Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Associations & Foundations Update - an electronic publication created by the attorneys in Barnes & Thornburg LLP's Associations & Foundations Practice Group.
As 2013 comes to a close and we embark on 2014, the following articles showcase a summary of the key trends that we have observed among our association and foundation clients and the related legal issues. As the calendar turns to the new year, we will continue to keep you updated on key trends and development for associations and foundations.
To read an article from this month's edition, click on any one of the hyperlinks in the article descriptions below. If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to receive issues of this newsletter directly via email, visit our subscription page here and select "Associations & Foundations" from the menu options. You can also request to be added to our Associations & Foundations mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Paula Cozzi Goedert | Partner | Barnes & Thornburg LLP
- Barbara F. Dunn | Partner | Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Associations continue to reevaluate their meetings and trade shows to ensure their viability and success. Often modifications are made to the meeting and trade show schedule. As such, the association’s hotel and convention center contracts will need to be modified especially in key areas such as the room block and function space. Further, with corporate business travel on the rise and a limited supply of full service hotel rooms, the marketplace for associations has become more difficult. This competitive marketplace has also made associations vulnerable to hotels cancelling contracts for association meetings in order to secure a better piece of business.
To read more information about trends in meetings contracts, click on the link above...
Associations continue to reinvent the membership model to ensure their organization’s relevancy in the marketplace. Many organizations are expanding their membership categories and membership eligibility to allow participation from individuals and organizations outside their industry and profession. These changes will likely necessitate revisions to bylaws.
To read more about key issues to address in bylaws and current trends, click on the link above...
Associations are continuing to expand the scope of their use of new technology and social media. What once was recognized as a passing fad, has now proven to be very effective. Yet with the new technology comes new potential areas of liability which must be examined such as trademark and copyright infringement, defamation, and compliance with laws. Associations should review their technology-related contracts and social media policies to ensure all key legal issues have been addressed.
For more information regarding technology and legal trends, click on the link above...
As the IRS continues to evaluate the operations of tax exempt organizations, there has been increased scrutiny on association chapters and affiliates. More associations have received IRS questionnaires regarding their relationship, control and oversight of their chapters and affiliates. Responding to such inquiries will involve an overall evaluation of the corporate and tax relationship the association has with its components.
For more information regarding tax and financial considerations for nonprofits, click on the link above...
Just as associations have worked to redesign their membership categories and meetings, the size and role of association boards is changing too. Board sizes are decreasing and boards are become more strategic in their direction thereby allowing staff to focus on the tactical efforts of executing the board’s strategic plans. Board governance roles and oversight remain a critical focus as the IRS heightens its scrutiny. Further, board recruitment and retention continue to be of importance as associations compete for their volunteers’ precious time.
For more information on board and governance trends, click on the link above...
About Our Group
From our offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio and Washington, D.C., the attorneys in Barnes & Thornburg's Associations & Foundations Practice Group assist more than 300 trade associations, professional associations, foundations, museums, symphony orchestras, clubs, universities, health care organizations, credit unions, and other non-profit, tax-exempt organizations in realizing their particular corporate purposes while allowing them to operate effectively and efficiently.
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This Barnes & Thornburg LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.