Friday, July 6, 2012

Study: Nonprofit Hospital CEO Pay Doesn't Affect Quality Of Care

A study by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS) found that there is no correlation between the quality of care at nonprofit hospitals and the pay of their CEOs.

The Bangor Daily News today reported on the study that showed that the size of a CEO's compensation package correlated closer with the size of their hospitals rather than the quality of its charitable care. For example, the head of Lebanon, N.H.-based Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital -- $1.1 billion in revenue -- made $785,000 in 2009, while the CEO of Colebrook's Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital -- $15 million in revenue -- made a comparably smaller $150,000 that same year.

New Hampshire Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, who hired NHCPPS to determine how CEO pay has changed in the state's 23 nonprofit hospitals, said in a statement that “Given these hospitals exist to provide quality health care and are required to provide community benefit and charitable care in light of their non-profit status, the lack of such a correlation is a significant concern."

Rather than just relying on public Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings, NHCPPS also made use of internal hospital records including CEO employment contracts, board minutes, executive memos, and W-2 forms from 2005 to 2010.

The study found that all of the nonprofit hospitals in the state met IRS standards for executive pay, except for a few instances. Three of them didn't provide written records from board meetings where CEO compensation was a topic, and two smaller institutions didn't use pay at similar hospitals as a benchmark for their executives.

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

7 Secrets To Boosting Your Online Fundraising

There is no question that online fundraising has become a very popular method for nonprofits that are trying to increase their revenue and donors. Even though it's still not as dominant as traditional means, it has seen steady growth over the years -- the most recent Blackbaud Index of Charitable giving saw it increase for the 12th month in a row.

If your nonprofit is not seeing as much success from online giving, Frank Barry -- Internet strategy  manager for Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C. -- has some tips for you. He recommended seven ideas that will improve your organization's online fundraising efforts:

  • Look at Web Traffic: Start by scrutinizing your web traffic. Find out how many people and how often they are visiting your organization’s website each month and if they are visiting your key online fundraising pages. Once you learn more about your web traffic you can make intelligent decisions about how to optimize your website to achieve the best online fundraising results.
  • Pay Attention to Referrals: Learn where your visitors are coming from. Are they being driven to your page by social media, search engines, or partner websites? Some 40 percent of your online traffic should be from search engines, so enter your organization’s name into a search engine and observe where your site falls on the list of results. If it is not first, improve your website promotion and educate yourself about making the site easier for potential donors to find.
  • Make the Ask: Make sure you have incorporated a specific online ask. The ask should be accompanied by a precise message tailored to the demographic you are targeting.
  • Make the RIGHT Ask: Analyze what you request of your donors. Is your ask always the average of your total online fundraising revenue or does it vary with each donor adjusting based on the donor’s giving history? Being smarter about your ask, if executed properly, can help you receive more.
  • Know Your Audience: Audience analysis should be a key part of your online strategy, and it should be your goal to put the needs of potential donors first. While you might think your website is easy to navigate, others who do not know a lot about your organization might not find it as easy. Have friends or peers who are not familiar with your site look at it and use their feedback to improve.
  • Keep Messaging and Branding Unified: Images or messages should complement each other and organizations should personalize any literature to display ownership and stay on message. It is important to make all your online communication uniform, which will streamline the donor’s experience and will make a return or referral more likely.
  • Follow Up Relentlessly: After receiving a donation, make sure to follow up with the donor by updating them with your organization’s progress and show them how their gift has made a difference.

Trash Fee For NYC Nonprofits?

New York City council members plan to oppose a measure by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would impose a garbage-collection fee on nonprofits, universities, and religious organizations.

The measure, which was included in the city's recently approved $68.5 billion budget, would raise $17.2 million in revenue for the city but requires the permission of the City Council. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, that doesn't seem likely to happen.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) has indicated that a majority of the council's 51 members oppose the legislation. He has already introduced legislation barring the Bloomberg administration from instituting a trash fee, and claims he has support for the bill from 31 council members.

The idea of the trash fee originated in May 2011, when Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty informed the council that his department was considering it. The hope was that this fee would give organizations an incentive to recycle items rather than using the garbage. It would also take taxpayers off the hook, as they currently foot the bill for organizations' garbage collection.

Most of the opposition from the City Council comes on behalf of small organizations. Critics say that the proposed fee could have a negative impact on these institutions' operations. David Zigun, executive director of Coney Island USA, told The Journal that the fee amounts to a tax, and that his organization -- which is currently dealing with a deficit -- would have to lay off employees as a result.

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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Memphis Considers New PILOT Program

The Memphis, Tenn. City Council voted 9-1 to approve a committee that would determine whether the city needs to form a new system to get nonprofits to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).

