Nonprofit Law updates from Cullinane Law Group. Dec. 2013.
Cullinane Law Group

Year-End To Do List for Nonprofits & Foundations

Happy holidays! We’re making a list and checking it twice. Here are some items for nonprofits to check-off the year-end list.

1. Has your board held its annual meeting for 2013?
Your board needs to meet in an official meeting - probably at least once a year. Check your governing documents (bylaws, articles of incorporation) to see meeting requirements. Meetings are the times when the board conducts key business, which may include
  • approving budgets, reviewing financial statements
  • electing new board members and/or officers
  • hearing updates of the organization’s work
  • conducting other business matters
  • review policies and procedures, which may include investment policies, conflict of interest policies, employment policies

Your nonprofit should keep a copy of minutes of board of director meetings. Read more: What Should We Include in Minutes?

2. Grants & Contracts Reporting
Do you have financial grants from the government or from foundations that require certain reports? Many grants require periodic and/or year-end report on financial and program activity. 

3. Thank your donors
Donors who contribute $250 or more need written acknowledgement to claim the deduction on their individual tax returns. Are you helping donors get what they need? What to send donors...

4. State Reports & Registrations
States have a variety of annual reporting requirements, including
Secretary of State periodic or annual filings, tax reports with the state comptroller, charitable fundraising registrations.

5. IRS Tax Reports
Most nonprofits file the IRS Form 990 (990, 990-EZ and 990-N). It is critical to get this filed each year, so that your organization can maintain its tax-exempt status. Read the full article to get more year-end tips...
photo of Mollie Cullinane
Mollie Cullinane

We work exclusively with nonprofits + social enterprises.

We help you turn your passion or cause into an organization that can make a difference.

We serve foundations, charities, professional athletes, religious organizations, social enterprises, and do-gooders throughout the United States who seek to create positive change.

Based in Austin, Texas.
Clients Nationwide.


Jeff Cullinane

Client Highlight: Falling Whistles

Falling Whistles is a campaign for peace in Congo. The organization works to end the deadly war in Africa. They are building a coalition to demand peace and to invest in Congolese visionaries. 

In 2008 the founder of Falling Whistles met 5 boys in eastern Congo. They were former child-soldiers held in a military camp. One boy told the story of children sent to the frontlines of war, armed with only a whistle.  That story birthed the symbol. Falling Whistles sells the whistle as symbol of protest and to ask others to be whistleblowers for peace. 

The organization is building a coalition of whistleblowers, forming local chapters in cities around the world. They create educational tools and events to rally the world towards peace in Congo. 

They invest in Congolese entrepreneurs working to solve challenging issues. 

They advocate for justice, accountability, and transparency in Africa's Great Lakes region. 

Learn more and get a whistle at

Year-End Gifts - Help for Donors

December is the most popular month for donors to make charitable deductions. But before sending a donation, do some research to learn more about the charity and where your money goes.

Is the nonprofit a 501(c)(3) organization?

Donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible on donor’s taxes. Make sure that your charity is in good standing with the IRS -- use the IRS’s online tool to check. (Please know that we have seen many mistakes with this IRS revocation process. Please check with that charity directly if they are not showing up on the IRS site.)

What is the mission of the nonprofit and how do they accomplish it?

Believing in the mission of a charity is important, but you should also find out how they work towards their goal. Ask about programs offered, clients served, defining success, and use of funds. 

How does the organization spend its money?

Each year charities submit an annual reporting return (IR Form 990) that shows program and budget information. Charity Navigator posts evaluations of nonprofits and they outline criteria you can consider in evaluations of a charity. Learn more...

Hot Topics

Year-End Giving: Can I Deduct the Value of My Volunteer Service? 

Year-End Giving: How Do Gifts of Cash or Items Affect My Taxes? How to Place Value of Property I Donate? What Records Do I Need to Keep for Charitable Donations? 

9 Nonprofits that Get Web Humor 

10 Apps for Do-Gooders

Who OWNS a nonprofit?

Fundraising: How to go mobile with appeals (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Why is IKEA a nonprofit?

How America Gives - Interactive Exploration of Charitable Giving in Your State, City, Neighborhood (Chronicle Philanthropy)

5 P's of Social Entrepreneurship: Passion. Purpose, Plan. Partner. Profit. Do you have what it takes to become a social entrepreneur? (Huff Post)

Expanding Impact through Giving Circles (Center Effective Philanthropy)

Oops...Have you lost your 501c3 Determination Letter?

Charity Wish-Lists - What Austin Charities Need Besides Money
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