Building Community Power
GSO partners to host advocacy workshop for nonprofits
Dozens of representatives from nonprofits across California came together for our free Nonprofit Advocacy workshop on Tuesday, September 6 to learn how nonprofit advocacy can influence policy change.
First, GSO’s Policy Manager Mónica Lazo and Inland Empire Organizer Aram Arya welcomed the crowd and explained how this workshop is part of GSO’s efforts to build community power alongside our grantees to end poverty. Then, Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes thanked nonprofits for all they do to make a difference in a pre-recorded message.
To put on this workshop, GSO partnered with Bolder Advocacy, a national nonprofit that helps other nonprofits become confident and powerful advocates, and KBH Advocacy, a Sacramento-based lobbying and political consulting firm. “We hear from nonprofits that they want to be more engaged, but they don’t know where to start,” said Mónica. “GSO is dedicated to working together with our partners to create a network of power in the community and on the steps of the capitol.”
Bolder Advocacy Senior Counsel Quyen Tu explained that nonprofit advocacy can play a key role in creating public policy change, but nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) tax status are governed by rules that limit what they can do.
Some permitted advocacy activities include providing nonpartisan data and analysis on a policy, building public awareness or support for an issue, providing public testimony at hearings, and training community members in storytelling.
Tu emphasized that 501(c)(3)s have to be nonpartisan during election years. That means they can’t support or oppose any local, state, or federal candidates for public office. They can, however, conduct voter outreach and registration and provide voter education materials such as legislative scorecards.
Kristina Bas Hamilton of KBH Advocacy spoke about the legislative process in Sacramento and how a good idea from a nonprofit can become a law. She also provided a handy list of advocacy resources.
Hamilton also encouraged nonprofits to use their power to influence the passage of legislation by collecting moving stories, organizing “call-in” days for people to contact their legislators, posting on social media, meeting with legislators on Zoom or in the district, and mobilizing people to visit Sacramento.
After the presentations, it was clear that many nonprofits are eager to play a more active role in advocating for the communities they serve. This workshop gave them more tools to do so successfully.
If you’re interested in learning more about nonprofit advocacy and working with GSO to create policy change, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.