What can a CTA accomplish?
Clubs, teaching professionals, after school programs, and public parks are just a few of the tennis related entities that coexist in a community. In many instances, it may appear that the tennis community is fragmented and unconnected. This is where the formation of a CTA can provide an umbrella and seek to pull together these numerous elements of the tennis ecosystem. With the coordinated effort from a CTA, the biggest benefactor will be the current or potential tennis players.
When there is an active and engaged CTA that has created a strong community presence, the organization allows multiple people to be involved and contribute to the overall mission. The formation of a diverse and connected board ensures the continuity of the CTA beyond just one individual. In addition, the tennis advocacy message is much more powerful when it is delivered from an organized and united effort of a CTA.
Starting a CTA
Forming a new CTA is a huge, but very rewarding, undertaking. It involves ongoing coordinated efforts by a group of dedicated tennis players who want to serve their community. Some CTAs offer only one program, tournament or special event, some run a tennis program at a specific facility, some simply fundraise, some operate similar to Little League and soccer youth groups - handling registration, coaches, etc. to partner with multiple recreation agencies to provide tennis at various facilities. The links and topics contained below have been selected to give guidance on how to navigate the process of forming a CTA.
Click on each of the numbers below to review how you can start a CTA.
Develop your Bylaws & Mission Statement
The first step in forming your CTA is to develop Bylaws, which will serve as your governing document. For an example, please view the 2022 Constitution and Bylaws for the United States Tennis Association. In developing Bylaws for your CTA, it is very helpful to look at the Bylaws of other CTAs in your state and section. A very important part of your Bylaws is your mission statement. The mission statement for the USTA is to “promote and develop the growth of tennis.” Find contact information for your section here.
The USTA Constitution and Bylaws define Community Tennis Associations as: “Any multipurpose, incorporated, geographically defined, not-for-profit, volunteer tennis support organization which supports or provides comprehensive programs.”
Your CTA has already defined its mission in your Bylaws. Shortly after forming your CTA, it is recommended that you engage an expert to conduct a strategic planning session with your board. Many USTA state and section offices assist CTAs by facilitating strategic planning sessions. A wealth of information about strategic plans can be found at the Council of Nonprofit web page.
Board of Directors and Committees
Establishing a knowledgeable and diverse Board of Directors is vital to the success of a CTA. Your CTA will be responsible for meeting a number of federal, state, and USTA requirements, and your Board members can be of great assistance.
Your Board will most likely include tennis enthusiasts from your community, but you will also want to include individuals who can help achieve your mission that have special skills in addition to their love of tennis. Many Boards include attorneys, accountants and representatives from schools, recreation and parks departments and other non-profit organizations with similar purposes.
Your committee structure will most likely be related to your mission statement. You may start with a few committees, such as governance, youth programs, adult programs and communications. As your programs grow, you will want to create additional committees.
The Council of Nonprofits is an excellent organization that provides a tremendous amount of information for non-profit organizations. It has valuable information on forming your Board of Directors and Committees.
Articles of Incorporation & Applying for a Federal Tax ID
CTAs are considered to be corporations under most state laws. Therefore, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the State. Generally, the Secretary of State is responsible for corporate filings. Websites for most Secretary of State Office include sample forms that are very helpful. E-Secretary of State is a helpful web page where you can find information regarding your state. You can find contact information for your Secretary of State.
Applying for a Federal Tax ID (Employer Identification Number)
You can apply to the IRS online, by fax, or mail. You can find additional information and also submit an online application on the IRS web page.
Applying for Tax Exempt Status with the IRS
It is required that CTAs become non-profit organizations approved by the Internal Revenue Service. Once your CTA begins to offer more programming, you will need to solicit charitable contributions to help run your programs. Information on how to apply to the IRS to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is found on the IRS web page. It is critical that you seek assistance from a CPA or other individual who is very knowledgeable about this application process.
Register your Organization with the USTA & Insurance Programs
In order to qualify as a CTA, your organization must meet the requirements set forth in the Bylaws. One of the requirements to become a registered CTA is to have an active USTA Organizational Membership. To purchase or renew your USTA Organizational Membership, please click here.
To complete the application to become a registered CTA, please visit the CTA Registration website. Please note that CTA registration is annual and all organizations will be asked to renew for the next year in November. After submitting your application, it will be reviewed and approved by your state/district and/or section and the USTA national office. For assistance with CTA registration, please inquire here.
Registered CTA Insurance Programs
One of the benefits of registering your CTA with the USTA is the ability to purchase discounted insurance. The USTA offers two types of insurance, a Master Liability Insurance Program and a Directors and Officers Insurance Program. Information on these programs can be found on the USTA CTA Insurance web page.
Compliance with your State’s Charitable Solicitation Registration Requirements
Most states require organizations that solicit charitable contributions to register under their Charitable Solicitations law. The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) has contact information for all states on the NASCO website.
Submitting Annual Tax Returns to the IRS
If your CTA is approved for tax-exempt status by the IRS, you are required to file annual returns in the form of a 990N, 990, or 990EZ. Instructions for completing and filing these forms can be found on the IRS web page.
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