The NAM Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
The NAM Blog keeps you up-to-date on the most important news and notes. If you have an idea for a blog entry, please contact us at training@nonprofitam.org.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: COVID  COVID-Finance  COVID-Resources  COVID-HR  COVID-Webinars  COVID-SelfCare  COVID-States  advocacy  advocacy lobbying  featured member  fringe benefit  Nonprofit Overhead  Nonprofit Oversight  nonprofit overtime  parking expenses  qualified transportation  tax deduction 

Great example of stakeholder messaging during Covid-19

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020

Link here: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Kids-with-Brain-Cancer-Need-You.html?soid=1115455899324&aid=JyPF6rBA1kM

  SHARE:  
 
Dear Friend and Supporter of Team Jack,
 
Schools and businesses are closing, and we are all having to adapt to a "new normal" due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, during a time that is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes, with schedules and routines halted, there is one thing we know for sure that has not stopped.Kids are still getting diagnosed with brain cancer.On top of that, children with brain cancer are immunocompromised, making them one of the most at-risk groups affected by coronavirus.
 
They still must travel for treatments and sometimes this is long-distance travel. For some of us, we are fortunate enough to alter our lives to adapt to this "new normal" but for kids with brain cancer, their lives can't stop, they must continue to fight, no matter the circumstances.And we must continue to fight for them, but we need your help.
 
There are many ways you can continue to help Team Jack and kids with brain cancer during these difficult times.
First, thank you...
Thank you for doing your part in social distancing which protects the patient population we work so hard to help. We’ve all be asked to self-quarantine to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 and the large majority seems to be doing this. We are grateful for the conscious effort made by many to help slow the spread of this virus.
Team Jack is doing their part....
We felt it was necessary to postpone the 4thAnnual Team Jack Trifecta in Plano, TX that was scheduled for March 21, 2020. While abiding by current social distancing restrictions and taking extra precautions to keep us and our families safe, we are doing our best to continue normal operations. We will monitor our upcoming events and be sure we are doing our part.
 
While we understand the difficult times our supporters, donors, friends and family are going through, you can still make an impact on child brain cancer.
Spread Awareness
Part of the mission of the Team Jack Foundation isto work to create national awareness for childhood brain cancer.Here are some things you can do to help us spread awareness all while helping flatten the curve!
  • If you have any Team Jack gear at home,send us a photoof you wearing your gear! We will blast it out on our social media to help raise awareness!
  • Don't have any Team Jack gear? Get 30% off & a free wristband through April 30th!SHOP NOW!
  • Share our posts! Team Jack will continue to bring the latest news about our Foundation and childhood brain cancer research to our social media accounts. Help us by sharing these posts with your friends!
  • Reach out to a friend! We are all craving social interaction now more than ever. Now is a great time to pick up the phone or write a letter to a friend. Share with them what you know about Team Jack and why you support the cause.
How to Help from Home
Throughout the year, we have many individuals who host fundraisers to help us raise money for our cause. Although we must cancel/postpone events during this time, that doesn't mean you can't host a fundraiser virtually!We have many resources to help you! Here are some below:
 
  • Social fundraising:Team Jack has the ability for you to host an online fundraiser and create a page for you on our website to do so.Examples of fundraisers include: run your own race and ask people to support you, online lemonade stands, use Twitch (a gaming app) or other apps and ask people to make donations to our cause.
  • Facebook Fundraising:Did you know you can create fundraisers through Facebook? Just clickhereto start a fundraiser for Team Jack and share with your friends! Dedicate your birthday, anniversary or any other special time to Team Jack and share on Facebook!
  • Give Back while Shopping Online:If you are using platforms like Amazon, shopAmazonSmileand give back to Team Jack with any purchase! Also, check outFat Brain Toysfor awesome things for kids to do at home during this time and round up to support Team Jack at checkout!
 
Got an idea you want to run by us?Contact us!
Share & Communicate
During this unusual time, we are putting extra focus on raising awareness and thanking our donors. An interruption in our normal activities has allowed us to take a moment to realize just how fantastic our support base is.
 
We want to know what motivates you to support Team Jack and kids fighting brain cancer.
 
Send us a Facebook message, anemailor give us acall, we want to hear from you!
 
While we know it is important to make drastic changes to our lives right now, we also know that it is important to continue to fight for kids who are being diagnosed with brain cancer every day. That won't stop and neither will we. In addition to that, researchers are continuing to forge ahead in discovering new treatments for these kids, so we must continue to support them, but we cannot do it without you.
 
Thank you for your support and for helping us make childhood brain cancer a priority.
 
Lastly, to make you smile and leave with a positive note, here is a special note from our friend and brain tumor fighter, Mackenzie...
 
CONTACT US:
PO Box 607 | Atkinson, NE 68713
TeamJackFoundation.org | 855-RUN-JACK
 
FOLLOW US:

Tags:  COVID  COVID-Resources 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Are you wiling to share your story of the impact of COVID-19 on your nonprofit?

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020

Media requests are coming in looking for nonprofits who are willing to tell their story of how COVID-19 is impacting them.  See the article in today's NY 

Times,  A New Mission for Nonprofits During the Outbreak: Survival, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/business/nonprofits-survival-ronavirus.html?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_1108261&cid=pt&source=ams&sourceId=2384499

 

Please contact me directly is your organization can do this. Thanks for considering.

Best, 

Anne

 

Anne Hindery

Chief Executive Officer

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands

Tags:  COVID 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Assistance for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020

Outlook Enrichment Hotline for Blind and Visually Impaired
It can be overwhelming to find the resources you need during this challenging time, especially if you have poor or no vision. If you can’t see or can’t see very well, call Outlook Enrichment’s COVID-19 Help Line at 531-365-5059 for assistance from people who understand vision challenges and want to help. This line is staffed 8 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Messages received outside of these times will be answered within 24 hours. These resources can also be found at outlookne.org/covidhelp.

Tags:  COVID  COVID-Resources 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Cox Communications Connect to Compete program

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020

I want to share a few things Cox has implemented to help customers (and those who may not even have internet at home) at this time.  This is especially important as more people work from home or may have to remain at home for an extended period. 

