Friday, February 24, 2012

Featured Job: Political Representative

Politics is a big part of today's society, and fundraising is a big part of politics.  If you ever wanted to integrate these two things into your career, the Nonprofit Job Seeker has just the job for you.

Orlando-based Florida Realtors is looking for a highly motivated individual to be its next Political Representative.  The accepted applicant will be responsible for one-third to one-half of the organization's districts, and will plan, organize, and coordinate fundraising and political activities on behalf of the Realtors Political Action Committee and the Issues Mobilization Committee.  The job will also involve assisting in state and federal lobbying occasionally.  Other responsibilities include:
  • Planning, organizing, and conducting workshops/instructional seminars at the district level and at state meetings to train and motivate local political involvement.
  • Designing, developing, and producing political education materials, grassroots efforts, and fundraising plans for use by local boards/associations.
  • Coordinating the Key Contact Program, which pairs Realtors with local jurisdictions.
  • Communicating regularly with local boards/associations to monitor progress and provide follow up assistance.
  • Assisting and guiding local boards/associations in the implementation of fundraising techniques and programs.
Think you have what it takes for this job?  Make sure you meet the following requirements before you apply:
  • Must have proven abilities in coordinating a large and continuing fundraising and education program.
  • Must possess strong communication and organizational skills.
  • A four-year degree in a related field is required.
  • Should have the capability to perform work under constant stress.
  • A working knowledge of the political process is a must.
  • The accepted candidate should be prepared to travel regularly to fulfill duties of the position.
Once you are sure you meet all of these requirements, apply for this job on our website!  Make sure to read application instructions carefully.

Nonprofits Want Talent, Not Cash

When leaders from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation convened nonprofits involved in the 2008 Summit on Corporate Volunteersism, they had one question: What resources do you need to continue to build sustainability?  Their answer was not more money, it was more talent.

The Washington Post published an article today by Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, in which she discussed the nonprofit sector's need for more talent in strategic areas of importance.  On the other side, businesses are having trouble retaining their talent and differentiating their products and services in order to stay competitive.  These two needs have led to the expansion of pro bono work, which is when businesses allow their employees to volunteer for nonprofits in need.

Businesses of any size can let their employees do pro bono work, but large corporations have led the way.  Companies like Deloitte, IBM, and Morgan Stanley have already provided more than $300 million worth of volunteer time to their employees.  This is not to say smaller companies are not doing their part.  In fact, Case wrote that these companies are starting to increase skills-based volunteering in their communities.  She cites the Omaha-based Nebraska Global, a software investment fund, which has seen its 51 employees volunteer over 4,500 hours to local nonprofits like the Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln.  The company also plans to lead a campaign to recruit 100 Nebraska business to start their own pro bono programs.

Has your organization been the recipient of any pro bono volunteers from local businesses?  We'd like to hear any stories you have.  Meanwhile, you can read the full story on this topic in The Washington Post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Slavery Museum Loses Tax-Exempt Status

For nearly two decades, former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder had talked about the need to teach future generations about slavery.  That desire created his push for the U.S. National Slavery Museum.  On Wednesday, his efforts received a huge blow.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the museum had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS, creating another setback for the ambitious effort.  Grand plans had been made for the museum to be built along Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg, Va., but it has yet to be constructed.  Fundraising problems and debt slowed construction, and the nonprofit was forced to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the fall.

The news of the museum losing its tax-exempt status should come as no surprise.  Nonprofits are required to file a return or notice to the IRS every year.  Organizations that fail to do this for three consecutive years are eligible to lose their exempt status.  The Slavery Museum's last federal returns were back in 2007.

Despite all these troubles, it seem as if Wilder plans to keep up the fight for the museum.  He released a statement last year pledging that the museum would be constructed, and an attorney for the organization recently filed a proposed reorganization plan that would be considered by creditors and a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge.  The plan would start a new fundraising campaign designed to bring in $900,000 a year with the ultimate goal of sharing these funds with the public.  The money would also be used to repay its creditors within four years.

