These adorable puppies need your help to keep 501c3s nonpartisan

[Image description: It’s an adorable little chihuahua puppy! It’s light brown with a cute wittle button nose and big dark eyes! This puppy thinks nonprofits should remain nonpartisan and focus on issues. All images on this post obtained from]
Happy Monday, everyone. Today, I am asking you to take action to keep our sector nonpartisan. For the past few months, you’ve probably heard bits of information about the Johnson Amendment. And like me, you probably thought, “Argh, I don’t have time to pay attention to every horrible policy decision that’s coming down the line! I should probably read up on the Johnson Amendment, but I have enough to deal with. I’m going to binge-watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. #selfcare.”

I can’t blame you. Kimmy’s hilarious, and it’s been exhausting trying to keep up with everything in the news. But, as boring as the Johnson Amendment is, it has served our community well for over 60 years, and now it is being threatened. Our sector and the people we serve could be seriously screwed if we don’t do something now. So I am asking you to learn about this issue and to sign this letter if you haven’t. Actually, these adorable puppies are asking you to learn about this issue and to sign the letter. Do you want to let these puppies down? I didn’t think so.

What the heck IS the Johnson Amendment? lays out everything you need to know, but I’ll try to simplify things down. OK, you

[Image description: It’s a little black puppy. Not really sure what sort of puppy it is, except ridiculously adorable! It’s standing in a field of green grass. And the puppy thinks it’s terrible that this rider may pass through Congress.]
know how nonprofits aren’t allowed to endorse political candidates? Well, that’s because of the Johnson Amendment. This Amendment, named after then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, prevents nonprofits from endorsing candidates or using funding to finance political campaigns. It’s kept us above the partisan fray so that we can all, no matter our political affiliations, work together to address injustice.

And now it’s being threatened. President Trump has said on numerous occasions that he wants to repeal the Johnson Amendment. Right now, there’s a rider to a spending bill that would make it much harder for the IRS to investigate religious institutions when they do engage in partisan politics in violation of the Johnson Amendment. You can learn more about why this rider is no good, very bad. But basically, if it passes, it would seriously weaken the Johnson Amendment, paving the way for its repeal, and causing our sector to be divisive and partisan.

What would happen if the Johnson Amendment were gone?

Imagine these horrifying scenarios if nonprofits were suddenly legally able to endorse political candidates (Thanks to colleagues at National Council of Nonprofits for coming up with most of these scenarios; I added a few)

  • Nonprofits being polarized into “Democratic nonprofits” and “Republican nonprofits.”
    [Image description: Two puppies in a brown wicker basket together! The puppies look to be maltese. They are both white and sooooo fluffy you could die! They think the scenarios of nonprofits being partisan are terrifying]
    Maybe a few “Libertarian nonprofits”?
  • Nonprofit staff getting hounded by political candidates and their operatives who hope to sway nonprofits to endorse them.
  • Boards of directors being torn apart over which candidates their nonprofit should endorse.
  • Donors trying to sway nonprofits to endorse their friends, family members, or colleagues who are running for office, using their donations as a subtle or not-so-subtle means of persuasion
  • Other donors becoming suspicious and leery of nonprofits, not sure if their donations are going to the mission, or for political purposes
  • Larger nonprofits getting more funding and influence as political candidates “buy” their
    [Image description: It’s a little super cute little puppy lying on the gravel. It’s face is brown and white, with floppy ears, and its tiny puppy body is black and white. It looks sad, probably thinking of how divisive nonprofits could be if the Johnson Amendment is gone.]
    brand in the form of endorsements.
  • Services for community members becoming crappier and crappier over time as partisanship taints our programs
  • Nonprofits now taking the political viewpoints of potential hires into consideration toensure there is a “cultural fit.”
  • Churches becoming a means to funnel political funds, since churches—unlike political organizations—don’t have to disclose who their donors are
  • The public’s trust in our sector vanishing as nonprofits end up becoming as divisive and partisan as the rest of society,

Who is opposed to 501c3s being partisan?

[Image description: It’s a happy pug puppy! Its tongue is sticking out from its cute wrinkled face! This puppy is happy because you’re signing this letter to support nonprofits nonpartisanship.]

Practically everyone in our sector! According to these articles compiled by Washington Nonprofits

OK, what should my organization and I do?

  • Sign this Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. Do it this week. Before August 4th.
    [Image description: A fluffy white kitten in a brown wicker basket. The kitten is looking up with eyes imploring you to take action to protect the integrity of the nonprofit sector by keeping all nonprofits out of politics.]
  • Call your legislators and tell them to protect the Johnson Amendment and to ensure nonprofits remain nonpartisan
  • Talk about this issue on social media. Sample Tweet: #Nonprofits are effective because they focus on #CommunityNotCandidates. Maintain #JohnsonAmendment 
  • And share this post. If not for the content, then at least because everyone could use more pictures of puppies in their lives

Thanks everyone. You’re awesome. These puppies think you’re amazing. And this kitten too.

(Seriously, please sign that letter).

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