Where Do the Dollars Go?

Hi Skepticon-town!

We here at Skepticon HQ are forever begging you for money. You get it, we need funds to make Skepticon happen. But do you ever wonder where your money is really going?

Wonder no more.

We have a brand new Financials page on our website! We have included reports for both our fiscal year and a report that shows our income and expenses for the calendar year. We have also included copies of our Federal income tax filings.

What is a fiscal year? A fiscal year is a tax year that ends on a date other than December 31. Our fiscal year end is June 30. This means our tax returns are filed based on our income received July 1 through June 30.

What do the reports show? The Statement of Activity shows the income received and expenses incurred by Skepticon for the time period shown at the top of each column. The Statement of Financial Position shows how much money is in our bank accounts, as of the last day of the last month at the top of each column.

Why do these reports start on July 1, 2012? Our official date of incorporation was July 3, 2012, so July 1 seemed like the perfect starting point of our new accounting record keeping. This is your money, we figured you might like to see all the numbers, not just the current ones.

Why did you include a calendar year report? Skepticon’s fundraising cycle is closer to a calendar year than our fiscal year. Technically, each fundraising cycle is from the end of one Skepticon to the end of the next, but since our conference dates change each year, that’s an impractical way of reporting. So, we’ll use a calendar year for the fundraising cycle reporting.

What is a 990-N (e-Postcard)? This is the version of the tax return we file with the IRS. As a non-profit organization that normally earns less than $50,000 in gross revenue (that is, income before any expenses are taken out), we are not required to file a full tax return. A full tax return is required when we receive more than $50,000 in 3 out of 5 consecutive years — this is our dream and goal! Yes, we do actually want to file a big honkin’ tax return, because it means Skepticon has become an even bigger success!

Why did you provide all these reports and stuff? This is your money we’re spending. You deserve to know where it goes.

I have questions about the reports! Email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to answer questions!

 

We appreciate all you do to help us keep this conference going. If you donate to us, THANK YOU! You rock! If you pass on our calls for donations through your blog, social media or word of mouth, THANK YOU! You also rock! If you don’t do either but still love Skepticon, THANK YOU! We make this conference happen for you, our audience, and we appreciate every single one of you!

 

Love,
Skepticon

 

P.S. Help us keep Skepticon awesome. Please donate here if you can!

Skepticon 7 Presents a Speaker Spotlight Series (Volume 3)

This morning brings you the third installment of our Speaker Spotlight Series. For those of you who have been attending Skepticon since the beginning,  you’ll find some fresh new faces to get you all excited. For those of you who discovered Skepticon recently because your favorite speaker will be presenting with us, check out some of our “tenured” speakers and see what all the fuss is about. You can view any past Skepticon video on our website.

Drumroll, please! Melanie Brewster is the Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, and earned her Ph.D from the University of Florida. Her research focuses on marginalized groups and examines how experiences of discrimination and stigma may shape the mental health of minority group members (e.g., LGBTQ individuals, atheists, people of color). She also examines potential resilience factors, such as bicultural self-efficacy and cognitive flexibility, that may promote the mental health of minority individuals. Her first book, Atheists in America, was published June 2014 by Columbia University Press. For more information on what Melanie is up to, check out her Twitter at @melysebrewster .

Melanie has agreed to waive any honorariums and fees to speak at Skepticon for free. Even still, it will cost us about $850.00 to pay for Melanie’s airfare, taxis, and hotel room so that she can speak at Skepticon. If you’re excited to see her present, please consider donating to help cover the costs of getting her to Springfield, MO this November.

T-Shirts, Get Yer T-Shirts

T-shirt pre-orders are here, get ’em while they’re hot! What’s the advantage to pre-ordering, you ask? In order of importance: you’ll have your clothes for the first day of Skepticon already picked out, your shirt should ship at the beginning of November, and the cost for a shirt will go up from $20.00 when the event starts November 21st.

So show your never-ending love for Skepticon by ordering an official Skepticon 7 t-shirt! This shirt is a special 3-in-one deal! You get to clothe yourself, show off your SK7 swag, and help fund Skepticon! All profits on this super teal t-shirt go right back in to funding Skepticon! It doesn’t get much better than that, my lovely skepti-friends!

BUT WAIT, IT DOES!!! We’re doing a special bundle!!!!! Pre-order the SK7 shirt and get an SK6 shirt for only $5 bucks more! When you check out, please let us know the size and style you want in the comment section. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request with the remaining inventory we have! If you missed out on getting a Skepticon 6 shirt, this may be your last chance to cherish your lovely SK6 memories in shirt form!

