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 Accounting, finance, fundraising
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Current status
Funds raised

By the end of March, we needed to raise $5,000 to pay back rent. Well done, everyone!

$200 (donations, 3/7)
$295 (BAilonga, 3/7)
$100 (donation, 3/9)
$320 (donations, fundraising 3/10)
$480 (donations, 3/11)
$31 (donations, 3/12)
$110 (BAilonga! 3/14)
$50 (donation 3/16)
$50 (donation 3/17)
$62 (donations at milonga, 3/17)
$100 (donation, Seattle)
$840 (Portland Benefit Milonga, 3/18)
$200 (donations at milonga, 3/18)
$75 (BAilonga, 3/21)
$63 (donations at milonga, 3/24)
$2,783 (Auction income 5/25) (and more coming ...)
Income & expenses

Note: this is completely separate from the fundraiser above.

We must start paying regular rent again. This is $1,620/month.

March income & expenses so far (checkbook tool coming):

+525 (3/1/06) LCC Winter 2006 rental
-250 (3/1/06) February wages
-50 (3/1/06) supplies
+240 (3/3/06) Milonga income
+45 (3/4/06) From UO Tango Club previous Sunday
+175 (3/4/06) Milonga income
-50 (3/6/06) Monthly water
-100 (3/6/06) SecureTech, payment on work done for Fire Inspector
-35.37 (3/8/06) Monthly high-speed Internet connection
+235 (3/10/06) Milonga income
+80 (3/10/06) Rent from Tango teacher
+220 (3/11/06) Milonga income
+45 (3/12/06) Sunday UO Milonga
-170 (3/14/06) March wages
-40 (3/14/06) supplies
-437.50 (3/14/06) 1st payment to Omlid & Swinney for sprinkler-raising
-60 (3/17/06) supplies
+220 (3/17/06) Milonga income
+277 (3/18/06) Milonga Income
+136 (3/24/06 milonga income)
+541 (3/25/06 milonga income)
-5,000 (3/28/06 Back rent)
-1,620 (4/3 April rent)
+43 (6/27/06 from Bailonga!)

Notes on the non-profit
Non-profit corporation

The Tango Center (TC) is a non-profit project of the Eugene Community Trust (ECT), a non-profit charitable organization registered with the State of Oregon.

[For the curious: as another example of this kind of structure: the WOW Hall is a non-profit project of the non-profit, tax-exempt Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA). Note that the CCPA does not bother to register the name WOW Hall in any way. It isn't strictly necessary.]

The name "The Tango Center" is an Assumed Business Name (ABN) of the Eugene Community Trust, who's State of Oregon Domestic Non-Profit Status is visible here. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

[For the curious: another example is Aurora Glass, a non-profit project (whose income is not tax-exempt) of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County. Aurora Glass is an ABN of SVDPLC, and the ABN makes it easy to separate tax-exempt donations & income from non-exempt glass sales, a separation often required by the IRS for those non-profits with tax-exempt status.]

March 7, 2006 12:56 PM   greg
Tax-exempt status

While the Tango Center is a charitable, non-profit corporation, it has not applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status (501c(3) ). Obtaining tax-exempt status is mostly a matter of time & fees.

To collect donations, the Tango Center has entered into a Fiscal Agent relationship with the Lane Arts Council (LAC). Checks written to the LAC, which say "funds directed to the Tango Center", are tax deductible, because LAC is tax-exempt. Their Tax Id, for donation purposes, is 93-0681430.

We collect these checks to the LAC. You can leave them with the people at the Tango Center front desk, during events.

It is not necessary to use LAC's tax id number, to take a write-off. One doesn't even need a receipt. If you itemize, just add it into the lump sum for charitable contributions, on your IRS schedule A. But make a note for your own records.

If you don't itemize, and take the standard deduction on your taxes, then it's easier to just write a check to the Tango Center.

March 7, 2006 12:58 PM   greg

The Eugene Community Trust (ECT) became a registered charity in 1995. It was formed as a non-profit community development corporation (CDC) to propose a community alternative to the Broadway Place development (the mixed-use complex in which Broadway Market operates). The city instead voted for a for-profit proposal, by Seattle developer Lorig Associates. The ECT proposal was written by Greg Bryant, with illustrations by Paul Ollswang and models, schematics & plans by Demetrius Gonzalez. It can be found here.

In 2003, the Tango Center was begun as a project of the ECT -- an attempt to show that special-purpose community centers are a viable approach to downtown revitalization.

