Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Help Your Nonprofit Get Those End Of Year Donations

Most charitable donations take place that the end of the year. That means that your nonprofit needs to do its best to capture the attention of those in the giving spirit. A great way to do that is to let them know the steps they must do to get the maximum benefit from their donations to your nonprofit. If you don’t capture their attention, somebody else will. That’s why you should be the one. You don’t have to spend hard to come by money to deliver that message. Take advantage of your social media and any free radio time you can get.

What your charitable donors must know:

Your donors must itemize their deductions. If they want to capture the full benefit of their charitable donations they will need to itemize them out on the Schedule A of their tax returns. Otherwise their charitable donations to your nonprofit will not count.

Credit card donations and donations by check must be dated no later than December 31 to count for that given year. It’s okay if your donors do not get the credit card billing statement by year’s end or that the check doesn’t clear. The one thing that must be evident was that the act of donating was done prior to year end for it to be used for that tax year.

Your nonprofit is an IRS approved charity. Let them know that you have the 501(c)(3) status. If you don’t, work on getting that.

Larger donations can be rolled over for up to five years. If your charitable donor exceeds the maximum write-off they can do that year they can move it to the next year.

You have the opportunity to make a difference:
Having a basic understanding of the process for donations and how they benefit your charitable donors will lead your nonprofit to a more prosperous road. You don’t have to be an accountant and you shouldn’t give tax advice, but you can certainly let your donors know that there are great benefits to donating to your nonprofit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nonprofits Need To Take Call To Action Over Estate Tax Changes

In the turbulent times of tax restructuring nonprofits are the ones that could be hurt the most by some of the changes that are on the table. These new deals to extend the Bush era tax cuts or some variation of them stand the chance of having a significant financial impact on the donations that many nonprofits rely on to be able to do their good deeds.

Why does estate tax affect nonprofits?
Many nonprofits are funded through government grants and estate taxes are what contribute to those funds many times. With the proposed reductions in estate taxes to only 35% with higher exemption levels the funds, that are critical to many nonprofits success could be cut drastically. The result would be that the wealthiest of American’s would indirectly be taking away the support that is given to people of dire circumstances. A few of these groups are the unemployed, homeless, and single parents. Other groups that would find it more difficult to achieve their goal of helping others would be nonprofits that work towards new beginnings and medical advancements that will help everyone.

How does philanthropy play a role in estate taxes?
One of the first benefits to be threatened is the deductions and their benefits for philanthropists who wish to keep spreading good deeds after they have passed. Without nonprofit groups taking a stand for their passions they could risk losing the funds to continue their valuable work.

Every nonprofit who is concerned about their financial resources must take a stand. Make sure you contact your political representatives and let them know that the estate tax is a vital part of your potential and must remain at a reasonable rate. Don’t undercut your nonprofit’s potential because you didn’t fight against an unreasonably low estate tax.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are you ready for the end of the year?

Do you have the comparable compensation data the IRS requires for the top executives in your organization? Do you know if your employee salaries are in line with the nonprofit marketplace? The NonProfit Times 2010 Salary and Benefits Report provides the comparable compensation data nonprofit organizations need to satisfy IRS Form 990 requirements. The IRS requires nonprofit organizations to report the Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors on Part VII of Form 990 each year. Each nonprofit's Board of Directors must also indicate on Part VI, Section B of Form 990 if comparable data was used in the process of determining compensation for the organization's CEO, Executive Director and other key individuals. Each nonprofit's Board of Directors must also indicate on Part VI, Section B of Form 990 if comparable data was used in the process of determining compensation for the organization's CEO, Executive Director and other key individuals

The 2010 Nonprofit Organizations Salary and Benefits Report is the most comprehensive, data-rich and user friendly salary and benefits report for the nonprofit sector. Purchase it now and get the information that will make the IRS 990 form easier for your organization

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Do You Evaluate A Marketing Plan?

That's just one of the questions posed by Michael Kaiser in his book, "Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask," published this year by University Press of New England.

Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. since 2001, breaks down the 50 questions into 12 categories, among them, life cycle, governance, mission, fundraising and marketing.

"I have stolen ideas liberally throughout my career from the many talented and thoughtful art managers I have met and observed," Kaiser concedes in the opening pages. "I give them no formal credit in this book, but their contributions to this young field of arts management are invaluable," he adds.

Board members are usually more involved in fundraising than marketing, but Kaiser said it's still essentially that they "understand and concur with marketing plans supporting both earned and unearned income."

He suggests dividing marketing activities into two categories: programmatic and institutional. Most marketing departments are devoted to programmatic marketing since it's charged to persuade people to buy tickets. Institutional marketing, which is "anything an organization does to build visibility in the community," is to entice audience members and donors to support the institution.

