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Can Friends groups lobby?

Yes. Friends just like other nonprofits can advocate and lobby. As a matter of fact, tens of millions of dollars have been provided to refuges across the country from the lobbying efforts of Friends groups.

Federal law protects the rights of 501(c)(3)’s to petition the government. The National Council of Nonprofits outlines legislation that protects that right, stipulates lobbying limits, and provides IRS information.

The Friends Partnership Agreement does specify that the Service prohibits Friends from lobbying on Service-managed property, see V.A. (13) and V.C. (12). Friends can educate law makers on Service-managed property about opportunities or challenges faced by a refuge or hatchery. Friends can not express their view on a particular piece of legislation. See the FWS resources about the Friends Policy.

Lobbying, what it is and where Friends can conduct lobbying

Thankfully Matthew Emmer (Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges), with advice from CORFA, created a flowchart for lobbying. Thanks Matthew! This one-page infographic provides you with simple but useful information on what lobbying is, where you can lobby and tracking your lobbying.

Lobbying Flowchart

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