Sorry for the long silence, though I know that you have not been deprived given the number of excellent stories that have gone up. Life has been not just hectic, or even frantic, but frenetic.
Good news is that almost three quarters of a pound of paper, and a large chunk of money, are now with the IRS. Cooking with the Troops has filed its 501(c)(3) application, and it is hoped that our request for expedited processing will be granted and that we will be granted 501(c)(3) status. It is further hoped that I didn't make too many mistakes with the application and supplemental materials. More good news is that we have a placeholder site up at Cooking with the Troops and are work is underway on creating the "real" site. We are taking our time on it, as the goal is to get it right at the start.
To that end, if you know of a corporate or non-profit site that really works for you, drop a line to me at ceo the at symbol and cwwt you know what goes here org and let me know the site and why it works for you. We can use that information in designing the real site.
Minor things like getting a bank account, memberships in organizations, and other delights have also been accomplished. Lots of good.
Not so good: PayPal. Some of you know that I don't like PayPal (or sister company E-Bay), and why. Given PayPal's monopoly on online payments, if you are a company or charity, you pretty much have to use them. My experiences with them so far are reminding me of all the reasons I don't like them. I registered CwtT with them, got things rolling, and a donation button up on the site. PayPal then notified me that they were limiting the account, pending my providing some information to verify the charity. Fair and reasonable, but: PayPal won't accept files in the format provided by the IRS and various Secretary of State offices (PDF, no less); they won't accept online bank statements, apparently desiring that we pay fees on our account so that they can get the paper statements they demand (yep, demand, not ask). Here's a hint to PayPal: most banks give charities and even business a break on fees if they go paperless, so most do -- you might want to catch up with the times, just like you might want to change the restrictive file formats you demand. There is more, but that's the highlight. I called and talked with a nice young lady, and per her instructions, I pulled together paper copies of all the relevant files and provided a deposit ticket with our name and corporate address on it, and such and mailed it to the address provided (had the option to fax, but having to pay to fax they are not worth the $30-$100 charge, better uses for it), and got it out. It would appear they should have gotten it Thursday. Last night, I get another automated e-mail indicating that since I have not been responsive to the first request, that further restrictions are in place.
For the record, I don't think this is yet another screwing over of a troop-related charity by PayPal. I think it simply is the naturally poor customer service that comes with almost any monopolistic entity, be it corporate or governmental. Wise counsel suggests that I ask that if you have attempted to send money to us via PayPal, let me know when, how much, and of any problems so they can be documented -- and you should know nothing has shown up yet, so if you did send...
For now, best way is to send a check to the address at the site. Given the joyous efficiency that is PayPal, we are going to have to look into merchant services via the bank sooner than anticipated.
Back to good news: We are not waiting for the IRS or anyone, and are moving on out with activities. A little birdie has told me that a barbecue might have been done as a part of a larger bit of good being done. Check out the stories here, here, here, here, and here for more. More likely going up there soon too. We have some other barbecues and events in the planning stage, and with your help we can and will do a lot. And I do mean a LOT!