Update September 2018
Final resolution from the Board regarding 501c3 / c6 discussions – 501c3 summary
UPDATE: August 6, 2018
UPDATE: April 20, 2018
The Member Committee to examine/discuss the 501c6 to 501c3 has come up with a member survey. The SURVEY is now closed.
Please take a few minutes to fill it out if you would be so kind. Your participation in the survey will help the committee make their recommendation to the board. SURVEY
March 19, 2018
To the members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers: The RMFW Board of Directors thanks you and sincerely appreciates the feedback you’ve provided regarding the organization’s move to a 501(c)(3) IRS status. We dropped the ball on soliciting adequate feedback before making this decision, and we’re working to correct that. We respect your perspective – and as such we have suspended all activities needed to make the move to a 501(c)(3) organization.
Given the feedback we’ve received, The Board of Directors will be forming a committee to further analyze and discuss the organizational options available to RMFW before we take any additional steps forward in any proposed transition. We’ll be actively seeking participation from the membership to ensure all voices are represented. More details are forthcoming regarding the committee and how to join so please watch for that information.
Thank you for your commitment and passion for RMFW.
RMFW Board of Directors
FROM – March 13, 2018
Recently the RMFW Board voted to migrate our IRS status to become a 501(c)(3) organization. The process is still ongoing. Below is a letter from the Board of Directors to the membership, which we hope will answer any questions you might have. We’ve also listed answers to questions that arose during the lengthy discussion by the Board about the change.
“The definition and mission of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is: a non-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and educating writers seeking publication in fiction.
As a non-profit, we have operated as a 501(c)(6) trade association, but our Boards of Directors past and present have long-considered transitioning to the classification of a 501(c)(3) charitable organization due to additional tax benefits , including exemption from sales tax.
On Monday, March 5, 2018, after extensive analysis and discussion, we finalized a vote where the Board of Directors has opted to pursue the status of 501(c)(3).
What does 501(c)(3) status mean?
- Our mission will not change – we remain dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and educating writers seeking publication in fiction
- RMFW will save on sales tax for all sponsored events
- RMFW will be eligible to apply for grants and similar funding
- RMFW may be able to attract donors and sponsors in support of our programs and events
- RMFW will qualify for reduced prices on services needed to run the organization
- RMFW members may be able to claim membership contribution as a charitable donation for tax purposes [Please note: this is only after 501(c)(3) status has been approved by the IRS which will happen later this year], or continue to claim it as a business expense depending on the member’s circumstances. Please discuss with your tax advisor to determine which is applicable to you.
- There are limitations to the types of activities we will able to engage in, such as lobbying and business operations unrelated to our charitable mission.
While our definition and mission does not change, we do have to make some changes to be in compliance:
- Members will be called “supporting members”
- PAL and IPAL will remain, however, the groups will be open to any member interested in traditional or independent publishing
- The groups become non-exclusive, a requirement of 501(c)(3) status
- Any RMFW member, published or non-published, may join either or both groups and learn from the experience and expertise of those members who’ve published along either or both publishing paths
- Regarding this PAL / IPAL change, it is important to note:
- Published authors will still be recognized and congratulated with PEN awards at Colorado Gold
- WOTY and IWOTYs will still be selected and honored each year
- Each group will keep their representative on the Board of Directors
What happens next?
- The RMFW website will be updated to reflect the changes outlined above
- Once completed, our official application to the IRS will be filed
- RMFW will be informed if our application was approved by the IRS in approximately 4 – 7 months
The Board of Directors understands that change can be challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable. Please know that the Board gave this serious thought and consideration before making this decision, and this choice would not have been selected if the Board didn’t believe it positively served the organization. The Board is committed to best practices for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and its members.
Please feel free to reach out to any member of the Board of Directors with any additional questions you might have.
All members of RMFW are welcome to attend our regular Board meetings. The next is scheduled for May 5th at 1PM at the Sam Gary Branch of the Denver Library system.
Thanks much for your time and attention.”
Are there still unique advantages to membership?
Yes! Members will continue to be eligible for discounts registering for our educational events and conference, as they have in the past. Members will also be eligible for advance registration for popular events, like the Retreat. Members will be able to submit publications and enews for promotion. Once the designation change is approved, you will be able to count your membership as a charitable contribution. We are continuing to research additional ways members will receive additional perks within our new structure – while continuing to expand RMFW’s educational and promotional reach.
Wasn’t RMFW already a non-profit?
Yes, RMFW is a 501(c)(6) non-profit, a designation meant for trade associations, and we will remain a 501(c)(6) trade association until and if our application for 501(c)(3) status is approved. As a trade association, RMFW is not eligible to be tax exempt from sales tax or other benefits listed in the letter.
Why am I now a supporting member and not just a member?
As a charitable organization, people can choose to support the organization in a number of ways one of which is through membership. Therefore, RMFW’s members will be supporting members. Using this terminology is a requirement for 501(c)(3) status.
What improvements to programs and education does RMFW hope to see through this change?
There are a number of ideas and options for us to consider, but nothing has been finalized or even confirmed as a possibility. We are in brainstorm mode — if you have ideas or suggestions, please add them to the comments. We’d love to hear them.
Why are the costs of CO Gold conference going up if we’re saving money?
Our application hasn’t been approved, nor are we certain it will be approved, so RMFW continues to operate as a 501(c)(6) which means there are no savings gained from the potential move to a 501(c)(3).
When you say grants, do you mean members can apply to receive grants?
No. The intent is that RMFW can apply for grants that assist charitable organizations in their programs, operations, etc.
When you say RMFW will benefit from reduced prices on services, does this mean members will see prices go down, or better offerings?
This is yet to be determined. The Board works to support the mission of RMFW, and will always consider the best way to do that, whether it be through keeping event pricing low, bringing on new or improved programs, or other actions.
What do you mean my non-exlcusive?
Non-exclusive means RMFW welcomes everyone, members and non-members, to partake in our events, programs, workshops, etc. RMFW will not hold “members only” events or programs. Should the issue arise, members or the public who engage in activities contrary to the mission and programming can be excluded from the community.
When can I deduct my membership fee as a tax-deductible donation?
Not until after our application is approved by the IRS, notification of which, if we are approved, is not anticipated until approximately the third quarter of 2018. You should also consult your tax advisor for best practice in this regard.
Can I write off all of my event registration fees?
Please consult your tax advisor.
What happened to the PAL and IPAL professional organizations within RMFW?
They will continue to exist as interest groups within the organization. Please see the information about PAL and IPAL in the above letter. Additional details are coming from our PAL and IPAL Liaisons, Diane Jewkes and Stephanie Reisner.
Does this change anything with the PEN Awards?
No. PEN awards will still be given, and authors recognized at the CO Gold conference.
How do I apply for a PEN award?
The PAL and IPAL Liaisons, Diane Jewkes and Stephanie Reisner, are formalizing a new process and will provide information when finalized.
How will RMFW support its published authors?
PEN awards will still be given, and WOTY and IWOTY awards will still be given. Additional information will come from our PAL and IPAL Liaisons, Diane Jewkes and Stephanie Reisner.
Will RMFW still be able to promote my member news, new book releases etc. in the newsletter and social media?
Does this change anything with the Colorado Gold writing contest?
Does this change anything with the WOTY and IWOTY awards?
No. WOTY and IWOTY awards will still be given and honorees recognized at the CO Gold conference.