Mission Guardian Program

A legal subscription service for nonprofit organizations.
Add a lawyer to your team and safeguard your mission.

What is it?

Subscription Legal Services is a new way to think about and interact with your lawyer. The Mission Guardian program is an innovative legal subscription service. This full service program is an alternative to traditional hourly billing and promotes nonprofit sustainability.

Who is it for?

Only nonprofit clients of Birken Law Office may join our full service subscription plans. Subscribers have an attorney by their side – we become part of your executive team, a nonprofit coach and confidant. A great team is vital for success as a nonprofit – now you have it. 

Membership Packages


More Info
When you move beyond the startup phase, this membership is the just-right fit. Nonprofits as businesses have more in common legally with a Fortune 500 corporation than a lemonade stand. Are you…working with volunteers? Managing members and a board? Fundraising? Offering a fee-for-service program? Hiring vendors and contractors? Seeking grant money, etc.? Prevent problems. Get the guidance you need.

$ 400

per month

  • Scheduled quarterly check-ins
  • Create customized documents
  • Searchable educational library
  • Full menu of flat fee services
  • Subscriber discounted pricing
  • Membership website badge
  • Complimentary 990N filing
  • Complimentary SOS renewals
  • Referral network to trusted providers


More Info
Experienced organizations know they need to budget for legal. You can predict a certain amount of necessary risk management. Keep your organization stable and growth minded with this package. An annual board meeting attendance is included along with our comprehensive risk assessment which puts the board and staff at ease – you’ve handled the due diligence. We’ll help you stay focused on sustainability and mission delivery.

$ 2500

per month

  • Scheduled quarterly check-ins
  • Create customized documents
  • Searchable educational library
  • Full menu of flat fee services
  • Subscriber discounted pricing
  • Membership website badge
  • One board meeting annually
  • Coordination of counsel
  • Dedicated inbox
  • Dedicated counsel
  • Monthly reporting in

Subscription includes $175 “launch fee” due at signup (covers nonprofit health assessment)

What subscribers say…

“Incredible. This I can budget for. No surprise bills. It professionalizes us.”

– M.W., Executive Director

“I don’t know what we’re going to need. Now I don’t have to – I can focus on fundraising and know we’ve got the basics covered – it’s a no brainer.”

– Matt, Board Member

“I love being able to pick up the phone without worrying about getting a bill for one question.”

– Brian, Founder

“Now nonprofits can protect themselves – it’s like insurance.”

– S. G., Administrator

“It gives me great peace of mind as a decision maker on the board.”

– Co-op Board Member

“The member badge is awesome – it gives us credibility when we are reaching new donors that are big for us.”

– Outreach Ministry Founder

“This is so valuable, I’ve always been worried, what if i messed something up? Now I don’t have to worry. And it shows my board I’m getting the help I need.”

– C.P., Executive Director

“It's so important to have an attorney that knows you on your side as a nonprofit.”

– J., Senior Pastor / Founder

Now you can…

  • Stop worrying about making decisions in a vacuum
  • Feel secure in knowing you’re protecting the business
  • Have a strategic partner who helps you advance your mission
  • Finally, budget for the organization’s legal and consulting spend
Jess Birken sits at her desk in a coworking space holding a cup of coffee, smiling. She seems nice!

Why did I build this model?

After earning my law degree, I worked in the courts and then went to business school for a masters in nonprofit management. I spent many years in-house at a large nonprofit (Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever) working with volunteers, program staff and executives. Then I spent many more years serving small nonprofits in private practice at my old firm. When I started my own practice there was one thing I knew for sure – nonprofits avoid problems when they have access to experienced legal advice during every stage in the process. But, so many nonprofits have a difficult time getting their legal and consulting needs met. Maybe the scenarios below will feel familiar to you too.

Have you ever felt like this?

A hand is raising the cradle of an old style telephone as if to call their lawyer

You hesitate to pick up the phone to ask your lawyer questions. You know every minute on the phone is billable time, and wonder – is it worth the bill? So, you may only call when there’s a big scary mess brewing. That’s the most expensive way to do business. As a Mission Guardian member, you never have that worry – we provide quarterly check-ins to make sure we stay on top of new issues.

A black and white image of a bag of money with a question mark indicating the price is unknown

Your organization can’t effectively budget for its legal spend because you don’t know what it will be. So you don’t hire help when you need it – unless it’s an emergency and then it’s very expensive indeed. Mission Guardian solves that problem. You have a clear sense of what the costs are – no more guesstimating.

Illustration of a quilt from a child's school workbook indicating a patchwork job

You’ve cobbled together a patchwork of lawyers who might donate an hour of work here or there. The result is a happenstance collection. No single lawyer ever really knows your organization, its culture, or operational issues. When you become a member, we get to know you and understand the whole picture and the people involved.

