Advocacy101 :Giving Your Vision a Voice


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This webinar, hosted by National Safe Place and facilitated by Tammy Hopper of SouthEastern Network, will cover the basics of advocating for your agency and the clients that you serve.

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Advocacy101 :Giving Your Vision a Voice

  1. 1. 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."
  2. 2. Webinar Outline I. Defining Advocacy II. Defining Lobbying III. Understanding Lobbying Restrictions IV. State and Federal Lobbying V. Practicing Your Message VI. How Can National Safe Place Help? VII. Internet Resources 2
  3. 3. What is Advocacy? Webster’s Definition – to speak or write in support of something Practical Definition – Providing information in a manner which will generate concern, interest AND action. 3
  4. 4. Your Turn 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? 4
  5. 5. What is Lobbying? • Direct 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 5
  6. 6. What is Lobbying? Grassroots Lobbying – Requires a Call to Action • 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 6
  7. 7. 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. 7
  8. 8. 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); 8
  9. 9. 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. 9
  10. 10. Lobbying Restrictions • 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. 10
  11. 11. H Election • 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. 11
  12. 12. Expenditure Limit • 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 12
  13. 13. 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. 13
  14. 14. 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. 14
  15. 15. Levels of Advocacy/Lobbying Local State Federal Let’s discuss examples of state and Federal efforts. 15
  16. 16. 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. 16
  17. 17. 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. 17
  18. 18. 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 18
  19. 19. 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. 19
  20. 20. “What-If” Discussion – 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? 20
  21. 21. “What-If” 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? 21
  22. 22. “What-If” 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 deficit? How would you respond? 22
  23. 23. “What-If” 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? 23
  24. 24. Questions 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? 24
  25. 25. 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 25
  26. 26. Looking at Advocacy Resources Are there other resources that you utilize or can identify? (verify) (verify) 26
  27. 27. Contact Information • Bob Reeg, MPA, or 202.265.7271 National Safe Place 27 Advocacy Committee
  28. 28. National Safe Place Staff • Executive Director: Sandy Bowen sbowen@nationalsafeplace. org • Training Director: Susan Harmon • Program Development & Research Director: Robin Donaldson • Program Coordinator: Sherry Elder • Administrative Assistant: Julie Arney 28
  29. 29. What Next? 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! A certificate of attendance can be provided by including your name and mailing information on the evaluation or by email request to 29
  30. 30. Thank You! 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.” Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist 30