What a year this is stacking up to be! By the very nature of nonprofits, their purposes are based in passion and politics equals passion. It energizes those wishing to support their causes through candidates’ successful run for office.
If it is a business nonprofit, or association (Section 501(c)(6), you are permitted to endorse federal or state candidates and may openly advocate for or against candidates. Producing voter guides and funding campaign advertising is allowed. But, expenditures are taxable and must be reported on Form 990 at year’s end.
Charitable nonprofits Section 501(c)(3), are prohibited from engaging in political campaigns either directly or indirectly. What they can do is encourage voter registration, distribute nonpartisan education materials, and sponsor candidate debates that include all candidates seeking an office. They may also advocate on issues but without mentioning specific candidates. Break any of those rules and the penalties are severe including loss of nonprofit status.
Care must be taken to support nonprofit causes without crossing any legal lines. A good Association Management firm like ours will help nonprofits comply with campaign finance laws.