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ACTION ALERT: Federal Tax Bill Harms Nonprofit Nonpartisanship

Posted By National Council of Nonprofits, Monday, December 4, 2017

Take Action to Protect Public Trust in America’s Charitable Nonprofits

The House and Senate have passed separate versions of tax reform. The difference between the bills must be negotiated in what’s called a conference committee made up of a dozen or more Representatives and Senators who will be named soon. We write asking for your help in convincing all in Congress, and particularly the “tax conferees,” to preserve nonprofit nonpartisanship and to reject any changes to the Johnson Amendment.

Each bill contains multiple provisions that would harm the ability of charitable nonprofits to advance our missions. The most damaging is Section 5201 of the House-passed bill; it would radically change the longstanding, vital protection in law for nonpartisanship of charitable, religious, and philanthropic organizations, known as the Johnson Amendment. Section 5201 would allow political operatives to pressure those organizations to endorse or oppose candidates for public office, and powerful donors to exert even more pressure by giving or threatening to withhold charitable contributions to get the organizations to endorse or oppose candidates the donors prefer. The proposed change would also make political donations – for the first time ever – tax-deductible when funneled through charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations.  

The Senate respected, but the House blatantly ignored, the widespread and resolute opposition to changing the law expressed by religious denominations and faith leaders, law enforcement officials, charitable nonprofits and foundations, and the vast majority of the American public. As the National Council of Nonprofits has warned, “This shameful attempt to advance the self-interest of politicians for more money and control at the expense of independent civil society must be stricken from the tax bill that comes out of the conference committee.”

All people have a vested interest in preserving the independence and nonpartisanship of the charitable and philanthropic sectors. We urge you to immediately take one or more of these steps.

 

Step One: Call your Representative and Senators (Capitol switchboard: 202-225-3121) and deliver this important message:

“I’m a constituent and I’m calling in opposition to a very harmful provision in the tax bill that would weaken the Johnson Amendment and politicize charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations against our wishes. The harmful provision is Section 5201 of the House-passed tax bill that is now in a conference committee with the Senate. It is imperative that Senator/Representative [NAME] reach out to every member of the conference committee and tell them the Johnson Amendment language in the House bill must be stripped from the final bill. Thank you.”

 

Step Two: Forward a link to this page as an Action Alert to your board members, employees, volunteers, and the people you serve and encourage them to join you in speaking up to preserve the independence and nonpartisanship of the charitable, religious, and philanthropic sectors. 

 

Step Three: Send tweets. Find your Representative and Senators, then send direct messages to their Twitter handles. Make use of those 280 characters to let them know how politicizing charitable nonprofits would affect your organizations’ ability to serve the community. Include the period at the start to send directly to your elected officials. (Be sure to include the period at the start so that Twitter does not think its a private reply) Here are some sample tweets:

.[Senator/Representative twitter handle] Tell the tax conferees to strip House Sec. 5201 #JohnsonAmendment language from the final #taxreform bill.

.[Senator/Representative twitter handle] Sec. 5201 of the House bill would be damaging to work of #nonprofits. Remove this language in the final #taxreform bill and protect the #JohnsonAmendment.

.[Senator/Representative twitter handle] Let #nonprofits and houses of worship focus on #CommunityNotCandidates. Strip House Sec. 5201 from the final #taxreform bill and keep #JohnsonAmendment in place.

 

Step Four: Write and send a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local newspaper. Examples of effective messages can be found by reading the op-eds and letters to the editor posted at www.GiveVoice.org. Be sure to include the names of your Representative and Senators and “the Johnson Amendment” in your message – elected officials will definitely see what you have to say because they all use search filters that alert them when their names appear in print.

 

General Background

Tags:  johnson amendment  National Council of Nonprofits  nonprofits 

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National Council of Nonprofits Shares Membership Ping, Featuring Together SC

Posted By Together SC, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Make an old idea new again! That's just what Together SC did when it (re)created its “Plenty in 20” webinars designed to complement its Carolina Leadership Seminars.

“Plenty in 20” is a form of micro-learning that provides useful nonprofit operations and leadership "how-to" information in just 20 minutes. As described by Ben Bullock, Director of Operations for Together SC:

"Plenty in 20” was going to the be the revamped “Weekly Wednesday Webinars.” But we realized that those weekly webinars were not getting the foot traffic we wanted. So, we modified things. We reduced the number and length of the webinars, added the “Plenty in 20” concept to the Carolina Leadership Seminars Program, and opened the webinars to everyone.”

