David Streeter and Tom Lang went to DC last week for lobbying, networking, and learning. Read on to learn about their experiences at the 2019 National Council of Nonprofits Lobby Day and ConFab: The Content Strategy Conference!
David Streeter, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, at Lobby Day 2019
Before the Confab started, I headed to Capitol Hill for two days of lobbying. Going to Capitol Hill is my favorite part of advocacy work. I truly love wandering the halls of Congress and taking it all in. It’s a humbling and exciting experience, even for someone like me who has gone to the Hill many times. My first trip to the Hill was when I was a kid, and I still feel the same excitement about seeing our democracy in action. Needless to say, I was looking forward to my two days on the Hill.
During my visit, I discussed a wide range of issues with members and staff from our congressional delegation. The issues included charitable giving, the 2020 Census, and new tax issues for nonprofit organizations. You can download our 2019 Federal Public Policy Issues one pager here for more information about the issues I discussed. Also, please make sure you’re on our Public Policy and Advocacy email list so that you will receive updates and action items resulting from my trip.
A big highlight of my trip was meeting Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Representative Kim Schrier (D-WA). All three of them made time to listen to Washington Nonprofits’ concerns and ask thoughtful questions about our legislative issues. They also acknowledged and celebrated the important work that our members do throughout our state. I am looking forward to following up with our congressional delegation in the coming weeks so that Washington Nonprofits can continue building relationships with our federal officials.
The National Council of Nonprofits also arranged a special Lobby Day Breakfast with Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who is the prime sponsor and champion for the forthcoming Nonprofit Relief Act. Representative Maloney shared her experiences working for and with nonprofits to illustrate her commitment to our sector. Hearing her speak so personally and passionately gave me an extra energy boost for my meetings that followed.
It never ceases to amaze me how anyone can enter our government buildings to connect with their members of Congress. If you’re ever in Washington, DC, I highly recommend calling our Senators and your Representative to arrange a visit to the Hill. There’s a good chance you’ll get to meet the officials, receive gallery passes to watch Congress in action, and receive a guided tour of the Capitol.
Tom Lang, Director of e-Learning, at the National Council of Nonprofits’ 2019 ConFab
As the largest gathering of nonprofit state associations, I was excited to be able to go to this year’s ConFab (short for “Conference Fabulous”) and finally meet face-to-face many of the nonprofit state association colleagues I’ve been emailing with the past two years. Beyond representing Washington Nonprofits and sharing the great learning program we’ve developed here, I joined in several sessions with David and the other conference attendees.
Not surprising, Census 2020 is a priority for many state associations around the country. The opening session at the conference was about successful social movements from the recent past and introduced commonalities between the anti-tobacco, MADD, and gun-rights movements. Ensuring an accurate census count next year requires a massive grassroots campaign, with nonprofits taking a leading role in getting the word out.
This year’s conference also had a strong emphasis on equity, with a focus on taking action. One conference session gave David and I the welcomed time to talk more about equity in our organization and how we can make day-to-day changes in our work. The conference focus then moved towards resiliency (a common theme for communities of color) and on to disaster preparedness. Nonprofits across the country are at the front lines when natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes happen. At this year’s ConFab, the National Council of Nonprofits started the conversation about how nonprofits can be a leader in the emergency management sector. Expect more on this topic in the future.