 

·         For a limited time, the first month of service for new Connect2Compete (low-cost internet for low-income families with K-12 students) will be free, with a very low price point ongoing for families who qualify

·         Cox has launched a temporary price reduction and speed increase for our Starter internet product to help seniors, college students and low-income families who do not have K-12 students (see bullet #1)

·         Residential customers in the company’s Starter, Straight-Up Internet, and Connect2Compete packages will be automatically upgraded to speeds of 50 Mbps.  More information:  https://newsroom.cox.com/Cox_expands_coronavirus_relief_for_remote_workers_and_students.

·         For these specific tiers, Cox is extending its Cox Complete Care remote desktop support at no charge to residential customers with remote helpdesk and assistance for loading new applications they may need to use during this time, such as online classroom support applications and web conferencing services

 

·         Cox is opening 500+ Cox outdoor municipal WiFi hotspots across the Greater metro areas

·         Cox is eliminating data usage overages for a 60-day period to meet the higher bandwidth demands

·         Cox is supporting the FCC’s Keep America Connected initiative by pledging for the next 60 days to not terminate service to any residential or small business customer because of an inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; waive any late fees that any residential or small business customer incurs because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and  

 

Any resident who wishes to speak with Cox about any of these options may reach us at 402-933-3000.

 

I also want you to know our highly redundant and resilient network is fully operational, and we believe we are well-prepared to support the growing number of customers who are working and learning from home. Our all-hands-on-deck team of nationwide network professionals are holistically monitoring and managing our network, both physically from our network operations centers and 100 percent virtually, if needed.

 

Lynne

 

Lynne (Sangimino) Reif | Market Vice President

  11505 W. Dodge Rd.  Omaha, NE 68154

o: 402.934.1179  |m: 402.763.7290 | lynne.reif@cox.com

Tags:  COVID  COVID-Resources 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Self-Insured Nonprofits and Unemployment Insurance

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020
Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Friday, March 27, 2020

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

NMotion, gener8tor, and LPED Announce Emergency Response Program

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            MEDIA CONTACT

March 26th, 2020 Troy Vosseller

                                                                                                                        608-354-6606

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               troy@gener8tor.com

 

NMotion, gener8tor, and LPED Announce Emergency Response Program

 

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - NMotion, in partnership with gener8tor and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development announced today a new initiative supporting Nebraska small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the Emergency Response Program, small businesses, startups, freelancers, and nonprofits will have access to a free, week-long webinar series designed to identify and leverage critical resources in order to weather this ongoing public health crisis. 

 

As a part of the program, participants will be provided with daily webinars featuring experts in the following areas:

  • Applying for SBA-eligible programs;
  • Civic, philanthropic and state emergency relief resources;
  • Employment law experts to help navigate the changes required by the new laws;
  • Federal emergency relief programs; and
  • Mental health and wellness resources for small business owners.

In addition to webinars, gener8tor will host dedicated, daily office hours for small businesses to meet digitally with business advisors. The gener8tor team will be working one-on-one with companies to address the various issues small businesses are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

gener8tor will also work with community groups interested in providing pro bono resources to small businesses.

 

Interested businesses may visit gener8tor.com/emergency-response-program/nebraska to register. The registration deadline is Wednesday, April 1, and the program will take place the following week (April 6th - April 10th) All Nebraska-based businesses are invited to participate.

“The support of entrepreneurs in our community is more crucial than ever right now. The Emergency Response Program is a powerful tool for us to leverage all of the resources in our network to help small businesses through this challenging and uncertain time,” said Christina Oldfather, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and Board of Directors for NMotion.   

“We have seen firsthand the impact that entrepreneurs have on a community, and we hope to call on our network of mentors, investors and partners to support small business owners through this new Emergency Response Program,” said Joe Kirgues, gener8tor co-founder.

 

###

 

About gener8tor

gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects entrepreneurs (startup founders, artists and musicians,) investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships.

 

gener8tor is a nationally ranked, GOLD-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project:

http://seedrankings.com

Tags:  COVID  COVID-Webinars 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Latest COVID resources

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020
Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

COVID-19 Flash poll results from Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020

MNN and Philanthropy Massachusetts asked nonprofits about the current and anticipated impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on their programs, services, and operations. Here are the results.

 

Thank you to those who have shared their experiences with and preparations for the COVID-19 outbreak through the Flash Poll. MNN and Philanthropy Massachusetts received over 950 responses to the Flash Poll from nonprofits of all sizes, sub-sectors, and from all regions of the state.

 

Below is a report of the responses organized by question. (Note that some of the questions and responses have been combined.)

 

MNN is working with government officials and nonprofit leaders on the issues nonprofits are facing in the coronavirus crisis.Read more about MNN's policy responsehere.

 

A list of resources, policy updates, and philanthropy/government-led relief efforts to aid nonprofits in responding to COVID-19 can be found on MNN's website here. This list is updated daily. Reach out toFernando Martinezwith any questions.

 

Has your organization been impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, or do you expect it to be impacted?

 

Over 95% of respondents said that they were experiencing or anticipated experiencing impacts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Estimate the level of severity that any impacts are currently having or are predicted to have on the programs, services, or operations of your organization.

 

52% of respondents characterized the severity of impacts as “high” (defined as “significant disruptions”), 43% characterized the severity as “moderate” (defined as “minor disruptions”), and 5% characterized the severity as "low" (defined as "little to no impact").

 

Which of the following impacts has your organization experienced or does it anticipate experiencing?

 

Respondents selected the specific impacts on their organizations as follows:

· Cancellations of programs or events (e.g. fundraisers) and corresponding losses in revenues: 89%

· Disruptions of services to clients and communities: 67%

· Budgetary implications related to strains on the economy: 60%

· Increased and sustained staff and volunteer absences: 47%

· Disruption of supplies or services provided by partners: 28%

· Increased demand for services/support from clients and communities: 25%

 

Has your organization responded, or does it anticipate responding, to the spread of the coronavirus in any of the following ways?

