IRS Issues Proposed 501(c)(4) Guidance

SEE ALSO >>>Nonprofit Services

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have issued initial proposed guidance on how applicants qualify for tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The proposed guidance defines the term “candidate-related political activity” as including certain communications, grants and contributions, and activities closely related to elections or candidates. It would change the current regulations to exclude such activities from qualifying as the promotion of social welfare.

The IRS says the proposed rules would reduce the need to conduct fact-intensive inquiries, including probes into whether activities or communications are neutral and unbiased. Future guidance will address other related issues, particularly the proportion of a 501(c)(4) organization’s activities that must promote social welfare. Several more steps in the regulatory process, including the review of comments, must be taken before the IRS will issue final guidance.

Surveys Reveal CEO Pay

The results of two surveys have uncovered some notable trends in executive compensation practices at nonprofits. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s most recent annual compensation survey found that CEOs at the nation’s biggest charities and foundations received a median salary increase of 3.1% in 2012.

That increase was half as large as the pay raises corporate executives received and a drop-off from the previous year’s figure of 3.8%. The median compensation in 2012 for CEOs at all nonprofits was $417,989.

GuideStar’s 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report examines, among other things, the compensation paid to women nonprofit executives. It found that the pay for these executives continues to lag behind that of men in comparably sized organizations. According to GuideStar, the gap ranged from 9% for CEOs of nonprofits with budgets of $250,000 or less to 21% at organizations with budgets between $5 and $10 million.

Notably, the majority of nonprofits with budgets of $1 million or less had female CEOs in 2011. But the prevalence of female CEOs dwindles as budget size increases: Only 16% of organizations with budgets exceeding $50 million had women in the top spot.

Twitter Input used to Guide Grant Making

The Intel Foundation, which aims to foster “educational opportunities and quality of life improvements for communities worldwide,” took to Twitter last fall to solicit input on how the foundation should award $100,000 in education grants to celebrate its 25th anniversary. During this crowdsourcing campaign, Twitter users employed the hashtag #Intel100K to suggest programs and organizations that should receive support. A selection committee composed of foundation board members and volunteers reviewed the Twitter-generated themes and chose the grant winners.

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