Get out the Vote
On this episode we’ll continue our election series and answer the question: “Now that you’ve registered your community members to vote, how can you convince them to turn out at the polls?”
Today, we’ll dissect tax code rules for 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(4)s so that you can confidently hit the streets and get out that vote (GOTV).
Our Lawyers for This Episode:
- Why do GOTV? Nonprofits can strengthen our democracy and racial equity by encouraging their communities to go vote.
- GOTV for 501(c)(3)s
- Must be nonpartisan
- Can be targeted
- Okay to express a broad range of issues
- Avoid mixing issue advocacy with GOTV
- GOTV for 501(c)(4)s
- Nonpartisan GOTV is pretty common. This counts as primary purpose activity.
- Partisan GOTV is allowed but is limited to overall secondary activity.
- If you use express advocacy, your GOTV might be an independent expenditure and reportable to state or federal agencies.
- If not, some states regulate partisan activity without express advocacy.
- GOTV doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of resources. Every nonprofit should do it.
- The Rules of the Game: A Guide to Election-Related Activities for (501)(c)(3) Organizations
- Election Checklist for 501(c)(3)s: Ensuring Election Year Advocacy Efforts Remain Nonpartisan
- Nonprofits Get Out the Vote: Strategies and Messaging (Nonprofit Vote presentation, 2018)
- Bolder Advocacy’s TA hotline: online form or 866-NP-LOBBY
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org