We are in the final days before midterm elections and many nonprofit organizations have been hard at advocating for their organizations with new proposed local, state and federal laws. The IRS has specific requirements around Legislative Lobbying and Advocacy for Nonprofit organizations.
- Nonprofit organizations can support ballot issues and causes that are impactful to their mission. Any advocacy and legislative support should be voted by the Board of Directors and the messaging around the level and kind of support communicated clearly within their organization and to the community they serve. Volunteers and donors contribute time and money based on their knowledge of what the organization supports as well.
- Nonprofit organizations cannot support individual candidates. Encouraging supporters to vote for or raising money for an individual candidate is not allowed.
- The IRS wants Form 5768 filed if your nonprofit will do Legislative Lobbying and Advocacy.
- The IRS requires you have a separate checking account or accounting of money raised and spent for lobbying and/or advocacy. When filing your Form 990 you will list the specifics of your annual income and spending on this activity. When being audited, you need to show the detail of your income and expenses for this activity.
- There are some additional details so make sure you work with your nonprofit consultant and/or accountant to ensure you are following all the rules.
With this said, your nonprofit can benefit greatly from an increase in available revenue and laws that benefit your nonprofit mission. Supporting the right causes helps raise further awareness and success of your nonprofit mission.