New Orleans nonprofit news site The Lens applied with the IRS for 501(c)(3) status on Oct. 16, 2010. Twenty-six months later, it has been approved.
The Lens’ long wait has become typical for nonprofit news sites, and can affect their survival.
“Major foundations, which can give life to an idea with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, often prefer that an organization has a 501(c)(3) designation. Without it, they’re likely to award less money and tie it to specific projects, not general operational costs, according to interviews with several people involved the nonprofit field,” reported Steve Myers last February when he was managing editor of Poynter Online. Myers is now deputy managing editor of The Lens.
The IRS designation “also streamlines the process for individual donations, which are tax-deductible,” says a press release:
Kevin Davis, CEO of the Investigative News Network, said the delays had caused some other INN members to wait to apply for their nonprofit status.
“News of SF Public Press and The Lens finally receiving their 501(c)(3) determination will not only be welcome,” he said, “but will hopefully move more organizations to move forward with their applications.”