ExpressTaxExempt Blog

3 Email Marketing Questions Every Nonprofit Should Ask

So you’ve set up a social media empire, and you’re producing stellar video content to impress your donors and board. What’s next for your nonprofit marketing campaign?

Have you thought about email?

Think about it—just about everyone you know has an email address. There has to be a way your nonprofit can tap into that market. So let’s break down some email marketing tips your tax exempt organization can use.

Why Should We Use Email Marketing?

The affordability of email marketing is reason enough! With an email marketing campaign, you have a lower price point since you avoid the costs of printing paper flyers. Not only that, your nonprofit keeps responsible outlook by reducing your paper footprint.

Email is a great option because of its ease of use and widespread use. These days, almost everybody has an email address, and they know how to check their email. There’s little confusion with a well crafted email that says “click here to donate.”

Because of the low price point, your organization can get a higher return on investment. Of course, you want to approach your emails in different ways depending on the kind they are.

How Should We Approach Email Marketing?

First things first, sign up for an email marketing service, and work the cost into your marketing budget. With your email marketing service, you can catalog and sort user email addresses by demographics. With each new donation you receive, you can obtain and build a bigger database to send future emails.

Once you’re ready to hit send, make sure you reach out to your donors with effective messaging. Try telling a story! Use your organization, your volunteers, or even those you help to get the message across. You can even update your audience with the comings and goings of your organization, while working in a plug for donations with subtlety.

Aim to keep it short and simple. Email marketing is for hundreds of words, not thousands. If you have a source of long form content you want your readers to see, include a link with a short synopsis instead. Remember, less is more – you want people to read and digest the email as fast as possible.

And most importantly, create a call to action - start and end with a call to action: donate now. click here, read this - don’t leave the email hanging.

How Do We Start?

There are quite a few options out there, and you’ll have to see what works best for you. For a more detailed approach, check out some of the email marketing guides provided by the services themselves.

Here are 3 guides to email marketing for nonprofits you should check out:

Bonus Question: What Other Tips Do You Have?

First off, keep a calendar and a schedule for any of your campaigns. You can make a master calendar that includes your social media, video, and email efforts. After that, stay scheduled! With your email blasts, find organic opportunities to link back to your blogs, social media, and donation landing pages. Most of all, as you design your emails, ask yourself – would I read this email? Would I click that link?

With a strong email campaign, you can work wonders for your tax exempt organization. And when it’s time to file Form 990, we’ll be here to help you. If you have any questions, reach us by email, live chat, and 704.839.2321.

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Upcoming Deadline? File Extension Form 8868!

Alright, raise your hand if you’ve ever missed a deadline?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

It happens to the best of us. And because we know it’s bound to happen, we suggest e-filing Form 8868 for a tax exempt extension. Maybe we’ve told you this before, but we figured it’s time for a little refresher.

What happens when you file Form 8868? If you’re a tax exempt organization and you file, you get an automatic 3 month addition to your filing deadline. Form 8868 deadlines are the same as Form 990 deadlines, which are the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of an organization’s financial year. For your first extension, you don’t have to provide a reason—which is why they call it automatic.

If you find that your organization still needs an extension after those three months, you can file for a second extension for another three months! The second extension is not automatic, and you may require an explanation. And of course, you can only file for the second extension if you filed for the first one (Part I).

Since the first extension is automatic, it makes sense to file for one if you’re unsure about the upcoming deadline in any way.

What are other ways you can prepare for a filing deadline? First, make sure your record keeping is spot on. We have plenty of tools to help with gifts and contributions, record keeping, and filing. Maybe you can create a checklist to maintain tax-exempt status going into a deadline that will streamline the whole process!

