Principle: Advocacy & Public Policy
By providing a means for public participation and promotion of the common good, nonprofit organizations play a central role in the democratic process. As entities that serve the public, nonprofit organizations should engage in advocacy and public policy efforts to promote their own constituent and organizational interests, as well as those of the nonprofit sector as a whole. In addition, nonprofits should encourage broader public participation in these efforts and, in the process, provide appropriate assistance
1. A nonprofit should encourage board members, staff, volunteers, and friends to act as advocates and ambassadors for the organization and the entire charitable nonprofit sector.
2. Individuals who are authorized to act as advocates and ambassadors for a nonprofit should be knowledgeable about the programs and activities of the organization and be prepared to speak on its behalf when appropriate.
3. Information provided to the general public, the media, and policy makers becomes a matter of public record. Therefore, in order to avoid misunderstanding or manipulation of the message, a nonprofit must ensure both that the information is timely and accurate and that the social and political context of the information is clear.
4. A nonprofit should participate in and support the formation and amendment of public policy consistent with the organization’s mission.
5. A nonprofit should assist its constituencies in public and civic engagement by encouraging citizen participation in local, state, and federal policy-making efforts.
6. A nonprofit should continuously maintain an understanding of the current public climate and the resulting impact on policy.
7. If engaged in public policy and/or advocacy activities, nonprofits should adopt a written policy that clarifies the scope of the work, as well as the time and resources to be allocated to those activities.
8. A nonprofit that engages in lobbying must adhere to legal expenditure limitations. US
9. A nonprofit that engages in lobbying activities that are subject to state and federal reporting requirements must file accurate and timely reports on its lobbying activities with the Internal Revenue Service and the Montana Commissioner on Political Practices. MT, US
10. Federally funded nonprofits that engage in lobbying activities must organize their legislative work so that no federal funds are used for this purpose. US
11. A nonprofit engaged in promoting public participation must ensure that the activities of the organization are nonpartisan. US
12. A nonprofit corporation may not make a contribution or expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party and may not engage in any activity that promotes or discourages a vote on behalf of any individual candidate. MT, US
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