“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.”

Benjamin Franklin

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Demystifying the Role of Advocacy for Nonprofits, and Accepting the Call for Bold Leadership

March 28, 2019
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
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Temple University Center City (TUCC)
1515 Market Street, Room 320
Philadelphia, PA 19102



Nonprofit organizations have a wealth of experience and expertise on the ground, yet they typically operate in a system that has significant barriers to sharing that expertise back into the public and policy spheres. The history, culture, and systems of funding that we operate within have often led us down a path of mere survival: short term funding solutions, and subsequently short term goal-setting. We as the leaders and experts on these issues must take the lead role in the big-picture vision-casting and advocacy of real, effective solutions. Our fight for survival often stifles our ability to dream those big dreams, and we sacrifice the true big picture to "live to fight another day". I don't think these two concepts need to be mutually exclusive. Organizations are doing amazing work under dire circumstances, but we are losing the war. Many of the issues we are responding to are growing in size and complexity.

This program will discuss the common challenges that nonprofits face when considering their role in advocacy, particularly in response to a funding dynamic that prevents us from challenging the status quo. Given those barriers, how can nonprofit organizations break through and serve as the experts that inform systems instead of responding to them? I argue that our funding relationships are the perfect leverage, but it requires a different posture; a posture that can confidently provide thought leadership instead of simply reacting to opportunities. We must learn to dream big, be bold, and take the lead.