IRS Form 1023 Part IV – Narrative description of activities
The part IV, narrative description of activities of the IRS form 1023 is the most important section of your application . If you fail to write a great narrative, you can certainly kiss your 1023 application fee goodbye and your nonprofit organization dreams shattered. This part will go inside your attachment sheet to the form 1023. DO NOT copy and paste from other narratives. Be original and be bold.
Using an attachment, describe your past, present, and planned activities in a narrative. If you believe that you have already provided some of this information in response to other parts of this application, you may summarize that information here and refer to the specific parts of the application for supporting details. You may also attach representative copies of newsletters, brochures, or similar documents for supporting details to this narrative. Remember that if this application is approved, it will be open for public inspection. Therefore, your narrative description of activities should be thorough and accurate.
You need to answer the following questions with the smallest detail:
- What is the activity?
- Who conducts the activity?
- When is the activity conducted?
- Where is the activity conducted?
- How does the activity further the organization’s exempt purposes?
- What percentage of the organization’s total time is allocated to the activity?
- How is the activity funded?
As an IRS agent, I would look at this section in your form 1023 and would want to know anything and everything about this entity. So be specific. If you are running a Save a Snail Foundation, say how many snails you are hoping to save, the method of saving, where you put them after you save them, and why even bother saving the damn snails in the first place. Then you need to say what happens after the snail is saved. Every story needs a happy ending.
Then you support your narrative by newspaper articles, TV interviews, website interviews, link to your website, brochures, business cards, and any kind of positive publicity you had received. So before writing your narrative, get in newspapers, have interviews, get yourself out there.
But you are not done yet. Your narrative description is where you make your case. You don’t rely on the goodwill of the tax people; you tell them just like in the courtroom why they should grant you the exemption based on their own previous rulings. These rulings are legal precedents. For example, John Doe sued IRS on a ground that his organization was denied exemption because of “X” reason, and the Supreme Court ruled on his behalf favorably. This ruling becomes a precedent which you can use to present your own case. Read this section 100 times if you have to, because it is very important.
When you are done writing your narrative, you make your case by referring to the Internal Revenue Code and these rulings. See the narrative example bellow and note the references to the Internal Revenue Code. I made my case by telling the agent that I know and understand the law. Here I’m not using any rulings but I do in the part VIII of the form 1023 to argue the International activities. To find a ruling that matches your case, you can access the complete archive on IRS website by searching “Revenue Rulings Archive”.
Here are some form 1023 complete attachment samples from approved organizations. Before downloading these pdf files, read the below sample first.
IRS FORM 1023
Part IV Narrative Description of Your Activities
It is the mission, duty and purpose of Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. to address, educate, coordinate, and provide aid and relief to eradicate chronic malnutrition and hunger on a local and global level.
It is our duty to be available when we are capable to provide one of the most important yet basic human rights to ordinary people during times of extraordinary tribulation by trying to help them to secure their humanity through the provision of food.
The right to food is a human right derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The United Nations Special Report in 2002 defined it as follow:
“Right to adequate food is a human right, inherent in all people, to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensures a physical and mental, individual and collective fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.”
The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, have the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.
Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. provides education on chronic malnutrition and hunger through the dissemination of facts, charts, graphs, and statistics. We provide this information by presenting live media interviews, lectures and slideshows titled, “The World Hunger Exhibition,” at schools, libraries and other public venues. These presentations focus on the causes, current efforts and solutions to chronic malnutrition and hunger. They also highlight the geographical, economical, and social aspects of chronic malnutrition. Examples of said presentations that have been given are at the Lewis and Clark Public Library in Helena, Montana, the Klondike River Lodge located in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada, and at the Barstow branch of the San Bernardino County Public Library in California.
We take advantage of various social media outlets such as discussion forums, blogs and social networking sites. Some of media outlets that have conducted interviews of or featured Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. are: NBC News, HCTV, and The Independent Record. All media interviews can be viewed on the corporation’s website: www.thcorp.org
We also chronicle our efforts and activities on the corporation’s website. One feature that will be incorporated into the website is an educational essay written by professionals such as public health administrators, dieticians, physicians, and activists in the same or related field(s).
By offering educational events as well as our publications and website, Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. is educating the public on subjects useful to individuals and beneficial to the community and is advocating and defending human and civil rights secured by law.
Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. seeks out opportunities for community outreach through our ambassador program which involves sending ambassador(s) to fulfill our mission of raising awareness and funds for chronic malnutrition and hunger by utilizing a variety of means such as charity mountaineering expeditions and clinics, charity motorcycle rides, photography, and writing. Through these means, the issue of chronic malnutrition and hunger will be highlighted and brought to the attention of diverse audiences. An example of this program is the Transcontinental Humanitarian Expedition, a global motorcycle ride to address the chronic malnutrition and hunger in a unique way which receives elaborate media and public attention. The expedition reports can be seen on our website at: www.motorcyclememoir.com.
The funds received through the entirety of the corporation’s activities will be used exclusively for the charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and will not be used for personal gains of any sort.
Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. aims to provide disaster relief aid in the form of food and water to the severely disadvantaged who are affected by either a lack of existing community resources or a lack of funding and supplies to existing local infrastructures in the time of need. Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. operates and focuses its resources locally and globally to communities who meet the aforementioned criteria regardless of their geographical location.
Examples of the severely disadvantaged populations would be those affected by natural disasters and the displaced victims of sectarian and ethnic violence such as the devastating results of Hurricane Katrina in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi and refugees of Rwanda civil war in Africa.
11.4 million refugees are under the care of the United Nations. It is estimated that the total number of those who have been displaced has surpassed 25 million world-wide as of 2009. The total for 2006 was 9.9 million (source: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
We provide disaster relief aid through organizing volunteers to serve in affected areas by coordinating and carrying out the distribution of food and water. The provisions will be derived from our general fund and public support.
Distribution to Other Organizations and Individuals
We do not fundraise for any specific organization and Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. is not organized solely to contribute or fundraise for any specific entity. However, at the discretion of the board of directors we may at times, choose to contribute to other organizations who share a similar mission and only if the contributions further our exempt status, with the objective to eliminate and alleviate chronic malnutrition and hunger.
One example of an organization which we may contribute to is the “Friends of the World Food Programme” (EIN 13-3843435) which is a U.S.-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that focuses on building support in the United States for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and other hunger relief operations which shares a similar mission to Transcontinental Humanitarian Corporation. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, working to put hunger at the center of the international agenda and promoting policies, strategies and operations that directly benefit the poor and hungry.
Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. may exercise its right under law to contribute to non 501 (c)(3) organizations only on the condition that Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. retains control over the use of the funds and maintaining records showing that the funds are used for exclusively charitable purposes in accordance to our mission.
Programs for Volunteers
At times, per the discretion of the board of directors, we may provide internships or volunteer opportunities which will provide opportunities for involvement in outreach activities and programs in order to have a greater impact for change. One of the activities that volunteers may be involved in is basic education on topics such as nutrition, diet, agricultural techniques, livestock growing, and water treatment in order to promote sustainability. Such activities shall always be free of charge to participants and will not include compensation to the volunteers.
It is our goal to bring awareness from every medium possible and this does not exclude documentaries and photos of our activities, projects, programs and expeditions. By documenting and reporting our efforts we intend to broaden our outreach. These multimedia features will be recorded by our volunteers during the aforementioned activities and will be available to the public.
Charity Mountaineering Expeditions and Clinics
As part of our expeditionary activities, we will organize charity mountaineering expeditions in order to raise funds and awareness for the cause. These expeditions will be carried on by our volunteer guides to assist novice climbers to do a good deed by participating in a charity climb. These expeditions and clinics will be open to the public. All proceeds from such expeditions will be added to our general fund and shall be used to further our exempt status.
In general, our foreign activities can be summed up into four categories: expeditions, contributions, disaster relief and aid, and educational programs.
- Foreign expeditions will include our expeditions such as mountaineering and motorcycle rides as has been detailed in the Narrative of our Activities: subtitled: Charity mountaineering expeditions and clinics and also Ambassador Program.
- Foreign contributions will include assistance given to individuals or organizations outside of the United States which have been selected by the board of directors after conducting due diligence and a thorough investigation. The process of selection is in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations concerning our exempt status such as collecting information (i.e. physical address, phone number, mailing address, website, relationships with other organizations, financial standing which includes past and present, and governance).
- Foreign disaster relief and aid will include our efforts to provide aid to victims of natural disasters and/or of sectarian and ethnic violence as has been detailed in our Narrative of our Activities subtitled: Disaster relief
- Foreign educational programs will include our efforts to provide educational based lectures, slideshows, and in-field training and instruction as has been detailed in our Narrative of our Activities subtitled: Education.
- Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(2) of the regulations states that the term “charitable” is used in section 501(c)(3) of the Code in its generally accepted legal sense and includes the defense of human and civil rights secured by law.
- Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(2) of the Income Tax Regulations states that the term “charitable” is used in section 501(c)(3) of the Code in its generally accepted legal sense and includes the advancement of education.
- Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(3)(i)(a) of the regulations states that the term educational, as used in IRC 501(c)(3), relates to the instruction or training of the individual for the purpose of improving or developing his capabilities or the instruction of the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community.
- Example 2 in Section 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(3)(ii) of the regulations, makes it clear that “An organization whose activities consist of presenting public discussion groups, forums, panels, lectures, or other similar programs,” is educational.
- Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code provides tax exemption for organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable and/or educational purposes.
The sources of the corporation’s income derive from personal resources and public donations. Additional income sources will include grants, sponsorship and fundraising. The corporation disposes its income through the decisions made by its board of directors or through the decisions of the duly elected treasurer, whose power to pay expenses is set out by the board or the corporation’s bylaws in accordance to the corporation’s purpose. Expenses paid by the corporation include, but are not limited to: equipment purchases and rentals, ambassador’s salary and boarding, insurance premiums, internet web site fees, publications, advertising, and miscellaneous board expenses.