Seth Perlman

Seth Perlman



Seth Perlman has been providing legal counsel to the philanthropic sector for more than thirty
years. He works with large public charities, private foundations, fundraising professionals, for-profit
businesses engaged in philanthropy, international NGOs and social enterprises.

Seth assists clients to optimize their ability to achieve mission by advising on matters relating to
organizational structure, governance, regulatory compliance and nonprofit commercial activities. He advises social entrepreneurs seeking to provide social benefit through non-traditional for profit organizational structures.

Seth has litigated in several state and federal jurisdictions on issues relevant to the philanthropic community. He is an outspoken advocate for the sector through his participation with nonprofit trade associations including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel, Independent Sector, and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York. He is a founding board member of the Charity Defense Council in support of their mission “to change the way people think about changing the world”.

Seth is an advisor to C-level executives and the boards of a broad range of U.S. nonprofits. He sits on the
boards of philanthropic organizations in Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Representative Work

General Counsel to nonprofit boards including strategic and legal consulting on

  • Complex governance issues such as board oversight, decision-making power, and board member fiduciary duties
  • Strategic planning focused on near-term and long-term challenges and opportunities
  • Internal disputes and investigations
  • Organizational sustainability including charitable giving and fundraising strategy, investment,, budget and risk management
  • Strategic outside partnerships and vendor relations

Legal counsel relating to fundraising, revenue generation and charitable solicitation compliance for nonprofit organizations including

  • Cause marketing campaigns
  • Hybrid business structures
  • Corporate alliances
  • Joint ventures
  • State and federal regulatory compliance

Litigation and dispute resolution on matters including

  • Board disputes
  • Action and investigations by state regulatory authorities
  • Constitutional and regulatory issues affecting the nonprofit sector
  • Vendor disputes
Professional & Nonprofit Affiliations
  • Charity Defense Council, Founding Board Member
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals, Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association, Special Counsel
  • Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Government Affairs Committee
  • American Bar Association – Exempt Organizations Committee, Member
  • American Bar Association – Business Law Committee, Member
  • NYC Bar

University of Houston, Bates College of Law, J.D.

Beloit College, B.S.

Bar Admissions

New York


Recent Speaking Engagements & Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

Achieving the Best, Averting the Worst: Organizations in Crisis
Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York  2018

Who’s Watching You? The Impact of Accountability on your Bottom Line
International Fundraising Conference, Association of Fundraising Professionals

Restricted Gifts: Considerations for Donors and Donees
U.S. Trust Philanthropic Solutions Group

Navigating the Maze of Charitable Solicitation Law
AICPA National Not-for-Profit Industry Conference


Cutting through the Maze – A State By State Handbook on Charitable Fundraising Compliance
Wiley & Sons


American Bar Association – Outstanding Lawyer Award for Distinguished Service by an Attorney Practicing Nonprofit Law

ALS Communication for the Neurologically Impaired – Humanitarian of the Year

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Recent Blog Posts