 

Respondents selected the specific responses of their organizations as follows:

· Rescheduling or canceling programs and events (e.g. fundraisers): 92%

· Staying informed via news and updates from the CDC and the MA Department of Public Health: 91%

· Encouraging proper hand hygiene and reminding employees of proper cough and sneeze etiquette: 89%

· Encouraging employees who feel sick to stay at home: 87%

· Changing in-person events to virtual events using video conferencing software (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.): 74%

· Revisiting or instituting updated remote work and sick leave policies and updating employees: 64%

 

Note: Between the poll's launch last Wednesday and its close yesterday, many more nonprofits have closed offices, instituted work-from-home policies, or paused operations. Actual numbers may be higher.

 

Are you experiencing, or do you anticipate, a decrease in revenue and/or an increase in expenses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis?

 

63% of respondents reported that they are experiencing or anticipated experiencing a decrease in their revenue as a result of the the COVID-19 crisis. 14% of respondents reported no change and 23% of respondents reported that they were unsure.

 

31% of respondents reported that they were experiencing or anticipated experiencing an increase in their expenses. 47% of respondents reported no change, and 22% reported that they were unsure.

 

Are there any resources or guidance that MNN and Philanthropy Massachusetts could provide or share on COVID-19 preparation and response?

 

The majority of respondents reported needing resources to weather the COVID-19 crisis in the forms of:

· financial relief;

· information and best practices on how to respond to the crisis; and

· remote work/work from home support, including sample policies and access to affordable software.

Tags:  COVID  COVID-States 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Community Foundation response fund list

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020
Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

COVID resources

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tags:  COVID 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

FROM SUSTAINABILITY TO SURVIVABILITY By: Steve Zimmerman

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020
FROM SUSTAINABILITY TO SURVIVABILITY
By: Steve Zimmerman

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  COVID  COVID-Finance 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Required Poster-FFCRA

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Thursday, March 26, 2020
Required Poster-FFCRA

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  COVID  COVID-HR 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Important news for tax-exempt organizations

Posted By Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Wednesday, December 19, 2018

AICPA, Not-for-Profit Section News
December 11, 2018 – Volume 18 No. 28

The Internal Revenue Service has issued interim guidance regarding the treatment of qualified transportation fringe benefit expenses paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2017. The new rules will help you determine the amount of parking expenses that are no longer tax deductible for for-profit taxpayers and the corresponding increase in unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) for not-for-profit taxpayers. 

Under a special rule, employers will have until March 31, 2019, to change their parking arrangements thereby potentially enabling them to reduce or eliminate potential UBTI with respect to parking fringes. And it may be possible to avoid having to file a Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, altogether.

For purposes of imputing UBTI under IRC Section 512(a)(7) for not-for-profit organizations, depreciation is not included in “total parking expenses.” Notice 2018-99 also offers a reasonable four-step methodology for determining the amount of UBTI resulting from the provision of employee parking.

The IRS also announced that it will provide estimated tax penalty relief in 2018 to some tax-exempt organizations that offer these benefits and were not required to file a Form 990-T in their prior filing season.

Tags:  fringe benefit  parking expenses  qualified transportation  tax deduction 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Battling Bored Boards – Five Tips for Lighting a Fire Under Your Board.

Posted By Kelly Koepsell, Director of Membership & Operations, Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Time and time again, stressed nonprofit leaders ask for ways to reenergize their board. There’s no doubt about it - a committed nonprofit board of directors can catapult an agency forward, while a disengaged board can… well, we’ve all heard (or lived!) the horror stories. Here’s five tips to try if your board could use some spark:

1.       Put it in writing

I know you have a great orientation for new board members that is so thorough that there is no doubt in their mind about your expectations of them. I hate to tell you this, but that was a year ago and since then your board member has changed jobs, adopted a baby and a dog, and found moles in their yard. They may not be thinking about your organization much. A written job description or other document that outlines board member expectations gives your board chair something to fall back on if a discussion about director performance ever needs to be had.

 

2.       Feed their ego

They were asked to join your board because there is something awesome about them, right? That quality is still there, it’s just preoccupied. When was the last time you reminded them that there are things your organization needs that only they can do? They joined your board because they love your mission. Use their skills and make sure they know how vital they are to your good work.

 

3.       Mission moments

What has made you proud recently? Did your staff get public kudos? Did a person you serve reach a milestone? Did your baby goat rescue save a record number of baby goats? Make sure your board knows about it! You don’t have to wait for a board meeting. A quick email to share your good news will generate warm fuzzies AND remind them that there was something they were supposed to do before the next meeting.

 

4.       Imagine…

Look at your board meetings. Are you spending all your time on financials and other day to day matters? Take some time to dream. Your board is uniquely positioned to help you explore what your agency can do and be 5, 10, 20 years into the future because they aren’t mired in the day to day. I’m not talking about strategic planning, I’m talking about developing a shared overall vision for the future that gets people excited. What will your agency, your community, or the world look like when you fulfill your mission? Your board can’t help but get excited about that.

 

5.       Plan a play date

The relationships between board members is as important as any other work of your board. Board members don’t need to be best friends, but professional friendships among board members leads to greater accountability to each other, and therefore better results for your organization. Get out of the board room and have some fun together!

 

Does your board need help? Your NAM membership gets you discounted rates for Board Masters training and access to BoardSource. Contact Rosey for more information.  

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Strategic Planning - Where to Start?

Posted By Anne Hindrey, Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Now that it’s time to update your strategic plan, how do you get started?

 

NAM reached out to our business partners to get their take on the best way to proceed.  We heard that RFP’s are a time suck, and several vendors have felt burned by that process. Moving to more of a “Request for Qualifications” with an interview process, much like you’d hire an architect or employee, may be a more effective way to go.

 

That said…here’s what we heard:

Invest the time to understand what you want to get out of a strategic planning process.  In other words, are you ready?

 

If it’s been awhile you may want to consider updating your organization's Guidelines and Principles assessments.  This will give you a clear understanding of where your organization is and help you decide where you want to go.  To help you get started here are a few steps we recommend.

 

  • Develop a scope of work that clearly outlines what you are interested in accomplishing. 
  • Share this with some consultants that do this type of work.  
  • Ask them for nonprofit references and get feedback from some of their other clients.  
  • Ask for their qualifications to do this work
  • Set up some interviews with a few that peak your interest.  

 

As in so much that we do, this work is about building relationships so take the time to make sure you find a good fit.  Once you’ve chosen your vendor, now you/they can develop a scope of services to ensure your expectations are met.

