Outreach and Engagement Opportunities
Proposals being considered in Congress often have implications for philanthropy and its effectiveness in addressing some of our most pressing challenges. In addition to educating lawmakers in Washington, D.C., communicating the impact locally is just as important. Here are some ways your organization can spread the word about the correlation between philanthropy and thriving communities.
Letter to the Editor
Send a brief letter (typically 200 to 250 words) to the editorial page editor of your local newspaper in response to relevant news coverage or editorials, and raise awareness about your efforts to strengthen your local community.
Inform local media outlets that you support a strong philanthropic sector, and emphasize the potential consequences in the community if lawmakers enact tax policies that could hurt philanthropy’s effectiveness. By sharing key data or issuing a public statement about policy debates in Washington, you can convey to Congressional members that your organization is fully engaged in conversations.
Submit an op-ed (typically 550 to 700 words) to the editorial page/op-ed editor encourage your community and lawmakers in Washington to protect incentives that stimulate charitable giving.
Editorial Board Meeting
Arrange a meeting with members of the editorial board from your local paper to highlight the impact of philanthropy, and the consequences of policies being considered. Editorial support can have a significant impact in shaping opinions and prompting action.
One-on-one Reporter Meetings
By connecting with influential reporters for one-on-ones, you can help raise awareness about legislation being considered and its impact on the community. Most importantly, you can position your organizations as a go-to resource on relevant issues.
Facebook and Twitter
Through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can drive conversation and direct stakeholders to useful resources. Posts can include relevant news articles, op-eds, new reports or research.
You can inform and engage your network through your organization’s blog. Moreover, you can share your blog on social media with elected officials and opinion leaders to alert them on the importance engaging philanthropy on key issues.
Request individual meetings with key staffers and/or congressional members in district offices to reinforce the local impact of policy changes. When appropriate, be sure to include other nonprofit, foundation or community leaders who share your perspective.
By inviting elected officials on site visits, you can demonstrate philanthropy's local impact. Moreover, it will provide elected officials a better understanding of how local programs and services are helping their constituents. Be sure to include key community leaders and advocates, as well as beneficiaries and donors. Site visits can also be promoted to the local media if appropriate.