Debt is an integral part of many for-profit companies’ strategic plans, yet it has traditionally carried a stigma in the not-for-profit world. That view is changing, as more organizations borrow money for major capital purchases, new program funding and other reasons. But before your nonprofit borrows, know that it takes prudent financial management and reliable […]

Many not-for-profit youth sports leagues are at risk for fraud and don’t even know it. But you can protect your league by taking a few simple steps. The most important is to segregate duties. This means that no single individual receives, records and deposits funds coming in, pays bills and reconciles bank statements. Every payment […]

Whether you’re planning to raise funds for your not-for-profit with a simple bingo game or raffle, or with a more elaborate casino night, you need to understand and follow the federal rules that govern these kinds of activities. Gaming activities can open the door to unexpected taxes and trigger requirements for specific IRS filings. Filings […]

To err is human, but your not-for-profit’s supporters, not to mention the IRS, may be less than forgiving if errors affect your financial books. Fortunately, if you attend to accounting details, you can avoid these common pitfalls:  1. Failing to follow accounting procedures. Even the smallest nonprofit should set formal, documented and detailed procedures for […]

Your not-for-profit can’t generally reimburse employees for business expenses tax-free just because staffers submit expense records. However, you can if you have a properly executed accountable plan. Under such a plan, reimbursement payments will be free from federal income and employment taxes for recipient employees and not subject to withholding from their paychecks. Additionally, your […]

If your not-for-profit solicits funds online — or uses other fundraising methods that cross state boundaries — it may need to register in multiple jurisdictions. We’ve answered some commonly asked questions. My charity receives occasional contributions from out-of-state donors. Do I need to register with those states? Yes, but only if you’re actually asking for […]

In recent years, the IRS has increased its scrutiny — including actual audits — of not-for-profits. Do you know what to do if your organization receives an audit letter? What is an audit? An audit begins with the initial contact from the IRS and continues until a closing letter is issued. Before closing an audit, […]

If your not-for-profit is “stuck” and you’re not sure how to move forward, consider adopting some for-profit business practices. The essential missions of businesses and nonprofits are different, but the ways to achieve them often are the same. Make a plan The strategic plan — a map of near- and long-term goals and how to […]

Individuals who report illegal or unethical practices may risk their careers, or take other kinds of risks, when they do. Whistleblower policies help protect them. No federal law specifically requires not-for-profits to have such policies in place, but several state laws do. And IRS Form 990 asks nonprofits to state whether they have adopted a […]

Say that your not-for-profit’s investment portfolio has recently grown in size and complexity due to a new endowment. Yet your staff doesn’t have the time or expertise to wisely invest and monitor these funds. This is probably the time to hire an investment advisor — but how do you find the best person to make […]