May 17, 2022
6 tips to improve your advocacy right now
by Jeb Ory, Nonprofit Pro contributor
As we all know, advocacy is part of the mission at almost every nonprofit. What is not often discussed is that many government affairs professionals say it’s getting harder to do and they need more effective tactics. In a challenging environment, optimization matters. While technical tweaks and testing help, there’s a lot to be said for processes and practices designed to maximize impact — and there’s a lot you can do to improve your program.

Here are six tips to improve and pitfalls to avoid, most of which are low- or no-cost.

1. Humanize your appeal
Having your supporters share their stories, as opposed to sending a form letter, is powerful. These stories provide the constituent anecdotes that lawmakers need to support a position. Many in your audience are willing — perhaps even eager — to talk about their situation, but they sometimes need help getting started. Systems that prompt your supporters for information, rather than just giving them a text box, result in rich, personalized anecdotes that move the needle. (Sophisticated teams will also use this process to tag supporters with key attributes, which can help in the future).

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society regularly uses personal stories and took the strategy further this year when the Senate Finance Committee invited the organization to testify about prescription drug prices. Using personal anecdotes obtained through multiple advocacy campaigns, Steffany Stern, the nonprofit’s vice president of advocacy, told the committee real stories about Lisa in Michigan, Helen in Massachusetts and others.

“It was really great to do a search, scan through a document in 10 minutes and grab five stories that hit on this,” Laura Bennett, director of grassroots advocacy at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said.

2. Engage beyond critical votes. Your advocates push members of Congress and state legislatures on issues, but they should also help you build relationships with those same lawmakers.

Nonprofit Finance 101: What every nonprofit needs to know
Episode 3: How would you respond if your primary funder decided to move your contract to another provider? In 2021, Child Advocates suddenly was forced to regroup and redefine its work. In this podcast episode, CEO Cindy Booth shares how board and staff leadership moved forward. One year later, Child Advocates 2.0 is growing again with a new contract that is furthering their statewide aspirations. Listen
The International Center has named Colin Renk as vice president of client and partner services. Renk previously was the executive director of the America China Society of Indiana.
Special Olympics Indiana has hired Emily Hale as manager of development operations. Hale has served as a program manager for the Academy Volleyball Club.
Special Olympics Indiana has hired Katie Lee as a manager of sports programs. Lee previously was director of sports and competition at Special Olympics Ohio.
Special Olympics Indiana has hired Savannah Vaughn as a manager of sports programs. Vaughn previously was an eligibility case processor for the NCAA.
Leadership Indianapolis is accepting applications for its Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series®. Participants in the 10-month series will gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing Indianapolis and an opportunity to build strong relationships with other community leaders. Apply by June 8.

Hoosier Women Forward is seeking applicants for its fifth class of participants. Women selected for the 2022-2023 class will be connected to people, policies and experiences that are designed to enhance their leadership skills. Apply by June 22.

The Neighborhood Grant Program, which seeks to increase resident engagement, promote neighborhood action, and establish new and stronger relationships among neighbors and community-based organizations, is accepting grant requests for up to $10,000. Apply by June 6.

Miller Summer Mission for Children has granted Brooke’s Place for Grieving Young People a $2,250 grant to support the nonprofit’s Camp Healing Tree. Proceeds will be used to support grieving youth ages 7-17 by connecting them with other youth who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Read more

The new Indianapolis-based nonprofit Indy Dance Council has launched an online platform to promote activities related to the Indianapolis dance scene. The platform includes educational information, a directory of studio listings, performances, events and other resources for dancers to easily find. Read more

Indianapolis-based Habitat Sartorial, a fashion design and custom printing company, has announced that it is donating all proceeds from custom clothing orders back to each nonprofit client’s organization. Learn more
Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater approach training on June 1 at 9 a.m. is designed to help participants internalize the reality of a racially structured society that is defined and supported by multiple social systems. The interactive session illustrates the importance of addressing the lack of equity within systems. Presented by Racial Equity Institute. Cost: Free. Register

Driving nonprofit performance and innovation virtual class from June 2-9. Participants will learn to think conceptually about performance measurement and how to lead performance-focused initiatives that will empower their organizations and drive new levels of success. Presented by Harvard Business School. Cost: $3,750. Register

Find existing data webinar on June 7 from 9-11 a.m. covers the strengths, weaknesses, and costs of readily available data sets. Presented by SAVI Data Literacy. Cost: Free. Register

