Organizations have lifecycles, just like any living thing. Organizations are created, then they grow, plateau, and sometimes die. The legal needs of an organization’s board and staff are guided by where that organization is in its lifecycle and what is happening around it.

Even though you are a nonprofit, you are required legally to operate like a corporation. Once a nonprofit becomes official in the eyes of the state, it is a corporation governed by corporate law, and you need to protect that status.

There are three legal jurisdictions you must always consider: local, state, and federal. These materials review Washington State Law and Federal Law rules. Consult your local jurisdiction (city, town, or county) for more information about business licenses and other local requirements.

Nonprofit law is complicated, and only an attorney with knowledge of your specific situation can counsel you. These materials are intended to deepen your understanding of basic nonprofit law and help you know what to ask. These materials are not intended to be legal advice. Please see an attorney for answers to specific questions. Communities Rise provides pro-bono legal services.

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