Monday, December 31, 2012

Ring In 2013 With The New Issue Of NPT

Just in time for 2013, NPT Publishing Group has a New Year's gift for all of our readers: The new issue of The NonProfit Times. The Jan. 1 covers pressing issues impacting the nonprofit sector, including the impact of current hot topics such as Superstorm Sandy and the "fiscal cliff."

Here's a quick look at some of the major stories in the new issue:

Special Report

  • Accounting Software: Installing new accounting software can be a real pain. This special report includes information on how to avoid a disaster installation, featuring tips from the leading experts in the field.
Articles
  • Camp Fire Stokes New Image And Council RevampingA mission statement doesn't mean much to a teenager. That’s why Camp Fire USA ditched it. Well, not entirely.
  • Insurance Undertow For Flood Car DonationsThe National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean, Va., estimated that as many as 250,000 cars were damaged or destroyed during super storm Sandy. But, the phones aren't ringing much at 1-800 Charity Cars or at the National Kidney Foundation.
  • Hospital Wraps Employee Giving In A Gift BoxTy the Giving Guy isn't a typical employee at the Atlanta, Ga.-based hospital system. But, he’s not supposed to be, either. He’s the mascot for Emory Healthcare’s employee giving program.
Columns:
  • It's Simple MathAs the debate and acrimony in Washington, D.C. continues regarding the absurd notion that the federal charitable deduction plays an important role in the nation’s “fiscal cliff,” voices were raised in New York City. The voices were of hope and charity.
  • Young VolunteersThe television news show "60 Minutes" aired a feature story this past November on “Children Helping Children.” It centered on Craig Kielburger, who at age 12 took action against child labor and exploitation in Pakistan, eventually recruiting his friends to the cause and founding Free the Children. Some 17 years later it is an international charity with more than 1.7 million youth involved in education and development programs in 45 countries.

Friday, December 21, 2012

After Newtown, Charity Scam Hits Victim's Family

After a tragedy the magnitude of last week's school shootings in Newtown, Conn., it is common to see charities emerge in an effort to help the victims. Yet another trend has emerged after these incidents that is not quite as uplifting: Charity scams.

The Huffington Post reported Wednesday that an individual was soliciting donations on behalf of the family of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was killed during the shooting. The e-mail claimed they would send cards, packages, and money to Ponzer's parents, family, and siblings. A website was even set up, which used Noah's name as the address, and included links to petitions on gun control.

After finding out about the bogus solicitation Alexis Haller, Noah's uncle, alerted authorities to put an end to it. He was quoted in The Huffington Post article as saying "These scammers are stealing from the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy."

The website in question was turned over to the Ponzer family and its creator, who was identified as Jason Martin, reportedly told Victoria Haller, Noah's Aunt, who had replied to the original e-mail, that it was meant to honor Noah and promote gun control.

This isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last, that bogus charities have emerged following a tragedy or some other disaster. For instance, after the the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., scammers contacted victims' families asking for credit card donations.

You can read the full story in The Huffington Post.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

8 Nonprofit Conduct Policies

What's the first thing that happens when you are officially hired for a job? You usually have a meeting with the human resources officer, who informs you of the organization's conduct policies. It's basically a no-brainer to most people by know that it's unethical to steal office equipment, or other things like that. Yet sometimes it’s the little things that can really get you in trouble.

What was that about not sweating the small stuff?

Thomas Wolf, in his book "Managing a Nonprofit Organization," wrote that the little details relating to day-to-day work life should be properly explained to employees. Some of these relate specifically to in-office procedures, while some are more general.

Wolf listed eight examples of these policies that you should include in your employee conduct manual:

  • Specific rules about how the staff is authorized to make purchases.
  • Guidelines governing travel (such as per-diem limits, times when air travel is permitted, and mileage reimbursement rates).
  • Controls on personal use of the office telephone.
  • Rules governing the use and care of office equipment.
  • Limits placed on the organization’s liability for personal property left on the premises.
  • Guidelines governing outside work, such as whether the employer has first refusal on publications and whether the organization permits leaves of absences to do outside jobs.
  • Intellectual property and confidentiality issues.
  • Policies regarding working hours and conditions that address regular office working hours, flextime or overtime arrangements, and overtime compensation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Communications Director

We have yet another featured nonprofit job to share with our readers today. This one comes from the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), which is looking to hire a Communications Director.

The Communications Director will develop  content and prepare the layout and design of all association print and electronic publications, i.e., national print magazine, electronic newsletters, conference guides and programs, PowerPoint presentations, etc. The chosen candidate will also be responsible for the web site and communications with our members via social media, as well as multiple press releases and speeches.

The successful applicant for this position will meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated expertise in InDesign, Photoshop, and Microsoft office products;
  • Excellent editing, time management, and computer skills;
  • Working knowledge of production and printing processes; and,
  • Proficient in Web site content management systems and social media tools, along with a working knowledge of HTML.
You can learn more on this job, including information on how to apply, by visiting our career center.

Ex-Nonprofit Leader On The Lam

The founder and former CEO of a Naperville, Ill.-based nonprofit has allegedly fled the country amid allegations he stole nearly $200,000 from the organization for a film company he founded.

Robert Geniesse founded Our Children's Homestead, a nonprofit foster-care and adoption agency, and was CEO until the board of directors fired him in March 2011, according to a report in The Daily Herald. He was fired under suspicion that he was embezzling from the organization, and a criminal investigation was soon launched.

Geniesse was formerly charged this month with funneling over $200,000 from the organization to his film company, Reverse Momentum Films. Four days before the charges were filed, however, he fled to Hamburg, Germany, according to the FBI. It was also alleged that his wife, who runs the film company along with her husband, went to Germany one month before the charges were issued. Howe is not charged with any wrongdoing in the case.

Along with using the funds for production of documentary films, Geniesse allegedly used the agency credit card for hotel rooms, rental cars, and other expenses during filming in Kenya and the Philippines. Reverse Momentum Films produced at least one picture in 2009, "I Am You," a documentary about poverty in the Philippines.

Despite the alleged theft, Our Children's Homestead remains in a good financial state. Kurt Freidenauer, who replaced Geniesse as CEO last year, told The Herald that the organization has been able to maintain its daily operations. He gave credit to the board for firing Geniesse before any more damage could be done.

Should he be located, the FBI will seek to expedite Geniesse back to Illinois, where, if convicted, he faces a $100,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

You can read the full story in The Daily Herald.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Director Of Major/Planned Giving

Do you have a passion for both healthcare and fundraising? If the answer to that question is "yes," the newest featured nonprofit job on the Nonprofit Job Seeker should perk your interest.

The Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) in Pennsylvania is looking to hire a Director of Major and Planned Giving. Under the direction of the Vice President and Director of Fund Development, this individual will be responsible for the direction, planning, implementation, and evaluation of all aspects of the planned and major giving programs.

While experience is needed to qualify for this job, it doesn't need to be significant. Below are the requirements that AMH listed in its job description:
  • A minimum of three years planned giving/trust experience, preferably in a hospital setting.
  • Extensive knowledge of planned giving instruments.
  • Knowledge of computers and planned giving software programs.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Bachelor's degree with course work/experience in fundraising.
  • Advanced training in adjunct field very desirable, such as law, accounting, stocks and bonds, real estate, insurance, etc.
You can read more about what it takes to become a Director of Major and Planned Giving by visiting our career center.

