Home > The Gardner Report > NPO Warning, Get Interactive and Spring Cleaning

WHAT DID YOUR NPO DO TO SURVIVE THIS DOWN ECONOMY?

Share the successful strategies or changes that your NPO selected to get through the down market. We want to know what things are working so that in subsequent Gardner Reports we can share the wealth. Email Gardner & Associates with your ideas or experiences (email Walt).

NPO WARNING

May 15th is the deadline for nonprofits that have not filed an annual return in the past three years (even those with gross receipts normally under $25,000). 2010 is the first year the IRS will automatically revoke the tax-exempt status of organizations that have failed for three consecutive years to file the required Form 990 with the IRS.

Small organizations should file the IRS Form 990-N, known as the ePostcard. Find out if your organization is exempt from filing. The ePostcard is easy to complete. It only takes only a few minutes to fill out eight simple questions.

Filing by May 15th will prevent your organization from having to submit an application for tax-exemption with the IRS all over again.

Read this fact sheet from the IRS for more information about filing annual returns and please spread the word.

MAKE SURE THAT YOUR EMAILS AND WEBSITE ARE INTERACTIVE!

Are you asking your volunteers, supporters and donors for their opinions and reactions? Are you inviting them to your website to share their opinions and ideas?  If not, why not?

Research and experience are showing that in today’s technologically-oriented society more potential volunteers and donors are looking for entities that engage them, seek their opinion and give them input.

Advancing Philanthropy reports in its current issue that a majority of NPOs in a recent survey are experimenting with social networking. They are layering it onto their traditional print media. Those who use it believe that it increases awareness and enables their NPO to reach a broader audience. They find it helpful to build their brand, connect with advocates on their behalf and show value to new prospects. Most believe it is more cost effective than traditional media.

At the same time as you ask for donations, ask for opinions, share ideas or experiences and seek new solutions to continuing challenges. Make it a consistent part of your message to engage your online readers. Layering interactive strategies with your current communications mix can help to broaden and engage your audience.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED SPRING CLEANING AT YOUR OFFICE?

At Gardner & Associates Paul and Walt are using Spring as a motivation to review, backup, store and shred files and materials. We are taking a little time to check out four things:

1.     Update our business inventory and corporate filings….make sure that we are current.

2.     Back up and store our completed files and clear off our disk drives of unnecessary material.

3.     Checking on our ongoing phone, email, network and other contracts to make sure that we have the services that we need and at the best price.

4.     Looking at new technology and software to ensure that we are both effective and efficient. Thank goodness for the iPhone. It sure makes us more accessible. How about a wireless printer, mouse or speakers?

We have been amazed at the amount of “stuff” that accumulates.

While you are thinking about cleaning up, consider four important items to check:

1.     Is your NPO filing current with the IRS, Secretary of State and Attorney General?

2.     Has your Executive Committee reviewed your mission statement, bylaws and goals?

3.     Have you reviewed the job descriptions and evaluation process for your staff?

4.     Is your emergency procedure current?