Podcasts for homeschool leaders

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I started my podcast, the Dollars and Sense Show about a year ago! It’s hard to believe its a year old already!

I have a few podcasts that are for homeschool leaders:

Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly

Starting a homeschool group correctly.

What is tax exempt status and how do I get it for my homeschool group?

Paying workers in a homeschool organization Part 1

Paying workers in a homeschool organization Part 2

 Advice from experienced homeschool parents

 

 

I plan more for the next few months including

  •  Easy fund raisers for homeschool groups
  • Do you know about required IRS filings for homeschool organizations?
  • Has your group lost its tax exempt status?

 

What your you like to hear about? Drop a note in the comments and I may use your idea for a future podcast.

 

If you find any of my podcasts helpful, please leave a review on iTunes. (click on “View in iTunes” to leave a review)

How to leave a review on iTunes

 

Thank you!

Carol Topp

Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly. Dollars and Sense Show # 5 – See more at: http://ultimateradioshow.com/show-hosts/dollars-sense/#sthash.OArruFN6.dpuf
Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly. Dollars and Sense Show # 5 – See more at: http://ultimateradioshow.com/show-hosts/dollars-sense/#sthash.OArruFN6.dpuf

3 Tools for Running a Successful Homeschool Co-op (video)

Are you in a homeschool co-op or thinking about leading one? I have some advice for you! (I even write a book about homeschool co-ops!).

Here’s a video clip from my recent presentation of Homeschool Co-ops Are Like Marriage: Know What You’re Getting Into given at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in 2014.

Part 5 is titled 3 Tools for Running a Successful Homeschool Co-op.

In the video I mentioned my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

Here’s a handout for the presentation.

More clips from this presentation can be found at HomeschoolCPA’s YouTube Channel.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Church is worried about legal status of homeschool group

Photo credit http://webesteenphoto.blogspot.com

The leadership of our church is concerned that our homeschool  co-op does not have any legal status. They suggested that we look into becoming something official, like a 501c3.

The issue is that we are a pretty small group, and the teachers are not paid by the co-op, but by the individual students directly. At this point, there really isn’t any money changing hands. I have a lot of reservations about the 501c3 status, too.

Is there another “legal entity” that our smallish co-op could become that would let us do some basic things like have a checking account? We don’t really have any money to put toward legal fees or anything like that, so it would have to be very inexpensive to set up.

Thanks so much for all your work.

Kerry in Ohio

 

Kerry,

It’s nicest if the church takes you under their tax exempt status as a ministry, but for legal and insurance purposes a lot of churches are reluctant to do that.

Two choices

There are really two legal structures you group can be: nonprofit or for-profit. Most homeschool groups are nonprofits and in addition have tax exempt status from the IRS.

If your gross annual income is under $5,000 per year, you do not have to file any application to be tax exempt with the IRS; you can simply self declare your 501c3 tax exempt status. That’s pretty easy!

You will have to file an annual information return with the IRS called a Form 990-N, but it’s quick and easy. See my 990-N FAQ page here: http://homeschoolcpa.com/irs-form-990n-faq/

If you do not self declare 501c3 status (and file the annual 990-N), then, by default, your organization is a for-profit business. That’s your other legal alternative. The income and expenses would have to be reported on someone’s tax return as a business. The church may not rent space to a for-profit business (my church won’t), so you should read more about nonprofit and 501c3 status.

IRS and Your Homeschool Org cover

My book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization can calm many of your fears.

I hope that helps.

Carol Topp, CPA

Pinterest board helps homeschool leaders

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HomeschoolCPA has a Pinterest board called Helps for Homeschool Leaders.

 

On it you’ll find links to

  • blog posts to help you lead your homeschool organizations’
  • podcasts for homeschool leaders
  • inspiring quotes
  • other pins you might find useful.

Check it out, follow me on Pinterest and pin something to your boards too.

Does your homeschool leader have founders syndrome?

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Does your homeschoool organization suffer from founders syndrome?

I’ve talked to dozens of homeschool group members who have dominate leaders and they recognize founders syndrome when I describe it.

How-matters.org gives the symptoms of founder’s syndrome:

  • The founder is at the center of all decision-making. Decisions are made quickly, with little input from others. No one really seems to know what’s going on.
  • Planning is not done collectively and any ideas that do not come from the founder usually don’t go very far. People can even become afraid of the founder.
  • The board is recruited by the founder, rather than by the board itself. Often they are friends of the founder, who may have been there from the beginning.
  • The board’s role is to “support” the founder, rather than to lead the organization. They are often a rubber stamp board, having little understanding of the work the organization does.
  • Board and staff members are unable to answer basic questions about the organization, such as the size of the budget, the major funding sources, the extent of the programs, without checking first with the founder.
  • A casual observer would hear a lot of “I, me, my” in conversation. “My staff…” “My organization…” “My vision…” It would also not be unusual to hear the words, “Because that is how we have always done it.”
  • There is resistance to any changes that will result in a (perceived or actual) loss of control. There can be a resistance to new staff or outsiders because they are perceived as a threat. There is a (perceived or actual) fear that the organization will become “something we no longer recognize.”

 Some may ask, “So what’s wrong with that?” And the answer is simple: If the founder is hit by a truck tomorrow, the team or organization is at risk of not being able to continue its programs. All the good work people have done over the years is in danger of ending.

