As your organization greets the New Year, the following resolutions are good ideas to make sure your house is in order.
1. Thank You, Donors and Supporters! Take a fresh look at the acknowledgement letters (charitable receipts) that you send to your donors. Your donors may need the written acknowledgement to support a charitable contribution deduction, or may use the acknowledgement as a reminder of the contribution at tax time. In either event, the written acknowledgement is an opportunity to showcase the organization and its activities. Thank you letters to volunteers can also benefit your organization by encouraging more volunteer hours or monetary contributions.
2. Are Your Records Up to Date? The New Year is a time to ensure that the organization’s records are up to date, with minutes from the board or trustee meetings and committee meetings and ensuring that board or trustee approvals are recorded for the prior year.
3. Is it Time to Review the Governing Documents? Organizations should review their governing documents from time to time -- like at the start of a New Year! Take a look at the Bylaws, for example. Is the organization complying with the operating procedures stated in the Bylaws? Is it time for a change, perhaps to align the Bylaws with the organization’s current operations? Any changes may have legal implications, so consult your attorney prior to modifying the documents.
4. Stay Focused on Mission! The start of the New Year is a great time for the governing board to review and renew their commitment to the organization’s mission. Take time at a board meeting to refocus.
Happy New Year!
The preceding is a guest post by Jane D. Callahan, a shareholder of the Orlando, Fla.-based law firm of Dean, Mead, Egerton, Bloodworth, Capouano & Bozarth, P.A. With more than 25 years of experience as a tax attorney, she represents a wide range of charities and other tax-exempt organizations, from their inception to handling tax and corporate issues. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Callahan regularly contributes to Dean Mead’s Tax Law blog.