Good information is critical to effective decision-making. United Ways of California partners with expert research and policy organizations nationally and locally to help California’s United Ways further their health, education, and income community impact work, including their efforts to educate and engage community partners, stakeholders and policy makers. Below are some publications United Ways of California has been actively engaged in and some nonprofit advocacy resources to help the social sector.
Struggling to Stay Afloat: The Real Cost Measure in California 2019
Struggling to Stay Afloat: The Real Cost Measure in California 2019 is a financial stability report that measures the real cost of living in California’s communities.
Struggling to Get By utilizes the Real Cost Measure, a basic needs budget approach, to better understand the challenges facing California households. A basic needs budget approach is intuitive and easy for most people to understand, as it is composed of things all families must address such as food, housing, transportation, childcare, out of pocket health expenses, and taxes. A basic needs budget approach takes into account different costs of living in different communities, and also conveys a better sense of the hardship for families with income below the basic needs budget level as it invokes the notion of tradeoffs between competing needs—if you have an inadequate level of income, do you sacrifice on food, gas, or childcare? Click here to read the report.
Overlooked and Undercounted 2009
United Way of the Bay Area, United Ways of California and several California United Ways collaborated on Overlook and Uncounted 2009, a statewide analysis of what it for families to be self-sufficient in California. The report uses the Self-Sufficiency Standard to measure the cost of meeting basic needs, on a county-by-county basis, for different family sizes, ages of children and local variations in costs. It assesses the number of families living below the standard in each county and determines that 1 in 3 California families does not earn enough to make ends meet. The report also examines demographic and other characteristics that bring the state of poverty in California into focus; and presents steps to help Californians living in poverty close the gap toward financial security. Click here to read the report.
A Portrait of California 2014-2015
A Portrait of California, 2014-2015 is a report by Measure of America that measures how Californians are doing in health, education and income—the building blocks of a decent life and the core focus areas of United Way's community impact work.
A Portrait of California applies the American Human Development Index which tells the story of how ordinary Americans are doing over time, using indicators from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey and other reputable sources. These indicators include life expectancy at birth, educational attainment, school enrollment, median personal earnings and more. In addition to viewing this data at the state, regional, county and neighborhood levels, we're also able to see them through the lens of gender, race, and ethnicity. Click here to read the full report.
Nonprofit organizations often unnecessarily limit their ability to get involved in advocacy and public policy out of fear of losing their tax-exempt status. The good news is that most policy advocacy is not lobbying, and also that if need be, nonprofits can actually do a good amount of lobbying under current IRS limits, and thereby avoid any threat to an organization’s tax exemption.
- What is lobbying?
- Are there restrictions on the amount of lobbying a nonprofit organization can do?
- Can nonprofits endorse or oppose candidates to office or ballot initiatives?
- What are the IRS rules and issues for lobbying and advocacy by nonprofits?
- Where can we find more information about lobbying and advocacy?
For an op-ed on the role nonprofits can play during election season, click here.
To access United Way Worldwide's advocacy and citizenship guidelines, click here.