Politics and Charitable Nonprofits

Amidst our nation’s current political climate, the National Council of Nonprofits reports that nonpartisanship, an essential principle of charitable nonprofits, has fallen under scrutiny with our country’s leaders in Washington, D.C.
The organization is asking for all those concerned with the prosperity and efficiency of the nonprofit community to express support for increased protection by signing the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship.
Nonpartisanship defines as being free from any party affiliation or designation. And though the IRS allows political participation from exempt organizations, there are strict regulations regarding lobbying and its expenditures. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, Congress is introducing bills that could repeal or substantially weaken current protections making charitable organizations more susceptible to endorse or oppose candidates running for an elected office.

The detrimental issue the Council points out is that being more impressionable towards political activities will redirect funding from an organization’s charitable mission to supporting election campaigns. Such legislation could also expose nonprofits and foundations to demands from candidates for political endorsements and contributions which will take funds from charitable work and eventually afflict the public trust of exempt organizations.

Ultimately, the Council states that the proposed changes are entirely unnecessary. They assure that there are already many legal ways for a nonprofit’s staff, board members, and volunteers to express their individual views on public policy issues. If you or any other nonprofit, charity, private foundation, or religious groups are interested in showing support or signing the Support of Nonpartisanship letter, you can visit GiveVoice.org or the Protecting Nonprofit Nonpartisanship website.

For any other questions or concerns about how lobbying and political activities can affect your organization, contact a local tax professional or reach out to the IRS Tax-Exempt Hotline at 877.829.5500.

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