March 7, 2006 1:07 PM   greg
Non-profit Support Services

Almost every non-profit in Eugene uses the extremely inexpensive, world-class services of the office of ex-UO Law professor David Atkins. He is the non-profit legal representative of the Tango Center, and is one of the most eminent non-profit legal scholars of his generation. For a fee of approximately $500, his office can initiate either 501c3 tax-exempt status for the ECT, or initiate a new corporation especially for the Tango Center.

March 7, 2006 1:29 PM   greg
Non-profit corporations and financial disclosures

Non-profit corporations file federal & state tax returns. ECT has filed these since 1996. They are short forms, abstracted much like individual income tax returns. No state or federal law requires more disclosure, unless the IRS is investigating the tax-exempt status of a corporation. The ECT has no IRS tax-exempt status [501c(3)] and so this does not apply.

However, from a moral perspective, non-profits should operate with more transparency. The fact that they don't has led to massive abuse by the largest non-profit charities in the US, and the IRS has often been politically forced to investigate the tax-exempt status of these organizations.

In my own view, non-profits should be run democratically, transparently, for the good of their membership & the community at large. This is rarely done, especially today, when corporate culture currently dominates, and civil rights and popular self-determination are receding.

After years of non-profit work, I'm now trying to make the Tango Center more transparent & democratic. This computer tool is the center of those experiments.

March 7, 2006 1:40 PM   greg
This Computer Tool
and the future of community projects

Late in 2004, as the future of democracy in the US was looking quite dim, I imagined that a non-profit community project, such as the Tango Center, could be run by its membership, for the benefit of the community, using a web tool.

I'm trying to make it work for the Tango Center. If it works for the Tango Center, it will work for any community project ... people would even be able to us it to run their own city.

So, using this tool, and giving me feedback, can potentially help make democracy & transparency flourish again. And save the Tango Center.

March 7, 2006 1:56 PM   greg
Debts, income & expenses

I've personally borrowed quite a lot of money to cover the maintenance, construction costs & losses of the Tango Center.

Over 2.5 years, The Tango Center income has varied seasonally, from $1000 to $3000 a month, with expenses (before rent) of between $1,000 and $2,000 a month. So, sometimes we can pay the rent (a very reasonable $1,650) and sometimes we can't.

Based on those ranges, we need to double the income (or attendance) to really make the Tango Center happily sustainable ... that's quite possible.

But the immediate issue is the rent that I haven't been able to pay to the landlords. In a way, they have been financing our operation. It took almost a year to arrange a meeting with them, and their terms are the most reasonable I could negotiate.

March 7, 2006 2:18 PM   greg

Questions, comments & suggestions regarding the non-profit
Charging for Classes

Does the Tango Center receive compensation from instructors who teach classes there? If not, I think there should be a fee structure set up for this purpose. It could be a fixed cost per student or a percentage of the amounts received.

March 7, 2006 4:01 PM   PeterGysegem
Re: charging for classes

Institutionally-sponsored classes (like the LCC classes) pay a fixed fee of $15/hour. This gives us maybe $100 - $200 / month.

Freelance local instructors trade their teaching time to the Tango Center for the room space. That is, we can't pay them for teaching the Introduction classes at the milonga, so they do this in exchange for rent. Visiting instructors do this too ... which has been very exciting ... trading rent for their instruction before milongas. Those who don't do the Intro classes, when they visit, pay the $15/hour rental fee.

March 7, 2006 4:50 PM   greg

Does anyone get paid for overseeing the front desk? I don't see it on the list of expenses. Do any musicians get paid for playing at the tango center? If so, how much?

March 16, 2006 9:55 AM   jobmd
Nasty Surprise Each Month?

Are we going to be asked to raise $5000 again on short notice? How can we avoid this? What can we do to make sure that if the tango center needs money, we will know ahead of time and be adaquately prepared to solve the problem?

April 3, 2006 3:21 PM   kathryn
April Expenses

What are the expenses for April? I applaud the list of expenses for March, but what about this month? The checkbook function?

April 19, 2006 6:24 PM   andrewm

jobmd asks:

"Does anyone get paid for overseeing the front desk? I don't see it on the list of expenses."

Yes, two people are paid a little for managing the front-desk & opening/closing. They also train & coordinate volunteers for the front-desk project team. We'll start recording that in the checkbook.

jobmd asks:

Do any musicians get paid for playing at the tango center? If so, how much?

Most of the music at the TC has been donated, or payed for with a "tip jar". There were three exceptions I can think of. For a while we were paying Mood Area 52 about $100 for the evening. We also paid the Levy-Gomez-Mendez trio $600 one trip and $700 the next. We've paid Conjunto Berretin as little as nothing, and as much as $400.

