The Steering Committee has been researching the prospect of obtaining non-profit status for ArkGeo. We now have enough information to provide more detailed information.
We have negotiated with a lawyer to provide a turnkey project for $700. This price includes all filing fees and materials needed to establish ArkGeo as a non-profit organization.
Incorporation filing also requires that the organization have a registered agent. Securing a registered agent for ArkGeo will cost $25 per year. This person will basically act as a liaison between the IRS and ArkGeo, to insure that we receive and act on important notifications.
There are many benefits to being nonprofit. These include:
1) No taxes (unless we average more than $25,000/year in gross receipts). This means we can use more of our money to accomplish the goals set forth in our mission statement.
2) Increased legitimacy with donors, land owners, and other organizations.
3) Nonprofit incorporation will formalize our goals and help maintain organizational focus as we grow. As a nonprofit, ArkGeo will continue to exist beyond the involvement of the people who are managing it. This longevity and perpetuity is also attractive to donors.
4) Members and officers will be protected from personal liability. Creditors can go after only corporate assets, not the personal assets of the people who manage, work for, or volunteer for ArkGeo.
5) Developing the required nonprofit documents force us to be clear about our mission, think through our operating rules, and develop procedures for decision making. Clear-cut delegation of authority and specific operating rules embodied in the articles of incorporation and bylaws will make running the organization easier and less divisive.
There are a few drawbacks as well. The initial cost to file is non-trivial, along with the time and energy needed to comply with regulatory requirements. There will also be some restrictions, including no pay for directors and no political campaigning or lobbying. Also, when ArkGeo folds, its assets must be given to another nonprofit.
Some proposed bylaws that incorporate all of these items will be presented soon.
Your continued patience is very much appreciated as ArkGeo works through this process.
Arkansas Geocachers Association