I see you’re convinced. Here’s the link! Buy it now!

The design was created by artist Valentino Zamarripa and is printed locally in Springfield, MO by Swagbot. The high quality shirt itself is produced by Bella + Canvas LA. It’s a high quality 100% combed and ring-spun cotton in a lovely teal color. This shirt comes in unisex and fitted styles. If you need a size that isn’t listed on the website, please contact us at [email protected]

 

A Wild Incentive to Register for Skepticon 7 Appears

It’s super effective! We are beyond excited for the registration incentives and donation gifts Skepticon is able to do this year!!! Thanks to an awesome sponsorship by “Supersaurus” donor Polaris Financial Planning we are finally able to give LANYARDS AND BADGES to our attendees for the FIRST YEAR EVER! It’s like a dream come true! All YOU have to do is register to attend Skepticon 7 before Friday, October 17th, 2014!!!!!!!! Don’t be a Slowpoke. As always, our event is free, so every one of you that registers before October 17 will receive their lanyard and SK7 badge when you check in at the event. How amazeballs is that? Pretty amazeballs, if we may say so ourselves.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!!!! Maybe not everyone is as good at financial planning as Polaris is, but you can still be an official Skepticon Sponsor and get a bunch of kickass sponsorship stuff! When you register for the event, you’ll notice a $100 DONATION SECRET SURPRISE option (for anyone that gives $100.00 before we run out of the super secret surprises). If you want to go above and beyond that, we have sponsorship levels starting at $300 that will get you epic high fives, a vendor table, AND a listing in the Skepticon 7 program. We call that the “Dilophosaurus Level” (a.k.a. “that spitty one from Jurassic Park”) and they go all the way up to the “Tyrannosaurus-Rex Level”. Please contact us at [email protected] if you want to catch em’ all.  (Yes, for just an extra $50.00 over the normal vendor table you can get advertising. Legit.)

As of this morning, we’re sitting at 37% of our goal to fund Skepticon 7. That’s pretty fantastic for this point in the year!!!! Like, for realsies, you guys are so awesome! That’s enough to pay for the speaker airfare and all your lanyards. So… at this point we may have to have it in the poke-gym, but together we’ll make this thing happen, even if we have to bust our balls to do it!

Holy Donkeyballs Skepticon Nearly A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Charity

Skepticon is totally on its way to official IRS recognition as a charity!

Your friendly neighborhood number-cruncher here! After many moons of trials & tribulation, drinking, crying, and finally the assistance of the mostest greatest CPA in the world… we have all the paperwork for our 501(c)(3) status packed up and ready to ship!!! It was a very long time coming, but it turns out incorporation and taxes are generally something that the volunteer organizers (who consist of 4 art degrees, 1 mathematics, 1 nursing, 1 business, 2 college drop outs and a cat) generally don’t handle.

It was really, really hard and if any other organizations are thinking about being nonprofit charities, you seriously need to talk to a financial professional, invest heavily into quickbooks, lots of beer, and save every receipt ever. Three years and two failed solo attempts later, we are shipping off the final 46 pages of paperwork and an $850 check.

Huh?

What in the world is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) status, you ask? Those are the silly numbers the IRS has arbitrarily assigned to an Educational Public Charity. Yeah, that’s right, I used it as a proper noun. That’s how excited I am. Anyway, as an Educational Public Charity, we’ll be able to do the following awesome things:

  • Apply (and hopefully receive) for Education-related grants
  • Not pay sales tax. This helps your money stretch further. Example: Over $1,000 in tax for the venue alone last year. Shipping, printing, plane tickets, and more all add up.
  • Get on state and federal level websites that list charities to get new donors
  • Send you awesome donors letters that might get you tax deductions

A What?

Yeah, that’s right. I said tax deductions. The moment you’ve been waiting six long years for: donating to your favorite convention should be tax deductible! Now, a caveat, we have to be approved for it, and you should probably talk to your mostest greatest CPA in the world (we call ours Cool Rebecca. No, it’s not me.) to make sure your donation can be deducted from your personal taxes… but I can see no way that this could go wrong!

We are requesting that the IRS approve our tax exempt super awesome charity status all the way back to July of 2012. If you are one of our fabulous donors, once we have the official word, we’ll send you a letter acknowledging your awesomeness and your donation amount. You might want to hang on to that.

If you’re planning to do any sort of amendment to your tax return and need it ASAP, shoot us an email at [email protected] Now that you can get back when you give, what are you waiting for? Click that donate button!!!