 

 

 

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

2018 Nebraska Legislative Recap

Posted By Hannah Young, Wednesday, April 25, 2018

As many of you may know the Nebraska Legislature adjourned Sine Die last Wednesday, April 18th, and property taxes again dominated the agenda. This year the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands took positions on two bills that would have increased reporting requirements for some nonprofits and negatively impacted revenue for the nonprofit sector as a whole.  

LB 1130 -Indefinitely postponed (NAM Opposed)

-Provide a disclosure requirement for certain tax-exempt organizations under the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act

LB 947- Indefinitely postponed (NAM Opposed)

-Adopt the Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act, change income tax rates, and eliminate certain exemptions and credits.

Our opposition to LB 947 was rooted in two key aspects of the bill: fully implemented, it would have cost $650 million by 2030, and without a way to pay for those cuts, the state’s investments in K-12 public schools, health care, public safety, law enforcement, infrastructure and other crucial services could have been cut. With the tax cuts in place, the only other way to preserve funding for these services would be to raise additional revenue by increasing other taxes and fees.

Our work is not over, however. Organizers of a property tax petition are trying to get the issue on the November ballot. The petition would put a $1 billion hole in the state's budget and advocates have not indicated how they propose the lost revenue will be made up. 

We will continue to monitor bills that may come up at the state level next session and potential ballet initiative regarding property taxes. Our full Public Policy Agenda can be found here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Hannah Young at hannah@nonprofitam.org

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Measure What You Do in the Face of New Overtime Rules

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 22, 2016

As the date for implementation of the new overtime rules draws near, nonprofits are beginning to plan their strategies for addressing the increased staff costs. This process is likely to produce some new insights into wage fairness in the sector in general. Some service nonprofits are looking at multiple positions where the new rules will apply.

We have approximately 40 employees that right now are exempt. And with the changes, that will change to only approximately 10,” said Michele Bronson, who handles human resources at the Council on Aging. With an $8 million annual budget that funds services for 164,000 clients, Bronson said compliance is going to mean making some tough decisions about which employees, from case managers to grant writers, will receive a raise.

“The people who work here full time need to work full time. Either we pay overtime for all of those hours, we hire someone else to do that part, which costs money, or look at doing the increase in the salary so we won’t have to have this person go non-exempt,” she said.

Bronson is starting to plan by asking all to employees log their hours, and then she has to analyze whether it’s worth paying overtime.

The regulatory change will raise the non-exempt salary rate from $23,660 to $47,476 annually, meaning that workers who earn less than the threshold will need to track their time and will be paid overtime for weeks they work more than 40 hours. Nonprofits have until December, when the law goes into effect, to determine whether they will be able to raise enough funds to cover the overtime costs or higher salaries, will need to make cuts, or can, as employment attorney Mark Neuberger suggests, “get creative.”

As covered extensively by NPQnonprofit reactions to the new overtime rule have been wide ranging. The overall sentiment seems to be that while nonprofits support the intent of the law, they are worried about how they will implement it and feel its impact. The fear of downsizing, either in terms of staff size or reach of mission, has caused some organizations to protest the rule and a number of members of Congress to introduce opposing legislation.

Andy Schmidt may have made the best argument yet in favor of the overtime rule change in “Is Exploiting Workers Key to Your Nonprofit Enterprise Model? The New Overtime Requirements.” This article implores organizations to take a hard look at themselves and consider whether progress is being made towards mission at the cost of employees. It’s a must-read for any organization that’s facing tough decisions come December.

Rather than fight the overtime change, nonprofits need to begin looking at it through the more positive lens of offering quality over quantity. Nonprofit organizations are fighting some of the most difficult battles, which include poverty, hunger, domestic violence, and human rights. This work can be exhausting both mentally and emotionally, leading to organizations beset with employee burnout and high staff turnover—both of which can be relieved by welcoming the new overtime rule. If staff aren’t taken care of, how can they take care of constituents? Studies indicate that well-treated staff who feel valued work harder, remain with the organization longer, and deliver a higher quality of care that propels organizations towards achieving their mission.

Michael Wasser, a labor policy analyst for Jobs with Justice, notes that nonprofits that really take this challenge on with a positive approach may reap benefits in less burnout and turnover. “For many nonprofits, it’s the people who work for them that are their value add, and making sure that they can go home and recharge can have long-term sustaining benefits, because you don’t have to go out and recruit, train up, rebuild that knowledge.” Likewise, Mark Neuberger, employment attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP, says the new rules merely bring workplaces, be they nonprofit or for profit, up to date. “The law was passed at a time when men—and I mean men—went to work, and if the man wore a white shirt, they didn’t get overtime. And if they wore a blue shirt, they punched the clock and got overtime. Life today is not nearly so simple,” he said.

At the end of the day, whether your employer is nonprofit or for-profit, you and your fellow employees should be able to make ends meet, if not live comfortably. Passion and a decent wage should not be mutually exclusive.

How is your nonprofit facing the new overtime rules? Please write to us and let us know!

Tags:  nonprofit overtime 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The New Overtime Rules Spotlight a Systemic Problem for Nonprofits

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Read the full article here.

Once the Department of Labor issued its new rules raising the threshold for overtime eligibility for exempt staff, many nonprofits faced the challenge of determining their organizational response. At the simplest level, this was just another budget challenge to be answered. But below the surface, the Department of Labor’s act forced the nonprofit community to confront the ethics and wisdom of organizational models and cultures that expect staff to work long hours and make personal sacrifices with little economic reward in return.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

What's the difference between advocacy and lobbying?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 18, 2016
What's the difference between advocacy and lobbying?  Are there clear distinctions?

Nonprofits often serve constituents who face challenges in weighing in on key issues passing through our public decision making processes.  Yet, their experiences and perspectives are critical to crafting effective policy solutions.  Nonprofit staff can serve an important role in both facilitating participation in advocacy among communities they serve as well as sharing their perspectives as agencies who see many of the issues our leaders are trying to address first hand each day.  In fact, nonprofits sharing their perspectives and engaging their clients to do the same is essential to better understanding issues and finding the best solutions.
 
Advocacy consists of the range of activities through which organizations inform, educate and compel people to action on an issue central to their mission and at all levels of society – local, state, regional and national.  Advocacy and awareness raising can take many forms: marketing campaigns, conferences, press conferences, letters to media, meetings with elected officials to introduce them to your mission, and many more.
 