Opinion: Charitable Deduction Must Be Protected

As the debate over the so-called "fiscal cliff" rages on in Washington, D.C., some in the government are setting their eyes on the charitable deduction. They argue that eliminating it will raise revenue for the government. In a new opinion column posted on our website, our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, wrote that this is exactly the wrong approach to take. Here's an excerpt from his piece:

***

Advocacy organization Independent Sector has statistics that its executives trot out, showing the benefit of a $350 tax break is actually $1,000. They have argued that itemizing households accounted for 70 percent of the $229 billion in charitable donations in 2008 and that 2 percent of taxpayers in the top bracket were responsible for 33 percent of all charitable giving that year.

Here’s the kicker: Only one-third of tax filers, the wealthiest Americans, itemized deductions that year. Congressional and White House officials argue that capping the deduction for the wealthiest Americans won’t really hurt that much, after all, charity at the highest levels is a competition for names on buildings and board seats at the opera.

The government officials probably didn't read a Bank of America study that showed 67 percent of wealthy households responded that they would somewhat or dramatically decrease charitable contributions if they received zero income tax deductions for their donations.

Government officials argue that the $16-trillion debt and $1.3-trillion budget shortfall has to be made up somewhere. They should start with cutting a budget few of them have probably even read.

The loud rancor of the debates has already affected how people spend, share and shelter their assets. Many more affluent Americans are already making early decisions around their income, deductions and possible tax implication now. That must also be affecting Sandy donations. That’s the simple math part.

The observation element is that giving to Sandy relief is lagging because those 1 percenters always being singled out as villains are spending their money putting their lives back together. It is estimated that 600,000 homes were damaged or destroyed across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Those rich guys working on Wall Street or with information technology or investing in real estate along the east coast do not have the cash to donate as they usually do. They are who is missing from the fundraising effort. If the deduction is taken away, they will stay away longer.

***

You can read the full piece on The NonProfit Times' website.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exempt Magazine -- Fall 2012

The sister publication of The NonProfit Times, Exempt Magazine, is the perfect publication for those in the sector whose forte is finance. The magazine is released quarterly, and the time has now arrived for the release of the latest edition.

The Fall 2012 issue of Exempt tackles a number of topics, from inflation to social media. Let's take a look at some of the content you can expect to find within the pages:

Articles

  • Hedging Against Inflation by Diversifying Investment IncomeSome of the nation’s largest nonprofits are complex businesses, generating income from donations but also via fundraising events, program service revenue or membership fees, as well as investment income.
  • Managing Risk In The New NormalAs you prepare to flip the page on your old-fashioned paper wall calendar and toast the New Year, are you thinking about risk? What adventures await your nonprofit in 2013? What risks will pay dividends, and which will you be regretting at this time next year?
Column
  • Finance And FundraisingAre you are asking this question about social media: “How do we know this investment of staff time in social media will pay off?” If you are getting answers from staff like this: “We have 10,000 fans on Facebook,” hit the pause button and work on defining what success means. (Also check out this chart on social media metrics).
This is not all the content in this quarter's edition of Exempt. To see the whole issue, sign up for a digital or print subscription via our website.

State Connection Examined In Nonprofit Probe

A federal and state investigation into an Albany, N.Y.-based nonprofit turned its attention to the state level, as investigators examined the circumstances that led to a former assemblyman from Brooklyn being added to the organization's payroll.

According to a report in The Albany Times Union, details emerged Thursday that investigators were looking into how former Brooklyn assemblyman William F. Boyland Sr., came to be on the payroll of the Altamont Program, the parent organization of Father Peter Young's network of services for the homeless. The date of Boyland Sr.'s addition to the organization came shortly after he and his son, William Boyland Jr., arranged grants to the organization. The grants, known as member items, totaled at least $1.2 million over four years beginning in 2006.

That wasn't the only grant Boyland Sr., helped procure for the Altamont Program. He and Assemblyman Speaker Sheldon Silver secured a $300,000 community project grant for the organization in 2004. After he left office in 2006 his son, Boyland Jr., secured three successive legislative grants from 2006 to 2009. Those funds were managed by the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, according to records.

The Altamon Program was originally under investigation for allegations that Dennis Bassat, a director at one of the Program's offices in Troy, embezzled funds and misused its credit card. There are also questions about the nonprofit's use of its grant funding and payroll expenditures.

Bassat was fired two years ago after officials at the Troy location discovered he had allegedly issued checks from a business account to fake employees and then took the money for himself. Officials said the checks were written in amounts of less than $600 to avoid detection.

The investigation expanded into the Boylands' role in the organization on Thursday, when state investigators and FBI agents obtained a search warrant for the Troy offices. Financial records were seized by investigators, and employees were questioned. A source told The Times Union that one employee at the organization questioned exactly what Boyland did and whether he was provided with a credit card.

You can read the full story in The Times Union.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12-12-12 Concert Rakes In Cash For Sandy Relief

Yesterday was a special day for a number of reasons. First, it's going to be a long time before we see a date, day, and year (12/12/12) like that again. More importantly, it was the date of the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, was in attendance for the six-hour long show, and has a summary of the night's events on our website. The concert featured legendary performers including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, and Sir Paul McCartney, in addition to contemporary artists like Kanye West, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and Alicia Keys, who closed out the night with a rendition of her hit song "Empire State of Mind" alongside McCartney.

Yet the big story of the night was money raised for Hurricane Sandy Relieft. Donations went to organizations serving victims of the storm through the Robin Hood Relief Fund. Before an act even took the stage, the concert raised $37 million. A final donation tally was not available as of this writing.

Individuals who called in through the night to make a contribution had the chance to speak to a host of celebrities who were working the call center. These included big names such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Buscemi, Naomi Campbell, Tony Danza, and James Gandolfini.

One of the highlights of the night came when McCartney, one of the last two surviving Beatles along with Ringo Starr, helped front a reunion of the '90s grunge band Nirvana. The band was headed by the late Kurt Cobain, and McCartney filled his role by performing a new song written by the surviving members of Nirvana called "Cut Me Some Slack."

The 12-12-12 Concert was broadcast to a worldwide audience of nearly two billion people through television feeds, radio, and online streaming sites. The show was reminiscent of the first benefit show for charity, the Concert for Bangladesh, also held in Madison Square Garden, in 1971. That show was organized in part by legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who passed away this week at the age of 92.

You can read the full overview of the concert on the NPT website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tampa To Review Deals With Nonprofits

The city council of Tampa, Fl. has called for a review of contracts with the city's nonprofits to determine how many are falling short of their obligations.

The review was ordered after Councilwoman Lisa Montelione discovered that the Steward's Foundation had fallen short of the terms of the 25-year lease it originally signed with Tampa in 2003, according to a report on  Tampa Bay Online. In exchange for paying $1 a year to use 3 acres in Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, the organization was to teach rowing to high school students, host competitions, and provide a training area for out-of-state college teams.

That end of the bargain was fulfilled, but the Foundation still has not built the $2 million boathouse the city ordered it to construct after a 2007 renewal of the lease. A temporary structure for the boathouse exists, but the lack of permanent structure lead to the Foundation defaulting on its agreement with the city.

The Council voted 5-2 to send out a formal default notice to the organization, which gives it 60 days to correct the problem or face eviction. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has so far decided to let Steward's continue its work in Riverfront Park while the city works out its future.

Steward's Foundation president Tom Feaster told Tampa Bay Online that the reason the boathouse has not yet been constructed is because the organization has been unable to find donors for the project, due to uncertainty about the city's plans for the park.

According to public tax filings, the Foundation spent about $100,000 on its rowing programs in 2010. Feaster has maintained that other than the issue with the boathouse, his organization is fulfilling its mission, putting over 250 students a day on the Hillsbourough River to learn teamwork and improve their fitness.

Montelione will begin reviewing the agreements with the other city's nonprofits, and suggested to the Council that they may have to end support for them if they are unable to meet their obligations.

You can read the full story on Tampa Bay Online's website.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opening Of New YMCA In Coney Island Delayed After Sandy

Coney Island, a community and a perennial tourist attraction in Brooklyn, N.Y., was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but the damage done won't stop the YMCA from opening the area's first center.

The new location is on track to open, though it will likely be delayed by at least four months, according to a report in Crain's New York Business. The new Y is scheduled to open sometime during the second half of next year. The 44,000-square-foot facility will be designed to fit the needs of the area, and will include two swimming pools and a gym and fitness area, both which residents hope will combat the high rate of diabetes around Coney Island.

Plans for the new location are part of a decade-long effort to revitalize Coney Island, which might be best known for its oceanfront amusement park.

Presently, the closest Y location is in Park Slope, 16 subway stops from Coney Island. Jack Lund, CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, told Crain's that construction of the new location will employ 125, including part-time positions. These new jobs will be a boon to a community that has an unemployment rate of 51 percent, six times the average of Brooklyn. 

The Coney Island YMCA facility will be located on Surf Avenue and 29th street, where it will be exclusively focused on the residents of the community. It is expected to draw 15,000 members, two-thirds of whom will be children.

You can read the full article in Crain's New York Business.

5 Best Practices For Selecting Software

The trends are always changing in the world of technology. Who would have thought just a few years ago that tablets would become more desirable than laptops? Yet that's exactly what has happened, with major developers like Microsoft developing innovations meant for that device.

Most nonprofit managers would love to bring the latest "must-have" software to their organizations, but that's simply an unrealistic proposition. To be successful in today's rapidly changing world, it is imperative to decide which technologies best fit your organization.

In "Nonprofit Management 101," Holly Ross, executive director of Portland, Ore.-based Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), wrote that the key to selecting new software is understanding and documenting your needs. This would seem to indicate a length process, but it can actually be done by following five best practices:

  • Identify your top needs. If you are looking for graphics software, for example, will you be making graphics primarily for the Web or for print?
  • Can your existing software already do it? Before you head out into the software selection process, be sure to evaluate existing software to see if it can get the job done.
  • Find out what your peers are using. Referrals can be the best way to find the right piece of software for your organization.
  • Identify some scenarios and test. Most software packages and vendors allow you access to a demo or trial version.
  • Decide whether this software will meet your needs. You should look for software that will best meet your critical needs.

Friday, December 7, 2012

9 Grant Writing Dos And Don'ts

Any nonprofit manager can browse the web and look for grant opportunities for their projects. It's the writing part that can prove a little trickier.

Grant writing is one of the more frustrating aspects of the funding seeking process. You can pour all of your time and energy into a proposal only to see it rejected with seemingly little thought. While there is no surefire way to ensure your proposal will be accepted 100 percent of the time, there are some ways to increase your chances of success.

In "Nonprofit Management 101," Tori O'Neal-McElrath, director of institutional advancement at the Center for Community Change, listed nine dos and don'ts for the grant seeking process that will give your proposal the best possible shot of being accepted:
  • DO take the executive summary portion of the proposal seriously. It is often the first section that gets read.
  • DON’T make your problem statement so bleak that it creates the perception of no hope.
  • DO get your facts straight. Make sure your data is up-to-date and as accurate as possible.
  • DON’T let a grant-writing consultant develop your program plan. The person can write the grant, but staff needs to develop the program.
  • DO follow the grant guidelines as specifically as they are articulated. Never use a “one size fits all” approach to seeking grants.
  • DO contact the funding institution and speak or meet with someone about your organization and/or program before submitting the proposal.
  • DO think of everyone -- funding institutions included -- who invests in your organization as partners.
  • DON’T try to convince a funder to invest in your nonprofit if you do not fit within their specific areas of focus.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nonprofits Advocate For Charitable Deduction

The Charitable Giving Coalition -- a group of nonprofit advocates from 40 states -- traveled to Washington, D.C., yesterday. Their mission? To make sure the charitable deduction isn't eliminated during on-going discussions on how to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

According to an article in The Worcester Telegram, the group is part of an effort called "Protect Giving," which involves an estimated 280 people from more than 50 nonprofits. They met with members of Congress to plead with them to leave the charitable deduction off of the chopping block.

While both Democrats and Republicans agree the cliff needs to be avoided, they remain at an impasse because President Barack Obama is insisting tax rates go up on the wealthiest 2 percent. Republicans say they are ready to accept increased revenue as part of a deal, but that it can't come from tax hikes, which they say will destroy jobs. They say any revenue should come from closing loopholes and eliminating deductions.

Yet many economists claim that it is impossible to raise the revenue Republicans claim they can get ($800 billion) without eliminating virtually all deductions, including the charitable deduction. Nonprofit officials say that if it were to be eliminated, giving to organizations would be severely damaged.

The sector appears to have an ally in this fight with President Obama, who said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that  if the deduction were eliminated, "Every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse. So that's not a realistic option." Nonprofits the past have fought hard against the Obama administration's efforts to reduce the charitable deduction.

Tim Garvin, president of United Way of Central Massachusetts and a member of the Coalition, told The Telegram that the group met with nearly 240 legislative offices, including staffers from the offices of Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) also came to listen to the group's advocacy.

You can read the full story in The Worcester Telegram.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Major Gift Campaigns: Your First Year

With rare exceptions, major gift campaigns can't be completed in a single year and, in fact, they can sometimes take as long as a decade. That's why it is important to create a schedule of goals when planning your campaign.

Whatever kind of schedule you create should include a series of target dates in which you are going to reach certain benchmarks. Russel V. Kohr wrote in the "Handbook of Institutional Advancement" that the first year of your campaign is perhaps the most important; it is during this time period when your efforts can really take off or sink.

Kohr wrote that organizations should aim for the following 13 goals during the first year of their major gift campaigns:

  • Complete the first draft of the long-range plan;
  • Share plan with trustees and selected potential benefactors;
  • Revise plan as necessary;
  • Trustees approve plan and campaign goal;
  • Development office prepares statement of gift opportunities;
  • Development office drafts case statement that is then shared with key people in the organization, trustees, and selected friends;
  • Survey various constituencies intensively;
  • Research prospective donors of major gifts;
  • Begin solicitation of major gift, corporate, and foundation prospects;
  • Increase annual giving solicitation;
  • A group -- such as the president, chairman of the board of trustees, and the chairman of the trustee committee on development -- enlists a national campaign chairman and members of the major gifts committees;
  • Role of the president and other administrative officials in the campaign is determined; and,
  • Begin solicitation of trustees.

Subscribe to Enewsletters From The NonProfit Times

Can't wait for the new issue of The NonProfit Times?  Get your nonprofit fix subscribing to our enewsletters!  We deliver five in all, but I want to focus on three that are delivered every week: NPT Weekly, Instant Fundraising, and NPT Jobs. 

  • NPT Weekly: This newsletter addresses matters pertaining to all aspects of nonprofit management, fundraising, financial management, direct marketing, technology, legal issues and human resources.  It contains one main article, and three management tips.
  • Instant Fundraising: Geared toward keeping development officers and executive directors up to date with the latest fundraising developments, offers news, tips and proven methods to fund organizations.  Like Weekly, it contains one main article, and three management tips.
  • NPT Jobs: Unlike the previous two newsletters, the sign-up form for NPT Jobs is located on our online career center.  This newsletter contains links to the three nonprofit jobs on our job board, as well as a career advice article.
Our other newsletters are Technobuzz (a nonprofit technology focused newsletter) and Exempt (a financial newsletter) If you are interested in signing up for any of these, head on over to the NPT website.  For NPT Jobs, visit The Nonprofit Jobseeker.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Dec. 1 Issue Of The NonProfit Times

Just in time for the holidays, the Dec. 1 issue of The NonProfit Times is now available. The newest edition of the magazine features stories ranging from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to the looming "fiscal cliff." Let's take a look at some of the stories you will find within the pages, starting with the top stories.

Articles

  • Get Ready For The Fiscal Cliff: Most Americans are familiar with the so-called fiscal cliff -- the combination of tax increases and budget cuts set to begin Jan. 1 -- by this time. After all, it's been dominating the headlines since President Barack Obama won re-election in November. This article takes a look at the affects it will have on nonprofits should the government not come to a deal by the end of the year.
  • Charities Strike Back After Sandy's Knockdown Punch: Charities across the nation have chipped in following the devastating affects Superstorm Sandy had on the Northeast in October. This story takes a look at some of the more impressive efforts by nonprofits.
  • Lessons Learned From Katrina: In this guest column, Ann Silverberg Williamson, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofits, relates her experiences during another storm that caused major damage to communities: Hurricane Katrina.
Special Report
  • After The Election: The election is over and now the work resumes. The charitable sector needs to know where President Obama will lead the next four years on every social issue imaginable. This special report will let the president know where several of the sector leaders stand. Readers should also make sure to watch NPT's Platform for the Nonprofit Sector video.
Columns
  • Guarding Against Grant FraudGiven the stiff competition for grant funding and the amount of money at stake, the field of grant proposal writing is unfortunately fertile ground for fraud. When someone blows the whistle and the lawsuit flies, the person who wrote the grant proposal is in the line of fire. And, the organization that submitted the proposal -- the applicant organization, is likewise in hot water.
  • Direct Mail Still King: This column looks at why direct mail is still at the top of its game, despite all the advances in technology. Specifically, it looks at how catalogs are a great source of revenue for organizations.
These are only a sampling of the stories in the Dec. 1 issue. To get full magazine, visit our subscription page to order a digital or print edition of NPT.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mini Horse A Hit With Wisc. Salvation Army

Holiday season in the United States brings a lot of familiar sights, though none may be as iconic as the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign. Volunteers from the charity stand outside shops ringing bells and soliciting donations. This practice is the same all across the country except in a town in Wisconsin, where an unexpected volunteer is leading the way: A miniature horse.

Named Tinker, the horse and other more traditional volunteers set up shop in West Bend, Wisc., according to an article in The Associated Press. He uses his mouth to hold and ring the standard red bell and holds a sign that says "Thank You Merry Christmas." He can also bow, give kisses and, most importantly of all to the Salvation Army, he raises 10 times the amount of money than a normal bell ringer.

Salvation Army commander Major Roger Ross told The Post that Tinker, who is 13-years old, has been known to bring in around $2,500 in a day, while a human ringer typically raises $250 in the same time period.

Carol Takacs, one of Tinker's owners, bought the horse 12 years ago with her husband while looking at a property. She fell in love with the mini horse and asked the owner that he be a part of the deal. She got the idea to use Tinker as a bell ringer after seeing one of the Salvation Army volunteers a few years ago, and she thought the horse could help make the standard Red Kettle campaign more interesting.

Before a typical appearance, Takacs spends a half-hour vacuuming Tinker's mane and fur and puts glitter on his hooves, a bell on his tail, and a Santa hat on his head. A pin with the horse's likeness is also given to donors who contribute at least $5.

You can read the full story in The Associated Press.

5 Ways Nonprofit Advocacy Can Succeed

All eyes right now are on the so-called fiscal cliff and while most of the arguments echoing in the congressional halls are about whether there should tax hikes on the wealthiest 2 percent, there are some issues that will directly impact the nonprofit sector. For example, there are still talks about capping the charitable deduction to generate revenue for the government, to which most in the sector are adamantly opposed.

This is where effective advocacy can come into play.

While nonprofits are forbidden to directly influence lawmakers, they can use their supporters to rally for causes like the charitable deduction. In the book "Five Good Ideas," Sean Moore wrote about how organizations should scrap the focus on the nuts and bolts of advocacy in favor of a reliance on concepts, approaches, and mindsets that can help them become a constructive player in public policy.

Moore laid out five ways to avoid the common pitfalls organizations face while lobbying:
  • Understand how the government thinks. Key to successful persuasion is understanding those who you are trying to convince: Their values, objectives, needs, and way of looking at the world.
  • Undertake do-it-yourself public policy. One of the most important things you can do is provide public officials with material they can use in a format with which they are familiar.
  • Build political capital. Whether its leadership realizes it or not, every organization has political capital. This includes the reputation and accomplishments of your nonprofit and its leaders.
  • Be strategically opportunistic. Aim for a balance between being reliable and avoiding being taken for granted. Be prepared to be active, but wait for the opportunity where you can have the greatest influence.
  • Find your champions. Having a champion is a litmus test for your work: If you can’t get someone to play this role, that may be an early warning about the practicality of what you are asking.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Grant Opportunity Questions To Ask

Nonprofits are constantly searching for new grant opportunities around the web, whether they are private or public sources. While the temptation is strong to pursue a grant without asking any questions, that is an approach that could lead to big problems.

In his book "How to Win Grants," Alan Silver wrote that before applying for a grant, nonprofit managers should answer "yes" to the following five questions:

  • Are you eligible? First of all, your agency should clearly meet the funder's legal status requirements. If your agency is not eligible for direct funding, you might be able to partner with an appropriate organization and subcontract a significant portion of the project.
  • Is the grant aligned with your agency mission and goals? Once you’re sure your organization is eligible for funding, consider how closely the grant matches your purpose and plans.
  • What are your chances? You’ll want to be well positioned to win based on your agency’s qualifications, the problem or need you've defined, and the project you've designed.
  • Is it worth the trouble? Consider the amount of work you will need to win the grant. If it’s too much effort for your organization, you should consider other opportunities.
  • What happens when the grant ends? Funders want to know your game plan for sustaining the project when the grant funding ends. If the grant pays for new equipment, can you support the ongoing maintenance expenses?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NY AG Requests Sandy Aid Info From Nonprofits

Nonprofits across the country have been busy raising money in support of relief efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now wants to know the exact details of those fundraising efforts.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Schneiderman's office sent letters to at least 75 nonprofits on Tuesday requesting disclosure of their fundraising efforts for Sandy. The information will be compiled online by the attorney general's office Charities Bureau in an effort to improve transparency and donor confidence.

"In the coming weeks and months, we expect to reach out to you for additional information, including more detailed information about how donations have been expended and the steps taken to prevent fraud and/or misuse of resources," Jason Lilien, chief of the Charities Bureau, wrote in the letter.

Lilien goes on to write that he expects to get responses from the organizations by Dec. 11. The information that is being requested includes amounts raised and spent so far and whether the donations received will be used solely for storm relief. In addition, information regarding services provided to victims, funds forwarded to other groups, and plans for any surplus or direct grants to individuals, families or businesses.

The nearly 75 organizations contacted by the the Charities Bureau include the American Red Cross and the AARP Foundation. Letters to more nonprofits are expected to be sent in the coming weeks.

As of  this writing, the agency has only received a small number of complaints about Sandy-related relief efforts by charities, reports which are currently being investigated.

You can read the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

New Grant Opportunities From NPT

We are continuing to post new opportunities to our grant page, with three more being added today from the IEEE Foundation. Two of those three grants fall under newly added categories: Technology and Human Services.

While both categories are important, we're going to feature the Human Services posting here. Take a look:


Type of Grant: Human Services
Grant Name: Applying Technology for Humanitarian Causes
Agency(s): IEEE Foundation
Closing Date for Applications: Two deadlines – March 15, 2013 or August 6, 2013



Description:

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Foundation is offering grant opportunities for organizations seeking ways to improve the lives of others using technology. The IEEE Foundation supports projects that implement or disseminate replicable, sustainable, technology-based solutions for humanitarian issues in underserved and underprivileged areas.

Eligible Organizations:

All nonprofits are eligible to apply for a grant as long as they meet the following requirements:
Grant payments depend on the length of the project. For example, programs that are 12 months or less in duration will receive 50 percent of the initial award payment after the Grantee has completed an IRS Form W-9. The remaining 50 percent will be paid after the final Grant Report has been submitted along with a financial statement.

You can find out more information at https://www.ieee.org/organizations/foundation/grants.html

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You can take a look at the other opportunities by visiting the NPT Grant Finder.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Former Salvation Army Director Charged With Theft

The former executive director of a Salvation Army facility has been charged in the alleged theft of toys and donations from the organization's Toronto warehouse.

David Rennie was fired after the charity announced last week that 100,000 items worth about $2 million went missing from the facility over a period of two years, according to a report in The Huffington Post. Rennie is charged with theft, possession of stolen goods, and breach of trust. He will appear in court on Jan. 4.

According to an article in The Toronto Star, the alleged theft first came to light after an anonymous whistleblower, who is believed to be an employee at the warehouse, informed the Salvation Army that there were irregularities at the facility. After a month-long internal audit, it was discovered that toys and donations had gone missing, and Rennie was fired shortly after.

Police found the missing items in a warehouse northwest of Toronto, were 146 wooden platforms were stacked with toys, cribs, strollers, and other items.

You can read the full story in The Huffington Post.

Giving Tuesday Launches Holiday Donations, Community Building

Head to The NonProfit Times' website for the full version of this article on Giving Tuesday

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DoSomething in New York City sent an email to its mostly youthful members and supporters asking that they get their parents or anyone older than age 25 to take a five-question test. The penalty for each wrong answer is a $10 donation to DoSomething or a nonprofit of the test-takers choice.

Today is “Giving Tuesday,” the charitable sector’s answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Approximately 2,200 organizations – both nonprofits and their for-profit supporters – are pushing Americans to kick-off the holiday season with a donation of cash or time. Much like store having promotions tied to their brands on Black Friday, it is up to each participating organization to determine how they’ll promote the event.

The event’s Twitter hashtag, #GivingTuesday, was already trending before the close of the business day on Monday. “We know this is going to be the first day of the giving season, and we’re excited to see what happens,” said Sol Adler, executive director of the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City, where the idea for the day was hatched. “There are two days for spending (Black Friday and Cyber Monday), so the whole idea is, why not have a day of giving,” said Melanie Mathos of Charleston, S.C., software firm Blackbaud, one of the founding partners. “It’s a way to kick off the giving season, and the timing is great to raise awareness. It embodies the spirit of the holiday season and will bring greater awareness to nonprofits.”
Blackbaud will begin tracking giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving year-over-year, starting with this year compared to last year. Mathos said Blackbaud’s results should be ready tomorrow.

Though no one organization controls Giving Tuesday, a mass message of support from about 800,000 people will go out on Twitter via the Thunderclap platform at 2:30 p.m. (EST). Thunderclap allows for a large number of social media users to write a message and share it at the same time.

“One of the interesting things about Giving Tuesday is it’s an opportunity for experimenting,” said Henry Timms, 92Y’s deputy executive director of innovation, content and strategy. “Thunderclap is a chance for people to come together to share one message.” The 92Y experimented with Google Hangouts, and enlisted about 800 social media ambassadors to help spread the word between September and Giving Tuesday.

The 92Y is also driving donations and volunteering opportunities to itself, according to Adler. “We secured $150,000 worth of matching grants (for Giving Tuesday donations) from our board of directors and the general community,” he said. “We’re also doing a lot of opportunities for volunteering. We’ll have young kids doing greeting cards for soldiers and homebound elderly, and if you come down to the 92nd Street Y, a lot of it will be happening in front of you.”

No one is quite sure how Giving Tuesday will shake out, since this is the first event and there are a large number of variables. “This is the first year that a group of retailers and nonprofits and other folks in social media have pulled together to encourage the public to give,” said Anne Marie Borrego, director of media relations for the American Red Cross (ARC), another founding partner of Giving Tuesday. “We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday. It will shine a light on the importance of giving in the holiday season.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Youth Grant Opportunities

Nonprofits are constantly trying to help groups that are in need, yet the money isn't always there. That's where grants come in handy. With The NonProfit Times' new grant opportunities page, organizations will have another source to find out the latest opportunities from around the web.

The page has many different categories that are updated often. One of our newer categories, Youth, was updated just this morning with an opportunity from the American Honda Foundation. Take a look:


Type of Grant: Youth
Grant Name: American Honda Foundation Grants
Agency(s): American Honda Foundation
Closing Date for Applications: Applications accepted on rolling basis



Description:

The American Honda Foundation (AHF) seeking to fund organizations that are starting projects focused on youth education, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math, environment, job training, and literacy.

Eligible Organizations:

Only nonprofits that are 501(c)(3) are eligible to receive grants from AHF. In addition, your organization must have two years of audited financial statements examined by an independent CPA for the purpose of expressing an opinion if gross revenue is $500,000 or more. If gross revenue is less than $500,000, and the organization does not have audits, it may submit two years of financial statements accompanied by an independent CPA’s review report instead.

Grant requests may only be for a 12-month period. Awards range from $20,000 to $75,000. You can find out more information at http://corporate.honda.com/america/philanthropy.aspx?id=ahf

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Development Manager

We hope that everybody has great plans to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Before you sit down for a hearty meal of turkey, why not take a look at the latest featured nonprofit job posted on our career center?

The American Lung Association (ALA) is looking to hire a Development Manager to lead fundraising efforts in the South Florida area. This position is also responsible for obtaining local development goals through collaboration with local volunteers and community and corporate leaders. Finally, the development manager will assist in recruiting and supporting volunteers for area specific fundraising/subcommittee assignments, assisting in promoting the ALA to local community and training volunteers in fundraising techniques.

Before you click that "apply" button, make sure that you meet the following requirements laid out by the ALA:
  • Bachelor's degree in related field;
  • Minimum of three years experience in special event fundraising, community outreach, and committee development;
  • Experience in corporate development and third party fundraising;
  • Excellent verbal, writing, and computer skills; and,
  • Extensive local and occasional overnight travel required and must have reliable transportation.
If you think you have what it takes to be a Development Manager, head to our career center for instructions on how to apply.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nonprofit Hospital To Pay Syracuse For City Services

The mayor of Syracuse, N.Y., announced today that one of the city's nonprofit hospitals has agreed to pay $50,000 for four years to help cover the cost for services such as snow plowing.

Crouse Hospital becomes only the second tax-exempt institution to agree to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) to the city after Mayor Stephanie Miner urged the city's nonprofits to help the cash-strapped city, according to an article in The Syracuse Post-Standard. The other organization to agree to such payments was Syracuse University (SU), which will pay $500,000 over five years.

Between the two agreements, Syracuse will generate $2.7 million in revenue over the next five years.

"Crouse Hospital understands we cannot succeed as a city without our large non-profit institutions and that our large non-profit institutions cannot succeed without a vital and healthy city,” said Mayor Stephanie A. Miner in a press release. "This agreement shows Crouse’s leadership and how important it is to have strong partnerships with our leading employers—our nonprofits—to ensure we can move this community forward in challenging times."

