BISMARCK – Nonprofits work hard in North Dakota, in so many different ways, both to do what they do and bring awareness to it. One unique way they bring awareness is their advocacy at the state legislature.
With the legislature in session this year, several nonprofits gathered at the Capitol this week to bring awareness to what they do. About 45 organizations, representing a variety of purposes, set up on the first floor of the Capitol Building this past Wednesday.
Dana Hager, organizer of the event and executive director for North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations, said the purpose of the event is for education and awareness.
“They can come, and if they want to visit with their legislators from their district they can,” said Hager. “They can come see the legislative process in action. Sometimes this is the only chance they have to come to the Capitol. It also gives them a reason to come here and advocate for their entities.”
With so many different sectors of nonprofits, Hager said there are almost always bills that a nonprofit might be interested in.
“The arts, Health and Human Services,” said Hager. “The nonprofits are everywhere from feeding the homeless, sheltering, to your schools.
Though NDANO isn’t necessarily active in each nonprofit’s advocacy to the legislature, it encourages each nonprofit to track its own interests in the legislative bills that come through.
“There’s only one of me,” Hager laughed. “I couldn’t do it for all the sectors, but NDANO looks at bills that impact the nonprofit community as a whole. Charitable giving bills, things like that.”
Hager described NDANO as a membership association, with its main goals being education, advocacy, and networking.
“We help nonprofits make sure they have their practices and principles in place so they’re running an efficient and legal nonprofit,” Hager explained. “Then we encourage them with advocacy to just get out, not only advocate for themselves, but to just get out in the legislative process as well. Then networking, we just bring nonprofits together through events and conferences and things like that.”
NDANO has about 200 members. More information on it can be found on its website.