Election season means high-profile candidates speaking on a range of issues, voters looking for information, and an abundance of policy proposals, debates, public forums, social media activity — and so much more. It’s also a great time for nonprofits to take advantage of the unique platform provided by the election season as there are so many opportunities to raise awareness and educate the public and candidates on issues, or advocate for policies.
There are laws, however, that govern the type and extent of permissible advocacy activities for a nonprofit around election time. Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy program is here to help your organization get involved in the election season while complying with these laws. Regardless of your tax-exempt category, your nonprofit can engage in a range of advocacy activities.
For example, nonprofits may be interested in influencing candidates’ policy platforms, encouraging them to raise awareness of issues, or educating them on policy ideas and impacts. Debates, forums, and town halls provide an opportunity to comment on or critique the issues mentioned (or those that weren’t). Your organization could even host events to educate both candidates and voters. Nonprofits can also reach out to voters through registration efforts, voter guides, and more.
Ready to get started? Bolder Advocacy has resources available for different types of nonprofits to help make sense of the rules while advocating boldly in an election season:
Board Members and Election-Year Activities
Candidate Appearances: Foundations Can Host or Fund Nonpartisan Candidate Appearances
Candidate Questionnaires and Voter Guides
Commenting on Candidates and Campaigns: How 501(c)(3)s Can Respond During an Election Year
Election Activities of Individuals Associated with Foundations
Election Activities of Individuals Associated with 501(c)(3) Organizations
Election Year Activities for 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations
Election Checklist for 501(c)(3) Public Charities: Ensuring Election Year Advocacy Efforts Remain Nonpartisan
(Korean translation) (Khmer translation)
Election Checklist for Houses of Worship
Foundation Support for Election-Related Activities: It’s legal, It’s Important, It’s Doable
Guía de Elecciones para Caridades Públicas 501(c)(3): Asegurando que las actividades de promoción y defensa de causas durante años electorales se queden apartidistas
Hosting Candidates at Charitable Events: Ensuring Candidate Appearances Remain Nonpartisan
Hosting candidate debates: Public Charities Can Educate the Community Through Candidate Debates
Nonpartisan Candidate Education: How 501(c)(3)s Can Talk to Candidates During an Election Year
Promoción y defensa de causas en años electorales: foros de candidatos
Promoción y defensa de causas en años electorales: cuestionarios sobre candidatos
Sample 501(c)(3) Organizational Policy for Election Season
The Rules of the Game: A Guide to Election-Related Activities for 501(c)(3) Organizations
Voter Registration Rules for Private Foundations
501(c)(3) Contact with Parties and Candidates Concerning Election Protection Efforts
501(c)(3) Organizations and National Party Conventions
Check out our Facebook Live coverage of election activity.
How nonprofits can comment on tonight’s presidential debates
How nonprofits can interact with candidates and campaigns
With election day around the corner, we’re here to answer your questions about advocacy during election season
Voter education: Live with Bolder Advocacy
Bolder Advocacy’s Nikhil Pillai is live to answer your questions on advocacy in an election year!
It’s election season! Bolder Advocacy Director Abby Levine is here to answer your questions about how you can speak out in both your personal and professional capacities!
Commenting on Candidates and Campaigns
Bolder Advocacy’s Abby Levine is here to answer your questions about advocacy in an election year!
For other resources on nonprofit advocacy, check out our Resource Library.