Tag Archives: advocacy

6 Ways to Advocate for Policy Change

Are you missing a key chance to change policy? Most foundations know that they can’t lobby directly for a piece of legislation that is being considered by a lawmaking body. But before the legislative process around a new piece of public policy ever begins, foundations can be key players in shaping the landscape for that policy and building knowledge and momentum. On the other side of the legislative process, after a policy passes through legislation and becomes law, some of the harder and longer-term advocacy work begins as new policies are implemented. Here are six ways funders can support policy advocacy before and after the legislative process: 1) Establish a Vision. Foundations can use their convening power to bring together the … Continue reading 6 Ways to Advocate for Policy Change

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Speaking with One Voice: 5 Tips for Joint Public Statements

Once upon a time, it was unheard of for a foundation to engage in any kind of discourse involving public policy. Now, it’s becoming more and more commonplace, as foundations realize that in order to truly create positive change and address the various root causes of the issues they fund, policy must come into the picture. Several of our clients have engaged in policy successfully in a variety of ways. Some work well in advance of legislative activity, bringing issues to light and convening experts to brainstorm potential policy solutions. Others work to support nonprofit organizations in their own advocacy efforts. Still others work after policies are enacted to help support their implementation. Sometimes, foundations feel the need to speak … Continue reading Speaking with One Voice: 5 Tips for Joint Public Statements

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An Underutilized Tool For Foundations—Policy Change

In philanthropy, we are driven by the causes that matter to us and bolstered by the opportunity to generate meaningful change. For years, when I was out in the community or talking with my colleagues about the work of Blue Shield of California Foundation, I would rarely start by describing us as a “policy funder.” Instead, I would say that we aim to strengthen and transform the systems that support the health and safety of California’s most vulnerable populations. As I thought more about our programs and grant making and peeled back the many layers of “systems change,” I uncovered a policy framework upon which so much of our work relies. For us—and most foundations—strong policies are the infrastructure that … Continue reading An Underutilized Tool For Foundations—Policy Change

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Three Rules to Guide Foundation Policy Efforts

Over the past few years, I’ve been working with more and more foundations that choose to actively engage in public policy discussions as part of their missions. That’s encouraging, because when you get right down to it, nothing really changes unless public policy supports a change. But working in public policy can be messy, intimidating and often frustrating. Based on what we’ve helped our clients document about their policy work, here are three key things to remember before starting any policy effort. Engage multiple voices. No one person or organization has all the answers, and no single perspective or experience represents that of the group. The more voices you can engage, and the more varied the experiences and perspectives that … Continue reading Three Rules to Guide Foundation Policy Efforts

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“Policy” Shouldn’t Be a Four-Letter Word

“Policy” is a four-letter word within many foundations. That’s probably because policy is a gateway to advocacy, which can lead to lobbying. And that, if done incorrectly, can land a foundation in trouble. Better just to steer clear. Or is it? Think about the work that you do on a daily basis to fight poverty, promote health, improve education, address any number of social ills. Then think about how many times you or those you work with have said, “You know, we wouldn’t have this problem if…” Chances are, whatever “if” is, it’s related to policy. That means if philanthropy is truly going to be effective, policy engagement may need to be part of the plan. We’ve been very fortunate … Continue reading “Policy” Shouldn’t Be a Four-Letter Word

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Unlikely Allies Unite for a Policy Win

It used to be that you could scour the country and be hard-pressed to find a foundation working in the public policy arena. Fortunately, that’s changing as more and more foundations realize that the root causes of the issues they want to address are themselves rooted within the workings of policy. But while it’s more common to find foundations working in policy, it’s still quite uncommon to find them working together on a policy issue. Policy is complicated, and figuring out one’s view and position around policy can be even more so. That’s one reason the Putnam team was so pleased to work with The Stuart Foundation in San Francisco on a recent case study about a loose collaboration of … Continue reading Unlikely Allies Unite for a Policy Win

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