Uplifting, empowering, and advancing youth well-being
MENTOR Minnesota Advocacy
Annual Mentoring Action Day
In the spring of 2019, MENTOR Minnesota launched our first ever Mentoring Action Day. Our Program Services Council and staff traveled from far and wide to the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul to meet with their legislators and share their mentoring stories.
You are experts on mentoring! Sharing your experiences is the most effective way to advocate for legislative investment in mentoring!
In the Legislature
Here at MENTOR Minnesota, we have partnered with state representatives to testify before MN House and Senate committees about topics like trauma-informed care and education.
MENTOR Minnesota is excited to be a part of a national network of mentoring advocates and supporters. This winter, we joined local staff from across the nation as we convened in Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hill Day. To give you a glimpse of our advocacy topics, in the Spring 2019 session we focused on grants for quality youth mentoring, as well as the expansion of mentoring programs that serve at-risk and foster care youth. You can find more information in our Legislative Issue Sheet – 2019.
On the national level, we are also strong supporters of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)’s funding for mentoring. You can find more information on MENTOR National’s website here.
Individual Advocacy Tips
In the legislative off-season, it’s a great opportunity to interact with your elected officials over social media platforms and email. Invite them to visit your mentoring program or to visit your recognition events; show them the impact of the great work your program accomplishes on a daily basis. The best method in securing support from our elected officials for mentoring is to have them meet the people who volunteer their time to help our youth.
Tweet your legislator or tag them in a Facebook post promoting your program and mentoring in general. Many of our elected officials frequent social media platforms, so there is always a chance to reach out to them. If you are unable to secure their visit to your mentoring program, than you can encourage them to publicly show their support for mentoring by tagging them and tweeting them. There is always a way to get in touch with your elected officials and garner their support. You just have to be creative and diligent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my organization lobby for causes that we care for and affect us?
Yes! Not only can your organization lobby for bills and policies, but you SHOULD because YOU are the ones who are engaged in mentor work. Your voice and experiences are especially important and informative for your legislators’ decision.
Is it illegal for non-profits to lobby?
Absolutely not! Under the 501(h) rules, you are free to lobby. However, the amount of money you can dedicate towards lobbying varies depending on your organization’s budget. According to 501(h) rules, you can calculate the overall lobbying limit of your organization as follows: you can spend 20% of the first $500,000 of your budget on lobbying. You can spend 15% of the next $500,000, 10% of the next $500,000 and 5% of the remaining. Of the total amount that you spend on lobbying, only 25% can go towards grassroots lobbying.
Is my organization’s staff too busy to allocate time for lobbying?
No way! Lobbying doesn’t have to take a long time. You can do quick things like writing a letter or e-mail to your legislator to support bills or policies. Even meetings with legislators usually take only 15 minutes. If you do not have time yourself to lobby, you can call upon your network and clients/participants to advocate for causes.
See the links below for more information on lobbying and advocacy!