There is a nominal cost to attend the “Plenty in 20” webinars and members of Together SC receive a discount on registration.

"Plenty in 20" is a nice strategy for engaging members, expanding a state association's outreach, attracting new members, and building capacity. Sounds like 20 minutes well spent.

Together SC also graciously shared its rebranding journey with the network during a recent Network Call, “Thinking about rebranding your state association? Hear what one state association has to share about its rebranding journey.”

After 20 years, the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organizations felt it was time to rebrand itself. With a vision to “reinvent” its identity that would encapsulate everything the organization does, SCANPO set out to completely change how it looks, talks, and behaves to become Together SC.

Thank you to Madeleine McGee (President) and Ben Bullock (Director of Operations) of Together SC, and Jessica Munday of TRIO Solutions, for sharing their time and insights with the network.


Warm regards,

Allison Higgins

Network Engagement Specialist

 

Tags:  National Council of Nonprofits  Together SC 

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The President's Budget

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Thursday, May 25, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017

The National Council of Nonprofits released an detailed analysis of President Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. Together SC encourages members to take time to understand the breadth and scope of the proposals for cuts to important services, many delivered by nonprofits. While these cuts give an important view into what the Trump Administration believes is important for the U.S., we remind everyone that the proposals are only a part of the process and the final budget will come from the legislative branch. 

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) put yesterday's release in perspective: "I hope that people don't panic over the President's - any President's - budget. They're just suggestions.

We also suggest that SC nonprofits not panic, but be vigilant and reach out to your legislative representatives to express your thoughts on the importance of programs that have been suggested for cuts. Be sure to get your voices heard!

Tags:  Budget  DC  Federal Government  National Council of Nonprofits 

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Public Trust in Nonprofits at Risk - Take 2 Minutes to Help Keep Politics Out of Nonprofits

Posted By Madeleine McGee Together SC, Friday, March 24, 2017

Last month, President Trump announced his plan to "get rid of and totally destroy" the federal tax law provision requiring 501(c)(3) nonprofits to be nonpartisan (which has been called the Johnson Amendment). Following up on the President's statement, Congress is seriously considering legislation that would politicize charitable nonprofits and foundations. The National Council of Nonprofits, Together SC and many other charitable nonprofits strongly oppose efforts to politicize charitable nonprofits. These proposals would harm nonprofits by:

  1. Subjecting charitable nonprofits and foundations to demands for campaign contributions (and thereby diverting donors' money away from mission-related work to benefit politicians); and 
  2. Damaging the public trust in the work of nonprofits. 

Furthermore, the repeal or revision of the Johnson Amendment isn't necessary to protect the free speech of nonprofits, foundations, and churches. Nonprofits - and their individual staff, board members, and volunteers - already have many legal avenues to freely express their views on a wide range of policy issues.

Together SC proudly joins the National Council of Nonprofits, our national network, and nonprofits and foundations across the country, in signing onto a special Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Here's what you can do today: Join other South Carolina nonprofits in signing your organization onto the Nonprofit Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship

Thank you if your nonprofit has already signed on to the letter.

Madeleine McGee | President

Tags:  Advocacy  National Council of Nonprofits 

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Changes Coming for Nonprofits in the New Congress and Administration

Posted By Benjamin Bullock, Together SC, Thursday, January 5, 2017

With the likely change from government gridlock to fast and furious legislating in Washington this month, many nonprofit and foundation professionals are struggling to see how the pieces fit together and where their advocacy efforts can promote positive solutions. Our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits*, just published a look at six federal issues of sector-wide importance that will likely be taken up in the coming weeks and months, and lays out what they mean for your nonprofit. We encourage you to read the article Nonprofits Need to Stand Together to Push for Smart Public Policies,” share it with your board and other stakeholders, and be ready to stand up to defend nonprofit missions. Working with our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits, we will keep you informed on developments in our nation’s capital that affect the work of nonprofits in South Carolina.

*SCANPO member organizations are also members of the National Council of Nonprofits!

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  National  National Council of Nonprofits  Public Policy  Trump 

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