501(c)(3)s can’t support or oppose candidates, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hold elected officials accountable for their policy decisions. Tim, Leslie and Quyen break down an interaction in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd to talk about the ways individuals and nonprofits can engage elected officials.
Our attorneys for this episode
- 501(c)(3)s cannot support or oppose candidates for public office – see ROTG episode 1. But they can hold elected officials accountable for their policy actions or inactions.
- Our example comes from a public discussion between Minneapolis activist Kandace Montgomery and Mayor Jacob Frey.
- Individuals have more ability to draw connections to future elections than 501(c)(3)s
- Non 501(c)(3) organizations aren’t as restricted in connecting to elections, but may need to follow relevant election laws
- “Bird dog” elected officials by showing up at their offices, town halls, or events to respond to their positions and to make the public aware of stances
- Representatives of organizations may also ask questions of officials at public events or when they are in public places and then publicize the official’s answer.
- Stage public demonstrations, rallies, or marches to highlight support for or opposition to a policy or action by an elected official.
- Call for town hall meetings
- Hold your own town hall meeting
- Call for oversight hearings.
- Use social media.
- Creatively highlight the impact of a policy
- Election Checklist for 501(c)(3) Public Charities: Ensuring Election Year Advocacy Efforts Remain Nonpartisan
- Election Year Activities for 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations
- Accountability Advocacy for 501(c)(3)s
- Bolder Advocacy’s TA hotline: 866-NP-LOBBY
- Email us at Advocacy@afj.org
- Our website is bolderadvocacy.org.