January 19, 2018

It’s Tax Season For Nonprofits Too

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Just because your organization is a nonprofit does not mean that it can sit back and ignore the tax filing season. In particular, it’s very important for small nonprofits to understand that while they may not have had to file anything with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the past, they now may have a new form to file, called the e-Postcard (or Form 990-N).The Pension Protection Act requires small organizations that normally have $25,000 or less in gross receipts to file an annual electronic notice with the IRS. This means that many small organizations — like local sewing leagues, sporting clubs and food pantries — may need to file the e-Postcard to protect their tax-exempt status. There are, however, some exceptions to this filing requirement. For example, an organization that is part of a group return or is a church, its auxiliary or an association of a church is not required to file the e-Postcard.

The first e-Postcard filings were due in 2008. For many organizations that missed this deadline, there are only two years left to start complying with the new rule. It is critical to note that organizations that do not file for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status. If you work with a nonprofit organization — especially a small one that never had to file with the IRS before — check with your leadership team to see if they are aware of this new form. And help spread the word about the e-Postcard to other small nonprofits in your town.

How to File
The e-Postcard can only be filled out and filed online, but you do not need any special software to do so. You just need access to a computer and the Internet. Visit www.irs.gov/charities and click on “Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations” to learn more about the e-Postcard and to access the form.

It requires a few pieces of identifying information about your organization and should only take a few minutes to fill out. But it is important to take the time to do so in order to protect your organization’s tax-exempt status.

Know Your Deadline
Unlike personal income taxes, the e-Postcard does not have a universal deadline. Instead, it depends on the closing date of each organization’s tax year, so your deadline may be different from another nonprofit in your town.

The rule is that the e-Postcard is due by the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of the organization’s tax year. For example, if your tax year closes on Dec. 31, the form is due by the following May 15.

More Information

For the latest information for tax-exempt organizations, sign up for the EO Update, a regular e-newsletter delivered directly to your inbox, at www.irs.gov/charities. To get more information about maintaining tax-exempt status, go to the IRS Web-based training program, www.stayexempt.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

You Can Organize Volunteers with Free Online Tool

volunteerspot

What is VolunteerSpot?
VolunteerSpot is a free, online sign-up tool that makes grass-roots volunteering easier. Volunteer leaders now have the ability to easily and quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation or social network.

VolunteerSpot is the brain child of Karen Bantuveris, an Austin, Texas, management consultant who launched the website in the fall of 2008. “I got involved with volunteering through leadership positions in PTA and Scouts,” she said. “Anyone who has volunteered knows how difficult it can be to organize groups of people.  There are a lot of phone calls, sign-up sheets and back-and-forth e-mails. Good people sometimes stop volunteering because it’s such a hassle.”

How does VolunteerSpot work?

There are three simple steps.

  1. The leader creates a schedule of volunteer needs on the online calendar and invites people to sign up with an e-mail.
  2. Volunteers click a link to see what spots are available and choose when and how they want to help.
  3. VolunteerSpot sends automated confirmation and reminder messages which help everyone keep their commitments.

Because all of this happens in real-time, the schedule is always current. This significantly reduces coordination time and makes the process easier for everyone.

VolunteerSpot will always offer a free service to local-level volunteers. They will, however, charge corporations and groups wanting to brand the Web site, and will be adding premium features, such as hours tracking.

“We’re thrilled with the positive customer feedback and how fast we are spreading to new groups,” says Karen. “It feels good to already be helping so many people.”

Volunteer leaders have received a real gift from this free management tool. Karen’s goal is that grass-root groups and nonprofits from all over the United States will use their Web site to make a big difference in their communities.

Seven Steps To Compete In The 21st Century

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Every year is finding nonprofits with more challenging environments for funding their programs and operations. There is less support from Federal and State Governments as they reallocate resources to meet their own expanding needs. Grants from foundations are harder to qualify for, and more difficult to obtain. Yet expenditures keep going up. Programs are more costly to fund, and salaries need to be kept competitive with the commercial sector. There are things every nonprofit needs to do to stay viable. Nonprofits need to recognize that they are operating in a competitive environment. Every donor and every grant are being sought by other nonprofits. Here are seven things you can do to stand out from the crowd.

1. Modernize your website. Make it a place that people come to for current information. Keep adding new features as your webmaster makes them available to you. Incorporate features like webmail, flash, search and other applications. Use your website as a conduit to accept donations online. Be sure to include an ‘About Us’ section that does much more than list staff email addresses. Use pictures and biographies to make your web visitors feel they know that person on your staff. [Read more…]