Questions about non-profits come up frequently in the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook. From the non-profit status of chambers to nonprofit pricing for members, there are a lot of questions surrounding nonprofits and for-profits.
The group addressed the following questions:
Interested in how many of your Chambers also operate 501c3 Foundations? If so, were you there during establishment, and what do you find are +s & -s of it?
Do you have a separate level for nonprofits. Civic groups etc ?
Does anyone have a policy for donating to other organizations in your community? Our nonprofit members often ask for donations for their silent auctions, etc. but many time we end up donating more to them then they pay in dues. Looking for any guidelines your chamber might have in place.
Read their 43 responses below:
This discussion is for Insiders (members only).
Chambers Operating 501c3 Foundations
Leisa Sutton We have considered a foundation but it is on the back burner at this time.
Nathan Ahle Yes, and yes. Both come in handy on completing certain projects!
Brad Hicks Both……Rogue Valley Foundation and ChamberPAC.
Jay Handler Front-burner that thing, Leisa! Grants and donations are good things!
Bob Green One of the challenges of a separate 501 “C” 3 is the opportunity for it to go rouge and head off in another direction away from its original purpose when organized. Creating a 3″ needs much forethought!
Leisa Sutton For us, it’s a staffing issue. This chief, cook and bottle washer is getting spread a little thin. We have some things in the works for 2014 in the non-dues revenue arena that I hope will ease that issue.
Marlene Panoyan We have both, Foundation and PAC with board members from the Chamber.
Shannon McCarty Mukilteo has 501C3 but not a PAC. We do scholarships to students studying business.
Tracy Sisson Phillips Neither. What are benefits of each?
Annette Medlin I understand your reservation Bob, but it can be a good thing if you “create” something of value that becomes a contributor to your community. If they become self-sustaining then you just create another 501c3 with a focus toward something else that needs attention. Are you familiar with Green Plus? The Chapel-Hill COC was a founding partner of that organization, it grew and became a stand-alone organization. Parenting something wonderful isn’t a bad thing. You can honor that and then give birth to something else wonderful!
April Rome Wehrs I asked about this at institute and was advised that, depending on your Chamber size and situation, that it could be a strain on volunteer and staff time. New meetings, new minutes, new board, etc etc.
Annette Medlin It just depends. Yes you have to create a separate balance sheet for it, yes you have to have a meeting and minutes. It does not have to be a new board. You can invite a couple of members of your existing board to be the new board. You can have them stay after your regular board meeting and go over the work of the c3. Here’s the thing, if you are currently doing anything for education, leadership development, community development, economic development initiatives (incubator programs, entrepreneur programs, etc.) you can very easily shift that work into the c3 and open the door to a LOT of grant opportunities that would fund existing programming. It’s way to much to discuss here, but you can definitely do a both/and, you just have to organize it and get the ball rolling.
April Rome Wehrs Yes, we were considering it for those very reasons.
Robert Goltz We have a 501c3 foundation.
Drew Marmo The Hampton Roads Chamber has a Chamber Foundation 501c3, while the good ol’ Chamber is naturally a 501c6. A relative bummer considering our c6 status prohibits access to many discounts offered by technology companies (hardware/software)
Chamber Pricing/Levels for Nonprofits and Civic Groups
Suzanne Snow Nilsson Yes. Our rate for nonprofits is only $113 per year.
Teri Wilson Edwards Non-profit rate is $45.
Scott Tate Non-Profit – zero employees – $137 – if there are employees we charge a regular member rate. We have non-profits here with more than 50 employees and budgets in the millions. We didn’t think it was fair to small businesses if these non-profits paid the non-profit rate.
Kim Dahlsten We do. 25% discount on regular rates for 501(c)3
April Rome Wehrs Do they have the option to serve on your board?
Suzanne Snow Nilsson Ours do.
Scott Tate Holy crap April – you’re full of questions. They can, but they usually don’t. We don’t actively pursue them. We focus on getting people who work in for-profits on our board. We want their money / sponsorships. I doubt that a non-profit will sponsor an event. Also, when it comes to advocacy, they may not be in tune with business issues as they are probably focused on issues that pertain to their non-profit.
Shelley Goodwin We have a discounted rate for “Civic and Charitable” organizations and we decide who is eligible for that designation. Non-profit is just a tax status and not an indicator of financial ability or value/importance in the community.
April Rome Wehrs Scott my sentiments exactly. I Just needed someone else to say it. Same with publicly funded. It can be a conflict.
Jennifer Burch We have a nonprofit rate, which is also the rate of our home based business $146.00. Both sectors receive all the benefits as our other business categories. Our base rate is $250.
Brittany Walsh We give non-profits 20% off.
Allison Boudreaux Walden We don’t discount for nonprofits, or for anybody really. Base rate of $415 period to try to maintain or value.
Nonprofit Donation Policy for Chambers
Kristina Wiltgen As a general rule we do not make donations. I figure our members pay dues and make donations to us for our own cause therefore not really fair of us to turn that out again to other organizations. Though there are many worthy causes!
Robert Goltz For all the Chamber’s I have worked for we have not donated to other non-profits. I have made exceptions however in the way of trading some services as a donation for auctions/giveaways. Specifically events and some advertising opportunities that are only a small cost of staff time. What I also have done is trade with the non-profits for marketing to sponsor or be listed as a supporter of their events. Banner ads and such in exchange for logo placement on their marketing materials. It goes a long way.
Teri Wilson Edwards We do- there are 2 museums, 2 festivals and a few other causes… a total of about $2000.00
Lorraine Clarno Our policies prohibit us from donating.
Mary Ann Miller Do they donate to yours?
Emily Counts Great question. Some do donate, but then our donations just cancel each other out. The others don’t, but if they are members we have had a tough time saying no. Thinking it is time we put some sort of policy in place that we can point to the next time a member asks. Robert, I do like the idea of donating services.
Mary Ann Miller I generally just level with them. We’re a non-profit as well and are trying to raise funds for our own organization. That said, if they are members I point out all the ways they can get the word out to other members.
Ron Orris We do, but they also donate to our events, and it usually comes out a wash. I think it’s important to support each other. It really doesn’t amount to that much.
Shelby Lawley McNamara We promote their activities and requests for donations instead of donating. We do have a Charitable Organization of the Year Award and 10% of our Golf Live Auction goes to them.
Marilyn Balcombe We do not donate to our non-profits, although we will help them promote their events. We do, however, have a “non-profit showcase” once a year at our annual volunteer picnic where every non-profit member is invited to have a display table free of charge. They really like the event and our host/sponsor of the event is very generous, in part, because he really likes the non-profit component.
Brad McMasters I use it as an opportunity to find donations from members who could benefit from the additional exposure. My favorite is a wine tasting on the garden rooftop of a local hotel with a wine tasting for 8 from a local winery and a dinner for 4 at a restaurant across the street. It’s minimal donation for all and the restaurant usually gets four additional customers.
Jill Cutler WE do not but assist them in doing so.