April 21, 2006 2:01 PM   greg
Sliding Scale at Milongas

It's time to try a $5-$10 voluntary sliding scale at the milongas. There's no downside. No one will have to pay more than the $5 they pay already, but most people will pay more, if they can, because the milonga is worth more than $5 to them.

Let's try this starting next weekend and see how it goes. I think the added income will give the Tango Center a good surplus from operations, enough to pay for the recent renovation work and ongoing improvements.

June 2, 2006 11:26 AM   Drew
Yes! Sliding Scale at Milongas

Let’s do it… A larger and more colorful sign on the front table. …Another reminder on the e-tango list… A mention in the next Tango Times.

June 2, 2006 2:35 PM   tom_heneghan

Grant team

Suggestions for fundraising
participants: 4
Sliding scale at milongas

$5-$20 sliding scale door fee, at milongas

March 7, 2006 9:29 AM   
Government funding

Tango is an emerging economy, a local one, where people's "entertainment dollars" remain in town. It's also a tourist draw: people come to the Tango center from nearby cities like Corvallis, and from as far as Paris.

March 4, 2006 2:31 PM   

Apply for grants from local & global foundations looking for small efficient, community-oriented arts programs.

March 4, 2006 2:33 PM   

Collect dues for monthly & annual memberships. different levels of commitment provide different levels of benefits: milonga passes for member, for friends, etc. student, regular, patron, etc.

March 4, 2006 2:06 PM   
Auctions at milongas

Collect items, certificates etc. from businesses & anyone who has something to offer -- and hold a fundraising auction ...

March 7, 2006 9:31 AM   
Passes, coupons & gift certificates

Discounted passes to all TC social dance. Coupons & gift certificates for friends, colleagues, if they take the lesson.

March 4, 2006 2:07 PM   
Advertising revenue for the Tango Times

We're re-starting publication of this. We can publish two editions a week ... one for the week start, one for the milongas. The latter is like a program for the evening.

March 4, 2006 2:10 PM   
Live music & publicity

When bands play milongas, get previews into Ticket, EW, Emerald, radio stations, calendars etc.

March 4, 2006 2:13 PM   

For milonga passes, classes, DVD's, etc

March 4, 2006 2:18 PM   

Advertising tends to more than pay for itself, and bring new people. But we don't have any capital to invest, so we need sponsors. We would take out ads in the Oregon Daily Emerald, the Eugene Weekly, and the Register-Guard/Ticket. Cost approximately $100/week. We would put a sponsor line in the ad.

March 4, 2006 2:23 PM   
HR perquisites

Companies, government departments, etc tend to give tickets to games, operas etc, to their employees. They can give tickets to the Tango Center milongas instead, focussed on the Intro class. We need to target our own organizations, as well as good possibilities.

March 4, 2006 2:26 PM   
High School & University

Give passes to members of the High School, College & University Tango clubs, in exchange for promotional, volunteer & fundraising help.

March 4, 2006 2:35 PM   
Business cooperation

Co-op advertising, posters, flyers etc., exchanged at various locations (for example, Cafes) so we have more of a presence.

March 4, 2006 2:37 PM   
Performances & one-time two-person passes

Make sure that we get to hand out one-time two-person passes to 8pm classes, at any event where we do a performance, in order to get people in the door, to try us out. Be strict about 8pm intro lesson as a pre-requisite.

March 4, 2006 2:39 PM   
Tango Parties

Get your group, company or department to come have a tango party at the Friday & Saturday milonga. Everyone must come to the lesson.

March 5, 2006 9:46 AM   

Tell your friends about all the events. Talk Tango.

March 5, 2006 9:47 AM   
Flyers, posters

An organized posting & maintenance of milonga flyers by everyone.

March 5, 2006 9:48 AM   
Use this tool

The more we use it, the better it gets, and the more likely it will be funded.

March 5, 2006 9:48 AM   

Sell DVD's of all the past performances etc. at the Tango Center. $10 each.

March 5, 2006 9:49 AM   
Music compilations

Sell music compilations ... best Tandas from the many visiting DJ's.

March 5, 2006 9:51 AM   
Dance slave auction

Bid on slots, on dance cards.

March 5, 2006 10:48 PM   
Permanent poster

A 5' feet poster in a visible area that explain that the TC is a non-profit and explain ways in which newcomers can become contributor. This will be an inmediate tool for volunteers and possible donors.

March 10, 2006 2:02 PM   

Accept underwriting for events

May 8, 2006 6:01 PM   
Sponsored underwriting

Underwrite your favorite non-profit (KLCC, KWAX ...) in the Tango Center's name, to advertise our Friday & Saturday milongas.

May 8, 2006 6:03 PM   

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