Nonprofit Fundraising Registration

October 31, 2014

Only one thing is sure, which is that the new IRS Form 990 has now made neglect of fundraising registration rules impossible, at least for nonprofits with incomes of more than $25,000 per year.

Those nonprofits have to file a 990 or a 990-EZ, and the new forms require information about where organizations are registered to fundraise. For example, Schedule G, Part I, Question 3 reads:

“List all states in which the organization is registered or licensed to solicit funds or has been notified it is exempt from registration or licensing.”

The topic of fundraising out-of-state and where you must register is murky.   A few states don’t require registration at all, and there is not much uniformity state to state on the main requirements, much less on the finer details.

Although there is an overall exemption from registration for churches, under the header ‘religious organizations,’ each state defines what constitutes a religious organization.”  Similarly, education and political organizations, are sometimes exempt, depending on the state and its definitions.

Even if you raise funds only online, there is no escape from registration. Guidelines for online fundraising were adopted by the board of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) in 2001. According to those rules, any nonprofit that uses online fundraising tools to target donors in a specific state has to register in that state.

Here is some basic information and tips about fundraising registration

* Register before you start fundraising.

* Register in your home state–this is called your state of domicile.

* Register in every state where you solicit funds. If you receive less than $250 in donations from a particular state, don’t register and do not send postal mail or email to that state. It’s too expensive to register where you receive little value. Several donation processing programs allow you to screen out states.

* If you accept online donations, do register in Florida and New York state, even if you don’t solicit there. Those states require registration for simply accepting a donation from the state. If you are a local or regional organization, consider donation software that will allow you to block donation online from other states.

* Follow the rules of each state for registration, reporting, documentation, etc.

* 38 states do accept the Unified Registration Form, but they often differ in the documentation that they require. So you can’t just submit one registration to all of those states and forget it. You’ll need to customize each registration with the required documents.

* In most states that require registration, you also have to renew annually. Each state’s requirements are different and deadlines for renewal vary. Fees for registration differ state to state.

* If you do not register properly in other states before you fundraise, your organization risks penalties and even felony charges. Some donations have had to be given back as a result of not registering or registering too late. Your auditors and grantors will also require that your registrations are in order. Since the new 990 requires organizations to report where they are registered, it is impossible to ignore out-of-state fundraising registration.

* Do not argue with the IRS or the State Attorney Generals about fundraising registration. That is usually futile.

Because the rules for registration are not uniform, and the paperwork and staff time to keep up is so onerous, many charities contract with other companies to complete the registration for them.

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Compu-Perfect Professional Services (www.compuperfect.net) is a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and Nonprofit Consulting Services, including Fundraising Registration.  Call Karmen A. Booker TODAY at (301) 408-1082.


Essentials of Effective Email Subject Lines

October 24, 2014

Communication through email can be very effective for nonprofit organizations.  However, you must use subject lines that get attention.  Some suggestions are:

1.     Email subject lines should be short. For example, giving back to help others is a wonderful heading.

2.     Email subject lines should indicate an immediate benefit and encourage the reader to open it immediately.  For example, Basketball tournaments this weekend proceeds will help Youth obtain needed life skills.

3.     Email subject line should provide a specific benefit to the reader. For example, “Tennis: this weekend – 8 best places to play.”

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Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.

Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed a Report entitled “Fundraising for Nonprofits”, which provides information regarding:

  • Developing a Fundraising Plan
  • Writing a Fundraising Letter
  • Specific Fundraising Tips such as selling advertisement space in your newsletter and on your website, and more.

Fundraising for Nonprofits Binded

Click Here to GET YOUR COPY TODAY for Only $5.00

 


Make Your Lettter of Inquiry a Winner

October 17, 2014

Many foundations prefer grant-seeking nonprofits to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), before sending a complete proposal.

The LOI allows the foundation to screen potential candidates for funding to ensure that it fits with the foundation’s mission. The LOI helps the nonprofit organization  get an invitation from the foundation to submit a complete proposal.

Tips for writing a good LOI are:

  • Follow published foundation guidelines for an LOI.
  • Type  “Letter of Inquiry”  at the top of your letter. This helps make it plain that you are submitting an LOI, and LOIs receive a very quick initial screening in an effort to weed out irrelevant mail.
  • A typical LOI is three pages, plus a budget, and includes the following:

A Brief Title –  the title should catch the attention of the reader and draw him into continuing.

A one- or two-sentence summary of your project –  that is concise, and compelling.

The summary should:

  • Answer the question, “What are we doing?
  • Receive your utmost attention. Put the most effort into writing the first sentence of the summary. Write and rewrite it.
  • Strike a tone suitable to the foundation’s interests.
  • Don’t use “unique,” “cutting edge,” or “raises awareness.”
  • Include facts and sentences that show action.

An explanation of the issue you are addressing and how you will do it.

A description of your organization.

A budget. This may or may not be required. Refer to the foundation’s instructions.

  • Make the LOI concise, not wordy

Your LOI can make or break your relationship with a foundation because it will get you in the door, which is the most important step of all.

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Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.

Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed a Report entitled “Fundraising Tips”, which provides information regarding:

  • Developing a Fundraising Plan
  • Writing a Fundraising Letter
  • Specific Fundraising Tips such as selling advertisement space in your newsletter and on your website, and more.

GET YOUR COPY TODAY for Only $5.00 - http://howtostartanonprofitorganization.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/49/


3 Website Mistakes

October 10, 2014

A website for a nonprofit organization is required. You simply do not exist if you are not exist if you are lot locatable online. People (of all ages) search for what they want online.

