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Case Study: Enabling the Disabled

Resource aggregator AbilityList.org uses Yippiekiyay Nonprofit Solutions to obtain 501c(3) status quicker and solicit donations ahead of schedule

Looking at the bigger picture.

For most of the last five years, Andrew Horn has worked to serve children with disabilities. He’d co-founded and organized an adaptive athletics program for children and teens in Washington, D.C.. Like other non-profit administrators, he’d struggled to balance the high hopes of serving more people with the realities of having limited resources to do so.

Horn found some success in increasing engagement and participation in the adaptive athletics programs with email distribution lists. The clever use of cost-effective and easily accessible technology was his light bulb moment and the beginning of his new organization, AbilityList.

“I realized that the non-profit space as a whole was quite fragmented and disorganized,” Horn says. “Families throughout D.C. and across the country had no idea about the various programs and resources available to them and I wanted to do something to change that.”

Weighing opportunity cost

AbilityList aims to connect the roughly 56 million Americans with disabilities with the disability resources, organizations, and activities available in their hometowns. The website aggregates content and information about not-for-profit services and programs for a variety of audiences across the country, organizing the information into a one-stop directory for simple, reliable access to updated and relevant information.

But Horn knew that bringing all the information and resources together would be an uphill battle. “The technologies we needed to build a website like this are complex and costly,” he says. “After a few iterations with initial capital, we knew we needed to achieve tax-exempt status to enable fundraising and get the money required to finishing building our vision.”

On the advice of a trusted friend, AbilityList turned to Instant Nonprofit from Yippikiyay Nonprofit Solutions to expedite the company’s tax-exempt status application. Working with Yippikiyay consultants, Horn’s team collected and organized all the company data needed to enable Instant Nonprofit to automatically populate the firm’s Form 1023 for Recognition of Exemption as a 501(c)3 organization application.

Horn had been part of another non-profit organization that had attained its 501c(3) tax-exempt status, but wasn’t involved with the filing process. He’d heard horror stories about the mountains of paperwork required to complete the application and that in some cases, it could take as much as a year to get approved.

“Our time has a price tag on it. I wanted our team to spend less time on administrative work for our 501c(3) application and more time working on the business,” Horn says. “Instant Nonprofit streamlines the entire application process and boils it down to the basics so we know exactly what materials to include, how to present them, and when to send them.” – Founder, Andrew Horn

A clear path forward
Working with Yippiekiyay Nonprofit Solutions proved a wise decision for Horn and his team. Thanks to the guidance and insights AbilityList received from the Yippiekiyay consultants, the firm earned its 501c(3) designation in just a few short months.

“The whole process was painless,” Horn says. “While Yippiekiyay focused on helping us gather the information we needed for the application, the rest of our team was busy building the website and a target list of potential donors.”

Horn says that relying on Yippiekiyay’s consultants and Instant Nonprofit software to do the heavy lifting gave him peace of mind that the application process was being completed in the most accurate and efficient manner possible. He says that the company saved at least 20 hours of back-and-forth with the IRS by having Yippiekiyay as the intermediary and the flexible payment plan for Instant Nonprofit relieved the founders of a huge financial burden.

Even prior to receiving official word of AbilityList’s tax-exempt status, the fact that the application was in process resulted in immediate donations.

“When donors know your 501c(3) status is pending, they’re more likely to engage in conversations with and demonstrate genuine interest in a cause,” Horn says. “Working with Yippiekiyay enabled us to solicit a $2,500 tax-deductible donation before we even began formally fundraising and invested it immediately into our infrastructure.” – Andrew Horn

Working with Yippiekiyay has put AbilityList on the fast track to accomplishing its mission of connecting disabled Americans and their families with powerful, supportive programs that enrich lives. “There’s almost no way for us to put a dollar value on the amount of time we saved and the guidance we received from Yippiekiyay,” Horn says. “Looking back at all we’ve been able to accomplish, it was clearly the best choice we could have made.”


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