Lillian Ortiz

Ortiz to speak at LEAD Conference Oct. 20-22

Lillian Ortiz, M.S.W.; director of Innovative Academic Programs and Partnerships, adjunct faculty at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and program director for the David M. Underwood chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) at the University of Houston; will be speaking at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference held from Oct. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel. Participants are eligible for CRFE education points. Registration is available now at

Ortiz’s address will discuss the distinctions and differences within the nonprofit, political and advocacy worlds, explore how they overlap and inform participants on how to work within the parameters, requirements and protocols to tie all of these together.

“I wish someone had shown me how to understand the big picture from the very beginning,” said Ortiz. “You’re focused on your particular topic, but you need to understand more; because when you’re promoted, you’ll need to know other aspects of this work. Nonprofit employees should understand this from the start, so they don’t end up improvising and learning on the fly.”

There is a difference between advocacy and lobbying and the limitations for organizations,” said Ortiz. “Internal Revenue Service concerns arise when you cross the line into lobbying. Nonprofits can lobby but must keep specific considerations in mind. Knowing the differences and limitations will help people know how to approach these topics.

"People new to fundraising may not be familiar with the requirements, and this conference will help them acquire the knowledge they need to succeed,” Ortiz said. Experienced leaders can also benefit from a refresher course to learn the latest requirements."

People who work in development offices wear many hats, Ortiz noted. “They’re part of communications, strategic planning and budgeting. They must figure the best way to pay for projects and staff,” she said. “Having an understanding of advocacy work and how it relates to nonprofits is important. Those who have never had a broad introduction to this will find it helpful.”

“I’m very honored to be speaking on this topic,” said Ortiz. “It’s also a great opportunity to let people know what we’re doing on campus to prepare the next generation of fundraisers and increase our presence. There aren’t many local programs like ours at UH to help students plan their future in nonprofits. The GCSW is a leader in political social work education and encourages us to educate students who participate in the NLA on advocacy work.” The LEAD conference is open to the public. Register at