Know Your Rights

In the current political environment, it is essential that nonprofit organizations know their rights and are prepared to act if the government lists the organization as a terrorist group, freezes its assets or searches its offices, computers or files. 

The Know Your Rights project of the Charity & Security Network provides information, resources and training to inform nonprofits on steps they can take to protect themselves and be prepared in the event that the government moves to designate their orgnization, its director or employees; seize their assets, arrest their directors or employees, or audit their operations. The project educates organizations on permissible activities and provides up-to-date information on the rights to protest and advocacy under federal and state law. 

Click on one of the sub-categories below for more information:









Sign on Statement Supporting Nonprofit Organizations



The undersigned organizations come together in recognition of U.S. nonprofit organizations and their vital role in supporting communities and protecting democracy.  These groups are dedicated to the public welfare, addressing everything from poverty to peacebuilding. They embody the Constitutional rights of association, assembly and free expression by giving people a vehicle for civic participation, charitable endeavors and exercise of religious faith. 

The charitable activities of nonprofits hold transformative power at home and abroad, especially in conflict zones. They reflect our national values of compassion, equality and fairness. In these troubled times, when so many places in the world are mired in conflict, the number of refugees is higher than any time since World War II, and factionalism and divisiveness dominate public discourse, a strong and active nonprofit sector is more important than ever.  But unnecessary restrictions on nonprofits can limit their ability to carry out their good works.

We call on the U.S. government to protect and respect the work of nonprofit organizations; to recognize that many engage in activities that contribute to the security of individuals and institutions across the globe; and to recognize that many have an ability to carry out programs that promote peace and human rights, alleviate poverty, aid civilians in areas of disaster and armed conflict, and build democratic governance. 

Accordingly, the following principles should guide and support government policy and action impacting civil society:

• Government rules and regulations should encourage nonprofit activities and not unduly disrupt or discourage them.

• Any restrictions on nonprofits’ activities should be based on a risk-based approach that is proportionate and consistent with Constitutional principles.

• The ability of nonprofits to protect and aid civilians affected by armed conflict should be respected, consistent with international humanitarian law.

• Any nonprofit subject to government enforcement action should have a meaningful opportunity to defend itself. 

• All assets of nonprofit organizations should be protected and used only to support a legitimate charitable purpose.

Nonprofit organizations are essential to a Democratic society, and thus should have the support of the U.S. government.


Protecting Your Nonprofit: Essential Steps

June 20, 2017

This infographic was developed from presentations given by Shari Crittendon, Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, and Julien Schopp, InterAction, in an April 2017 Charity & Security Network webinar, Steps My Organization Can Take to Protect Itself. The webinar is part of the Charity & Security Network's Know Your Rights series, designed to create a defensive shield for nonprofits in the current political environment. (View a PDF of this infographic.)