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Three Threats to Nonprofit Advocacy

Last week, I had the pleasure of being with the leaders of nonprofit state associations as part of a National Council of Nonprofits (NCN) convening in Oklahoma City. 

From Hawaii to Maine, nonprofit leaders spent 3 days sharing their challenges and dreams for the nonprofits they serve. As the Director of the Iowa Nonprofit Alliance, I soaked in the wisdom of this venerable group. 

Not surprisingly, busting advocacy myths repeatedly came up as a critical issue facing my association colleagues. Despite hearing advocacy misconceptions every day, I am still surprised at how pervasive they are. 

Tim Delaney, the NCN CEO, succinctly named the three “As” that hamper nonprofit advocacy programs. These resonated with me immediately. 

  • Attorneys

  • Accountants

  • Academics 

I know I just ruffled some feathers. Of course, many attorneys, accountants, and academics can be incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about nonprofit advocacy and help create successful and effective advocacy programs.

But many times these folks are not helpful and can hinder advocacy programs. 

Because many nonprofit leaders are often hesitant to engage in advocacy, the risk-averse advice of these outsiders can hamper the effectiveness of their advocacy efforts.

The bottom line: be sure to engage professionals who understand your advocacy goals and are experts in nonprofit advocacy law. Many specialize in helping nonprofits safely engage in legislative advocacy to ensure our public policies meet the needs of our communities.

Your state’s nonprofit association (and me - I make referrals) can help you find an expert who can provide you with the guidance – and confidence – you need to stand up for your supporters and sector. 


If your team is struggling to build an active base of advocates you can count on, let’s chat.

Here are some of my new friends


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