Electing To Campaign; The IRS Is Watching

January 6, 2012

Minnesota Council of NonprofitsSocial media increases fears for nonprofits regarding what the IRS could determine to be de facto endorsements even when the group’s resources, such as its computer equipment, are not used and the action takes place after hours and away from its facilities, according to Susan Brown, public policy director of the Minnesota Council for Nonprofits in St. Paul, Minn. One concern is that a key employee, readily identified within the community with the organization, might post an endorsement on a personal Facebook page, Twitter account or blog. Given the community’s identification of the person with the nonprofit, would that endorsement constitute de facto support by the organization?

“It’s a balancing act,” Brown said. “In the nonprofit sector we believe deeply in community and voter involvement, and do not want to squelch people’s ability to participate,” yet the nonprofit wants to protect its tax-exempt status for donations.