Non-profits generally can run without any legal advice. However, it is always beneficial to have a lawyer look over records (including financials), policies, and procedures.
Small non-profits sometimes lack the knowledge to establish and handle governance issues and policies, compliance with federal, state, and local laws and keeping of records. This is especially true for those non-profits that have their hands full focusing on their community.
Lawyers and attorneys can help non-profits register with the proper government agencies (IRS, Charities Division, Secretary of State, etc.), create and maintain bylaws and the policies to create them, and ensure that nonprofit boards have the proper membership needed to meet the duties and regulations required.
Many states along with the federal government put the burden and legal responsibilities and knowledge to remain in compliance on the individual board members. This is called fiduciary responsibility. Boards of non-profits that are not in compliance and don’t take this responsibility on can face penalties, both civil and criminal. Boards should consider seeking legal advice and counsel to review records and policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
Contact a lawyer if you serve on a board of a nonprofit to help you navigate these issues.
This post is not legal advice but for informational purposes only; consult with a qualified attorney for advice about your situation. A signed contract is required to become a client of the firm.
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