Not-for-profits should continuously assess current and emerging issues to determine whether to take a stand or policy position. Emerging issues may be strategically important to the organization and are often time-sensitive; the opportunity to take a stand on an issue may be fleeting because attention may soon be re-directed to something new. Not-for-profits will need ground rules or a framework for policy positions to effectively address emerging issues; the time to figure out a framework is not when the need arises.
Three key questions which you need to ask when taking policy positions are:
- Can the organization take a stand on the issue? As discussed in Not-for-Profit PolicyPro published by First Reference (in chapter NP 3.04 – Lobbying), a charitable organization must be careful not to jeopardize its charitable status by ensuring that it only participates in allowable political activities, and does not run afoul of lobbying legislation. Additionally,