The Commercial Appeal first reported on the council's decision to take up the vote. The newly approved committee will focus its efforts on nonprofits that earn $15 million or more annually. They will then decide whether the city needs to adopt a new system to replace its current one.

As it stands now, the city's PILOT program is more of an incentive tool to get businesses to move to Memphis and Shelby County. Organizations that get a PILOT then pay taxes on what the land is worth at pre-development levels. If they choose to exit the program, they would then pay full taxes on the property.

Robert Lipscomb, director of Memphis's Division of Housing and Community Development, estimates that 30 percent of the properties in the city are tax-exempt.

Council member Janis Fullilove, who sponsored the resolution, said that she wanted to determine whether nonprofits should be made to enter the current program, or whether a new system should be developed like the one in Boston. In April, the Massachusetts city began demanding that nonprofits pay up to 25 percent of what they would owe if their property was not tax-exempt.

Boston isn't the only city to make nonprofits enter PILOT programs. The NonProfit Times reported that, in 2010, 63 percent of organizations paid some form of fees and taxes to local and state governments. And, over the last decade, PILOTs have been used in at least 117 cities in at least 18 states, according to a study from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass.

You can read the full story in The Commercial Appeal.

6 Ways To Use Direct Mail Shops

Many businesses and nonprofits prefer to use e-mail rather than direct mail. The reason for this is simple: It's quicker. When it comes down to it, people would rather adapt to new technology than potentially organizing countless pieces of mail.

Despite this, "snail mail" is far from dead. There are many organizations that still use it, such as St. Joseph's Indian School, which integrates direct mail with e-mail communications. Still, the thought of sorting through individual pieces of mail remains overwhelming. That's where direct mail shops come in handy.

In his book "Direct Mail for Dummies," Richard Goldsmith reminded readers that local mailing shops can make the tedium of mail sorting much more bearable. He listed six ways these shops can work for your organization:
  • Addressing the Mail: Mail shops take your files and address your mail by either labeling, ink jetting, or lasering it.
  • Bursting Continuous Forms: This technique enables high-speed personalization equipment to be used for the addressing and other personalization.
  • Affixing Stickers, Cards, Stamps, and Tabs: Using a machine called a Labelaire, mail shops can apply stickers and labels for you. They can also seal self-mailers and double postcards with tabs.
  • Inserting Components Into Envelopes: Machines in the mail shop can insert up to six different items in an envelope.
  • Sorting and Traying the Mail for the Postal Service: The mail is bundled according to Postal Service requirements.
  • Delivering the Mail to the Post Office: Your mail shop should get a receipt from the Postal Service, proving that your letters were accepted for mailing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

North Carolina Overrides Veto, Defunds Planned Parenthood

The North Carolina state legislature voted last night to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a budget that would defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state.

The Republican-controlled legislature overrode the Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill last year but a federal judge ruled that the state could not target a specific health care provider. Lawmakers this time changed the wording in their provision by stating that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services cannot enter into a contract with any “private providers” of family planning services.

The move effectively cuts funding to Planned Parenthood but other organizations could also be in danger of losing funds, according to Paige Johnson, vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (PPCNC). “We weren’t the only organization impacted,” she said. “Other health centers around the state could also be affected.”

Johnson told The NonProfit Times that she was still unsure how much the funding cut would impact her organization, though she said that the cuts in funding could potentially impact the organization’s ability to provide affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services. “There wasn’t a lot of clarity in the provision as to what programs it affects. Some of our centers get more state funding than others,” she said.

The new provision will redirect about $343,000 in state family planning from private services such as PPCNC to county health departments. Lawmakers say they made the change because private providers can allow for abortions, though Johnson insists that no state funds go to those services.

“The ban on funding doesn’t save the state a dime,” Johnson added. “It forces our patients to go to the health department for care, and the wait time can be months.”

PPCNC is currently looking into all of its options, including legal possibilities, to determine how to move going forward.

Russia Set To Limit Foreign Nonprofits

Russia has introduced a bill that, if approved, would label all nonprofits with funding from outside of the country as "foreign agents." The law would also put numerous financial burdens on foreign organizations.

According to a report in The New York Times, the country's ruling party, United Russia, has scheduled the first three readings of the bill on Friday. In addition to the "foreign agent" label, which critics say is an attempt to discredit organizations' work, the law would also subject nonprofits to annual audits and random checks for "extremist speech" in their materials. Organizations that are found to be in violation would be fined up to 1 million rubles ($30,000).

Critics of the proposed law say that it is yet another attempt by the Russian government to silence dissent. The law would come after a recent bill pushed through parliament that would subject Russian citizens to heavy fines for participating in "unauthorized" protests.

