Charitable Organizations

A passion for positively impacting society drives nonprofit organizations. To succeed in their respective missions, compliance with relevant laws is required. Failure to do so can create legal challenges that put the organization at risk. The legal landscape of nonprofit law, however, is complex. 

The Dohrwardt Law Firm can play a vital role in ensuring your organization's compliance, protecting its mission, and maximizing its potential for success. The firm is committed to supporting nonprofits like yours, providing legal guidance, and helping you confidently achieve your philanthropic goals. Contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to learn how the firm can help your organization.

Nonprofit Legal Services

Nonprofit law applies to all areas of a nonprofit organization, from startup to employment to fundraising to program implementation. The Dohrwardt Law Firm provides legal guidance and representation.

  • Formation and Incorporation. When establishing a nonprofit, the legal process of formation and incorporation can be intricate. A nonprofit lawyer helps you navigate this process, ensuring your organization is correctly structured and eligible for tax-exempt status.
  • Tax-Exempt Status Application. Securing and maintaining tax-exempt status is crucial for nonprofit organizations. A nonprofit lawyer assists in obtaining 501(c)(3) status and guides you in meeting ongoing IRS requirements to maintain your tax-exempt status.
  • Board Governance. Nonprofit boards have significant legal responsibilities and fiduciary duties. To maintain transparency and accountability, a nonprofit lawyer guides best practices, board structure, bylaws, policies, and conflicts of interest.
  • Contracts and Agreements. Nonprofits engage in various contracts with donors, vendors, and partners. A nonprofit lawyer ensures these agreements protect your organization's interests and align with its mission. A nonprofit lawyer will review and draft contracts with donors, vendors, and partners, protecting your nonprofit's interests and minimizing legal risks.
  • Fundraising and Solicitation. A nonprofit lawyer will advise on fundraising regulations and solicitation requirements, ensuring that your fundraising efforts comply with state and federal laws.
  • Intellectual Property Protection. A nonprofit lawyer will assist in safeguarding your nonprofit's intellectual property (IP) rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and branding.
  • Employment Law. A nonprofit lawyer will guide you on employment matters, including employee contracts, wage and hour compliance, and workplace policies.
  • Compliance with Regulations. Nonprofit organizations are subject to numerous federal and state regulations, including tax laws, governance requirements, and reporting obligations. A nonprofit lawyer ensures your organization is fully compliant, avoiding potential legal issues and penalties.

Many different types of nonprofit organizations can benefit from the Dohrwardt Law Firm's advice and counsel. Examples of these organizations include but are not limited to:

  • Churches and religious organizations
  • Hospitals and other medical facilities
  • Service-based organizations
  • Cultural exchange groups
  • Disease-awareness and fundraising charities
  • Parent-teacher organizations
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Veteran organizations
  • Educational organizations
  • Foundations, including private foundations
  • Charitable organizations and charitable trusts

Many other types of nonprofits exist, and the Dohrwardt Law Firm is here to help you with your unique legal needs. 

Legal Challenges in the Nonprofit Sector

Even when a nonprofit is entirely in compliance with laws, legal challenges can arise. These can pose significant hurdles to an organization's mission and involve anything from issues with taxes to problems with employees.

Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

One of the primary legal challenges for nonprofits is ensuring compliance with many federal, state, and local regulations. Nonprofits must adhere to specific rules and reporting requirements to maintain their tax-exempt status. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to penalties, loss of funding, or even jeopardize the organization's existence.

Nonprofit organizations must navigate complex tax laws, governance standards, and fundraising regulations. These requirements may vary based on the nonprofit's size and activities. As a result, nonprofit leaders need to have a deep understanding of these laws or seek legal counsel to ensure proper compliance.

Governance and Board Management

Effective governance is vital for the success and sustainability of any nonprofit organization. However, issues related to control and board management are common legal challenges that nonprofits encounter.

