Nonprofit leaders get helping hand from new guidebook

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 11:45pm
Staff reports
Robert Cooper

Tennessee is the volunteer state and those volunteers should get a helping hand from a new guidebook unveiled Tuesday.

“What Every Board Member and Officer Should Know” is a product of coordination among the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, the Department of State and the Center for Nonprofit Management.

It is designed to serve as a reference tool for board members and officers of Tennessee nonprofits. It is available online at the Attorney General’s website at

“We believe the principles and practices in this guidebook can help board members and officers fulfill their duties and enrich their experiences,” Attorney General Bob Cooper said.

The three entities collaborated to develop the guide because each has a particular role in the nonprofit business operation. The Attorney General has broad oversight and authority over Tennessee’s nonprofit sector, including public benefit hospitals.

The Tennessee Department of State is responsible for processing documents filed under the Nonprofit Corporation Act and administers and enforces the Tennessee Charitable Solicitations Act and Charitable Gaming Implementation Law.

The Center for Nonprofit Management provides a range of services and guidance to nonprofits, including workshops, training and networking with other nonprofit organizations

The Guidebook covers board member and officer responsibilities including, among others, being engaged and staying informed about the organization, selecting and compensating the chief executive officer, avoiding conflicts of interest, protecting assets of the nonprofit and acting in good faith and in the best interests of the organization.

“A lot of dedicated people want to work with nonprofit organizations, but they need some guidance on what to do and how to do it,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “This guidebook is designed to provide that guidance.”

The new guidebook was released one day after Nashville received a $200,000 grant from Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation to create a Chief Service Officer position within the mayor's office.

The guidebook is intended for use only as a helpful resource and is not intended as legal advice. It is also available on the Tennessee Department of State website at and the Center for Nonprofit Management website at

2 Comments on this post:

By: sidneyames on 1/20/10 at 8:45

If it's not legal advice, then why did Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, the Department of State and the Center for Nonprofit Management write it? It sounds like some one is getting set up to me.

By: NATALIACraig18 on 7/24/11 at 12:39

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