Ask Us Anything


Monika Graham, Victor Rivera Labiosa, Tim Mooney

On this episode, we turn to your questions on nonprofit advocacy with another edition of Ask Us Anything. We’ll discuss how nonprofits can speak up about the actions of elected officials, conduct voter engagement activities, and secure funding for lobbying. We’ll also consider the power of the purse strings, policy advocacy and much, much more.

Our Attorneys for This Episode:

Monika Graham Victor Rivera Labiosa Tim Mooney

Sign-On Letters

We are currently working on a sign-on letter to build a wide coalition of supporters for a bill. Our goal is to have 500 partners sign on and for it to be sent to legislators and ask them to pass a certain piece of legislation. So it is indeed lobbying. The question for you is, are foundations allowed to sign on to such letters? 

Praising and Criticizing Incumbents

In connection with issue advocacy, an organization may want to praise or criticize an elected public official for their actions, regardless of whether or not the official is also a candidate in an upcoming election. Is it OK to comment on the actions of elected officials if they are also candidates in an upcoming election?

Organizing a Candidate Debate or Forum

An organization is interested in organizing a candidate debate for a local race. Do we have to invite all candidates? What if only candidates from one party accept the invitation? 

Is Nonpartisan Voting Information Now Partisan?

Early voting is starting in Virginia, and we wanted to make sure our community knows about it. But whether it’s early voting at the polls or vote by mail, it feels like this has become a partisan issue in the last few years. Is it ok for a 501(c)(3) to give out this information?