Lobbying is a significant activity since it allows people and organizations to support or oppose specific legislation pieces at various levels. As a rule, nonprofit organizations do not actively engage in lobbying for a number of reasons, including the lack of resources, concerns about funders’ reactions, and misunderstanding of the laws (Worth, 2021). This state of affairs results in the fact that these bodies are deprived of their potential to impact the development of the nation. Thus, it seems realistic that nonprofits feel inhibited from lobbying for receiving government funds, while the law should be changed to allow these organizations to impact the political life in the country.
In the beginning, it is necessary to admit that the government is a significant source of funding for nonprofits. Since these financial resources are of vital importance for these organizations, the latter do not want to lose their sponsors. That is why some nonprofits can hesitate to take a specific position on a legal issue that is of interest to the organization, but that can face different opinions from their donors (Worth, 2021, p. 602). In other words, when a controversial legislation issue is under discussion, nonprofit organizations avoid lobbying for or against it because they do not know their funders’ opinions regarding the issue. As a result, they decide not to engage in the discussion at all. That is why I am almost sure that government funding significantly limits nonprofits’ engagement in lobbying because these organizations anticipate that their activity in the political sphere can deprive them of financial resources.
I believe that such concerns are realistic for a specific reason. When a government agency provides a nonprofit organization with money, these financial resources are considered an investment even though no revenue is expected because the organization is nonprofit. Instead of financial benefits, I suppose that the government agency wants to receive support and influence in society. It does not mean that the government intends to nobble nonprofits, but some support is what the latter would like to achieve. Since such expectations are present, it is possible to imagine how government funders feel and what they think if one of their assets opposes a specific legislation piece. I think that such government agencies will reconsider their attitude toward funding the given nonprofit. That is why there is a realistic rationale behind organizations’ concerns that their involvement in lobbying activities can result in adverse consequences for their funding in the future.
As has been mentioned above, there is specific legislation that regulates nonprofits’ potential activities regarding endorsing or opposing political candidates and providing financial support to political campaigns. In particular, Section 501(c)3 public charities and Section 501(c)3 private foundations are not allowed to engage in partisan political activity (Worth, 2021). Simultaneously, Section 501(c)4 social welfare organizations face a different approach. They may engage in this activity, but such a nonprofit may not contribute directly to a campaign (Worth, 2021). Finally, Section 527 political action committees are allowed to engage in partisan political activities. However, it is worth admitting that expenditures are subject to federal and state limitations, while donors should be disclosed to the public (Worth, 2021). These are the regulations that represent the rights of nonprofit organizations if they want to provide financial support to political campaigns or individual candidates.
It seems that the law should be changed to allow charitable nonprofits to engage in the activities stipulated above. The rationale behind this statement is that these organizations typically operate to provide assistance to specific populations. They should be permitted to give finances to political candidates and parties that promise to address the same populations. In other words, if a candidate promises to draw more attention to immigrants’ welfare, the nonprofit that focuses on the same issue should be allowed to support this candidate to address the issue. However, it is worth admitting that the organizations should not exceed the established state and federal limitations on campaign contributions. If this approach is implemented, nonprofit organizations will obtain an opportunity to impact the political life of the nation and contribute more actively to solving the existing problems.
In conclusion, the assignment has commented on nonprofits’ engagement in lobbying. Many organizations avoid this activity because they do not have sufficient material and human resources, misunderstand the law, and others. In addition to that, some nonprofits refuse to lobby because they do not know that their government funder will respond to this fact. Since government agencies sponsor many organizations, the latter tend to consider their funders’ opinions in making lobbying decisions, which can limit their involvement in the practice. Furthermore, the analysis of the existing legislation demonstrates that the laws should be changed to allow charitable nonprofits to sponsor political candidates and parties. This decision is necessary because nonprofit organizations should have the opportunity to support the political forces that promise to address the issues that are significant for these entities. Consequently, the paper has demonstrated that nonprofits’ involvement in lobbying and the political life of the nation is a significant topic.
Worth, M. J. (2021). Nonprofit management: Principles and practice (6th ed.). SAGE Publishing.