With Election Day getting closer, the campaigns for political candidates are in full swing. Exempt organizations must tread carefully, though, because IRC §501(c)(3) states that exempt organizations may “not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” 501(c)(3) organizations, including religious organizations and churches risk losing their exempt status with this kind of political involvement.
In general, it is prohibited for Section 501(c)(3) organizations to show bias towards a particular political party or candidate. Examples of actions that are not allowed include:
- Giving a candidate or political party cash, property or free services
- Making statements (either oral, written, or electronic) for or against a candidate
- Inviting a candidate to speak about the campaign
- Displaying a link on your website to a political organization
In order for Section 501(c)(3) organizations to take part in election activities, they must remain unbiased and avoid supporting a specific party. Examples of actions that are allowed include:
- Conducting voter education and registration activities in a nonpartisan manner
- Advocating for issues without making reference to candidates
If your organization has any questions about what campaign activities are banned and permitted, please contact a member of the Barnes Dennig team by calling 513.241.8313 or by filling out this contact form.