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Help Turn Phoenix Rising into a Non-Profit Organization

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Cort, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I've been planning to turn Phoenix Rising into a non-profit corporation for quite a while but its always slipped to the back of the list. A recent offer for a sizable donation when it is turned into a non-profit has resparked my interest! ;)

    If anyone has any experience in this area and would like to help please let me know.

  2. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

    Sorry I can't offer any practical help but ...

    This sounds wonderful! I hope you can make this work, it would be just fantastic.:Retro smile:
  3. creekfeet

    creekfeet Sockfeet

    Eastern High Sierra
    Hey, Cort, before illness I worked as a grant writer for nonprofits, for a really remarkable consultant. She helps nonprofits organize, including looking at the pros and cons of incorporating. I'm sorry that I don't have the wealth of info and experience she possesses, but what I can do is pm you her contact info, so I'm off to do that now.
  4. I haven't done it personally, but I was involved with a non-profit as it started up. It would be helpful to contact another similar non-profit and ask them how they did it and also get a copy of their articles of incorporation and by-laws. Maybe Pandora or CAA?

    Here is a wiki I found that looks like a good thorough explanation of the process:
  5. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

    mountains of north carolina
    Great idea, Cort. One easy way to get nonprofit status is to apply for a fiscal sponsorship:

    It's a good intermediate step if you're not ready to assemble a board of directors, etc. I had one for a while for some community art projects I created (it enabled me to apply for grants restricted to nonprofits) and it worked out well.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Some great ideas already - thank you all.
  7. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    Since the summer of 2003, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance has offered national charities that meet the Standards for Charity Accountability the option of applying for a BBB national charity seal that can be displayed both online and in their solicitation materials. The seal provides the public with a clear, concise and easily recognizable symbol that the subject national charity adheres to the Alliance's strong and comprehensive standards. Only national charities that meet the standards are eligible to apply for the seal.
  8. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks Kim - excellent idea. Love the avatar by the way. (How did you find such a good likeness? )
  9. Advocate

    Advocate Senior Member

    I was part of a group that paid a lawyer $200 to set up a non-profit. Then we googled and found free forms online. Maybe it varies by state.

    There are some rules one has to follow regarding board of directors, minutes, membership meetings, etc. Our group did not follow the rules, and when we no longer needed the non-profit, about three years later, we simply dissolved it.
  10. jewel

    jewel Senior Member

    Getting fiscal sponsorship, as was mentioned previously, is a way to get started more quickly under the umbrella of another organization. Nolo press has a book out on how to form a non-profit organization, as does the "dummies" series. http://[/URL] A few years back, I was involved in an organization as it was starting up. There are definite benefits and drawbacks. Obviously, one of the benefits would be to be able to receive tax-deductible donations. Best of luck to you, Cort, as you research this. Take care, Julie
  11. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

    Starting a nonprofit is easy, getting tax exempt status is not quite as easy but possible as long as you have well-written incorporation documents and by-laws. I have been through that and basically to create a nonprofit costs just the registration fee with your state, usually less than $100. And you need the paperwork, that can be found online or you can hire a lawyer. But then the real fun starts. You may not accept charitable contributions until you have an IRS 501(c)3 tax-exemption letter. However you can earn ordinary income as a nonprofit, just not take donations that will be tax-deductible to contributors.

    To become a 501(c)3 you have to file with the IRS after you are incorporated and pay a fee, when I did this it was $500. Next file for a preliminary declaration of tax-exempt status, basically a letter you will get from the IRS when they have reviewed your information. That took me about 9 months, it can be shorter than that but also longer, I think depends on the type of business and how it will be evaluated. Then over the next 4-5 years or so the IRS will monitor your corporate tax returns to see if they should grant a permanent status.

    The umbrella idea (jewel above) is good, particularly if you will have a small business. I only went through this headache because I had to in order to accept certain research contracts. There are some nonprofit umbrella organizations that might help.
  12. Frank

    Frank Senior Member

    I just hope you don't get too busy with all of this Cort.
  13. citybug

    citybug Senior Member

    A friend recently set up a non-profit and said they can be fast-tracked when a grant is pending. There are probably free lawyers or accountant volunteer groups in your state, retired people for small businesses etc., can't remember what they are called, they have tables at tax time, to help fill out forms. One of the main restrictions of 501 c 3 is to not be involved in politics, so you may want to read about that part.

    I'm against the umbrella idea. You are large enough already. The umbrella group can get interfering or try to keep grant money, or even kill a group. You would want to set up separately later anyway. used to be involved in nps.

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