Kari McCann Boutell, President, Iowa Council of Foundations
I spent the early part of last week in Chicago at the Joint Policy Institute hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the National Council of Nonprofits. We spent our time together discussing state and federal policy strategies, approaches to working with policy makers and understanding how funders and nonprofits can work together to advance public policy as it relates to their missions.
I had conversations with many nonprofit association leaders who work closely with nonprofits throughout their states. Without question, the number one thing they urge funders to do to support advocacy and policy work is – you guessed it – fund it. There are a variety of ways funders can support advocacy:
- provide planning grant funding to develop policy agendas
- support nonprofit convenings that bring together nonprofits and form collaboratives
- invest in communications efforts for nonprofits
And supporting nonprofits in this way can lead to the results your foundation hopes to achieve:
- educating the public on the importance of your issue and/or the nonprofit sector
- sharing effective solutions to public problems
- developing tools and techniques to help scale effective programs
Most importantly, all of this must align with your foundation’s mission, but if it does, public policy and advocacy can advance your mission in ways not possible though programmatic grants. To learn more about how other funders are supporting advocacy efforts, click here.