Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nonprofits & Taxes & Compliance. Oh My.

So once again tax season has come and gone and for many non-profit organizations this may mean changes to their exemption status is on the horizon. Experts predict that thousands of non-profits will lose tax exempt status because they failed to file annual tax returns, Form 990. The IRS is required to revoke federal tax exemption status of any organization required to file a Form 990 that has failed to do so for three consecutive years. Many non-profits that will lose tax exemption status are smaller organizations who are now required to file Form 990-N. This is a new requirement that many organizations may not be aware of. Smaller organizations often operate with little staffing and with volunteers who likely are not aware of important tax compliance issues. This use of resources can increase the chances of making mistakes in filing the correct tax forms. The IRS provides information about charities and non-profits at http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html.

Accountability and transparency have become vital characteristics needed by non-profit organizations. Grantmakers, donors, and the community at large are more savvy than ever in determining which programs they choose to support. Organizations like GuideStar provide an array of services to increase the transparency of nonprofits to grantmakers such as allowing easy verification of charitable status. On the other hand, non-profits are offered an easy option of providing transparency to the public by creating an account and posting program, financial, and funding data. Organizations can be identified through a quick search on GuideStar .

People who choose to work in the non-profit sector tend to focus on the mission and programs of their organization whether it is to end hunger or community improvement. It is important to remember that as vital as the mission is, it is also necessary to manage the organization well too. "Ultimately, the revocation process will benefit the non-profit sector by weeding out defunct organizations and non-profits that are not meeting their reporting responsibilities" said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar. Losing tax exemption means losing revenue and community support and confidence and these are things nonprofits can't live without.

Monday, April 26, 2010


So, here I am six months from my last post and the changes have been enormous in my life. As I talk to the people around me, I feel like this seems to be a time of change for many. I have relocated to the Houston, Texas area and after a few weeks of settling in, I am now re-focusing and back at my blog. I am excited about the many opportunities that Houston provides. It is also comforting that in this era of communicating and working remotely, I still have many connections with my Florida colleagues and friends. I'm looking forward to extending networks and broadening connections between organizations, causes and friendships.

One organization still working to bring together like-minded forces around the world to create art and empower us all created this video during a trip to Haiti . View Bee Gaia/Outside the Box's video and if you are interested in becoming involved in a project directly affecting children and families who were devastated by the recent Hurricane, they welcome donations of goods like: art materials including glue, paintings, crayons to be used in art programs being provided to orphanages in the area. My daughters recently donated teddy bears that you see in this trip. Other items such as soap, antibacterial deoderant soap, mouth wash, combs, shampoo, clear eyes drops, hats,umbrellas ponchos, vitamin C, clothes and shoes are needed and can be mailed to:

Bee Gaia/Outside the Box
1610 Trade Center Way
Suite #4, Naples, FL 34109

or call (239) 272-6152 and ask for Lulu for more information . By communicating through technology, we get the benefit of connecting with a variety of others from around the world and growing a network that is stronger together than apart.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Run As One for FCAHT

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking is teaming up with the World Run Day event on November 8, 2009 to raise money for their organization. Donations will help pay for services for victims and for increasing awareness of human trafficking issues through training and education.

This annual event asks runners worldwide to run any distance (1 mile, 5K, 10K, Marathon, etc.) and make a charity donation directly to their favorite charity. This year make your charity donation to FCAHT and support the effort to end sex and labor trafficking. Human trafficking involves the coercion or force of people-mainly women and children-into sex and labor exploitation & slavery. This horrific crime exploits the most vulnerable individuals in our society. FCAHT works tirelessly to increase awareness of this crime and provide community training, outreach and most importantly, critical services to victims. Your donation helps with emergency assistance and basic needs like food, shelter, and medical services for victims and allows FCAHT to continue increasing awareness through public education on the subject of human trafficking.

I am organizing Run As One for FCAHT and actively participating too! If you want to join our group of runners supporting FCAHT for an informal 5K run on Sunday morning at 9:00 am, meet us at Fort Myers Beach, FL. Email at shellie@advancingnonprofits.com if you have any questions. Remember, you can run anywhere in the world and be a part of this event, simply make your donation on behalf of Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking and start training. You can also simply support the FCAHT runners by making a donation on their behalf! Make donations by using the widget on this page or check out the FCAHT Firstgiving page. Learn more about World Run Day at www.runday.com.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Support Born2Fly International

A fundraiser is going on right now to provide the final funding needed for educational materials that will be delivered around the world to schools, parents, children, and others that will assist the prevention of child sex trafficking. A one day fundraiser for Born2Fly International on 09-09-09 asks 9000 people to give $9 towards this effort. These donations will allow the final product to be completed and distributed around the world. The event's coordinator, Diana Scimone has been revealing fantastic prizes each day on her blog leading up to the event that all individuals who donate prior to 09-09-09 or on this day will be eligible to win. Simply click on the widget on this page to donate or check out the 09-09-09 fundraising site for more information.