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Tax Season

What if you miss the deadline and file late? If you're e-filing Form 990-N (the e-Postcard), there is no penalty. However, if you don't file a return for three consecutive years, your tax exempt status will be revoked. If an organization whose gross receipts are less than $1,000,000 for its tax year files its Form 990 after the due date (including any extensions), without a reasonable cause for filing late, the IRS imposes a penalty of $20 per day for each day the return is late. The penalty increases to $100 per day, up to a maximum of $50,000, for an organization whose gross receipts exceed $1,000,000.

Now, we know you have important work on your hands, so we try to make things as easy as we can around here. If you have any questions rolling into the next deadline, send us an email or a live chat and we’ll help you out. If you’re more of a phone person, you can reach us at 704.839.2321.

How does your organization prepare for upcoming deadlines?

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Nonprofit Showcase: YEA Foundation, Inc.

- The Problem -

Too often are we only concerned with our own troubles - offering no solace or small pity towards the next person and their conflicts. However, our modern society is still built upon the traditional principle that if one falls, we all fall. Within our inner cities, parents are feverishly working the best of their abilities to provide while the children typically fend for themselves receiving impressionable, yet questionable, life-lessons from “pseudo-celebrities with no real talent…”

For the innovative minds that work past this immersion, they now have to wait in the proverbial limbo until the current decision-makers are ready to give up their influence. There’s an exorbitant gap of skills between recent grads and “work ready” grads along with a staggering 50% of recent college grads remaining unemployed. To solve these issues, one approach is to get straight to the answers, and skip all the filler.

- The Solution -

How can these fresh, young minds carve a future for themselves, or for our nation - they create opportunities to do so. Based in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, the Young Entrepreneurs of Atlanta Foundation, Inc. (YEA Foundation, Inc.) increases its outreach with community leaders and entrepreneurs speaking directly with the youth and demonstrating exactly what needs to happen in order to become the future influencers of the world.

Established by Atlanta native, Kadeem Dunwell, YEA Foundation, Inc. is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of a dedicated team of local leaders and volunteers who have positively impacted youth lives throughout the city. Their mission has been to cultivate “the opportunity seekers of today into successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow” by supporting, educating, and encouraging the youth - those under 24 years old - to gain success with “entrepreneurship as viable solution to unemployment.”

YEA Foundation, Inc. accomplishes its goal by hosting events and programs that provide tools, mentorship, and resources that allow the growth and development of entrepreneurial goals along with provisions of brand and media related opportunities. The problem has been identified, and a solution devised. And by providing the means in which the youth can successfully create their own futures, we acknowledge the YEA Foundation, Inc. as our nonprofit showcase of the month.

Check out the YEA Foundation, Inc. website for more information about upcoming programs, events, and how you can participate within the organization.

The future can be an issue of great uncertainty, but one thing you can count on is IRS compliance of nonprofit organizations. With ExpressTaxExempt, we offer a quick and simple online solution to filing your required tax-exempt return forms or extensions. E-filing has proven to be more accurate and secure - with a faster response time - than paper filing, and ExpressTaxExempt makes the process as effortless as possible.

Our helpful support team of live professionals, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, is on standby for any questions you may have about e-filing any of our available 990 forms. Contact us at (704) 839-2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. And any emails can be sent 24/7 to support@expresstaxexempt.com.

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Boost Donations with Video

You’ve been running your social media campaign for a few weeks, and you’ve noticed a rise in donations. But you want to take your nonprofit to the next level. What can you do? Have you considered boosting donations with video?

By producing videos, you have a unique opportunity to give potential and current donors more insight than the average tax exempt organization. Videos let your marketing team cover local fundraising events, capture personal stories, and inspire people to donate. These days, decent video cameras are affordable (plenty of photo cameras double as video cameras, too). And since most people have smart phones, capturing video is even easier than ever! So we suggest grabbing a camera, finding your subject, and yelling ACTION!

“Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.” - Jean-Luc Godard
Does your nonprofit produce videos to gather the support of donors and keep people informed? Did you know you can boost your donations with videos?

Why Should I Make Videos?

