Lobbying as a Nonprofit


Contrary to popular belief, registered nonprofits are allowed to partake in lobbying. Afraid of losing your 501(c)(3) status? Don’t be. Federal laws and regulations allow for nonprofits and charitable organizations to lobby their local elected officials on causes they find important.

Every law made federally or locally affects the communities that Center members serve. The Internal Revenue  Service (IRS)  recognizes that nonprofits should have a voice in local and federal politics so as to best serve their constituents.

On this page, you will find information on the following:

• Information regarding  501(c)(3) status
• Information from the IRS about Lobbying as a Nonprofit
• Links to two IRS tests, measuring lobbying efforts

501(c)(3) Status:

According to the IRS, "an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates."

Nonprofit organizations, or others under the 501(c)(3) status, are commonly referred to as charitable organizations, and are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

More information can be found here.

Lobbying as a Nonprofit:

501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. For a more detailed understanding, click here to understand the difference between Political Activities and Legislative Activities.

To discover whether or not your current lobbying efforts are legally allowed under the Internal Revenue Code, check out these two tests, provided by the IRS:

                Substantial Part Test

                Expenditure Test

See more: