Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Couple Partner With Anti-Bullying Nonprofit

Note: This is a summary/reaction to an article from an outside news organization.  If you want to read the full article, please follow the links in this post.

It just wouldn't seem right to go through the day without a post about the Royal Wedding.

But as fascinating as it might be to discuss Kate Middleton's wedding dress, there is another story that popped up that might be of more interest to nonprofits.  According to a story on Masslive, Middleton and Prince William took a different approach to their wedding gifts.  Instead of registering at the typical gift stores, the Royal Couple created "The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund," a network of 26 charities.  Attendees of the wedding could then donate their gifts to the appropriate charity.

The Masslive story makes mention of one of the charities available, BeatBullying.  As the name implies, this is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids in the UK deal with bullies.  Apparently Middleton was a victim of bullying herself as a child, so it would seem she thinks very highly of BeatBullying.

The Masslive article makes no mention of the names of the other charities, but it does mention their categories they cover: support for services personnel and their families, conservation for future generations, changing lives through arts and sport, help and care at home, and children fulfilling their potential (which includes BeatBullying).

Nonprofit Spending on Technology Is Steady

There was the Bronze Age, The Iron Age, and now there is The Technology Age.  It is almost imossible to do anything today without the aid of it.  Can you imagine what would happen if the internet just disappeared one day?  It's not hard to imagine the mass hysteria that would accompany that.  When it comes to nonprofits, they rely on technology as well, and one of The NonProfit Times' recent stories proves that.  Here's a snippet of it:

Despite a shaky economy, nonprofits’ investments in information technology (IT) staffing and other areas stayed remarkably steady and even saw some year-over-year growth in some areas.

Nearly 1,200 nonprofit professionals filled out the 5th annual “Nonprofit IT Staffing & Spending” survey sponsored by NTEN and The NonProfit Times. The report benchmarks salaries, outsourcing, recruiting, organizational structure, and other aspects of Information Technology practices in the nonprofit sector.

One of the findings that stood out: Only 40 percent of respondents reported that their organization has some type of formal technology plan. And much less than that (22 percent) reported that their organization had ever evaluated Return on Investment (ROI) of technology projects or programs.

The main thing to take away from this story is that no matter the economic conditions, there will always be room in a nonprofit's budget for technology, especially when it comes to IT.  Read the full article by visitng our website.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

50 Best Nonprofits to Work For in 2011

Here is an excerpt recent story we posted on our site about our just released report, "The 50 Best Nonprofits to Work For in 2011":

Steven Nardizzi, president & CEO of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in Jacksonville, Fla., doesn't just try to encourage his employees to find fun in their work. He awards them. "If there's a great work environment that's fun and positive they're going to be much better at achieving our mission," he said.

WWP placed first in the second annual The NonProfit Times' 50 Best Nonprofits To Work For within the medium organizations category and first overall in the study.

The NonProfit Times again worked with the Best Companies Group in Harrisburg, Pa., to seek out the best nonprofit for which to work. Email messages were sent to approximately 100,000 employees at nonprofits seeking nominations. The organizations applied and went through several levels of screening conducted by Best.

Both management and staff completed surveys. Additional information was sought from outside the organization, from businesses that work with the organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about this report, including information on how to purchase it, visit NPTime's website.  This is a must have report for anybody looking to break into the nonprofit sector.

The Exchange: Workplace Conflict Resolution Tips

Cross posted from The Nonprofit Jobs Blog...

Let's face it, if you work at a company long enough, you are going to have problems with your co-workers. These arguments could be something as little as a person having an annoying habit, or they could be as big as being offended by a comment at a board meeting. Whatever the disagreement ends up being, workplace conflicts end up taking a huge amount of time from a manage. In fact, according to The Exchange: A Bold and Proven Approach to Resolving Workplace Conflict, a book on workplace conflict resolution by Steven Dinkin (along with co-authors Barbara Filner and Lisa Maxwell), conflicts in the office take up 42% of a manager's time. This can create a huge dent in the productivity of your organization. So how exactly can a nonprofit manager handle these conflicts so that they are a resolved in a timely manner? According to Dinkin and his co-authors, the key to resolving workplace conflict involves four steps:

-Start with an icebreaker: While the authors of The Exchange say that being honest with the situation is an important part of the conflict resolution process, they also say that managers can't just start out the process with bringing up the issue. The reason for this is simple: the individuals involved will only focus on defending themselves and attacking the other person. Instead, a simple icebreaker is the best place to start. The authors say that the best icebreaker will bring up something that is both work-related and positive. For example, if the individuals involved in the workplace conflict are working on a project together, the manager can ask them how they came to work together.