Well, if you’re willing to run social media marketing campaigns, share photos, and status updates with your donors, the next logical step would be video. Now, we’re not expecting you to be the next Steven Spielberg, but with some effort you can at least produce enough content for a steady YouTube channel.

  • Interviews - Whether you’re interviewing your organization founder or one of the people your nonprofit helped, capturing an interview gives your viewers the inside scoop on your mission. Best practices would be to let your interviewee preview and prepare answers to the questions, and then edit their responses into a video one to two minutes long. Less is more with interviews!
  • Events - Spent two months planning a fundraiser and you want to immortalize it before it’s all said and done? By documenting your event turnout, you can show potential donors that people care about your cause. Also, if your event is fun and successful, you will inspire viewers to catch the next one.
  • Results - Want to show how your fundraiser helped build a house, save an animal shelter, or pay for a medical treatment? Show the results with a video update! When viewers know their efforts contributed to success, they’ll be more willing to click that donate button!
  • All of the Above - Of course, for the most effective strategy, your nonprofit should use a combination of these efforts to produce a constant stream of updates. Sure, you may need a video guru to make that happen, but the results would benefit you more than you know.

Donation Cards

Once your videos are ready, the easiest distribution model is to share them on YouTube. With YouTube, you can also use the donation card system to inspire action. What is a donation card? They are clickable “Donate Now” buttons that appear on your videos, and make use of Google Payments. Best of all, YouTube has a specific program to help nonprofits become YouTube creators.

What sets donation cards apart? Well, they allow viewers to contribute from the video from both desktop and mobile. When viewers donate, the nonprofit gets 100% of the donation! That’s right, Google currently covers the processing fees. If making your own videos is just out of the question, you can always team up with a current YouTube creator and have them use donation cards to support your cause!

Once the donations come rolling in, use our bulk upload feature to e-file Form 990 come tax exempt deadline day. If you have any questions, reach us by live chat, phone at 704.839.2321, or by email.

Have you captured your events with video? How’d it go?

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February 16th Deadline: President's Day

Whether you’re on a calendar year or a fiscal tax year, the 15th day of the 5th month after your financial year ends is deadline day! For those organizations whose tax years ended in September, February 15th is the deadline for your nonprofit organization. But since it is a Federal holiday, the deadline is now February 16th.

Wait, it’s a holiday? Well, yeah, it’s George Washington’s birthday! Since it is recognized as a Federal holiday, the IRS will be closed that day. Of course, some people refer to this holiday as President’s day, but it’s technically known as Washington’s Birthday. Since President Lincoln’s birthday is also close, some groups have expanded the holiday to recognize both presidents. Regardless, your deadline has moved!

While we have no desire to get political over here, we can take a look at how these Commander-in-Chiefs gave back to their communities. What are some of the philanthropic efforts of our former presidents? Most presidents go on to serve their fellow Americans after their terms end. Even in office, some Presidents donated their salaries to charity, including Presidents John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover.

The March of Dimes

Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes, originally as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The annual campaign sought to raise funds to fight polio, which Roosevelt himself had, and became synonymous with the President during his term.

The Carter Center

After leaving the White House, President Jimmy Carter started this charity with his wife. This organization helps to improve the living conditions of people in more than 70 countries. Carter has also supported Declare Yourself, Heifer International, and Habitat for Humanity.

Points of Light

Founded in 1990 as the Points of Light Foundation by President George H. W. Bush, Points of Light aims to inspire, equip, and mobilize citizens and promote the spirit of volunteerism. Points of Light aims to pair volunteers with nonprofits throughout many cities, allowing for a network of giving to operate.

