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501 (c) 3 Non Profits Etc

Forums: Suggestions and Feedback
Created on: 03/15/10 06:56 PM Views: 3645 Replies: 11
Monday, March 15, 2010 at 6:56 PM

We have a total of 5 sites for the school system.

Since the beginning of our one site, this has been unbelievable. In over 2 years we not have formed a non-profit charity and gotten our 501 (c) 3 with the IRS.

Last year we had our first All School Reunion and had over 650 attend. This was a great success since our hometown is about 1200 people.

Just curious if anyone else has formed a Non Profit and how they handle the organization.

I 'accidently' ended up with this and am excited about how it has grown but feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants.

All this is new to me and would like to know if anyone else is out there would want to share ideas, etc

Wouldn't it be great to have a Class Creator Convention

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 9:36 PM - Response #1

We have NOT formed one, but this DOES sound interesting!
I will be following this thread with GREAT interest - hope you get LOTS of positive and informative responses.
I presume your 'purpose' is for providing scholarships?
In the future, will you be providing information as to what you did to apply for your 501 [3] and expenses involved?

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:24 PM - Response #2

While there has been some conflicting advice on this topic in various threads, I don't think that a non-profit is the way to go for a traditional reunion committee setup. You may be in a different situation if you are closely affiliated with your school and provide scholarships and are doing more than just throwing a big party. The big downside with non-profit status (assuming that you can pass the tax threshold which you have) is that there may be IRS filing forms (990's), you need to file articles of incorporation and bylaws in many States, and create a board of directors.

All our committee wanted to do was establish an entity that would be sufficient for purposes of banking. Our Reunion Committee was designated as an 'unincorporated association' with the Chairman and Treasurer as signatories on the banking documents. We got the required IRS number for our "Reunion Committee" entity. It turned out to be a straightforward and simple process for us. I would add that under our circumstances, having the reunion at a hotel that had insurance, my insurance agent felt that there was no need to get a supplemental rider on anyone's individual insurance policy.

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:25 PM - Response #3

We are accepting donation for the website and have set up multiple scholarships for the school. We have also started a 'special projects list'. We have replaced 12 missing composites and are in the process of repairing about 20 more.

We have schduled our 2nd All School Reunion and Awards Banquet plus are working on other long term projects for the school (memorial courtyard and replacing equipment and landscaping)

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:38 PM - Response #4

I agree this isn't for the average reunion committees.

We have a started an Alumni Association encompasing 5 schools and are very active thoughtout the year with projects, etc.

The websites are just a means of communication for us.

We have about 1500 active members in the association.

I think we are a unique situation since this is a small town and most of us attended school from K - 12 with the same group of people.

The process of filing for Non Profit status was very length and the IRS applicaiton fee alone was 750.00.

Last year our fundraising exceeded the 25K threshold so we needed to move forward.

I have tried to do research but haven't found a High School Organization like this one yet. We are more like a college Alumni Association.

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:57 PM - Response #5

Randy - Non Profit status does sound appropriate under your circumstances. You might want to check to see if there is an association of non-profit organizations in your State that serves as a resource for non-profits (i.e, model bylaws, assistance in filing IRS forms,state law requirement, if any, etc.). Interestingly, some of your "school improvement" functions sound similar to high school foundations that have cropped up in Maryland to supplement public funding of the schools. Indeed, my high school has such a foundation consisting of mostly parents of current and former students. Our Reunion Committee made a small donation to it in honor of some of the members of our class. I am sure that it is a non-profit organization.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM - Response #6

Ditto on what Ben said.
We have a FIN# for our Reunion Committee recommended by a CPA. Our school charter has been closed since the early 2000's. The school now operates under a new name and has 3 schools incorporated into one building.
Be careful setting up your scholarship and foundation funds. You need to follow IRS and State rules. You need board members for the foundations, too. Not just your non-profit organization. Best to get a CPA to help you set up your finances..and to file your forms to the IRS..if need be.
Good luck with your endeavor!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM - Response #7

Our Alumni Association has been very active since 1984--first graduating class was 1907. We have a 501(c)3 and benefit from bulk mailing rates as well as a better deal on PayPal, which we now have on our CC website. We're using PayPal now to get online memberships in the Association ($12/yr) as well as donations for the various scholarships we award every year. But it requires a lot of bookkeeping and there are taxes to pay, plus the legal costs of setting it up.

