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.

MOUs versus Contracts

Nonprofits tend to view MOUs as a kinder gentler way to document their intentions.  However, a contract is, at its core, an offer by one party to do something, an acceptance by the other party, and the promise to exchange something of value to seal the deal. Under this definition, the MOUs we see nonprofits create are almost always bare bones legal contracts.