Friday, April 8, 2011

New OKC Nonprofit Created to Help Progress Economic Development

A new Oklahoma City Nonprofit, The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, has been created and is asking for $424,000 from the city to help fund its projects.  Led by Assistant City Manager Cathy O'Connor, the nonprofit organization is planning to be a "one-stop shop" for economic development.  Set to begin operations on May 1st, the money it is requesting from the city is needed to "fast track" it's development projects.  Larry Nichols, who will be the chair of The Alliance, says that Oklahoma City is in need of the projects their organization will provide:

“Oklahoma City is at a unique stage in its growth,” Nichols said. “As a community, we have implemented strategies that are attracting investment in our city at an ever-increasing rate, yet the process and entities to help facilitate that growth have been the same for many years.”

Although OKC does have organizations already that provide similar servicesm, O'Connor says that The Alliance will not replace these services.  Instead, it is meant to expedite these existing services and focus on implementation.  O'Connor further explains that

“The idea is that entities like the city of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust will contract with The Alliance to coordinate projects we have ahead.”
If you are interested in learning more about The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, read the full article at NewsOk.

Orlando Charities Get Boost From Conventioneers

It is true that the downward spiral that the economy has gone through in the last couple of years has hurt nonprofit organizations.  With spending and lending down, nonprofits have had to struggle to survive; unless they are in Orlando, that is.  According to a recent report in The Orlando Sentinel, nonprofits in the Florida city have had a major advantage over others because of one key fact: the 3 million visitors that go there yearly for corporate retreats, meetings, and conventions.  While these companies visit in Orlando, according to the story, they are increasingly engaging in community service projects through charities and nonprofits in the city to boost their public image.  Chris Allen, executive director at Hands On Orlando, says that his organization has recieved over 2,500 volunteers from many corporations, including French Telecom and G.E.

But it wasn't always like this.  In fact, this trend didn't really start coming to fruition until last year, according to Visit Orlando CEO Gary Sain.  Before that, convention business had seen a sharp drop, especially during 2009.  But those days are gone now, and corporations want to make these community services a part of a larger effort to promote a "corporate social-responsibility platform."  The article gives the example of Aaron's Inc, a lease-to-own retailer, had its employees do volunteer work for Boys & Girls of Central Florida.  At the end of the day, their contributions added up to $200,000 in product and service donations, as well as a whopping 4,500 hours of volunteer time.

It's certainly good to hear that these quality organizations are getting a lot of contributions from corporations, and that they are remaining in business even in hard times.  If you want to read the full article about these Orlando nonprofits, visit The Orlando Sentinel.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Merger News: ClearPoint JoinsWith New York-Based Nonprofit

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit based in Richmond, Virginia, has announced plans to merge with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central New York.  However, it may take months before the deal is official because the merger need approval from regulatory agencies.  As part of the deal, Consumer Cedit Counseling Service will tak the name of the Richmond nonpofit, and the combined headquarters of the two organizations will stay in Virgnia.  In addition, a ClearPoint spokesman said that all of Consumer Credit Counseling's positions will "transition into reigonal positions," though employees are not expected to see many changes at this point.

This is certainly not the first time ClearPoint has been involved in a merger. Two years ago, it merged with ByDesign Financial Services, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, in April of 2009.  In addition, when the current merger is completed, ClearPoint will have expanded its services into a 12th state. 

Want to read more about this merger?  Head on over to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

War Vets Visit DC Memorials, Thanks to Nonprofit

Triangle Flight of Honor, a North Carolina based nonprofit organization, gave veterans of World War II and other wars a day to remember.  On Wednesday, the group took 100 war veterans to Washington DC to see memorials built in their honor. 

Triangle Flight of Honor was created to sponsor trips like this for veterans at no cost to them, and this year's trip has to be considered a major success in fundraising.  In total, the group raised $56,000 from listeners of the Raleigh radio station WRAL to sponsor the trip this year.  For some of the veterans, like Charles Irving Jr. of Raleigh, this was their first trip to the memorial.  Irving, who fought at the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, said he was "overwhelmed" and "speechless" during his visit to the DC National WWII Memorial. 

Two more Flights of Honor are being planned this year; one on April 19th and a second on May 4th.  Read more about the Triangle Flight of Honor DC trip at WRAL.com.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Charity: Water Reaps The Benefit of Social Media

Nonprofits have flocked to social media in recent years, but has fundraising followed? In some cases, this has definitely been the case.  Since September 2009, the Mycharity: Water program has raised over $7.5 million, including over $50,000 with the help of  teenage pop sensaion Justin Bieber, who launched his own water campaign on Twitter in March. Paul Young, Director of Digital Engagement at Charity: Water, the orgaization behind the successful program, spoke to NPTtv about how social media has helped their cause raise money.