However, some nonprofits think that if they just put up a static site, that will be enough. However, those kind of websites may not be advantageous. A website should be living, dynamic and energetic. It should reflect your organization’s personality and mission through great photos, text, and design.

There are three reasons why many websites lack:

1. Outdated Information- Fresh, lively content should be added at least weekly. New photos should be mixed in at least every couple of months.  Blogs should be updated at least once a week.

An easy way to refresh a website without changing everything is to provide a feature area on the home page for a short article and photo of something new at your nonprofit. A preview of an upcoming event; an update of a fundraising campaign; a heart warming story of a client helped; a profile of a long-time donor. These can all be slotted in at regular intervals, while the bulk of your site stays basically the same.

2. Insufficient Contact Information- Just because people find you on the Internet doesn’t mean that they might not want to talk with you or email you. Do not provide a contact form for someone to fill out. These are cold and impersonal and are often abandoned midway through. Provide a contact list of real people with their respective coverage areas.  For example, Mary Smith, Community Outreach.

For instance, there could be a photo of the development person, and an email link inviting people to inquire about donating or a concern they have about a donation already made. A photo of the volunteer coordinator an email link, and phone number will help draw in potential volunteers and reassure current ones.  These emails must be responded to promptly.

3. Aamateur Design- Websites are worth good design. You may have started with something done by a staff member or a volunteer, but as soon as you can, hire a professional web designer to give you great color, readability, an attractive layout, easy-to-use navigation system, and a simple content management program that makes it easy for staff to update the site.

Throw in a visually attractive logo and tag line that benefits the mission of your organization. Investing in website design will e the best investment your nonprofit organization can make.

 

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Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.

Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed a Report entitled “Fundraising for Nonprofits”, which provides information regarding:

  • Developing a Fundraising Plan
  • Writing a Fundraising Letter
  • Specific Fundraising Tips such as selling advertisement space in your newsletter and on your website, and more.

Fundraising for Nonprofits Binded

Click Here to GET YOUR COPY TODAY for Only $5.00

 

 

 


The Board Chair

October 7, 2014

Wouldn’t you like to be able to have a Board Chair that knows his/her responsibilities and contributes to the overall efficiency of the Board of Directors in making managerial decisions that result in the efficient implementation of the nonprofit’s vision and mission?

I have the SOLUTIONThe Board Chair Manual.

This Manual will Help You Learn:

Roles and Responsibilities

Authority

Responsibilities of the Chair

Sample Policies

Electing the Chair

Required Skills and Knowledge

Approaches to Chair Election

Consecutive Terms

Board Chair and CEO Relationship

Meeting Agendas

Support and Counsel

Clarifying Expectations

Representing the Board and Organization Meetings

AND MORE

 

Grab Your Copy NOW for $14.99

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Board Chair Handbook

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e-book Bundle Special

October 3, 2014

Nonprofit e-book bundle

 

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nonprofit Organizations

October 3, 2014

1.  Are the services that I offer through my nonprofit required to be free?

Charitable organizations are not required to offer services or products free or at cost.

2. Can a nonprofit pay its staff?

A nonprofit can pay reasonable salaries to officers, employees, or consultants.

3. Are All Nonprofits Tax-Exempt?

No, they are not. Tax-exempt means that a nonprofit does not pay taxes on the income it receives to the federal government and (2) that its donors can take a charitable contribution deduction on their personal  income taxes.

4. When do I need to apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status?

In order to receive a tax-exemption dating from the date of your incorporation, you need to apply within 27 months of the date of your incorporation.

5.  Can we ask for donations before we get our tax-exempt status?

Yes.  But the “effective date” of your nonprofit organization’s tax-exempt status will be the day that status was originally created.

6. What Is Unrelated Business Activity?

Conducting activities that are not in line with the purpose for which you formed the nonprofit organization. For example, if your nonprofit organization is a church and you lease space to a computer learning center. This is not related to church activities.

7. Can a Nonprofit Charge Fees for Its Services?

Many nonprofits count on fees from services they offer to clients for part of their annual incomes. There are several things to be aware of…

8. Can a Nonprofit Compensate Its Board Members?

Yes.  Only about 2 percent of nonprofits compensate board members.  However, they are usually not compensated, but volunteer.

9. Can an Organization Be Part Profit and Part Nonprofit?

No.  The nonprofit organization must only provide services that comply with IRS rules and regulations as charitable, educational or religious.

10. Does Our Nonprofit Board Need Liability Insurance?

Most experts think that nonprofits need “Directors and Officers (D & O) liability insurance.

11. Can one make part of a for-profit business into a nonprofit?

You must establish 2 separate entities – For profit – to carry out for profit oriented purposes; and Nonprofit – to carry out charitable, educational or religious oriented purposes.

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Karmen A. Booker is an Attorney, Business Consultant and Owner of Compu-Perfect Professional Services, a business consulting firm specializing in Business Entity Formation (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Nonprofit Corporations), Completing 501(c)(3) Federal Tax Exemption Applications, Grant Research and Writing services, and more.  Call her today at (301) 408-1082.

Attorney Karmen A. Booker has developed a Report entitled “Fundraising for Nonprofits”, which provides information regarding:

  • Developing a Fundraising Plan
  • Writing a Fundraising Letter
  • Over 27 Specific Fundraising Tips such as selling advertisement space in your newsletter and on your website, and more.

Fundraising for Nonprofits Binded

Click Here to GET YOUR COPY TODAY for Only $5.00

 


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