-Listen: Seems obvious, right? But too often, managers are too focused on handling the situation that they don't realize that what they don't say is sometimes the most important. By listening carefully to what both parties are saying, the manager will send the message that they are genuinely concerned about the issue, and are determined to handle it fairly. And really, it makes sense. I remember having a conflict with one of my co-workers at a previous job, and the manager wouldn't let us get a word in. Luckily, our conflict wasn't a big issue, but we both felt like the manager wasn't interested in what we were saying. But the key here is for the manager to understand both sides of the story.

-Use and encourage positive language: This also seems obvious, but it can be easy to get negative when it comes to these kinds of situations. The manager should explain how this issue is affecting the organization's productivity in a way that shows understanding and patience. Here is the example that Dinkin uses: "This has increasingly affected the entire team, and we need to address it so we can get everyone focused back on the project goals and having a comfortable working environment. I am looking forward to establishing a good working relationship between the two of you and improving morale for everyone on the team."

-Work Towards SMART Solutions: Time for acronyms! Dinkin and his co-authors created this handy one to help work out these conflicts:

"Specific: Be clear about who will do what, when, where, and how.

Measurable: Be clear about how you will all be able to tell that something has been done, achieved, or completed.

Achievable: Make sure that whatever solution you agree on fits the situation; that it complies with both the law and organizational policy; that everyone involved has the ability and opportunity to do what is required of them. Don’t set up anyone to fail.

Realistic: Check calendar dates for holidays and vacations; look at past performance to predict future actions; allow extra time for glitches and delays; don’t assume that the best-case scenarios will come true.

Timed: Create reasonable deadlines or target dates; include a few ideas about what to do if something unexpected occurs; be willing to set new dates if necessary."

I found that these tips from The Exchange were very helpful. As the old saying goes, "time is money," and this especially true at a nonprofit organization. So if you are a manager at a nonprofit, you should take this tips to heart.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OK City Council Approves Economic Development Nonprofit Funding

Note: This is a summary of an article from an outside news organization.  If you are interested in reading the full story, please visit the links in the article.

It looks like there is finally an end to the Alliance for Economic Development saga.

According to the latest report from NewsOK, the Oklahoma City Council approved a contract with the nonprofit after concerns regarding the diversity of its board were addressed.  When the contract was first submitted over two weeks ago, you might remember that many members of the council, including Pete White, expressed great concern over not only the lack of diversity on the group's board, but also a perceived lack of transparency inits dealings. 

To get the votes, amendments were added to the contract that addressed the Council's concerns.  For instance, one amendment emphasizes that the Alliance makes reccommendations, but will not create policy.  In addition, the Alliance has agreed to add new board members with diverse backgrounds in business, geography, and race.

The contract, which provides the Alliance with $42,000 in public funding, was approved by a 7-1 vote, with only Councilman Ed Shadid voting against it.

To read the full article (including the various stories on this subject), visit NewsOK's website.

Take The NonProfit Times' 2011 Salary Survey

Does your nonprofit organization want to be involved in The NonProfit Times' 2011 Salary and Benefits Survey?  Well here's some good news: you can start participating today!  All you have to do is visit the 2011 Salary Survey site and finish the survey before June 1, 2011.  And here's an added bonus for you quick workers: if you complete your survey by May 23, 2011, you will be entered to win a $500 donation to your organization or any other organization of your choice!  Here are the features of this year's survey:

* Convenient and flexible survey completion – Complete the online survey questionnaire at your own pace and schedule.

* Comprehensive job coverage – The survey collects base salary and bonus pay information on more than 300 nonprofit specific positions.

* Easy and accurate position matching – Match the positions within your organization to the survey using the intuitive job family groupings and position job descriptions.

* Ongoing assistance whenever you need it- Contact us by phone or email if you need help completing the survey, or use the handy online resources for instant results.

* Complete information about benefits practices – The survey gathers information about benefit offerings, costs, eligibility and employee participation for 94 employee benefits from health insurance to retirement plans.

* Organizational profile information – The questionnaire collects data on budget size, employee turnover, salary increases, employee tenure, staffing levels, geographic location, field of work, and number of employees.

Results of the survey will be delievered to participants by August 2011.  So what are you waiting for?  Have your nonprofit be a part of this year's salary survey today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lady GaGa and Robin Hood Foundation Make a "Good Romance"

Yeah, sorry for the pun; I couldn't help it. Anyway, I just wanted to share the latest story that we have posted on our website.  It's about pop star Lady GaGa teaming up with The Robin Hood Foundation to give away $1 million dollars to charities that help "disconnected youth" in NYC.