Free speech activists say that if the bill is passed, Russian donors will be afraid to give money to organizations that are seen to be criticizing the government. The bill's sponsors brushed off criticism, saying that the law is on par with the United States' Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law that requires nonprofits to reveal any foreign support they receive. The main difference with that law, however, is that it only applies to organizations that directly represent governments; the Russian law applies to individual and financial support in addition.

"The ultimate goal of funding nonprofit organizations, as a form of ‘soft power,’ is a colored revolution," wrote Aleksandr Sidyakin, a United Russia deputy and sponsor of the bill, on his blog last week. "This is not a myth of government propaganda, it is objective political reality. The United States is trying to affect Russian politics." Sidyakin also made specific references to organizations that monitor elections, such as Golos. The agency, which is financed by two American organizations, has monitored Russian elections for 11 years, and recently came under pressure by the Russian government following disputed elections last December.

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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Alec Baldwin Donates $1M To NY Philharmonic

Actor Alec Baldwin has donated $1 million to the New York Philharmonic in honor of the organization's departing president, Zarin Meheta, who is stepping down after 12 years.

Baldwin, who joined the Philharmonic's board in March 2011, gave the money from proceeds he earned from his commercials with Capital One Bank, according to an article in Crain's New York Business.

"I have loved classical music all of my life," Baldwin said in a statement. "But Zarin Mehta made my dream of becoming part of the world of classical music come true."

In addition to being a member of the board, the "30 Rock" actor has hosted the organization's weekly radio show since 2009. In a statement, Meheta said that Baldwin's "role as our radio host has brought us many new listeners, as well as much appreciated attention. And his active roles as board member, gala benefit chairman, and high-profile and magnanimous donor have benefited us and our field."

Meheta, who will leave his post at the end of the Philharmonic's 2011-2012 season, will be replaced by incoming executive director Matthew VanBesien.

This isn't the only big influx of money going to an arts institution. Crain's also reported that the New York City Council approved a bill last week that secured $156.4 million in funding for cultural and art institutions in the city's fiscal year 2013 budget. It represents an increase of $3.6 million from last year.

You can read the full report on Baldwin's donation in Crain's.

Finding A New Board Chair

While every one on a nonprofit board has a lot of responsibilities, the chair remains one of the most integral members. From delegating and encouraging colleagues to giving the board an identity, the chairman of the board exerts a great deal of influence.

That's why it can be so important to find the right individual to take this role.

Unfortunately, finding the ideal candidate is easier said than done. In order to begin the process of choosing a new board chair, Dennis C. Miller, a frequent contributor to The NonProfit Times and head of Dennis C. Miller Associates in Morristown, N.J., said there are 10 specific actions that can be taken to identify and appoint a board chair:

  • Immediately begin to assess the leadership talent of current board members.
  • Ask your current board chair to begin as soon as possible to identify potential candidates.
  • Institute ongoing board training for all board members.
  • Offer the chair-elect a professional board coach/mentor.
  • Ensure the board’s work is done efficiently.
  • Find ways to recognize and reward board members for the job they do.
  • Provide opportunities for all board members to participate in a wide array of committees, task forces and advisory boards.
  • Highlight the organization's continuous strides for excellence.
  • Recognize former board chairs for their contributions.
  • Recognize and address the reasons why appointing a board chair is difficult.

The July 1 Issue Is Now Online

The recent release of the Giving USA numbers for 2011 was one of the bigger nonprofit stories of June. In the just release July 1 issue of The NonProfit Times, we take a closer look at those numbers in an in-depth special report.

We also have our usual assortment of articles on a wide variety of topics. Let's take a look at what you can expect in the newest edition of NPT:

Special Report

  • 2011 Giving Estimated At $298.42B: As mentioned above, this report takes an in-depth look at the recently released report from Giving USA, including which subsectors of giving did the best, and which did not.
  • Consumers, i.e., Donors, Starting To Like Tumblr: Facebook and Twitter get all the attention, but some nonprofits are turning their attention to Tumblr, a popular micro-blogging site that has more visitors per month than even Craigslist or LinkedIn.
  • Kansas Nonprofits Hit With New State Contract ProvisionsNonprofit service providers in Kansas face a new regulation imposed by the state’s Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) that could place strict limitations on the ability to advocate and lobby officials.
  • The Pitch: JDRF Makes The Case With Reality TV: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) made a recent appearance on AMC's "The Pitch." Read about how it went, and if the organization sees success in the reality TV show.
  • We Can't Hear You Now: The numbers from Giving USA showed that donations by corporations declined by 0.1 percent in current dollars, or a 3.1 percent decline as measured by inflation-adjusted dollars. Our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, says it's time for for-profits to step up to the plate.
  • Digital StewardshipNonprofit stewardship is not just about saying thank you, it’s about showing how you use your resources to further your mission and sharing the impact your constituents have towards it.