March 12, 2024

Ask WSPTA: Advocacy vs. Lobbying

What’s the difference between advocacy and lobbying?  

Advocacy is the act of speaking for, in support of, or to plead a cause on behalf of others. For example, PTAs advocate when they inform members or decision-makers on a topic of concern.  

Lobbying is attempting to influence a specific decision.  For example, an activity is lobbying when it involves asking a decision-maker to support or oppose a specific policy or bill.  

PTAs can do both of these activities! That said, the IRS limits the lobbying of all 501(c)(3) organizations to “an insubstantial part” of an organization’s activities. That phrase – “insubstantial part” – is somewhat murky, but suffice it to say it would be extremely unusual for a PTA to find itself in violation of that limitation.

You can find additional resources about how to engage in advocacy and political engagement on this page.

Category: Advocacy , Training

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