BoardSource encourages all nonprofit board members to advocate for their organization's mission through advocacy work. The following success story comes to us from Jewish Family Services of San Diego (JFSS).

Step One: Persuade the Board to Adopt Advocacy as a Priority: JFSS is a multi-service nonprofit with a budget of $17 million and a mission to empower people of all ages and faiths to reach their goals and build better lives. In 2013, its new CEO, Michael Hopkins, was concerned by its growing proliferation of programs.

He knew he needed to engage his board early — he needed time to first educate and then motivate the members to approve the resources needed to support JFSS’ growing advocacy presence. His efforts were aided by his ability to attract a new board member who would go on to become the chair and champion board advocacy.

Step Two: Solidify Support by Demonstrating Impact Today, advocacy is integrated across the organization and is a deeply ingrained part of the JFSS culture.

Today, JFSS’ advocacy work has significantly strengthened the organization in very tangible ways. In 2016, JFSS was named nonprofit of the year for San Diego County, and since making the decision in 2014 to prioritize policy work, JFSS has successfully secured substantially more than $1 million in public grants.

Step Three: Sustain Support Through a Strategic Approach Given its limited advocacy resources, JFSS is strategic about where it spends its time. “One of the things that has allowed us to be successful is that we aren’t trying to do everything,” Shana said. “We identify a few issues we are best positioned on, and in everything we do, impact is our driver.”

Read the full article about advocacy as a priority by Laurel O'Sullivan at Board Source.