by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.
Congrats! I’m assuming you just received your tax-exempt letter from the IRS. Here are the next things you need to do, if you haven’t already.
- Open your bank account.
Seems obvious, but it’s something you might have forgotten. If you haven’t yet, go do so. Bring your corporate documents and get that bank account number. Why? You need your bank account number for a lot of what comes next.
- Hold Regular quarterly board meetings, keep good records.
Too many new not-for-profits are so eager to get started that they totally forget about the legally required board meetings and the legally required minutes of those meetings. If you do not act like a corporation (and I’m assuming you organized as a C-Corp), you will not be treated like one should legal issues arise. But the more important reason for having quarterly meetings and keeping good records is that it makes sure everyone is on the same page, and ensures that the board is being kept up-to-date. Get started today–with every board meeting you forget to do it makes your work exponentially more difficult to try to fix it later.
- Register with TechSoup.org.
This site has a lot of great discounts, but the # 1 reason to register here is that until you do, you can’t apply for many of the amazing grants that are easy to procure that most people don’t know about. I will be sharing those grants below. And after your appetite is whet, you’ll remember to go to techsoup, register, and get your validated tokens. A lot of the grants require a validated token to be considered.
- Register with VolunteerMatch.org
This is the first important site that may use the token. When you register here, you gain access to hundreds of thousands of people who are seeking volunteer opportunities. What could be better to help your cause get off the ground than individuals who are eager to help and aren’t seeking a paycheck? Break Diving’s growth in its first year is in large part thanks to the amazing efforts of our volunteer team, nearly all of whom we found on volunteer match.
- Get your Google Grant.
If you have a techsoup token, guess what else you get? Google will give you $120,000/year in advertising through adwords. No strings attached. We all know that getting a google adwords campaign working takes time and often requires making a lot of expensive mistakes before the ads start to work. Well, here, Google is taking the financial hit as you tweak and improve your adwords campaigns. $10,000/month, or rather, $310/day. Pretty awesome. It’s in large part thanks to this grant that our online community jumped from 1 person (me) back in early 2017 to over 3,500 worldwide today as a write this in late 2017.
- Get your Salesforce Grant.
If you have techsoup token, guess what? You also are eligible for a $1,500/month Saleforce grant in the form of 10 enterprise licenses. Salesforce is sales, donor, and client management software. We just secured this grant a few weeks ago and are setting up the account now. We expect this will help us greatly as we expand in 2018.
- Register with D&B, SAM, Grant.org, etc.
Do you want federal grants from grants.gov? First step, get you Dun & Bradstreet number at http://www.dnb.com/duns-number.html. Then, get registered at sam.gov so that you can do business with the US government. You will need your DUNS # from Dun & Bradstreet. Finally, when that is all completed, you can return to grants.gov and sign up. Alas, that process alone could take one month, and then, the really hard work begins: searching through all the grants to see which you may be eligible for. If you can get a government grant, then the hard work may be worth the effort.
- Register with PayPal as an NFP.
Here, you’ll need your bank account number and all of your IRS documents. By signing up as a charity, you get reduced rates, and can join the Paypal Giving Fund. Finally, the buttons are super easy to add to your website to sell items, or to request donations. Some other good sites we use for donations are patreon.com/breakdiving and razoo.com/story/breakdiving. If this information is helpful to you, you can also show your support by donating $10 right now via http://www.paypal.me/breakdiving/10
- Make sure all of your paperwork is in order with IRS and all states.
By law, you need to disclose any of your IRS paperwork for public inspection upon request. To make it easy, just scan everything and put them on your website. You can find ours at http://www.breakdiving.org/tax_document You’ll notice that we also have our Delaware and New York paperwork uploaded as well. The more you can offer, the better. And… don’t forget to file your paperwork every year! For further guidance, here are some Tips for New (& Wannabe) 501(c)(3) Not For Profits
- Guidestar, Give, & Network For Good.
Register with Guidestar.org and Give.org. Get their highest ratings possible and put those badges on your website. Similarly register with Network for Good. Charities these days need as much proof of transparency as possible. These companies can help with that.
- BONUS: Set up a good looking functional website. We started off with a simple one-page site, but we knew that soon we’d have to work on creating a truly built-out site that properly showcases our offerings in a clear way. Our new website at http://www.BreakDiving.org does that. It took us a year to get here, but it’s where all charities need to be. The better your website, the more easily people will trust you.
We wish you the best of success. If we can help you on your not-for-profit journey, let us know.
Break Diving, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Read all about our amazing mission at www.BreakDiving.org
Join our free community at www.breakdiving.org/community
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