Born2Fly International is a nonprofit organization that is determined to stop child trafficking. The organization has taken a unique approach to combating this horrific problem by creating educational materials for teachers, parents, and children around the world about the dangers of human trafficking and about how children and families can make wise choices to prevent being lured into dangerous situations by predators. One aspect of the project is a wordless book that doesn't have to be translated into several different languages but can be used with a companion curriculum to be distributed to NGOs, schools, and other community organizations worldwide.

Diana Scimone is the Founder and Director of Born2Fly. Diana is a journalist who has traveled to more than 4o countries around the world and created Born2Fly as a response to some of the most critical needs she saw affecting the world's children in places like Sudan, China, Zimbabwe and others. Support Born2Fly's efforts on 09-09-09 with $9 (or more) and be a part of something big. Be a part of a movement to build a safer world for children by giving them access to safety education in an effort to prevent one more child from victimization by a human trafficking predator.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let it Shine India.

In an effort to promote diverse, peaceful, and creative global community through travel, art, and education, Outside the Box is offering an opportunity to enjoy Indian art, food, and culture-- all for a good cause-- during two events this week. Indian artist Subrata Gangopadhyay is widely known as one of India's leading painters in modern realistic tradition. The artist lives and works in Kolkata, India. Outside the Box will first be hosting an event devoted entirely to India and its arts, with special guest artist Subrata Gangopadhyay.

Outside the Box will be hosting the accomplished artist here in southwest Florida at the end of his US tour. He is a member of India’s Artist Circle which promotes and develops art and culture in India, including paintings, sculptures, and different forms of traditional and modern art.

The first event includes a three hour workshop based on acrylic painting. The workshop is geared for adults and mature youths of all levels of proficiency and will be held Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 from 5:30-8:30pm at Outside the Box Studio, 1610 Trade Center Way, Suite #4 in North Naples off Airport Road.

The week's second event will be the “Let it Shine India” dinner party. This is part of a series of festive happenings designed to help raise funds for our adopted projects around the world such as Deepalaya who supports education for children living in poverty in India. Deepalaya is a non-government development organization working on issues affecting the urban and rural poor, with special focus on children. Deepalaya works in the urban slums of Delhi and has made inroads into the rural areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand. Deepalaya is dedicated to increasing access to education for all children and promoting equality for children of all genders, backgrounds, and abilities.

The Let it Shine event will introduce guests to the fabulous tastes and flavors of Indian cuisine courtesy of two special guest chefs:

- Chef Krishna Bhattacharya will prepare and serve the vegetarian dishes of India

- Raw Food Chef and Wellness Expert Bethany Tait will serve samples of raw Indian food

All proceeds from the event will go to our adopted schools in India, Deepalaya in New Delhi.

The Let it Shine event will be held on Saturday, July 25th, 2009 at 6:30-9:30pm at Outside the Box Studio. The cost is $35 for one person, $60 for two, and $75 for three. Register online at www.outsidethebox-studio.com or call Lulu at 239-272-6152 for details.

As a bonus, register for the workshop on Wednesday and you attend the Let it Shine Dinner Event on July 25th for free!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Increasing Awareness in Florida

Florida Coalition Against Human Slavery (FCAHT) is a non-profit organization based in southwest Florida that provides services to human trafficking victims throughout the entire state. The organization also provides training and outreach to a variety of service providers, law enforcement, faith based organizations, healthcare providers, schools, universities and more. Training and outreach topics include defining human trafficking, how to identify victims, and information about victim services to name just a few.

FCAHT has built coalitions to combat human trafficking and utilized public awareness campaigns to improve community response to modern day slavery issues and traumatized victims. The accompanying video was developed through a partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University students who created the public service announcement.

Take some time to help Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking spread awareness by educating yourself. View their website at www.stophumantrafficking.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drumming for Africa

I wanted to use this weeks post to promote another unique and creative event at Outside the Box Studio in Naples, Florida.

Outside the Box Studio is hosting a great event on Saturday June 20th from 4-6 pm. This is a great way to view the studio, have some fun, and all proceeds go to one of the studio's sponsored schools in Africa. An invitation from Outside the Box Director, Lulu Carter is posted below. Please take this opportunity to check this amazing place out!! You can RSVP at 272-6152 or info@outsidethebox-studio.com to guarantee your spot.

Invitation to All:

Next Monday my husband and partner Adam Carter is traveling to Ghana (Africa) to organize an educational program for 600 students from Semester at Sea (University of Virginia).

During his trip he will be visiting one of Outside The Box’s adopted villages – Togome, outside of Accra on the Volta River. There he will deliver art supplies to a very special and needy elementary school.

Share our energy from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at our studio to collect donations for this project.

The workshop is for all ages, we will be playing drums, so bring yours! We will be dancing African dance, painting and writing letter to our fellow friends from Togome Village. Adam promised to take lots of picture while he is Africa with the children and sharing stories about our studio to them so we can all feel part of this beautiful global community.

The workshop is $10 per person or $20 per family.

Tell your friends and families and let’s celebrate Mother Africa!


Lulu Carter

Outside The Box- Studio