A comment on the last post asked what the RevGalBlogPals Inc. can do as a non-profit corporation that it couldn't do just as a webring. That was a really good question, so I thought I should answer it in a post rather than respond in the comments because some of the other RevGals and Pals and my readers may wonder the same thing.
As a 501-c-3 corporation, we now have established a legal identity that we didn't have as an unincorporated association. This allows us to:
- own the blogring and have an organization (rather than a couple of administrators) that can set policies for it and administer it
- own the copyright to the name RevGalBlogPals and protect it from unauthorized use
- own the Cafe Press store and use the income from it for the purposes of the organization without paying tax on the income
- own the copyrights to the two books published by the blogring--Ordinary Time and A Light Blazes in the Darkness--as well as future publications
- receive the income from the sales of any publications owned by RGBP Inc on a tax-free basis
- receive tax-deductible contributions from individuals
- apply for grants for programs that support women in ministry from foundations which require that their funds go to tax exempt organizations (example: the Lily Foundation)
- make periodic financial reports to the membership that reveal the sources of RGBP Inc income and where the money is spent--we also will be required to file financial reports with the IRS that show the same thing--thus insuring proper financial accountability
- provide for members of the corporation to elect their leadership
- have perpetual existence and limited liability and eliminate the significant legal uncertainities that accompany an unincorporated association
These are the major advantages of incorporating as a tax exempt organization. Of course, the cost of incorporation is keeping records and accounts and following appropriate corporate procedures. But all these requirements also provide safeguards for the members to insure that funds are properly accounted for and spent for the purposes of the organization.