July 17, 2020
Note: The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits typically provides Nonprofit Policy Matters each week as a benefit to its nonprofit members . However, to help all North Carolina nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 crisis, we're temporarily providing this newsletter to non-member nonprofits.
In this issue...
Center offers summary of key nonprofit policy developments from 2020 General Assembly
Nonprofits send unified message to Congress seeking additional COVID-19 relief
North Carolina extends Phase 2 of COVID-19 reopening by three weeks
Reminder: Emergency federal leave programs available to nonprofit employees
Take 12 minutes to let funders and state government know what your nonprofit needs
Census tips of the week: #CountNCKids week of action and get-out-the-count funding
Learn about nonpartisan voter education for nonprofits
First and second quarter lobbying reports due July 22
Center Offers Summary of Key Nonprofit Policy Developments from 2020 General Assembly
Last Saturday, the NC General Assembly concluded the main part of its 2020 legislative session, having implemented many policy solutions that will help North Carolina’s nonprofit sector respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Center has pulled together a summary of the key state policy developments affecting nonprofits to help you keep track of policy developments and understand how they might affect your organization and the North Carolinians it serves. 

Nonprofits’ advocacy made a difference on every policy issue identified in this summary. Many bills were introduced because of the recommendations of nonprofits. Others legislation was improved because nonprofits explained to policymakers the negative consequences that proposals might have on the communities they serve. In some cases, nonprofits helped stop bills that would have been detrimental to their missions. 

We’ll continue to update you when legislators return for additional special sessions later this summer and fall. In the meantime, please share your story about how your nonprofit advocated on state policy issues this year so other nonprofits can learn from your great advocacy work!
Nonprofits Send Unified Message to Congress Seeking Additional COVID-19 Relief
Congress is expected to pass its next piece of COVID-19 legislation this month. On Monday, thousands of nonprofits sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to include four nonprofit policy solutions in the final package:
  1. Continue Emergency Funding Programs including improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program, creation of a nonprofit jobs-expansion program, and funding for community support grants programs that enable nonprofits to serve vulnerable populations.
  2. Provide Low-Cost Loans to Mid-Size and Larger Nonprofits that have been left out of and not able to access government funding.
  3. Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives by expanding the incentives to all taxpayers, not just itemizers, via an above-the-line or universal charitable deduction of one-third of the standard deduction.
  4. Provide Full Unemployment Benefit Reimbursement benefits paid to laid off or furloughed employees of self-insured or reimbursing nonprofit employers.

Thank you if your nonprofit signed on to this letter! North Carolina had more nonprofits sign on to the letter than any other state.
North Carolina Extends Phase 2 of COVID-19 Reopening by Three Weeks
Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 151, extending Phase 2 of the re-opening of the state’s economy by three more weeks, until August 7 at 5 p.m. This executive order comes after COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina have continued to remain at high levels. Some notable provisions in the Governor’s Phase 2 executive orders for nonprofits include:
  • Childcare providers, day camps, and overnight camps may remain open, but they must follow NC Department of Health and Human Service guidelines, screen individuals every day, and immediately isolate sick service providers, counselors, or children. Under the new Executive Order, camp counselors and staff and children aged 11 and over would be required to wear masks at camps.
  • Mass gatherings remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outside.
  • Parks, trails, and swimming pools may remain open with safety precautions in place.
  • Retail stores (such as nonprofit thrift stores) may remain open at 50% of their fire code capacity.
  • Theaters, gyms, indoor exercise facilities, and charitable bingo venues are among the types of venues that must remain closed to the general public. However, the NC Department of Health and Human Services has issued interim guidance on ways that gyms, exercise facilities, and fitness facilities may re-open for individuals who need to use these facilities for medical purposes.
Reminder: Emergency Federal Leave Programs Available to Nonprofit Employees
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its fourth month, many nonprofit employees are finding it necessary to take time off work if they have contracted COVID-19, are caring for a sick family member, or are caring for children whose schools or child care facilities are closed. These situations may increase this fall as public schools across the state will be operating partially or fully remotely (varying by school district). The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires nonprofits and other employees to provide two weeks of paid sick leave and 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave (FMLA) for employees who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. FFCRA also provides refundable payroll tax credits to nonprofits and other employers to cover 100% of the costs of the emergency paid sick leave and emergency FMLA that their employees take during the pandemic. These tax credits ensure that nonprofits don’t bear the cost of necessary paid leave when their employees are out of work due to the pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Labor has posted a series of FAQs on these emergency leave programs. The Internal Revenue Service has posted FAQs with information on how nonprofits and other employers can claim the refundable credits when their employees use these paid leave programs.
Take 12 Minutes to Let Funders and State Government Know What Your Nonprofit Needs
In late May, the Center and our state government partners launched a new survey on the impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina nonprofits. More than 1,600 nonprofits have already completed the surveyresponded. Please take 12 minutes to complete the survey , which asks about your organization's operations and needs during the COVID-19 crisis and in the coming months. Your response will inform government, philanthropy, and others about what COVID-19 related needs are most pressing in North Carolina. To maximize the benefits and value of this survey, responses will be publicly available in the near future.
 
