Thursday, September 11, 2008

Politics & Nonprofits

The political season is heating up. Television and radio waves have been filled with party conventions, candidate commercials, and pundit commentary. Dialogue and debate are running rampant in our conversations with friends, family and colleagues.
These conversations typically revolve around how politics and election results affect you as an individual, but what about how it will affect you at an organizational level? As an organization, how do you engage in the political process, and how do you do that while balancing your tax-exempt status?
There are clear rules and regulations for non-profits around the type and amount of political activities in which they can be involved. For technical details, the IRS’s website is a good resource. For more on standards, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits publishes the Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence with a section on civic engagement and public policy.
For some organizations, political activity is part of the everyday routine, but for many others, this activity follows the ebb and flow of the political process. How do you integrate political activity in your organization? Does this happen seamlessly or is it a struggle to find a balance?
Posted September 11, 2008

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