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Center 2017 Advocacy Plan


Advocacy Causes & Resources

Non-Profits CAN Lobby! - Overview of IRS lobbying regulations for 501(c)(3) public charities.

New Jersey's Lobby Disclosure Law

Charities and Elections - Read this election-season fact-sheet for information about how New Jersey public charities can safely advance their missions and encourage civic participation.

About NJ's Non-Profit Community

NJ Non-Profit Facts/Trends

Just What is a Non-Profit, Anyway? 

2017 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2017 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2017 Trends/Outlook Full Report

2016 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2016 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2016 Trends/Outlook Full Report

2015 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2015 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2015 Trends/Outlook Full Report


National Issues

National Council of Nonprofits
Nonprofit Advocacy Matters E-newsletter

Public Policy page

Election/Voter Education
Nonprofit VOTE

IRS Political Activities Guidance

The Center's Public Policy Archives


Public Policy

"Watching the Backs of New Jersey Nonprofits"
“For those of us who work in, work for, donate to and are served by nonprofit organizations in New Jersey we are fortunate to have the Center for Non-Profits watching our backs and protecting our independence.”
-- Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

TAX REFORM ALERT - Calls needed immediately

Tell Congress to Preserve Non-Profit Nonpartisanship in the Tax Reform Bills

Updated 12/4/2017

 The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have each passed their versions of federal tax reform legislation that in current form would be devastating to charities and the people and communities who need them.  The measures now move to a House/Senate conference committee to resolve the differences.

Many provisions in each version would be harmful to the ability of non-profits to serve our communities, but one of the most damaging is House language that would gut the Johnson Amendment, the law that for 60-plus years has allowed 501(c)(3) organizations to work in communities free from partisan pressures, divisions, and interference.

Calls are needed immediately to urge the House and Senate conference committee to protect charitable work in the tax reform legislation.
Read more and take action

Our Op-Ed in NJSpotlight:
For NJ Charities, Tax-Reform Bills Offer Little to Be Thankful For

What did two gubernatorial candidates and 24 legislative candidates say about New Jersey non-profits?o:p>

Responses to the Center’s 2017 NJ Gubernatorial, State Senate, and General Assembly Candidate Questionnaire

View the responses

In order to gain greater insights regarding how this year’s candidates for New Jersey Governor and Legislature view our state’s charitable non-profit community, its role in their policy making, and their overall vision for the state, the Center for Non-Profits conducted its first-ever candidate questionnaire. 

Candidates were invited to respond online to four questions that affect our state and the non-profit community generally.  The responses of the two gubernatorial candidates and 24 legislative candidates who submitted surveys on or before the October 18 deadline are posted at

The Center for Non-Profits is a New Jersey non-profit corporation and a federally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. The Center cannot and does not support or oppose candidates for office or coordinate activities with political campaigns.

We view this questionnaire as one part of a comprehensive advocacy and educational strategy to increase understanding among public officials about the non-profit community, its role in making New Jersey strong, and to foster sound public policies for the people of our state.

For more information about the candidate questionnaire or non-profit issues generally, contact Linda Czipo at the Center. 

View the candidates’ responses

Important Government Contracting Survey - Please complete by 9/15 and spread the word! 
Click here to take the Nonprofit Uniform Guidance Implementation Survey 

It's been 2 1/2 years since sweeping federal regulations (the OMB Uniform Guidance) took effect, designed to help improve the contracting process and procedures for government grants/contracts that include federal funds. Among the most important provisions for non-profits is one that requires that non-profits be reimbursed by state and local governments for some or all of their indirect costs when federal money is included in the grant or contract. As part of the Center's longstanding commitment to improving non-profit/government contracting, we want to make certain this is happening for you. 

We recognize how vital it is for the stability of the non-profit community that reimbursement for services are more closely aligned with actual costs. If your non-profit has government grants and/or contracts, we need a few minutes of your time. Completing the Nonprofit Uniform Guidance Implementation Survey will help us understand whether the OMB Uniform Guidance is having the impact that was intended.

Your individual answers will be kept confidential, but the aggregate results will help inform advocacy efforts in New Jersey and federally with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to facilitate improvements.

Please take the short online Nonprofit Uniform Guidance Implementation Survey to help us determine whether your organization has benefited from the OMB Uniform Guidance, and encourage your non-profit colleagues to complete the survey as well.

Please complete the survey by Friday, September 15, 2017.

If you have questions or need more information, contact us at the Center. Thanks in advance for your participation!

