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Nonprofits fill countless roles that form the backbone of our local communities. We provide the services and opportunities that keep our communities safe, healthy and happy. From housing and food, to educational and employment opportunities, to services for abuse victims, individuals with developmental disabilities and the elderly, nonprofits are there for those most in need. We protect the environment and provide vibrant art programs which contribute to the cultural revitalization and overall health of our communities. And it is through this dedicated service that nonprofits have become the trusted voices of their communities.
Nonprofits are in a unique position to help clients and consumers have their voices heard during the election process. Not only do we work with some of the most marginalized populations, but our clients and consumers trust us. They know that if we are telling them that voting is an important part of the democratic process that we are lucky enough to have in this country, then they are more likely to participate.
And that’s where your nonprofit organization comes in! Nonprofits can participate in election-related activities, although it must be done in a completely non-partisan manner in order to maintain our tax-exempt status. Making election-related activities a part of your organization’s efforts is an important way not only to get the voices of those you serve heard, but also to ensure that the good work and needs of your organization are known to current and future lawmakers.
So much of what nonprofits do is impacted by what happens during the election. How much funding and resources are directed to your service type and the way those services are regulated and prioritized are all decisions that get made by elected officials or Commissioners who are appointed by elected officials. The IRS recognizes this fact and makes it clear in their Election Year Activities memo that nonprofits are allowed to participate in nonpartisan, election-related activities.