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Are nonprofits allowed to contact their representatives for funds?

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Are nonprofits allowed to contact their representatives for funds?

Our 501(c)(3) corporation is banned from engaging in political activity, but we are considering ways to help hurricane victims and thought one way we could be helpful is to contact our representatives in Congress to ask them to provide funds to aid governmental relief efforts. Are we allowed to do so?

Yes if your organization is a public charity. While 501 (c)(3) charities are prohibited from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office (See Ready Reference Page: “IRS Issues New Guidance on Electioneering”), public charities (although not private foundations) are permitted to lobby in support of proposed legislation of the type you describe. (See Ready Reference Page: “Lobbying Rules Create Opportunity for Charities.”) As an aside, according to the original estimates at the time of Hurricane Katrina, the public had given about $2 billion to Hurricane relief efforts. The cost of the relief was estimated to be about $200 billion. Although the estimates may have changed, it is clear that the leverage is with governmental funding, not charitable contributions.

Friday, December 7, 2007

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