Lobbying, by contrast, is a regulated set of actions in support of or in opposition to specific pieces of legislation.  One threshold for lobbying is that the communication include a “call to action” on an organization’s part, whether it is directly to the decision maker (please vote yes!) or asking someone else to talk to a decision maker (please call your senator and ask them to vote yes).  The IRS has rules defining how much of an organization’s time and money can be dedicated to lobbying and to which category of lobbying – Direct or Grassroots – both of which have their own limitations. The IRS has reporting requirements for these types of activities as well.  While there are rules that must be followed, they are easy to manage even for a small organization.  If you want to learn more now, a great resource on advoacay and lobbying by nonprofits is Alliance for Justice www.afj.org.


Becky received her B.A. in History with High Distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her J.D. with Distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

She has worked at Nebraska Appleseed since October of 2001 first as a Staff Attorney for the Economic Justice Program specializing in poverty law and then starting in 2007 as Executive Director.

During her time with Appleseed, Becky has successfully litigated cases in state and federal court and engaged in policy advocacy at the state and federal levels on issues ranging from poverty to immigration.

In addition to her work at Appleseed, Becky is the President of the Robert Van Pelt Inn of Court, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Rural Affairs, the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands and ISoft Data Systems, Inc.

She lives with her husband Jeff and their two children near Valparaiso, Nebraska.

Tags:  advocacy lobbying 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The Rising of the States in Nonprofit Oversight

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 18, 2016

This article originally appeared in the Nonprofit Quarterly Aug 16, 2016; the original article can be found here: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/08/11/rising-states-nonprofit-oversight/

In an extraordinary development, all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Trade Commission filed a federal lawsuit in May 2015 against four charities and their operators, alleging that they had defrauded more than $187 million from donors.1 While the dollar amount was staggering, the most unusual aspect of the lawsuit was the incredible level of cooperation among state nonprofit regulators. This cooperation was evident not only in the bringing of the lawsuit but also in its successful settlement less than a year later, with the defendant charities and their principal officers surrendering substantial assets, agreeing to dissolution of the charities, and acquiescing to being banned from fundraising and management of charities and charitable assets in the future.2

This development highlights the growing sophistication and cooperation of state nonprofit regulators. And it is not an isolated incident. Building on seeds planted over the past several decades, state regulators are both individually and collectively increasing their oversight of nonprofits.

This trend is fortunate for those who care about oversight of nonprofits, because it comes at a time when the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts in this area are atrophying. Even before the recent controversy related to the handling of exemption applications filed by politically active nonprofits, the IRS faced a tight budget and a growing list of responsibilities, including significant rulemaking and administrative duties related to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. These pressures, in turn, led to a growing backlog of applications for recognition of exemption, a decline in the already low audit rate for tax-exempt nonprofits, and limited new guidance for nonprofits seeking to comply with the complex federal tax rules applicable to them.3

The mess involving exemption applications filed with the IRS by Tea Party and other conservative-leaning groups worsened this situation in several ways, however. It accelerated the development of streamlined application procedures—including, but not limited to, the new Form 1023-EZ—that significantly reduce the level of IRS review for new organizations. It also gave Congress another reason to underfund the IRS, forced a wholesale change in the leadership of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, and almost certainly made employees throughout that division wary of pursuing all but the most egregious violations of federal tax law. IRS examinations of annual information returns (primarily the Form 990 series) are now at an anemic level of less than four-tenths of a percent annually. This is at a time when the number of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations has grown to over one and a half million—not including churches and other houses of worship that are not required to seek such recognition from the IRS.

So, what have state nonprofit regulators been doing during this time of decline in IRS oversight? Individually, many of them have been working hard to review and improve their laws and procedures governing nonprofits, as well as increase efforts to reach the regulated community and those who advise that community.

Individual State Initiatives

In the wake of the Enron disgrace and other scandals that rocked the for-profit sector, California enacted the Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004 to improve the governance procedures and enhance the filing requirements for charities, other nonprofits that hold funds for charitable purposes, and commercial fundraisers.4 Significant new requirements included in the act are a shortened period for registering with the attorney general (thirty days after the initial receipt of property); mandatory audited financial statements and detailed audit-committee requirements for charitable corporations with gross annual revenues of $2 million or more; mandatory board or board committee review of senior officer compensation; and numerous additional filing requirements for commercial fundraisers.

In 2013, New York enacted the Nonprofit Revitalization Act based on recommendations from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, made up of representatives from the New York nonprofit community.5 The act sought to relieve burdens on that community by reducing the number of categories for nonprofit corporations under New York law, simplifying certain formation procedures, and increasing revenue thresholds for certain auditing requirements. It also imposed enhanced corporate governance standards—including those relating to conflicts of interest, related party transactions, whistle-blowing, and financial audits—and gave the attorney general increased enforcement authority. More specifically, the act requires a written conflict of interest policy (with certain provisions for boards of all nonprofit corporations), mandates certain procedures for related party transactions, and requires a whistle-blower policy for nonprofit corporations with twenty or more employees and over $1 million in annual revenue. New York also recently announced a project to systematically review its registration and financial filing procedures for charities and fundraising professionals.6

These efforts are in addition to the increasing availability of state nonprofit filings through Internet-accessible databases, prominent announcements of investigations into alleged wrongdoing by nonprofits, and required annual reports detailing the high fundraising costs of certain nonprofits. On the latter point, examples include California’s commercial fundraisers reports, Massachusetts’s Report on Professional Solicitations for Charity, and New York’s Pennies for Charities report. In addition, state regulators have been working to enhance the other information available on their websites, providing an increasing number of plain-language guides on topics ranging from formation to fiduciary duties to dissolution. State regulators have also become regular presenters at many conferences focused on nonprofit legal issues, including meetings of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation; the Georgetown Law Representing and Managing Tax-Exempt Organizations conference; and the Loyola Law School Western Conference on Tax Exempt Organizations.