The push to get more of the tax-exempt organization in Syracuse -- 50 percent of properties in the city fall under this classification -- is part of Miner's efforts to convince Albany that the city is doing all it can to resolve its current fiscal problems. The state government is reluctant to offer assistance until it gets those assurances.

In a letter to the city's nonprofits dated Nov. 1, Miner wrote that she believes that "our local efforts will not be complete until we as a community demonstrate that ALL our major nonprofit institutions are adopting the same bold thinking we are asking Albany to consider."

So far, however, the mayor has only gotten Crouse and SU to agree to make voluntary payments. Organizations including St. Joseph's Hospital Center and the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry have already rebuffed Miner's calls for payments.

Syracuse is among a growing list of cities that have called on nonprofits to make payments in lieu of taxes to help with fiscal issues. In October, the government of Pittsburgh, Pa., began dialogue with local tax-exempt organizations to make contributions to the city.

New Foundation Grant Opportunities

We continue to add new grant opportunities to The NonProfit Times Grant Page. Specifically, we have added three new categories (Education, Community Building, and Social Entrepreneurship) and uploaded four new grants. While the majority of our first batch of listings were mainly from government organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration, our latest additions are from foundations.

Below is one of the four new grant opportunities we posted on our site:


Type of Grant: Education
Grant Name: Community Action Grants Program
Agency(s): AAUW
Closing Date for Applications: Jan. 15, 2013



Description:

The AAUW Community Action Grants Program provides funds to AAUW state organizations as well as local community-based nonprofits for innovative programs or non-degree research projects that promote education and equity for women and girls.

Eligible Organizations:

Eligible nonprofits must be based in the United States and projects must have a direct public impact on the issue of education equality for women and girls. In addition, they must be non-partisan and take place within the U.S. or its territories. Preference will be given to projects focused on K-12 and community college girls’ and women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering or math.

There are two types of grants available: One-year ($2,000 to $7,000 in funds) or two-year grants ($5,000 to $10,000 in funds). The former provides seed money for new projects while the latter provides start-up funds for longer-term projects. You can apply for these opportunities at http://www.actionvolunteering.com/apply_online.htm

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You can see the other opportunities we have listed by visiting our Grants Page.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wanted: Executive Director For California Nonprofit

Executive Directors are some of the more important employees at a nonprofit. Now, thanks to a new featured job from the Nonprofit Job Seeker, there's a great opportunity to fill this major role.

The Mary Magdalene Project (MMP), a nonprofit that provides women who have been victimized by domestic trafficking a chance to turn their lives around, is looking to hire an Executive Director. Reporting to the Board of Directors, this position will have the following responsibilities in the organization:

  • Ensure ongoing local programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals.
  • Actively engage and energize MMP volunteers, board members, committees, alumni, partnering organizations, and funders.
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors: serve as ex-officio of each committee, seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for both ongoing operations as well as for expansion throughout Los Angeles and adjacent counties.
  • Lead, coach, develop, and retain MMP professional team.
  •  Ensure effective systems to track progress, and regularly evaluate program components, so as to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Expand local revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and regional expansion.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations with the goal of expanding awareness of MMP’s programs and services.
  • Use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities.
  • Design and complete a strategic business planning process for funding MMP’s existing programs and the implementation of new programs as well as the expansion into a wider geographical area.
You can read more about this job, including information on how you can apply, by heading to our career center.

Top 20 Employee Benefits Offered By NY Nonprofits

The nonprofit jobs that were most likely to receive bonus pay were examined in a post last week. Today, we will take a look at some of the non-cash perks that are given to employees.

Benefits given by organizations in one state are not necessarily the same in another. Nowhere is this more true than in New York, home to some of the most diverse groups of nonprofits in the country. In The NonProfit Times' 2012 New York Nonprofits Salary and Benefits Report, employee benefits are studied at the many organizations based in the Empire State. From the large organizations in the heart of Manhattan to the government-related groups in Albany, nonprofits in this state give a wide range of perks to their workers.

Based on the 34,243 individuals surveyed for this report, we were able to determine that the following 20 benefits were the most common among New York nonprofits:

  • Paid Company Holidays -- 87.99%
  • Medical Insurance Coverage -- 87.39%
  • Retirement Benefits -- 78.80%
  • Paid Vacation -- 78.21%
  • Paid Sick Leave -- 75.14%
  • Paid Bereavement Time -- 69.55%
  • Dental Insurance Coverage -- 61.58%
  • Paid Personal Days -- 61.45%
  • Flextime -- 46.55%
  • Basic Life Insurance -- 43.79%
  • Flexible Spending Account Benefit -- 39.78%
  • Short-Term Disability -- 36.39%
  • Free/Subsidized Parking -- 33.74%
  • Business Casual Days -- 33.00%
  • Paid Floating Holidays -- 32.12%
  • Long-Term Disability -- 30.77%
  • Domestic Partner Coverage -- 30.54%
  • Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) -- 28.08%
  • Full-Time Business Causal Policy -- 25.37%
  • Paid Association/Professional Society Dues -- 24.48%
You can purchase the New York Nonprofits Salary and Benefits Report, as well as our other four studies, on our online store.

Friday, November 16, 2012

10 Nonprofit Positions Most Likely To Receive Bonus Pay

Though they usually get most of the attention, nonprofit executives are not always the most likely to receive bonus pay from their organizations. As our 2012 Salary and Benefits Reports reveal, there are many positions that are also in the running for bonuses.

Bonuses come in many different forms but for the purposes of this post, we are referring to those that increase the salary of the employee. Keep in mind that having one of the jobs listed below does not guarantee you are going to be given a bonus. All this shows is that, from the 103,005 nonprofit employees we surveyed across the country, these positions were deemed most likely to get bonus pay. While some of these 10 positions will not surprise you, others may be more of a shock.

Top 10 Positions Most Likely to Receive Bonus Pay:
  • Scientific Journal Communications Manager -- 60.00%
  • Chief Medical Officer -- 50.00%
  • Order Picker -- 45.45%
  • Regional Area Income Development VP/Director -- 43.75%
  • Area Manager -- 43.75%
  • Vocational or Placement Counselor -- 43.48%
  • Chief Marketing Officer -- 41.67%
  • Chief Operating Officer/Associate Executive Director -- 41.30%
  • Meetings & Events Manager/Planner -- 41.07%
  • Print Shop Manager -- 40.00%
To get more information like this, purchase one of our four 2012 Salary and Benefits Reports.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Boys And Girls Club To Use Former Adult Club Site


Cross-Posted From The NonProfit Times
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What do a strip club and the Boys and Girls Club have in common? That seems like an absurd question but the two do have a connection – at least in Ohio.

Pending approval by the city, the site of a former strip club in Union Township, Ohio will become the home of the third Boys and Girl Club in Clermont County, Ohio.

Déjà Vu Showgirls Strip Club -- part of Déjà Vu Consulting, which owns 75 adult entertainment clubs in 16 states -- occupied the property at 516 Old Ohio 74 until the club closed in December 2011. The now-abandoned property was purchased Nov. 8, for $300,000 by the Union Township Community Improvement Corp. (CIC). Among the property’s new tenants will be, pending approval of the purchase, the locals Boys and Girls Club of America affiliate.

A call to Déjà vu Consulting was not immediately returned.

The Boys and Girls Club will occupy 4,000 square feet of the 17,000 square foot building. While the idea of a charity meant to keep troubled youth out of harm’s way occupying a location with such a negative connotation might be strange to some, the Boys and Girls Club sees it differently.

“It’s an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade,” said Jan Still-Lindeman, senior director of public relations at Boys and Girls Club of America national office in Atlanta, Ga. “We go wherever kids need help, regardless of the location.”

The new facility would be the third in Clermont County, though the first in West Clermont. The organization already has two facilities in New Richmond. There had been a location in the West Clermont School in Amelia, but it closed a year and a half ago because of continued financial woes, according to Jill Cochran, executive director of Boys and Girls Club of Clermont County.

When asked why the Boys and Girls Club chose this specific location, Cochran again emphasized the importance of turning a building with such a negative reputation into something positive for the community. She also mentioned the location has been on the organization’s radar for some time.
“The building is in a great location,” Cochran explained. “It’s close to apartments so the children will be able to walk to it easily.”
All Boys and Girls Clubs locations are different when it comes to programming, and Cochran said this facility plans to focus on education, good character, leadership, and healthy lifestyles.

The city is expected to vote on the purchase on Nov. 21. Should it be approved, Cochran said she is not sure when it would be open, but she mentioned they have already concluded a $235,000 fundraising campaign for renovations, start-up costs, and the first year of operation.

Cochran says the organization’s steering committee has already met with many members of the local community, who she says have been extremely supportive.

“I can’t say enough about Union Township and their cooperation on this,” she said. “The community support is going to make this successful.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ex-Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Nonprofit

A former employee of the charitable arm of the Eastern Main Healthcare Systems (EMHS) pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing almost $56,000 from the nonprofit.

The employee, Laurena Cunningham, is scheduled to be sentenced next month, according to The Bangor Daily News. She faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to twice the amount stolen, and an order to pay restitution to EMHS.

Cunningham's role at EMHS was to hand off donations to a courier who would deposit that money into a bank account. Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, accused Cunningham of skimming off cash donations and making up the difference with check donations she held back from earlier deposits. Before her arrest, Cunningham had worked form EMHS for several years in the organization's Bangor office.

According to a press release issued by EMHS at the time of her indictment in June, the organization realized that $56,183 in donations were diverted between November 2011 and March 2012. The missing funds were discovered during a routine accounting review.

You can read the full story in The Bangor Daily News.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Armstrong Steps Down From Livestrong Board

Cross-Posted From The NonProfit Times Website

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Less than a month after stepping down as chairman, Lance Armstrong has resigned entirely from the board of the foundation that he founded 15 years ago.

The former cycling champion resigned as chairman of the board on Oct. 17, replaced by founding chairman Jeff Garvey, and yesterday Garvey announced that Armstrong voluntarily resigned from the Lance Armstrong Foundations’ board “to spare the organization any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career.” The decision to step down was made Nov. 4 by Armstrong but announced yesterday, according to a spokesman.

In a 200-word statement, Garvey thanked Armstrong for “changing the way the world views people affected by cancer,” as well as for his devotion to serving survivors and commitment to the cause.

Armstrong, 41, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, beating the disease and starting the foundation in 1998 before going on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released a report last month that included damning testimony from former teammates that many within U.S. cycling, including Armstrong, engaged in doping. Armstrong has continually denied the allegations but was stripped of his seven titles and several sponsors, including Nike, severed ties with him, though not with the charity.

The Austin, Texas-based foundation is more commonly known as Livestrong after a branding effort several years ago. The charity skyrocketed to fame after the wild success of yellow, Livestrong bracelets in 2004, selling more than 80 million. Over the years, Armstrong has donated nearly $7 million to the organization, Garvey said, and the foundation has raised nearly $500 million.

Fundraising hasn’t been hurt yet by the rash of media reports since the USADA released its evidence in August. Livestrong has reported that donations are up about 3 percent since Aug. 23, and the number of donations are up more than 7 percent, compared to 2011. The number of donations are up about 15 percent since Armstrong resigned as chairman last month while the total raised is up about 2 percent compared to the same time last year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

9 Ideas For Finding Volunteers For Special Events

Finding individuals who are willing to be long-term volunteers for your nonprofit can be difficult. Many people in this country want to do whatever they can to help out organizations, but they don't necessarily want to do it all the time. That's why one-time special events can be very appealing to potential volunteers.

There are plenty of individuals out there who would love the chance to be a part of making your event a success; it’s just a matter of reaching them. In his book "The Idiot's Guide to Recruiting and Managing Volunteers," John L. Lipp wrote that you have to exhaust all avenues of communication to reach these potential volunteers. He suggested using the following techniques:
  • Start by asking individuals who are part of your active volunteer program. As soon as you have a date confirmed for your event, send them a “save-the-date” message;
  • Do the same thing with people who volunteered for your last special event. If your event includes sponsors, talk to them and see if they are interested in providing employees to help support it;
  • Contact service clubs and professional organizations, especially those that have a connection to your cause, and ask them about making a commitment to provide a minimum number of volunteers for your event;
  • Target people with specific skills;
  • Reach out to organizations that specialize in recruiting volunteers for special events and one-time opportunities;
  • Utilize the Internet to promote your event and volunteer opportunities;
  • Contact local religious groups; and,
  • Consider offering your clients an opportunity to volunteer for your special event.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ex-Nonprofit CFO Sentenced

The former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a nonprofit in Metairie, La., has been sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of embezzling nearly $25,000 from the organization and a company employee.

Kelley Williams was also ordered to pay $245,386 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, according to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle. The 38-year-old Williams must also serve three years of supervised release following her prison term.

Federal prosecutors charged Williams with forging the name of the nonprofit's president on checks she made payable to herself, which were then deposited into her bank account. She attempted to disguise these payments by making use of computer accounting software, prosecutors say.

While the name of Williams' former employer is not identified in court papers, it was revealed that the organization provides personal care attendants, transportation, and training to individuals with developmental disabilities.

You can read the full story in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Webinar: The Nonprofit CFO’s Survival Guide

Being a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of any business has its challenges, but it's even more difficult to be a CFO of a nonprofit. These individuals are under constant pressure to achieve various tasks -- automate processes, improve productivity, create greater levels of transparency and visibility -- making life very difficult for them.

Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Join The NonProfit Times and Intacct Corporation on Dec. 6 at 11:00 AM PST for a free webinar: The Nonprofit CFO’s Survival Guide. Joined by a panel of experts, Abraham Matthew, manager at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, will bring his 10 years of experience of working with nonprofits to help CFOs better succeed at their craft. Matthew and the panel will be discussing the following topics:

  • Fund Accounting: Supporting separate, balanced sets of books.
  • Multiple Locations and Entities: Addressing centralized and local requirements.
  • Controls and Cash Management: Distributing responsibilities while keeping tight controls.
  • Grants: Tracking general vs. restricted dollars.
  • Reporting and Visibility: Achieving transparency, accountability, and trust.
  • Cloud Computing: Taking advantage of cloud computing to meet nonprofits' toughest challenges.
Any nonprofit CFO who is currently having trouble with any of the above topics should mark the date for this webinar on their calendar. Registration is free so sign up today!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Platform For The Nonprofit Sector

With Election 2012 now over, and President Barack Obama officially re-elected to a second term, we thought it was a good opportunity to bump up this post. President Obama will likely deal with issues of importance to the nonprofit sector again, perhaps even revisiting a potential cap on the charitable deduction, so it's important to see what the nonprofit sector wants out of the next four years

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In a special video filmed the day of The NonProfit Times' Power and Influence Top 50 Gala in Washington, D.C., 22 of the leading nonprofit executives let the two major party candidates know what the sector expects from the next administration when it comes to funding and cooperation. The video was released on the NPT website this morning, and a copy was delivered to both Gov. Romney and President Obama.

