Nonprofits and lobbying: Yes, they can!

Advocacy

By Nayantara Mehta, counsel, Alliance for Justice |

When many people think about nonprofits and lobbying, they might think of a relationship like oil and water: they don’t mix. There is a widespread perception that nonprofits cannot lobby, or if they do lobby, they are exploiting some kind of legal loophole. The fact is that nonprofits, even 501(c)(3) organizations, which are the most restricted type of nonprofits, may legally lobby. Getting involved in the legislative process and having a say in policy discussions is not just an appropriate role for nonprofits; it is vital. If nonprofits are not speaking on behalf of their often-vulnerable communities, chances are nobody else is either.

Organizations with a focus on the environment may be the most visible nonprofits engaging in the policy process, but lobbying is no less important for nonprofits working on every issue area, from the arts to wildlife preservation.

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