It's never good when your charitable solicitation application is returned with yellow highlights

It’s never good when your charitable solicitation application is returned with yellow highlights

Certain things just don’t come to mind when you become a nonprofit executive. All you’re thinking about is the satisfaction of serving others and the idealism of a society in which everyone is given an even shot at the brass ring.

But then comes the paperwork of running what is, in the final analysis, a business.

So, every year nonprofits that raise money have to apply for a charitable solicitation permit from the Secretary of State’s Office. Every year, I mess it up because math is not my friend. But what happened this year has given me new faith in our state government in the form of Lucille Randall.

Here’s how it went. I fill out the application and send it in. I get an envelope back in the mail from the Secretary of State’s Office and know immediately I screwed it up because the envelope is too thick for just the permit. I did screw it up. I used last year’s tax return numbers. I am a moron.

I fill it out again with the correct numbers. I send it in again. And again I get a thick envelope back, this time with the actual application and all my mistakes highlighted in yellow. I have to say that the Secretary of State’s Office actually has a cheat sheet you can download that tells you exactly how to fill the application out. But I can’t even understand that. I now qualify as a complete moron.

And then I listen to the messages on my phone. “Hello,” the first one says. “This is Lucille Randall from the Secretary of State’s Office. Please give me a call at your convenience.” I first assume Lucille is going to tell me that you can only fill the dang application out twice and then they will determine that you are too stupid to run a nonprofit. But no. She wants to walk me through it on the phone. And she does.

I am already grateful to Lucille, but what she says to me next makes me want to send her a cookie bouquet. “Hon,” she says, “When you  have to fill this out again just call me first.”

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