Johnson Amendment Challenge

ACTION ALERT! House of Representatives Bill Threatens Non-Profit Nonpartisanship

Contact your Congressional Representative to Urge Church Electioneering Provision be Removed from Appropriations Bill
Updated July 14, 2017

Despite considerable opposition from non-profit, philanthropic and religious organizations, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on July 13 advanced an appropriations package that includes a rider that would severely undermine the nonpartisanship of the 501(c)(3) community by making it much harder for the IRS to enforce laws prohibiting electioneering by houses of worship.  

An effort to strike the rider from the bill failed by a 24-28 vote. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), the Appropriations Committee chairperson and its only New Jersey member, voted against the effort to delete the rider from the bill.

The measure now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration, which could happen as early as the week of July 24. 


1.   Contact your Congressional Representative and urge them to preserve the nonpartisanship of the entire charitable, religious and philanthropic community and to strip the Johnson Amendment rider (Section 116) from the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.

2.  Join with more than 4,800 organizations nationwide in signing the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. The letter has been re-opened for additional signatures, so if you didn't sign before, now's your chance!

3. Share this alert with your colleagues and encourage them to act as well.  

President Trump Issues “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order

Also, see our Blog/Analysis on this Executive Order.

May 5, 2017

On May 4, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order aimed at loosening the restrictions on partisan political activities by religious organizations. The Order raises fundamental questions and concerns for the non-profit community; however, 501(c)(3) organizations should be aware that the federal statute that prohibits electioneering and partisan political activities for 501(c)(3)s is unchanged and remains in effect. More.

Non-Profit Trends and Outlook

NJ Non-Profit Survey: Continuing Gap Between Demand for Services, Funding

2017 Issues & Trends Cover

April 24, 2017 - The need for the programs and services provided by New Jersey’s non-profit organizations continues to rise, but non-profits are hampered in their ability to meet that need by continuously lagging funding and an uncertain resource environment, according to a new report released by the Center for Non-Profits.

Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.

Press Release
Full Report


Property Tax Challenges

Legislation to Protect Non-Profits from Arbitrary Tax Exemption Challenges by Third Parties Advances

Updated February 27, 2017 - Legislation that would help curtail arbitrarily challenges to non-profits' property tax exemptions by limiting the ability of third parties to appeal the property tax exempt status of other entities has been advancing in the New Jersey Legislature. The Center for Non-Profits strongly supports these bills. more information

Princeton University Settles Property Tax Lawsuit

October 17, 2016 - On Friday, October 14, 2016, Princeton University announced that it had reached a settlement with a group of Princeton residents that had filed lawsuit challenging the property tax exemption of the university. The trial in the Fields vs. Trustees of Princeton University case had been set to begin October 17. The Center for Non-Profits, joined by several other organizations, had previously filed two amicus (friend of the court) briefs in support of the University in the case.  The agreement brings this litigation to an end, but for non-profits, additional questions and vulnerabilities remain.
more information

Tax Court Rules Against Hospital in Morristown Property Tax Case; Legislative, Gubernatorial Action

Updated February 27, 2017 - In June 2015, in a property tax case with significant financial and policy implications for hospitals and possibly the broader non-profit community statewide, a Tax Court of New Jersey judge ruled that Morristown Medical Center is not entitled to tax exemption on nearly all of its property in Morristown. The Governor and legislature have proposed various measures to address the issue.  more information

"Is Non-Profit Property Tax Exemption Sound Public Policy?"  Presentation slides of Center executive director Linda Czipo to 4/15/2016 Seton Hall University School of Law conference

Help Protect Charitable Giving Incentives
February 27, 2017

On February 16, the Center traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with members of our Congressional delegation to discuss the importance of preserving – and enhancing – federal charitable giving incentives. Your help is needed to send a strong message to Congress that charitable giving incentives need to be protected.

The visits were part of a nationwide “Fly-In” organized by the Charitable Giving Coalition, a coalition of more than 75 organizations including our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the charitable deduction, an incentive that encourages individuals to give to charitable organizations whose missions they support. Over the past century, the incentive has generated critical resources to further the work of charitable non-profits for our communities.

President Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan have both identified comprehensive tax reform as a top policy priority, and according to some reports Congress may begin to consider tax reform within the next several weeks. The President’s tax plan from 2016 includes a number of changes that could affect the operations and resources of charitable non-profits, including individual tax rates, the standard deduction, itemized deductions, the estate tax, and many more. Among many changes being proposed are possible caps on itemized deductions (mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable giving and others) for certain taxpayers; an increase in the standard deduction (meaning fewer taxpayers would itemize and therefore have the charitable deduction available to them); and many more.

