“Are Nonprofits People Too?”

Stanford Social Innovation Review:

There is a great deal of discussion about what the Citizens United decision means for elections, campaign finance, and democracy. But what does it mean for the nonprofit sector? This will be the topic of our second Recoding Good charrette, coming up on March 20, 2012, at Stanford.We are asking questions about the many possible ways the new rules for political giving might shape the nonprofit, charitable landscape. These include:

• Will the ability to make unlimited contributions to elections change donor behavior? Will more donors seek to achieve certain social outcomes by influencing elections through (c)(4) and (c)(6) nonprofits? Will they draw against their “charitable” budgets to make these contributions?
• How will the constant drumbeat of media attention to these political nonprofits affect public opinion of and trust in other nonprofit organizations?
• How will calls for greater scrutiny of politically engaged nonprofits affect the oversight of others?
• Will the new landscape of donor behavior entice more charitable nonprofits—501(c)(3) organizations—to start or partner with election-engaged, social welfare nonprofits—501 (c)(4) and (c)(6)’s?
• How will demands for donor disclosure in political settings change the age-old practice of charitable anonymity?
• How will we know any of the answers to the above, given the current state of nonprofit and election disclosure rules?

I’m very much looking forward to participating in this event.

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