Making The Case For The Sector

Certainly people who view the U.S. Congress with distaste, loathing, contempt (one could go on, but there are only so many hours in a day) can be commended on their good taste and discernment. But in fact, being aware of what is happening in Washington and being willing to press for change (for the good) will still be necessary (if unpleasant).

During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Bob Carter, immediate past chair of AFP and chairman of fundraising firm CARTER, said that nonprofit leaders, including those at the local or small-organization level, have to care about trends in public policy. Carter emphasized the following points:

* Leaders must speak up to preserve the charitable deduction and other policies, because no one else with stand up for the sector.

* The era is over for Congress to protect charities just because nonprofits “do good things.”

* This is a rare opportunity to engage legislators. They are listening.

* The AFP political action committee has cultivated champions in Congress.

Further, he said that AFP has become a leader in advocacy coalition building within the sector, and for that reason he recommended the following:

* Respond when asked by AFP to contact representatives;

* Lobby local representatives personally;

* Be a catalyst for your agency to do likewise; and,

* Give AFP’s national headquarters a heads-up about what is going on.