Don't be afraid to ask for money

Why do people give money to an organization? What are ways I can use to bring money into this organization? Some of the reasons people give to organizations consist of the following:

  • Feels good
  • 'Gives back' to society
  • Admires the person or the organization asking for the money
  • Believes in the cause
  • Gets something in return for the money
  • Receives a tax-deduction for a 501(c)(3) organization
  • Is generous
  • Knows the money will be well used

Some different ways to fundraising consist of the following:

  • Direct mail
  • Members of the Board of Directors
  • Major donor programs
  • Planned giving programs
  • Grants from foundations
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Government grants
  • Special bicycling events
  • Employer matching gift programs
  • Join a friend campaign
  • Stocks and mutual funds
  • Online

Establish financial management

How do I instill sound financial management in my organization? The following are ways to establish sound financial management within your organization:

  • Keep good records. Establish a record keeping system for the organization's official records including corporate documents, board meeting minutes, financial reports, other official records that must be preserved for the life of the organization.
  • Find someone with expertise. Hire a CPA with experience in non-profit financial management to establish an accounting system that meets both current and anticipated needs.
  • Prepare a budget. Important steps in budgeting include the following:
    • Reviewing program and management achievements and fiscal performance over the year ending
    • Reviewing objectives achieved
    • Comparing budget to actual figures
    • Looking at the number of people served in each program
    • Estimating the costs required to achieve your objectives, including staff, supplies, and other resources
    • Estimating revenues with some degree of accuracy based on past experience
    • Comparing and balancing revenue and expense projections
  • Perform an audit. Have your CPA test the accuracy and completeness of information presented in an organization's financial statements. Some nonprofits are legally required to obtain audits.
  • Charitable Registration Requirements. You should contact the Secretary of State or Office of the Attorney General for regulations in those states where you raise money.

Obtain a federal id number and get your non profit status

  • File for an IRS determination of federal tax exempt status, 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4). To apply for recognition of tax exempt status, obtain form 1023 (application) and publication 557 (detailed instructions) from the local Internal Revenue Services office.
  • File for state and local tax exemptions in accordance with state, county, and municipal law. Apply for exemption from income, sales, and property taxes.
  • Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) by filing an "Application for Federal Employer Identification Number," (form SS-4) with the Federal Internal Revenue Service.
  • File articles of incorporation. Each state has its own regulation and procedures for doing so; your state's Secretary of State Office has all of the necessary documents for this procedure.

Other legal matter you may want to consider doing at this time:

  • Register with the state unemployment insurance bureau
  • Apply for a nonprofit mailing permit from the US Postal Service

Purchase insurance and manage risk

What kind of insurance should I buy? What should I do if an accident occurs during an event? Typical bicycling advocacy organization policy includes the following coverage:

  • General Liability
  • Participant Accident
  • Non-Owned/Hired Auto Liability
  • Workers' Compensation/Employers' Liability
  • Property/Electronic Data Processing/Crime
  • Directors and Officers Coverage

If/when an accident occurs at one of your bicycling events, you should take the following steps:

  • Seek appropriate medical attention immediately
  • Designate a spokesperson and direct all inquiries to that person
  • Record names and telephone numbers of witnesses
  • Document what occurred including the name, injury, how it happened and the actions taken in response
  • Report the incident to your insurer