Can our organization self-register?

There’s never an ideal time for a home improvement disaster, but they always seem to occur at the worst possible time.

A few weeks ago I found myself on a work deadline but with plenty of time in my Saturday schedule to meet the timeline due to my family’s previously planned activities. As I was setting up to work, I heard a gurgling in the kitchen sink. And then a belch. Followed by angry looking, rancid sewage spewing from my sink’s garbage disposal. I figured, “I got this. I can fix this.”

Insert eye roll here. And fast forward four hours, with me standing in a kitchen with a floor covered in disgusting goo. With the garbage disposal still not functioning properly.

If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know that there is no real substitute for a licensed, proven, and punctual plumber. No amount of free time or positive attitude was going to enable me to remedy what was happening in the depths of my kitchen sink.

Sometimes, the same can be true for nonprofit registration. Many of our clients start out intending to self-register for nonprofit charitable registration, but then quickly find the demands of the paperwork too onerous – especially on top of their other duties or if they don’t have a staff member with adequate knowledge of compliance and regulatory issues. It would be like hiring me to fix your angry sink.

Here are some tips to help you determine whether your organization is well positioned to self-register for nonprofit charitable registration or if you need to bring in the pros:

• Ensure that you and the organization executives fully understand that completing registrations is incredibly time-intensive.
• If you choose to self-register, know that you will need an individual who has two very specific qualifications and qualities:
o An individual who understands regulatory laws and compliance issues and preferably has experience with both
o A very detail-oriented employee
• The types of things that you must keep track of if your organization self-registers includes:
o What are the specific reporting requirements for each jurisdiction?
o Where do you submit paperwork?
o What if your organization’s 990 is not ready in time?
o How do the exemptions work?
o What are the costs and late fees involved?
• If your organization chooses to self-register, be aware that there are 40 unique forms with 40 unique websites – all with unique laws.

Sometimes, like my experience with my kitchen sink, it’s a better use of time and resources to call the professionals who deal with nonprofit charitable registration on a daily basis! But if you choose to complete registration in-house, good luck!

If I can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Capstone Charity Resources!

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