5 Actions Every 501(c)(6) Should Take to Convince Congress to Expand the Paycheck Protection Program

Charles Cooper

Actions that can be taken by every 501(c)(6) organization to help encourage Congress to provide parity between 501(c)(6) organizations and their 501(c)(3) peers

The Paycheck Protection Program was included in the CARES Act as part of a $2.2 trillion relief package in response to the COVID19 pandemic. The program will provide $350 billion in SBA 7(a) loans with favorable terms, minimal documentation requirements, an expedited review and approval process and the opportunity for loan forgiveness. While small businesses and 501(c)(3) organizations (with 500 employees or less) are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program and its generous – and much needed — benefits, 501(c)(6) organizations are not.
This week, Congress is positioned to add an additional $250 billion to the program. It is possible that Congress could do so again in the future. However, without an amendment to the CARES Act, 501(c)(6) organizations would remain ineligible for this important program.
Since Tom Antonucci and I published a blog entitled “Extending the Paycheck Protection Program to 501(c)(6) Organizations” last week, I have heard from many 501(c)(6) organizations that are facing the financial impacts of the COVID19 pandemic and asking how they can help encourage Congress to include them in future relief packages.
Here are five actions that can be taken by every 501(c)(6) organization to help encourage Congress to provide parity between 501(c)(6) organizations and their 501(c)(3) peers:
ACTION #1: Develop A Strong Narrative: It is important for Congress to understand both the role of 501(c)(6) organizations and the critical work they do for industries, especially during uncertain times like these. Develop you own narrative to highlight the work your organization does (especially to help grow the industries you work with), the impact this crisis has had on your organization, and the opportunity costs of inaction.
ACTION #2: Contact Your Members of Congress: Your policymakers should know they have constituents that are impacted by the economic downturn, but that are not covered by the CARES Act and the important programs it created. Reaching out to your Member of Congress and two Senators is an easy way to elevate the impact locally. The easiest and most efficient way to reach out is by email through their websites.
ACTION #3: Join Your Peers: The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has a letter to Congress with over 2,000 501(c)(6) organizations that are seeking to be included in the Paycheck Protection Program. Read the letter here and the find the form to sign on here.
ACTION #4: Recruit Others: Many peers that lead other 501(c)(6) organizations are facing the same challenges as you are and could benefit from access to the Paycheck Protection Program. Help educate them on the current policy landscape and encourage them to take action as well to help elevate the importance of this issue.
ACTION #5: More Questions or Need Help…Contact Signal: Signal Group has policy experts from both sides of the aisle that are helping organizations navigate this issue (and others) on Capitol Hill. Feel free to reach out to ccooper@signaldc.com for any questions.

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