Guidance, Training and Assistance for Nonprofits

Attorney General's Charities Bureau 

The Charities Bureau's website includes many valuable resources for nonprofits, including guidance on forming nonprofits, registration with and reporting to the Charities Bureau, and compliance with legal requirements applicable to transactions by nonprofits such as mergers and sales of property.  It also posts on-line seminars on registration, fundraising and laws applicable to political contributions by nonprofits; and timely announcements concerning legal issues.  

The Attorney General's Guides and publications are posted at 

Among the publications are the following which provide guidance on directors' duties and financial management:

Right From the Start: Responsibilities of Directors of Not-for-Profit Corporations 

Internal Controls and Financial Accountability for Not-for-Profit Boards

Alliance for Nonprofit Management   

The Alliance for Nonprofit Management is a professional association of individuals and organizations whose mission is improve the management and governance capacity of nonprofits.  Its web site includes information about resources available to not-for-profit organizations.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) 

The AICPA's web site has extensive information on accounting standards and procedures.  It is a valuable source of a wide variety of information on accounting issues applicable to nonprofits. .

Boardnet USA

Boardnet USA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the governing and management capability of nonprofit boards of directors by bringing qualified leadership into service as board members.  Boardnet assists boards in defining their board recruitment objectives and then conducting a targeted search for business, professional and community leaders with the desired expertise, diversity of perspective and resources.  Its web site is a resource designed to enable potential board members--and nonprofit boards needing leadership--to find each other.

BoardSource, Inc. 

has a wide range of material designed to assist board members in carrying out their duties.  Its nine pamphlet "Governance Series", beginning with Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, is a source of basic information for board members and includes other suggested resources.


CompassPoint is an electronic newsletter for members of nonprofit boards of directors.  Board Café offers a menu of ideas, information, opinion, news, and resources to help board members in carrying out the responsibilities of their board service.

Council on Foundations

The Council on Foundations is a membership organization of more than 2,000 grant making foundations and giving programs worldwide. It provides leadership expertise, legal services and networking opportunities, among other services, to its members and to the general public.  Its web site contains information of interest to not-for-profit boards.

Foundation Center

The Foundation Center's mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector by advancing knowledge about U.S. philanthropy.  It collects, organizes and communicates information on U.S. philanthropy, conducts and facilitates research on trends in the field, provides education and training on the grant seeking process and promotes public access to information and services through its web site and print and electronic publications and five library/learning centers.

Governance Matters 

Governance Matters is an organization whose purpose is to encourage and promote good governance in the nonprofit sector.  Its web site posts information on good governance, links to other sites of interest to not-for-profit boards and information about courses and conferences for nonprofit board members.

Independent Sector (IS)

Independent Sector is a national coalition of nonprofit organizations of all sizes as well as Fortune 500 corporations with commitments to community involvement.  IS advocates on behalf of and provides educational services to the nonprofit sector.

LawHelp/NY is an on-line tool for helping low-income New Yorkers. LawHelp/NY's mission is to provide and promote access to online information about free legal services throughout New York and information about legal rights in a broad range of areas. Its website includes numerous publications on a variety of legal issues and advice on how to secure legal representation.

Lawyers Alliance of New York (LANY) 

LANY is a not-for-profit corporation whose staff attorneys and 650 volunteer lawyers from private firms and corporations provide pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations.  LANY's publications provide guidance for organizations in drafting by-laws, applying for tax exempt status, securing fiscal management and other aspects of nonprofit governance. 

Legal Aid Society Community Development Project

The Community Development Project (CDP) provides support for three client groups: low-income not-for-profit organizations, low-income entrepreneurs, and low-income housing cooperatives.  Among the areas of legal assistance it provides to nonprofits are incorporation, financing, tax issues, lease negotiations, and corporate governance.

New York City Bar Justice Center - The Public Service Network

The Public Service Network, a program offered through the City Bar Justice Center, matches attorneys with both legal and non-legal volunteer opportunities in the not-for-profit sector.

National Association of State Charity Officials 

This site is maintained by the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO). NASCO members are employees of state agencies that regulate not-for-profit organizations and their fund raisers. The site provides information concerning the registration and reporting requirements applicable to not-for-profits that conduct activities and/or raise funds in the various states.

New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) 

NYCON is a statewide association of over 1,000 charitable nonprofit organizations.  NYCON conducts programs designed to strengthen the nonprofit sector, provide information to donors and contribute to community-based planning.  NYCON provides technical assistance, training, information and group purchasing options for nonprofits. It also provides information to and conducts and coordinates advocacy on behalf of the New York nonprofit sector.  Its web site contains information concerning membership in NYCON and resources for nonprofit organizations.

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) 

NYLPI's Pro Bono Clearinghouse   maintains a network of over 80 law firms and corporate legal departments who are willing to volunteer their time to address the legal needs of New York's underrepresented communities.  NYLPI connects community groups and non-profits in need of legal assistance with those law firms and corporate legal departments in its network.

New York State Society of CPAs

The New York State Society of CPAs  is a membership association of certified public accountants.  It has resources available to answer technical inquiries, offer training in financial and tax areas and provides referrals for audit and tax services.

Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC)   

NPCC is a nonprofit membership corporation of exempt organizations.  Its goal is to protect and help the city's nonprofit sector by offering management services to its members.  It also monitors governmental actions on the city, state and federal level to promote the needs of nonprofit organizations.  It holds workshops and roundtables on managerial and organizational issues and posts publications of interest to nonprofits.

Pro Bono Partnership

The Pro Bono Partnership provides business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations serving the disadvantaged and enhancing the quality of life in neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  The Partnership mobilizes and supports hundreds of lawyers from leading corporations and law firms who volunteer their legal expertise on behalf of the Partnership's clients, enabling them to more effectively feed the hungry, house the homeless, promote the arts, protect the environment and provide essential programs to children, the elderly, immigrants, the disabled and the unemployed.  The Partnership provides services in the lower New York Hudson Valley, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit nonpartisan policy research and educational organization established to examine the social, economic, and governance problems facing the nation. It provides information and analysis to public and private decision makers to help them address these challenges.  It maintains extensive databases of information on the not-for-profit sector.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) 

VLA provides legal services and legal information to over 10,000 members of the arts community each year. It also educates individual artists, arts professionals within arts and cultural institutions, attorneys, students and the general public about legal and business issues that affect artistic and creative endeavors and it is an advocate on behalf of the arts community.

The Wallace Foundation 

The Wallace Foundation offers resources for nonprofit financial management, including information about planning, monitoring, operations and governance.