Public Policy

We, the nonprofit sector, are a powerful community and voice. One easy and fun way to amplify our impact is through advocacy. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits encourages nonprofits to strengthen their voice in the public policy process—and we’re with you every step of the way, from creating your first advocacy agenda, to training and tips that increase your impact, to keeping you updated on developing issues that may affect your work today.

2020 MCN Policy Agenda

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) informs, promotes, connects, and strengthens individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector at the local, state, and federal levels. MCN’s policy work is grounded in a racial equity lens with a vision of Minnesota being a state where all can thrive, regardless of who they are or where they live.

The nonprofit sector is a steady source of job growth and economic vitality, and an important part of strong, thriving communities. MCN’s public policy team works to support and advance the nonprofit ecosystem, including 328,000 dedicated staff, over 3,200 nonprofit organizations, and the millions of Minnesotans who engage with nonprofits every year. MCN’s Minnesota Budget Project works to expand Minnesota’s prosperity to all Minnesotans through budget, tax, and economic policies. 
2020 MCN Public Policy Agenda image


Policy Updates

Census 2020: operational timeline adjustments amid COVID-19

April 01, 2020

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) is continuing to highlight the work of ourNonprofits Count 2020 logo Nonprofits Count! grantees  who are doing work to get their communities counted, even in times of crisis. MCN believes nonprofits have a critical role to promote community participation and build power. The census is a vehicle for equity and inclusion and ensuring fair political representation and distribution of resources in our communities. We are all stronger when communities are using their voice and power to help shape and change the systems that impact them every day – especially communities that have been historically disenfranchised. To that end, MCN offers updates regarding the census 2020 Operational Timeline.

To ensure a fair and accurate 2020 census, and to protect the health and safety of U.S. Census Bureau employees and the public, the U.S. Census Bureau announced this week adjustments to their operational timeline.

Key changes:

  • Self-Response (such as completing a paper questionnaire and mailing it back to the Census Bureau)  is now extended. The dates for self-response are now from March 12 to August 14, 2020; giving communities and nonprofits more time to digitally organize to make sure everyone is counted.
  • Group Quarters Enumeration is delayed; it now starts April 16, 2020 and ends June 19, 2020. Group Quarters Enumeration is the U.S. Census Bureau's special processes for counting people who live or stay in group quarters during the 2020 census. Because group quarters are owned or managed by a third party, the U.S. Census Bureau assists group quarters administrators in responding to the census on behalf of residents to ensure a complete and accurate census count.
  • Service Based Enumeration, which includes food vans, soup kitchens, and shelters is delayed. The new timeframe is now April 29-May 1, 2020.
  • The Census counting people experiencing homelessness outdoors (i.e. in parks, in all-night businesses, and under bridges) is delayed by one month, the new date is May 1, 2020.

Operations that are still on schedule:

  • Delivering apportionment counts to the President, December 31, 2020
  • Delivering redistricting counts to states, April 1, 2021

It is more important now than ever for nonprofits to ensure their communities are counted:

  • Public health workers and first responders rely on population counts to make critical decisions.
  • Critical data used to address the current pandemic came from the census.
  • A strong democracy is required to address public emergencies; and a fair and accurate census is essential to creating a just and equitable democracy.

In November 2019, MCN granted 36 organizations $2,000-5,000 grants to conduct census outreach. In the next few weeks, MCN will be sharing grantee stories with some covering the shift from pre-COVID-19 plans to digitally organizing communities during this time of crisis. Stay tuned via facebook, twitter, and Instagram where these stories will be highlighted.

Visit MCN's Census 2020 page

Additional Census Updates:

Census Invitations were delivered on March 12, 2020. Look out for a letter in a sealed envelope with a 12-digit ID unique to your address. Use the 12-digit ID to bypass entering in your address and other Identification information. If you have not received an invitation in the mail, you can fill out the census for your household if go to and click “I do not have a Census ID.”

Response Map: Are you curious to see how many people in your community have responded to the 2020 census? Check out the response rates map from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Statement from U.S. Census Bureau on operational adjustments, for more information on the census operational timeline changes, view the U.S. Census Bureau's statement by clicking here.

For questions or comments concerning the census please reach out to Michelle Chang, Policy and Equity Coordinator

Cup of Joe with Joe: Lobbying Do's and Don'ts

Join Joe Pederson, West Central Regional Coordinator, over coffee during this virtual drop-in office hour.

Cup of Joe with Joe: Grantwriting

Join Joe Pederson, West Central Regional Coordinator, over coffee during this virtual drop-in office hour.

So You Want to Work on Elections?

Join Michelle Chang, MCN’s Policy and Equity Coordinator, to learn all about nonprofits and 2020 elections.


Policy Events

Advocacy & Public Policy Resources

Nonprofit organizations play a central role in the democratic process by providing a means for individuals to deliberate on public policies and decisions that affect them. To the extent possible, nonprofit organizations should engage constituents in public policy and advocacy activities as a means to fulfilling their missions and promoting community interests. At MCN, we are continuously working to provide the resources and tools you need to engage in effective advocacy and public policy work at your organization.

Legislative Successes and Past Campaigns

Since its founding in 1987, MCN has been recognized for exemplary work at the state legislature and as a source of training on relationships and advocacy between nonprofits and government.  The number and subject matter of MCN’s public policy positions has grown over time. Learn more about some of the campaigns and successes over MCN's history of public policy work.