PUBLIC POLICY

PANO is a statewide leader on public policy issues that broadly impact Pennsylvania’s charitable sector. We monitor changes in Federal and State legislation and regulations that impact the sector. PANO typically engages issues of:

Tax exempt status

Charitable giving legislation

Unfair competition

How charities are governed

Case by case on other bills that might have a material effect on charities in a global way

PANO will consider issues on charitable governance (transparency & accountability), advocacy (and lobbying), charitable tax exemptions (property tax, sales tax, income tax), volunteerism, and fundraising (and funding.

PANO shares public policy information with members public policy updates, Keynotes, and “Action Alerts” when immediate action is needed. PANO offers public policy training, workshops and webinars on advocacy, lobbying, lobbying disclosure, and pending legislation, as well as legislative briefings and town hall meetings. Specialized training is available upon request.

Other PANO initiatives include the Pennsylvania Nonprofit Caucus. By sharing new laws, regulations, initiatives, and research with charities, PANO connects charities to government, to the general public and to the entire community benefit sector. In a word, public policy is leadership and it is PANO's intention to be the leader on global sector issues.

News About Non-Charitable Nonprofit Political Activity

This Friday (Nov 29), the US Treasury and IRS will issue guidance dealing, primarily, with the political activities of organizations that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(4) (“social welfare” groups – although even that tax code language can be confusing). As your newspaper covers this important story, we write with a request on behalf of charitable 501(c)(3) organizations: please be clear that this guidance is for 501(c)(4) noncharitable nonprofit organizations, and do not simply use “nonprofits” or “political nonprofits” as shorthand for those groups. Since 1954, charitable nonprofits organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may not and do not engage in partisan political electioneering activities at the center of the proposed new guidance. With the giving season upon us, confusion in the public’s minds about whether their charitable donations to charitable nonprofits might somehow be used to engage in political activity can be devastating to year-end fundraising and have a significant impact on charitable nonprofits’ ability to serve people in their communities. We hope that your newspaper will help in providing clarity, rather than allowing further confusion on this important distinction.