Organizations of all types that serve the public good have been challenged to sustain their programs in the troubling COVID-19 environment. Sound governance, prudent financial management, a focused mission and sound business plan can sustain most nonprofit enterprises and associations. Others less prepared may face an uncertain future. My presentation (view and print it here) at the Texas State Bar’s 18th annual nonprofit organizations course echoed the advice of other professionals, who also recognize new realities presented in 2020 and the need to adapt programs and operations. My co-presenter was Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, President and CEO of United Ways of Texas.
The 86th Texas Legislature began its 140-day regular session on January 8. The race is on to monitor and react to those bills among the more than 6,000 to be filed that affect state associations, community-based nonprofits, foundations and groups that benefit from state funding or are regulated by state policies. Committees for the House and Senate will soon be appointed, and the real work will begin.
Sign up here for my regular updates during the session. By the “60th day” of the session (March 8) when filing of bills ends, there will be a better view of specific bills of interest that deserve your attention.
As a preview of the 2019 session, see my January 18 presentation at the 36th Annual University of Texas School of Law nonprofit seminar entitled Advancing the Common Good in the Texas Legislative Process: Do nonprofits have a special role and status in public affairs? Read or print the paper here.
As a bit of self-examination for any organization entering the policy and legislative arena, it’s proper to raise a few questions:
- Are our activities truly advancing our stated charitable mission and the interests of our members and stakeholders?
- Does our messaging to the public calm and elevate the debate on contested issues?
- Do our proposals advance the common good?
- Do we support policies and bills that benefit and not burden the thousands of community leaders and volunteers supporting local, community-based organizations?
- How are our initiatives different from any other special interest group seeking favors from the legislature?
- How are our activities perceived by the news media?
- Is our organization competing for favors or public dollars with similar groups or private interests?
For a review of issues and bills from previous legislative sessions (many return again and again), see my Texas Legislative Summary postings going back to 2003.