Continued Advocacy needed for Nonprofit Sector 

by Brandy Petrone

Charitable nonprofit organizations, while nonpartisan organizations by nature and law, are impacted by elections just like other sectors of the economy. Oftentimes, government turns to its private-sector nonprofit partners to help solve issues in their communities, no matter who is in charge. 

That makes continued advocacy and engagement by the nonprofit community crucial. 

At the national level, the Presidential administration of the federal agencies’ budgets and goals can impact resources and demand for services. The 2020 election results will cause a shift at the Executive level of the U.S. Government.

Nonprofits that were concerned about or supportive of certain policy changes that impacted their cause areas will need to be vocal about changes they would like the new administration to make or polices to keep in place.

Nonprofits have been hit hard during the pandemic and still need help. A November 2020 survey by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits showed that 31% of nonprofits that applied did not receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan in the first round.

Nearly 52% of organizations indicated they would apply for another round of PPP loans if they are made available, helping nonprofits to reduce the need for future furloughs or layoffs or continued reductions in services. 

And the nonprofit sector still seeks relief from increasing unemployment insurance claims. The business sector was held harmless through federal CARES Act funding for certain unemployment insurance costs, but nonprofits only saw 50% relief. This needs to be rectified. 

Staying active participants in the transition at the federal level and working with their federal delegation is key.

In Arizona, the 2020 elections brought in less change, politically, at the local level. In particular, our state Legislature remains in Republican control. And while there may not be a political shift at the state capitol in 2021, there are many new members of the state legislature to get to know. 

The nonprofit community will need to educate these new state legislators on the impact of the nonprofit sector in Arizona’s economy — the fifth-largest nongovernment sector — as well as on key ideas that the sector has been advocating for. 

Arizona’s 2-1-1 system — an information and referral service — has been helping Arizonans in need for many years and became critically important in 2020 to help connect individuals to services during the pandemic. Permanent funding for this statewide service is necessary.

In addition, there has been bipartisan support at the state capitol to continue to help nonprofits through increased charitable giving. New legislators will be hearing from the nonprofit community on the need to increase the state’s charitable deduction cap. 

Nonprofits have been creative this past year, revising their methods of service delivery to keep those they serve, their staff and volunteers safe. The 2020 elections brought change throughout the federal level and through some local offices, but those results do not change the nonprofit sector’s mission. 

Nonprofits will continue to advocate and educate their elected officials at all levels of government on the needs of the sector and our communities — collaboration will be key to ensure programs and services for Arizonans recover and grow in 2021. 

Brandy Petrone is senior associate for Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs

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