America's First Choice for Nonprofit Startup and Compliance

When Foundation Group launched in 1995, we were the first specialty firm in America dedicated exclusively to starting nonprofits and helping them to stay compliant with state and federal regulations.

20 years later, we're still going strong!  In fact, our client base continues to grow exponentially every year...and we've never been more committed to bringing our clients the expertise they need to see their vision come to pass.  Simply put, we love what we do and we're passionate about doing it with excellence!

We were the first...and we've never stopped leading!  Call us and see why we are America's first choice for nonprofit startup and compliance services.

The True Cost of Noncompliance

Noncompliance.  As the word suggests, noncompliance is the opposite of compliance.  But what does noncompliance mean as it relates to your nonprofit?  More important still, what is the true cost of noncompliance?

If you have been a client or follower of Foundation Group for any length of time, you have heard us hounding you to get your organization in compliance.  In other words, do everything you need to do comply with local, state and federal law regarding your nonprofit.  A complete list of compliance items looks rather daunting.  It typically includes everything from filing your corporate annual report to properly keeping your books and records to registering with your state’s Solicitations Department.  We tend to talk about these things so often, it can come across more as a series of dos and don’ts and, in the process, the true cost of noncompliance can get lost.  Let me share with you some real life examples that will help you see what I mean.  Each case discussed is an FG client that we have helped to clean up the mess:

Read More

IRS 501(c)(3) Audits – 5 Potential Sources

There is one phrase in the English language that generates more fear and trepidation than any other out there:  IRS AUDIT.  Just hearing the words is enough to cause many a fearless person to break out in a cold sweat and to shrink in terror.  It is bad enough when an individual has to deal with IRS questions.  But when it happens to a nonprofit organization, there is plenty of pain to go around.  Directors, employees, members, donors…all can be affected.  Plus, just the potential bad publicity is enough to cause nonprofit leaders to reach for the Rolaids.

So how does a nonprofit avoid an IRS examination?  It helps to understand some of the situations and events that can trigger an audit.  In this article, we are going to look at 5 sources of audits and give you advice on how stay out of Uncle Sam’s cross-hairs.

1.  Complaints. One of the most common causes of IRS examinations is a complaint filed by a third  party.  Such “whistle-blower” situations may or may not have a shred of credibility to them.  Typically, if the IRS decides to look into the allegations, it will start out as a compliance exam.  It is possible for one of these exams to progress to the status of a full-blown audit, but most do not…at least for those organizations that are operating completely above board.

Read More

IRS Stepping Up Nonprofit Oversight

The headline for this article is not really “new” news.  The Internal Revenue Service has been stepping up enforcement of its regulations governing nonprofits for several years now.  Those who have been keeping up with the changes to the Form 990 annual reporting requirement know this to be true.  What is new this time is that the IRS is focusing hard on two, key areas:  1) nonprofit pay practices and, 2) abusive activities by charities.  Let’s take a look at each of these.

1) Nonprofit pay practices. The topic of nonprofit pay practices has long been an area of concern for the IRS.  Federal regulations require that compensation paid to employees of tax-exempt organizations must be “reasonable”.  Unfortunately, “reasonable” is a subjective evaluation of the situation as a whole, not necessarily an objective check list.  Moreover, the IRS is the ultimate arbitor of what is considered reasonable.  So what is new?  The overall economic downturn, along with the focus on executive pay, has ramped up IRS scrutiny of the compensation nonprofits pay their executives.

Read More

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!

Read More
Free eBook Download!
Successfully Starting a New Nonprofit
  • Defining Your Nonprofit's Purpose
  • Nonprofit Ownership
  • Board of Directors
  • Executive Compensation
  • Fundraising & Compliance Basics