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How 400,000 nonprofits could have avoided losing tax exempt status beginning Monday

How 400,000 nonprofits might have avoided losing tax exempt status Monday: Utilize volunteer power.
How 400,000 nonprofits might have avoided losing tax exempt status Monday: Utilize volunteer power.
courtesy of B. Mastel-Smith

GuideStar estimates that 350,000 to 400,000 nonprofits are in danger of losing their exempt status beginning Monday, May 17; many of that total small shops subject to IRS filing requirements for the first time. How could many of these nonprofits avoided exemption revocation?

Smaller orgs tend to have an abundance of passion and commitment to the mission but lack resources and expertise to bring on board savvy financial and business management.  Yet in many cases leaders already know the individuals who can provide relief: Underutilized volunteers, those poorly-deployed Board members, donors or even local firms who might be willing to work pro bono - if only they had been asked.

Tapping into volunteer manpower extends beyond business services. Dr. Beth Mastel-Smith, Associate Professor with The University of Texas at Tyler, has contributed to the international dialogue and research on health care and aging. As a volunteer with a number of Houston area nonprofits, she is a great - and free - resource. And yet her talents haven't always been utilized effectively to strengthen program services.

For those who have not yet sought volunteer expertise, GuideStar is offering filing guidance in advance of Monday's deadline, when the IRS begins to act on organizations that have failed to file three consecutive annual returns as required by The Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Learning the motivation and experience of those that give of their time and money, and enabling them to best connect with you may seem like an overwhelming time commitment now, but likely it will reap great benefits in program offerings, revenue growth and deep community ties well into the future - and keep your nonprofit out of hot water with the IRS.