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ExpressTaxExempt Blog

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Can Form 990 Be a Marketing Tool?

If you’re running a nonprofit organization, you might be dreading the next few weeks. Why?

Well, because it’s that time of year when you have to file your Form 990 return!

Instead of letting your heart fill with dread, instead ask yourself if you can use Form 990 to your advantage. Instead of seeing it as just another tax form, look at it like an opportunity where you can tell your story and draw in more donors.

That’s right, with a little planning, you can use Form 990 as a marketing tool.

Post Form 990 Online


By sharing your tax return with your donors and the general public, you show that you are transparent.

You also present the facts about how your organization has helped. Nothing is better than cold hard data!

Your Form Tells a Story


Instead of using a generic summary, your organization can impress audiences with their story!

With thoughtfully written descriptions of your organization, their goals, and their accomplishments, you’ll be able to cast your own light on your organization.

Just make sure you’re truthful and accurate! Schedule O also allows for additional details, and you can always list the organization’s website.

Make It Look Good


It’s not only important for your story to shine, you also need to make sure your answers and numbers are good.

For an accurately completed Form 990, you need to avoid unrelated revenues, lobbying, loans and business transactions with insiders, and untruthful answers (for example, the questions in Part V).

As far as errors go, ExpressTaxExempt checks your return for filing errors before transmitting to the IRS.

Pass the Test


Every tax exempt organization must demonstrate that it continues to meet the requirements set under section 501(c)(3). In Schedule A, organizations have to classify as a Public Charity or a Private Foundation.

If they’re a public charity, they need to pass one of 2 tests.

The first test states that your organization receives substantial support in contributions from publicly supported organizations, governmental units, or from the general public.

The second test states that your organization receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income, and more than one-third from contributions, membership fees, and gross receipts from exempt-related activities.

So when you’re ready to file Form 990, you’re going to want to save time on the difficulties of paperwork so you can get your story across.

Start by e-filing Form 990 with ExpressTaxExempt, the premier filing solution for tax exempt organizations. With bulk uploading, multi-user access, and help available by email and phone, we’ll help you get through the tough stuff.

Can your organization’s Form 990 become a marketing tool?

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