Nonprofit Advocacy: A Seat at the Table
In the world of government relations and legislative affairs, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
However, Shirley Chisholm wisely said, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring your own folding chair.”
The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits provides more than a folding chair for the sector. We stand ready to promote legislation and policy that helps the nonprofit sector, our donors and our constituents. More importantly, we fight for the charitable sector’s rights to advocate and lobby for their respective missions, remain truly “tax-exempt,” and promote a fair regulatory environment that prevents undue financial, resource and administrative burdens on the sector.
Moreover, we promote a transparent sector willing to work with the public sector collaboratively to create a better Oklahoma.
The Center employs a contract lobbyist to monitor legislation, and our organization has a standing committee comprising board members, nonprofit professionals and lobbyists and former legislators to provide NONPARTISAN guidance on policy issues that protect and promote the sector.
Past legislative action from the Center has saved our sector tens of millions of dollars by promoting tax exemptions on charitable giving (sponsorships and auction items at events), preventing changes to ad valorem tax exemptions for charitable organizations, preventing caps on state deductions for charitable gifts – and so much more.
We also train organizations to advocate for their own missions, hosting free, monthly Advocacy Connection discussions for nonprofits, speaking to boards of directors about the importance of having a strong legislative agenda, and encouraging nonprofits to use their voice through registration and voting, participation in the census and continued communications and relationships with their legislators – federal, state and local!
ADVOCACY IS POWER!
Economic Impact of Nonprofits
- If the American nonprofit sector were a country, it would boast the 7th largest economy in the world.
- Nonprofits employ 10% of the workforce and contribute nearly $322 billion in wages.
- With more than 19,000 nonprofits in Oklahoma, the sector accounted for over $12 billion of revenue coming into the state in 2010 and claimed $34 billion in assets. (By comparison, according to the IRS Census, in 2002 the real estate sector only brought in $2 billion in revenue.)
- Thousands of Oklahomans would be without food, shelter or medical care if nonprofits did not fill the void.
What does this mean?
Nonprofits are critical to American social and economic health, providing a lifeline to the underprivileged, enriching our society through cultural and artistic endeavors and saving taxpayers billions of dollars each year. With over 12 million employees, 61 million volunteers and countless beneficiaries, nonprofits represent a significant and powerful voice that can be lifted up to our local, state and federal leaders for the common good.