Often, nonprofit organizations shy away from efforts to shape public policy, even when changes in laws, regulations, and funding would benefit their clients or fix a problem the nonprofit is committed to solve. Tax regulations related to the charitable sector’s relationship to government can be intimidating to a nonprofit.
In Michigan’s experience, the nonprofit infrastructure organizations were formed specifically to engage government and shape public policy in order to optimize private giving and volunteer service. Through working to form numerous partnerships with government – and by establishing formal ties with the governor, attorney general, and legislature – communications are strengthened and expectations are clarified, all for the welfare of the people in the state.
This chapter explores what Michigan has learned by actively engaging and partnering with government over four decades.