Working with a network of industry professionals, Eno River Media strives to grow a stronger permanent North Carolina film economy through advocacy.
It takes a clear and persistent message to raise public awareness of the possibility and value of an emerging and growing movie and television industry. In many arenas—including a state public awareness campaign and awards for industry leadership—Eno River Media puts show business in the spotlight. Eno River Media invests in increased visibility opportunities by:
- Increasing public recognition of media industry events like the North Carolina Craft Services and Catering Award, Miss Carolina Lily Pageant, Eno Arbor Day Event, and the North Carolina Film Award.
- Advocate to the North Carolina Legislators on supporting and growing the indigenous video production industry of North Carolina.
- Expand op-ed placements.
- Establishing more opportunities for coverage of the movie and television production industry work, and other key areas of local digital video cultural achievement.
- Increasing partnerships with network and cable television, radio, and print media.
- Creating public service advertising campaigns about the value of the North Carolina movie and television production industry via statewide and regional billboard.
Connections with people and organizations in every sector and industry associated with the movie and television production business, philanthropy, and entertainment are crucial in realizing our goals. By promoting collaboration in the form of alliances, partnerships, linkages, and mergers Eno River Media builds a stronger voice in support of the Industry.
- Advance efforts with the entertainment industry, such as current work with The Film Foundation, The Ad Council, and with more national arts service organizations
- Connect with more national associations for elected leaders, such the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures
- Connect with more national associations for the private sector, such as the Business Roundtable and the National Chamber of Commerce
- Build and forge stronger connections to public and private sector leaders through Eno River Media’s Board of Directors
- Develop a strong private sector initiative for movie and television arts funding with corporate leaders; individual philanthropists; and national, community, and family foundations
- Develop an initiative to increase arts giving by young and emerging philanthropists
The answer is yes!
Often, folks confuse advocacy with lobbying—then quickly shy away from any activities that might jeopardize their nonprofit status or the federal funding they receive.
But the truth is there are lots of ways nonprofits can advocate to improve policies, programs, and services for seniors—without running afoul of any federal laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.
Why does advocacy matter?
When done effectively, advocacy influences public policy by providing a conduit for individuals and organizations to voice an opinion.
These efforts can, in turn, sway public opinion, garner press coverage, and ultimately provide policymakers an opportunity to respond to constituents’ needs.
Advocacy vs. lobbying: What’s the difference?
Advocacy is the process of stakeholders making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state, and national level. It also means helping policymakers find specific solutions to persistent problems. Most nonprofits can and do engage in as much advocacy as possible to achieve their goals.
Lobbying, on the other hand, involves activities that are in direct support of or opposition to a specific piece of introduced legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules about what portion of their budget can go toward these activities. There are also prohibitions on any use of federal funds for lobbying.
Examples of advocacy vs. lobbying
Telling your member of Congress how a federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents.
Educating a member of Congress about the effects of a policy on your constituency.
Inviting a member of Congress to visit your organization so that he/she may see firsthand how federal funding or a policy affects day-to-day operations and the difference it makes.
Asking your member of Congress to vote for or against, or amend, introduced legislation.
Emailing a “call to action” to your members urging them to contact their member of Congress in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations.
Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities.
How can you be an advocate?
You can be an advocate by educating policymakers about the needs of your organization and the people you serve. You also can organize supporters on issues of importance and educate a wider audience on your accomplishments. Some examples include:
Writing letters, calling, or organizing meetings to see legislators and their staff
Attending town hall meetings with lawmakers
Communicating with policymakers through social media and other methods
Keep in mind that these activities cross the line into lobbying if they call for action on introduced legislation or a pending regulation.
Effective advocacy is a mix of:
Identifying the right audience (the policymaker).
Having a persuasive message (clearly stating what you want to achieve and how it relates to the policy).
Including an individual or local perspective (telling a story).
Stand up, show up, and don’t leave
Here are more tips from an effective local advocate, Chuck Ricks, executive director of Roane County Committee on Aging, Spencer, WV:
Stand up: You have to stand up, leave your desk, leave your organization, and actually go to the policymakers and legislators. You can’t advocate effectively from behind your desk except for writing letters or emails.
Show up: Go to your city council, county commission, state capitol, and Washington, DC. Make an appointment, and arrive on time. Hand the person your business card, have something to leave for them, be brief, stay on script, never whine, and make your goal to get a commitment.
Don’t leave: Do leave the office, but don’t leave the consciousness of the person or agency. Make a lasting, positive impression and follow up your visit with a thank you letter (not email). Offer to provide data and feedback as lawmakers debate senior issues. Soon, you’ll be a familiar face, and they’ll be calling you for information.