Ohio Valley Summer Theater
Ohio Valley Summer Theater

Financial/Legal Issues

Good management requires general knowledge of basic nonprofit financial and legal requirements. The first step is identifying federal and state reporting requirements, as well as any specific rules or regulations related to your particular work.

Sources of Additional Information

LINC Ohio is a website developed by the Ohio Association of Nonprofits and the Ohio State Bar Foundation to provide nonprofit organizations with basic legal and management information on a variety of topics.

Nonprofit Tools You Can Use (an e-newsletter put out by Fieldstone Alliance) has put together a great article called “The Busy Person’s Guide to Four Essential Finance Reports.” This short piece provides a basic explanation of how to understand and think about budgets, cash flow statements, ratios and nonfinancial indicators.

Signed into law in the wake of corporate and accounting scandals at Enron and other for-profit companies, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act creates new standards for governance in an effort to rebuild public trust in the corporate sector. However, two provisions of the act – related to whistle blower and document retention policies – explicitly apply to nonprofits, and some states are enacting legislation similar to Sarbanes-Oxley specifically for nonprofits. This report from BoardSource and Independent Sector provides an overview of the current and potential impact of this new legislation for the charitable sector.


Hurwit and Associates, a Massachusetts law firm specializing in work with nonprofits, maintains an online nonprofit law resource library with many easy-to-read summaries of critical issues such as lobbying rules, Sarbanes Oxley, governance requirements, etc. 


The Regional Nonprofit Alliance has many useful resources on nonprofit legal and financial issues in its library. Stop by to borrow a book or, if you aren’t close by, send us an email (RNA@ohio.edu) with the type of information you are looking for, and we’ll send you a packet of information electronically. 

Books in our library include:

  • Understanding Nonprofit Financial Statements by Steven Berger
  • Nonprofit Law & Governance for Dummies by Jill and Daniel Welytok
  • Being a Player: A Guide to the IRS Lobbying Regulations for Advocacy Charities by Gail Harmon, Jessica Ladd and Eleanor Evans
  • The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives by BoardSource
  • The Nonprofit Policy Sampler by Barbara Lawrence and Outi Flynn
  • Nonprofit Risk Management & Contingency Planning by Peggy Jackson

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