Thrift Shop Exodus
Some moms and dads saw the notice as they were signing in, Fritsch says, and "just walked out."
The memo reflects a longstanding IRS rule that prohibits nonprofits from targeting benefits to individuals-one the shop had been blissfully unaware of till someone inquired and a lawyer was consulted. The shop was complying, Fritsch says, but some groups that sent volunteers were not. At about the same time, other requirements also turned off volunteers-a mandatory orientation and a rule that young students had to get a work permit before volunteering.
Fortunately, sales remain strong. The shop made $453,310 in sales in 2007, and "a good deal more" last year, says Fritsch. It already uses about 10 paid staffers-and will add more if new volunteers don't step up soon.
[Originally published in April, 2009.]