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Advocacy Topics


Conservation 101
A guide to land and water protection in the U.S created by the Conservation Alliance.

Credibility and Advocacy in Conservation Science
Guidance on negotiating the relationship between scientific objectivity and political advocacy without damaging conservation science’s credibility.

Public Lands

Outdoor Industry Association’s collection of advocacy and policy resources focused on outdoor recreation and public lands.

Advocacy 101 Series
Advocacy series for public lands created by the Outdoor Alliance.



Community Guide to Drinking Water Advocacy
Created by the Community Water Center, The Community Guide to Drinking Water Advocacy is a reference tool for local advocates and grassroots organizations who are advocating for safe, clean, and affordable drinking water in their communities.

River Network Resource Library
River Network’s compilation of publications, newsletters, tools, templates, and recorded webinars regarding water protection and advocacy.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Justice

All-In Cities Policy Toolkit
The All-In Cities Toolkit offers actionable strategies that advocates and policymakers can use to advance racial equity.

Environmental & Climate Justice Resources
NAACP’s listing of key environmental and climate justice resource organizations.

PolicyLink Tools
Collection of toolkits and web-based tools focused on furthering equity in policy and development.

PSN Resource Bank
Power Shift Network’s collection of organizing trainings, manuals, worksheets, and more for justice movements.

Racial Equity Tools
Tools, research, tips, curricula, and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working for racial justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities, and the culture at large.

Climate Change

Climate Advocate Training
A climate advocate training in the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s methods and visions.

Climate Resilience Trainings
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) climate training tools; designed for local governments and their partners to train staff and engage communities in efforts to support climate resilience progress.

The Climate Change Advocacy Toolkits
Toolkit for climate change advocacy created by Southern Voices on Climate Change.

Advocacy Resources

Rules for Non-Profits

Lobbying is attempting to influence legislation, either through direct contact with legislators and government employees who participate in the formulation of legislation, or by urging others to do the same. The exact definition of lobbying is dependent upon how the nonprofit registers with the IRS.

There are both state and federal rules regulating advocacy and lobbying activities.

If your organization operates at a state or local level—exclusively, or in addition to federal work–it may be subject to these rules. Bolder Advocacy provides state law resources on campaign finance and ballot measures, lobbying disclosure and voter registration. It is important that 501(c) organizations (including 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6), among others) can be as actively advocate  while complying with both federal and state laws governing their lobbying and election activities.

In Pennsylvania, organizations are required to report lobbying activity if the organization exceeds $2,500 in lobbying expenditures per quarter or if an employee exceeds 20 hours of lobbying on behalf of the employer per quarter. Pennsylvania does not distinguish the difference between direct and grassroots lobbying.

Alliance for Justice has developed this guide on lobbying disclosure for Pennsylvania organizations. Important items to note:

  • Lobbying is an effort to influence ―legislative action administrative action in Pennsylvania. Lobbying includes:
    • direct communications (direct lobbying) or ―indirect communications (grassroots lobbying);
    • office expenses; and
    • providing any gift, hospitality, transportation or lodging to a State official or employee for the purpose of advancing the interest of the lobbyist or principal. (Source: 65 Pa. C.S. § 13A03.)Lobbying – Lobbying is an effort to influence ―legislative action‖ or administrative action‖ in Pennsylvania. Lobbying includes:
  • Only activity that involves efforts to influence Pennsylvania legislative or administrative action give rise to a duty to register and report as a lobbyist or principal.

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provides two options under which nonprofits may lobby. The first is the “no substantial part” rule. Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code allows for lobbying, provided the lobbying is not a substantial part of a nonprofit’s overall activities. The limitations established under this rule are ambiguous, creating a level of uncertainty for those relying on it. The second option, the 501(h) election, provides specific definitions of lobbying and clear spending ceilings for how much a nonprofit can spend on lobbying. By default, nonprofits fall under the no substantial part rule unless they voluntarily take the 501(h) election by filing IRS form 5768.

Additional Resources