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BEING NONPARTISAN: Guidelines for 501c3 Organizations Presented by.

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Presentation on theme: "BEING NONPARTISAN: Guidelines for 501c3 Organizations Presented by."— Presentation transcript:

1 BEING NONPARTISAN: Guidelines for 501c3 Organizations Presented by

2 A national hub of voter engagement resources and trainings to help nonprofits integrate nonpartisan voter participation into ongoing activities and services. The voter participation partner of the National Association of Secretaries of State for the nonprofit sector Visit our website for more on our mission and partners:

3 TODAY’S PRESENTERS Who Julian Johannesen Director of Research and Training Nonprofit VOTE George Pillsbury Director Nonprofit VOTE

4 BEING NONPARTISAN: Guidelines for 501c3 Organizations Presented by

5 VOTE NOVEMBER 6 TH ! Agenda

6 Advance our mission and our issues Build clout for the work we do and people we serve Get our ideas in front of candidates WHY VOTING Why Voting

7 WHY NONPROFITS Trust and respect in our communities Access to underrepresented populations Interest in the positive role of government Why Nonprofits

8 AGENDA Agenda Being Nonpartisan: The Basic Guidelines o Voter Registration o Voter Education o Candidates and Ballot Measures o Get Out The Vote Issue Advocacy Staff Activities on personal time Resources and tools

9 BEING NONPARTISAN: Basic Guidelines for 501(c)3)s

10 WHAT’S PARTISAN - THE ONE RULE A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization may not support or oppose a candidate for public office. May not – Endorse candidates Donate money or resources to candidates Rate candidates on single issues Being Nonpartisan

11 WHAT’S A SINGLE ISSUE

12 WHAT NONPROFITS CAN DO Nonprofits may conduct nonpartisan voter engagement activities to educate the public and help them participate in elections, including - Voter Registration Voter Education Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Candidate Forums Being Nonpartisan

13 Facts and Circumstances Rule of Thumb –Activities to help people to register and vote are more nonpartisan –We have to be more careful when interacting with candidates KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE Being Nonpartisan

14 VOTER REGISTRATION

15 Promote voter registration –Announce deadlines –Provide information on where and when to register to vote Conduct voter registration –Set up a table in your lobby –Register voters at citizenship ceremonies, high school graduations –Do voter registration drives VOTER REGISTRATION Voter Registration

16 No endorsements: May not suggest which party to join or candidate to vote for Federal restrictions: HeadStarts, CAAs and AmeriCorps Know your state’s rules: Use our 50 state guide. Coordinate with your local election office VOTER REGISTRATION GUIDELINES Voter Registration

17 VOTER EDUCATION

18 How, where and when to vote –Early Voting –Voter ID Needed –Civic Education Voter Education VOTER EDUCATION: The Process of Voting

19 VOTER EDUCATION: Candidates and Issues Sample Ballots and Voter Guides Candidate Questionnaires oSend to all candidates oInclude a broad range of questions oKeep questions open-ended oPublish full answers Voter Education

20 CANDIDATES and BALLOT MEASURES

21 Invite candidates to an event Ask questions at town hall Sponsor a candidate forum Send candidates your policy ideas CANDIDATE ENGAGEMENT 4 Ways to Connect to Candidates on a nonpartisan basis Engaging Candidates

22 Cover a range of issues or topics within your own issue area Provide equal time for the candidates Ask all candidates to attend Have at least 2 candidates to be a “forum” CANDIDATE FORUMS Engaging Candidates

23 Invite all the candidates running for the same office Treat candidates as guests – no campaign materials allowed Remind audience it’s a nonpartisan event and thank candidates for attending Elected officials may be invited to speak in a non-candidate capacity Engaging Candidates CANDIDATES APPEARANCES

24 CANDIDATE ENGAGEMENT RESOURCES

25 Ballot measures are about laws or constitutional amendments Activity on ballot measures is lobbying. It’s influencing the passage or defeat of a law– not the election or defeat of a candidate 501c3 nonprofits may work for or against a ballot measure as a lobbying activity BALLOT MEASURES Ballot Measures

26 GET OUT THE VOTE AND ELECTION DAY

27 501(c)(3)s may - Make the election highly visible Provide voter assistance Remind staff and constituents to vote Conduct get-out-the-vote drives Help people obtain mail ballots GET OUT THE VOTE Get Out The Vote Make October Get Out the Vote Month

28 Give staff time off: To vote or do nonpartisan election activities Become a poll worker: Consider being a poll worker or a translator Have you voted?: Ask everyone if they voted or need help voting Celebrate Democracy: Make Election Day special. Have a party. ELECTION DAY Election Day

29 ISSUE ADVOCACY AND MORE

30 “501(c)(3) organizations may take positions on public policy issues, including issues that divide candidates in an election for public office.” (Internal Revenue Service 2006) ISSUE ADVOCACY Issue Advocacy

31 Factors to consider - Increasing ongoing advocacy activities during the election season History of work on an issue in the past is a key factor Responding to an external event is often safer ISSUE ADVOCACY Issue Advocacy

32 WHAT STAFF CAN DO Nonprofit staff may engage in partisan activities, such as supporting a candidate, outside of normal work hours Must remain nonpartisan on the job or when representing the organization Staff Activities

33 Images of resources RESOURCES ON BEING NONPARTISAN

34 MORE RESOURCES Resources

35 VOTE (8683) Nonprofit VOTE 89 South Street Suite 203 Boston, MA George Pillsbury Julian Johannesen


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