At least one state has taken a more innovative approach to combating what it perceives as unduly high fundraising expenses: An Oregon statute now disqualifies charities from eligibility to receive contributions that are tax deductible for purposes of Oregon’s income tax and corporate excise tax if program expenses fall below 30 percent of total annual functional expenses for the most recent three-year period. In December 2015, the Oregon Department of Justice announced the first three nonprofits to fall afoul of this rule; it remains to be seen whether any of them try to challenge their disqualification in court.7

States and localities have also become increasingly active in challenging the often very valuable property tax exemptions enjoyed by many nonprofits. These disputes have involved Princeton University; the Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, in Attleboro, Massachusetts; dozens of hospitals; and property owned by numerous other types of nonprofits.8 With no relief in sight for many state and local government budgets, these challenges show no signs of ebbing.

At the same time, state nonprofit regulators appear to have mostly avoided or backed away from getting involved with the regulation of political activity by nonprofits. While California and New York have been particularly active in this area, those states ultimately passed new election laws expanding disclosure of political activity by all types of entities, not just nonprofits, and disclosure of funding sources for such activity.9 By doing so, they avoided any need to modify the laws specifically covering nonprofits. In New York, the attorney general actually revoked previously issued proposed regulations that would have targeted for disclosure political activity by tax-exempt organizations, on the grounds that the election law changes made the proposed regulations largely redundant. This is almost certainly a positive development, given the IRS’s experience with regulating political activity by tax-exempt organizations, as it keeps this difficult and risky task in the hands of the state agencies that administer state election laws and thus are better suited to oversee such activity. That risk is illustrated by the ongoing litigation challenging California’s attempts at requiring tax-exempt nonprofits to submit to the state attorney general the list of donors they file with the IRS. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld on its face the attorney general’s ability to demand this information, but a federal district court has barred this demand with respect to one particular, politically active nonprofit: the Koch brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity.10

Collective State Efforts

State nonprofit regulators have also been increasing their communication and coordination across state lines. While such efforts can be traced back to occasional projects under the auspices of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), they gained a more formal structure with the launch of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) in 1979. In particular, NASCO’s annual conference, which includes both public and regulator-only sessions, provides an ongoing opportunity for state regulators to meet each other, share their experiences, and learn about new developments. NASCO has also played a critical role in helping develop the Unified Registration Statement for nonprofits engaged in charitable solicitation, and the more recent Single Portal Initiative, which seeks to develop a one-stop Internet platform for charitable solicitation registration and reporting for all states that require such filings. NASCO has also begun to show a willingness to critique IRS oversight efforts—not just behind the scenes but also publicly, as shown by the concerns it recently raised about the new IRS Form 1023-EZ.11

The Single Portal Initiative is a good example of how long it can take for such collective efforts to bear fruit. The Initiative can be traced at least as far back as 2003, when the U.S. Department of Commerce provided initial funds for the project to GuideStar, which was working in partnership with NASCO.12 Almost thirteen years later, the Initiative published an official Request for Information, seeking input on the pilot website that NAAG and NASCO plan to launch by the end of 2016.

In 2006, the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School developed the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project directed by Program Executive Director and Senior Counsel Cindy Lott.13 The project provides an opportunity for state regulators to gather together to learn about various topics of common interest, including conservation easements, fraud in the charitable sector, and future trends in state regulation of charities. It also supports in-depth research into state regulation and enforcement of the charitable sector, in cooperation with the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.14

Finally, NAAG recently formed its Charities Committee, which joins a dozen other NAAG special committees that focus on topics ranging from agriculture to federalism to substance abuse. This move is significant, because it institutionalizes attorney general–level attention to the oversight of charities. Consisting of eight attorneys general, the committee’s description highlights the breadth of its role:

The NAAG Charities Committee mission is to assist and enable attorneys general concerning charities registration and enforcement issues and matters by providing information, communication and support; to facilitate cooperation among the various areas of attorneys general offices that handle charities registration and enforcement through open dialogue and communication; to plan, organize and conduct training and annual seminars in coordination with the National Association for State Charities Officials and its assistant attorney general members for the exchange of ideas and information on matters relevant to charities registration and enforcement; and to promote the development of effective charities registration and enforcement programs and education for the protection of citizens and increasing awareness of our duties to our citizens.15

Ramifications for Nonprofits

So, what do these developments mean for nonprofits? There are several important takeaways:

  • The IRS is not the only sheriff in town. Especially for charities, state regulators have the authority and willingness to pursue wrongdoing. Like the IRS, they face budget pressures and competing priorities, but state regulators are showing an ability to manage these pressures through both innovation at the individual state level and coordination with other states and federal agencies at the national level. Forums such as NASCO, NAAG’s Charities Committee, and the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project will only continue to enhance state regulators’ ability to do more with their limited resources and to work together.
  • For compliant nonprofits, increased state innovation and cooperation is (mostly) good news. A primary goal of the ongoing state efforts is to reduce the regulatory burdens on nonprofits that are in good faith seeking to comply with applicable state laws. For example, New York’s Nonprofit Revitalization Act amended New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law to raise revenue thresholds for certain audit requirements and to simplify the classification of nonprofit corporations. The Single Portal Initiative’s stated goal is to significantly reduce the administrative burden on nonprofits and professional fundraisers that solicit charitable contributions in multiple states, by providing a single online system for required registration and reporting. At the same time, however, these initiatives often impose additional governance requirements on all or some nonprofits, as exemplified by some of the recent changes to New York law and California’s Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004.
  • For noncompliant nonprofits, there is less room to fly below the radar. As states update and revise their laws governing nonprofits and the procedures for enforcing those laws, fewer out-of-compliance nonprofits will be able to escape scrutiny. And increased communication between the states means less opportunity for out-of-compliance nonprofits to avoid oversight by simply ending activities in a given state or relocating to a different state. For example, one aspect of the Single Portal Initiative is to bring together IRS Form 990 data with state registration data, making it easier for state regulators to identify nonprofits that are operating in their jurisdictions without having properly registered or reported, as well as to spot fraudulent activity. These developments are good news for the nonprofit sector as a whole—they should reduce bad behavior, such as that highlighted in the FTC/50-State & DC Lawsuit, that damages the sector’s reputation. At the same time, however, less sophisticated and less well-resourced nonprofits that, while otherwise acting properly, have been able to ignore at least some state legal requirements with relative impunity, may no longer be able to do so—including with respect to both charitable solicitation and property tax exemption.

