What's New at New Media Arts Inc?

Have you visited the new NMA Website?

Visit our new website:


Use the comment sections to tell what you think!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Virtual NonProfit - State filings

This is Part III of an open-ended series on running a virtual nonprofit, the Nuts and Bolts. New Media Arts is a very small U.S. nonprofit corporation, tax exempt under IRC 501(c)(3). We're a library and arts organization that has no physical offices. Our services are available all over the world via our websites or virtual world platforms. Our directors, officers and other people actively involved are in all the continental U.S. time zones, Canada and the Netherlands, this year. Every year, a few more locations. Only a few of us have met each other in physical space. We Skype a lot.  

Do you raise funds via online donation buttons at your website, YouTube, anywhere? Or solicit for funds at a forum?

One of the less-advertised and least convenient of the rules for nonprofits is this: If a U.S. charity solicits for donations online, then those solicitations are considered to be taking place in all of the United States, and come under the jurisdiction of every state that requires registration. Most of those charge fees.

If you solicit for donations online, you probably should be filing reports or returns in about 38 states. 

For most practical purposes, we're covered by tax treaties for the rest of the world, but there are around 40 U.S. state agencies that want to hear from us, most of them annually. There's not much use complaining about it, because of the US Constitution, Tenth Amendment:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Which means that even though we file with the IRS, who regulates the taxation of nonprofits, the states can regulate us too, if they want to. 

There are varying legal opinions about the requirements. A few tell us that if we refuse donations from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, then all we have to do is register in our home state and anywhere we're sending out solicitation emails, thank you letters, or delivering services or goods.

Problem: the donation buttons go to our PayPal account – we might know the donor's email address, and not much else. All of our services and projects are delivered online at our websites or in virtual worlds – anyone in the world who can get to a smart phone or computer and connection can access our stuff.

So, early on, we made a decision: register and file in all of the states who require it. That turned out to be the right decision, even though we're a small organization. As we slowly grow, and with the information we have, we see that donations, most under $25, but not always, come in from every state in the US, most of the countries in Europe, Asia and Australasia, and a few countries in South America, Africa and the Middle East. A big chunk of our donations are not cash, they are valuable scans of antique books, another wrinkle in our nonprofit's profile.

Twelve U.S. states choose not to require registration or reporting for charities, other than legislating something to the effect: Don't Cheat or Lie to Our Citizens, Or We Will Hurt You. Let's give a shout-out to Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming for their enlightened views on not regulating stuff that doesn't need it.

All the other states get a big raspberry, but also an annual form and, usually, money. We are complaint. 

If you use a professional fundraiser (we don't), your reporting requirements go up. The state agencies – Attorney General Offices, Secretaries of State, Departments of Consumer Affairs – depending on the state, are picky about reporting. Most of them charge annual fees, usually based on a nonprofit's size or annual revenues.

Some are easy-peasy, like Colorado, who has a straight-forward online registration and rational well-informed staff - their guy even called me after our first filing, to give me good advice and direct me to the right resources. Some states want anyone not incorporated in their state to register as a “foreign entity”, or pay for a registered agent in that state. California has three agencies we report to, North Dakota requires two reports to the same agency with different deadlines.  

Some states like to do it old-fashioned and require notarized signatures or get ugly when a nonprofit's directors refuse or are unable to provide a social security number or driver's license number, which yes, might be published at a state website or stored with less than ideal security. Quite a few require signatures from two or more officers, and a few won't accept a digital signature.

Our board and officers are separated by thousands of miles across three countries. This is not convenient.

The filings are not technically difficult to fill out, if you have someone in your organization who has the time and patience, you can probably get it done yourself. There are services who say they'll file your forms for you, for a fee. They're expensive and tend to take a one-size-fits all to your filing requirements, which can have disastrous results. I tried it one year, for one state, thinking that because the registered agent worked in the same building as the state agency, we might have a shot at getting it filed on time and correctly. Not so, and it took months to straighten it out.

We also, after the first couple of years, abandoned the use of the so-called Universal Registration Statement – URS. I found that the URS made it harder, not easier, to comply with a state's regulations, as I had to go look them up anyway and usually fill out a required attachment, rather than getting it done with that state's simpler form and instructions.

We now use a CPA firm near one of our board members' homes to prepare the forms and efile when possible. This is cheaper and better, as she can keep up with changing requirements better than I can; it's what she does. One of us still has to check the paperwork, get it printed and signed, write the checks, mail them certified, and make the occasional phone call when things go wrong. We try to take turns. CPA firms in the larger cities who specialize in nonprofits are outrageously expensive, and not necessarily better at it.

Reliable resources:

I shouldn't have to say this, but I will: don't take advice from a website whose main purpose is to sell you something, even if it's a law firm.

Since I'm a retired CPA, I made a tracking spreadsheet. Of course I did :). And here it is, in case you're a virtual nonprofit yourself, or thinking about becoming one.

