Giving Compass' Take:

• Philip Hackney explains why he believes that it is unlikely that the National Rifle Association will lose its nonprofit status over recent controversies. 

• Understanding which organizations do - and do not - qualify for nonprofit status can help donors make more informed decisions about giving. 

• Learn how to do due diligence on organizations you are considering supporting

Oliver North sought a second term as president of the National Rifle Association.

It was not to be.

NRA first Vice President Richard Childress read a note from North aloud to thousands of the gun group’s members at their annual convention in Indianapolis. It relayed news of the retired lieutenant colonel’s departure and raised the specter of an existential threat to the organization.

As North had put it in a letter to the NRA board: “I am deeply concerned that these allegations of financial improprieties could threaten our nonprofit status.”

Could they? And what did North mean when he expressed concern about the NRA’s “nonprofit status”?

I’m an attorney who has worked for the Internal Revenue Service on legal matters associated with tax-exempt organizations and a professor who studies nonprofit law. It strikes me as unlikely that the IRS would strip the NRA of its tax-exempt status.

At the same time, I think it’s possible that the New York authorities investigating the group might remove officers and members of its 76-member board of directors. There is even a slight possibility, as NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre warned in a fundraising letter, that New York authorities could cause the NRA “to shut down forever.” But I doubt it.

Read the full article about the nonprofit status of the National Rifle Association by Philip Hackney at Philanthropy Daily.