Friday, July 30, 2010 at 5:19 PM - Response #8

Randy Turnage wrote:

Just curious if anyone else has formed a Non Profit and how they handle the organization.

I 'accidently' ended up with this and am excited about how it has grown but feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants.

All this is new to me and would like to know if anyone else is out there would want to share ideas, etc

Wouldn't it be great to have a Class Creator Convention


I just came across this thread looking for something else. Have you been successful with your endeavor? Any questions/hangups? Give me a shout if this is still an open subject. If not, then I'm glad you have had resolve.

BTW, I love your idea about a CC convention for Admin's. I wonder how viable that option would be? Maybe we should ask Brad!RazzRazz

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 5:10 PM - Response #9

We have it all set up and going. We are in the process of applying for a grant for a new community center

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 5:32 PM - Response #10

Randy Turnage wrote:

All this is new to me and would like to know if anyone else is out there would want to share ideas, etc

Wouldn't it be great to have a Class Creator Convention

I've started a new thread asking for comments and ideas on a Class Creator Workshop/Convention. CLICK HERE

Friday, November 8, 2013 at 8:04 AM - Response #11

I found this excellent advice on the Web:

You need a bank account and someone to watch over it. No one should use their own account and you’ll want to get a tax id number (EIN) from the IRS so that everything is separate from each committee member’s own money. Using a descriptive name for the organization is important. For example, If your school was George Washington High School, and you graduated in 1990, a good name for the reunion committee and affiliated accounts would be GWHS 1990 Class Reunion. Including the year and “Class Reunion” in the name helps define exactly what your group is doing to anyone that sees your name, including the IRS. Having the EIN assigned to “Treasurer” was also recommended by the IRS so that if the committee members change in the future, it is simple to update everything without having to call back in and change names around with them. Ordering the EIN can be done online, but I opted to order it from a live IRS agent by phone so that I could ask questions as well. Remember, I advise that you research the legalities with the IRS, a trusted accountant, or an attorney. Many people miss this step, but when you are putting together a reunion, you’re going to be collecting money, and the money raised can be seen as taxable income unless you establish that the event is a “not for profit” activity. The IRS has rules that govern these things, and they will be helpful if you explain your situation and ask for guidance. They are also much cheaper than an accountant, but you’ll need to make your own choice on that. I was told that class reunions qualify to be tax exempt, without having to officially file for tax exempt status, as long as you raise less than $25,000, and take pains to document everything. At the end of the fiscal period for the reunion (normally one year after you start establishing the class reunion entity), I was told to file form 990-N, which is a very basic accounting of the money brought in and general information about the “organization.” They also cautioned me that failing to file at least once every three years can lead to your EIN being retired. Keep in mind that there is a distinct difference from the IRS recognizing your activities as tax exempt, and being legally classified as non-profit organization (called a 501(c)3 by the IRS). The latter requires a great deal of paperwork, has strict rules for qualification, and the application process can be quite time consuming. Donations to the reunion fund are not tax deductible if you are not an official 501(c)3 however, so make sure you don’t tell people that they are.
Once you have the EIN, you can use it to open a bank account for the class reunion and add other parties to the account, all under the EIN. I suggest that at least one other person has access to the account other than the treasurer, in case there is a problem and another committee member needs to access the account. Naming officers and having some basic by-laws was required by our bank as well, but these are relatively simple to draft. Our bank called it a “non-profit account,” but they have much less stringent qualifications than the IRS does for this. We also opened a PO Box under the class’ name for mailing purposes. This was for two main reasons: the ability for more than one party to be able to get the mail if needed, and also to establish an extra layer of separation between the officers as individuals and the class reunion as an entity.

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