[NPFX Ep. 32] Can Nonprofits Lobby? How LGBTQ and Other Organizations Can Influence Lawmakers (with Pat Libby)

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Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to empower nonprofits to succeed so they can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: Can Nonprofits Lobby? How LGBTQ and Other Organizations Can Influence Lawmakers

Many nonprofits mistakenly believe they can't lobby or the risks of lobbying are too great — they fear alienating donors or losing their tax status. In today's podcast episode, lobbying expert Pat Libby and IPM consultant Colton Strawser join hosts Rich and Russ to discuss the truth about nonprofit lobbying and how to do it effectively to advance your mission and improve the lives of your nonprofit's constituents. We also discuss opportunities for LGBTQ+ organizations to influence lawmakers and fight back against recent legal attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts:

  • Introducing the topic and guests [1:02]
  • Summary of report findings [5:24]
  • Using lobbying to counter anti-LGBTQ attacks [9:13]
  • 501(c)(3) organizations are allowed to lobby [11:29]
  • The difference between advocacy and lobbying [14:44]
  • Why lobbying is and should be part of your mission [20:20]
  • How even small nonprofits can start lobbying today [23:23]
  • Opportunities for LGBTQ nonprofits to use lobbying and advocacy [31:27]
  • Lobbying as a way to fulfill your promise to donors [35:35]
  • Effective lobbying often requires partners not directly related to your cause or mission [38:26]

Download IPM's free report: "LGBTQ+ Nonprofit Organizations in the United States: Growth, Trends, Concerns, and the Outlook for Philanthropic Giving"

Special Offer: Free 30-minute consultation for NPFX listeners

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Pat Libby is one of the nation’s leading experts on citizen lobbying campaigns, born from her experience leading legislative lobbying campaigns as a nonprofit CEO. She is author of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You, a “how-to” guide for citizens who are seeking a simple blueprint for creating change through the legislative process. Her model has been used by many advocates with little to no previous advocacy experience to successfully pass state and local laws across the country. For 14 years until July 2015, Pat served the University of San Diego as the founding director of its Nonprofit Institute, creating nonprofit-focused graduate programs, a research center and community education programs serving hundreds of people and organizations each year.

Colton C. Strawser, PhD has built his consulting career working with leaders at community foundations, United Ways, homeless shelters, senior service agencies, youth programs, arts and culture organizations, and more. He has trained more than 1,000 organizations and generated over $25 million in government grants. In addition to being a Certified Fund Raising Professional and Certified Nonprofit Professional, he has also completed a Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting through BoardSource and is a Master Trainer through the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Dr. Strawser completed his PhD in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership at The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego.


Rich Frazier has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years. In his role as senior consultant with IPM Advancement, Rich offers extensive understanding and knowledge in major gifts program management, fund development, strategic planning, and board of directors development.

Russ Phaneuf, a co-founder of IPM Advancement, has a background in higher education development, with positions at the University of Hartford, Northern Arizona University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. As IPM's managing director & chief strategist, Russ serves as lead fundraising strategist, award-winning content creator, and program analyst specializing in applied system dynamics.


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