If you want to start a nonprofit organization, then consult a nonprofit attorney. A nonprofit attorney, also known as a nonprofit lawyer, checks the legality of your nonprofit. They make sure that it follows the rules and stays on track. Nonprofit attorneys help start-up nonprofits with the necessary paperwork, taxes, and issues that surround these types of organizations in general.
Don’t just hire any nonprofit attorney. You want one that additionally can help you improve your organization financially and solve any monetary problems. Kicking off and managing an organization will require budgeting expertise.
General Information about Nonprofit Attorneys
A nonprofit attorney who only helps with paperwork might not be enough to help your organization stay afloat. You want a nonprofit attorney who also acts as your financial advisor. This way, your organization can remain financially secure. So here are some tips on how to find this ideal nonprofit attorney.
7 Tips to Get a Good Nonprofit Attorney
1. Ask Other Nonprofit Executives
More experienced nonprofit executives can give you information on the best and worst nonprofit attorneys they’ve encountered. You can ask these executives which nonprofit lawyers also double as financial advisors. If you don’t know any nonprofit administrators personally, then you could look up ones locally. Use a phone book or the internet. After you find certain nonprofit leaders, call them up and ask about nonprofit attorneys. It is recommended that you find nonprofit executives that have an organization similar to yours.
2. Meet Up with Nonprofit Attorneys
After you have found ideal attorneys, meet up with them and discuss your business. Make sure these lawyers offer a free consultation, first. This allows you to test the waters at no cost to you. Before meeting a nonprofit attorney, know what your financial expectations are for them. At the meeting, you must establish these expectations to them. This is to ensure that financial conflict doesn’t arise in the future if you end up working with them.
3. Use the Attorney or Lawyer Referral Service (ARS)
An ARS can be operated at the national or state level. They can be run by either your local bar associations or an independent group of lawyers. Bar associations are more officially and, therefore, recommended over the latter option. With the use of an ARS, you can look up the names of lawyers who mark themselves as nonprofit attorneys. They can also be listed under charity. To search on the official American Bar Association website, you must create an account.
4. Nonprofit Associations
This is like the first tip except you don’t have to meet or call any nonprofit executives. Certain nonprofit associations have a referral service when it comes to nonprofit attorneys. These services are based on experience from many other nonprofit leaders. Check with your local or regional nonprofit association on whether or not this service is provided.
5. Nearby Law Schools
Law schools in your town or the town across the street may have programs available. These programs can teach the public on how to find certain lawyers. There may even be nonprofit attorneys showcased in these programs. Law schools may also provide a financial clinic for nonprofit attorneys. You can attend this clinic to find potential lawyers. Do research on your local law schools for more details.
6. Financial Lawyers
There could be financial attorneys who have experience with helping nonprofit organizations. These lawyers have already been trained to be financially astute. Using your local directory, look up any and all financial attorneys. Narrow down your findings with your expectations and free consultations. Now that you have your list of attorneys, follow tip two with each of them until you find your ideal nonprofit attorney.
This website is a national directory of lawyers who have been rated. Not only can you look for a nonprofit attorney, but you can also check their integrity and quality. You can also take a look at their experience. A nonprofit attorney, for example, can have a list of nonprofit organizations they have worked with. Going back to tip six, look up financial lawyers who are experienced with nonprofit organizations or charities in general.
You Hire a Nonprofit Attorney, but It May Only Be Your First
Understand that, even if they fit all of your expectations, your nonprofit attorney may not be compatible with you and your organization. Some attorneys are aloof and careless with their clients. If you happen to have this kind of attorney, then feel free to find another lawyer. Staying with a bad attorney can actually do damage to your organization and leave you vulnerable to legal attacks. Keep trying for nonprofit lawyers until you find one who is cooperative, careful, and financially astute.
Financially, starting and managing a nonprofit organization can be difficult for the inexperienced beginner. A nonprofit attorney may be able to help with the paperwork, but that might not be enough to keep the organization afloat. With the above tips, you can find many potential candidates for nonprofit lawyers that can also be financial advisors. Perhaps you will instead obtain a financial advisor that is experienced with nonprofit legalities.
Do you know of other ways to gain a financially astute nonprofit attorney? Share them in the comments section below and help other nonprofit executives find their ideal lawyer.
Images from depositphotos.com.