How to Ensure the Legality of Virtual Board Meetings

Today, many charities are unable or unwilling to hold board meetings or membership meetings in person due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements and are considering, perhaps for the first time, holding their meetings electronically. In between the complexity of mastering Zoom and figuring out the most flattering lighting, many may not realize that their organization’s articles or bylaws do not permit virtual meetings. 

Can Your Nonprofit Board Vote by Email?

Technology now offers businesses and boards many advantages, including the ability to meet via teleconference, video conference, or even conduct discussion and voting via electronic communications, such as email.  But while email is commonplace among many organizations for its ease of use, especially for busy and geographically diverse volunteers sitting on nonprofit boards, there are several reasons to think twice before using email for your next important nonprofit board vote. 

Nonprofit Jargon Buster – Directors vs. Trustees

The group of individuals charged with the governance of nonprofits are often referred to interchangeably as “directors” or “trustees.” These terms are similar in that they both refer to the group of individuals who have a fiduciary duty to oversee the nonprofit organization. However, from a legal perspective, there are important distinctions.

Name Changes – How to Do it Right

Exempt organizations that wish to change their name often secure a trade name or “do business” under a fictitious name. Presumably they opt to use a fictitious name rather than formally change their name because they believe a legal name change is too much trouble or they don’t know how to accomplish it. . . . A better approach is to change the organization’s legal name with both state and federal authorities to present a unified and cohesive brand to donors and supporters.

Nonprofits and Affiliated Entities

Increasingly, nonprofits are creating affiliate organizations such as entities to hold real property, taxable subsidiaries that run unrelated businesses, lobbying organizations, foundations, chapters, and even management organizations. There are myriad reasons to create affiliates but there are a number of common scenarios that we will touch in this post.

The Arizona Entity Restructuring Act

Prior to passage of AREA, an entity seeking to change its structure likely had to undergo a multi-step transaction to accomplish its goal. AREA permits direct conversions and makes clear that it applies to all entity types (corporations, nonprofits, benefit corporations, LLCs, partnerships, etc.).

Top Five Nonprofit Legal Risks

Too often, we see nonprofits signing contracts that are presented to them by vendors without appropriate legal review. Many vendors use form contracts that are extremely one sided in the vendor’s favor on the theory that many clients will sign whatever is given to them without scrutinizing the terms.

Choice of Domicile for Nonprofit Corporations

Over the years we have worked with organizations in many different states and have had the chance to form some opinions about choice of domicile for nonprofits. Some of the factors that have influenced our thoughts on this matter include states requiring mandatory audits, multiple agencies overseeing nonprofits, unclear statutes governing nonprofit corporations, and aggressive regulation.

DIY Nonprofit Law – Top Five Mistakes

The state form does not include the tax provisions that the IRS requires tax-exempt organizations to have. Would be founders that file using the state’s form Articles of Incorporation without including an attachment with the appropriate tax provisions will end up with a taxable nonprofit – a result almost no one intends.

When to Start a Nonprofit

We are used to hearing lots of folks – including yours truly – complain about the “nonprofit birth control” problem in this country. While it is true that too many nonprofits are formed for the wrong reasons – there are also many good reasons to form a new nonprofit. The trick is to learn to tell the difference.