Nonprofit Organizations Law

Nonprofit Organizations Law


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on the law of nonprofit organizations. This course discusses the purposes, formation procedures and governance rules of nonprofits. This is an intermediate level course, and it is recommended that the viewer come in with some knowledge of business organizations law or having taken LawShelf’s video-course on that subject.


      The course starts with explanations of the landscapes under which nonprofits operate and the key distinctions between non-profit and for-profit organizations. Module 1 also discusses various types of nonprofits, including charitable organizations, labor unions and trade associations.


      Module 2 segues to the formation of nonprofits. It focuses on the choice of a business form that parallels the choice faced by for-profits. We’ll then discuss the steps of formation and the requirements under state law, again contrasting those of for-profits. The module also covers the important steps that nonprofits must take to secure and maintain tax-exempt status, a key goal of many nonprofits.


      Module 3 surveys state and federal laws that regulate nonprofits, including the models acts relevant to these organizations. We’ll focus on nondiscrimination and harassment rules and on corporate regulations that apply to nonprofits. Finally, the module looks at education, election and lobbying rules that are particularly relevant to nonprofits.       


Module 4 transitions to governance rules. We’ll look at liability of the organization and of the directors and officers. We’ll also focus on the fiduciary duties owed by the stakeholders to the organization’s members and to the public. We’ll also cover the “best judgment rule,” which protects decision makers, much like the “business judgment rule” does for for-profit managers.


      The last module then looks at the rights and powers of the managers of the nonprofit. It focuses on their powers to make changes, dissolve the organization, inspect its records and the limitations on all of these. We’ll also focus on the right of indemnification, by which directors can be reimbursed for expenses incurred on behalf of the organization.


      When you complete this course, you should understand the structure and management of nonprofits and the most important distinctions between non-profit and for-profit organizations.


      Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.

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A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

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Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

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Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

How long will it take me to complete a video-course?

Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours.  The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.

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Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations - Module 1 of 5

Incorporation and Dissolution of Nonprofits - Module 2 of 5

Statutes and Regulations - Module 3 of 5

Governance of Nonprofit Organizations - Module 4 of 5

Powers of Directors and Officers - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.