CHIP aims to empower and educate you to become an advocate for people experiencing homelessness. Below are resources that will help educate yourself and your network about homelessness, as well as how to get connected with your elected officials. Join us in advocating for policies to increase housing and services to prevent and end homelessness. We cannot do it without your voice.
Advocacy vs. Lobbying
Advocacy and lobbying are effective ways for nonprofits to create awareness about the impact, positive or negative, of public policy on individuals and communities.
Nonprofits can and should use their knowledge and expertise in community-based issues to advocate and lobby. Many nonprofit leaders, however, are concerned about losing their 501(c)(3) status if they lobby and lose a valuable opportunity to speak up themselves and those whom they serve. Following the IRS guidelines can help non-profits safely advocate and lobby on issues and policies of concern to them.
Speaking Out without Losing 501(c)(3) Status
Nonprofits are allowed to engage in lobbying activities, provided they do not engage in excessive lobbying or spend a certain percentage of their budget on lobbying efforts. Nonprofit charities may not engage in promoting or opposing political candidates or parties in any way, or they risk losing their tax exemption. Essentially, nonprofits may not use charitable resources for partisan or political activities. Nonprofits may lobby and simply need to follow the rules for lobbying (register and report expenses, including paid staff time). Visit the IRS’s website for more information on lobbying activities or the Alliance for Justice for more information on non-profit lobbying.