Advocacy Resources

Because elected officials make policy and budget decisions that affect nonprofit organizations and foundations, it is critical to communicate to them the unique value and role of the philanthropic sector.  Here are General Resources, documents to help you with Advocacy Rules and Regulations, and Best Practices to help you with the full range of foundation advocacy activities. Lastly are Weblinks to organizations with additional advocacy and public policy resources and information.

General Resources

Public Policy Engagement Continuum
This useful chart with accompanying definitions shows a full range of possible advocacy activities for foundations.

Talk to Candidates & Elected Officials Toolkit
Tools to Educate Candidates and Elected Officials About Philanthropy, including suggested talking points, a template for quick facts and a story about your foundation, and a leave behind candidate card.

10 Ways Foundations Can Work with the Public Sector
Foundations and state and local governments have a long history of working together and a common goal of supporting the quality of life in their communities. Read about the ten ways in which they can work together.

The Nonprofit Sector in Connecticut
The Independent Sector's state profile highlights the economic importance, diversity and community impact of the nonprofit sector in Connecticut.

Rules and Regulations

How Can Foundations Engage in Advocacy & Lobbying?
This short article reviews the basics of how foundations can engage in Federal advocacy work, and gives information on when various types of grantmakers can lobby.

The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
The Internal Revenue Service Code prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

Private Foundations May Advocate
Bolder Advocacy's two-page infosheet shows that while private foundations incur a prohibitive tax when they engage in or fund lobbying, they may still engage in a variety of advocacy activities.

Lobbying and Advocacy - Code of Ethics for Lobbyists Presentation given by Peter Lewandowski, Assistant General Counsel, Office of State Ethics, State of Connecticut.

Four Important Facts About Lobbying with Foundation Grant Funds
Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest's (CLPI) one-page fact sheet provides information about lobbying with foundation grants.

IRS Clarifies Rules for Grants to Organizations that Lobby
A letter clarifying how foundations can support grantees that engage in lobbying and election-related activities.

Public Foundations Can Lobby
501(c)(3) public charities, including grantmaking public charities like community foundations and women’s foundations, can lobby within the generous limits allowed by federal law. This Bolder Advocacy fact sheet explains the lobbying rules for public foundations.

Bolder Advocacy: Lobbying Defined for Private Fundations
This fact sheet explains what activities count as lobbying under federal tax law for private foundations.

FAQs: Lobbying and Advocacy Issues
Peter Lewandowski, Assistant General Counsel, Connecticut Office of State Ethics, answers Frequently Asked Questions about lobbying and advocacy issues under the Connecticut State Code of Ethics for Lobbyists.

Candidate Appearances
Read this fact sheet to find out how your foundation can invite candidates to appear at events and how you can fund grantees to host these types of events.    

Best Practices

Policy Influence: What Foundations Are Doing and Why
The Center for Effective Philanthropy's (CEP) new research, seeks to provide foundation staff, leaders, and boards with data and insights that will spur them to candidly discuss philanthropic involvement in public policy and help guide their own practices to engage in policy efforts more thoughtfully as they work to achieve their goals.

Investing in Change: A Funder's Guide to Supporting Advocacy
This Alliance for Justice guide for foundations explains the various roles they can play in the advocacy process. Investing in Change can serve as an in-depth guide to navigating the tax code surrounding support of public charities, or a quick reference guide to answer a specific question.

Keeping Track: A Guide to Recordkeeping for Advocacy Charities This Alliance for Justice (AFJ) resource, is designed to help staff, officers and board members of 501(c)(3) public charities understand how to prepare and maintain the records to comply with federal tax law by tracking lobbying activities and reporting them to the IRS.

Beyond the Cause: The Art and Science of Advocacy
Independet Sector's publication is a study that identifies five essential approaches to successful advocacy and analyzes the effectiveness of advocacy on issues facing the entire nonprofit and philanthropic sector.

Dynamic Families: How Small Family Foundations Decide to Make Big Changes Through Public Policy
This investigation, a project of Brandeis' Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, reveals common patterns among small family foundations that have thrived in the world of policy philanthropy. This publication, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, spotlights efforts by four foundations, including Connecticut's William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.