"A balanced approach to programmatic and institutional marketing can have as big an impact on fundraising as it does on earned income," said Kaiser.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Donor-Advised Funds Surged In 2010

Donor-advised funds, where donors get an immediate tax break for depositing money that eventually will go to charity, are reporting increased contributions and payouts as investor portfolios rebounded with the stock market during past 18 months.

Contributions to Schwab Charitable were $610 million for 2010, through Sept. 30, up 274 percent from the same period last year, and up 90 percent for the same period in 2008. Grants to charities totaled $262 million for the same period, up 15 percent from 2009 and up 3 percent from the previous all-time high in 2008.

San Francisco-based Schwab Charitable reported a continued increase in gifts of appreciated securities, up from 68 percent to 74 percent of total contributions in the last two years, driven by a healthier stock market.

The stock market has increased roughly 70 percent from the lows of early 2009, and many donors are choosing to donate appreciated securities to their donor-advised funds, maximizing tax benefits while meeting philanthropic goals.

The nation’s largest donor-advised fund, The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, reported grants of $531 million for the first six months of 2010, up 16 percent compared to last year. It was the strongest first half in the fund’s 19-year history.

Contributions to the Boston-based Fidelity fund were up 67 percent and new account openings increased 19 percent. Contributions in the form of appreciated securities made up more than half of all contributions to the gift fund, compared with a third of all contributions during the same period in 2009.

Incoming contributions during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 were $1.3 billion, up 39 percent from the previous fiscal year, while donors recommended grants of $1.1 billion to charities, up 11 percent. The fund ended the fiscal year with almost $4.4 billion, up 15 percent of the last year.

Invested assets at Malvern, Pa.-based Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program total $2.1 billion compared to $1.94 billion a year ago. New accounts established this calendar year, through September, is up 80 percent over the same nine months in 2009, with every month in 2010 better than last year, with the number of grants up 11 percent this year. The number of additional gifts in 2010, through September, is up 38 percent over the same period in 2009, with all but one of the nine months showing material increases.

Is your organization seeing more donations from these types of funds or do you think the cash is just sitting in a personal account with the minimum being contributed?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Donors Ain’t Broke

Who says the economy is in the tank? You’d never know it with all of the money pouring into the political campaigns. And, organizations all over the country are announcing massive campaigns, several eclipsing the $1 billion mark.

Capital campaign donations are fundraising’s luxury gifts. "In the hierarchy of fundraising, capital campaign gifts rank the highest because they usually have the highest monetary level of any gift any organization will receive, according to consultant Laura Fredricks.

The purpose is to raise a substantial amount of money during a specific time period so that the organization can achieve new heights," she wrote in her book, "The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for any Purpose."

A capital campaign gives donors a chance to boost the presence, stature and success of an organization and undertake bold, new projects. Now that the campaigns are almost over, here are 10 ways to push yours forward:

* The fundraising goals are ambitious.
* It asks people to make stretch gifts.
* It drives the entire focus and direction of the organization until the campaign goals are met.
* It coincides with and complements the organization's strategic plan.
* It includes all types of existing fundraising programs, such as annual, major and planned gift programs.
* It is well organized, with a beginning, middle and end.
* It causes the organization to expand its volunteer base.
* It serves as a means to get prospects and donors to give now.
* It is a highly cost-effective way to raise substantial money.
* It can create a positive change in the culture of the organization.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding Your Donor ‘Whales’

In Las Vegas, they are known as “whales.” In fundraising, that same gambler is called a major donor who is betting on you.

To reach the well-heeled requires a different, often personal, approach over an extended time when the potential gift.

To figure out who should be on a prospect list, David Chase of Chase Solutions in Centerville, Mass., spelled out a number of sources that can be tapped. Called data screening, it involves poring over other databases to see how closely they match your own and build on what you have.

The process is not infallible, he told the annual conference of the New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy in March, and can produce false matches.

But looking through various records of everything from real estate and stock holdings to yacht ownership and the board of directors appointments can help guide development efforts in the following eight ways:

* Identifying the best prospects and rating them.
* Estimating the donation capacity not only of individuals but an entire list.
* Rating levels of donations, including size and frequency.
* Identifying which forms of giving to which they will be most amenable.
* Finding personal connections that will have the ear of the target.
* Using the information as a building block of a campaign, looking at such areas as how to raise average gifts, to upgrade large donors and the cause to highlight.
* Determining which prospects merit the strongest focus.
* Such data screening will generally cost from $3,500 to $15,000 depending on the number of people researched and how much information will be collected.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finding Out The Latest In Nonprofit Management Just Got Easier!

The NonProfit Times, the leading publication for nonprofit management, has created an easy viewing, online TV broadcast to bring you exciting and relevant information.