The survey (available in English and Spanish) is a joint effort of the Center, the Office of the NC Secretary of State, and the Strategic Partnerships office at the NC Office of State Budget and Management. The Center encourages nonprofits to complete the survey even if you responded to our original COVID-19 survey in March. Thank you if your organization has already completed the survey!
Census Tips of the Week: #CountNCKids Week of Action and Get-Out-the-Count Funding
A complete and accurate count in the 2020 U.S. Census is important for nonprofits since it will help ensure that North Carolina has full representation in Congress and access to federal funding that supports the work of many nonprofits . Because nonprofits are trusted messengers that often serve hard-to-count communities, it is important for all nonprofit organizations to spread the word about the importance of completing the 2020 Census. Nonprofit’s engagement in Census outreach is particularly critical since North Carolina continues to lag behind other states in our Census response rate. As of Wednesday, North Carolina’s response rate was 58.3%, well below the national average of 62.1% (see the U.S. Census Bureau’s map of response rates for more details).
Census Tips of the Week
Next week is #CountNCKids week of action. The NC Counts Coalition has developed a #CountNCKids toolkit with information about events, social media postings, and other ways that nonprofits can help get a complete count of children and families across our state next week.

The NC Counts Coalition invites North Carolina nonprofits committed to ensuring a fair and accurate Census to apply for grants in the range of $7,000-$20,000. NC Counts will consider collaborative proposals for larger amounts. Funds will support plans in North Carolina communities at risk of being undercounted, also known as hard-to-count (HTC) communities. NC Counts has recorded an informational webinar with more details for prospective applicants and the grant application is available online. Proposals submitted today will be considered next week. The final proposal deadline is next Friday, July 24.
Learn About Nonpartisan Voter Education for Nonprofits
A record number of North Carolinians are expected to vote by absentee ballot for the first time in 2020. This process could be challenging and confusing for many voters, so it will be particularly important for nonprofits to provide clear, accurate, and nonpartisan information about the election process to their staff, boards, volunteers, and those they serve this year. You Can Vote is offering a free series of Voter Empowerment Training webinars to help nonprofits learn the steps needed to effectively educate and register voters using our new materials and digital tools including: 
  • The latest on changes to North Carolina’s voting laws; 
  • The 2020 election schedule and what will be on the ballot; and
  • How to successfully educate and motivate voters to cast their ballots.

Even if your nonprofit has not done nonpartisan voter registration or voter education work in the past, the Center encourages you to provide information about the election process this year.
First and Second Quarter Lobbying Reports Due July 22
First and second quarter lobbying expense reports are due to the NC Secretary of State by Wednesday, July 22. Nonprofits that are registered as lobbyist principals and nonprofit staff and contractors registered as lobbyists must submit their expense reports each quarter. For more information on lobbying registration and reporting requirements, check out the Center's summary of NC lobbying laws for nonprofits.
Nonprofit Policy Matters is a service for current Members of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. We track state and federal policy issues that affect all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Learn about the Center's public policy priorities . For more information, contact David Heinen , Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.

Your Center membership allows each staff member, board member, and key volunteer in your organization to set up their own online account to access member resources, benefits and services. Encourage everyone to create an account .