Friday, June 1, 2012

U.K. Backs Off Charitable Deduction Cap

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has withdrawn his proposal for a cap on charitable deductions after significant push back from opponents of the measure.

Bloomberg Business Week reported that Osborne, who had earlier defended the measure by saying that some wealthy people were abusing the system, announced his decision today, saying that any cap could have damaged charitable giving. If it had been implemented, the new rule would have capped tax relief at 50,000 pounds or 25 percent of income.

This prompted nonprofits in the country to cry foul, claiming they would lose a huge portion of their income. The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) hailed Osborne's decision in a statement from its CEO, John Low.

“We are delighted that the government has responded to the challenging calls from philanthropists and charities across the country and taken the bold decision,” he said.

Yet it wasn't just nonprofits that opposed the plan. Members of Osborne's own Conservative Party also criticized it, with lawmaker Zak Goldsmith saying he was "ashamed" of the proposed cap. Academic institutions were also not in favor, most notably the University of Oxford, which had raised nearly 1.25 billion pounds at a recent fundraiser.

The reversal is the latest setback for Prime Minister David Cameron's budget plans. Just three days earlier, Osborne changed course on another of his proposals, a plan to levy value-added tax on hot snacks and charge the full 20 percent rate.

You can read the full story in Bloomberg Business Week.

The June 1 Edition Of The NonProfit Times Is Online!

Now that June has finally arrived, we are well on our way to summer! That means a lot of time at the beach and (hopefully) a lot of relaxing days. The arrival of the new month also means a new edition of The NonProfit Times. We are very happy to announced that the June 1, 2012 edition is now online!

Let's take a look at what articles are featured in the new issue:

Special Report

  • When Words Become Actions: This month's special report focuses on national service. Specifically, it takes a look at how the different generations of volunteers are linked.
  • Are There No Prisons?: Our editor-in-chief takes on the misguided notion that poverty is the individual's fault.
  • Structural Leadership GapsSome nonprofits are in danger of becoming climax forests. This is one of the two major sources of structural leadership gaps in nonprofits today.
Be sure to read the stories in full on our website. If you have subscribed to the digital edition of NPT, you will be able to click the magazine animation on the page to access the entire issue.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Registration For Komen Race Down

Registration for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C. is down nearly 40 percent this year, in the what is the latest in a series of downward trends for the organization after it attempted to defund Planned Parenthood in February.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that, with only three days left before the race begins, about 25,000 people had registered, down from 40,000 last year. Race organizers have said that the decline in registration is partly because of the poor economy, though Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader acknowledged to The Post that the Planned Parenthood controversy also played a part.

Rader also declined to say how much money has been raised by Komen this year. She said that fundraising typically continues for 30 days after an event. The organization bought in $5 million last year.

The Race for the Cure in D.C. remains one of the largest in the country. It reached a peak of 60,000 registrants in the mid 2000s but participation fell in recent years. Competition from the many other charity events in the city took its toll on the race.

This is not the only Komen-sponsored event that has been potentially been affected by the Planned Parenthood flap. The NonProfit Times reported earlier that the organization was dropped as a sponsor by Churchill Downs, parent company of the Kentucky Derby. It chose instead to use Los Angeles, Calif.-based Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), though it claimed the decision was made because patrons wanted to find broader ways to raise money for cancer research, not just breast cancer.

Since Komen reversed course on its controversial decision, it has awarded $600,000 in grants to 16 of Planned Parenthood's affiliates. In 2011, $680,000 in grants were awarded to 19 of 79 affiliates.

You can read the full story in The Washington Post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hip-Hop Star Mary J. Blige Vows To Get Her Charity Back On Track

Amid reports of turmoil at her charity to empower women, hip-hop star Mary J. Blige said she would get the organization back on the right track.

The New York Post reported today that Blige told the entertainment show E! News that she and her advisers are well on their way to fixing some of the problems at her charity, Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN).

"As founder and CEO of FFAWN, I am ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong. The problem is that I didn't have the right people in the right places doing the right things. This should have never been allowed to happen, but it did and now we are fixing it."

Blige went on to tell E! News that she had the "wrong" people in place at FFAWN, and that she has no plans to close the embattled nonprofit.

The Post initially ran a report on May 27 detailing a litany of abuses at FFAWN. The charity not only has no office or phone number, but hundreds of thousands of dollars are unaccounted for. In addition, it has yet to file its federal tax returns for 2010, as well as its annual state-charity registration.

