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PANO serves as a unified voice to influence state policy on behalf of more than 63,000 nonprofit employees and 100,000 nonprofit volunteers in Pennsylvania.

We advance public policies that support a strong nonprofit sector in Pennsylvania to build vibrant, thriving communities. We educate and engage elected officials on issues of importance to nonprofits and the people who count on them.

Commonwealth Consulting Partners (CCP) supports PANO’s advocacy efforts. CCP is a bi-partisan, government affairs consulting firm focused on advancing effective solutions. CCP partners closely with their clients to develop and execute government affairs strategies specifically designed to meet their clients’ immediate and long-term goals.

Federal Advocacy

CARES Act 2.0

5 Fast Questions: Have you have been successful or unsuccessful in obtaining a PPP or EIDL loan? Please answer five fast questions which will help us give our delegation information […]

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S. 748: The CARES Act – What’s in the Bill for Nonprofits?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (S. 748) provides significant funding for businesses, hospitals, schools, and social support programs, among many other things. Please click here […]

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H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What It Means for Nonprofits

On March 19, the President signed into law, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The bill includes a complex set of temporary paid leave mandates and employer reimbursement […]

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State Advocacy

American Rescue Plan Act Advocacy

PANO is advocating for State Legislators to release funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to support the Commonwealth’s nonprofits. Contact your legislators TODAY! Click here to take action. Over […]

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Targeted Nonprofit Relief Campaign

PANO is advocating with state officials about the need for more support from the Commonwealth but we need YOUR help. Contact your legislators TODAY! Click here to take action. The Pennsylvania […]

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Unemployment Compensation for Self-Funded Nonprofits in Pennsylvania

Please read: Letter to General Assembly Signed by 23 Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations What You Can Do If you are a reimbursable employer who has not paid the solvency fee […]

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Can Pennsylvania 501(c)(3) nonprofits lobby?

Yes. Every charitable nonprofit can and should make its voice heard on issues that are important to its mission and to the people it serves. As advocates, nonprofits are required to speak up about policies, laws, and regulations. Lobbying by nonprofits is permitted by law. Unless a charitable nonprofit has elected to have a 501(h) designation, organizations may not spend a “substantial” portion of revenue on lobbying. The IRS does not define substantial.

What activities are considered to be lobbying?

On the federal level, lobbying is contact with a legislator to influence legislation. On a state level for PA, it is contact with a legislator or any member of state government to influence legislation or administrative action. This also includes time spent planning or researching in preparation for a lobbying contact. For reporting requirements, organizations should track the amount of time spent on activities that fit the federal definition of lobbying whether that be on a federal, state, or local level.

Educational contacts that do not include a call to action are not considered in the definition of lobbying.

Can Pennsylvania 501(c)(3) nonprofits participate in voter engagement activities?

Absolutely. Nonprofits have a constitutional right and responsibility to engage in policy-making processes. Though federal regulations require that nonprofits remain strictly nonpartisan (neither supporting nor opposing candidates for elected office), much can and should be done, including voter education guides, voter registration, get-out-the-vote drives, and candidate forums. Each of these activities is legally permissible if conducted in a strictly nonpartisan manner.

Can nonprofits electioneer (e.g. endorse candidates or parties)?

No. While lobbying by nonprofits is permitted by law, charities are strictly prohibited from electioneering. Electioneering is engaging in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. Charities cannot endorse any candidates, make donations to their campaigns, engage in fundraising, distribute statements, or become involved in any other activities that may be beneficial to or detrimental to any candidate for public office.

Charities must operate in nonpartisan mode. Charities must be aware that engaging in prohibited campaign activity could result in excise taxes imposed on the money spent electioneering, loss of tax-exempt status, and more severe penalties for flagrant violations.