In what they are hoping is a good romance, Lady Gaga and the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City are sponsoring a contest in which they will give away $1 million to five charities that benefit disconnected youth in New York City. And, they are giving away tickets to the foundation’s sold out gala where she will perform.

The contest began today, with the public voting via

Disconnected youth is a term that refers to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school or employed in the legitimate workforce. They might have had experience with the criminal justice system or have been in foster care. They aren’t getting the education, work, civic, and family support they need to be successful adults. A significant portion of these young adults are part of the LGBQT community.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Robin Hood Foundation to distribute funds to help the youth of New York City,” said Lady Gaga. “NYC is my hometown and I think investing in these kids’ future will go a long way.”

You can read the rest of the story at The NonProfit Times.

Montana's Attorney General Investigates "Tea" Allegations

If you have been following the news lately, you have no doubt heard about the allegations made against Greg Mortenson, author of the popular books Three Cups of Tea and Stones to Schools.  In a recent story on CBS's "60 Minutes," Mortenson was accused of fabricating many parts of his books, which told the story of his trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1990s.

According to a report that we recently published on our website, it apears that the Montana Attorney General's Office is now investigating the accusations in that "60 Minutes" report, which also claim that Mortenson's charity, which is based in the state, had been spending its money to promote his book.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

The Montana Attorney General’s Office is looking into the operations of a charity after a scathing report by “60 Minutes” that has the nonprofit sector abuzz.

The report included allegations that author Greg Mortenson fabricated portions of his nonfiction books, “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones To Schools,” which detailed trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1990s. He co-authored the books with writer David Oliver Relin and co-founded the Bozeman, Mont.-based Central Asia Institute (CAI) in 1996 to build schools in the two nations. The report also raised questions about the charity’s spending to promote his books as well as how many schools have actually been built and used.

“As Montana’s attorney general, I have the authority to oversee nonprofit corporations on behalf of the public. In recent days, concerns have been raised about the management and financial affairs of the Central Asia Institute,” Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock said in a statement. “I’ve been in contact with attorneys for the Institute and they have pledged their full cooperation in addressing our concerns. While looking into this issue, my office will not jump to any conclusions – but we have a responsibility to make sure charitable assets are used for their intended purposes,” he said.

You can read the full report at The NonProfit Times' website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nonprofit Jobs: The Nonprofit Jobseeker Update

Just wanted to take this opportunity to give a little update about our non profit job board, Nonprofit Jobseeker.

As always, the site contains the latest in high-quality nonprofit jobs, but we've also made some other improvements.  We always had career/hiring tips on the site, but we have recently added some new articles, and will be doing so consistently.  You can check them out at Career Strategies page or the Hiring Tips page.  For the most part, these are original articles, though some are from other sources.

When you have a chance, check them out.  And as always, if you are in the market for nonprofit jobs you should keep this site in mind.  If you are not in the mood to constantly refresh the site to see when new jobs are added, you should follow our nonprofit jobs Twitter account; anytinme a new position is added to the site, we will send out a tweet with a link to apply.

Tax Exempt Organizations Pay Taxes Anyway

We just posted an article about how many tax-exempt organizations end up paying fees and taxes to their local governments.  Here is a bit of the article:

Some 63 percent of nonprofits reported paying various types of fee and taxes to local and state governments during 2010. Of these types of assessments, 17 percent reported paying field-specific taxes, 36 percent paid “other payments,” 9 percent paid PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) and 42 percent of nonprofits paid user fees.

These are among the results of surveying by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies and published in a report, “Taxing the Tax-Exempt Sector -- A Growing Danger for Nonprofit Organizations,” written by Lester M. Salamon, Stephanie L. Geller and S. Wojciech Sokolowski.

The study illustrated that although nonprofits have generally enjoyed the benefits of a tax-exempt organization, for the past five years a majority of nonprofits have been paying charges accrued to local and state governments.

Salamon, director of the Baltimore, Md., located Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Services, described this tactic as self-defeating. “What these governments are essentially doing is driving more need to the government side, by taxing these nonprofits, programs need to be eliminated. It’s really cutting off its nose despite its face.”

The types of fees encumbered by nonprofits have varied in their scope and application to their size. PILOTs have been generally applied to larger nonprofits. This is a type of fee that is negotiated by local governments and nonprofits.

Of the responding organizations, 9 percent paid a fee like this with the largest share of payments coming from elderly housing & service organizations (26.4 percent).

The average amount paid in PILOTS by survey respondents was $422,095. Again, PILOT payments are generally reserved for larger organizations thus the explanation for such a large sum of money.

Read the full article about this subject at The NonProfit Times website.