When I tell people I’m a lobbyist, they usually recoil (it’s even worse when I tell them I’m also an attorney). But when I tell them I advocate on behalf of Goodwill Industries® they smile and say, “That’s great! I love Goodwill®!” And then it hits them…Why does Goodwill need a lobbyist? What type of issues does the organization work on?
Our public policy team works with Goodwills around the country to develop our annual public policy agenda. We look at emerging issues and determine where we can make an impact. There are some pieces of legislation that we proactively pursue and others that we oppose to protect the interest of local Goodwills and the people we serve.
The majority of our time is spent educating Congress and the public about Goodwill’s mission of eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work. Most people know Goodwill for our donated goods retail model, but don’t realize that 82 percent of the revenues support employment training programs and other community services. This is why Goodwill’s agenda reflects issues that are important to the organization as an employer, a nonprofit and a human service provider.
Our education and advocacy efforts cannot be successful without the support of Goodwill stakeholders like yourselves – shoppers, donors, program participants, family members, volunteers, and employees just to name a few. While this weekly blog serves as a way to keep supporters informed of our efforts and updated on new developments related to our agenda, there are other ways in which you can play an active role. For example, follow us on Twitter @GoodwillCapHill or sign up for the Legislative Action Center and contact your member of Congress when asked.
Organizations have government affairs staff to navigate the legislative process, to draft position papers and testimony, and monitor and analyze bills, but it is the small actions taken by constituents like you that can truly make a difference.