The NonProfit Times' TV broadcast is an easy to use format that brings you up to date information every two weeks. Taking no more than 10 minutes to be viewed, you will find that the broadcasts are informative, relevant and professionally created.

View the complete broadcast, watch older broadcasts in our Webcast Archive or view each broadcast in segments with our feature video library . You can browse by category or search for videos using keywords.

Some of the feature video topics include:

Budget Reduction Study ,
A new survey reveals steps organizations take when reducing budgets

Tax Form 1099 Amendments
The US Senate rejected proposed amendments to the federal information Form 1099

Will Study
Exclusive results from The NonProfit Times' study on wills and leaving money to charity.

The NonProfit Times TV broadcasts every two weeks. Our next cast is on October 20. Even though our casts our every two weeks, the latest broadcast is always available, just go to view it from your desktop, laptop, iPad or Smartphone.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It really isn’t easy giving away money

Despite claims that giving money away is easy, Dennis McIlnay, in his book Foundations and Higher Education offers certain findings indicating that giving away money can be complicated and difficult.

These findings come from a gathering of information from philosophers, philanthropists and foundation officers.

Among the findings:

•Grantmaking is more subjective than objective and is based on the assumption that judicious funding decisions are possible. There is no precise measuring stick to select a successful grant project.
•Foundations rerely publicly articulate the tenets they apply in grantmaking. Their grantmaking criteria are rarely described and too rarely discussed.
•Grantmaking may be inherently difficult because of the danger of doing more harm than good.
•Some foundations overreact to the subjectivity of grantmaking by attempting to quantify all aspects of the process. Others adopt an attitude of detachment that borders on arrogance.
•Foundation staffs are often the targets of animosity from rejected applicants, and the tenuous relationship with grantseekers may cause fear, anxiety, isolation, aggression and narcissism.
•The power of money may corrupt foundation officers no less than other professionals. Foundation officers have been known to succumb to the “God complex.”
•A “genius for charity” is often cited as a necessary quality for foundation officers.

Monday, October 4, 2010

NonProfit Salaries Inch Up This Year Despite Poor Economy

Nonprofits across the board saw salary increases move up on average 2.1 percent for executive and administrative staff this year, according to the results of the new The NonProfit Times/BlueWater “2010 Nonprofit Organizations Salary & Benefits Report” just issued. This survey is among the most extensive compensation survey ever conducted, covering 259 titles and 34 benefit offerings.

“This study represents several firsts for data of this kind,” said John McIlquham, president and CEO of The NonProfit Times. In addition to the salary and benefit findings grouped by budget, employees and field of work, the study also provides operating unit compensation costs and practices that provide a snapshot of what organizations spend on salaries as a percentage of their budget, he pointed out.

Another first is a new report in the study on executive job families. No other study provides a report on what percentage of the operating budget accounts for the top 15 executive posts at nonprofits.

The study also offers not just salary but an in-depth look at benefits, often a big percentage of compensation costs that get little attention, according to McIlquham. The benefits portion of the study examines executive bonus and benefits, including participation and eligibility rates for retirement plans. Another interesting finding is employee turnover, he noted, that appears to be higher among larger organizations than smaller ones.

Overall, turnover at all organizations averaged 9 percent, with employees staying at an organization, on average, 6.2 years.

Eighty-five percent of all organizations surveyed offer some type of medical plan for employees, with two thirds of respondents indicating they offer a PPO plan. Employee participation in any medical plan was more than 53 percent, with the highest rates for EPO plans.

Almost 37 percent of nonprofit operating budgets are spent on total cash compensation costs. The average salary for a nonprofit chief executive officer/president last year was $111,838. The median salary was $90,000 while the maximum was $650,000. The average tenure for a nonprofit CEO is 9 years.

More than 36 percent of nonprofits pay their CEO a bonus of some kind. Twenty percent of nonprofits offer their executives some form of executive benefit, with the most common benefit a car or car allowance. Additional vacation days ranked second in popularity.

New to this year’s report is a table in each section that displays, at a glance, the changes in data from 2009 to 2010.

The data was collected using a state of the art on line questionnaire and information gathered was for US-based organizations only. Survey participants were asked to provide information as of March 1, 2010.

Robert Bruder-Matson, president of BlueWater NonProfit Solutions, said the survey data offered in these reports is more comparable and relevant to understanding how nonprofits engage their executives and their employees in an extremely tough economy. For example, Bruder-Matson emphasized, the executive job family, on average, accounts for 13 percent of an organization’s operating budget, with an average cost per employee of $85,296.

The study’s benchmarks provide executives, human resource directors and anyone looking at a position in nonprofits with the most timely and up to date information by geographic region as well as operating budget and type of organization.

The study can be purchased either for just salary data or compensation data or the 700-page combined report.

Click here to view a sample and order the full 2010 NonProfit Organizations Salary and Benefits Report.