Mission Guardian Toolkit
A legal educational service for nonprofit organizations.
Lawyer-crafted DIY tools to safeguard your mission.
What is it?
The Mission Guardian Toolkit plan is an innovative way to access legal resources without the high cost of hiring a lawyer. Even the tiniest nonprofit has more in common with a fortune 500 company when it comes to regulation – and it’s not fair.
Who is it for?
Toolkit is for the smallest nonprofits. This DIY program allows even orgs with the tiniest budgets access self-service legal tools like online courses, document automations and live Q&A webinars.
Why this model?
After 13+ years of in-house experience and private practice with nonprofits, one thing is clear – nonprofits avoid problems when they have access to good legal information. But, many new nonprofits and small orgs can’t get their legal needs met. Jess realized she couldn’t personally serve the very smallest nonprofits, but they deserve an opportunity to have access to the best information too!
The reasons for this vary but maybe one of these sounds familiar to you….
- You're starting a nonprofit but can't afford to hire a lawyer to help guide you through the process. With Toolkit, you have all the DIY tools at your finger tips to learn about whether starting a nonprofit is right for you, and walk yourself through the whole process.
- Do you wish you could ask a lawyer just a quick question without paying the big bill? As a Mission Guardian Toolkit member you can join a monthly live Q&A webinar to ask questions from an experienced attorney – on the house with your membership.
- Your small nonprofit can’t really budget for legal spending. Mission Guardian Toolkit solves that problem. You can access resources with a clear sense of what the costs are – no more guessing or flying blind.
- Maybe, a lawyer happens to sit on your board? Asking them for legal advice puts your board member / lawyer in a professionally awkward spot. You wouldn’t ask a heart surgeon to do brain surgery, so why ask your board member to guess about nonprofit law? Give them the access to knowledge they need by joining Mission Guardian Toolkit and never put your board at risk.
Now you can…
• Easily create customized documents
• Stop worrying about making decisions in a vacuum
• Feel secure in knowing you’re protecting the business
• Fulfill your fiduciary duties without hiring a lawyer
• Finally, have an affordable budget for legal access
The difference is clear - now you CAN afford to do things right
What we provide:
You’ll find documents like contracts, forms, policies, procedures, and more. Need another version? Just run the app again – it’s there for you whenever you need it! The app generates an MS Word file that's yours to edit. While we create apps that generate documents we find work well for most small nonprofits, but once it's in your hands you can do with it what you like. Hiring an attorney to create things for you would cost $$$$ but it's all included in with your monthly dues.
Need some more particular information? Ask questions from nonprofit attorney Jess Birken during our monthly Office Hours! Log in each month to talk with Jess and other Toolkit members about your nonprofit questions. Getting just one question answered would usually cost upwards of $115 in traditional hourly fees! These live office hours make the subscription a no-brainer.
Don’t use Google to search for an example, then hope it works for you. We can give you what you need, when you need it to make sure you're doing things right. If something is keeping you up at night or on the weekend, it’s probably been a question others have asked too – check the resource library to get quick guidance any time.
Need to amend your Articles of Incorporation or update your bylaws? Purchase the low-cost DIY courses combined with document automation, which help you generate a customized draft and walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to really understand what's going on and do things right.
How Toolkit Works
You pay a recurring monthly fee that covers a suite of benefits to fit your organization’s size and budget.
You don’t hire an attorney. You pay a recurring monthly fee that covers a suite of self-serve benefits which let you:
- Create a customized contract using our document generation apps
- Access a growing library of content based on real nonprofit questions & answers
- Buy discounted DIY legal products to help you get through legal issues on your own
- Attend the monthly “Office Hours” live members-only Q&A webinars
In the member portal you’ll find an 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 – as a member you get access to all of it for one low monthly fee.
In the portal, search the knowledge base for answers to your questions or document apps. 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, day or night.
