Anne Byrne

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist - Applying for 501c3 status with new 1023-EZ form

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center

 

 Question: I am starting a nonprofit organization and need to apply for 501c3 status.  Can I fill out the new 1023-EZ form?  

The Internal Revenue Service recently released Form 1023-EZ, the streamlined application for recognition of exemption of 501c3 status. This form is significantly shorter and easier to complete than the regular application, which is a welcome change for aspiring small nonprofit organizations. In order to utilize the streamlined applications, organizations must meet eligibility requirements and complete the Form 1023-EZ Eligibility Worksheet. There are 21 questions on the worksheet and an affirmative answer to any of the questions makes your organization ineligible to utilize the streamlined application.

Organizations with Budgets and Previous Expenses Less than $50,000 per year
The streamlined application is intended for small organizations, so only those with projected budgets of less than $50,000 per year are eligible. If the organization has been operating already, gross receipts from each of the last three years also must be less than $50,000 per year and total assets cannot exceed $250,000.

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist - Arizona Gives Day

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: We would like to increase our donations.  Is the upcoming Arizona Gives Day a good opportunity to do this?

 In the days leading up to December 10, my email and Face book page lit up with information and requests to participate in 2013’s Colorado Gives Day (coloradogives.org).  The requests came from organizations with which I have a connection as a former staffer, or in one case, by my son who works for the organization.    His appeal was my favorite – he asked all his family members across the country to donate to his environmental advocacy group in lieu of a birthday gift to him.  Does this represent a new level of maturity on his part?

I made my modest gifts, despite living in Arizona, and these, combined with over 88,000 other gifts raised over $20 million in one 24 hour period to support Colorado nonprofit organizations.  Wow! The organizations I supported raised $55,000, $35,000 and $25,000.  

Arizona nonprofit organizations can participate in our own Arizona Gives Day on April 9, 2014.  Presented by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits (arizonanonprofits.org), and Arizona Grantmakers Forum (www.arizonagrantmakersforum.org) , and sponsored by FirstBank, Arizona Gives Day provides a terrific opportunity to use the power of social media to build support from existing and new donors and contribute to a thriving philanthropic culture in our own state.

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist: Legal protection of control within public charities

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: I am the interested in starting a public charity, and I want to legally protect my influence and ability to control the affairs of the organization.  How can I do this?

 

 

I get this question or some variation of it fairly regularly, and my response is a quite lengthy description on the nature of public charities and the reality that nonprofit organizations of this type do not have owners, by design, making it impossible to legally protect an individual’s control of an organization.

 

Short answer:  You can’t.

 

Long answer: Public charities are an IRS designation of organizations that are organized and operated for exempt purposes.  Exempt purposes can span a wide variety of activities intended to improve the common good.  The organized and operated requirements for charitable organizations are very specific, including a prohibition of private benefit, so private ownership is not an option.

 

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist: Using collaborative inquiry to engage stakeholders

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: My board of directors and staff are working, doing their jobs in the day to day, but they don’t seem to have the energy or interest in the overall mission and future of the organization. We need to develop a plan for the future, but I can’t seem to muster up their enthusiasm and creativity for the effort. How can I increase engagement in order to lay strategic groundwork for the future?

A friend of mine once gave me a card that pictured a crisis center, on fire and afloat on a river, about to fall over a cliff.  I was the director of a crisis center at the time, so it was amusing and a bit true to my experience.  Unfortunately, the portrayal of a crisis center in crisis is not so farfetched. The day-to-day work of nonprofit organizations is often so demanding, the big picture is often overlooked in response to the daily “crisis” of staying afloat.

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist: Engaging the board of directors in fundraising

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: My board of directors is not effective at raising funds to support our organization. Many members seem afraid of the issue and say things like “I will do anything but fundraise.” How do I get them involved?

Effectively engaging board members in fundraising is a very common challenge for nonprofit organizations. Many board members are unaware of their responsibilities to fundraise or feel inadequate in meeting the challenge. Others may have had bad experiences or have misconceptions about fundraising. While it can be difficult to engage board members in fundraising, there are a few steps that will help ease the way, build confidence and improve effectiveness.

Ask A Nonprofit Specialist - Engaging the Board in Financial Reports

posted by

Anne Byrne,

Professional-in-Residence,

ASU Lodestar Center


Question:
This question was recently posed to the ASU Lodestar Center’s “Ask a Nonprofit Specialist”:

Every time the financial report is made at my organization’s Board meeting, the members seem to either fixate on a number that is not especially meaningful or the opposite:  their eyes glaze over in boredom.  How can I make the reports more meaningful?  One member suggested we use a dashboard to report our finances?  What do you suggest?

Engaging members of a nonprofit Board of Directors in the organization’s financial affairs can be challenging, given the diverse skills and expertise Board members bring to the work. This Board member’s experience is very common. It’s not easy to report on financial statements in an engaging fashion. However, since financial accountability is one of the most significant legal and ethical responsibilities for nonprofit Boards of Directors, effectively engaging the Board in financial matters is critical.  Consider the following background information to improve your organization’s financial reporting and the Board’s engagement in your organization’s financial affairs.

 

To Start or Not to Start?

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center

The most frequent question posed on the ASU Lodestar Center's "Ask the Nonprofit Specialists" service is about how to start a nonprofit organization. Recent research by Civic Ventures suggests that there is strong interest and intention among "boomers" (individuals in their 40s, 50s, and 60s) to create jobs for themselves and others as entrepreneurs, making a positive social impact. More than 12 million aspiring entrepreneurs want to be "encore entrepreneurs," by starting a nonprofit or socially oriented business. There is also a growing trend of new nonprofits run by college students. According to Crain's New York Business, "The flood of 'postmillennials' creating their own nonprofits stems from two trends, experts say: a generational desire to do something meaningful and the quest for individualism."

"In a sea of bad economic news, it's heartening that millions of people with experience want to take matters in their own hands and launch their own ventures to meet social needs in their communities," said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures.

Mark Rosenman, in a blog post titled, "Calling All Boomers: Don't Start More Nonprofits," disagrees with the idea of creating new nonprofits, instead suggesting that "baby boomers shift their social commitment from an ill-advised and self-centered ambition to start a plethora of new enterprises and instead work together, and with others, to build the social, political and economic movement required today."