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We often hear nonprofits say that they can’t lobby because they are a 501(c)(3) and would lose their tax-exempt status if they did. This could not be further from the truth. Nonprofits are very much allowed to lobby, and Federal law and regulations, which are discussed on the Q&A page, reflect that.
It is crucial for nonprofits to move away from the myth that all lobbying is prohibited for them because of their tax-exempt status. Advocacy and lobbying are important parts of a successful nonprofit. In fact, advocacy is listed as one of the six practices of high-impact nonprofits in the book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.
Federal, state and local laws and regulations impact direct services. They determine how a nonprofit can provide services and the amount of government funding available for those services. The IRS recognizes that nonprofits must be allowed to have a voice in the laws that govern their services. By choosing not to make their voices heard despite clear evidence that it is legal, nonprofits can jeopardize the adoption of more common-sense laws and regulations, as well as millions of dollars in funding.
Also be sure to review our Policy Reports, which provide valuable information on “The Economic Health and Impact of Nonprofits in Connecticut” and “How Late Payments Harm Nonprofit Providers”.