Advocacy and Lobbying: Making the Most of the LawPresentation Transcript
Advocacy in Action Advocacy and Lobbying – Making the Most out of the Law “ Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent."
Understanding Lobbying Restrictions
State and Federal Lobbying
Practicing Your Message
How Can National Safe Place Help?
What is Advocacy?
Webster’s Definition –
to speak or write in support of
Practical Definition –
Providing information in a
manner which will generate
concern, interest AND
How do you define the word Advocacy?
Was there a time when you felt moved
enough by a particular story, issue or
experience that you decided to make an
effort to affect a change?
What is Lobbying?
Organizations attempt to influence specific legislation by stating their position
Takes an official position on an issue
Meets with legislator or staff
Asks members of the organization to contact legislator
What is Lobbying?
Organization urges general public to take action on specific legislation
Organization reflects or states a point-of-view on specific legislation
Organization encourages general public to contact legislators
Grassroots Lobbying –Requires a Call to Action
Who is a Lobbyist?
A person who attempts to influence the legislative process as a part of his or her job or under hire by someone else.
So, if you receive paid compensation for your efforts – you are a lobbyist and must identify yourself as such.
Who is Not a Lobbyist?
The following individuals are not lobbyists under the law:
(1) political party officials;
(2) news media;
(3) elected government officials while performing the duties of office;
(4) persons who give testimony or provide information to the General Assembly, at public hearings of state agencies or who provide information or assistance at the request of public officials or employees (Note: this excludes most faculty, staff, and administrators from the definition of a lobbyist);
Who is Not a Lobbyist
(5) agency officials and employees while engaged in activities within the agency they serve or with another agency one's agency collaborates with on projects;
(6) staff of the United States Congress or General Assembly;
(7) persons who are members of organizations who are not paid compensation or not designated by the organization as a lobbyist ; and
(8) persons who submit data, views, and arguments in a presentation to the administrative rules committee.
c. A client: a private person or a state, federal, or local government entity that pays compensation to or designates an individual to be a lobbyist.
Lobbying Must Be “Insubstantial”
501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are prohibited from lobbying “except to an insubstantial degree.”
The IRS evaluates an organization’s lobbying activities under one of the following two rules:
The “insubstantiality” test, and
Section 501(h) expenditures test.
501(h) Expenditures Test
Section 501(h) of Internal Revenue Code provides bright-line definitions and rules.
501(h) expenditures test, added in 1976:
sets clear, specific dollar limits , and
only includes lobbying expenditures (staff, materials and other costs); efforts of volunteers not counted toward limit, as they are under the “insubstantiality” test.
501(h) Expenditure Limits
501(h) rules allow up to $1 million in lobbying expenditures!
20% of first $500,000 of exempt purpose expenditures
+15% of next $500,000 exempt purpose expenditures
+10% of next $500,000 exempt purpose expenditures
+5% of remaining exempt purpose expenditures
Significant Lobbying Permitted
An organization with a $2 million budget could spend $250,000 on lobbying under these limits. Organizations electing 501(h) rules could dedicate one or more staff to lobbying efforts, full-time, and still maintain their tax exemption.
Difference between Education and Lobbying
You are free to educate your local, state and
federal officials and their staff members at
any time. This includes sending newsletters,
sharing stories of young people and
providing outcome data from your program.
You become a lobbyist when you are paid
for this effort and your educational updates are
joined with pleas for increased funding, etc.
Levels of Advocacy/Lobbying
Let’s discuss examples of state and Federal efforts.
Your Turn of State Advocacy
Did you know that Indiana has a line-item in the state
budget to support Safe Place Funding?
If you live in a state that has multiple Safe Place cities –
you have a wonderful opportunity to connect with
others to provide the state wide influence needed to
increase attention on youth issues. The National Safe
Place Program is utilizing Resource Associates to
organize state meetings for Safe Place programs in
various states. Shared experiences and insights can
lead to shared action.
Politics at the State Level
While politics and political pressure play a role in local advocacy – state level advocacy includes the additional challenges of diverging geographic regions, increased variance in rural versus urban need and increased demand for attention. Establishing the needed connection to state legislators takes additional time, energy and enthusiasm.
What does Advocacy Mean at the Federal Level?
Impacting funding and legislative decisions on youth issues
Creating/maintaining legislators’ awareness of local needs and concerns for youth
Establishing a “champion” for youth issues in Congress
Creating a climate of concern for the next generation
Partnering with others to influence decisions that affect all states
Politics at the Federal Level
Policymakers at the Federal level are
inundated with requests from constituents
and pressure from other legislators to
support actions that will affect the entire
nation. Successful advocacy at the Federal
level requires the commitment and
partnership of many constituents of many
legislators of many states asking for the same
thing at the same time.
What if you approach a state legislator and
he or she has some statistics that indicate
that juveniles in your state have increasing
rates of delinquent behavior?
How would you respond?
What if you need to advocate or lobby for
increased funds for your program and the
staff person for the Congressman you are
visiting points out some negative press
about your agency?
How would you respond?
What if you are in Washington and, in each
visit, you hear that there is no money to be
allocated because of the increasing Federal
How would you respond?
What if you have to visit with your state and
Federal legislative representatives – all
of whom are from a different political party?
How do you prepare for the visit and how do
you craft your messages?
The line is open for questions regarding the topic at hand, personal experiences in advocacy efforts or assistance regarding a current situation.
What’s on your mind – or on your to do list?
How can NSP help you?
NSP database can provide statistical information for your state and/or the nation
Assist in draft letters and packets for government officials
Advocate on your behalf at the Federal level
Educate new coordinators and local agency staff about the importance of advocacy and how to advocate
NSP database can provide anecdotal information regarding youth assisted at Safe Place sites
Provide data regarding the effectiveness of public-private partnerships established through NSP
Mobilize NSP member agencies (staff and volunteers) to support or oppose pending legislation
Provide copy of 2006 Edition of the NSP Advocacy Handbook
Program Development & Research Director: Robin Donaldson
Program Coordinator: Sherry Elder
Administrative Assistant: Julie Arney
Thank you for participating in this webinar.
When you exit the session, you will receive a link to complete a brief evaluation. We recognize that your time is valuable so please share with us your thoughts and feedback on topics and methods that will best help you help others!
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The staff of the National Safe Place Program and the members of the National Safe Place Advisory Board appreciate your commitment, dedication and ongoing efforts on behalf of youth and families in every community. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance. Until next time – Best Wishes!
“ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”