A nonprofit organization should advocate for the people it serves, its organization, and the common interests of the nonprofit sector to operate effectively and advance its mission. A nonprofit should also facilitate community participation in matters of public interest relevant to its mission through its advocacy strategies.
Advocacy means the active support of an idea or a cause to influence public opinion or public policy. Advocacy comprises a broad array of activities including civic engagement, public education, and lobbying. A nonprofit's level of involvement in advocacy will vary based on the organization's mission, capacity, and strategic direction.
Nonprofits can advocate freely provided they follow some important legal requirements. Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, nonprofits must not engage in partisan political activities including giving money to or supporting or opposing, candidates for elected public office. But nonprofits must follow federal, state, and local laws that define limits on lobbying activities and applicable reporting requirements.
Principles & Practices Assessment
Find out if your organization is meeting best practices in Advocacy, based on Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado.
Public Policy Resources
Find additional resources and information from our Public Policy page, including the Association's Public Policy Agenda, bill tracker, and Advocacy Toolkit.