Knowing the Rules for Nonprofit Lobbying


National Alliance to End Homelessness

Toolkits | February 2, 2011

Files: PDF | 2.23 MB | 6 pages

Because nonprofit organizations have such expertise on the issue of homelessness, who it affects, its causes, and its solutions, it is imperative that they be involved in the federal policy process and help to shape public policy. The only way to achieve this type of involvement is through advocacy and lobbying by you and your organization. Unfortunately, the rules and regulations governing lobbying can seem confusing and overwhelming to many people. This toolkit is designed to help nonprofit organizations, designated as 501(c)(3) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), understand what constitutes lobbying and how to measure and report on lobbying activities

This toolkit covers:

  • Differences between lobbying and advocacy;
  • Limits on lobbying under both the "substantial part" test and the "501(h) expenditure" test;
  • "Dos and Don'ts" of nonprofity lobbying; and
  • Short note about lobbying limits for government employees.

The toolkit provides several helpful tips, as well as a list of five key steps for success.

Click here to return to the complete Advocacy Toolkit.