Nonprofit Affiliates: Common Issues and Best Practices

To reap the tax-advantaged and protective benefits of conducting business through multiple entities, organizations must take care to respect the formalities of the arrangement. This includes remaining independent and dealing with each other at arm’s length, having separate board meetings, implementing conflict of interest policies, documenting transactions between the entities, and ensuring fair market value payment for any benefits received by affiliates.

How to Use an Employee Assistance Fund to Aid Employees During COVID

As the economic hardships of the pandemic continue to mount, many are looking for ways to help employees weather the crisis. After 9/11, the Internal Revenue Code was amended to allow employers to make direct payments to employees for “qualified disaster relief” under Section 139. Likewise, employee assistance funds are also commonly used vehicles to provide disaster relief and/or emergency hardship financial support for people affiliated with a particular employer. Both vehicles serve not only to protect one of your business’s most important assets — your people — by getting them back to work, but they also serve to boost morale, build community, and reduce employee turnover in the long-run.

Black Lives Matter; Making a Difference With Your Charitable Giving

AdHoc said it best: “For everyone that is feeling outraged by the multiple lives that have been lost at the hands of the police, we’d encourage you to channel that anger into action.” For some, that action looks like self-education and awareness, or protesting, or speaking out amongst their friends and community. Another consideration may be giving to one of several organizations working diligently in the fight against systemic racism and violence. 

What’s New for Nonprofits in 2020

At the close of 2019, Congress passed legislation that has a significant impact on nonprofits. On December 20, 2019, the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020,” also known as H.R. 1865, became law. This act includes two provisions that significantly impact nonprofits:

The simplification of the excise tax on net investment income; and
The retroactive repeal of the unrelated business income tax on qualified transportation fringe benefits.

Board Quorums, Non-Profit Strategy, and Technological Innovation

Many non-profit’s use the 51% benchmark for a quorum as a concession that directors will not be able to attend all meetings, but having a majority of board members in attendance for official business ensures a representative cross-section of participation which will not simply reflect the will of a very small clique of directors.  However, organizations that value strong hands-on participation by board members may set a higher quorum requirement to encourage meeting attendance and broader participation. 

Can Non-Profits Use Donor Restricted Program Funds to Pay Overhead?

In non-profit finance and accounting, restricted contributions are those given by donors in which the donor intends the funds to be used for specific programs or purposes. As in all matters regarding donations, the stated intent of the donor rules when it comes to the purposes for which donation revenue can be allocated. If the donor allocates funds for program B, and states verbally or in writing that such funds cannot be used for administrative costs (back office, IT support, human resources, insurance, operations, etc.) to support such programming, than they cannot be used for that purpose. However, if no such explicit statement is made by the donor, non-profits can use a reasonable amount of the restricted funds received to pay for administrative costs allocable to the program designated by the donor.

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Whenever nonprofit directors, officers or staff members’ personal interests are impacted by their decision-making on behalf of the nonprofit, conflicts of interest can arise. All nonprofits encounter conflicts and all nonprofits need to understand effective conflict management.

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.