The Clinton Foundation

With his two terms completed, President Clinton set out to still contribute to the world and started the Clinton Foundation. With a mission of decreasing poverty, improving health, and protecting the environment, the Clinton Foundation does this by pairing with governments, businesses, and NGOs. In addition, President Clinton teamed up with President George W. Bush to start the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Can you take a page from the Presidential handbook and help your fellow Americans? We think you can -- go for it and start your own nonprofit! And when you need to e-file your Form 990, accept the best and file with ExpressTaxExempt! If you have any questions about e-filing, reach us by live chat, phone, or email.

What’s your favorite bit of presidential trivia? Let us know in the comments!

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How to View 2012 Form 990

Every now and then, we need to examine where we’ve come from. For your nonprofit, this can be how you transformed your vision from a spark to a grassroots effort and then into a force for change in your community. Or maybe you just need to look back at prior year’s tax filings! While it’s less exciting than an introspective journey into your past, you never know when you’ll need to access a prior return.

Have you filed with us before? Well, if you e-filed tax exempt return Form 990 in 2012 with us, you can now access that return directly from your dashboard.

It’s simple, really. Start by logging into your account and going to the dashboard. From there, click the tab near the top that says My Tax Returns.

From the My Tax Returns tab, find the appropriate tax year -- in this case Tax Year 2012-- on the left-hand side of the screen and click the View in Dashboard button.

From there, you are redirected back to your Dashboard, but now you can now access your 2012 Form 990 return. On this 2012 Dashboard, you can choose Approval Letter, Draft Letter, or Receipt.

After you’re done with your 2012 tax exempt return, you can return to your standard dashboard with just a few clicks.

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We like to keep things simple around here at ExpressTaxExempt, so we’ll make sure to update you on any new features with our blogs, tutorials, and videos. If you run into any issues viewing prior updates, please email us or reach us by phone at 704.839.2321.

How far has your organization come over the years? Let us know in the comments!

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Increase Donations with Social Media

So you started a nonprofit organization, and now it's time to earn those donations. What do you do? The traditional route of holding fundraisers, networking with local businesses, and using postal mail to communicate with your potential donors are time-tested strategies that work. But marketing through social media is now a serious contender for nonprofits.

Just in the last few years, large scale nonprofit and tax exempt organizations have had successful campaigns through social media. Remember #GivingTuesday? Events like that are near impossible without the social aspect. 

With the ever-growing popularity of Twitter and Facebook, your tax exempt organization needs to have a social game plan. Follow these tips and tricks to boost donations to your nonprofit.

Inform Your Donors

Openness can take you far! Want to keep your donors interested in your mission? Update your followers on how you allocate donations. By tweeting your numbers or posting a photo to Facebook, you create an informed audience. When followers see their donations going to the mission, they’ll know your organization is trustworthy. What better way to inspire more donations than to show your donors with the fruits of their labor? You can also tweet out promotional images, keeping your followers informed of upcoming events.

When you update your donors on your mission, you keep things conversational. This is why for-profit businesses have such a strong presence on social. Best of all, social media is free, but it does have both organic and paid methods of boosting your reach.

Improve Interactivity and Engagement

Want to mobilize action fast? The high speed reaction time over social media lets donors know when you need funds, goods, or volunteers. Of course, for this you need engagement. With engagement and interactivity, your organization will take a campaign to the next level.

There are major benefits from social media for your organization, too. Not only can you interact with your audience, you can measure engagement and see what works best for messaging. When you engage your supporters, you create a conversation that you can use to refine your mission.

Improve your Fundraising and Crowdfund

When it comes down to it, you need to establish a relationship of communication with your donors so you don’t come off as another bill. By building a community, your donors will feel more inclined to give. With multiple channels, you can promote your fundraiser and crowdfund across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn. This increased reach will boost your fundraising without question.

Have questions about e-filing Form 990? Contact our US-based customer support team at 704.839.2321, or email us anytime at support@expresstaxexempt.com. And be sure to check out our social media footprint on Facebook and Twitter!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers related to e-filing IRS Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-N (e-Postcard), Form 1120-POL and Extension Form 8868 with our Frequently Asked Questions.

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