Montana Nonprofit Association seeks to build the capacity of the Montana nonprofit sector in order to monitor and act on public policy issues that affect the sector as a whole. MNA's Public Policy Council directs the association's work and is guided by a Public Policy Agenda developed in consultation with our membership.
MNA Public Policy Program Goals
- Create a voice for MNA members on public policy issues.
- Educate nonprofit organizations and legislators on public policy issues that affect the nonprofit sector as a whole, their rights and responsibilities as advocates, and the skills needed to effectively engage in advocacy.
- Build a representative body of nonprofit organizations where diverse viewpoints are represented and engaged in public policy debates on issues that affect the sector as a whole.
- Enable the MNA membership to weigh in on significant national policy issues through federal lobbying and participation with the policy activities of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA).
MNA Public Policy Agenda
Montana Nonprofit Association’s public policy agenda represents our long-term framework for addressing public policy that impacts and strengthens nonprofits in Montana. The following public policy objectives represent the core focus areas of MNA’s public policy agenda and were developed in consultation with MNA membership and the broader Montana nonprofit sector. Specific public policy initiatives and/or legislative strategies are designed to move forward the following agenda items.
- Best Practices and Accountability
Enhance the ability of Montana nonprofits to function at the highest levels of integrity, efficiency, and transparency and be accountable to the public they serve.
- Charitable Giving
Preserve and enact policies that incentivize citizens to donate to Montana charitable organizations
- Tax Treatment of Nonprofits
Promote and advance policies that preserve tax exemption of nonprofit organizations.
- Nonprofit - Government Relations
Improve and strengthen the interface between Montana nonprofits and state and federal government agencies and processes.
- Workforce Development
Expand and strengthen incentives for people to work in the Montana nonprofit sector as professional staff or volunteers.
- Nonprofit Capacity Building
Increase funding of the nonprofit sector to expand training, management assistance, and organizational development resources available to Montana nonprofits.
- Advocacy and Lobbying Rights
Protect the advocacy rights of all 501(c)(3) organizations and strengthen the ability of Montana nonprofits to engage in the public policy arena.
MNA Criteria for Implementing Advocacy and Public Policy
The following criteria will be used by the Public Policy Council in considering whether MNA should engage in policy advocacy on a particular issue:
Does this issue affect the interests of the nonprofit sector in a significant way?
Is there, or do we reasonably anticipate there will be, a general support among the members of MNA on the position to be taken?
Would MNA as an organization be perceived as a legitimately concerned and appropriate advocate for the position to be taken?
Statement of Policies and Procedures:
I. The Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA) may take and implement appropriate organizational positions on legislative or other public policy issues which:
- Have statewide application or effect; or
- Have local or limited application but are determined to have statewide policy significance;
- Have general relevance to the creation, management, operation, administration and well-being of nonprofit organizations in the State of Montana, or
- Are of broad, community-wide importance, and are likely to have such a significant impact on the people and causes nonprofits serve that it is appropriate for the voice of the nonprofit sector to be represented in the policy debate.
II. Except as noted in I. above, MNA should not take or implement positions on legislation or other public policy issues which are limited in application to a particular subject matter (i.e., education, human services, arts, etc.) of the nonprofit sector.
III. Should MNA decide not to take a position on a particular issue, it may, nevertheless, provide limited legislative monitoring and updates to members on the status of the issue.
IV. In cases where there is not agreement among MNA members on a policy position on a significant issue affecting nonprofits, MNA may play a role in providing information to both members and legislators on the various opinions within the sector.
V. MNA’s role in supporting nonprofit organizations in their advocacy activities on particular sub-sector issues may include: technical assistance and consultation, training in generic lobbying and advocacy skills, training in lobbying laws and regulations, convening nonprofit organizations to discuss and strategize around issues of broad (but not sector-wide) significance, and creating opportunities for nonprofit organizations to discuss these issues with their legislators.
VI. Public policy positions shall be consistent with the mission of the MNA and with policies and objectives approved by the Board of Directors, including the long-term Public Policy Agenda, the Legislative Priorities, prior positions taken in the name of MNA, and other policies of the Board regarding advocacy and public policy.
Adopted February 16, 2005 by MNA Board of Directors