I have a tendency to utilize street parking. And, if I’m honest, I don’t always remember to feed the parking meter.

As you could guess, this often nets me a few parking violations. While not incredibly inexpensive by themselves – around $10 per fine – after a few months of raking in two or three tickets a week, the amount certainly adds up. And if I’m continuing to be upfront, I sometimes forget to pay the tickets in a timely manner.

So, I shouldn’t have been overly surprised a few months ago to find that my car had gained a new, unwanted appendage while I was at a meeting. Yes…that’s right…my car had been “booted.” For those of you unaccustomed to parking violation vernacular, this means that the parking mavens had attached a device around one of my tires that would prevent me from driving my vehicle until I paid my parking fines.

This experience resulted in two things. Firstly, I was required to pay a hefty fee to have the “boot” removed – on top of the fees for the previous fines. I can’t say that my pocketbook appreciated it. And secondly, it was embarrassing! I had to stand with the parking monitor on a very busy street during the lunch hour while she removed the “boot” from my tire. The entire experience was a necessary wake up call. I now pay my violations immediately!

There is a certain similarity between my parking escapade and in stories shared with me by nonprofit executives whose organizations have failed to register for nonprofit charitable solicitation in the past.

The officials in the 40 states and Washington, D.C. that require nonprofit charitable registration are beginning to assume a more strict posture against nonprofit organizations that fail to register. If your organization is soliciting (fundraising) in states that require registration, it’s a good idea to register as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.

Ramifications for failing to register can include:
• Cease and desist order for your fundraising efforts
• Board and staff members may be required to pay the financial penalties associated with failing to register
• Retroactive fines and fees in certain states
Most notably, no organization whose mission is to serve others wants to have to divert funds to pay fines for something that was avoidable in the first place. Additionally, one executive revealed to me that his board of directors was so embarrassed and disgusted by the organization’s lapse in judgment for failing to register that more than half of the board members resigned. The hit to the organization’s reputation in the community was costly.

It’s important to take nonprofit charitable registration seriously. If I can be of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Capstone Charity Resources!

P.S. Pay your parking tickets, too!