The bottom line is that nonprofits need to be aware that even as IRS enforcement of the federal requirements for tax-exempt organizations continues to be battered by limited resources and congressional criticism, the states have quietly laid the groundwork for more effective individual and collective oversight of nonprofits. That groundwork is starting to bear fruit, as illustrated by the recent multistate lawsuit, the renewed Single Portal Initiative, and the NAAG Charities Committee, as well as the addition of increasing governance obligations to the nonprofit laws of California and New York. Nonprofits, therefore, must be sure to treat compliance with their state legal obligations as seriously as compliance with their federal tax obligations, as well as making sure to keep track of the ongoing state law developments that could impact them in numerous ways.

Notes

  1. Federal Trade Commission, “FTC, All 50 States and D.C. Charge Four Cancer Charities With Bilking Over $187 Million from Consumers,” press release, May 19, 2015.
  2. Federal Trade Commission, “FTC, States Settle Claims Against Two Entities Claiming to Be Cancer Charities; Orders Require Entities to Be Dissolved and Ban Leader from Working for Non-Profits,” press release, March 30, 2016.
  3. Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, “‘The Better Part of Valour Is Discretion’: Should the IRS Change or Surrender Its Oversight of Tax-Exempt Organizations?,” Columbia Journal of Tax Law7, no. 1 (2016): 80–122.
  4. Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004: Summary of Key Provisions,” California Registry of Charitable Trusts, October 2004.
  5. The Nonprofit Revitalization Act’s New Annual Filing Requirements,” New York State Office of the Attorney General, accessed May 13, 2016.
  6. Charities Bureau’s Business Process Analysis,” New York State Office of the Attorney General, December 16, 2015.
  7. Disqualified Charities,” Oregon Department of Justice, accessed May 13, 2016.
  8. Evelyn Brody, “The 21st Century Fight Over Who Sets the Terms of the Charity Property Tax Exemption,” Exempt Organization Tax Review 77, no. 4 (April 2016); and Michael O’Loughlin, “Should Courts Get to Define Religion?,” Atlantic, May 3, 2016.
  9. Linda Sugin, “Politics, Disclosure, and State Law Solutions for 501(c)(4) Organizations,”Chicago-Kent Law Review 91, no. 3 (forthcoming), Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2768165.
  10. Josh Gerstein, “Koch-linked group scores legal victory over California AG,” Under the Radar (blog), Politico, April 21, 2016.
  11. Letter from Alissa Hecht Gardenswartz, president, National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (April 30, 2014).
  12. GuideStar, “Federal Grant to GuideStar Funds Creation of National Charity Registry,” press release, October 14, 2003.
  13. Columbia Law School, “Charities Regulation and Oversight Project,” accessed May 13, 2016.
  14. Alex Daniels, “Nonprofits Proliferate but Not the Regulators, Says Report,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 5, 2015.
  15. National Association of Attorneys General, “Charities Committee,” accessed May 13, 2016.


Tags:  Nonprofit Oversight 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A Graphic Re-visioning of Nonprofit Overhead

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 18, 2016

This article originally appeared in the Nonprofit Quarterly Aug 16, 2016; the original article can be found here: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/08/16/graphic-re-visioning-nonprofit-overhead/

Most nonprofit leaders agree that we need a new way to communicate about the true costs of our programs and the vital importance of strong organizational infrastructure. But we have not yet developed a simple, consistent message when sharing our view with potential supporters and investors. We are stuck with old terms and old images.

The following series of images and descriptions is really a blog in pictures. How we visualize our understanding of nonprofit structure and programs shapes the overhead debate. It’s time to get graphic about our new ideas—to deploy fresh images to help educate the public, our funders, and ourselves.

It’s Time to Retire This Pie Chart

Overhead-myth-slide

When nonprofits are viewed this way, no matter how hard we try to think differently, we imagine important infrastructure of our organization as taking a slice out of the pie—as diminishing the “real” work of our mission.

Strategic financial functions, good governance, and the development of key funding partnerships are vital to strong organizations. We need a new way to communicate this truth.

We Need a New Image

Rather than thinking of our investment in key infrastructure as diminishing our programs, it should be seen as valuable Core Mission Support.

Core-mission-support-slide-2

Core Mission Support functions are necessary, vital, and integral.

  • Strong, strategic finance and accounting
  • Progressive human resources practices
  • Capable, responsive board governance
  • Talented and engaged development staff

Whole Organizations and True Program Costs

Each of our programs is built around, is supported by, and shares responsibility for Core Mission Support.
True-Program-costs-slide-3

All of the resources we need to accomplish our programs are the True Program Costs, which include four types of expenses:

  • Direct Expenses: Program-Specific
  • Direct Expenses: Shared by Programs
  • Core Mission Support: Finance, HR, and Board
  • Core Mission Support: Fundraising & Partners

Underfunded Programs Create a Gap at the Core

Line-item-gap-slide

Some programs are only partially funded by contributions or by earned revenue.

When a program is only partially funded, the expenses not covered include a proportionate share of the Core Mission Support. This creates a Gap in funding for the finance, human resources, governance, and fundraising infrastructure that support the entire organization.

Line-Item Funding Creates a Gap at the Core

Some funders limit their support to only the direct expenses of program.

Line-item-gap-slide

When funders support only direct expenses, they deny funding for Core Mission Support. This leaves a Gap at the center of our organization. Not only is one program affected, but the health of the entire organization is at risk.

Invest in the Core to Grow the Mission

Grow-core-slide

The growth and effectiveness of our mission work depend on having a solid core at the center of our organizations. Investing in our infrastructure is savvy, prudent, and absolutely necessary.

Go Visual With Our New Thinking

Once we have a new way of understanding and communicating about the Core Mission Support needed by our organizations, it is our job to share our thinking with others. Our funders, supporters and investors all want us to succeed. They are partners in accomplishing our mission work. But like us, they may need help reimagining the role strong infrastructure plays in amplifying program effectiveness. By providing a simple visual guide, we can help transform the way we talk about, picture, and ultimately fund the Core Mission Support that is at the center of all great nonprofits.

