Good news for small nonprofits!

Good news for small nonprofits! If revenues for your organization are less than $50,000 annually, you can just file a 990-N, e-Postcard, for the 2010 tax year. In the past, your revenues had to be less than $25,000 to file the e-Postcard.

This is a welcome change for small nonprofits because the e-Postcard is a snap to file. There are just a few questions to complete that basically confirm that your organization is still operating and give the IRS a contact person. If you are curious to see if the organization that you volunteer with has filed an e-Postcard, do a search on the IRS website. If an organization had to file a Form 990-EZ or Form 990, you can access its tax return through the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

Call me crazy, but I think it’s fun to look over a nonprofit’s tax return when I’ve contributed money to it (or sometimes when I’m thinking about giving money). I always look at the program service accomplishments (usually page 2) to better understand what it did with contributions in the past year. If you work for a nonprofit, use this area to tell your story. I always suggest using concrete statistics (“provided 13,000 meals to our homeless community at a cost of $2 a meal”) when available. Donors like to know that their money made an impact.

What if you used to file a 990-EZ and now can just file an e-Postcard? You’ll have to figure out another way to tell your story. You can elect to file the 990-EZ, but that seems like a lot of hassle to me. Maybe create a Facebook page – more and more nonprofits have a presence on social media. Just one idea – you’ll have to get your marketing juices flowing!

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