According to the Tax Policy Center, full implementation of the President’s tax proposals could reduce charitable giving by up to 9%, or as much as $26.1 billion. We are alarmed about the devastating impact that these proposed changes could have on charitable giving and, as a result, the ability of charities to provide vital programs and services.

Actions Needed: Please add your voice to this important conversation.

1) Post messages on social media about the importance of charitable giving incentives, using hashtags #ProtectGiving or #100yearsofgiving.  If easier, search for these hashtags and retweet/share messages from the Center (@NJ_Nonprofits on Twitter) and others.

2) Contact New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and your Congressional Representative to seek their support in protecting and expanding the charitable giving incentive as a key tool for encouraging individuals to give back to their communities through the work of charitable nonprofits. For some talking points, see one of the Center’s letters here.

3) Stay informed! Follow the Center on social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and watch your email for updated information as it occurs.   We will keep you posted about new developments. If you have questions or comments, contact us at the Center. 

Don’t Weaken the Existing Ban on Electioneering by 501(c)(3) Organizations
Front and Center masthead 
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump renewed his calls for a repeal of the 1954 Johnson Amendment which bars 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The Center for Non-Profits OPPOSES repeal of the Johnson Amendment and supports retaining the current ban. Read why in our latest blog.

Update - December 11, 2016

5 Months After Freeze, Governor Releases Remainder of Funds

On December 9, 2016, Governor Christie announced the release of the remaining $12.8 million in budgeted funds previously frozen under Executive Order 209. This final release includes $5 million for vocational rehabilitation, $2 million for the New Jersey Re-Entry Corporation, and funds for the Elder Care Index, certain higher education programs, and the Legislature, and comes more than 5 months after the Governor's original executive order freezing the funds.

Under the initial EO209, issued June 30, 2016, the Governor had ordered more than $100 million in budgeted funds – roughly $50 million in funding for social programs and $54 million in transitional aid to municipalities – held in reserve until the Legislature and public employee unions could achieve $250 million in savings for public employee and retiree health care costs.

More details

Related articles:

October 4 Joint Op Ed from the Center for Non-Profits and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers urging the release of the frozen funds

July 19 Center for Non-Profits Op Ed in response to the initial funding freeze

Federal Judge Blocks Overtime Rule

Salary threshold declared invalid; “white collar duties tests” under existing law remain unaffected

On November 22, 2016, a federal district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the Overtime Final Rule, ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor exceeded its authority in raising the salary levels below which employees must be eligible for overtime.

Non-profits need to be aware that even under the old salary threshold, employees must still satisfy other criteria, particularly the administrative, executive or professional "duties tests," in order to be exempt from overtime requirements. The recording from the Center's November 9, 2016, webinar about the duties tests is available for Center members.   

more information

NJ Charitable Giving Incentive

Charitable giving deduction dropped from Transportation Trust Fund package

The Transportation Trust Fund package negotiated by Governor Christie and Senate and Assembly Leaders and signed into law October 14, 2016, does not include a New Jersey income tax deduction for contributions to charity.  more information

Blog: Why New Jersey Needs a Charitable Giving Deduction

Non-Profit Trends and Outlook

NJ Non-Profit Survey: "Chronic Under-Funding" Cause for Concern

2016 Issues & Trends Cover

April 5, 2016 - Rising demand and tight funding continue to challenge the ability of New Jersey non-profits to provide needed programs and services, according to a new report released by the Center for Non-Profits.

Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.

Press Release
Full Report

Blog: Chronic Under-Funding of Non-Profits: An Unacceptable Risk

VICTORY! IRS Withdraws Gift Substantiation Proposal

January 7, 2016 - The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it is withdrawing its proposed gift substantiation regulations that would have called for the collection and reporting by charities of donors’ Social Security numbers.  As reported in previous communications, the proposed regulations would have given non-profits the option of filing a separate new information return with the IRS and individual donors by February 28 every year to substantiate contributions of more than $250.  The proposed rule would have encouraged (but not required) non-profits to collect donors’ Social Security numbers and file a report with the IRS including the Social Security numbers and the amount of the gift.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS received 37,977 comments during the rulemaking period that ended on December 16, 2015, virtually all of them hostile to the proposal (view the Center’s comments here). The Center for Non-Profits also joined with the Council of Nonprofits and other national groups in submitting comments on behalf of the nonprofit community to stress that collection of Social Security numbers would “expose the public to increased risk from identity theft, impose significant costs and burdens on nonprofit organizations, and create public confusion and disincentives for donors to support the work of nonprofits.”

