Can A Nonprofit Lobby For A Cause?

Dear Editor: I am on the board of a professional society in NY. We are a nonprofit organization that represents acupuncture in New York.   Are we allowed to lobby regarding acupuncture fee schedules (e.g. insurance reimbursement)?   We are unclear as to whether a nonprofit organization such as ours can lobby for such issues. Thanks — SK 

Dear SK,

Thank you for asking this important question. Nonprofit organizations are not barred from all lobbying, but there are strict guidelines. The Independent Sector has clear, detailed information as does BoardSource.

You might also check the NYS Attorney General’s Charities Bureau charitiesnys.

All the best,

Personal Information Made Public

Dear Ask-the-Experts: Recently, the vice-president of our organization breached the confidentiality of an executive committee meeting by e-mailing personal information about an employee to a distribution list that included people outside of the organization. The information contained comments on her performance evaluation, personal health, divorce, and the death of a family member.  Could you please let me know if there are any legal issues that can be brought against the organization by the employee? We are in New York. Thank you for your consideration. — M.

Dear M.,

Your board member may have exposed your whole organization to legal problems, such as a lawsuit for invasion of privacy… oh, my!  Contact an attorney immediately.  And, why was the executive committee talking about employees other than the only one they have responsibility for—the Executive Director?

Good luck!

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