Low-cost ways to boost planned gifts webinar on June 9 at 2 p.m. Learn how to inspire legacy giving without breaking the budget. Presented by Chronicle of Philanthropy. Cost: $69. Register

Midwest Volunteerism Summit on June 9 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. will focus on how to measure the impact of volunteers' involvement on an organization's mission and corporate social responsibility. Presented by Central Indiana Association of Volunteer Administration. Cost: $70 members/$90 nonmembers. Register

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging monthly virtual training series on Wednesdays from 8-10 a.m., starting July 13. Participants in the six-month session will learn how to make their organization a more supportive and engaging place to work by addressing unconscious bias, and fostering an inclusive environment. Presented by Purple Ink. Cost: $1,350. Learn more and register

Indianapolis Bar Association is offering free legal assistance for extended hours on June 14 from 6-8 p.m. Chat or call 317-269-2000.
Changing Footprint needs volunteers to sort, pair and categorize shoes on Thursdays from noon-2 p.m. at 10291 N. Meridian St. Learn more and register
Technological innovations and new donation initiatives have the potential to change the mindset and behavior of everyday donors and strengthen philanthropy across the globe.
Feedback can help employees and companies improve if it's delivered frequently and in structured ways.
Our sponsor marketplace serves to further connect our readers with our advertisers who are focused on serving nonprofits. To learn about each sponsor's nonprofit services, click on its logo.

Private month-to-month offices for lease
Two furnished micro-offices and a premium suite are available at Nexus Impact Center for month-to-month rentals. Rentals include free meeting room credits, access to high-speed internet, free printing, and complimentary coffee. Tenants also have the opportunity to engage with other small businesses and nonprofits. Rates start at $393/month.

“I opened a new account yesterday and posted a job. It was an easy process! I appreciate this, so we can post every time we need it.”

Post your openings on Charitable Advisors’ new job board. We have transitioned to a more streamlined platform for job postings. Use the coupon code 75OFF to get a $75 discount on any job ad placed between now and May 20. View this video to learn how to set up an account and place your first job. You also can preview this step-by-step guide. Employers can continue to access their applicants on the ExactHire Job site for jobs posted through April 25. If you’re seeking a new career, create an account and apply for a job here.

To view all jobs, visit the new Not-for-profit News jobs' board.
Executive Leadership (CEO/ED/COO)

JLAP Deputy Director - Indiana JLAP

President - The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County - Smith and Syberg Inc.

Fund Development/Marketing/PR/Advocacy

Director of Communications - Wheeler Mission Ministries

Communications Coordinator - Firefly Children & Family Alliance

AmeriCorps VISTA Member - The Oaks Academy

Director of Communications - Firefly Children & Family Alliance

Special Events and Communication Specialist - Jackson Center for Conductive Education

Annual Fund Officer - Little Red Door Cancer Agency

Development Specialist - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital – ALSAC

Coordinator of Development - St. Paul Catholic Center

Director of Annual Giving - Christian Theological Seminary

Admin Support/Clerical

Communications and Event Associate - University High School of Indiana

Executive Assistant - GANGGANG

President's Office Writer - Marian University

Store Manager - Wheeler Mission Ministries

Donation Center Manager - Wheeler Mission Ministries

Administrative Assistant - Foster Success


Business Administrator - Light of the World Christian Church

Business Manager - Indiana Repertory Theatre

IT Manager - Underground Safety Alliance

Part-Time Bookkeeper - St. Richards Episcopal School

Operations Manager - Camptown Inc.

Data/Research/Quality Assurance

Data Specialist - Transform Consulting Group

Data and Research Coordinator - Downtown Indy Inc.

Programs/Program Support

Next Generation Director - Light of the World Christian Church

Street Outreach Manager - Horizon House

Education and Homeowner Development Liaison - Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP)

Youth Development Specialist - Madison and Delaware County - Firefly Children & Family Alliance

Program Manager (serving Metro Indy) - Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter

Dietitian - Damien Center

Systemic Investigations Coordinator - Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

Housing Case Manager - Damien Center

Accompanist & Assistant Choral Director, Purdue Musical Organizations - Purdue Musical Organizations (Purdue University)

Assistant Food Pantry Manager - Gleaners Food Bank

Program Services Manager - Gleaners Food Bank

Sonshine Daycare Assistant - Sonshine Daycare