April 14, 2020

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act excluded associations from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides up to $10 million in forgivable loans to small business and Section 510(c)(3) nonprofits, among others.

House, Senate and Administration leadership are negotiating a potential interim bill to increase funding for the PPP ahead of the next major package, which is commonly referred to as CARES 2 and/or COVID-4. It is possible any interim funding ahead of the next major package would simply add funds to the PPP and not expand eligibility. Regardless of what takes shape, we need to proceed as if any and every option to include associations is possible.

We must also continue to educate Congress about the financial stress the COVID-19 pandemic has created for associations at the same time many of our organizations are trying to assist our own members to obtain emergency aid.

Some Members of Congress believe Section 501(c)(6) associations’ primary function is to lobby the government. We all know this is untrue and that associations support their members, workers and constituents first with education and resources. According to ASAE’s Association Operations Ratio Report, associations dedicate a median of 5.19% of resources to lobbying expenses – a figure that is much lower, if nothing at all, for countless associations and ASAE members.

In a positive development, U.S. Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) sent a letter, along with 60 Congressional signatories, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting association relief.

How You Can Continue to Help:

  1. Write Congressional leadership and your legislators using ASAE’s template correspondence. Please customize as much as possible to include a) how your organization benefits workers and the economy; b) how COVID-19 has impacted your organization; and c) if applicable, any lobbying expense data to counteract the misconception described above. To send an automated message to your legislator, use ASAE’s grassroots campaign.
  2. Send us your stories. Many of you have already sent us extremely valuable data and anecdotes, but we need more. Please send a paragraph or two, with any helpful data points or figures, to grassroots@asaecenter.org at your earliest convenience.
  3. Post on social media and include your legislators. Use ASAE’s template social media messaging and list of Congressional social media accounts to write your legislators directly.

We are making progress – thanks in large part to your unwavering advocacy – and these critical actions will help grow our support in Congress.

For more information, visit ASAE’s Advocacy and Resources page. For questions, email publicpolicy@asaecenter.org.