WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2023 – Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy program and the Democracy Capacity Project are proud to announce the completion of their Practical Guidance – Nonprofit Lobbying series. The series provides resources for all 50 states and the District of Columbia to assist nonprofits in their efforts to build power through policy advocacy. It provides the information nonprofits need to design and run state and local-level legislative and executive branch advocacy programs in compliance with relevant laws and regulations governing those activities.
“One of the most frequent questions we receive at Bolder Advocacy is how to navigate the tapestry of different state laws governing nonprofit lobbying,” said Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort, Program Director of Bolder Advocacy. “For the first time ever, the Practical Guidance series ensures that all of this information is easily available as a one-stop shop for organizations looking to bolden their advocacy. We know this will be an invaluable resource for years to come and we are proud to have partnered with the Democracy Capacity Project in its development and completion.”
“Nonprofit organizations’ advocacy at the state level is more important than ever, given political polarization and federal gridlock, but for many community-based organizations, state rules about political advocacy can be an opaque and intimidating maze,” said Sue Zachman, Founder and Co-Director of the Democracy Capacity Project. “Completing our full 50-state lobbying series makes free and user-friendly guides available to groups in states that have historically had few, if any, legal or compliance resources to guide them. Our hope is that these resources can empower more BIPOC-led and other organizations from historically underrepresented communities to strategically navigate the non-intuitive state laws that govern their advocacy activities.”
“To fully leverage our investment in permanent civic engagement, organizing and policy infrastructure, and sustainable urban-rural coalitions we must also ensure the groups we support have the compliance capacity they need to succeed,” said Sarah Jaynes, Executive Director of the Rural Democracy Initiative. “We need to stop trying to solve this problem one group — or even one funder — at a time, and instead make the resources available at the ecosystem level. Rural communities are ready for bold action — local leaders around the country are engaging their communities to change major policy and civic engagement outcomes. With these resources now available in all 50 states, we are giving all communities the tools to achieve their goals.”
“From working closely with our partners, we know that legal compliance capacity building — and the work that the Democracy Capacity Project and Bolder Advocacy are doing — is a key element to ensuring state political ecosystems can be stronger in 2024,” said Eugenio K Smith, Capacity Building Director for the Movement Voter Project. “In particular, now having resources available for all 50 states helps our grassroots organizations like those in our Western Rural + Plains States (WRAPS) Project working in the often-overlooked rural landscape to build strong organizing and civic engagement in 10 rural states: Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming.”
Bolder Advocacy and the Democracy Capacity Project gratefully acknowledge the support of the following funders of this project: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Rural Democracy Initiative, State Infrastructure Fund, Tides Foundation, Movement Voter Project, S.B. Schaar & P.K. Whelpton Foundation, Ventus Charitable Foundation, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, La Luz Philanthropy, and JustFund.
About Bolder Advocacy: At Bolder Advocacy, we are lawyers, coaches and nonprofit experts working to make advocacy easy and accessible for nonprofit and foundation leaders. The Bolder Advocacy team is comprised of the foremost national experts in the rules governing nonprofits’ ability to advocate, and Bolder Advocacy provides tools, training and resources to nonprofits that want to become better advocates. Bolder Advocacy is a program of the Alliance for Justice – a national association of around 150 organizations that are united by a commitment to a fair, just, and free America where everyone has equal access to justice and can fully participate in our democracy.
About the Democracy Capacity Project: The Democracy Capacity Project was created to unleash the power of grassroots and emerging nonprofit groups to advocate vigorously for the communities they represent in the state democratic process. The Democracy Capacity Project is working to develop free resources covering all 50 states that are designed to help leaders navigate legal and compliance risks, design strategic and effective civic engagement programming, and recognize when they might need additional help. The Democracy Capacity Project is a nonpartisan fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.