Bolder Advocacy in Puerto Rico
In April 2018, I had the privilege of traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to provide training and technical assistance in Spanish to Puerto Rican nonprofit organizations. El Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud (the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico) invited Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy to offer a workshop about the rights (and responsibilities) of nonprofit organizations to impact public policy. El Instituto had organized this event as part of the debut of their Children’s Budget, which analyzes the impact of Puerto Rican and Federal budget cuts on the island’s youth and families. After the training, I provided in-depth technical assistance sessions to both groups considering starting a nonprofit, as well as savvy organizations like Espacios Abiertos (Open Spaces).
Workshop participants learned that, whether they are registered as 501(c)(3) organizations under Federal law or as Nonprofit Organizations under Puerto Rican law, they have a right to lobby, or to influence legislation. Participants were particularly interested to learn that urging a government agency (like FEMA) to properly fulfill its responsibilities does not constitute lobbying. Why? Because FEMA officials are not lawmakers, and because urging FEMA to do its job properly involves compliance with laws, regulations, and policies that are already on the books (and doesn’t involve passing new laws or changing old ones).
Spanish-speaking staff and volunteers at 501(c)(3) organizations across the country can request their own training in Spanish about their organization’s rights to engage in nonprofit advocacy activities. You can also read our online factsheets in Spanish or by participate in our next webinar in Spanish on August 11th: Bolder and Wiser: Guidelines for Nonpartisan Advocacy for 501(c)(3) organizations. Please contact me to discuss a workshop in Spanish for your team, to ask any questions about the webinar, or to receive technical assistance in Spanish: 510-444-6070 and [email protected].