Shorter Application Form for Tax-Exempt Status Now Available

Small charities applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status may now use a shorter application form that’s expected to ease the process. The new Form 1023-EZ, available on, is three pages long, compared with the standard 26-page Form 1023 that larger organizations must use.

Most nonprofits with gross receipts of $50,000 or less and assets of $250,000 or less are allowed to use the EZ form, which must be filed online. The IRS says that as many as 70% of all applicants seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status may qualify to use the form.

Giving circles draw minorities

Giving circles — people who pool donations and choose charitable beneficiaries in groups — provide an entry point for donors with lower incomes and a desire to give, concludes a report from Jumpstart Labs, a philanthropic research group. According to the report, Americans of African, Asian and Hispanic descent participate in giving circles at much higher rates than whites: For example, 21% of black donors participate vs. 10% of white, non-Jewish donors.

Consider looking into giving circles in your area. Examine current trends and make sure donor groups are aware of your organization and its mission.

Does your blog have the blahs?

Your nonprofit’s blog should be a spirited communication tool that keeps your constituents involved with the organization and attracts new supporters. But, like people, blogs sometimes tire. Here are four ideas for invigorating your blog:

  • Create “infographics” that show statistics about your organization or research on the population you serve.
  • Assemble a slide show of some of the individuals who receive your services — a picture says a thousand words.
  • Make a video depicting a constituent’s success story.
  • Devise “top 10” lists: for example, “10 ways supporters can assist your organization.”

Always be on the lookout for fresh ideas. Carry a notebook and jot down thoughts that come up during conversations with staff, volunteers and donors.

Council urges government to fix contracting problems

A report from the National Council of Nonprofits offers governmental bodies more than 12 suggestions for correcting problems reported in contracting agreements with nonprofits. Toward Common Sense Contracting: What Taxpayers Deserve responds to an Urban Institute and National Council collaborative project revealing ongoing issues with contracts, including late or less-than-promised payments, arbitrary caps on reimbursement and indirect costs. Suggestions include prompt payment and contracting laws and an electronic repository to reduce redundancy in the application process. The 56-page report is available at

© 2014