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Politics: What’s Allowed

The following advice is for informational purposes only; it may not be relevant or accurate to any particular individual or organization and should not be considered a substitute for consulting with an attorney.

For Land Trusts:

While your land trust, as a 501(c)3 organization, is prohibited from endorsing candidates or engaging in partisan election activities, you are permitted to reach out to candidates running for office to remind them of your land trust’s goals and mission, and provide them with information on the issues that are important to your organization and community. Being evenhanded and nonpartisan with your outreach is key. Be careful to avoid any appearance that you are taking sides in a campaign for office.

Some ideas:

  • Send a land trust brochure to all candidates in your district;
  • Host a nonpartisan candidates forum, including all candidates; and/or
  • Write a letter to the editor describing land conservation success stories in your community.

 

For Individuals:

If you are personally going to be politically active in a campaign, be mindful to clearly act only as an individual and carefully avoid any use of or connection to your land trust’s name or resources.

Examples of CLCC letters regarding the election season:

 

Find the candidates in your district and other state election-related information: State of CT Election Enforcement Commission

Election Year Opportunities by Sean Robertson and Catherine Ward, Saving Land Magazine, Fall 2016 Issue

Land Trust Alliance: Politics: What’s Allowed?

Nonprofit Vote – Nonprofits, Voting & Elections: A Guide to Nonpartisan Voter Engagement: “This guide provides your 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the knowledge you need to promote voter participation and engage with candidates on a nonpartisan basis. It begins with a review of the prohibition against partisan political activities. It then discusses the many nonpartisan activities 501(c)(3)’s may engage in to assist their constituents, staff and local communities to register and vote or connect with candidates.”

CT Association of Nonprofits – Nonprofits & Elections: “Nonprofits can participate in election-related activities, although it must be done in a completely nonpartisan manner in order to maintain our tax-exempt status. Making election-related activities a part of your organization’s efforts is an important way not only to get the voices of those you serve heard, but also to ensure that the good work and needs of your organization are known to current and future lawmakers.”

 

For additional information visit the Advocacy & Lobbying section of the Information Resources Library >>