Nonprofit leaders, elected officials and the public can learn more about the nonprofit sector at a town hall meeting with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon Sept. 6.
Jim White, the executive director of NAO, will be at the Ross Ragland Theater cultural center to address key issues facing organizations in the sector, including strengths and challenges, and how to increase public awareness and support of the sector.
The town hall events are a way for NAO, which provides a variety of resources to state nonprofits of all sizes, to connect with communities around the state and promote knowledge around advocacy and lobbying issues for nonprofits in those areas, White said.
There are many questions to be answered about exactly what nonprofits are, what they are allowed to do, and how they fit into the framework of a community, White explained. With the town hall, he hopes to answer some of those questions.
“There’s a lot of confusion out there right now,” White said.
Part of that confusion stems from the difference between 501(c)(4) organizations and 501(c)(3) organizations, he explained. Both are considered nonprofits by the federal government, but their rules for lobbying and political work are different — 501(c)(3) groups, for example, are not permitted to endorse or oppose political candidates, or donate time or money to campaigns, while a 501(c)(4) can do both.
The town hall will help clear up some of that confusion and answer general questions about nonprofits from local organizations, White said.
Generally, nonprofits are important to any community because of the services they provide, White said, not just basic needs, like food pantries, but cultural needs as well.
Since the economic crisis, nonprofits have stepped in to support communities around the country, and have helped in all areas of an individual’s life or addressed the needs of various groups, he said.
“The nonprofit sector has taken on a huge amount of extra work,” White said.
It was important for the NAO to come to Klamath Falls because the group doesn’t often make it to the area, although it does have training sessions and other events in Medford, White said.
To learn more about the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, visit the website nonprofitoregon.org.