It may be hard to believe, but it's nearly 2016 and election season is just around the corner. As you know, 501(c)(3) public charities cannot engage in partisan political activity, but that doesn't mean your organization should be deterred from being a strong advocate for your issues in an election year. 501(c)(3)'s can criticize an incumbent legislator for a bad vote on its issues, conduct nonpartisan voter registration drives, and nonpartisan Get Out the Vote activity. Also, don't forget that advocating for or against ballot measures is lobbying, not partisan political activity. If you are a Tides project, please contact your advisor for resources and advice on how to use these tools.
If activities such as endorsing candidates, making expenditures on behalf of a candidate, or preparing legislative scorecards and voter guides that favor or oppose candidates is of interest to advocate for your issue, a 501(c)(4) may be helpful. To find out more, contact Kathryn Snyder at The Advocacy Fund (the 501(c)(4) organization in the Tides family) at 415-561-6373 or [email protected].