 Sound familiar to you?

Your homeschool leader is a control-freak. She suffers from founders syndrome.  It’s time to recognize it and start dealing with it for the health of your homeschool group.

Carol Topp, CPA

Happy 10th Birthday HomeschoolCPA!

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In May  2004, I attended a meeting of homeschool group leaders and learned they were terribly confused about their status as nonprofit organizations, money and the IRS.

I wrote a three page letter to one of the leaders trying to clear her confusion. That letter turned into several articles and I launched a website called HomeschoolCPA.com in 2006. It’s grown to over 300 blog posts, 600 subscribers and dozens of articles

I went on to write books and started speaking at homeschool conventions. I’ve written 5 books for homeschool leaders and visited 10 states talking to homeschool leaders.

I try to serve as an ambassador to homeschool leaders interpreting IRS regulations to them. I even named my self-publishing company Ambassador Publishing.

I have my work cut out for me, don’t I?

So Happy 10th Birthday to HomeschoolCPA!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly! Dollars and Sense Show # 5

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In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses

Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly

In this episode,  Carol  discusses how to start a nonprofit homeschool group. She shares her knowledge as the Homeschool CPA on important steps to take when organizing a group such as having a board and a clear mission. She’ll also share tips on how to legally operate your homeschool group.

Listen to the show here

Three steps to launching (or running) a successful homeschool organization:

1. Board: Chose a group of leaders so no one carries the burden of leading alone.

2. Bylaws: Write up bylaws to structure your group. Decide the Who, What, Where, How often and How much issues. In the bylaws mention its purpose (what), its members (who) and its leaders. The Where, how often and how much change frequently and do not belong in the bylaws.

Sample bylaws here

3. Budget: Planning with numbers. Estimate your income and your expenses. Plan a small surplus for emergencies.

Cover Money Mgmt HS Org

Carol’s new book, Money Management in a Homeschool Organization will help your treasurer create a budget and stick to it!

 

On the show Carol mentioned:

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on December 19, 2013 when Carol will discuss tax exemption and how to get it for your homeschool group.

 

New, lower prices on HomeschoolCPA books

My bookstore has some changes to help you as a homeschool leader:

 

HS Co-ops Cover_400Updated: Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out has been updated. It has a new cover and some updated information. Price for the new edition paperback version is $9.95, reduced from the original price of $12.50.

Homeschool Co-ops  now comes in Kindle version priced at $4.95

If you purchased the print version from Amazon.com, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

Homeschool Co-ops is also available in pdf format for those of you that prefer an ebook, but not a Kindle version. Price $4.95.

 

 

Cover Money Mgmt HS OrgMajor revision: Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide for Treasurers is undergoing a major revision. It grew from 40 pages to over 115.

It is getting read by a team of beta readers now and hopefully will be ready for release in paperback and ebook versions in early 2014.

When it’s ready the paperback will cost $9.95

The ebook (pdf) and Kindle versions will cost $3.99

If you purchased the print version, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

 

QALeadersCover3DPrice lowered on Questions and Answers from Homeschool Leaders ebook (pdf only). The price has been lowered to $3.99 from $8.00.

This is a collection of questions from homeschool leaders on a variety of topics.

 

 

 

 

Homeschool group elections and spouses on the team

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The current leadership (or our homeschool group) as well as those being added right now are hand picked and invited to be on the team.  In the future do we need to hold elections? Should the invitation to the leadership team be open to the husbands of the ladies on the team?

Angela

 

I have been on the board of several nonprofits that do not hold elections for the board and it can work well. Sometimes it is difficult to get the membership together to hold a vote or sometimes an election turns into a competitive popularity contest.

A middle ground is to ask for nominations (people can nominate themselves) and then the board (or a sub committee of the board) chooses new members based on talents, skills and the board’s needs.

I belonged to a nonprofit board that had advisers and the legal adviser was the husband of the director.  He was asked to be an adviser because of his experience as a lawyer and his passion for our mission, not just because he was married to the director.  Hopefully all the invited advisers will be judicious in offering their opinions and not try to overtake the meeting or the decisions being made.

Carol Topp, CPA

Does permanent leadership work in a homeschool group?

 

Does there  need to be a limit to how many times that person can serve on a homeschool group’s board, if she is still willing and the members still want her leading?

Has anyone had permanent leadership in a homeschool group and seen it work?

 

I have concern about a director or chair staying too long because it can create founder’s syndrome (“we always do it her way because she’s done it for so long”).  But I have seen groups run successfully with the same leaders for 10+years. But,  I would be concerned about burn out for the leader.

I’m less worried about a secretary or other members staying on indefinitely.

I do not think a treasurer should serve more than 3-5 years, even if she is doing a good job and wished to continue serving.  Too many mistakes, or even embezzlement, can occur if a treasurer is not changed frequently.  A treasurer unwilling to step down is a red flag signaling misappropriation of funds.
The pope is appointed for life, but Pope Benedict just resigned. He’s just too tired and old (at 85 years) to continue to do his job. It’s the first time on 600 years a pope has resigned!

In the USA, only the supreme court judges are appointed for life and it is debatable as to whether that system works!

Your homeschool group is not the supreme court nor the papacy, so I would not recommend permanent leadership for a board member.

Carol Topp, CPA