According to a recent survey conducted for Independent Sector, a membership organization of nonprofits and grant makers, charities are now far more reluctant to seek to influence lawmakers and other policymakers. The survey found that less than one-third of nonprofits have actively advocated for policy issues or lobbied on specific legislation over the past five years, down from nearly three-quarters of nonprofits in 2000.
Some of the survey's key takeaways include:
- Nonprofits were more prone to advocate on policy questions if they belonged to national or local coalitions.
- Nonprofits don’t have a clear understanding of how they can advocate at the federal, state or local levels. It is necessary for nonprofits, particularly those that rely on government contracts, to have a voice in public affairs.
- It’s important to build up political capital with local and state elected legislators so when you go “knocking on their doors, they know who you are”.