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What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Advocacy, Lobbying, and Election Activities

Feb 23, 2012

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Getting involved in nonprofit advocacy can raise awareness for your cause, push vital issues to the fore of community discourse, and help your organization better fulfill its mission. So why do so many nonprofits shy away from politics? Learn the ins and outs of nonprofit advocacy, including such topics as lobbying, election activities, and more. Our panelists also provide information on reporting requirements and current hot-topic federal issues affecting nonprofits.

Key points:

  • Lobbying is a small (but visible) part of advocacy
  • There may be plenty that organizations are already doing in the field of advocacy
  • You are the expert in your field in the eyes of policymakers, and they want to hear from you
  • Nonprofits are the conveners of their communities, and ideally suited to speak for the voiceless

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David Thompson


David Thompson, Vice President of Public Policy, National Council of Nonprofits. The National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, DC, is the nation’s largest nonprofit network representing over 25,000 charitable nonprofit organizations through their State Associations. Mr. Thompson previously served as director of government affairs at Independent Sector and as senior counsel and policy director to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Mr. Thompson began his career in private law practice, specializing in labor and employment law. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

Mark Turner

Mark Turner, Manager of Public Policy, Colorado Nonprofit Association. Mark joined the Association in 2003 as member services coordinator. Since then, he has managed the Association’s public policy programs, including actions on state and federal bills and the Nonprofit Voice Project in support of Referenda C&D. In fall 2007 he was elected vice president of the Colorado Social Legislation Committee and is a member of the Secretary of State’s Business Advisory Committee. Mark graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine) with a B.A. in government and legal studies. In his spare time he writes, plays drums, and plays Ultimate (a game with flying disks generally known as Frisbees).