One of the key messages they delivered to the next occupant of the Oval Office was to increase dialog between Washington and the sector, and staying out of its way so that charity executives can do their jobs. They also urged the candidates not to attack charitable deduction or other tools, warning that they are needed to maintain the safety net for those less fortunate. The Obama administration has repeatedly tried to limit charitable deductions as a way to reduce the deficit.

The executives in the video include Robert F. Ashcraft, Diana Aviv, Brian Gallagher, and Aaron Hurst. The full list of participants can be viewed on the NPT website.

You can watch the video, which runs at around 8 minutes, on our website. Let us know what you think of the executives' message in our comments section.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing NPT Grants

Looking for grant opportunities? The NonProfit Times is pleased to announce a new addition to our site: NPT Grants. This new feature allows our readers to browse the latest grants from around the web. We will be adding more in the coming weeks and months.

Here's how it works: There are a number of different grant categories available (i.e. "Conference Funding"). Grants that match those categories will be posted within those categories, with links to the application at the end of each description. From there, you can decide whether or not your nonprofit would be a good match.

Here's one of the many grants we already have available:


Type of Grant: Conference Funding
Grant Name: Small Scientific Conference Grant Program
Agency(s): Food and Drug Administration
Closing Date for Applications: July 16, 2014



Description:

Does your organization want to hold a scientific conference? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is awarding grants to nonprofits and other groups that are interested and eligible to receive funding. Every application submitted should contain a cover letter that clearly explains the primary objectives of the conference, anticipated outcomes, and the FDA Office/Center that the application should be forwarded to for consideration.

Eligible Organizations:
  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
The amount of financial assistance requested from the FDA cannot exceed $50,000. Award periods will typically last one year, though applicants may request a multi-year project, up to five years, for permanently sponsored conferences held annually or biennially on a recurring topic or theme. You can find out more information at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-310.html

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Head to the NPT Grants page to look at the other opportunities available!

The Buzz On Executive Compensation


Compensation for nonprofit executives is a big topic of conversation these days. Organizations that receive a lot of tax payer money are under heavy pressure to not give their top employees salaries or perks that seem, in the public eye, to be excessive. Some states have even proposed legislation placing caps on executive salaries.

With The NonProfit Times' 2012 Nonprofit Organizations Top Executive Positions Salary and Special Perks Report, you will have all the information you need to ensure that your top employees are not being given salaries or benefits that are out of line with the competition.

The report uses the findings of NPT's 2012 Nonprofit Organizations Salary and Benefits Survey to examine the top 15 executive level positions within the nonprofit sector including base salary, bonus practices, total cash compensation, salary increases, employee turnover, and more. The 15 positions examined in the report are as follows:

  • Chief Executive Officer/President/Executive Director;
  • Chancellor/President;
  • Chief Operating Officer/Associate Executive Director;
  • Executive Vice President;
  • Chief Administrative Officer;
  • Chief Advocacy Officer;
  • Chief Development Officer;
  • Chief Financial Officer;
  • Chief Human Resources Officer;
  • Chief Information Officer;
  • Chief Marketing Officer;
  • Chief Medical Officer;
  • Chief Program Officer;
  • Chief Scientific Officer; and,
  • Chief of Staff.
To give you an idea of the kind of information you will find in the Top Executive Positions Salary and Special Perks Report, here are the top 10 perks that were given to CEO/President/Executive Director positions:
  • Car or Car Allowance: 44.96% of respondents
  • Additional Vacation Days: 37.98%
  • Excess Life Insurance: 27.13%
  • Reserved Parking: 15.50%
  • Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan: 14.73%
  • Supplemental Disability Insurance: 13.18%
Head to our online store to purchase the 2012 Executive Salary and Perks Report, or any of the other four Salary and Benefits Reports we have available.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ariz. Group Ordered To Release Donation Records (UPDATED)

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.)
UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times has reported that Americans for Responsible Leadership has released the names of its contributors. The release identified the nonprofit Americans for Job Security as the organization behind the $11-million donation. That money was then passed to Center to Protect Patients Rights to ARL.

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The California Supreme Court ruled Sunday that a Phoenix, Ariz.-based Political Action Committee (PAC) had to release its donation records to state records.

The state's highest court made the 7-0 ruling on a rare Sunday conference call, ordering Americans for Responsible Leadership (ARL) turn over records relating to an $11-million donation to a business campaign that opposed two propositions by Gov. Jerry Brown. The court ruled that ARL had to submit the records to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) an hour after their ruling, according to The Sacramento Bee.

As of this writing, however, ARL has yet to submit the records, having already unsuccessfully attempted to get the court to extend the deadline to 9 a.m. local time today. Matt Ross, a spokesman for ARL's legal time, said in a written statement to The Sacramento Bee that "While we are working to deliver the records, we still believe that the FPPC does not have the authority to take such action and have filed a request for immediate stay with the United States Supreme Court."

That letter was sent to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in the controversial Citizens United case, which focused on campaign spending by corporations and nonprofits. In the letter, attorney Thad A. Davis wrote that the FPPC was unfairly targeting ARL because it was targeting Brown's initiatives.

For its part, the FPPC wants to review the donations records to determine whether ARL violated state rules that require nonprofits to disclose the names of its donors if their money was earmarked for a specific initiative. Depending on when they receive the records from the group, it remains to be seen whether the FPPC has enough time to make ARL disclose the names of its donors if a violation is found.

The NonProfit Times blog first reported on this story last week when a judge from the Sacramento Superior Court ruled that the FPPC could investigate ARL's donation records. That decision was eventually appealed to the California Supreme Court.

Friday, November 2, 2012

SBA Loans For Nonprofit Operations

Cross-Posted from The NonProfit Times Website

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If your nonprofit operates in any county that has been declared a major disaster area by President Barack Obama due to Hurricane Sandy, it might be eligible for low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million at 3 percent interest rate on up to 30-year terms. Public liaison Carol Chastang said the SBA has already distributed 32,000 loan applications via mail and email in relation to Hurricane Sandy. According to Chastang, it takes 10 days after the SBA receives a completed application to render a decision.

As of Thursday, President Obama has declared major disasters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut counties, but Chastang said her office, in conjunction with FEMA, is still conducting assessments in areas affected by Sandy and it is likely that additionally counties will be declared major disaster zones. The latest disaster declarations can be found at SBA’s Sandy hub: www.sba.gov/sandy

“We encourage people to make that phone call as quickly as possible,” said Chastang. “You can also apply online. We also encourage everyone to register with disasterassistance.gov or FEMA because other forms of assistance will be made available in the days to come.” She added that registering with FEMA, disasterassistance.gov or the SBA is “plugging into the pipeline.” Online SBA disaster loan applications are available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/, or you can call 1-800-659-2955.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Issue Of The NonProfit Times: 11/1/2012

Aside from the NPT 100 Report, the Nov. 1 issue of The NonProfit Times contains a number of articles covering a wide array of topics. Let's take a look at some of those stories:

Articles

Columns
  • Funding 'Free'It’s a paradox. In a bad economy, more people are in need of the services provided by nonprofits just as it gets harder to raise funds for those services. People see that volunteers are important and organizations try to recruit more of them.
  • Why It's Hard To GrowThere is a notable lack of attention paid to growth in the nonprofit sector, and it’s not because we’re just starting to come out of The Great Recession. There is a larger structural reason why growth is so difficult in the nonprofit sector no matter what the economic outlook. Being able to recognize that reason is the first step in overcoming this structural locked brake.