The organization is only about four years old, but according to Young they were one of the first charities on Twitter, as well as the first one to get over one million followers on it. From the start, they had always been a digital organization; they have a very well designed website with user-friendly features  Things really started to turn around for them, however, when they launched the Mycharity: Water program. It was a simple fundraising platform where anybody could raise money, and with its ease of use, it began to gain massive popularity. Pretty soon, people began sharing it on various social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

If you want to view the entire interview with Paul Young, watch the latest episode on NPTtv.

NPTtv Summary: Madonna Sued By Charity's Former Employees

Maonna lives in a material world, and now it seems like some people want some of her material.  The Pop star is being sued in by 8 people her charity, Raising Malawi, used to employ. The organization had planned to build a $15 million Academy for Girls in the country, but plans started to fall apart in the past year.  As expected, a lot of money was lost because of the failed plans, and employees had to be let go as a result.  And that brings us to the law suit the Queen of Pop is currently enduring.
 
According to the co-founder of the charity, little progress had been made on the project. In fact, no ground had even been broken, even after millions of dollars had been poured into it. The school was to be an important project for Madonna, as she had famously adopted two girls from Malawi, who were among millions of orphaned girls in the country. Malwi has a serious education problem, with 67% of girls there not attending secondary school, so the school would have probably been a huge boon to the population there.

NPTtv: Rahm Emanuel Leans on Nonprofits to Help Transition

There’s a bit of controversy is swirling around Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s transition. The former chief of staff to President Obama has asked several large nonprofit foundations to foot the $200,000 tab.  Normally, candidates use campaign funds or help from donors for ths kind of help, but it appears Emanuel is taking a different route.

According to his campaign, Emanuel didn’t want to solicit contributions from private donors, so he submitted grant proposals to the MacArthur Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. He will use the money from these foundations to pay his political team until he officially takes office.
 
Of course, any new decision causes some problems, and this one has been no different.  David Morrison, Deputy Officer of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, is unconvinced over the reasons from the Emanuel camp and says that there is no reason he couldn’t have use campaign funds instead.

NPTtv Summary: Oregon to Pass Nonprofit Spending Law

Oregon charities are about to be in store for a new change this summer.  That's because the Oregon State Senate is close to passing a new law that would punish charities that don’t spend 30 percent of their expenses on programming for three years.  If they don't comply to these new rules, they would lose certain state tax deductibility. Nonprofits that fall below the 30% mark would still be able to solicit donations, but they would have to disclose those contributions are not deductible.

Like any law, there will be exceptions to the new rule. For example, charities that earn less than $200,000 in annual revenue would be exempt, as well as those raising money for capital campaigns.

The bill appears to have the support of many nonprofit organizations in Oregon, including The Nonprofit Association of Oregon which has recently came out in favor of the bill.  However the DMA Nonprofit Federation has made it clear that they will oppose it.

NPTtv Summary: United Way Seeks to Solved Education Crisis With Volunteers

United Way Worldwide, in an effort to reverse the trend of students dropping out of schools, is launching an effort to recruit 1 million volunteer tutors and role models.  What is the crisis, exactly?  Well, according to recent studies, 7,000 students in the United States decide to drop out of school every day – that’s 1.2 million students each year. And, a poll of American adults shows that some 29 percent are concerned that their children will drop out.  So you can see why some actuon is needed. 

United Way’s plan is part of a larger national project and report called “Voices for the Common Good: America Speaks Out on Education.”  The plan was unveiled at a star-studded event moderated by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. At the event, United Way CEO Brian Gallagher said that there are few issues as important as a debate on education in America. Yet it appears that most American's voices are not being heard on this issue.  The hope is that this plan by United Way will help draw more attention to the problem and, as a reslt, focus more debate on it.
 
The recruiting for the 1 million volunteers is to begin immediately, and will be handled by United Way Women’s Leadership Council.

New Episode of The Nonprofit Times TV is Up

We just uploaded the latest webcast of The Nonprofit Times TV.  Here are the stories included this week:


 As always, we will have summaries of each of these stories up real soon.


 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Win a Chance to be Featured in The NonProfit Times' Newsletters

Now is a chance to get your organization out to an even wider audience. It's simple, over the next month (so ending on about May 5th), we want you to respond to this post on our Facebook page with the craziest fundraising ideas you have come up with. Tell us the details of the idea, whether it worked, and what you learned from it.

Every week, The NonProfit Times' staff will pick one of these ideas and include it in one of our weekly newsletters that reach over 75,000 subscribers. We will also include a link back to your website, so be sure to include that as well! Good luck!

