Those of us in the nonprofit sector know that what we do matters. But have you ever felt unable to effectively communicate the unique contributions of your organization, or feel as though those outside our field don’t really understand the benefits nonprofits bring to the table? To help shed some light on these issues, the Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project fielded a survey to its national network of nonprofits on the “value proposition” of the sector. The survey focused on the value nonprofits bring to American life and how this value is articulated to various stakeholders. Now, GuideStar has teamed up with JHU to bring this crucial and timely topic to a much larger cross section of organizations to make their voices heard. With a network of over 900,000, GuideStar is providing the opportunity for the Listening Post Project’s important work to be carried out on a bigger scale. This partnership enormously benefits the nonprofit sector by allowing thousands of organizations to express their view on the special contributions they make and how valuable they are to the public.
The collaboration with GuideStar is especially significant given the link between communicating the importance of the value proposition and nonprofit advocacy. One of the key findings from a Listening Post Roundtable on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying was that nonprofits need to make their communities and local policymakers aware of the vital services they provide, as this can translate into greater support for the organization. In turn this support may prove critical for future advocacy efforts. Additionally, the Roundtable report noted that getting clients/patrons involved in advocacy efforts instead of limiting that role to staff only is essential. By encouraging clients and patrons tell their stories of how a particular organization enriched their lives, nonprofits can demonstrate their importance to the public and policymakers, which will further their ability to advocate effectively for both their own organizations and for the sector as a whole. The Listening Post Project Public Benefit survey gives nonprofits the chance to showcase the benefits that set them apart from the for-profit and government sectors, as well as an opportunity to share the success stories of individual clients and patrons they’ve served – information that will lead to a much stronger foothold in the policy advocacy arena.
A link to the survey is available in the March 15 edition of GuideStar’s newsletter. Help make clear to the press, public, and policymakers the nonprofit sector’s unique attributes by filling out the survey today!