Posted by: Ray Brescia | July 8, 2020

New Tech Tools for Non-Profits Working for Social Change

Non-profit organizations are at the center of social change today.  But there are limits under federal law that restrict what non-profit groups can do, and how much they can do, when advocating for reform.  Many non-profits, already strapped for funding, have a hard time finding legal assistance to help them navigate federal regulations that govern what they can do.  Students at Albany Law School, together with computer science students from the University at Albany, have built a new, digital tool that can help non-profits understand their legal rights, obligations, and limits, so that they do not jeopardize their non-profit status because they engage in conduct that is not permitted, or exceed the limits imposed on them by federal law for such activities.  This website, which can be accessed here, has a series of tools that non-profit leaders can use to help them understand these rights and obligations, including podcasts that can inform non-profit leaders and staff with respect to what they can and cannot do under the law; presentations that lawyers can download, use, and build upon when serving non-profits; and an innovative calculator tool–the first of its kind–that helps non-profits track their activities to ensure they are not exceeding the limits set by federal law on the types of activities in which they are permitted to engage.

In addition to the University at Albany, the law students also partnered with the New York State Bar Association in generating the podcasts that can be found on the site.  You can read more about this effort here, as well as find some scholarship on how technology can improve access to justice here.  You can also find information about the class at Albany Law School where our students develop these sort of technology-infused projects here.

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