Pickwick about the difference between a non-profit organization and a charity:
A charity needs to be non-profit, but not every non-profit organisation is automatically a charity.
A Non-Profit Corporation can’t pay the owner a dividend. He has to pay himself (or others) a salary instead, which he does ($88,150.22 since 2005, for salaries, payroll taxes, and temporary help). The rest of the money needs to be piled up on the company’s books: there’s an ‘emergency fund’ of $30,000 and accumulated ‘net income’ of $40,135.89 from 2004 to date. Other than that, a Non-Profit Corporation, which is NOT a charity, can do whatever it wants with its money like any other privately owned company. This includes the possibility of one day dissolving the company, or changing its status to For-Profit, and cashing in.
A CHARITABLE non-profit corporation will have a clause in its corporate bye-laws where corporate assets are dedicated to charitable purposes. It receives tax privileges, and in exchange comes under public supervision and is subject to reporting and disclosure duties. It will be much more difficult for individuals to profit, and if done right, even impossible.
The confusion is understandable because colloquially the terms ‘charity’ and ‘non-profit’ are sometimes used as if synonym. The problem here is that this misunderstanding might be intentionally exploited. Ultimately the proof whether an organisation is or isn’t a charity lies in the public register of charities, both on State and Federal level, neither of which contains an entry for this company.
So the logical conclusion is that either it is NOT a charity and claims that it is are false, or it IS a charity, in which case it has not complied with registration, reporting and disclosure duties. In either case, as a NON-charity, or as a NON-REGISTERED (unrecognised) charity, any charitable solicitations, for money or volunteers’ time, might be illegal.