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Every nonprofit can and should get involved in advocacy to help advance its mission. Representatives of nonprofit organizations can educate and inform decision-makers, including policymakers with the expertise, experience, and real-life stories necessary to find solutions to complex community problems. Additionally, advocacy shapes the public debate about issues that affect nonprofits. It’s the number one way nonprofits can focus attention on the issues they care about and bring about real change for the people and causes they serve.
Yes, nonprofits are permitted to move beyond advocacy (e.g. educate and inform policymakers and the public) and lobby. Lobbying is the practice of influencing policymakers or their staff by expressing a position on a specific piece of legislation (known as direct lobbying) as well as mobilizing advocates to contact their legislators about that legislation (known as grassroots lobbying).
Nonprofits play an important role in the local, state and national economies. Businesses and governments have recognized that mission-driven nonprofit organizations offer something unique - leverage of social, financial and human capital - that is necessary to advance the common good and provide essential services to support a thriving community.