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Sign Up For Nonprofit Legal Clinic: Understanding the Building Blocks of Good Governance

Good governance policies are a critical part of every organization's foundation, which is why the IRS Form 990 asks nonprofits to indicate whether they have conflict-of-interest, whistleblower and record retention policies. The IRS also has requirements regarding conflicts of interest and public disclosure of your tax filings, while the D.C. Nonprofit Code requires a nonprofit to maintain certain corporate records. But what should you do if:

  • Someone comes to your office and demands to see a copy of your original IRS application for exempt status – do you have to give a copy to the person requesting one? What if you can't find it?
  • An ex-employee who left your employ eight years ago asks for a copy of his or her personnel file - should you provide it?
  • One of your volunteers notices an employee improperly touching a child in your program – what should the volunteer do? Whom should the volunteer talk to?
  • You hire a contractor to perform services for your organization, and you find out after you sign the contract that a Board member's wife is a co-owner of the company - is this a problem?

Most organizations have adopted policies to deal with these situations. But often, after the Board adopts the policy, the policy is attached to the meeting minutes and forgotten.  Then, when someone asks to see some records, observes some wrongdoing, or has a potential conflict of interest, the Board and staff are unsure of what to do.     

While all Sec. 501(c)(3) organizations should have well-drafted conflict of interest, record retention and whistleblower polices, it is just as important that organizations educate their directors, employees and volunteers about the policies and develop a plan to implement them.

At this clinic, you will meet one-on-one with an attorney who will help review and update your nonprofit's whistleblower and record retention policies and your conflict of interest policy and disclosure form. The attorney will also discuss with you the reasons the policies say what they do, and how best to implement them. Finally, the attorney will discuss with you some actions you can take now, so you know to handle issues when they come up.

Date: May 29, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To register: Contact Lauren Paley at [email protected] or 202-737-4700, ex. 3357

Cost: Free of Charge