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.

2021 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. 
2021 Public Policy Agenda image


Policy Updates

Additional unemployment benefits at no cost to nonprofits

December 16, 2020

On Monday, December 14, the Minnesota Legislature met in a special session, and took up Senate File 31, which ultimately passed both the House and Senate Tuesday night.  There are two important parts of this bill for nonprofits regarding Unemployment Insurance (UI):

First, nonprofit employers who are reimbursing employers will not be charged for the additional 13 weeks of benefits that the Legislature passed.

There was significant disagreement over whether reimbursing employers would be charged for the cost of these additional weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) for their eligible employees or former employees; about half of all nonprofits in Minnesota fall into this category. Reimbursing employers quickly mobilized, sending over 50 individual, timely messages to key legislators in just a few hours. Your voices were heard and made a difference!

The other half of Minnesota nonprofits, known as "tax-paying" or "contributing" employers for purposes of Unemployment Insurance (UI), will also not see additional cost. The bill clearly states that your Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax rate will not increase based on these 13 weeks.

This means that applicants (your former or furloughed staff) who are eligible will receive an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits, at no cost to your organization.

Second, the bill that passed on Monday appropriates money to counties, and the counties will grant to local businesses that were impacted by an Executive Order related to COVID.

The bill states specifically in lines 10.10-10.13:  “Nonprofits, nonprofit arts organizations, nonprofit museums, and nonprofit fitness centers that earn revenue similar to businesses, including but not limited to ticket sales and membership fees, are eligible for grants under this section.”

We assume each county will create its own process to award these grants, and it will happen fairly quickly – all grants must be awarded by March 15, 2021. Keep an eye out or contact your county for more information!

Understanding the State Budget and How it Can Further Racial Equity

Come learn about how state budget and tax decisions are made, how state funding is raised and spent, and how you can be part of setting the state’s budget priorities.


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.