Runoffs and Transition Advocacy - Alliance for Justice

Runoffs and Transition Advocacy


Leslie Barnes, Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort, Tim Mooney


Following the 2022 midterm elections, nonprofits can work with newly elected officials on policies to advance their communities’ missions and policy agendas. That transition advocacy is the focus for most of the country, but in Georgia voters have 3 more weeks of non-stop political ads, commercials, texts and direct mail to look forward to thanks to a December 6th runoff election for US Senate. On this episode we discuss the special rules for the Georgia runoff, and what the rest of the country’s nonprofits can do in the transition period to get a jump on 2023. 

Our Attorneys for This Episode:

Leslie Barnes Natalie Roetzel Ossenfort Tim Mooney

Georgia’s Runoff, Other States’ Recounts, & Contests 

How can nonprofits navigate the post-election space, in states where vote totals are not yet finalized and in Georgia, where voters are facing a run off election in under one month? What can nonprofits do in these states? 

  • GA still has candidates 
  • GA’s new election law 
  • SB202 made some key changes 
  • Earlier vote (Dec 6) 
  • Cannot register new voters 
  • Shorter early voting period (5 days) 
  • Opportunities for (c)(3)s 
  • Opportunities for non-(c)(3)s 
  • Activities in your personal capacity 
  • Ballot curing 
  • Recounts & Contests 

Transition Advocacy  

  •  501(c)(3) public charities can build relationships with newly elected officials and their staff to amplify the organization’s mission and advance community’s policy priorities 
  • Congratulate or acknowledge those who won their elections 
  • Introduce newly elected officials to your organization’s mission / issues, remind them of campaign promises 
  • Make budgetary or legislative requests (could be lobbying – IRS & state lobbying disclosure) 
  • Recommend people for appointed boards and commissions 
  • Take care not to take credit for victory or “flipping the state” 
  • Can discuss how (c)(3)s registered “x” number of voters 
  • Can discuss how (c)(3)s increased voter turnout 
  • Identify likely allies  
  • 501(c)(3) public charities can lobby a limited amount.  
  • Lobbying is defined as activities designed to influence legislation, for IRS purposes. 
  • 501(c)(4) social welfare groups can lobby an unlimited amount. 
  • Private foundations cannot lobby without incurring a steep excise tax, but they can engage in the following non-lobbying activities: 
  • Congratulate newly elected officials 
  • Hold elected officials accountable 
  • Schedule meet-n-greets 
  • Share funding interest 
  • Share foundation’s mission 
  • Build relationships 
  • Influence executive orders, rules, regulations (not IRS lobbying, but could trigger state lobbying disclosure) 
  • Join us for future episodes of funding advocacy AND direct advocacy 

Advocating on Executive Orders