On April 26, 2022, the House of Representatives introduced the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership (SEAT) Act. This bill aims to reinforce the relationship between nonprofits and the federal government, identify common goals, achieve common objectives, encourage more charitable giving, and improve the public’s awareness of the nonprofit sector’s various missions. There are several ways this act could benefit the nonprofit sector, and in this article, we will discuss some of the key aspects of the act if it is passed.
As mentioned above, the SEAT Act would strengthen the partnership between the nonprofit sector and the federal government. If passed, a council and advisory board and a federal office would be created that focuses directly on the nonprofit sector. This office would aid in multiple areas, including policy improvements, fundraising, and volunteer recruiting. This office would also build an online portal to eliminate many of the inefficiencies that nonprofit organizations face.
The SEAT Act also proposes multiple tasks for federal agencies to maximize opportunities to improve the communities that nonprofits serve. AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, would be tasked with creating a biennial report on ways to support non-paid volunteers and provide suggestions on how to improve interest in volunteering and charitable giving. AmeriCorps would also reintroduce eGrants to make grants more readily available and simplify the grant application process. The Treasury Department would also be tasked with evaluating and understanding the impact of new government regulations on the nonprofit sector.
A third significant aspect of the SEAT Act pertains to the collection of data regarding the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit sector is one of the largest sectors in the United States workforce. However, no federal agency currently collects employment data for this sector. Numerous data points are intended to be collected with the passage of the SEAT Act. The Department of Commerce would be tasked with creating a satellite account on nonprofit and volunteer work within its national accounts program on a biennial basis. The Department of Labor would publish a report on unpaid volunteer trends, which would also create a new employee category in the Quarterly Employment and Wages Report. The proposed Office on Nonprofit Sector Partnership would release an annual report on the economic health and impact of the sector overall.
Overall, the passage of the Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership (SEAT) Act could benefit the nonprofit sector in many ways by generating awareness of its wide-ranging needs, new and ongoing trends, and the impact a nonprofit can have on its community at a high level within the federal government. This increased partnership intends to alleviate many of the issues facing the community of nonprofit organizations.
It is important to stress that at the time of printing this news brief, the bill had only been introduced in the House of Representatives. If the bill is to pass, changes could be made as part of the process. Stay tuned to our website and follow us on social media for the latest information and guidance regarding the SEAT Act.
By Dylan Wright, CPA