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Nonprofit Observer – Spring 2016

How to stay safe during election season

electionseason-spring2016

During an election year, nonprofits need to be particularly careful about their political activities. This article warns 501(c)(3) organizations against “campaign intervention,” which includes endorsing and financially supporting candidates or otherwise showing bias for particular parties or campaigns. It also discusses how the rules differ for other types of nonprofits. A sidebar summarizes the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Q and A: Does my nonprofit need to register in multiple states?

multiplestates-spring2016

Nonprofits that solicit funds online — or use other fundraising methods that cross state boundaries — may need to register in multiple jurisdictions. This article offers answers to several common questions about multistate registration, including “what does it cost to register?” and “what are the consequences of not registering?” It stresses that rules vary greatly by state.

The case for internal controls — Reducing fraud is easier than you may think

internalcontrol-spring2016

The core of any nonprofit’s fraud-prevention program is strong internal controls. Yet many organizations fail to either develop or enforce them. This article explains why nonprofits are at heightened risk for fraud — for example, they often have cultures of trust and operate with tight budgets. The article also advocates strong management and oversight, as well as offering confidential hotlines.

Grants can help firm up your financial foundation

grants-spring2016

There are approximately 87,000 foundations in the United States giving billions of dollars annually. Nonprofits that aren’t actively seeking grants from these groups are neglecting a potentially significant income source. This article provides tips on securing grants, such as researching the foundation, talking directly to staff members and writing well-defined proposals.