Category Archives: Charity Registration

Meet Me At bbcon 2013

BBCON2013_greenbackground copy

I’ll be interviewing guests for Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio at bbcon 2013, the Blackbaud conference for nonprofits.

I’ll be at the conference all day Monday 9/30, on stage in the exhibit hall, hosting interviews to air on upcoming shows. I start with keynoter Karen Worcester, passionate executive director of Wreaths Across America.

My other smart guests will share strategies and tips on
— Dr. Seuss and digital storytelling (is nothing sacred?)
— #GivingTuesday
— mobile giving
— getting society level gifts
— engaging web traffic
— building a board that brings the bucks
— fraud protection
— plus 5 more

To celebrate and have fun, I’m giving away 2 one-hour prizes of free consulting time!

There are 2 ways you can enter to win an hour of Planned Giving or Charity Registration consulting, your choice:

1. At bbcon, swing by the stage and drop a card in the bowl. You’ll be in the contest and I’ll add your name to my weekly email alerts. One card will win!

2. Not at bbcon? Tweet during conference hours, 6am (early fitness) to 10pm (drinks & networking), eastern time, on 9/30 using the 2 hashtags:
— #NonprofitRadio
— #bbcon
You tweet, you’re entered! One correct tweet will win!

bbcon2013 will bring together Blackbaud users, consultants and interested interlopers, sharing their expertise at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.

I’ll see you there!

Create the Impossible

 image courtesy of iandesign, creative commons license
Image courtesy of iandesign, Creative Commons License

Last week I read this NPR science blog by Robert Krulwich about your mind’s capacity to imagine the impossible. It’s based on triangles that can be drawn easily enough, but cannot exist in physical space. Yet we see them as plausible.

Quoting Krulwich:
“Our brains, it turns out, are not prisoners of the world we live in; we can fly free! We can, any time we like, create the impossible.”

Create the impossible. I love that!

You can imagine what doesn’t exist. So do it! It’s the first step to fulfillment.

A nation without hunger? A world without hunger? Thank goodness for those who have beaten the rest of us there.

A corruption-free New York capital? A harmonious U.S. Congress? I’m getting carried away.

I’m creating an impossibility. A cheap, easy, fully-automated site for Charity Registration.  It’ll blow the lid off this regulatory morass and it’s under development. I’ll have lots to share as we progress.

What’s the impossible you want to create?

Promo shot for the Nonprofit Boot Camp with host Jamie Bristow-Lavoie

Nonprofit Boot Camp Interview

Promo shot for the Nonprofit Boot Camp with host Jamie Bristow-LavoieIn May I was a guest on Nonprofit Boot Camp with host Jamie Bristow-Lavoie.

She and her team at put together a collection of interviews as the Boot Camp and I’m included. There’s also Bob Penna who’s been a guest on Nonprofit Radio.

Jamie and I talked about the importance and timeliness of Planned Giving and Charity Registration. Here’s the audio interview:

That was back in May. Do you feel like I do, that summer is flying by?

I am enjoying it–and that’s reassuring–but it feels like the days have had only 14 hours. I feel like I’m owed time that passed without me in it.

Jamie Bristow-Lavoie, thank you very much for inviting me to Boot Camp! You’re a fun drill sergeant.

A picture of IRS form 990

Calendar Year Tax Year? Your 990 Is Due

A picture of IRS form 990
IRS Form 990
If your charity’s tax year is the calendar year, your IRS form 990 is due by May 15.

Not sure if you have to file? Here’s help.

The form 990 filing deadline is four-and-a-half months after the close of your fiscal year. If your fiscal year ended on December 31, 2012, then your 990 is due by May 15th. The IRS expresses the deadline as “the 15th day of the fifth month” after close of your fiscal year.

Years ago, someone in a seminar was quite vociferous about how I was wrong to say four-and-a-half months. I couldn’t dissuade him. He wasn’t quibbling over “half a month” leading to the 14th of May.

He didn’t see the equivalence. I was polite.

Ninety-day extensions are granted automatically using form 8868. Typically charities need the extension because their previous year’s audit isn’t finished. Additional 90-day stretches aren’t hard to come by, but are not automatic. Use the same form, part II.

I’ve seen plenty of 990’s delayed for more than a year. That plays havoc, by the way, with charity registration deadlines in the states where you solicit donations. I know that work intimately. I wrote a book about it. I also published a paper.

Not sure which form to file (990, 990-EZ, 990-N postcard)? Here’s help.

Important fine print: I am not your attorney or your accountant. Seek the advice of your professional advisors in all matters of IRS compliance.

A sign that says "Our recipe: Simplicity, Honesty, Innovation. MIx well. Serve anywhere."

Keep Your Marketing Simple

A sign that says "Our recipe: Simplicity, Honesty, Innovation. MIx well. Serve anywhere."
photo courtesy of duncan on Flickr
This ad for ebay™ Now is running in the New York City subway:

     Thousands of items from local stores. Delivered to you in about an hour.

I admire the simplicity and conciseness. It conveys lots of information in two short sentences:

     *We’ve got plenty of items for you
     *They’re locally sourced
     *We deliver fast
     *You know how to find us

Describing my consulting, I strive for the same info density in short descriptions.

     *Planned Giving: I help nonprofits raise money through estate and retirement plan gifts.
     *Charity Registration: I help nonprofits get into compliance in each state where they solicit donations.

It took me months to hone those messages. And they’re still not as exciting as the subway copy.

Can you make your marketing brief, informative and jargon free? Your readers will be grateful. Do you do a lot of speaking? Your listeners will be even more grateful. Readers can stop reading. The people in your audiences probably won’t walk out. But they can tune you out.

Those you’re delivering to will better understand your messages–and it’s good practice for cocktail parties. The second half of this episode of Nonprofit Radio is devoted to dropping cliches.

It’s a challenge to write short and informative, and it’s a skill worth developing.

(ebay is copyright © 1995-2013 eBay Inc. All rights reserved.)