Notes about the spreadsheet:
  • Screaming yellow highlight - the filing needs a notarized signature, so get that one done early. Pale yellow is some other requirement, such as a specific officer, or must be real ink instead of the far-more-convenient digital signature. If you get it wrong, they'll kick it back and make you do it again, or even revoke your registration if you can't get back to them fast enough.
  • Other highlights are for filing dates, to make them easier to see and schedule – we sort the spreadsheet by filing date while we're getting them done, then by state abbreviation when we need to look something up. Our outside CPA has access to the spreadsheet and our folder of past years' returns; saves time.
  • I left “filing fees” blank, as it depends on the size of your organization, or total revenues or whatever that state's criteria is. We track what we're spending so we'll know what the estimate is for next year's budget.
  • Each year, one or two states change their requirements or the URL that gets you to the right page and we might not get the notice. I'll do my best to keep the spreadsheet current.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 APL 2016-05-04 Seven new publications (and some not entirely new, but not yet mentioned)

PUBLICATIONS on our news page

We've had the great good luck of getting permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, to chart and publish all their embroidery patterns. And also some of their embroideries, though only those that are for sure in the public domain. And of course I could not stop myself from charting a few, although there's lots of them to do still. This pattern in shifting squares is from an unknown maker. It's hand painted, so should be quite old. I like repeating patterns, and this one has nice subdued colors. Thank you, Victoria, for making it possible, and I promise, I'll get them out as soon as possible. Although that might take a little while...
This one is a very old booklet printed in black and white, donated by Melissa Roberts. Sixteen pages of patterns, and when charted they look very elegant. But then, it's for ladies. Thank you, Melissa!

Another of Jackie Ishers items, actually the first that I started charting. It's a well-known cover, Heinrich Kuehn in Berlin, and five handpainted patterns, as usual borders and corners. We're getting quite a collection here, although I don't think we'll ever get it complete. But if everybody who has one, follows Jackies example, we don't have to give up hope. Thank you, Jackie!

Another one of the Museum of New Zealand. This one I've seen also on Pinterest, but of course not charted. It's a small pattern, but a long list of colors. Nearly every leaf and flower has a different color range and I think I might try to switch the colors around to simplify that. Some other patterns show only light and dark and the painter of the pattern has to decide whether it's going to be yellow or white. But this one clearly shows different symbols for the dark blue and dark red, so it was actually designed this way.

And even in New Zealand ladies embroidered slippers for their family. Somewhere on Wikipedia there's a rant from a husband of such an embroideress, complaining that everything in sight got embroidered, whether it was suitable for embroidery or not. When I charted this pattern, of course I started with the white line and the black and red filling. And if you see that pattern, without flowers and paisleys, that looks quite modern. I might try it myself one of these days, when we've finished our stack. Estimated time to completion is now 24 year. I'll be in my eighties!

Our forum members may recall the request that caused this book to be published. Actually, I have it somewhere. I know it. I couldn't find it, ordered another one, scanned that one and edited it, so the lady who wants to make Russian costumes can find here some source material. Of course it helped that the book was fairly easy to edit, unlike the Ullstein Stricken book, where one page takes an entire evening :-( Max Tilke died in 1942, and Germany has a seventy-years-after-death-of-the-author rule, so this came recently in the public domain. I couldn't find it on OpenLibrary, though that one has an earlier volume about Middle-East and Far-East costumes. And now we have this book.
There's two pdfs linked. One PDF which is around 50MB and the other XLARGE which is 200MB. Don't say I did not warn you!

Another of the New Zealand patterns, another all-over pattern. This is suitable if you have small remainders of embroidery yarn, since it contains many small motifs each in a separate color, in three shades. There would be no need to keep to the color scheme in the pattern as shown. Of course, if you want a fabulous colorful embroidered chair or cushion cover, go right ahead.


I've neglected my blogging duties a little bit (actually, a lot). Since the previous post there have been a lot of new publications, and while they are announced on the forum, unfortunately the blog does suffer.

A handpainted Berlin woolwork pattern

One of DMCs knitting publications. We have a few others still in the pipeline. If you like lace knitting, have a look at these patterns.

A lovely repeating pattern in muted colors. This was donated by Penelope Textiles. Thank you, Penny!

Another volume of the Complete Course of Dressmaking. Actually, this is the abbreviated version, but the complete edition will follow.

Ebay seller gattika donated the images for another of those Victorian teapot stands, lovingly embroidered in beads and framed in dark wood. Now that I know what they are, I keep a sharp eye out for them and actually lucked into two of them, one on an auction and another on a flea market.
So there'll be more like this. And this is a very beautiful pattern. I tried it out (on the computer, of course) with different background colors and they all looked good.

Ann Lawrences collection of beautiful patterns also had this cat. We have a tortoiseshell cat at home, who also likes to sit on a cushion - especially the cushion that I was just sitting on. Cats on cushions and dogs on cushions are a favorite Victorian subject.


Two dolls clothes patterns. Still working on the others, when I have time. And I found another set of dolls clothes patterns, but I want to finish these first.

Another of Jackie Ishers collection. This one has a distinct Delft blue coloring. There was a time around one of the World Exhibitions, that there was a Dutch craze in pattern designs. You can see it in the DMC New Designs as well as elsewhere, and there are a number of Heinrich Kuehn patterns in this style. Actually, this pattern, mill and all, occurs on other pattern leaves as well.

A book of beaded bags. There are many reprinted Hiawatha bag books for sale on ebay, but I managed to snag an original - and not for an idiotic price either.

Iva Innocenti contributed this book about crochet lace. Truly lovely, and I'm very glad that she has them nearly all. We would have no chance of acquiring these titles, in view of the prices they are sold for. So thank you, Iva! Thank you very much!

One page of a Latvian pattern book by Z. Ventakrasts. The title is Izsuvumu, adijumu un audumu raksti, weaving and embroidery patterns. Actually this page is thirty patterns for mittens, although they would do well as border patterns. Imagine, thirty pages of these patterns, and three volumes. Such a wealth of patterns still to come!


Two patterns of seat covers, out of a set of five donated by ebay seller oaltd2010. The pattern on the left is one of the so-called Golden Tapestry patterns. The Rivierland Archive has a pattern, and I've seen several on Ebay and on Google image search, but I never had permission to publish any of them. So when we got permission for these chair seat patterns, I was very happy.

Forty pages of the notebook of Claudia, our intrepid researcher in the frozen wasteland of the North. This is the result of years of research and design. Actually, there's 470 pages or so, but I cannot edit all of them at once, and they are too beautiful to keep back until all is ready. Thank you, Claudia!

This is another beaded embroidery, on perforated paper. The images of the original were donated by ebay seller topsystrove.

These images were donated by Sandra Cooke. Whereas usually our images are released under the Creative Commons licence, in this case there's an exception. The original image of the embroidery pattern is published by permission, but all rights are reserved by Sandra Cooke. So no pinning or republishing that one, not even if it is not for sale. The chart is of course under our own usual copyright conditions.


Click to support the Antique Pattern Library project to pay for such things as database and website development, web hosting costs, data entry, scanning equipment.  

Scan donations count! They save us room (for the books) money (for the shipping price and customs duties and believe me, those can bite), and time for scanning. Of course, money is always welcome. And scans are equally welcome. In the meantime, you can also support us via Amazon Smile.
The limit of small donations is 700 EUR, a bit more than 700 USD. It may increase if we get more small donations. That's the limit to what you can donate per year and still have it count towards the small donations. It's recalculated every year. If you donate more, the IRS puts your donations on the other side of the public funding ratio. So, if you were planning to donate just above the limit, give some to another organization, buy a cup of coffee and donate just the limit amount. ;-)

Also, we are looking for people who can afford a one-time larger donation to support our goals for 2016, which will cost us some money.
It will help speed up our publication speed, and make more time available for the actual library work, which is sadly suffering. Judith and I have spent most of January on bookkeeping and IRS compliance and stuff like that.

We've had one large donation already. That one has helped to improve the programming for the site so that now somebody else is able to do the entire round of publishing (except writing special notices and the blog) on her own, without help from me. That's going to make it easier to keep publishing every week, even when I'm on holiday.And I can spend more time on editing the acquisitions, and visit people with laptop and scanner in a bag, if they have a suitable book and live within reach.

Basically, what I'm looking for right now is to get professional help to scan the really large publications, sized A2, A1, and maybe even A0, of which we have a chest full. Some leaves are so fragile that we get the chance to scan them once, then they fall apart. I've inquired at a nearby photographer, and they will have to build an installation too (just like Willem and Nettie, but larger), in order to get the sheets properly photographed. The more money I plonk down, the more sheets they can do. And of course, the building and taking down of the installation, as well as closing the studio for one day, will cost money of itself. So, money is very welcome!

If you can't afford to give anything, which also happens in these difficult times, introducing the Library to people who don't know of it yet, is very useful, since it broadens our user base and therefore our donor base. I'll try to publish a flyer in black and white which can be printed and used as handout, for anybody wanting to do that. It would be more useful than a visiting card.

Anything you donate for the Library, goes to the Library. The donations of the larger donors are far more than enough to cover our overhead, so what you give, goes straight to Library improvement.

The publications are free to download and to share, not to sell. Also the screendumps and later the text pages are published under the creative-commons licence - enjoy, but don't sell. If ever you see a PDF for sale, especially with the Library creative-commons copyright notice or something that looks like it, we'd be glad to hear. Most we've heard of so far are legitimate sellers of their own copies, but every now and then there's one that isn't. In such a case, please email us privately with your concerns and give as much detail as possible. We don't want peoples' names aired about before we've had a chance to look the matter over, in order to protect the truly innocent.

Thanks to all the donors and volunteers, for all the help and new or improved material you provided.

Enjoy this new set.

Best wishes all,