BoardSource strongly encourages boards and board members to lead their organizations toward greater engagement in advocacy and to play a personal role in advancing their missions through ambassadorship.
Social sector organizations should not ignore the policy environment in which they operate. Opportunities to move your mission forward through policy change represent an important strategy for impact. And, on the flip side, proposed decisions that could negatively impact your organization’s work and stakeholders can represent a significant threat to your mission.
That’s why BoardSource strongly encourages boards to lead their organizations toward greater engagement in advocacy, and encourages board members to play a personal role in making sure that their organization isn’t missing opportunities to advance its mission. In fact, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits revealed that the most effective organizations are actively engaging in advocacy as a fundamental strategy for greater impact.
Board members are uniquely positioned to be successful advocates and ambassadors for their missions. As business leaders, community volunteers, philanthropists, and opinion leaders, they have the connections, the confidence, the respect needed to speak up on behalf of their organizations when policy decisions are being made that might affect the organization’s ability to achieve its mission. But — according to BoardSource’s Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices — only 52 percent of organizations report that their board members are actively involved in advocating for their missions, and many organizations aren’t advocating at all.
BoardSource believes so strongly about the board’s role in advocacy that we set it as a new expectation in the most recent edition of Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards and co-launched the Stand for Your Mission campaign in 2014.