NDBN Lobby Day is an essential opportunity specific to the needs of diaper bank leaders and advocates, offering advocacy training, policy discussion, networking, outreach, and meetings with legislators and their staff. Watch the recap of a previous year’s trip below!
Meetings go best when constituents know how a bill or proposed course of action will affect the congressional district. Statistics about child poverty, the number of people you serve, and how many more in your area would benefit from a diaper program, can illustrate how important this bill is for your area. NDBN’s state Baby Diaper Facts arrange important information about your state’s poverty rates, how many children are enrolled in WIC and TANF, how much of a monthly TANF check a month’s supply of diapers can eat, and other key indicators. Also check out your NDBN’s Diaper Bank Progress by State and see how diaper need is being met in your state.
You can also learn information about your congressional district, such as poverty rate of families with children under 5, the percentage of single moms with children under 5, and other key economic indicators on the Census Bureau’s My Congressional District website.
Another map you might also want to check out, the Center for American Progress has this poverty indicators map. By clicking on your state, you can pull up a number of poverty indicators.
BUILD YOUR STORY BANK
Just as when speaking to donors, stories can convey the importance of your work and why a diaper distribution program in your state could make such a difference. You can find tips here and here and here.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
We will provide you a background sheet on each congressional representative, but you might want to do some reading in advance. Ballotpedia is a great source, as is your Congressional representative’s web page.
Advocacy and Lobbying Activities for Diaper Programs
We’ve heard that some diaper bank leaders, while excited about NDBN Lobby Day, think that they cannot participate because their organization is recognized as a 501(c)(3). Fear not! Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations can both advocate and lobby.
Advocacy is education—telling lawmakers about diaper need, about what you do as a diaper bank in your community, and sharing the stories of the people served by the diaper bank, are all examples of advocacy. There is no limit on advocacy.
Lobbying refers to expressing an opinion in communication with lawmakers about specific legislation. For example, asking a member of Congress to vote for or against a particular bill, and asking a member of your state legislature to introduce a bill to exempt diapers from sales tax are instances of lobbying. 501(c)(3)s can lobby as long as lobbying is not a “substantial portion of their activity.” Because “substantial” is not defined, the IRS has created an option for organizations to measure their lobbying activity according to set monetary limits, which are easy to track. In order to take advantage of this, an organization must file what is known as a 501(h) election. It is recommended that all diaper banks file a 501(h) election.
Capitol Hill Appointments with Elected Officials Begin
NDBN Staff Available in Congressional Cafeteria
Changing Policy, Changing Lives
WATCH Alison Weir, of the National Diaper Bank Network, walk you through why we lobby in the video below. As diaper bank leaders, we are the experts. As constituents, we can explain to our legislators how this hidden consequence of poverty prevents children and their families from reaching their full potential. We look forward to working with you, on changing policy that really does change lives. Join us March 25 & 26, 2019, in Washington, D.C.!
When diaper banks provide one of a baby’s basic needs, we help moms succeed.