Read: How Foundations Can be Engaged This Election Year

by Shyaam Subramanian, Southern California Counsel, Alliance for Justice

Election season presents tremendous opportunities for philanthropic organizations to educate voters and candidates on the issues core to their charitable missions. Through strategies such as civic engagement and public policy advocacy, nonprofit organizations can expand the reach and impact of their activities. Alliance for Justice’s (AFJ) Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook helps foundations and their grantee partners understand how advocacy leverages their grant dollars, strengthens their missions, and helps them shape positive policy change to benefit the communities they serve.

History shows us that when a foundation invests in advocacy, the value of its overall giving is multiplied many times over, creating lasting impact that direct services alone cannot hope to match. Whether your foundation has yet to embark on an advocacy journey or has a culture that deeply embraces advocacy, Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy Initiative can help.

Bolder Advocacy promotes active engagement in the democratic process, by giving nonprofits and foundations the confidence to advocate effectively. Foundations and nonprofits turn to us when navigating complex rules governing advocacy, and we work steadfastly to protect and expand the right of nonprofits and foundations to advocate. In sum, AFJ’s Bolder Advocacy Initiative equips foundation staff and trustees with the information and strategies they need to better leverage their dollars.

Foundation support for nonprofits that engage in advocacy, including lobbying, isn’t just legal—it’s important, powerful, and fundamental to democracy. It’s a discussion that belongs on every foundation’s agenda, and Bolder Advocacy’s Foundation Program has a host of resources, tools, and expert support to help foundations use advocacy to achieve their missions.

The Foundation Program helps foundations confidently explore and expand support of advocacy by:

  • Explaining legal rules for advocacy activities—including how foundations can support advocacy through both grantmaking and activities independent of grantmaking.
  • Giving trainings, coaching, webinars, workshops, and written resources to foundation staff and trustees.
  • Providing free online tools to enable funders to assess their grantees’ and their own advocacy and community organizing capacity.
  • Offering resources on how to evaluate advocacy grants.
  • Making the case for the importance of advocacy to accomplish missions.
  • Encouraging support for voter mobilization and other election year activities.
  • Designing templates and guidelines for funders to share with their nonprofit grantees.
  • Sharing examples and case studies from foundations that engage in advocacy.
  • Providing a free 5-day-per-week Bolder Advocacy Technical Assistance Hotline to address questions from foundations and nonprofits grantees.
  • Creating a platform—Foundation Program Speaker Series— to address important trends in philanthropy, with Bolder Advocacy’s signature advocacy lens.
  • Producing Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook: Leveraging Your Dollars , which comprises succinct, visually engaging materials that explain both the benefits of investing in advocacy and the rules permitting it.
  • And much more….