Yes, nonprofits can lobby. The IRS allows it under federal law. Once your organization calculates its lobbying limit, you might be surprised at how much your organization can allocate towards improving the lives of your clients and/or community members. The first step is to elect the 501(h), which tells the IRS how your organization will count its lobbying activities; then, calculate your lobbying limit; and advocate under the guidelines.
Public Charities Can Lobby
Guidelines for 501(c)3 public charities. (PDF)
Worry-free Lobbying for Nonprofits
How to use the 501(h) election to maximize effectiveness. Download this document from Alliance for Justice. (PDF)
Maximize Your Lobby Limit
Elect to measure your lobbying using the 501(h) expenditure test. Download this document from Bolder Advocacy. (PDF)
IRS Form 5768
This is the simple half-page form to elect the 501h. The formal name is, “Election/Revocation of Election by an Eligible Section 501(c)(3) Organization To Make Expenditures To Influence Legislation.” (PDF)
Election Checklist for 501(c)3 Public Charities
Learn how to ensure election year advocacy efforts remain nonpartisan in these recommendations from Bolder Advocacy. (PDF)
Transition Team Advocacy
The period between election and inauguration days is an important window of time when organizations can build relationships and work to have their concerns made a priority of the new administration. (PDF)
Praising and Criticizing Incumbents
How 501(c)3s Can Hold Elected Officials Accountable for Official Actions. (PDF)
Commenting on Candidates and Campaigns
How 501(c)(3)s Can Respond During an Election Year on Judicial Nominations and Remain Nonpartisan. (PDF)
Electoral Advocacy Article
Expanding your influence, effectiveness, and power in the advocacy arena through electoral organizing. (PDF)
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