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Workshop Descriptions

Below is an alphabetical list of currently scheduled and frequently recurring workshops.

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Raising Funds within the Rules: The Law of the Ask
Not Currently Scheduled
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During a time of economic change, community-based nonprofits are under increasing pressure to diversify their funding sources to include government, private foundations, corporations, and individuals. Expanded ways of fundraising, including special events and the internet, have opened up innovative avenues to support their work. This workshop will provide an overview of the federal and state laws that apply to nonprofits that are fundraising in New York, including the documentation and disclosure rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Code, state charities registration and reporting, and the use of volunteer and paid fundraisers.

Learning objective: Participants will be able to recognize, and adhere to, funding regulations so as to better support the organization's fundraising activities.

For nonprofit managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Instructor: Nicole Cuttino, Staff Attorney

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Careful Lobbying Compliance: Keeping Track of the Required Reports and Restrictions on Lobbyists' Activities
April 6, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Nonprofits that register as lobbyists in New York State or New York City because they use their own employees to lobby on behalf of the organization are expected to file the same reports, and adhere to the same code of conduct, as professional lobbying firms. They must register with and report to both NY State and NYC even if they only lobby in NYC, and even if their advocacy is aimed solely at city agencies, not the state legislature or City Council. Nonprofit lobbyists that invite elected officials to conferences or fundraising dinners must comply with the ban on gifts to public servants. Those that register with NY State must disclose board members' business relationships with state employees and elected officials. Employees registered with NYC must report on fundraising events they host for City Council candidates on their own time, and must abide by the City's code of ethics for lobbyists.

This webinar will explain NY State and NYC's requirements for nonprofit organizations that register as lobbyists and will provide practical tips for complying with these often confusing rules.

Learning objective: Participants will be able to identify the obligations of a nonprofit organization registered as a lobbyist, and develop practical strategies to ensure compliance.

For nonprofit managers, organizers, and others involved in the day-to-day operation of not-for-profit tax-exempt organizations in New York.

Presenter: Laura Abel, Senior Policy Counsel

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Commercial Co-Ventures and Corporate Sponsorship: The Nonprofit Perspective
May 17, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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This webinar focuses on the legal and practical issues encountered by nonprofits as they consider engaging supporters and raising funds through two particular arrangements: (1) "corporate sponsorship" - where the commercial party makes contributions of cash and/or in-kind and receives specified limited benefits in return, and (2) "commercial co-venture" - where the commercial party advertises to the public that purchase/use of specific products/services will result in a specific financial contribution to the identified nonprofit. Both types of arrangement are specifically defined for tax and other legal purposes. We will review the frameworks, guidelines and best practices.

Learning objective: Participants will identify significant issues to address in planning for fundraising through sponsorships and commercial co-ventures.

For nonprofit executives, managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Presenter: Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Crowdfunding by Nonprofits: What Nonprofits Should Know When Using Online Fundraising Platforms
March 23, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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This webinar focuses on the legal and practical issues relating to nonprofits as they consider engaging supporters or raising funds using an online platform. This webinar will discuss both reward/donation- and equity-based crowdfunding for nonprofits: variations in options online platforms offer; various legal (and business) considerations, including, solicitation registration, professional fundraiser status, consumer protections, and tax treatment; and factors to consider in choosing among platforms.

Learning Objectives: Participants will identify significant issues to address in planning for fundraising through online platforms.

For nonprofit executives, managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Presenter: Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Hitting Your Goals and Limiting Your Risk: Special Events Fundraising
March 2, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Gala dinners, service days, concerts, conferences, and other special events can raise funds and increase awareness and excitement for your organization's work. Hosting a successful special event - one that meets your participation and financial goals - requires significant time, energy and planning, as well as a careful consideration of relevant legal issues.

This webinar will cover New York State requirements for soliciting donations, gaming activities such as raffles and casino nights, and hiring professional fundraisers. The webinar will also review IRS rules for nonprofits receiving cash or in-kind gifts made in connection with a special event, and when and how to recognize event sponsors without running afoul of IRS rules. It will discuss compensation, contract considerations, and other legal questions when dealing with employees, contractors, or special event volunteers to ensure that your organization limits its liability in the planning and execution of a special event.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to plan and execute a successful fundraising event based upon an understanding of state and federal fundraising rules for tax exempt organizations.

For nonprofit managers, development professionals, and others involved in nonprofit fundraising.

Presenter: Nicole Cuttino, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Housing Development Fund Corporations and Related Party Contracts
March 8, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Housing development fund corporations ("HDFCs") are typically formed by and affiliated with another, sponsoring nonprofit organization ("Sponsor"). Due to the nature of the relationship with the Sponsor and the ownership structure for affordable housing projects, the Sponsor and their affiliated HDFCs are often involved in related party transactions. This webinar will review common structures used in an affordable housing transaction and the related party contracts that result from such transactions. The webinar will provide advice on how best to structure the board and officers of an HDFC and how to address and resolve the related party issues that arise under the NYS Nonprofit Revitalization Act.

Learning Objectives: Participants will gain practical advice on how to structure the board and officers of HDFC affiliates and will learn how to address related party transactions in an affordable housing transaction.

For board members, executive directors, management, and executive staff.

Presenter: Hedwig O'Hara, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Making the Most of Election Season: Civic Engagement and Nonpartisan Advocacy within the Rules
June 7, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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With the 2017 election season quickly approaching, nonprofit organizations need to consider how they can help educate and mobilize their communities without jeopardizing their tax exempt status. While 501(c)(3) organizations cannot participate in election season in a partisan manner, they can run voter registration and get out the vote campaigns, hold candidate forums, and produce voter guides, so long as they do so in a nonpartisan manner. This webinar will explain how to do all of that and more. It will also provide advice on how to respond when a candidate asks to use an organization's space or mailing lists, or invites himself to appear at an organization's event.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to identify activities that could be considered partisan within the meaning of state and federal law so as to develop effective advocacy programs that are legally compliant.

For nonprofit managers and advocates.

Presenter: Laura Abel, Senior Policy Counsel

 
Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: New York City's Employment Laws: A Guide for the Perplexed
April 19, 2017 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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New York City regulations aimed at protecting employees, and sometimes even individuals who are not employees, have proliferated over the past few years. This webinar will help make sense of them all, from criminal background checks to sick leave to new rules for independent contractors, not to mention employment protections for interns.

Learning Objectives: Participants will have a comprehensive update of new and updated obligations for New York City nonprofits with employees.

For Executive Directors and Human Resources professionals.

Presenter: Judith Moldover, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Becoming a Nonprofit: Incorporation and Tax Exemption
March 16, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
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Getting a new nonprofit organization off to the right start can mean the difference between success and failure. This workshop will go step-by-step through the process of incorporating in New York State and applying for federal tax exempt status. Attention will be given to the benefits and obligations of incorporation and tax-exempt status including reporting requirements, the role of board members, and the limitations on lobbying and political activities.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to evaluate the decision to form a nonprofit corporation and apply for federal tax exemption based upon an understanding of state and federal law.

For those interested in forming a nonprofit organization in New York.

Presenters: Mary Burner, Staff Attorney and Nicole Cuttino, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Becoming a Nonprofit: Incorporation and Tax Exemption
June 21, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
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Getting a new nonprofit organization off to the right start can mean the difference between success and failure. This workshop will go step-by-step through the process of incorporating in New York State and applying for federal tax exempt status. Attention will be given to the benefits and obligations of incorporation and tax-exempt status including reporting requirements, the role of board members, and the limitations on lobbying and political activities.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to evaluate the decision to form a nonprofit corporation and apply for federal tax exemption based upon an understanding of state and federal law.

For those interested in forming a nonprofit organization in New York.

Presenter: Mary Burner, Staff Attorney

 
Breaking Through the Boilerplate: Understanding Government Contracting
March 15, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
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Government funding may be the single most common source of revenue for nonprofit organizations serving low-income neighborhoods. Yet the complexity of these contracts and the process registering the agreements can be overwhelming. This workshop will examine the legal issues associated with contracting with New York City and New York State governmental agencies, including a review of the key provisions of City and State master contracts, procurement and lobbying rules and VENDEX process, compliance challenges, the New York City Vault, and the New York State Gateway.

