Increasing Your Mission Impact Through Advocacy

The Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Nonprofit Management at UW-Milwaukee is offering “Increasing Your Mission Impact Through Advocacy”:

“Sometimes, in our efforts to uncover the root causes of the problems our nonprofit seeks to address, we learn that existing laws, regulations, or public and corporate policies hurt the people we serve. We can then take action through advocacy to change or eliminate such rules, regulations, and policies. Advocacy is one of the most effective tools nonprofits and foundations can use to advance their mission and serve their communities.

This session is for board members, executive staff, foundation leaders, and others whose organizations are not currently engaged in advocacy and public policy work but are interested in exploring the idea and seeking credible information on this critical issue.

Session Topics:

  • What is advocacy, and why must nonprofits engage in such advocacy efforts?
  • What the law allows tax-exempt nonprofits to do
  • Barriers to nonprofit engagement in advocacy and how to overcome them
  • Specific roles that board and staff members can play
  • Examples of service provider nonprofits that have decided to engage in advocacy
  • Overview of organizations and proven resources that can help

Key Takeaways

  • Leave with a toolkit of activities, tools, practices, and case studies for exploring where advocacy fits in their nonprofit, making decisions regarding advocacy, and taking the first steps to building internal organizational capacity to engage in advocacy.
  • Discover entry points for advocacy that already exist in nonprofits
  • Learn about ways to engage in advocacy without adding to staffing and budget

Panel Presentation:

This session features a panel of nonprofit leaders engaged in advocacy. The panel will share how advocacy helps their organizations advance their missions and provide advice to nonprofit leaders interested in exploring ways to make advocacy work for their organizations and communities and resources nonprofits can tap to get started.


  • Martha Collins, Member Services Director, Urban Economic Development Association (UEDA)
  • Matt Stienstra, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Programs, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
  • Jeanne Geraci, Executive Director, The Benedict Center

Session Presenter: Frank Martinelli, The Center for Public Skills Training

Frank Martinelli has over 40 years of work, training, and consulting experience with various nonprofit and public sector organizations. He is president of the Center for Public Skills Training, specializing in strategic planning, governing board development, building organizational capacity for advocacy and systems change, and community partnership and alliance building. Many professional staff, board members, and other volunteer leaders have benefited from Frank’s practical, results-oriented training and consultation. Frank is the author of “Encouraging Visionary Board Leadership,” which appears in You and Your Nonprofit Board: Advice and Practical Tips from the Field’s Top Practitioners, Researchers, and Provocateurs and is published by Charity Channel Press.

From 1981 to 1992, Frank served as Coordinator of The Resource Center, a primary training provider to nonprofit groups in southeastern Wisconsin. A graduate of Marquette University with a BA in Sociology and the University of Wisconsin with an MS in Urban Affairs, Frank has conducted numerous workshops and written extensively on nonprofit management topics with particular emphasis on the involvement of the board of directors in strategic planning.

Since the fall of 2016, beginning with a TEDx talk on the subject of systems change and nonprofits, Frank has been organizing the Nonprofit Repositioning Initiative, which aims to provide resources and network-building opportunities to increase the capacity of nonprofits to deepen their impact at the underlying systems level and provide more permanent solutions to community problems.

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