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Nonprofits & elections: What is our role?

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The elections are a little over three weeks away, and many of our colleagues at Wilder and other Minnesota nonprofits may be wondering what role we can play during this very important election cycle. Wilder's policy team recognizes that this can be a confusing topic, so we are offering some guidance.

501 (C)(3) nonprofits, including Wilder, are subject to some restrictions when it comes to electoral politics. However, this DOES NOT mean that we cannot play a critical role in the elections this November. 

We can engage in election and voter engagement but we cannot participate in - or intervene in - any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. So what does that actually mean and what can we do to ensure our community is better represented in county, state, and federal governments? Please see below a list of do’s and don’ts that will ensure that you can empower our communities to vote while adhering to the restrictions put in place by the landmark Revenue Act of 1934.

Do's:

  • Conduct and promote voter registration.
  • Educate voters.
  • Issue-advocacy during elections
  • Encourage people to vote

Don’ts:

  • Endorse a candidate.
  • Make a campaign contribution or expenditure for or against a candidate.
  • Send partisan political communications to employees telling them how to vote.
  • Sponsor joint fundraising events or solicitations with candidates or political group.
  • Ask candidates to endorse our organization’s agenda.

If you have any questions please contact our team. Our email addresses can be found below and we are always happy to connect and answer questions. Please stay tuned for more election-related materials coming your way every week. Next week, we will cover what you can expect on the ballot this November.

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Michelle Koffa Dormoh

Public Policy Associate Program Manager

Adrián Rafael Magaña

Director of Public Policy & Community Relations