DIY products are self-guided courses created by lawyers for small nonprofits. It’s like taking the great information lawyers have in their heads and distilling it so you can use it without hiring a lawyer at all. You get a members-only 20% discount off all DIY products.
Live monthly webinars for Q&A allow Toolkit members to ask questions from Jess Birken directly in a group setting and hear from other nonprofit members too.
Any nonprofit can join Mission Guardian Toolkit.
Membership is billed monthly, cancel anytime.
Terms and conditions apply.
- Free access to Founder's Roadmap startup course
- Library of apps to generate customized documents
- Members only live attorney Q&A “Office Hours”
- Back catalog of past “Office Hours” sessions
- Searchable knowledge base / educational library
- Monthly self-assessments to meet standards
Frequently Asked Questions
No. The toolkit is not a law firm and does not form an attorney client relationship or provide legal advice. The toolkit access plan allows small nonprofits to access self-service information created by a lawyer with small nonprofits in mind.
Yes! The Toolkit plan gives you access to all the DIY courses you might need on the road to starting a nonprofit. Your member discount applies to all DIY courses offered for startups including, Incorporation, Bylaws, IRS 1023EZ application, etc. Everything you need to start a small nonprofit the right way.
There are no hidden costs. The subscription is billed monthly. If you choose to purchase a DIY product you will make that choice knowing the full price up front and purchase it through the website when you want to buy it. All DIY courses are educational content and do not include legal representation or services such as document filing, therefore there are no hidden costs.
We have a library of apps which generate documents for you – forms and policies etc. These are customized to your needs as you answer questions in the app. At the end of the questionnaire you get a customized document. The apps you have access to depend on what your subscription level is. These documents are forms, policies or contracts that our clients commonly need. They are drafted by lawyers with nonprofits in mind .
You receive the document in editable MSWord format. Examples of documents you can generate with the apps include:
- conflict of interest policies
- participant waivers
- photo releases
- independent contractor agreements
- one time use facility rental agreements
- extended term space or facility rental agreements
- grant awards or subawards
- confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements
- community garden agreements
- board meeting agendas, minutes, or resolutions, etc.
- and so much more!!
If a subscriber asks for something that we don't offer, but we think most subscribers would benefit from it, we'll build it. The list of stuff in the library really grows all the time.
You receive the document in editable MSWord format. It comes out in a form that we believe works well for most small nonprofits in general. It is yours to keep and any edits you make to the document are your responsibility after it comes out of the app.
Toolkit members may decide to hire Birken Law Office PLLC* and become a client of the firm if needed for a limited scope engagement. The firm offers 1-hour Nonprofit Work Sessions which can often resolve an issue in one sitting. The firm also offers many of our core nonprofit services on a flat fee basis.
*Subject to conflicts checks and professional ethics requirements
Our menu of legal products is growing. It currently includes things like incorporating a nonprofit, creating nonprofit bylaws, seeking reinstatement from the IRS, converting from a private foundation status to a public charity status due to an error, applying for 501c3 status with the IRS 1023EZ, nonprofit dissolution. We accept member suggestions for new course content and would love to hear what you’re looking for! Your member discount applies to all DIY legal products.
No. Your membership is month to month. Memberships never expire, and you can cancel at any time. You can manage your account directly in the member portal.
If membership is not working for you anymore you can contact us about changing your subscription level or cancel at any time. You will lose your access to the member portal content that is for paid subscribers and your licenses for use of copyrighted content in the portal at the Toolkit member level will terminate immediately. Your account will be downgraded to a free account, and you will retain access to any individual DIY product licenses until those product licenses terminate according to each product’s terms and conditions. All perks of paid membership will terminate including access to live webinars and discounted pricing or eligibility to hire Birken Law Office PLLC for 1:1 legal advice.
No. The Mission Guardian toolkit is not legal services, and no attorney client relationship is formed through this member level. Nothing will ever be filed on your behalf. Check the member portal for content about how to file a 990n or how to find a great accountant to help you.
We're happy to answer them! Please call 612.200.3679.