501(c)3 - Non-profit in U.S.

  • Does anyone in the U.S. have any experience setting up your dojo as a non-profit? We could use some guidance.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    Hi Stephen,

    A number of US Dojos have sourced fiscal sponsors so they do not need to go through the process of setting up a 501c3. Is this an option to you?

    We (CoderDojo Foundation) have been trying to set up a 501c3 for the past two years and its been difficult! Our form 1023 is just ready to submit now, so we are expecting status granted within 12 months.

    @Ross-ONeill can connect you with a Dojo who has set up as a 501c3. There are a few who choose that route.

    • G

  • While we use a fiscal sponsorship, I can help answer any questions you might have regarding obtaining a 501©(3) status.

  • CoderDojo Indiana Moderators

    Hi Stephen,

    Setting up at 501©3 can be a real pain— I work with CoderDojo Indiana and the TechPoint Foundation for Youth and we have helped others to obtain their 501©3 in the past. Feel free to shoot me an email at courtney@techpointyouth.org if you’d like any advice (or just to commiserate :P)!


  • Well, if we don’t need one and most Dojos don’t I would like to avoid the pain too! Can someone explain “Fiscal Sponsors” to me?

  • Fiscal sponsorship is a 501©(3) that grants you their non-profit status by taking you under their wing so to speak. Most will do so for a fee as it’s operating costs. So if you were to receive a donation or a grant, they would take a 3% - 10% fee depending on the organization. What they would offer is guidance and support.

  • CoderDojo Foundation

    @Stephen-Berg You can read a bit more about fiscal sponsors here! Some sponsors will only work with clubs in a specific state, while others would work with clubs from across the US.

  • Thanks everyone! I will look into the fiscal sponsorship more.

  • Hello @Stephen-Berg,

    We at CoderDojoChi set up our 501©(3) status in 2014. I would highly suggest hiring a lawyer who specializes in non-profit law.

    Things we learned:

    1. Once you file, you don’t have to wait for your 501©(3) status to be approved to ask and receive donations. You will need to keep track of everything, as per usual, such that you notify those donors of your status once you hear back from the IRS. People may request their donations back if you do not get your status.

    2. The process is long.

    3. You will need your Federal EIN. This is the easiest part. :smile:

    Things to consider:

    1. You will need to keep track of your own books. I’d highly suggest bringing in an accountant for this.

    2. You will lose your standing if you are not in “good standing” with the IRS for 3 years. It’ll be extremely hard to get back in good standing after that.

    3. There are many financial sponsors (“umbrella”) out there. Most will take a percentage to do your books. They will save you a major headache and provide the expertise you may need.

    4. Don’t do it alone.

    If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m currently out of the country, so replies may be delayed.

    Ali Karbassi
    CoderDojoChi ED / Founder

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