Grantee Spotlight: Stand for Your Mission, A National Campaign for Nonprofit Board Advocacy

The nonprofit sector is a powerful force for social change, with more power and influence than we think, but only if we step up to the table.There are an estimated twenty million board members in the United States alone, and we represent our communities’ most connected and influential leaders. When the stakes are high, these relationships and networks matter, and we have the power to partner with decision-makers to align priorities with what our communities really need.

That is why the Campion Foundation founded the Board Advocacy Project here in WA State which thanks to the leadership of BoardSource, the national center focusing on nonprofit governance, we scaled up this effort and launched Stand for Your Mission, a campaign and guide to help transform board members into ambassadors and, yes, advocates in the larger public arena.

Consider the possibilities. In Washington State alone, charities that work on housing and homelessness issues have 10,000 board members. Imagine if we could leverage the connections and credibility of those 10,000 board members to help get this legislation passed.  In June, The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance did just that and several board members from around the state gave powerful testimony in support of an affordable housing bill, and it made a huge difference in passing the bill.

Nonprofits are a powerful force when they work together and are willing to stand up and be heard.  All of us involved in the charitable sector must do what it takes to cure the social ills that drive our passion, and to not be satisfied with just treating the symptoms. Advocacy is a critical tool that we must use, and use well, or we risk leaving our mandates unmet.  Along with the Alliance for Justice, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Council of Nonprofits, the Campion Foundation was happy to support BoardSource’s release of a new edition of its iconic resource, Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards. In the re-issue, BoardSource is formalizing the expectation that advocacy is an essential role for nonprofit board leaders.  We couldn’t agree more.  We encourage you to download BoardSource’s discussion guide and start the conversation with your board today.

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