Conflicts of interest, fiduciary responsibilities, and ethical dilemmas may arise among board members. Proper board training and well-drafted bylaws are essential to address these challenges proactively. Nonprofit leaders should prioritize transparency, accountability, and good governance practices to mitigate potential legal risks.

Employment and Labor Laws

Nonprofits often face employment-related legal challenges, including issues related to employee contracts, wage and hour compliance, workplace safety, and harassment claims. Ensuring compliance with labor laws is essential to protect the organization and its employees.

Moreover, classifying workers as employees or independent contractors can be a complex area of law that nonprofits must navigate carefully. Misclassification can lead to legal disputes and potential liability for the organization.

Intellectual Property Protection

Intellectual property is valuable for nonprofits, primarily in branding, fundraising campaigns, and educational materials. Nonprofits must protect their trademarks, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property to maintain their unique identity and prevent unauthorized use.

Failure to adequately protect intellectual property can lead to dilution of the organization's brand, fundraising challenges, and potential legal battles with infringing parties.

Fundraising and Solicitation Regulations

Nonprofit organizations heavily rely on fundraising to sustain their operations and achieve their mission. However, fundraising activities are subject to specific regulations, and failure to comply with these laws can result in serious legal consequences.

Each state has its solicitation registration requirements, and nonprofits that engage in multi-state fundraising campaigns must navigate a complex web of regulations. Understanding these requirements and obtaining the necessary licenses are crucial for successful fundraising efforts.

Donor Relations and Gift Acceptance

Maintaining solid relationships with donors is essential for the financial stability of nonprofits. However, gift acceptance policies and donor restrictions can be complex, particularly when donors specify how their contributions should be used.

Nonprofits must have clear gift acceptance policies aligning with their mission and values, ensuring they can fulfill donor expectations while staying true to their core objectives.

Government Audits and Investigations

Nonprofits receiving federal funds or grants are subject to audits and investigations by government agencies to ensure compliance with funding requirements. Additionally, whistleblowers or disgruntled employees may raise concerns that trigger investigations.

Nonprofits must be prepared to cooperate with these audits and investigations, keeping meticulous records of financial transactions, programs, and other relevant activities to demonstrate compliance.

Why Hire a Nonprofit Attorney?

The Dohrwardt Law Firm understands nonprofits' vital role in society. The firm is committed and determined to assist our clients in meeting their respective goals. The firm offers:

  • Knowledge of Nonprofit Law. The Dohrwardt Law Firm is knowledgeable and understands nonprofit law. We stay updated on legal developments and industry trends to provide the most relevant and practical legal advice.
  • Tailored Legal Solutions. Every nonprofit is unique, with distinct goals and challenges. The Dohrwardt Law Firm offers personalized legal solutions, understanding your organization's needs and tailoring our advice accordingly.
  • Proven Track Record. The Dohrwardt Law Firm has a proven track record of assisting clients in achieving their objectives. 
  • Focused Support. The Dohrwardt Law Firm is dedicated to supporting each client. Our deep understanding of the nonprofit sector allows us to provide comprehensive legal services that align with your organization's values and goals.
  • Strategic Partnerships. As your nonprofit lawyer, the Dohrwardt Law Firm believes in building lasting partnerships with our clients. I want to become an integral part of your team, providing ongoing support, legal advice, and strategic planning to help your nonprofit thrive.

Contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm Today!

As a nonprofit organization, your mission is to create positive change in the world. To accomplish this, you need a trusted partner who understands the complexities of nonprofit law and can navigate the legal landscape for you. The Dohrwardt Law Firm is committed to supporting your organization, ensuring compliance, protecting your mission, and maximizing your impact. 

Contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to hear how the firm can help you embark on a journey of legal empowerment for your nonprofit. Together, we can make a difference and confidently achieve your philanthropic vision.

Bray Dohrwardt is Responsible For the Content of this website

Bray Dohrwardt is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Texas. Please contact the Dohrwardt Law Firm to discuss how the firm can help you get business done.