Elections bring about heightened attention to politics and public policy from the general public and can provide a great opportunity for nonprofits to engage people on issues affecting their work. The 2020 election is no different and a general election in November highlights concerns about public safety and get out the vote efforts, as COVID-19 has exposed shortcomings in municipal funding and public safety concerns at the local, state, and federal level. Nonprofit input and advocacy will be crucial for dealing with our pandemic, economic crisis, and undoing racist structures and policies. While many nonprofits are nervous about getting involved with public policy, particularly during an election year, it can be beneficial to highlight issues, engage with candidates, and educate voters on the issues.
Organizations often wonder if nonprofit lobbying is possible—Bolder Advocacy is here to explain how it is not only legal but an essential way to fulfill your mission and vision. Although it is necessary for many nonprofits to avoid electioneering and appearing partisan in their engagement, there are lots of ways that your nonprofit can advocate during election season, in terms of ballot measures, voter registration, and candidate interaction.
This training will help groups understand the do’s and don’ts of lobbying and engagement during an election year and the various ways to avoid pitfalls of this advocacy work. After this training, you will be able to identify the proper ways to interact with policymakers, respond to candidate statements, conduct get-out-the-vote activities, and much more.
Abby Levine serves as Director of the Bolder Advocacy Program at Alliance for Justice. She provides legal guidance that encourages grantmakers to support advocacy and other nonprofit organizations to participate in policymaking decisions through an understanding of federal tax and election law. Abby’s work includes creating curriculum, teaching workshops, providing technical assistance, writing plain-language legal guides, and describing federal legislative and regulatory developments that impact nonprofits.
Prior to joining Alliance for Justice in 2004, Abby served as the Public Policy Analyst at the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). At NCNA, Abby monitored and analyzed issues affecting the nonprofit sector, such as challenges to nonprofit tax exemptions and advocacy, state budget cuts, government grants streamlining, and corporate governance.
Before working at NCNA, Abby was an associate in the tax department at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio.
(B.A., American University; J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law)