Related Parties in the Nonprofit Sector Explained

Related parties in the nonprofit sector refer to individuals, organizations, or entities that have a close relationship with a nonprofit organization that could potentially influence financial transactions or reporting. These relationships can give rise to situations where there is a potential conflict of interest or a need for enhanced transparency and disclosure. Identifying and properly managing related party transactions is crucial to ensure that financial reporting is accurate, transparent, and aligned with the nonprofit’s mission and ethical standards.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of related parties in the nonprofit sector:

  1. Types of Related Parties: Related parties can include:
    • Board members and key management personnel of the nonprofit.
    • Immediate family members of board members and key personnel.
    • Organizations in which board members or key personnel have significant influence or control.
    • Subsidiaries, affiliates, and joint ventures in which the nonprofit has an ownership stake.
    • Entities under common control or influence with the nonprofit.
    • Any person or organization with which the nonprofit has a significant financial or business relationship.
  2. Related Party Transactions: Related party transactions are transactions between the nonprofit and related parties. These transactions can include the exchange of goods, services, assets, loans, leases, grants, contributions, and more.
  3. Conflict of Interest: Related party transactions can potentially create conflicts of interest if not properly managed. Conflicts of interest occur when individuals or entities in a related party relationship have personal interests that might influence their decisions or actions, potentially compromising the best interests of the nonprofit.
  4. Disclosure Requirements: Nonprofits are required to disclose related party transactions in their financial statements and accompanying notes. The disclosure should include details about the nature of the relationship, the transaction amounts, terms, and any significant impact on the nonprofit’s financial position.
  5. Fair Value and Arm’s Length Transactions: Related party transactions should be conducted at fair value, similar to transactions with unrelated third parties. This ensures that the nonprofit is not disadvantaged by the transaction and that financial reporting accurately reflects the economic reality of the transaction.
  6. Board Oversight and Approval: Many nonprofits establish policies and procedures for managing related party transactions. These policies often require disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by board members and key personnel and may include a process for evaluating and approving related party transactions.
  7. Independence and Objectivity: Nonprofits should prioritize the independence and objectivity of decision-making processes, especially when related parties are involved. Ensuring transparency and accountability helps maintain stakeholder trust.
  8. Ethical Considerations: Ethical standards play a significant role in managing related party transactions. Nonprofits should act in ways that prioritize the best interests of the organization and its mission while avoiding any appearance of impropriety.

Identifying and properly managing related party transactions is essential for maintaining the integrity of a nonprofit’s financial reporting and operations. Nonprofits should follow applicable accounting standards and ethical guidelines to ensure that related party transactions are conducted in a transparent, fair, and accountable manner.

Caroline Grimm

Caroline Grimm is an accounting educator and a small business enthusiast. She holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration. She is the author of 13 books and the creator of Accounting How To YouTube channel and blog. For more information visit:

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