 

Meet the Sponsor: Secular Woman (SW)

Donate-DinoDear Skepticoners,

One of our most amazing sponsors this year is Secular Woman (SW). From their website:

Secular Woman, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Georgia in June of 2012. Secular Woman is currently preparing its application for recognition by the Internal Revenue Service of exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. Currently, there are seven Secular Woman Board of Directors.

Mission

The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women.

Vision

Secular Woman envisions a future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of society.

We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and are so grateful that they are helping us with travel grants! Please head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!

SecularWoman_logo

Many, many thanks to a great sponsor!

The Skepticon Team

Meet the Sponsor: Polaris Financial Planning

Donate-DinoDear Skepticoners,

One of our most amazing sponsors this year is Polaris Financial Planning. From their website:

Polaris Financial Planning LLC, is a “fee-only” registered investment advisor and does not receive money from anyone other than the paying clients.  Phil Ferguson is an investment advisor representative with 15 years of experience and president of Polaris.  Polaris is only registered in the state of Illinois.  If client(s) are obtained in other states, Polaris will contact states to obtain registration if required.

Polaris Financial Planning is committed to supporting the growing secular movement in the United States and donates at least 10% of all revenue to support this cause.

We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and highly encourage all of you to head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!

polaris_logo

Many, many thanks to a great sponsor!

The Skepticon Team

Meet the Sponsor: Kansas City Atheist Coalition (KCAC)

Donate-DinoDear Skepticoners,

One of our most amazing sponsors this year is the Kansas City Atheist Coalition (KCAC). From their website:

The Kansas City Atheist Coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization. Our mission is to advance atheism through activism, philanthropy, education and the cultivation of a positive secular community.

Inspired by the strides that local leaders have made in the community and with the encouragement of American Atheists leader David Silverman, several leaders in the Kansas City atheist community decided to form a nonprofit organization to encourage greater unity, outgoing activist efforts and charitable outlets for members. Above all, we want to offer our members a community of like-minded people while at the same time giving the public an opportunity to learn from us as “out” atheists.

We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and highly encourage all of you to head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!

kcac_logo

Many, many thanks to a great sponsor!

The Skepticon Team

Meet the Sponsor: Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB)

Donate-DinoDear Skepticoners,

One of our most amazing sponsors this year is Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB). From their website:

Foundation Beyond Belief is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion.

Our programs include:

HUMANIST GIVING, featuring five charitable organizations per quarter, one in each of the following cause areas:

  • Education
  • Poverty and Health
  • Human Rights
  • The Natural World
  • Challenge the Gap (charities based in other worldviews)

Members join the Foundation by signing up for a monthly automatic donation in the amount of their choice, then set up personal profiles to indicate how they would like their contribution distributed among the five categories.
At the end of each quarter, all donations designated for our featured charities are forwarded, no percentage is retained, and a new slate of beneficiaries is selected.

BEYOND BELIEF NETWORK, a network of over 75 local freethought organizations across the U.S. putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and fundraising.

HUMANIST CRISIS RESPONSE, raising funds and awareness for major humanitarian crises worldwide.

PATHFINDERS PROJECTa yearlong international service trip (July 2013-July 2014). Four humanists are undertaking clean water, education, and sustainability projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America while gathering information and establishing partnerships to build an ongoing Humanist Service Corps.

We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and highly encourage all of you to head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!

FBB_logoMany, many thanks to a great sponsor!

The Skepticon Team

Meet the Sponsor: American Humanist Association (AHA)

Donate-DinoDear Skepticoners,

One of our very awesome sponsors this year is the American Humanist Association (AHA). From their website:

We strive to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted way to live life. We are accomplishing this through our defense of civil liberties and secular governance, by our outreach to the growing number of people without traditional religious faith, and through a continued refinement and advancement of the humanist worldview.

Humanism encompasses a variety of nontheistic views (atheism, agnosticism, rationalism, naturalism, secularism, and so forth) while adding the important element of a comprehensive worldview and set of ethical values – values that are grounded in the philosophy of the Enlightenment, informed by scientific knowledge, and driven by a desire to meet the needs of people in the here and now.

We count humanists and other nontheists as the core of our movement but are always willing to work with friends and allies on issues of common concern. The positions we hold and the actions we take are not simply for our own benefit, but for the betterment of all of society and the world in which we live.

We couldn’t be happier for their support in making this year’s Skepticon happen and highly encourage all of you to head over to their Facebook or Twitter and give them some Skepticon love!

AHA_logo

Many thanks to a great sponsor!

The Skepticon Team