zoom call anyone?

As we wind down and reflect on 2020, we are excited to share with you some of the major trends and highlights we saw this past year.  Here’s a short end-of-year snapshot of our work during one of the most contentious, unique, and nerve-wrecking years in recent history.  We hope you enjoy, and as always, be bold.

Election Season Do’s and Don’ts

Resources related to how to remain nonpartisan in incredibly partisan times were by far the most sought-after information this year. Nearly half the questions we answered on our technical assistance hotline dealt with how to safely engage in advocacy during an election season. And our tried-and-true resources on election-related activities and ballot measure advocacy ranked #3 and #4 respectively out of the top 10 resources accessed on our website.

Regardless of where you sit, and what role you played at your nonprofit this year, know that you were not alone in wondering about the obscure tax rules and regulations that apply to election season advocacy, including whether applying the facts and circumstances test to your election season activities really does mean “it depends” all the time. (if you’re not sure what we’re referring to, check out page 18 of our Rules of the Game publication). Nonprofit advocates and their funders across the nation asked similar questions, from “what can we say in our GOTV emails,” to “when does a candidate stop being a candidate ” (especially in respect to the nation’s highest office during a contested election)? As we roll into inauguration season, we anticipate having to respond to many similar questions.

And speaking of the inauguration, here’s a link to our most recent blog post about how nonprofits can engage both with the transition teams at the national level as well as through the inauguration process.

The Rules of the Game Podcast

While all of our materials broke records this year, one of the surprising standouts was our newly launched “Rules of the Game” podcast. As we built it out, we joked about how we hoped to brand some brilliant and funny lawyers geeking-out on tax law.  Can you think of anything better than that?  But so far, it seems to have worked, with our podcast being in the top 30 (#26) for all nonprofit podcasts as of this writing. The episodes are normally less than 20 minutes, perfect to walk the dog with, and many of you have written us to say you appreciate the short concise examples.   If you haven’t listened yet, check out episode one here on what else, but election year advocacy!

The Numbers

And finally, thank you for calling us, for listening to us, and for supporting our work.  We hope our tools and support enhance your ability to get work done. This year:

  • Our staff answered over 1,500 individual technical assistance questions from nearly 900 different organizations.
  • On top of that, we delivered more than 410 workshops for nonprofit and foundation staff at over 1,000 organizations.
  • We trained and answered questions from nonprofits in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with the most questions coming from groups based in California, DC, Texas, Washington, and New York.

Have a wonderful New Year. Check back in a few weeks for our top ten resolutions for nonprofits to be bold in their advocacy!