Election Activities for Nonprofits

Many nonprofits mistakenly believe they can’t get involved in elections at all. 501(c)(3) nonprofits are banned from endorsing candidates, but there are numerous ways nonprofits can–and should–work to promote voter and civic engagement as part of their charitable and educational mission during the election season.

Election Law Basics for Nonprofits

Get Out the Vote – GOTV!

Our democracy–and the nonprofit sector–depend on good government and fair and open elections. When candidates are elected by a minority of eligible voters, they may not represent or understand the issues nonprofits care about.

Nonprofits are particularly well suited to encourage voter participation among their staff, volunteers and constituents. Not only do nonprofits reach populations that are less likely to vote, but they are effective in increasing turnout among these groups—reducing disparities in who votes based on age, income, and race/ethnicity.

But, MANP’s 2022 member survey revealed that only about 14% of our members typically participate in Get Out the Vote activities. Here’s what you and your organization can do to improve on that!

Get the Candidates (and the Media) Talking About Nonprofits

Nonprofit businesses employ 1 in 6 Maine workers representing a workforce of over 98,000 and channel the energy of about 400,000 volunteers annually. This is a voting block that candidates will want to reach.

MANP’s goal is to educate nonprofits and legal and effective advocacy and election season activity, to educate candidates about the impact and potential of the nonprofit sector, and to educate voters by soliciting information directly from candidates on how they would strengthen and partner with the sector if elected. MANP does not endorse candidates or promote or endorse any political party. All activities are designed to comply with the IRS guidelines for acceptable political activity of a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization.