Why Engage in Advocacy?

Why does your voice matter?

Philanthropy is an engrained part of American tradition and culture. Philanthropy connects charitable gifts to organizations and causes working to strengthen society. Its fundamental purpose is to provide leadership in identifying solutions to a wide range of the most persistent issues and serve the needs of people and communities across the country and the world.

BUT, if policies are implemented that threaten or weaken philanthropy, it hinders our sector’s ability to perform the work that has been so carefully woven into the fabric of our culture over many years.

Government is the mechanism for public policy process, and your elected officials and their staff are the ones who are driving and creating the policies. As their constituents and important stakeholders in civil society, they need to hear from you about what types of policies will help you to more effectively strengthen their communities.

“That all makes sense, but we’re really more focused on our mission. We just don’t have time for advocacy.”

Imagine this: you have decided to get creative and build a bench. You have wood and you have nails—but you decided leave the hammer behind; sitting in your toolbox. You may eventually be able to build that bench, but it’s going to take much more time and effort and you will perhaps never be certain that the bench is stable and safe for use over a period of time.

Let’s imagine further, that you intend to keep this bench outdoors—but a severe thunderstorm is quickly approaching on the horizon. How confident are you that the bench you spent so much time and effort building without a hammer will successfully weather that storm?

It is the same idea with your work in philanthropy.

Advocacy and engagement with policymakers is a tool that is readily available to you and your foundation to support your efforts in furthering your mission. Particularly with tax reform as a distinct policy priority of Congressional leadership and the skepticism among policymakers for endowed philanthropy, the threat of policies that could hinder our work is imminent.

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