In the current political environment, many organizations have been asked by different constituents to speak up on policies, legislation and societal trends. Many funders have developed a great deal of social capital and public trust from their work on social issues, and their voices can lend weight and import to policy discussions. At the same time, they need to navigate legal parameters and weigh the cost benefit analysis to their vocal engagement on particular issues.
This article from Community Wealth Partners advises funders to think about three key questions in deciding whether to use their standing and influence on particular issues:
- Will it advance your mission or cause? Could the issue affect your desired outcomes? Can you influence an audience that has power over the issue?
- Are you the right messenger? What is your role as a foundation? Are you a credible source on this topic? Will speaking out support your stakeholders in a way they want to be supported?
- Are you sharing the right message? Do you have a clear purpose or call to action? Are you communicating in a way that will resonate with your audience?
In addition, corporate leaders may find the article in Harvard Business Review on “What CEO’s Should Know About Speaking Up on Political Issues,” to be a source of valuable counsel as well.