Lobbying and Advocacy Tools: How You Can Get Involved

Thank You to those who joined us for Legislative Action Day on March 29, 2023. Our speakers and session descriptions can be found below. Want to get involved? Reach out to Angie Castilleja to learn how you can be a part of future events.

Legislative Action Day 2023 Sessions (Event occurred on March 29, 2023) 

Keynote: The 2023 Legislative Session 
Speaker: A.J. Bingham with The Bingham Group, LLC
This 45-minute session will include an overview of the 88th Regular Legislative Session and this year’s legislative priorities. Attendees will learn what are the bills, regulations and policies to watch in Texas that could impact nonprofit clients, donors and/or the sector. Additionally, A.J. will discuss how he, as a lobbyist, and his team prepared for this year’s session; timeline with regard to research, communication, relationship building. Learn how nonprofit staff such as fundraisers and CEOs can best collaborate with a lobbyist.

Speaker Bio: 

A.J. Bingham is the Founder and CEO of The Bingham Group. He is an Austin and Austin Metro lobbyist with over a decade of experience lobbying for clients at the municipal and state level in Texas. His practice includes government affairs, public affairs, and procurement. He also runs the Bingham Group Foundation, which provides unrestricted funds to nonprofits creating educational and economic access for underserved communities in the Austin Metro.

Prior to launching the firm, A.J. served as Director of Government Affairs for the Real Estate Council of Austin, one of the most powerful business associations in the region. He began his lobbying career at one of Texas’ top lobbying firms, rising to Legislative Director over four years and two legislative sessions. He  previously worked at a leading Texas government procurement firm as a consultant for medium to Global Fortune 500 companies.

A.J. holds a B.A. ('04) in Political Science from Wake Forest University and a J.D. ('08) from Washburn University School of Law. Born into an Air Force family and raised in Austin, he is a graduate of the city's nationally ranked public high school, the LBJ Science Academy (‘01), now Liberal Arts and Science Academy).

Lunch Session: Advocacy Works Better Together
Speaker: London Lawrence, Director of Regional Advocacy, Central Texas for Texas Public Charter Schools Association (TPCSA)

This 45-minute lunch session introduces attendees to the importance of relationship-building with advocacy and understanding their “why.” In this session, fundraisers will learn how to establish and maintain critical relationships within advocacy, the importance of unified messaging, the difference between advocacy and lobbying, and the benefits of collaboration. Participants will leave this session with a greater understanding of relationship building within advocacy and how important their story is in being advocates. Fundraisers will feel comfortable advocating and sharing their knowledge with their colleagues, community, and networks.

Speaker Bio: 

London Lawrence has built his professional career on establishing relationships and educating the community. His diverse professional background includes working with nonprofits, employment agencies, educational institutes, underserved communities, and government municipalities. As a graduate of Fort Hays University with his MLS in Political Leadership and Public service and an undergrad in Anthropology, London has dedicated his life to impacting those around him. In his current role as the Director of Regional Advocacy for Central Texas for TPCSA, London is responsible for developing and implementing community engagement initiatives to promote public charter schools and also works to showcase the importance of advocacy. On a personal note, London is a certified life coach and enjoys traveling and photography in his downtime. He is always excited to bring public and political awareness to the need for equality in education.

Afternoon Session: Demystifying Advocacy for Nonprofits 
Speaker: Denise Davis, Davis Kaufman PLLC

This 45-minute session will help answer important questions attendees may have about advocacy on a state level. What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying? Why is it important for nonprofits to advocate/lobby for their mission and for their stakeholders? What is the role of fundraisers in legislative vs non-legislative years? How to enter the advocacy arena, first steps? What tools and resources should fundraisers and leadership have in their toolkit?  Denise will also share her experience and perspective as both a nonprofit board member and lobbyist. 

Speaker Bio:

Denise Davis is a law partner at Davis Kaufman, PLLC, a boutique law firm lobby practice in Austin, Texas which was founded in 2012 with her law partner, Lisa O.Kaufman. Denise has over 20 years of public service in and around the Texas Legislature, serving clients in both the public and private sectors.

Before founding Davis Kaufman PLLC with Lisa Kaufman in 2012, Ms. Davis served as Chief of Staff to Speaker Joe R. Straus, and for several sessions as House Parliamentarian and Special Counsel to the Texas House of Representatives. Her public service also includes work as General Counsel to Lt. Governor William “Bill” Ratliff, Director and Counsel to the Texas Judicial Council under then-Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, General Counsel to the Senate Jurisprudence Committee under Senator Rodney Ellis, Legislative Counsel for the Texas Legislative Council, and Assistant Public Information/Press Officer for Lt. Governor William P. Hobby. She has also practiced in the private sector, serving as Special Counsel in the Corporate Section of Baker Botts, LLP.

In addition to her public service and private sector work, Denise has been active in numerous organizations over the years including the local board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House (current Board member), the KLRU/PBS Board (2016-2022), The Austin Chamber Board, the Annette Strauss Institute Advisory Council (Current Co-Chair), Jack and Jill of America, Inc., The Links, Incorporated (holding chapter and regional roles), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Texas Lyceum, The Austin Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Mission Capital, Social Venture Partners, and Chair and Immediate Past Chair of the Texas Supreme Court’s Task Force on Emergency Preparedness.

Ms. Davis is a native Texan, a wife, a proud graduate of the University of Texas At Austin’s College of Liberal Arts and of The University’s School of Law and the proud mom of a Texas Longhorn undergrad and Longhorn Law student!

Policy & Advocacy

As the largest association of charitable fundraisers in the world, AFP seeks to educate the public about the fundraising profession and the importance of philanthropy, and protect the interests of donors, fundraisers and charities related to laws and regulations about giving, volunteering and nonprofit operations in the U.S., Canada, and abroad.

AFP provides a number of lobbying and advocacy tools to help you effectuate positive change in the profession!