Using our Voice
Each year a joint committee representing Foraker’s Governance and Operations Boards analyzes issues affecting the Alaska nonprofit sector. The committee uses the criteria below in its analysis, and then recommends to the Governance Board during the annual meeting in January those issues it feels should be pursued in the coming year.
Impact: Does this issue affect the interests of the nonprofit sector in a significant way, positively or negatively? Does it affect the entire sector, or a vast majority of the sector? Is it primarily a local issue but with a high potential for future sector-wide impact? Generally speaking, an issue has sector-wide impact if it has broad relevance to the creation, management, operation, administration, and well being of nonprofit organizations in Alaska.
Partner Support: Is there already, or could Foraker reasonably anticipate there will be, a general level of support among Foraker Partners on the position to be taken? Gauging Partner support is not expected to be onerous or statistically rigorous. Instead, it will rely on a simple process that takes advantage of the connections and networks that exist among staff, Partners, the Operations Board, and the Governance Board. The key is to connect with individuals who broadly represent the various sub-sectors in Alaska’s nonprofit community. While there are many ways to check the nonprofit perspective on potentially relevant issues, the primary tool for doing so will be the Foraker Operations Board.
Credibility: Would Foraker as an organization be perceived as a legitimately concerned and appropriate advocate for the position to be taken? The answer to this question best comes from the Foraker Governance Board through its public policy committee.
Organizational Capacity: Does Foraker have the financial and human resources to engage in the required advocacy?
Nonprofit leaders have more opportunities than they may realize to present points to legislators and other decision makers about the value of the sector in Alaska and the benefits we bring to our communities. Foraker has drafted “talking points” that you may use when you meet with decision makers — or when you’re visiting with the public or community groups. Feel free to use these points, and of course, to tell the stories of ways your organization works in the community.
Do your board and staff need ideas on how to serve as advocates for the sector and your organization. We’ve added some thoughts for you on ways to do that, too.
You’ll find both sets of “talking points” here.
On January 18, the Foraker Governance Board approved the public policy issues it will address in 2017. The priorities address a number of state issues and federal issues, as well as one relating to Foraker’s internal capacity. A number of 2017 priorities have been carried over from previous years:
- Challenge local sales and property taxation on Alaska nonprofits
- Lead, convene, and advocate for the sector as it faces state fiscal instability
- Ensure the best possible outcome for implementation of regulatory changes to the State Single Audit threshold
- Remain at the forefront of Alaska research on the sector’s economic impact and on nonprofit gender pay equity*
- Catalyze and convene partners to ensure everyone in Alaska is counted in the 2020 Decennial Census and that annual American Community Survey (ACS) estimates are accurate for Alaska communities
- Activate the sector and communicate potential changes to the federal Charitable Giving Incentive
- Activate the sector and communicate potential changes to federal programs that cause significant challenges to the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector to deliver services – including protecting the Johnson Amendment.
- Monitor and provide educational resources regarding the federal Fair Labor Standards Act*
- Build Foraker’s internal financial capacity to sustain public policy priorities
* Issues carried over from previous years
If you have questions or comments on our public policy agenda, please contact Mike Walsh, Foraker Vice-President and Director of Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.