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Nonprofit Voter Resources

The Alliance shares the following materials providing answers to frequently asked questions about how nonprofits, including museums, and their staff and leadership can participate in advocacy and lobbying, nonpartisan election activity and voter engagement.

Advocacy & Lobbying Guidelines for Museums – Yes You Can!

Museums and other nonprofit organizations may get questions from leadership, staff and board members wanting reassurance that nonprofits, including museums, CAN advocate and CAN lobby. Yes you can! Independent Sector and Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy provide additional information confirming that nonprofits and museums can advocate and lobby.

Election Guidelines – What You Can and Can’t Do

  • Museums and nonprofits can participate in advocacy and advocate on behalf of their mission, including during an election year. See our fundamental guide to what is and is not allowed.
  • This brief from Nonprofit Vote explains how nonprofits can work on ballot measures and how ballot measures are different from candidate elections. Bolder Advocacy provides a comprehensive Ballot Measures Toolkit page, with detailed linked resources on engaging in ballot measures.
  • This checklist by Nonprofit Vote provides additional resources and information on political activity and permitted voter engagement, with links to lengthier guidelines. Bolder Advocacy shares this Election Checklist for 501(c)(3) Public Charities, to help ensure election year advocacy efforts remain nonpartisan.
  • While public charities are prohibited from supporting or opposing a candidate or a political party, this does not mean that they must cut off all contact with elected officials and candidates during an election year. Nonprofit Vote shares Working with Candidates on a Nonpartisan Basis and this Bolder Advocacy Hosting Candidates at Charitable Events fact sheet addresses appearances involving a single candidate. Bolder Advocacy also shares this brief on Nonpartisan Candidate Education.
  • Nonprofit organizations may also continue to engage in education and advocacy to promote their issues during the election season, learn more about how nonprofits can comment on candidates and campaigns during an election year.
  • While 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from supporting or opposing candidates for public office (“campaign intervention”), this prohibition does not apply to the activities of 501(c)(3) board members when they are acting in their individual capacity. Learn more about what board members can and cannot do in Bolder Advocacy’s Board Members and Election-Year Activities.
  • This brief by Nonprofit Vote provides succinct questions and answers about nonprofit staff members’ personal participation in political activities.
  • Outside of work, nonprofit employees are free to volunteer for political campaigns or engage in other partisan political activities. In this Nonprofit Vote webinar, learn how to make important divisions between your nonpartisan work on the clock and your partisan activities off the clock. Get the Power Point slides.

Voter Engagement Resources

  • This comprehensive, online guide by Nonprofit Vote will help nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations interested in encouraging voting and voter participation among their staff, board, clients, constituents, and communities. It provides in-depth coverage on issues ranging from candidate forums to voter education and issue advocacy, social media guidelines and much more.
  • National Voter Registration Day takes place each September. The Alliance is a National Partner of this important nationwide initiative to help ensure no one misses the chance to vote because of lack of information about their voting status, polling place or how to register to vote. Does your museum participate in allowable election activities, such as serving as a polling place? Let us know about your experience with these activities.
  • Nonprofit Vote provides practical steps on topics ranging from creating your engagement plan, to voter registration, engaging candidates and ballot measures, with links to additional resources throughout.
  • From Nonprofit Vote, this fact sheet shares the important ways voter engagement helps build stronger nonprofits and give voice to our communities and this fact sheet offers key data points showing why it matters that the people served by nonprofits vote.
  • On our Voter Information page you can use your address to confirm who represents you, access voter registration forms and election deadlines. On Nonprofit Vote’s Voting in Your State page you can access links to find your polling place, check your voter registration, and find state and local elections offices.
  • The Community for Accredited Online Schools offers Navigating the Election Process for Students & First Time Voters, A Beginners Guide to Election Rights Rules and Regulations, a guide for first-time voters that includes information about political parties, the process and steps to cast your vote, advice for preparing for the poles, voting rights and rules, and first time voter demographics.
  • has created a student voter’s guide. The state-by-state directory explores voter eligibility criteria, residency requirements, registration deadlines, and other voting guidelines. The voting rights manual outlines the registration process for college students in all circumstances and the voting resources list includes links to campus organizations, registration portals, and more.

These linked resources are provided for informational purposes only and do not serve as formal legal advice. It’s always recommended to consult your own legal counsel with specific questions about you or your museum’s activities.

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