Nonprofit organizations are an integral part of a healthy, artistic, vital and productive state. The time has come to empower them through with collective resources that make people aware of their impact and that elevate their effectiveness.

The Wisconsin Nonprofits Association grows through the implementation of a strong business plan that focuses on building membership and partnerships that sustain the organization for the long-term. This business plan builds on lessons learned from other nonprofit associations as well as an intensive research study conducted by Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program Executive Director JoAnn Stormer and UW-Eau Claire Foundation Director of Annual Giving and Major Gifts Heidi Fisher. The results of the feasibility study clearly reflected a strong interest in a statewide association for nonprofit organizations.

The results of the feasibility study clearly identified four service areas that Wisconsin nonprofit leaders deem important enough to justify the formation of this association:

  • Public Policy Advocacy and Education. The membership-driven public policy advocacy efforts will develop a common language and conceptual framework for advocacy of Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector as a whole and will encourage public discourse through the use of advocacy information. The association will address overarching issues, such as emphasizing stronger governance oversight, protecting the sector’s tax-exempt status, and increasing state and local funding. The association will provide advocacy education, training, and resources so members and other constituents can develop and strengthen the skills and knowledge needed to speak out for themselves and together for their subsector missions.
  • Collective purchasing. Most interest in collective purchasing lies in access to healthcare and other personnel benefits. However, a second strong priority is purchasing a wide range of supplies for the office, such as equipment, computers and technology-related hardware and software, and important services such as financial audits. Together, respondents hope the state association will help their nonprofit decrease their expenses. Survey respondents also indicated an interest in organizational insurance needs, such as general liability and Directors’ and Officers’ insurance.
  • Create visibility/legitimacy for the nonprofit sector. Many nonprofit leaders who participated in the feasibility study believe that a stronger public perception of nonprofits’ legitimacy and value is important. Accordingly, respondents are looking for an effective and ongoing public relations campaign to improve the nonprofit sector’s standing with Wisconsin residents and communities, businesses, government, and philanthropic leaders. Nonprofit leaders believe that this will help with their efforts to increase government and private philanthropic funding.
  • Facilitate collaboration among nonprofits. Many feasibility study participants realize that collaborating and/or partnering with other nonprofits can help them serve more needs, decrease their costs, and increase their funding opportunities.

We are making strides and encourage you to get involved in our efforts to build common ground for the common good of Wisconsin.

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