New Primer Is Go-To Resource on Using 501(c)(4) s for Good - Alliance for Justice

New Primer Is Go-To Resource on Using 501(c)(4) s for Good


Bolder Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30 – Bolder Advocacy, an Alliance for Justice educational and expert training resource, in partnership with Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, its affiliated 501(c)(4) organization, and the ATLAS Learning Project, is excited to announce a new publication, “Primer on Social Welfare Organizations: Using 501(c)(4) Organizations for Good.”  This handy, comprehensive booklet tackles an issue that concerns nonprofits and funders alike: how to take advantage of the unique capabilities of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations to drive positive social and political change.

“It’s true that the type of nonprofits known as 501(c)(4)s have been caught up in controversy in recent years, and all the publicity might leave activists worried about risk or wondering if (c)(4)s are worth their investment,” said Abby Levine, Director of AFJ’s Bolder Advocacy program. “We want to clear up this uncertainty and encourage people to explore the usefulness of (c)(4)s. The truth is, (c)(4)s can absolutely play a great role in bringing about positive policy change, and can be an indispensable part of a coordinated strategy with other types of nonprofits.  But you have to know the rules that apply to these nonprofits to be effective and stay on the right side of the law.”

The new primer can be downloaded here. It covers the big questions that advocates and funders ask, including how 501(c)(4)s are unique, what kinds of activities they can undertake, who donates to them, and what rules govern donor disclosure. Brief descriptions of real-world examples help illustrate how (c)(4)s have played key roles in advancing causes such as marriage equality and immigration reform.

Of particular interest to philanthropists, the primer notes that a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization “provides maximum program flexibility, anonymity, and a high return on investment, particularly for donors who are not concerned with a tax deduction.”

Bolder Advocacy promotes active engagement in democratic processes and institutions by giving nonprofits and foundations the confidence to advocate effectively and by protecting their right to do so. Our goal is to demystify and decode advocacy by equipping organizations with knowledge and tools. We help organizations fully understand the rules and become assertive in their right to pursue their policy goals. If you have a question, contact one of our advocacy coaches through our technical assistance hotline, 866-NP-LOBBY or


Alliance for Justice believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. We are a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.