These days there are so many charitable organizations seeking our time, our services, and our financial support that it might feel like there is already an organization out there for every cause. But many people still have a strong desire to start their own nonprofit organization. Often, I’ll hear from individuals who are looking for ways to fund a passion project and who realize that it’s really difficult to raise more than trivial amounts of money without being a recognized tax-exempt organization. (In a future post, we’ll discuss fiscal sponsorship as an alternative to forming a new entity.) Other people I talk to have an idea for a mission-driven project that could potentially be a for-profit business, a nonprofit organization, or a hybrid social enterprise, but they’re just not sure what all goes into establishing and maintaining a nonprofit entity.
Forming a nonprofit and then gaining (and keeping) the organization’s tax-exempt status is definitely more complicated than starting an LLC or other for-profit business. So what do need to know if you’re considering this path?
Regardless of size, every business or nonprofit with employees needs to have certain policies in place. In this series, we’ll be discussing what you need to know when putting these policies into place. But first, which policies should be considered essential, whether you’re hiring your first employee or you’re dusting off an old employee handbook that desperately needs updating?
The Coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down for most of the world, and has been especially difficult for small businesses and nonprofits. However, this hasn’t completely eliminated legal obligations and deadlines. I have said before, and I will say it again, I firmly believe that we will get through this. Many small businesses and nonprofits will find ways to pick back up and re-open their doors. Many of you have already found creative ways to transition to online sales. Small businesses and nonprofits are an essential part of the economy, and that will still be true on the other side of this pandemic.
One of the many legal obligations that you may be tempted to set on the backburner (or may simply have forgotten about in the midst of the current crisis) are your trademark deadlines. The USPTO is not granting waivers of fees or extensions of time for most trademark related filings. These include: