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Workshop Descriptions

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

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Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Hitting Your Goals and Limiting Your Risk: Special Events Fundraising
Not Currently Scheduled
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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 Objective: 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.

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Making the Most of Election Season: Civic Engagement and Nonpartisan Advocacy within the Rules
April 17, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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With the 2018 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 Objective: 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: Maximizing Your Housing Project's Savings: 420-c Tax Exemption
April 24, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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The rules and regulations for affordable housing projects that are eligible for real property tax exemption under Section 420-c are complex, particularly if the project contains ancillary or community space. Knowing whether your project will be eligible is a key part of the development planning process. This webinar will review the rules and regulations governing eligibility for the exemption, when to apply for exemption, and how to maintain the exemption.

Learning Objective: Participants will understand how Section 420-c works so that you can maximize real estate tax exemption benefits for your next affordable housing project.

For executive directors, housing directors, and project managers for developers of affordable housing.

Presenter: Hedwig O'Hara, Senior Staff Attorney

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Terminating Employees: It's an Art and a Science
Not Currently Scheduled
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Ending the employment relationship is almost as traumatic for management as it is for the employee who is being let go. The "art" is managing employee relations to reduce the risk of legal action, while the "science" is minimizing the risk of legal liability if legal action is taken.

Learning Objective: Participants will be able to strengthen procedures for addressing different types of terminations based on best practices so as to better manage these difficult situations.

For senior management, human resources professionals, and supervisory personnel.

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: The Role of the Nonprofit Board of Directors: Legal Responsibilities and Best Practices
Not Currently Scheduled
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Directors agree to serve on nonprofit Boards because they support the mission and work of an organization. However, service on a nonprofit Board brings with it significant responsibilities. This webinar will address the role of nonprofit Board members and how they can provide proper oversight.

Learning Objective: Participants will be able to identify the responsibilities of Board members based upon the organization's governing documents and proactively support good corporate governance.

For newly elected members of nonprofit Boards.

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Understanding Board Committee Governance
March 16, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Under the NYS Nonprofit Revitalization Act, the terms "special" and "standing" committees were replaced with the concepts of board committees and committees of the corporation. Learn about the changes in committee governance so that you and your board of directors can effectively utilize committees and be in compliance with good governance practices.

Learning Objective: Participants will understand board committees, committees of the corporation, how to form a committee and rules and best practices for committees.

For Board members, executive directors and managers of nonprofit organizations.

Presenters: Hedwig O'Hara, Senior Staff Attorney; and Ciarra Chavarria, Staff Attorney

Webinars for Wise Nonprofits: Understanding the FOIL Process to Advance Your Advocacy Goals
March 9, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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Effective advocacy requires hard facts and information. Nonprofits engaging in advocacy efforts need the right tools to gather that information. This webinar will discuss the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and how nonprofits can use FOIL to gather the critical information they need to be effective advocates. It will also discuss the government's obligation to notify the public about certain government proceedings and allow members of the public to attend.

Learning Objective: Participants will understand how to draft a FOIL complaint and when they can obtain access to government proceedings under the Open Meetings Law.

For nonprofit managers, policy analysts, and organizers.

Instructor: Laura Abel, Senior Policy Counsel

Becoming a Nonprofit: Incorporation and Tax Exemption
June 6, 2018 - 9:30 AM to 12:30 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 Objective: 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: Bee-Seon Keum, Staff Attorney; and Ciarra Chavarria, Staff Attorney

Building Partnerships: Mergers and Strategic Alliances
March 15, 2018 - 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
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This workshop addresses the issues surrounding mergers, consolidations, and other strategic alliances. Topics include: the possible legal structures for types of strategic alliances between not-for-profit corporations; issues to be considered when determining the most advantageous legal structure of a strategic alliance; the process of conducting due diligence and negotiating a strategic alliance; and legal steps that must be taken in order to formally merge not-for-profit corporations.

Learning Objective: Participants will be equipped to identify key issues in determining whether a strategic alliance is in the organization's best interests, and understand the implications of structuring options available to nonprofit organizations.

For management staff and Board members.

Presenter: Elizabeth Perez, Legal Director

Compensating Nonprofit Executives: State Law, IRS Rules, and Best Practices
May 23, 2018 - 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

Structuring Earned Revenue and Business Venture Opportunities for Nonprofits
Not Currently Scheduled
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Nonprofits are under pressure to develop diverse and sustainable funding streams. Increasingly, this means engaging in revenue-generating activities which range from charging for a nonprofit's current services (e.g., on a "sliding scale" to existing clients and/or offering such services at "market rates" to persons not eligible as clients) to "social enterprises" harnessing market forces in support of a charitable mission or other "public benefit".

This workshop will focus on the tax, structuring, compliance, and regulatory issues that arise when nonprofits undertake such "monetization" of current services (including creation of, and relationships with, for-profit subsidiaries/affiliates). It will consider the legal issues in undertaking such activities (including the problems posed by the "commerciality" doctrine) and examine different legal structures through which nonprofit organizations can participate in them.

Learning Objective: Participants will understand earned-revenue issues for 501(c)(3) public charities, and structuring options for earned-revenue activities.

For nonprofit managers, board members, and development professionals of organizations considering a business venture or currently engaged in a fee for service activity.

The Art of Affordable Office Space
Not Currently Scheduled
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After personnel costs, real estate costs are often a nonprofit's largest expense. Transwestern's nonprofit experts will present some effective strategies for nonprofits to keep their occupancy budgets in alignment with their mission including workplace strategy, nonprofit friendly buildings, and advanced deal structuring tactics. Hedy O'Hara will add insight on how to use these strategies when negotiating lease terms.

Learning Objective: Participants will learn techniques for negotiating for real estate in a fast-paced environment. Attendees will get tips on how to structure their leases, including advice on negotiating lease terms that will provide them with the ability to avoid hidden costs, and to monitor and audit cost increases.

For managers of nonprofits in the market for new space or in the process of reimagining, renovating, or restructuring space in their current location. Nonprofits interested in creative ways to think about workplace settings.