Electioneering Rules for Private Foundations and Public Charities

For Foundations For Grantees

This course covers the basic electioneering rules that apply to private foundations and public charities. Through this course, you will learn how to observe the IRS’ prohibition against electioneering when the grants you fund—or the activities you engage in as a staff member involve candidates or voters.

*Please see our post on Technology if you are viewing the course on a mobile device or with Internet Explorer.


Edna Garrett, Assistant General Counsel
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Elizabeth Peters, General Counsel
Kristy Tsadick, Associate General Counsel
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Sasha Abrams, General Counsel
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Mary Anne Rodgers, General Counsel
Megan Jellinek, Assistant General Counsel
David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Course Map

Module 1: Electioneering Prohibition Overview

  • Electioneering Definition
  • Key Points

Module 2: Interacting with Candidates

  • Candidate Forums
  • Candidate Pledges
  • Candidates or Current Government Officials
  • When is Someone a Candidate?
  • Sharing Research With Candidates
  • Transition Teams
  • Personal Activities

Module 3: Voter Education

  • Voter Guides
  • Candidate Questionnaires

Module 4: Voter Participation

  • Get Out the Vote Drives
  • Voter Registration

Module 5: Issue Advocacy

  • Ballot Measures

Module 6: Other Issues

  • Foreign Elections
  • Grantees with Affiliated Organizations
  • Funding 501(c)(4) and other Non-501(c)(3) Charities
  • 527s, PACs, and SuperPACs

Legal Disclaimer

This material is for general informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice as to any particular set of facts; nor does it represent any undertaking to keep recipients advised of any relevant legal developments. Please consult appropriate professional advisors as you deem necessary. The foundations shall not be held responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in this document.
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