Ethical decision making is an essential aspect of every successful nonprofit. Too often in the news, we hear about ethical violations that have destroyed companies from within. There are more moral meltdowns and massive lawsuits based on inappropriate activities every day. The last thing you, as a nonprofit leader, want is to have negative press all over the internet about ethical issues in your organization. Ethics can be complicated to navigate. The good news is that by having an ethical management plan, you can help avoid ethical failures in your place of work.
While having a full-time in-house attorney may not be realistic for your organization, getting the occasional outside counsel from a nonprofit law firm is much more realistic than you might think. At Mission Counsel, we focus on the success of nonprofits and their missions. Our background in the nonprofit sector gives us a unique insight into the challenges you face, and we are committed to assisting nonprofits in a way that is sustainable and approachable for organizations of all sizes.
To apply for tax-exempt status there are two form options, the 1023 and the 1023-EZ. Now just because there is an “EZ” attached to the end of one of the choices, does not mean it is actually “easy” to fill out. Knowing which application to use is critical when trying to obtain tax-exempt status for your nonprofit.
Intellectual Property is the intangible rights protecting products of the human intellect, comprised generally of copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Without exception, IP permeates throughout every nonprofit: websites; newsletters; logos; books/articles; music; computer code; unique systems, processes, and methods; campaigns; and more. Often, nonprofits create intellectual property without even realizing it. Knowing how to handle IP is vital for nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs.
Whether you realize it or not, your organization is constantly engaging in numerous contracts, from your internet service provider, to that new donor management platform to which you just subscribed, to the web designer you just hired to rebuild your website. All of those are contractual relationships that are governed by the law of contracts (and the terms contained within those contracts). Having a clear idea of what contracts you are engaged in and what your obligations are as a nonprofit is essential to long term success.
Your organization simply cannot function without its people, yet your people (and the laws surrounding their employment) tend to be among the most common sources of litigation against nonprofits. However, with a little knowledge and foresight, it does not have to be that way. Here is a brief overview of what employment laws nonprofit executive directors should know about.
If dealing with the IRS makes you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. Sometimes it seems like the Internal Revenue Service uses a foreign language that you never took in school. We know this and can help translate for your nonprofit. Compliance with the IRS is crucial to keeping your organization above board and in good standing. By making sure to take care of a few relatively straightforward matters, you can ensure your nonprofit maintains that precious 501(c)(3) status. Follow this guide to help keep the IRS happy with your organization.
In our ever-changing world, there is so much to learn about legal requirements for nonprofits. While regularly reading the news is beneficial for staying up to date, it can be overwhelmingly hard to digest. Between taxes, annual filings, employment regulations, and copyright law alone there is a lot for a nonprofit executive director to keep up with. In our upcoming blog series, we will examine four core areas that are imperative for nonprofit leaders to be well-versed in.
The term ‘nonprofit' and ‘tax-exempt' mean the same thing, right? Wrong. Although in everyday communication the two concepts are often used interchangeably, their differences are important to know if you are involved in the nonprofit sector.
Form 1023 is the application used by the IRS to determine if an organization qualifies for tax-exempt status. Tax-exempt status is also known as 501(c)(3) status. It is key for a nonprofit to obtain tax-exempt status within 27 months of being operational. There are a variety of complex questions on this length form, about 40 pages before supplemental materials and the potential addition of schedules. The IRS charges a filing fee of $600 upon submission of Form 1023.
Before embarking on the endeavor of starting a nonprofit, you should ask yourself a very important question: Should I start a nonprofit? This “pre-step” if you will, could save you a lot of time and money. There are a wide variety of factors to consider. Researching online and getting legal counsel is a great way to get started in determining if you should or should not start a nonprofit. The following steps are the essential elements in forming a 501(c)(3) organization in Kansas or Missouri.
So, you want to start a nonprofit? Congrats! You are probably an awesome person with a noble cause. You have passion and drive. You want to do good in the world. You are a dedicated, hard worker with clear values. Establishing a nonprofit is a wonderful way to give back to the community and help those in need.