Nonprofit to Start Investigative Journalism Site

According to this blog post from The New York Times, The Center for Public Integrity is planning to launch an investigative journalism web site on April 12th.  The site, called iWatch News, will be updated every day with 10 to 12 articles as well as content from other sources.  The site will focus on a wide variety of topics, including politics, money, government accountability, national security, and more.

The content for iWatch News will be mainly written by The Center's 37 writers and editors, but they will also be working with the Investigative News Network and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 

The site will be free, but have ads.  If users do not want to see these ads, they will have the option to subscribe to a version of the site on tablets and smartphones that have no ads, but this version will cost $50 a month. 

“We want to be a model to show journalism, if it’s good, it can be paid for,” said William E. Buzenberg, the executive director of the center. “Clearly we need some earned revenue.”

The Center for Public Integrity is a non-partisan nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC.  It was already well known for it's investigative content, so iWatch News will only help further cement the organization's reputation in this field, assuming the site is a success.

Read more about iWatch News at The New York Times Blog.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The NonProfit Times Announces New Subscription Pricing

The Nonprofit Times, the leading publication for nonprofit organizations, has announced a new pricing options to subscribe to the print and digital editions of their publication. Depending on which option you choose, the annual price for a subscription will be $19.95 to $111.95. The breakdown in pricing is as follows:

-Subscribe to the print edition of The NonProfit Times for one year for $49.95. A two year subscription is $79.99, and a three year plan is $99.99

-Get the digital edition for one year for $19.95. A two year subscription is $29.95, and a three year plan is $39.95

-Get both a print and digital subscription for one year for $59.95. A two year subscription is $99.95, and a three year plan is $111.95

Whichever option you choose, you will be getting all the news and information The NonProfit Times provides for a very low price. Each issue touches subjects that affect every nonprofit organization, such as current nonprofit news, business tips, and the latest nonprofit jobs. Subscribe today at http://shop.nptimes.com/subscription-thenonprofittimes.aspx.

Bring Donors Out

Below is an excerpt from a great op-ed piece from The New York Times about donors; specifically how organizations are now going to be able to conceal their donors thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court case.

THE billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch have drawn sharp criticism for their extensive giving to libertarian causes. Though some of their organizational ties are public, many are unknown, thanks to a provision in the tax code that allows the Koch brothers and other donors, on both the left and the right, to conceal the recipients of their largess, even as they get to write it off on their taxes.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: require all nonprofit organizations that engage in political advocacy to reveal their donors.

True, individuals must disclose on their tax returns the details of large gifts to charitable organizations, known as 501(c)3 groups from the section of the tax code governing them. But this information is kept private by the Internal Revenue Service. While gifts given directly through foundations must be made public, the wealthy can give without leaving fingerprints by routing money through “donor-advised funds” sponsored by 501(c)3 groups — which don’t have to publicly name their donors.
And, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, things are getting even worse. That decision now allows organizations that can engage in overt partisan work, called 501(c)4 groups, to take unlimited corporate money — again, without revealing their donors.
 
Read the rest of the article at The New York Times.

Top Oklahoma Nonprofit for 2011 is Cowboy Museum

The fourth annual Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence Awards came and went and when the dust settled, a new winner emerged: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.  The popular museum was named the overall winner, and was given a $10,000 prize at the banquet gala in Tulsa, OK. 

The Cowboy Museum was not the only nonprofit to win some cash, however.  In total, there were nine award categories, and the two finalists in each category received $5,000 each.  Here are the finalists for these categories (thanks to NewsOK for the list):

• Sports and recreation: Shiloh Camp in Oklahoma City. Finalists were Schools for Healthy Lifestyles in Oklahoma City and YMCA of Greater Tulsa.

• Education: Gloria Ainsworth Child Care and Learning Center in Ardmore. Finalists were Leadership Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Arts Institute.

• Seniors: LIFE Senior Services in Tulsa. Finalists were Rebuilding Together Oklahoma City and the Health Services Foundation’s Providence Place Assisted Living Center in Woodward.

• Arts and humanities: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Finalists were the Art on the Square Association in Mangum and the Black Liberated Arts Center in Oklahoma City.

• Community health services: Counseling and Recovery Services of Oklahoma in Tulsa. Finalists were the Center of Family Love in Okarche and Health for Friends in Norman.

• Health services: St. Anthony Hospital’s Behavioral Medicine Center in Oklahoma City. Finalists were the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Oklahoma City and the Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa.

• Youth development: Tulsa Boys’ Home. Finalists were Youth Services for Oklahoma County and Multi-County Youth Services in Clinton.

• Self-sufficiency: Stand in the Gap Ministries in Tulsa. Finalists were the Altus Armed Services YMCA and the Resonance Center for Women in Tulsa.

• Community: Rebuilding Together Tulsa. Finalists were the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City and Neighbor for Neighbor in Tulsa.