Learning objective: Participants will be better equipped to evaluate the benefits and risks of executing a contract with a government agency, and understand the legal consequences of contracts that cannot be easily negotiated.

For nonprofit managers and finance professionals.

Presenter: Elizabeth Perez, Legal Director

 
Compensating Nonprofit Executives: State Law, IRS Rules, and Best Practices
May 24, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
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Paying excessive management salaries or paying more than fair market value for goods or services provided by insiders is wasteful and can result in enforcement actions against the organization and the responsible individuals. This workshop will provide legal and practical information for nonprofit organizations that seek to set reasonable compensation for executive directors and other senior managers, enter into legitimate transactions with Board members and other insiders, and comply with the conflict of interest and related reporting requirements on federal Form 990.

Learning objective: Participants will be able to establish procedures for setting reasonable compensation for executive staff and manage conflict of interest transactions consistent with state and federal law.

For senior managers, human resources professionals, and Board members.

Presenter: Sean Delany, Executive Director

 
Managing Nonprofit Risk: The Legal Angle
May 10, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
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Board members and managers of nonprofit organizations must take risks every day in order to achieve their charitable missions. While risk may be unavoidable, good leadership means evaluating and managing both opportunities and risks in a way that facilitates effectiveness, efficiency, and the long term health of the organization. This workshop will focus on how to use management tools, contracts, insurance, and legal protections to help your organization manage risk, and will cover the legal risks involved in governance, contracting, operations, personnel management, and financial management.

Learning objective: Participants will understand the basic legal risk management protections that all organizations should consider availing themselves of, and will be better positioned to evaluate, manage, and protect against legal risks.

For Board members and senior management.

Presenter: Elizabeth Perez, Legal Director

 
Managing Your Workforce: Practical Employment Law
Not Currently Scheduled
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A nonprofit's most important resource is its "human capital," but managing employees with legal compliance and sensitivity in an era of renewed government regulation can seem overwhelming. Compliance starts with recognizing legal trouble spots, including new and updated laws such as New York City's background check laws. This training will help by giving you an overview of major human resources concepts and their legal underpinnings, from the moment a candidate is interviewed to the moment employment ends.

Learning objective: Participants will gain a working knowledge of legal risk inherent in typical employment situations such as hiring and termination, as well as strategies for reducing risk by being legally compliant.

For board members, senior management, and human resources professionals, as an orientation for those who are new to the field and a refresher for more experienced practitioners.

Instructor: Judith Moldover, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Operating with Earned Revenue: Social Enterprise for Nonprofits
February 28, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
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Social enterprises are often thought of as enterprises that operate as traditional businesses but also pursue charitable/social/non-profit-maximization goals. This workshop highlights the factors to be considered:

* when nonprofits (particularly 501(c)(3)s) anticipate generating significant earned revenue;

* in determining whether to operate such enterprises as "affiliated" for-profit or nonprofit entities;

* in selecting among the different types of legal entities in which "social enterprise" may be housed; and

* in examining several case studies that explore the effects that certain income-generating activities may have on the tax-exempt status of nonprofits.

Learning Objectives: Participants will learn why earned-income may be problematic for a nonprofit organization and options for dealing with earned-income issues.

For nonprofit managers, development professionals, and "social" entrepreneurs.

Presenter: Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney

 
Paying Attention to Pay Practices for Nonprofits
March 21, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
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Nonprofit employers have multiple obligations with respect to pay practices. This workshop will explore the many factors that should be considered in setting and maintaining legally compliant pay practices, including new laws on equal pay, federal and state laws about disclosure of pay, EO 38, the NYC law on applicant non-disclosure of current salary, NYS law on deductions from pay, Wage Theft Prevention Act, and what to do if you can't meet payroll.

Learning Objectives: Participants will become familiar with legal requirements that underlie compensation best practices.

For Executive Directors and Human Resources professionals.

Presenter: Judith Moldover, Senior Staff Attorney