Lobbying Series Part 3 – Grassroots Lobbying

On this episode, our third in our ongoing lobbying series, we’ll focus on grassroots lobbying for public charities that have made the 501(h) election. 

Attorney Co-hosts 

Natalie Ossenfort  Jen Powis  Quyen Tu 


Recap of the 501(h) election 

Recap of the 501(c)(3) lobbying limits 

501(h) election allows you to calculate your lobbying limits 

Grassroots limit is 25% of overall lobbying limits 


Defining Grassroots Lobbying 


1. Communication 

2. with the General Public (not a legislator or member of the organization) 

3. that Expresses a View about Specific Legislation  

4. and contains a Call to Action 


There are 4 specific types of calls to action.  A call to action must comprise one of the following actions:  

  1. tell the recipient to contact a legislator; 
  2. provide information on how the recipient can contact her legislator, such as providing the phone number or address; 
  3. provide a mechanism for enabling the recipient to contact her legislator, such as a postcard, petition, or email form; or 
  4. identify a legislator who will vote on the legislation as being opposed to or undecided about the organization’s view on the legislation, a member of a legislative committee who will vote on the legislation, or the recipient’s legislator. 



Examples of Grassroots Lobbying: 


Examples of Non-Grassroots Lobbying: 




Being a Player: A Guide to the IRS Lobbying Regulations for Advocacy Charities 

What is Advocacy? 

Worry-Free Lobbying For Nonprofits: How To Use The 501(h) Election To Maximize Effectiveness 

Public Charities Can Lobby: Guidelines for 501(c)(3) Public Charities (Factsheet) 

When Does Your Activity Become Lobbying? (Factsheet) 

Communicating With Your Members (Factsheet) 

501(h) Lobbying Limit Calculator