What kinds of expenses and fundraising are not allowed?

In order to help local groups fundraise, it’s necessary that the funds be donated to Indivisible Project, our national organization, and we then grant the majority of the money to your local group for your group activities. For that reason, the money can only be spent on activities that are legally permitted for an organization with the tax status that Indivisible Project has. Because we are a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, there are certain things that this money cannot be spent on.

Permitted expenses:

  • Public education, voter registration. This includes most of the work that Indivisible Groups do to educate the public about proposed legislation, or to communicate with elected officials about important issues. You do not require pre-approval to spend funds on these costs. Please note: certain states may require you to register and report any spending on lobbying state or local officials or asking others to do the same.
  • Group building. This includes any normal activity of supporting your group’s day-to-day operation, such as meetings to plan agendas and discuss overall group strategic direction.
  • Independent political spending on federal elections are permitted but require pre-approval. For federal reporting purposes, partisan political spending includes any activity conducted to influence the election, selection, nomination, or appointment of any individual to a federal office; to an office in a political organization or political party; or as a delegate or elector for President or Vice President. This may include, for example, ads that explicitly seek to support or oppose a candidate for federal office, or voter outreach that explicitly supports or opposes a candidate. You may notice a theme here: supporting or opposing a candidate for federal office. More general work related to elections, like get-out-the-vote activities that don’t mention a candidate, are not considered partisan political spending for federal reporting purposes, as noted in the section on voter education and voter registration above. Any activity that qualifies as political spending MUST be pre-approved.This is because Indivisible must file reports on this spending with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), sometimes within 24 hours of the money being spent. This is why it is extremely important that you get pre-approval for political spending, and work with us to get the information we need to file with the FEC. The political spending pre-approval form is here.

Prohibited expenses:

  • Coordinated political activity or direct contributions to campaigns. This card cannot be used to make direct financial contributions or offer other direct financial support to a candidate, political party, or PAC. This includes spending that is done in coordination with candidates, political parties, or PACs. Spending is considered coordinated if it is done at the request or suggestion of a political party or candidate; if a candidate or campaign representative was materially involved in decisions regarding the expense; if members of a campaign had substantial discussion about the expense; or if the expense was made through a common vendor with a campaign or committee, or with the guidance of a recently departed ex-employee of a campaign or committee. NOTE: This also means that there are restrictions on what kind of fundraising requests can be made. Please do not ask people to donate money so that it can be spent on any specific candidate’s campaign or independent expenditure campaign.
  • Political spending on state or local races. The card cannot be used for any political activity directed towards influencing the outcome of state or local races. Indivisible cannot provide support for legally-mandated reporting associated with these races.
  • Unrelated personal expenses or personal enrichment.
  • Drugs or alcohol of any kind.

In many cases your card simply won’t work at places where these kinds of purchases are made, but it is your responsibility to make sure you follow these rules. If you do not, Indivisible will close your card and you will have to return the funds that were misspent.