Policy & Advocacy

NDAC FAQ

Application/Membership

What are the NDAC membership types?

We offer two NDAC membership types: Members and Group Members.

NDAC Members are advocates of all abilities and levels of advocacy experience. Anyone can become an NDAC Member by filling out the application and agreeing to the terms of membership.  NDAC Group Members are local, statewide or national groups that are Down syndrome-specific, cross-disability, other disability-specific or other allies who are interested in working together with NDAC on outreach, messaging and sharing information.

What is the application process?

Please submit an individual NDAC member application by clicking HERE or a group member application by clicking HERE. You will be notified by a member of our Policy and Advocacy Team regarding your application after submission.

What are the benefits of being an NDAC member?

The NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team will provide training opportunities and resources for all NDAC Members. These include: quarterly business calls to provide legislative updates, webinars, an NDAC-specific Facebook group, training opportunities and a meet-up at the annual NDSC Convention. In addition, NDAC will provide Members timely information on the latest policy topics so Members can stay up-to-date on the latest legislative issues.

What are the membership fees?

There are no membership fees to join NDAC; however, individuals must be members of NDSC and groups must be NDSC Affiliate Program subscribers. The fee to be an NDSC member is $50 per year, which supports the NDSC organization’s efforts across all areas. This fee is mandatory for all people who attend the NDSC annual Convention, so chances are that you have already become a member if you attended the Convention.  Please email lauren@ndsccenter.org if you are unsure of your NDSC membership status, or if this poses a financial hardship.  NDSC Affiliate Program subscriber fees are $250 per year, and subscribers are offered a wide variety of services, NDAC being one of them.  Down syndrome-specific groups with financial concerns or questions about the NDSC Affiliate Program should email Jolie Ganley, jolie@ndsccenter.org, to discuss their circumstances.  Other disability-specific and cross-disability organizations, statewide coalitions and other groups may pay a $20 annual fee to become and NDAC Group Member.

What are the benefits of being an NDSC Member?

  • Member pricing for the NDSC Annual Convention
  • Mailed Quarterly Newsletter, Down Syndrome News
  • Mailed Annual Report
  • NDSC Monthly E-News
  • “Ages & Stages” E-News (targeted information sent via email throughout the year)
  • Join in NDSC’s Policy & Advocacy efforts, take action and stay informed
  • Eligibility for membership in the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (NDAC) (note: must fill out NDAC Member application)

What are the expectations of NDAC members?

NDSC expects all NDAC Members and Group Member Representatives to be courteous, professional and respectful to each other, legislators and their staffs, and the broader community in all communications, whether on social media, calls, in-person meetings or otherwise. We want all NDAC Members to be actively involved and have a passion for the mission of NDSC. As NDSC represents a diverse constituency, we expect all NDAC Members to advocate in a bipartisan manner.  Please click HERE for the Terms of Membership for NDAC Members.

NDAC Group Members

What are NDAC Group Members?

NDAC Group Members are current NDSC Affiliate Program subscribers who have opted to join the NDAC program.  Other disability-specific and cross-disability organizations, statewide coalitions or other groups may pay a $20 annual fee to become an NDAC Group Member (this fee is waived for Affiliate Program subscribers).  Down syndrome-specific groups with financial concerns or questions about the NDSC Affiliate Program should email Jolie Ganley, jolie@ndsccenter.org, to discuss their circumstances.

Can my group become an NDAC Group Member if we are not Down syndrome-specific?

Yes, any existing groups, coalitions or organizations, local, statewide or national are welcome to join our mission. We welcome you!

What is an NDAC Group Member Representative?

Upon joining NDAC, each NDAC Group Member will designate a Group Member Representative who will serve as the liaison between the NDAC Group Member and the NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team. This Group Member Representative will be invited to join the NDAC Facebook Group and will receive emails with NDSC’s Action Alerts.  It is best to select someone who has a passion for policy and advocacy, who checks Facebook frequently and will be a strong voice for your group. This person should also be reliable enough to share topics with your group on a timely basis- as the policy process moves quickly often!

My group is a nonprofit organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3). Will joining NDAC jeopardize my group’s nonprofit status?

There are many actions that your nonprofit organization can take to influence policy and legislation that would not jeopardize its tax-exempt status. (See https://apps.americanbar.org/buslaw/blt/2009-03-04/mehta.shtml) Advocacy activities that are informational in nature (as opposed to supporting or opposing a particular piece of legislation) are permitted, and all communications with executive, judicial and administrative agencies are not considered to be “lobbying.” (See https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/lobbying) A certain amount of lobbying is permitted but individual groups must make sure that lobbying is not a “substantial part” of its activities or, if the group uses an “expenditure test,” that the amount of funds spent on lobbying activities does not exceed a certain permissible level. For more information, see https://www.leadingagepa.org/Portals/0/Documents/AdvocacyGuide.pdf).

What are the specific requirements, obligations and expectations of an NDAC Group Member?

Please click HERE for the Terms of Membership for NDAC Group Members.

Communications

Can I receive the monthly NDSC Policy & Advocacy Newsline emails without being an NDAC Member?

Yes, click HERE to sign up.

Can I receive Action Alerts from NDSC without being an NDAC Member?

Yes, click HERE to sign up.

Who can join the NDAC Facebook group?

NDAC Members, NDAC State Leaders and NDAC Group Member Representatives will be sent an email invitation to the Facebook group. No one else is allowed access to the group. The group will remain closed, not private or secret. The closed nature of the Facebook group will enable NDAC participants to communicate directly with each other and with the NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team in a private, confidential manner.

Other

Why don’t self-advocates have a separate membership type or application?

At NDSC we believe self-advocates are the strongest voices for advocating and making policy changes! We do not want to separate these individuals into a different membership type. We highly encourage self-advocates to become NDAC Members.

What is the minimum age to become an NDAC Member?

Individuals must be 16 or older in order to become an NDAC member.

Is travel to the NDSC Convention required?

No, but we would love to have you join us! There will be an NDAC Meet-Up as well as a wealth of policy and advocacy-related workshops and resources provided at the NDSC Convention.

What if I would like to no longer be an NDAC Member?

Members may resign from NDAC at any time and for any reason by providing written notice to Heather Sachs, NDSC Policy & Advocacy Director, heather@ndsccenter.org.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Lauren Camp, our Policy & Advocacy Associate, would be happy to assist you. Please email her at lauren@ndsccenter.org.