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Public Benefit + Accountability

Nonprofits have a special ability to organize the energy and ideas of a community in order to achieve together what individuals cannot achieve alone. By tapping into the values, interests and relationships of individuals, nonprofits can mobilize their supporters and the larger community to realize their vision, while also building trust between communities and bridging relationships among diverse constituencies. Nonprofits are most effective when they are flexible and responsive to change, and actively engaging constituents as thought partners.
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Advisory Councils and Committees
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Advisory councils, committees and boards can be a valuable way to gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder needs, and to expand capacity to accomplish targeted projects. Learn more about advisory boards, how they differ from boards of directors, questions to consider before starting an advisory group, and find a sample committee member invitation to help you get started.
Annual Report – Maine Nonprofit Corporations
Maine.gov
Guide/Tool
Nonprofits incorporated in Maine are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State's office. This web page provides more details, including forms and filing fees.
Annual Reports
Guide/Tool
An annual report can be a valuable tool for communicating with stakeholders and showcasing outcomes. In recent years many nonprofits have been experimenting with alternatives to traditional printed annual reports. The following resources provide more information about the purpose of annual reports, sample annual reports, and tips for developing the most compelling resource for your organization.
Assessing Community Needs Toolkit
Community Toolbox
Guide/Tool
Extensive toolkit on assessing community need and developing collaboration.
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance
Organization/Agency
Provides widely accepted accountability standards and an accompanying implementation guide, as well as reports resulting from donor inquiries.
Building A Strategic Framework: Mission, Vision, and Values
Article/Blog
A clear mission and vision is the foundation for any nonprofit's work. These resources define the difference between mission, vision and values statements and provide suggestions for developing clear guiding principles for your organization's work.
Changing Your Organization’s Address
If your nonprofit organization changes its address you'll need to notify both the Secretary of State's office (if you are incorporated in Maine) and the IRS.
Code of Ethics
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Many nonprofits and foundations develop a statement of values and code of ethics to help guide their policies, decision making and operations. The process of developing values and a code of ethics can prompt rich conversation. The following resource provide a suggested process as well as samples from other organizations that can be used as a starting point.
Community Associations Institute
Organization/Agency
This is a national organization that supports community associations including nonprofits like homeowners associations, road associations and condo associations. While these kinds of associations share many things in common with charitable nonprofits, this organization is able to provide resources more targeted to these types of associations. Resources and tools include governance guidelines, information on disaster preparedness and recovery, and a "reading room" with articles on topics such as insurance and risk management, governance, homeowner resources, maintenance, meetings and more.
Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Input
Public Profit
Guide/Tool
This guide provides step-by-step instructions to implement a variety of youth input activities.
Dashboards
Article/Blog, Sample/Template, Video/Tutorial
A dashboard is a tool for visualizing data. Some dashboards show performance over time while others provide a snapshot of  a particular aspect of a business. An effective dashboard illustrates rather than tells the audience about areas that need attention or action. There are diverse applications of and approaches to dashboards, and the following articles provide helpful tips and samples.
Every Board’s Must-Have Documents
BoardSource
Guide/Tool
This one-page handy reference guide outlines the various documents to which your board needs to pay attention.
Exempt Organizations Update
IRS
Newsletter
Periodic newsletter with information for tax-exempt organizations and tax practitioners - attorneys, accountants, and others - who represent them.
FAQs for Tax Exempt Organizations
IRS
Guide/Tool
Comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions regarding tax exemption and everything related.
Federal Register
Organization/Agency
The Federal Register provides access to the official text of federal laws, presidential documents, and administrative regulations and notices.
FedSpending.org
OMB Watch
Guide/Tool
Searchable database of government spending created by OMB Watch. Search by grants or contracts.
Forming a Maine Nonprofit Corporation
Maine Secretary of State
Guide/Tool
Information from the Maine Secretary of State's office about forming a corporation in Maine.
GuideStar
Organization/Agency
National database of nonprofit organizations with detailed organization information and IRS form 990. Post your nonprofit mission and achievements to increase your visibility. Make connections with other nonprofits.
IRS Charity Search
IRS
Guide/Tool
A tool that allows anyone to search for tax-exempt organizations and look up information about their federal tax status and filings, including whether an organization has had their tax-exempt status revoked.
Making the Choice Between For Profit and Nonprofit
Nonprofit Quarterly
Article/Blog
This article provides an interesting case study of the decision-making process new organizations must go through when choosing whether to incorporate as a for profit or nonprofit. The article includes a summary of the key differences related to ownership, transparency and profit. The article is based on a 2 part series by the New York Times.
Moving a Nonprofit to Another State
Article/Blog
This article provides a simple outline of options for a nonprofit that was founded in one state, but later wants to move to another.
National Center for Charitable Statistics
Organization/Agency, Research/Report
A national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States, including access to specific organizations' Form 990 data, and information on filing the 990.
Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
Organization/Agency
Resources and information on good practices in all areas of nonprofit management, including a section on volunteerism.
Nonprofit Times
Periodical
A nonprofit magazine (digital or regular mail) for nonprofit executives.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Idealware
Learn how to mobilize your constituents to become fundraisers through a peer-to-peer campaign that makes use of their own wide networks of personal and professional contacts. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns act as multipliers by tapping into your supporters' enthusiasm to grow your list of new donors. They can also strengthen your relationships with current donors. And as such campaigns become more common, so do online tools to facilitate them--but they can’t do the hard work for you. You still need to plan and run the campaign, teach participants how to act as fundraisers, and keep them engaged throughout the process.
Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundations
Panel on the Nonprofit Sector
Research/Report
Guide composed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector that outlines 33 principles of ethical conduct, accountability, and transparency. The Panel incorporated a careful review of more than 50 self-regulation systems, counsel from a diverse committee of experts, and significant feedback from the field in the development of these Principles.
Public Support Test
Various
Guide/Tool
In order to not be classified as a private foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization needs to pass what is called the “public support test.”   These resources provide information on what the public support test is and how to calculate it.
Starting a New Nonprofit
Guide/Tool
The process of starting a new nonprofit organization can be daunting and is something to consider and research carefully, and the process breaks down into two distinct phases - incorporating as a nonprofit in Maine, and applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS.  MANP has dedicated a section of our website to this topic, including questions to ask yourself before you begin, a recommended process in a checklist format with corresponding resources, links and samples, and a list of frequently asked questions.
Starting Off Right: What New 501(c)(3) Organizations Need to Know
IRS
Video/Tutorial
This recorded IRS webinar helps new nonprofits stay legally compliant. It covers annual filing requirements, what records to maintain, what  to do to meet the "operational test", how to avoid jeopardizing 501(c)(3) status, and what tools are available for tax compliance as an organization grows.
Tax Information for Charities and Other Nonprofits
IRS
Guide/Tool
Tax information for charities & other nonprofits from the IRS. Review the contents thoroughly and check for updates periodically.
The 6 Ds of Needs Assessments
Community Solutions
Guide/Tool
A simple overview of the key questions to address during a community needs assessment.
The Overhead Myth
Guidestar
Guide/Tool
A great compilation of frequently asked questions related to nonprofit overhead.  Addresses topics such as "overhead ratio," fundraising vs. administrative costs, executive pay, and messaging/communications about nonprofit overhead.
Types of Tax-Exempt Organizations
IRS
Guide/Tool
Chart containing all of the different types of tax-exempt organizations and their characteristics.
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