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Legal Resources for Nonprofit Organizations

The team at Side Project Inc. is constantly researching, reviewing and developing new tools and resources to help tax exempt nonprofit organizations with legal, development, and planning needs. We have assembled the resource library below which includes articles, video, websites and other resources. These resources are intended to serve as information only and in no way substitutes for legal or professional advice.

Social Change Strategic Plan

The Social Change Strategic Plan Worksheet is based on a Logic Model. Logic models are a graphical depiction of the relationships between the resources, activities, outputs and outcomes of a program. Using a the worksheet as a planning tool can be very helpful for new projects or organizations and sets the stage to effectively measure and track success.

Download your Project Planning Worksheet Today!

Thinking About Starting a Nonprofit?

We believe in the power of grassroots community organizations and work with new projects and initiatives to determine their best path forward. Starting a nonprofit is not the only route to making a difference in the community.  

If you are thinking about starting a nonprofit be sure to review So you Think You Wanna be a 501(c)(3)

The IRS Publication 557 provides information on starting a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. It also reviews on-going tax exempt legal and compliance issues. 

Fiduciary Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

Taking on a leadership role as a board member of a nonprofit organization is an exciting opportunity for new lawyers. While it is an honor to serve on a nonprofit Board of Directors, it is important to know and understand that this is more than just a title to add to your LinkedIN profile. Members of the Board of Directors serve in a fiduciary role to the organization.

In Know Your Role, we provide on primer on the roles and fiduciary responsibilities you assumed when taking a seat on a nonprofit board.

Fiscal Sponsorship

A fiscal sponsor is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation that receives and disburses funds for programs that may or may not be incorporated. Having a fiscal sponsor can benefit a group that is not tax-exempt by providing a pathway for it to receive funding.

A newly formed nonprofit finds another nonprofit (one that is already tax-exempt and generally has a similar mission) that agrees to accept the administrative responsibility of receiving charitable gifts on behalf of the sponsored organization. The fiscal sponsor must first determine that serving as a fiscal sponsor is consistent with its mission (and does not jeopardize its own tax-exempt status).

The sponsored organization arranges with the fiscal sponsor to receive grants or contributions on its behalf. This arrangement allows the sponsored organization to solicit contributions to support its programs, with the understanding that the donation will be made to the fiscal sponsor, not to the sponsored program/organization directly. Since the fiscal sponsor is tax-exempt, the donor’s contribution will qualify as a deductible contribution.

Using a fiscal sponsor satisfies IRS requirements as long as the fiscal sponsor maintains the right to decide, at its own discretion, how it will use the contribution and, in fact, uses it consistently with its own tax-exempt status. Maintaining control over the donated funds is a requirement of a legitimate fiscal sponsor arrangement.

Below are some links we have found useful to understanding what a fiscal sponsorship is.

E-Learning Course “Guide to Fiscal Sponsorship” (http://grantspace.org/Classroom/Online-Classes/Guide-to-Fiscal-Sponsorship)

Council of Nonprofits: (http://www.councilofnonprofits.org/fiscal-sponsorship)