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Pro Bono Project: Professionals Helping Nonprofits

Regardless of size, today’s nonprofits must follow federal and state laws and regulations as well as balancing their responsibility to both those they serve and those from which they solicit money. Many nonprofits find themselves in the unenviable position of increased demand for services with dwindling resources. This environment compels many to operate without professional guidance even when they must address important legal and financial matters. Adherence to state and federal laws and regulations can avoid costly errors requiring a large commitment of both financial resources and remedial attention by board and staff.

In an effort to provide sound legal advice to local nonprofits, The Nonprofit Pro Bono Project: Professionals Helping Nonprofits was formed to match eligible nonprofit organizations with local attorneys and certified public accountants who have volunteered to provide free consultation and education to the nonprofit community. The Nonprofit Pro Bono Project’s goal is to enhance the effectiveness of regional nonprofit organizations by providing access to professional services. Needs Assessment and Direct Assistance are aimed at small to medium-sized nonprofit organizations; eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

This project is a collaborative effort of the:
  • Erie County Bar Association
  • The Nonprofit Partnership
  • Northwestern Legal Services
  • The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Erie Chapter

Services provided

Needs Assessment

Volunteer professionals are available to provide nonprofits with a broad spectrum of needs assessment to verify compliance with the law. Initial assessment may include a review of the following:

  1. Articles of incorporation
  2. Bylaws
  3. IRS determination
  4. Personnel manuals and policies
  5. IRS compliance
  6. Financial reporting

Direct Assistance

The Nonprofit Pro Bono Project matches nonprofit organizations with volunteer professionals, who provide free consultation on a variety of legal and financial issues including:

  1. Starting a nonprofit (incorporation, tax exempt application)
  2. Employment
  3. Real estate
  4. Tax
  5. Governance
  6. Contractual issues

Applying for the Pro Bono Project

Nonprofits who are financially unable to meet the expense of professional assistance may apply for Pro Bono Project Assistance. While all services are free, clients are responsible for paying filing fees and other out-of-pocket costs.
Choose the following links for more information regarding the direct assistance application process. You may open the application in Word, complete it, print, sign, and mail the application or fax to (814) 868-4034.

For more information, call the Nonprofit Partnership at (814) 454-8800 or e-mail