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I am so confused about contracts and agreements.

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Question: I am so confused about contracts and agreements.
I want to help people, not worry about legalese. Are there some guidelines for what to do when?
Answer:

Peri H. Pakroo, author of Starting & Building a Nonprofit, has some suggestions for what legal structures you should use for what agreements.

Where a handshake is probably ok:

  • Scheduling a community leader to speak to your group
  • Assigning volunteers to help set up and dismantle an event
  • Arranging for a local business to donate free coffee and donuts for your board meetings.

Put a contract in writing, using a template or your own draft:

  • Hiring a consultant to do almost anything, such as revamping your website.
  • Renting a venue for an event
  • Hiring a caterer for your annual dinner

Put a contract in writing, but consider getting assistance from a lawyer or other professional:

  • Purchasing another business or nonprofit.
  • Holding a major event such as a film festival or a trade show with many sponsors and participants
  • Buying real estate.

You can find many contract templates on the Internet. You can use them even if they are intended for a for-profit business. One source is Nolo Publishing.

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