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Eight must-know grassroots concepts

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Tuesday, May 8, 2012

For every position there is an opposition. It's what makes our democracy work. If you lead a nonprofit organization, there's no doubt an issue or candidate can influence how effectively you raise money or advocate for systemic change. Some even argue an investment in advocacy is an "upstream solution” and preferable to isolated direct service downstream.

The One-Hour Activist: The 15 Most Powerful Actions You Can Take to Fight for the Issues and Candidates You Care About presents a nonpartisan, thorough checklist of tactical best practices for engaging in advocacy on behalf of issues and candidates you care about.

Author Christopher Kush has distilled the essential activities that will help you understand how your letter, email or request for a face-to-face meeting with your lawmaker can be heard above the noise. He covers nuances in relating to your elected officials, leveraging the ...

Read more and click here to register for our next author interview with advocacy expert, Christopher Kush, on Thursday, May 17 at 11 a.m. CST.

Don't forget, LANO Members:

You can download free Page to Practice book summaries at CausePlanet during 2012 thanks to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana. Start with The One-Hour Activist - Click here for download instructions.

Tags:  advocacy  CausePlanet  civic engagement  Page to Practice  public policy 

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Bridge the gap between your service and advocacy

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heather GrantThis post is the third in a series on advocacy and offers relevant Page to Practice™ book summaries and articles at the end of the first article and second article.

In our monthly virtual book club last week at CausePlanet.org, we had coauthor of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, Heather Grant, participate. One of our attendees said, "Nothing beats actually hearing the author explain his/her insights on a subject.”

I agree.

Start at the beginning. One of the six best practices we spent some time discussing with Grant was first on the list of high-impact nonprofits: bridging the gap between service and advocacy. Several EDs in the group commiserated with one another about how this was a neglected area which needed improvement.

Systemic change requires more. In Forces for Good, Crutchfield and Grant explain that great nonprofits realize that, in order to achieve higher levels of impact, they need to bridge the gap between advocacy and service. They may start out providing great programs, but eventually realize that they cannot make systemic change without also engaging in advocacy. Others start out doing advocacy and then add programs to catalyze their strategy.

Bridge the divide. Providing services helps meet immediate needs, such as feeding the hungry or housing the poor; advocacy helps reform larger systems by changing public behavior or creating governmental solutions. High-impact nonprofits bridge the divide between advocacy and service. Although policy advocacy can be an incredibly powerful tool for creating large-scale social change, many nonprofits shy away from it.

Create a virtuous cycle. Some of the reasons for their hesitation include the fact that advocacy is difficult to manage and requires different organizational skills than those needed to provide direct services. In addition, it is challenging to measure results of advocacy efforts. However, the authors discovered that simultaneously doing both creates a virtuous cycle. Instead of causing the organization to lose focus or lessening its impact, engaging in both service and advocacy can create an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is no surprise, then, that all the organizations in the book have engaged in both.

Here are three ways to bridge the divide...

Read more at the Page to Practice blog.

Tags:  advocacy  CausePlanet  civic engagement  Heather Grant  Page to Practice  public policy 

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Adoption Awareness Conference

Posted By Katherine Stiel, St. Elizabeth Foundation, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want to learn more about adoption awareness? Need CEU's? Come check out this great opportunity to both, while promoting adoption as a positive option in the Baton Rouge community.

The conference, to be held on Friday, March 23, 2012, will offer 6.5 Continuing Education Unit’s by the Louisiana State Board of Social Workers.

The seminar is designed as an educational community outreach program for professionals and lay persons interested in adoption.  The conference is sponsored by St. Elizabeth Foundation, a local, full-service adoption agency, and will introduce an overview of adoption- how adoption has changed over the years, where it is now and why it is important to look at again.

WHO:
St. Elizabeth Foundation is a local, nonprofit organization based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services. The conference will include expert training in all areas of adoption. Among these nationally recognized speakers are Professor of Law, Robert Destro and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Robin Marerro.

WHAT: Nationally acclaimed speakers will cover all aspects surrounding adoption. Among the conference topics are "Understanding the Adoption Process,” "Questions Adolescents have about Adoption,” and "Pregnancy Counselors and Adoption.” The LSB of Social Workers has approved 6.5 CEU’s and 6 LLPC CEU’s for the seminar. The seminar is $35/person and free for students.

WHEN: Friday March, 23 from 8:30 am – 4 pm

WHERE: LOD Cook Conference Center, 3838 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

Tags:  advocacy  Baton Rouge  cause marketing  civic engagement  Community Foundations  community leaders  culture  education  education reform  events  Health  lano  leadership  louisiana  New Orleans  non-profits  parents  public  services  special offer  Volunteer 

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In session: Advocacy for the nonprofit leader

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Thursday, March 8, 2012

This article is the first of a series on advocacy and offers relevant Page to Practice™ book summaries and articles at the end of this post.

As many state legislatures are about to convene or already have for 2012, it's a good reminder for those of us who work in the social sector to roll up our advocacy sleeves and engage in the process. My friends at The Bell Policy Center tell me working at this level upstream can save an inordinate amount of time and resources downstream at the direct service level.

For example, The Center worked with a broad coalition of 40 nonprofits to enact a payday lending law in 2010 and preserve it in 2011. These nonprofits provided critical support by enlisting the testimony of their clients who use payday loans. Thanks to the successful collective efforts of this coalition and The Center, they estimate that payday borrowers will save more than $52 million annually in loan charges, which will have a lasting effect on the low-income people served by this coalition and will reduce the demand for services.

Nonprofit organizations are responsible for substantial economic and social impact. Of the 2 million+ organizations in the world, 1.5 million are in the U.S. alone. It's imperative we observe best practices when participating in advocacy and demonstrate exemplary leadership in this arena... Read more 

Tags:  advocacy  CausePlanet  civic engagement  public policy 

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