FFAWN is also facing two civil lawsuits, one that claims the organization failed to pay musicians at a fundraising event in 2011 and another the charges the charity defaulted on a $25,000 loan.

You can read the full story in The New York Post.

Is Your Funding Socially Responsible?

Today's breed of donors are becoming attuned to the value of social investing. More and more of them are putting their hard-earned money into investment vehicles that support causes they care about or attempting to dictate how their donations are used.

In her book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Giving Back," Elizabeth Ziemba, J.D., M.P.H. offered detailed information for people considering getting involved in socially responsible investments (SRIs). Nonprofits always want to know what is on the mind of their supporters, and Ziemba's book sheds a light on that information.

She offered the following tips for donors who are considering socially responsible funding:

  • Identify your financial needs. How much can you afford to invest? How much can you risk losing?
  • Identify and prioritize your social values. Think about what is most important to you in terms of causes and values. Knowing where you will and will not compromise is helpful in the investment selection process.
  • Understand and examine social screens. Understand the negative and positive social screens that financial management companies use to review corporate report cards on social issues. Request prospectuses from a few possible investment candidates and compare them.
  • Make your selection. After you have completed your self-assessment and an assessment of various socially responsible funds, choose the fund that most closely matches your financial and social goals.

Webinar: Making Major Gift Fundraising Productive & Reliable

UPDATE: With the webinar coming in just a couple of days, I decided to bump this post.


Hopefully you have all registered for our upcoming free webinar on cloud computing this Wednesday. The fun doesn't stop there -- we have another one scheduled for the beginning of June on a subject that should interest all fundraisers: Major gifts.

Join The NonProfit Times, Convio, and the American Marketing Association (AMA) for "Moves Management Made Easy: Making Major Gift Fundraising Productive and Reliable." This webinar will discuss how having a solid moves management process can raise your team's productivity, eliminate missed opportunities due to staff turnover, and make your major gift fundraising results more reliable.

Contributing to the hour long discussion will be Jennifer Darrouzet, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Convio, and Rachel Muir, Client Strategy Executive at Convio & Founder of Girlstart. They will explain the following topics related to moves management:

  • What moves management is and isn't.
  • How to get started and make your first move.
  • Ways to build plans with tried-and-true methods.
  • The "triggers" that tell you it's time for a prospect to move to the next cultivation stage.
This free webinar begins on June 1 at 1:00 PM EST, and will feature introductions by Paul Clolery, our editor-in-chief. Register today to participate in what is sure to be an insightful hour of discussion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5 Marketing Campaign Goals

Every plan must have an end game if it is to be successful. This is especially true for marketing campaigns.

It seems like every nonprofit wants to market something. Whether it's an upcoming fundraising event or a new program, most organizations need to make use of marketing campaigns to spread the word. The only problem is that most of them don't always take a step back and ask why they need to invest in marketing. It's only when they start thinking about these goals that it becomes clear they are quite hard to define.

Jennie Winton and Zach Hochstadt, two partners at Mission Minded, listed five areas of need for marketing in the book "Nonprofit Management 101," and possible goals to consider for them:

  • Revenue: Are your marketing efforts focused on raising more money for the organization? Exactly how much do you need to raise, by when, and for what exactly?
  • Volunteers: Are you asking people to commit time to your cause? How many people do you need, and where do you need them?
  • Tickets: How many tickets do you need to sell to break even for a special event? Can you afford to just break even, or do you actually need to make a profit?
  • Advocacy: Are you trying to pass a law or change a policy? Why? Who are you lobbying?
  • Behavioral: Are you trying to change a behavior, such as getting people to stop littering in a public park? Has this been tried before?

State Senate Approves Nonprofit Board Pay Ban

The Massachusetts state Senate approved a bill on Friday that would ban public charities from paying their boards of directors.

The bill, which is attached as a budget amendment, would forbid boards of directors from earning hefty salaries, all while attending only a few meetings a year, according to a report in The Boston Herald. State Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), who created the amendment, said that the new law would only impact charities that are paid for by taxpayers.

The bill must now be passed by the House and signed by Governor Deval Patrick.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley had previously made it clear that she wanted this practice illegal. In March 2011, she blasted nonprofit board pay after a report in The Herald showed that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts paid its boards of directors $90,000. The organization has since suspended that compensation. Coakley praised Montigny's bill in a statement and reiterated her objection to the practice of paying board members.

"Voluntary service by board members is the practice at the overwhelming majority of public charities, and for good reason," she said. "Compensation of board members raises concerns about maintaining board independence and ensuring the proper use of charitable funds."

You can read the full story in The Boston Herald.