The Legal Needs of Nonprofits Serving Low Income Communities
A report identifying the transactional needs of Washington nonprofits.
WAACO conducted a study on the legal needs of low income serving nonprofits in Washington state. The results of the study are captured in our report entitledThe Legal Needs of Nonprofits Serving Low Income Communities – A report identifying the transactional needs of Washington nonprofits. The report was published in January, 2012.
Summary of Findings
Two major findings arose from this study:
1. With 92% nonprofits reporting they need transactional legal services, there are significant, unmet legal needs of nonprofit organizations serving low income communities throughout the state.
2. There are significant barriers to low income-serving nonprofits accessing transactional legal services across the state. The two most important barriers are:
a) Many nonprofits serving low income communities are not able to identify legal issues and do not understand how transactional attorneys can help them; and
b) Many low income-serving nonprofit organizations are unaware of WAACO and our free legal resources.
Summary of Recommendations
The study revealed that WAACO is virtually unknown outside of King County, and known, but not well-known, in King County. In addition, the study found that there is a significant need for WAACO’s services among nonprofits serving low income communities statewide. WAACO can further its mission to “promote community and economic development and organizational capacity building” by increasing its resources to better meet the significant unmet legal needs of these nonprofits. Specific recommendations are:
1. Increase WAACO’s resources to enable it to have a greater statewide presence.
2. Expand outreach to inform and assist more low income serving nonprofits statewide.
3. Help nonprofit organizations identify legal issues and make trainings available statewide.
4. Develop relationships with the private bar outside King County to identify more volunteer attorneys and increase WAACO’s statewide presence.
5. Develop stronger relationships with legal aid organizations and capacity building organizations.
Ultimately, if WAACO is going to fulfill its mission, it has to increase its own capacity to better reach and serve the full range of nonprofit organizations in Washington.
For the Executive Summary: Executive Summary of The Legal Needs of Nonprofits Serving Low Income Communities.