Government Affairs Committee Action Item Friday

Adaptistration People 062If your organization has a government affairs board committee (spoiler: it should) it has no shortage of action items to address. Here are few that should be on your radar.

One item of note comes from a recent Opera America email urging members to contact their members of congress to “share stories about how the charitable deduction supports opera, community initiatives and jobs.” They even provide a link to a form letter with copy urging representatives to preserve existing charitable giving incentives.

Another item comes from Guidestar, which published an article by their senior research fellow, Chuck McLean, that examines the Pandora’s Box of eliminating the Johnson Amendment. Recently, President Trump declared in no uncertain terms that he intends to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment.

The issue is particularly difficult for charitable nonprofits thanks to the President’s myopic focus on the amendment as applied to religious nonprofits. But regardless of intent, repealing the amendment could spell trouble, which McLean’s article covers by way of multiple statements from charitable nonprofit leaders.

Tim Delaney, president of the National Council of Nonprofits, expressed similar sentiments: “Nonpartisanship is vital to the work of charitable nonprofits. It enables organizations to address community challenges, and invites the problem-solving skills of all residents, without the distractions of party labels and the caustic partisanship that is bedeviling our country.”

Along with protecting charitable deduction incentives, making sure your respective representatives understand and consider the broader implications of the Johnson Amendment beyond the religious parameters is crucial.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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