You can read the full story in The Washington Post.

Nonprofits Get Hotel Tax Revenue

Nonprofits in Crystal Lake, Ill. are going to be seeing an influx of revenue thanks to some local hotels and motels.

The TribLocal reported today that local nonprofits were awarded a portion of hotel and motel tax funds that are collected by the city each year.  The City Council distributed the money Feb. 21 among the 10 groups that submitted proposals.  Each of the organizations received a portion of the funds requested, with the total money doled out adding up to $292,167.

The revenue that the city collects from hotels comes from a 5-percent tax on overnight stays at hotels and motels.  The funds are invested in the community towards programs and events that promote overnight stays in the city.  Here is a breakdown of the money received by the nonprofits:

  • The Raue Center for the Arts got the largest amount of money at $150,000.  The group has received over $422,000 the last three years.
  • The Lakeside Legacy Foundation got more than $35,000 after receiving $20,000 the previous year.
  • The Historic Downtown District of Crystal Lake also received $35,000, the same amount they got last year.
  • The McHenry County Youth Sports Association was awarded $52,000.  Last year they had requested $80,000, but they lowered their initial request to $60,000 this year.
You can read a full report of the funds distributed in The TribLocal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pennsylvania Nonprofit To Study Gas Drilling

With concerns rising over gas drilling in a Pennsylvania rock formation, a nonprofit has stepped up to see if there are any health risks as a result of the work.

CBS News reported today that the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has opened an office in western Pennsylvania to study the effects that gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formations may have on public health.  People in the community worry that, because they live near the drilling sites, their health is at risk.

The project already has several paid staffers, including a nurse who will do house calls in Washington county for citizens who believe they are sick because of the drilling.  The nurse will also provide referrals, help patients with the healthcare system, and consult with environmental health specialists.  The organization's director, Raina Rippel, said all of the services are free of charge.

Rippel told CBS News that the Environmental Health Project has met with public health officials, and will continue to work with them to try and find a definitive answer.  As of now, it is not entirely clear that gas drilling is the reason people are getting sick.  Rippel admitted that the sicknesses seen could have been caused by pollutants from other industries.  Coal mines and oil wells have been identified as possible culprits of methane gas appearing in drinking water wells.

You can read more about this story on CBS News' website.

Nonprofit Insurer Gets Federal Loans

A national membership group of independent workers was awarded federal loans, setting the stage for a new nonprofit insurer.

The Register-Guard reported today that the Freelancers Union was awarded $59.48 million in low and no-interest federal loans on Tuesday.  This money was used to create a nonprofit, consumer-run health insurance plan in Oregon.  The Union was also awarded loans to set up similar plans in New York and New Jersey, and other organizations were given the green light to set up programs in Montana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

The new insurer will be run as a Consumer Oriented and Operated Plan (CO-OP), a new plan for individuals and small businesses that was created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.  According to Freelancers Union founder and executive director Sara Horowitz, the CO-OP will be open to all Oregonians, not just members of the Union (though members will get access first).  Customers will be able to join the plan in October 2013, with benefits becoming available in January 2014.  Horowitz told The Register that she anticipates the program will insure 35,000 workers after five years.

The CO-OP plans to give its members insurance through a partnership with Providence Health & Services, a Catholic-sponsored health care system in Oregon that also operates in Alaska, California, Montana, and Washington.  The cost of the plan is yet to be determined.

This is not the first time the Freelancers Union has dabbled in nonprofit healthcare.  In 2009, the organization founded the Freelancers Insurance Co., which provides health insurance to over 23,000 New York Union members and their families.  The insurance costs about a third less than the average plans on the individual market.

You can read more about this story in The Register-Guard.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NY Mardi Gras Celebrations To Benefit Nonprofits

Today's Mardi Gras celebrations won't be limited just to New Orleans.  Although the events in the Big Easy will get most of the attention, cities across the country will be holding their own celebrations.  At one such event in Buffalo, N.Y., some nonprofits will be the recipients of much more than beads.