Our deep thanks to the National Council of Nonprofits and other national advocates for leading the charge against this proposal, and especially to all of YOU who commented against it.  This significant victory is proof that non-profit advocacy works!

Specific Federal Charitable Giving Incentives Made Permanent

Comprehensive budget and tax legislation signed into law on December 18, 2015, by President Obama includes several important provisions important to charities.  As reported by the National Council of Nonprofits:

From the National Council of Nonprofits:

The massive bill addresses numerous policy issues of interest to charitable nonprofits, ranging from funding for mission-related programs to restoring and making permanent three expired incentives for charitable giving. Two bills passed the House as separate measures that were subsequently merged and approved by the Senate as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. See summaries of spending provisions and of the tax provisions for full details.

Three charitable giving incentives are restored and made permanent in the tax portion of the law, originally titled the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act):

  • The charitable giving incentives in the Act are needed to promote and ensure support for the work of charitable nonprofits, especially when demand for nonprofit services continues to rise and donations are not keeping up with demand. Each incentive has proven to be effective, yet Congress has repeatedly let them expire, creating uncertainty around giving.
  • The food donation tax deduction provision would raise the cap on giving and allow small businesses donating wholesome excess food to a qualified nonprofit to take the same enhanced tax deduction C corporations have been permitted since 1976. The provision also raises the ceiling for business donations from 10 percent to 15 percent of adjusted gross income and helps farmers and ranchers through a new special rule for valuing food inventory. (Sec. 113)
  • The enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations have helped America’s land trusts work with farmers, ranchers, and other modest-income landowners to increase voluntary land conservation by a third, to over a million acres a year when the tax incentive is in effect. (Sec. 111)
  • The IRA charitable rollover option, which allowed individual taxpayers aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) directly to charitable nonprofits, has provided needed support for the work of social service programs, religious organizations, arts and cultural institutions, schools, healthcare providers, and other charitable organizations — all of which benefit Americans across the country. (Sec. 112)

More detail from the National Council of Nonprofits 

Social Innovation Legislation Conditionally Vetoed by Governor

On November 9, 2015, Governor Christie announced that he had conditionally vetoed A-2771 (Fuentes/Johnson)/S-452 (Ruiz/Cruz-Perez), “The New Jersey Social Innovation Act.” As passed by the Legislature, the bill would have piloted a “pay for success” funding model by creating a five-year social innovation loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). more information


Organizations Seek Relief from Contracting Burdens

2015 Recommendations to the Red Tape Review Commission

September 10, 2015 - An alliance of representing non-profit and provider organizations today asked the Red Tape Review Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, to assist with developing and implementing reforms to help ease the “stranglehold” of burdensome government contracting procedures that threaten their ability to provide services in their communities.

Represented by the Center for Non-Profits, an umbrella organization serving New Jersey’s charitable community, the organizations endorsed comprehensive recommendations to streamline and improve the rules and procedures by which government contracts for services with non-profit organizations.

Press Release
Full Report

Government Grants

The OMB Uniform Guidance: What Non-Profits Should Know

In late December 2014, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published final guidance governing government grants and contracts that means good news for non-profits that receive federal grant funds, either directly or passed through state and local entities. Collective action will help make the promise of these reforms a reality. more information

State launches e-procurement portal

Vendors, including nonprofits, need to register on to do business with the State of New Jersey. For more information see the Center's NJSTART page. NJSTART Logo


Report: New Jersey “Worst” at Paying Non-Profits Full Cost of Services


May 15, 2014 - Although some progress has been made in the past several years, the system of contracting between governments and non-profit organizations remains rife with problems that threaten the ability of non-profits to provide services across the country, according to data released by the National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute.

The National Council of Nonprofits report, Toward Common Sense Contracting: What Taxpayers Deserve, examines the causes and consequences of five recurring problem areas that involve billions of dollars. The report connects new data from the Urban Institute with the experiences of front-line non-profits that are delivering services on behalf of governments at all levels, and then outlines sixteen proven and often readily available solutions to these problems, including many proposed by New Jersey advocates.
Press Release


Government shutdown affects non-profits
October 8, 2013 - The Executive Director for the Center for Non-Profits spoke with Mike Schneider on New Jersey Today about the impact of the government shutdown on non-profits.

Help END the Overhead Myth!
The Center for Non-Profits and the Council of NJ Grantmakers are joining forces to ask you to support a nationwide campaign to help end the overhead myth - the misguided notion that the percentage of expenses spent on administration and overhead should be the sole criterion for judging the merits of a charity.
Learn more and spread the word!

For older articles and information see the Center's Policy Archive