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Starting a Nonprofit in a Bad Economy

Sounds like scary stuff, doesn’t it?  The decision to start a nonprofit organization is difficult in the best of circumstances.  But in a downright frightening economic climate, does it make any sense at all?  Some experts are predicting that this economy may doom up to 100,000 existing charities this year.  Could you possibly pick a worse time?

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Radical Changes to Form 990

For the first time since 1979, the IRS has completely overhauled the Form 990 – Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.  And boy, is it a doozy!  This time, they weren’t fooling around.

“So what’s new?,” you ask.  Literally everything…from the filing requirement thresholds to the information they are seeking…it’s all different.

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US Bans Thrift Stores (updated)

Got your attention? Good…because what we’ve got to report on will shock you…and could have a devastating impact on some charities and the families that depend on them.

Congress, in a stroke of genius that was too smart by half, passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in August 2008. It takes affect February 10, 2009. The public is only now becoming aware of the draconian nature of the statute.

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Answers to Reader Questions (Dec ’08)

At the end of most newsletters, we put out the call for “topic requests”.  We wanted to get to some reader questions before the year ended. We will try to answer questions like these, that don’t require a whole article, from time to time. If you have article topics that you would like us to cover, email them to us at mail@foundationgroup.com or simply reply to the email newsletter when you receive it.  We cannot guarantee your question will be chosen, but we’ll try.  On to the questions…

Q) Do all donations need to be spent by year’s end?

A) The quick answer is, no. “Nonprofit” does not mean that at the end of the year there should be no money left in the account.  A 501(c)(3) organization can have money left at the end of the year. It would probably be a good idea if it can.  Money left over can go toward adding programs, improving existing programs, make up for less funding next year, etc.  Never forget that you’re still running a business (of sorts)…you gotta make more than you spend!

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