The Buffalo Business First reported today that the city's 17th annual Artvoice Mardi Gras celebration will be expanded this year.  Events will take place from Buffalo all the way to Southtowns, with money from each celebration going to individual nonprofits.  The money will come from the sale of $5 bracelets, which get attendees into participating establishments.  Some 46 restaurants and bars will be involved in the festivities this year.

One organization that benefited from last year's celebration is Give for Greatness.  The organization was only a campaign last year, but Artvoice helped transform it into a full-fledged nonprofit with 57 beneficiaries (up from 48 last year).  Mardi Gras activities in four Buffalo-area nonprofits will support Give for Greatness this year.

The charitable giving for Give for Greatness doesn't end with the Mardi Gras celebrations.  Fundraising activities for the organization are expected to run through Cinco de Mayo.

You can read the full article in The Buffalo Business First.

Attracting Volunteers With Facebook

It's hard to come up with more than a few people in our lives who aren't using Facebook.  Even if you don't use it much for personal reasons, you probably use it to attract people to your nonprofit's website and to engage supporters.  But did you know it's also a good way to attract new volunteers?

If you aren't using Facebook to bring volunteers to your organization, you are missing out on a key recruitment tool.  So how do you do it?  Let's just say it's a little more complicated than posting a status update that reads "We need volunteers."  Here are five ways to effectively use Facebook as a volunteer recruitment tool:

  • First of all, you need to make sure the people you want to reach are even using Facebook.  The site usually attracts a younger audience so if that's not the demographic you want, then it probably doesn't make sense to use it extensively.
  • Think about the kind of posts that will attract volunteers.  Avoid direct appeals in favor of photos, videos, or recaps of past volunteer events.  These serve a dual purpose: They recognize past workers while showing potential volunteers what they can expect if they work for you.
  • Make sure you're attracting the right people—if there's a minimum age or some other qualification, make that clear in your posts.
  • Offer a diverse array of volunteer opportunities, and make sure to have rock-solid practices for training your volunteers.  In short, prepare your organization for volunteers as best you can—and then begin recruiting on Facebook.
  • Maintain good general Facebook practices, and make sure all the other groundwork -- from your organization’s main website to volunteer management guidelines and processes to a policy for Facebook commenting -- is in place.
Now that you have these best practices in mind, you are ready to start posting.  Let us know your experiences with using Facebook as a recruitment tool in the comments section.

You can read more tips like these by signing up to our weekly e-newsletters.

Santorum Lags Behind In Charitable Giving

It seems as if there is a new front-runner in the GOP primaries every month.  That honor goes to Rick Santorum this month, with the former senator from Pennsylvania overtaking Mitt Romney and his other rivals in the last few primaries, including a three state sweep in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.  With increased notoriety comes increased public scrutiny, the latest of which comes in the form of Santorum's charitable giving.

CNN Money reported last week that Santorum lags behind GOP rivals Romney and Newt Gingrich when it comes to charitable donations.  This information comes from the candidate's tax returns, which shows that he gave $81,500 to charity over the past four years.  This makes up only 2.2 percent of his $3.6 million in total income since leaving the Senate.  It got even lower in 2010, when his giving made up only 1.76 percent of his $923,411 income.  In comparison, President Barack Obama gave 14.2 percent of his income to charity, while Romney and Gingrich gave 13.8 and 2.6 percent respectively.

Data from the IRS and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show that taxpayers that have an income of $500,000 or more donate 3.4 percent of their total income to charity, putting Santorum's giving on the low end of the spectrum.  Santorum puts a lot of stock in his religious faith and Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, notes that religious individuals tend to give more to charity than the non-religious.  That makes his giving rate seem even lower.

Santorum has long been an advocate of charitable giving and nonprofits, which makes his low giving rate even more puzzling.  In 2005, while he was still in the Senate, he sponsored the CARE Act, which was to promote the interests of charities and provide incentives for Americans to donate.

You can read the full story on Santorum's charitable giving habits in CNN Money.