Tags:  Nonprofit Overhead 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Five Tips for Turning Advocates into Volunteers

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 6, 2016

 Five Tips for Turning Advocates into Volunteers - Nonprofit Hub

Advocates are a vital piece of any nonprofit’s support system. Intangible encouragement from advocates matters just as much as any monetary donation. Advocates aren’t just voices of support, though; they’re also a great resource when you’re looking to increase your nonprofit’s volunteer base. A study performed by VolunteerMatch and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund showed that 67 percent of volunteers also give money to the organizations where they invest their time. On average, those volunteers end up spending 10 times more than other donors.

That being said, it can be tough to figure out the first step for turning advocates into volunteers. We’ve come up with a handful of tips for helping your supporters take the first plunge into volunteerism.

Recognize Supporters

Be sure to take the time to make your advocates feel recognized. Acknowledge your supporters by giving them a shout-out in newsletters, social media and direct mailings. Doing so helps boost communication with your advocates and encourage continued engagement. But don’t stop there—use those channels to remind people that volunteering, not just donating, is another great way to give back to your cause.

Go Digital

Going digital offers countless chances for creative interaction with younger generations. It gives you the chance to engage your advocates on their terms by talking about their passions and stories. Social media and the web are making it easier than ever to participate in conversations with your supporters. These are a few tips to ensure success for your digital communication with advocates:

  • Make sure your website is accessible on smartphones. 60 percent of digital media consumption occurs on mobile devices.
  • Think big, think groups. Social media can offer advocates leverage to encourage their peers to join them in volunteering.
  • Pay attention. Being responsive to the concerns and feedback of your supporters shows that you care. Giving back to advocates will encourage them to do the same for your organization.

Track Advocacy Data

Kickoff the process of turning your advocates into volunteers by exploring what makes them interested in your organization. Find new ways to track those interests in your data collection software. With that knowledge, you can offer opportunities that are in line with the priorities of your advocates. Once they’ve started volunteering, you can also track your advocates’ engagement by adding data sections for things like hours and interaction.

Don’t Be Shy

Go ahead and tell your advocates that you need volunteers! Communicating your needs is most effective when you speak to the individuals that care for your nonprofit. They’re natural supporters of your cause, which means that they’ll be receptive to your organization’s requests. Before publicizing those requests, make sure you’ve developed a clear goal for what you need from your supporters. Having a plan of action will help shape the way that you encourage your advocates to take action.

The more specific your requests are, the better. For example, breaking down volunteer opportunities for advocates into smaller, more definite time slots helps to alleviate the pressure of committing to volunteer. Specificity in your approach ensures that you aren’t laying too heavy of a burden onto your supporters.

Host a Shindig

Nonprofit events are a great platform to get your advocates to start contributing their resources. It’s a great way for supporters to continue supporting in a different way. Events not only offer up an opportunity to volunteer, but they also give your advocates something to talk about. In a group setting, your nonprofit advocates will be able to engage with others that are passionate about the same cause. With their new experiences, they’ll be able to share fresh stories with their friends and colleagues, A.K.A. new potential advocates and volunteers for your nonprofit. It’s a win-win.

____________________________

The actions of advocates matter greatly to any nonprofit. Their passion supports your cause in an important way. By encouraging their participation in volunteer opportunities, your organization can achieve new potential and greater success.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

REPORT: FOCUS ON LOW OVERHEAD HURTS NONPROFITS

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 6, 2016

Report: Focus on Low Overhead Hurts Nonprofits: Associations Now

New research from the Bridgespan Group highlights how requirements that nonprofits have low overhead could be making it harder for them to effectively fulfill their missions.

When it comes to nonprofits, mission is paramount. But overhead is still a necessary part of the equation, and charitable groups are often encouraged to keep their spending very low.

A new study from the Bridgespan Group, however, has a fresh take on the issue: Nonprofits shouldn’t have to starve their infrastructure spending in the name of keeping overhead low. Instead, the study argues, foundations should “pay what it takes” to build out that infrastructure.

The argument already has some fans among major philanthropic firms.

“All of us in the nonprofit ecosystem are party to a charade with terrible consequences—what we might call the ‘overhead fiction,'” noted Ford Foundation President Darren Walker in comments to the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “The data included in this article along with comparable data for our grantees convinced us that we had to make a change.”

Walker’s group doubled its investment in overhead as part of its most recent funding round, based on the study’s research. What’s in the study that inspired such a dramatic change? Well, here are a few of the key points:

Indirect costs are higher than budgeted. The study, which analyzed 20 high-performing nonprofits in a variety of sectors, found that indirect costs (the study’s more inclusive term for “overhead”) made up an average of 40 percent of the organization’s total costs—in some cases, far beyond the 15 percent overhead rate allotted by most foundations.

Different types of nonprofits have different needs. A research lab and a global NGO with a wide network of affiliates tend not to have a lot in common, other than the fact that they’re both in the nonprofit space. Because these organizations are so different, they often have different spending needs, with network and field management the most important cost for the NGO, and equipment the biggest cost for the research lab. By putting a firm cap on indirect spending by each organization, it can limit how well these organizations conduct their respective missions. The study showed that one of the research organizations analyzed had indirect costs that teetered near 89 percent, with physical costs the biggest point of pressure.

The focus on low overhead hurts charitable efforts. One group cited by the study, the head of a girls’ mentoring organization, said that the philosophical focus on keeping overhead low has led to disinterest in the real picture by foundations. “They don’t want to listen,” the CEO said. “So we have to have two budgets: one that has the real numbers, and another that shows the funders what they want to see. If you don’t give them what they want, they won’t give you any money.”

By making the point in the study, Bridgespan hopes to encourage a rethinking of how overhead is perceived by foundations and other donors.

“If nonprofits would commit to understanding their true cost of operations and if funders would shift to paying grantees what it takes to get the job done, the starvation cycle would end,” Bridgespan Manager Michael Etzel, a study coauthor, said in a news release. “The grantmaking conversation would shift from an emphasis on what it takes to fund a program to what it takes to build strong organizations and achieve impact.”

The full study can be read on the Stanford Social Innovation Reviewwebsite.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Celebrate Nonprofits!

Posted By Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Monday, March 17, 2014

Help us spread the word! Share this motion graphic with your network. 



Tags:  advocacy  featured member 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 3 of 3
1  |  2  |  3