Candidates may be invited to attend a nonprofit function on a nonpartisan basis. For guidance, the IRS outlines three cases where candidate may appear in the following capacities:
- In their capacity as candidate if the nonprofit:
- Provides an equal opportunity to other candidates for the same office — such as a similar time, venue and presentation format.
- Does not indicate support for or opposition to the candidate. State this when the candidate is introduced and in communications about the appearance.
- No political fundraising occurs.
- In their capacity as a public figure, such as an elected official or expert in their field:
- If the candidate is chosen to speak solely for reasons other than their candidacy and speaks only in a non-candidate capacity, and,
- If there is no mention of their candidacy during the presentation and the atmosphere is nonpartisan and free of campaign activity.
- On the candidate’s own initiative:
- Candidates are free to attend public events sponsored by a nonprofit. In such a case,
- Take care that there is no actual or implied endorsement.
- Don’t give the candidate a chance to address the gathering.
Don’t forget that elected officials should be treated as “candidates” after announcing they are running for re-election, especially in the final months before the election itself.
- Candidate Appearances at Your Nonprofit Event Factsheet – English | Spanish