Public Awareness, Engagement, and Advocacy

Guiding Principle: Nonprofits should represent the interests of the people they serve through public education and public policy advocacy, as well as by encouraging board members, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders to participate in the public affairs of the community. When appropriate to advance the organization’s mission, nonprofits should engage in promoting public participation in community affairs and elections. As such, they should communicate in an effective manner to educate, inform, and engage the public.

A. EDUCATING AND ENGAGING THE PUBLIC
(1) Information about the organization’s mission, program activities, finances, board members, and staff should be easily accessible, accurate, and timely (i.e., updated at least annually).
(2) Nonprofits should provide a meaningful opportunity for the public to communicate with a representative of the organization.
(3) Nonprofits should assure that any educational or advocacy information provided to the media and policy-makers, or distributed broadly, is factually accurate and provides sufficient contextual information to be understood.

B. ADVANCING THE MISSION THROUGH PUBLIC POLICY AND ADVOCACY
(1) Nonprofits should have a written, board-approved policy on advocacy defining the process by which the organization determines positions on specific issues.
(2) Working independently and in partnership, nonprofits should strive to influence public policies that affect the organization’s ability to achieve its mission.

C. ENGAGING IN LOBBYING AND POLITICAL ACTIVITY
(1) In promoting public participation in community affairs, charitable nonprofits must be diligent in assuring they do not participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.