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Nonprofit Law/allowing outside group to use 501 c 3 status


I am a volunteer member in a leadership role of a church in Pa registered as a 501 c 3 NPO. We have a semi- active member who has started a pro-literacy organization, soliciting donations of books, and re-distributing them at no charge to promote literacy.  He has asked to come under the 'umbrella' of our church in order to solicit donations as tax deductible, offering receipts using the church's name.
Multiple issues/questions--1. Is there an exposure of risk to the church? What issues are raised?  2. What information/documentation should the church require if his organization uses our name as an affiliated arm?

The only way that the literacy program could be run is if your church takes on the program or contracts with him. If the program is part of the church (I assume your church is a Pennsylvania Non-Profit Corporation), then the corporation is responsible for all of the activities of the literacy program.  If by contract, then the liability comes down to nothing significant for the church if the contract is properly drafted. I would be willing to work on your matter, but I would need to spend a substantial amount of time om drafting and that would be beyond the scope of my offer of free services.  If you want to inquire about hiring me for such work, please contact me directly to the email address below.

I don't know what you mean by "affiliated arm", but, in any case, you would want financial projections.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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