Protecting Against Opposition Attacks
Preparing for and Beating Back Opposition Attacks
Opposition attacks on social change organizations are not new. What is new is that attacks are on the increase – 52% of the groups RoadMap is supporting have experienced an opposition attack – and sometimes these attacks have been successful in side-tracking, damaging, and weakening the targeted groups. In a few instances, attacks have resulted in the demise of social change organizations.
RoadMap’s special project “Weathering the Storms” (WTS) helps social justice organizations prepare for and protect themselves against potential threats, as well as directly respond to attacks when necessary. These include right-wing media attacks, fraudulent video exposés, and legal challenges that are increasingly common in the current political environment where big-money interests, often in conjunction (or collusion) with local, state or federal governmental officials and organizations are targeting groups working for economic justice, gay rights, reproductive justice, immigrant rights and other social change goals.
Specific examples of attacks on social justice organizations are detailed here.
Key to the WTS approach are two principles: that preparation for attacks is a key part of organizational capacity building as well as campaign strategy, visioning and planning; and that preparation and response must include an integrated approach including simple communications, organizational development and compliance systems to increase resilience and turn attacks into opportunities to advance organizational values and goals.
The WTS project began in the Fall 2012 and is ongoing. The project includes a two-part webinar, Toolkits, and follow-up Technical Assistance to implement best practices and develop Crisis Communications plans. RoadMap is developing more webinars and additional tools on specific topics. The following resources can help your organization learn more and assess your areas of risk.
Contact RoadMap for more information and for tailored Technical Assistance to assist your organization or alliance.
To learn more about tailored WTS packages, download the menu of services:
We have compiled several Must Read Resources for convenient downloading below. Many thanks to the authors of these indispensable resources: Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg, Guidestar, National Council on Nonprofits, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, Alliance for Justice, and Political Research Associates.
Record Keeping and Confidentiality
- “Top 12 Best Practices” by RoadMap
- “Keeping Track: A Guide to Record Keeping for Advocacy Charities” by Alliance for Justice
- “Sample Confidentiality Agreements” by National Council on Nonprofits
- “Influencing Public Policy in the Digital Age” by Alliance for Justice
- “Private and Public Foundations May Fund Public Charities that Lobby” by Alliance for Justice
- “Election Checklist for 501c3 Public Charities” by Alliance for Justice
- “Shaping the Future: A Compliance Guide for Nonprofits Influencing Public Policy in California” by Alliance for Justice
- “Maximizing Your Lobbying Limit by Electing to Use the 501(h) Expenditure Limit” by Alliance for Justice
- “Tips for Funders Preparing for the Possibility of a Politically Motivated Attack” by Alliance for Justice
General Security Measures
- “Common Sense Security” by Political Research Associates
- “Readiness Assessment“: part one of RoadMap’s Digital Security Checklist
990s and Financial Management
- “How to Read the 990” by Nonprofit Coordinating Committee
- “Give Me Your 990! Public Disclosure Requirements for Tax-Exempt Organizations” by Alliance for Justice
- “How to Make Your 990 Work For You” by Guidestar
Affiliated 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) Organizations
- “The Practical Implications of Affiliated 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) Organizations” by Alliance for Justice
- Alliance for Justice Bolder Advocacy website for more tips on lobbying and advocacy
See RoadMap’s Resource Library for more tools and templates.
And our blog posts related to armoring your organization against opposition attacks: