Civitan clubs do so many good things for their communities through service, knowledge and fellowship.  Our united purpose is to make a difference, and sometimes we lose sight of the special obligations placed upon us because we are who we are – entities that are not for profit.  This year we will mark the start of a new compliance initiative for our North American clubs. 

Why is it necessary?  The work of the world is our clubs’ main objective, of course.  However, if our clubs don’t follow the laws of the land, that work can come to a halt.  Also, many of the rules put before clubs regarding compliance like having current governance documents only strengthen the organization of the club, which can keep it alive longer and be more effective in its events and projects. In addition, this initiative will allow us to confirm Civitan International’s compliance to the rules we have to follow in order to not risk our tax-exempt status.

In the coming weeks, we will be asking you for a few items related to your club. 

Part One will be a request for copies of the club’s governance documents (articles of incorporation, bylaws, and policies).  We will also request copies of any governmental filings required by your state or province.


               An organization’s articles of incorporation legally creates the club, and is the essential document to have on record for its existence.  An organization’s bylaws set up the guidelines for the club to follow when it comes to its structure and its officers.  Many times, when clubs have issues, they call the Civitan International World Headquarters to help navigate the next steps.  Because these documents can change, world HQ needs the current ones on file for each club.  An extra benefit of completing this step will be that these important documents will be stored at World Headquarters for reference for your future club members and leadership.  We’ve had a few clubs lose these over the years, and essentially we will become a library for our clubs with these on record.  For those clubs that don’t have these documents, it alerts members and International about the issue so it can be solved and new documents in this manner can be put in place.

Part Two pertains to finances.  We will be requesting your 2018-2019 fiscal year-end records. 


               Every club should have the practice of finalizing their fiscal year and presenting those records to their members as a way of being transparent to stakeholders about where their dues and any income from fundraising events go.  Civitan International would like a copy of these so we can understand the current financial issues facing our clubs to help with future decisions and trainings, as well as have these on record in case the club loses their tax-exempt status and needs our help restoring it. 

Part Three is for American clubs only.  We will require clubs in the United States to submit their 990 annual IRS filing for fiscal year 2019.  We will also ask for a copy of any IRS determination letter the club possesses. 


               All American clubs are required by the U.S. government to file a 990 each year, and which 990 is dependent on level of income for the club.  If a club does not file its 990 three years in a row, it loses its tax-exempt status.  A club with no tax-exempt status risks having to pay taxes on any income.   Civitan clubs are linked to Civitan International in the eyes of the IRS, so if a club doesn’t follow the rules here, it also puts the “mother organization” at risk.  In addition, having it as a step in this compliance initiative helps remind each club to execute this filing each year.

All requested documents are to be submitted in digital format for emailing. Please begin the process of gathering and digitizing the above items.   Club presidents and other leaders will soon get more instructions, but the deadline for receipt of these documents is February 1, 2020.  If you have questions, concerns, or if you need any support on this matter, call 1.800.248.4826 ext. 121 or email