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Nonprofit Law/Volunteer reimbursement


QUESTION: A reimbursement for grooming was submitted according to the "rules" of a non-profit and they have been refusing to pay me without signing one of their "new" volunteer contracts, which I do not agree with and I believe is illegal in their wording. What actions can I take to get my reimbursement?

ANSWER: I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions about IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. You question is about reimbursements supposedly mandated by the internal rules of an organization.  That matter is controlled by state law and states may differ somewhat with how they would treat such issues. Even though this forum is not for such state law issues, I will inform you that you may have an action in small claims court if you reasonably relied upon some volunteer or membership agreement that referred to the "rules" of the nonprofit regarding reimbursements. If you inform me whether you are a member and whether those "rules" are in the form of a bylaw or board resolution I may be able to reply further.  

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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes a volunteer and not by any bylaw or board resolution. I have a letter signed by the previous President that stated "no restrictions can be placed on myself or the dog in regards to reimbursement and the monies need to come out of the Special Needs account" Which has plenty of money in there.

Good for you.  As long as the request for reimbursements are directly related to the grooming, the reimbursements are required to be paid to you. That letter from the past president may or may not be a correct interpretation of the organization's real "rules", but, in any case, that letter binds the organization.  Officers act as a corporation's agents and can bind the corporation to contracts and agreements. (which is from the West's Encyclopedia of American Law as to Corporations). That is called "Apparent Authority".

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


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. 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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