Why Advocate for Your Mission
Advocacy is a critical tool for nonprofits in fulfilling their mission. Job training, food donations, grassroots conservation, and arts education help serve our clients at one level, but advocacy allows nonprofits to promote policies that will create an environment in which the needs for these services are greatly diminished and/or more efficiently accomplished.
Nonprofit advocacy has made huge gains for the people we serve. From civil rights organizations pushing for the repeal of segregationist laws to disability rights groups working to gain access to public spaces for the physically disabled, as well as gains made by child welfare groups to help fund child healthcare programs and environmental protection groups working to achieve the passage of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, advocacy helps create stronger communities.
There are many reasons a nonprofit should advocate.
Advocacy is how we tell our stories in our communities.
You probably are already doing it. You tell the CEO of a local bank a moving story of one of your clients and how your organization was able to benefit her and her family. You go on the morning news to discuss the grand opening of your new soup kitchen and how it will provide relief to hungry families. You tell your friend about the great work your organization is doing and encourage them to volunteer. You meet with your mayor to express the need for a playground in an under-served community and request the city invest in a new park. Good advocacy is something we do every day, not just with legislators and local officials. It is how we tell our stories in our communities.
You are the expert about your mission.
Government officials and business leaders deal with a wide range of issues for which they may or not have experience or knowledge. They rely on experts to educate them on issues to help them make informed decisions. If you aren’t providing information to them on your issue, who is? You do not have to go so far as to advocate for a policy to educate a legislator on the benefits of after-school programs. Educating decision makers will yield long term benefits to those you serve. You are their storyteller.
You should advocate to advance your mission and improve the lives of those you serve.
The government makes important decisions on a wide-range of issues important to Arkansans including: EBT (food stamps), conservation of wild lands, healthcare, preservation of historical places, roads, public education, promotion of local artists, prisons, and economic development, just to name a few. By advocating for policies that will advance your mission and improve your clients’ lives, you are creating long-term systemic solutions that will have a vast impact.