A simple human figure with a thought bubble containing a question mark

You have a lawyer on your board and look to them as a resource. You don’t realize it, but you’ve put your board member / lawyer in a professionally awkward spot. You wouldn’t ask a heart surgeon to do brain surgery, so why ask a board member to guess about nonprofit law? Mission Guardian ensures you never put your board at risk.

What my team provides

Fresh eyes & big picture perspective. We’ll help you with critical advice, so you feel safer. Checking in with you regularly throughout the year ensures you stay on track and on mission.

Access to content and referrals you need. Don’t use Google to search for an example or a name, then hope it magically works out for you. We can give you what you need when you need it to make sure you’re connected to the right resources for you.

Transparent pricing. Need a paid project? No worries, every project you purchase will have one scope of work and a fixed price. You always know exactly what it will cost – no surprises. Plus, subscribers enjoy a substantial discount on projects vs. DIY subscribers.

Mission Guardian website member badge that inspires donor confidence. Add the badge to your website and tell donors “This nonprofit cares about doing things right.”

the circular mission guardian member badge looks like a foil seal reading mission guardian with the M logo centered in the middle conjures the feeling of a seal of approval

How subscriptions and traditional hourly billing compare

A three column table showing that the subscription program has many more benefits than hourly billing which only includes quality legal advice.

We never needed a lawyer before, why now?

Using a team is smart. Everybody looks out for each other. Everyone shares a common goal – execute on the mission and get there in one piece. Still, lots of nonprofits go it alone. Why bother when nothing bad has happened…yet.

six sky divers in mid-free fall hold hands in a formation showing team work and coordination - no one is left behind


the camera looks down on a person who is out of sight other than their bare legs and feet which appear to dangle over the open sky, perhaps a diver considering whether to jump.

Everyone falls eventually, when you’re in free fall, someone could swoop in and save you…

A skydiver in free fall head down rocketing toward the earth, alone

But a bad fall can cause you pain:

  • $4-5,000: one day arbitration or mediation case
  • $36,000: average to seek dismissal of frivolous suit
  • $125,000: average to defend a business litigation
  • Losing your IRS tax exemption
  • Losing your grant funding
  • Public relations problems with members / donors
  • Payroll and staff time lost on damage control
  • Your lost time being distracted from the mission

How Mission Guardian works:

You pay a recurring monthly fee that covers a suite of benefits. As part of your membership dues, you get scheduled quarterly check-ins to get advice and consulting. For example, during a check-in we might talk about any number of things to make sure the nonprofit is staying healthy and strong…

  • Meet ahead of an important board meeting to seek advice to reassure the board.
  • Review any upcoming contract deals, grant agreements, fundraising opportunities, etc.
  • Ask for operational recommendations, like what software to use.
  • Discuss any people problems, organizational culture or conflicts that may be brewing.
  • Get ahead of voting member concerns before a member meeting notice goes out.

Throughout the year, rather than copy samples from the internet, you'll access the member portal. There you’ll find our ever-expanding library of apps to generate customized documents. Like template contracts, forms, policies, procedures, and more. Need another contract? Just run the app again, it’s all included in your subscription. Hiring a lawyer to create these customized resources just for you would cost more than $10,000 in billable hours each year – as a member you get access to all of it for one low monthly price.

In the portal, search the knowledge base for answers to your questions. If something is keeping you up at night or on the weekend, it’s probably been a question others have asked too – check the knowledge base to get quick guidance any time.

Plus, when you need additional services, you simply purchase a project from our flat fee menu. Unlike traditional hourly billing, you know up front what every project will cost, and you enjoy a substantial discount on any project costs compared to DIY-subscribers.

Now you can afford expert nonprofit counsel and consulting

Three column table depicts the ways a client uses the services and features and compares the cost of those services and features to the cost of getting all of that through hourly billing.

What do projects cost?

Below is a sample menu showing the discounted price of some of the most common projects we help clients with.

a sample menu of project prices which range from 900 to 3,000 US dollars

Prices reflect 25% member discount and are subject to change, see product page for current effective rates.

What is so different about us?

a page of text that explains again the difference between hourly billing attorneys and our subscription model. Hourly is an unknown cost, billed in 6 minute increments, you put down a large deposit and the lawyer bills from the deposit until they are done. You don't know how much it is going to cost. This is contrasted with the benefits of having certainty and transparency of pricing using subscription dues and fixed cost projects which are billed online with a credit card.

Want to get it in writing?

Need to share this with someone as a PDF? We've got you covered. This page is available as an easy to share PDF, enter your email in the form below and we'll send you a copy. Or just copy and paste the link from your browser tab into an email and share it with your board.

To find out about becoming a client and subscriber, schedule a call now.

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