Don’t intervene in a campaign for office

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. No emails, no copying, no phone calls on company time.

Avoid voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that:

  • Would favor one candidate over another.
  • Oppose a candidate in some manner.
  • Have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates.

If a candidate is invited to a charity’s event, make sure all candidates for the office are invited to that event or one of equal stature. Do not permit political fundraising at your events.

Do’s

  • Presentation of public forums and the publication of voter education guides conducted in a non-partisan manner.
  • Activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process:
    • Nonpartisan voter registration.
    • Nnonpartisan get-out-the-vote drives.
    • Candidate forums to which all candidates for an office are invited.

Not-for-profit leaders still have 1st Amendment rights to: 

  • Engage in free expression on political matters speaking for themselves, as individuals.
  • Speak about important issues of public policy.