Understanding Trademarks

Trademarks are valuable assets of businesses and non-profit organizations. A carefully-selected trademark can help a business distinguish itself in the marketplace and create a lasting impression with consumers. Through continual use, trademarks enable businesses and organizations to generate goodwill with the public. This goodwill can become the most valuable asset of the business or organization. Because trademarks are so important, businesses and non-profit organizations should carefully consider which trademarks to use and adequately protect those marks. Continue reading “Understanding Trademarks”

Board Term Limits – Pro and Con

We have had a number of clients ask about whether it is mandatory to include term limits in their nonprofit bylaws. The arguments for and against term limits are equally valid, and we suggest that each board must make its own decision about whether term limits are essential to the board’s governance function.

Those who argue for term limits typically cite the need to bring “new blood” onto the board. New directors bring a freshness of insight, and changes in the operating climate may require new skill sets. A systematic rotation on and off the board lessens the likelihood that a board becomes tired and loses vitality. Continue reading “Board Term Limits – Pro and Con”

Job Applicants with Criminal Records Present Challenges to Employers

The Employer’s Dilemma

Employers wishing to hire an applicant with a criminal record are faced with a dilemma. The Department of Labor estimated in 2012 that one in three American adults has a criminal history record.  Many of these individuals apply to jobs unaware that they have a record, believing their record has expired, or thinking their convictions are irrelevant to the position. This makes it increasingly important for employers to draft hiring policies that comply with applicable state and federal requirements.1 Continue reading “Job Applicants with Criminal Records Present Challenges to Employers”

Appraisal of Donated Property

The United States Tax Court issued a decision in late January of 2014 that fleshes out IRS regulations regarding appraisals of donated property. In Alli v. Commissioner (T.C. Memo. 2014-15, Jan. 27, 2014), the Tax Court upheld the IRS’ decision to disallow a charitable deduction for property donated by a Michigan taxpayer to Volunteers of America (VOA), a 501(c)(3) exempt organization. The decision provides guidance for exempt organizations that are receiving donated property and wish to give their donors some direction about how to properly document the gift. Continue reading “Appraisal of Donated Property”

New Top-Level Domains: Opportunity or Headache?

A recent explosion of new domain names could profoundly change the digital marketing strategies of businesses and organizations. The regulatory body that coordinates domain names is known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN). ICANN has approved hundreds of new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) that are starting to become available to the public. Some of the more well-known gTLDs that have been used for many years include .com, .org, or .edu. Examples of new gTLDs that have been approved for release are .blog, .business, .charity, .church, .shop, and .software. Continue reading “New Top-Level Domains: Opportunity or Headache?”

Churches Should Plan for Disasters and Shooter Situations

Emergency situations involving churches are making headlines more often than many churchgoers would like to believe. As recently as November 16, 2013, tornados touched down in Illinois on a Sunday evening when many were attending church. Churches were targeted in at least 108 incidents of violence in 2011 and over 135 incidents in 2012.[1] In addition, many churches were affected by technological disasters, such as leaks from industrial plants, roadway spills, and power failure. Continue reading “Churches Should Plan for Disasters and Shooter Situations”

Concealed Carry Gun Laws and How They Affect Your Organization

In July of 2013, Illinois became the 50th state to allow concealed handguns to be carried by its citizens.  Starting in January 2014, Illinois citizens will be able to file online applications for a concealed carry permit.  It is time to learn about how these laws work and what your responses to them – as an Illinois business – might be. Continue reading “Concealed Carry Gun Laws and How They Affect Your Organization”