Friday, July 27, 2012

Featured Nonprofit Job: Chief Development Officer

Teen Challenge USA, a Christian faith-based organization in Texas, is looking to hire a Chief Development Officer to help lead its fundraising operations.

This nonprofit job is perfect for those who have a strong passion for fundraising and their faith. The organization urges those who are interested in the position to contact Andy Read at for a full summary of the position.

Before you contact the above e-mail address, you should make sure you have the correct qualifications for the job. The successful candidate will have the following background:

  • A college degree in a related field.
  • A minimum of five years experience in development ministry or related field.
  • Significant development experience in working with a national ministry (Three years experience, minimum).
  • A demonstrated ability to design and implement effective cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies in a variety of giving areas.
  • Consistent involvement in personal and professional training and growth.
  • Adequate computer skills to facilitate the execution of primary duties.
Interested in applying? Head to our career center for complete details on the rest of the qualifications.

Library Digitization Project Gets $1M Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced Thursday that it has given a $1 million federal grant to a nonprofit effort to digitize the country's libraries.

According to an article in The Boston Globe, the grant money will help form a new nonprofit and create the technical platform needed to create what would be called the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), a program that would share content across the U.S.'s public libraries and archives. An independent board will be created within two months to form the new organization, which will work with libraries across the country. The goal is to have a working prototype ready by April 2013. The effort will be headed by the Harvard University library in Cambridge, Mass.

Once completed, the digital library will be free to use for all users. There is also the possibility that it will partner with private entities, such as Google Books, that would allow individuals to access content that has already been digitized.

Efforts to digitize content has sometimes been met with legal resistance. Google has sometimes been stopped in its efforts to put books online because of copyright laws. The endowment's chairman, Jim Leach, acknowledged that the new organization would have to work within those laws, which could potentially limit the content for the DPLA.

The DPLA project will integrate with the European Union's Europena digital library collection. It is meant as a complement to the Library of Congress's ongoing World Digital Library project.

You can read the full story in The Boston Globe.

7 Qualities Of Effective Board Members

Recruiting for a nonprofit board can be a challenging task. Not only must you make sure that it is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, but members must also have the appropriate qualities.

Not everyone can be a board member. Before you set out to recruit, it is imperative that you know the qualities individuals need to possess to be successful. Having just one or two won't do; candidates must have all of them if they are to be a great asset to the board. Howard Berman, in his book "Making a Difference," listed the seven qualities you need to look for during the recruiting process:

  • Integrity: Demonstrating a zero tolerance for unethical behavior, both for themselves and their colleagues.
  • Independence: Having no unique business, financial or personal relationships -- or hoped-for-relationships -- that create even the perception of a conflict of interest.
  • Mature Confidence: Speaking out and actively participating in board and committee deliberations.
  • Corporate Manners: Recognizing the difference between productively participating in discussions and counterproductively dominating deliberations through the volume or length of comments. Must be able to work with other members to create workable compromises.
  • A Sense of Context: Making relevant, informed comments focused on the specific aspect of the issue being considered. Must be able to stay on topic.
  • Courage: Willingness to do the right thing/make the right decision even if it is difficult or unpopular (i.e., no fence sitting).
  • Commitment: Understanding that being an effective board member requires the time, the heart, and the standards to make the enterprise successful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

After Booting CEO, YWCA Starts National Search

The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago announced that it fired its CEO, Christine Bork, and has initiated a national executive search to replace her.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, no specific reason was given for the change in leadership, and Bork did not return a phone call for comment. Pamela Bozeman-Evans, YWCA's chief of strategic initiatives, will serve as interim CEO. Before her work at the YWCA, she served as executive director for Blue Gargoyle Community Center.

"After careful and continuous review of the YWCA's operational, financial and strategic priorities and goals, the board of directors believes it is in our best interest to infuse new leadership into the organization," board President Gwendolyn Butler said in a statement. Butler also thanked Bork in the release, saying "We are grateful to Christine for her years of service and leadership to the YWCA.

The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago supports around 138,000 Chicago-area women every year. Under the interim leadership of Bozeman-Evans, the organization will continue to focus on the issues of economic empowerment, sexual violence and support, early-childhood education, and racial justice.

You can read the full story about YWCA's national search in Crain's Chicago Business.

Defunded NC Planned Parenthood Gets Federal Grants

Just weeks after losing its funding from the state, the North Carolina affiliate of Planned Parenthood announced that it has received a $426,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lawmakers overrode a veto three weeks ago from Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue on a budget that cut funds from the women's health organization. The cuts threatened to shut down the Durham, N.C. clinic but, with the announcement of the new grant money, that move can be avoided.

The grants come under the Title X program, which allows family planning providers to offer subsidized preventive health care such as annual exams, birth control, cancer screening and STD detection and prevention to low-income women, men and teenagers who would otherwise have no care.

"Given all the attacks we’ve weathered on women’s access to health care in North Carolina over the last two years, we are thrilled now to be focused on expanding care to our patients", said Janet Colm, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (PPCNC). PPCNC has been a Title X recipient since 2001.

Title X grants were also awarded to other states that cut funding to Planned Parenthood, including New Jersey and Tennessee.

Republican lawmakers were not thrilled with the federal government's action. Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Cary) told The Asheville Citizen-Times that the Obama administration was playing politics with taxpayer money. Planned Parenthood insists that, since no clinical abortions are performed at their Durham clinic, none of the grant money will be used for those services.

You can read the full story in The Asheville Citizen-Times.

Building An E-Mail List

One of the most effective ways of communication in this day and age is e-mail. When a nonprofit wants to spread the word about its activities or is beginning a fundraising campaign, it is generally the best choice. There are many ways to create a solid e-mail list, but it all begins with reaching the most people who are genuinely interested in your organization.

If someone is not interested in hearing from you, they are likely to either unsubscribe or just completely ignore your communications. You need to do everything you can to ensure that the people on your list want to be there. Start by looking to the people who already receive your printed newsletters and other mailings. These are the individuals who already have shown they want to receive communications from you. Yet you still can't just send them unsolicited e-mails. You must first send out a message to them asking if they want to opt-in to digital communications from your organization. 

If you do not already have their e-mail addresses, you can send your direct mail subscribers mail promoting your e-mail resources. Make sure the link you give them is easy enough to be typed.

Another way to build up your list is to make promotions for your online presence. Create an easy-to-find link that leads visitors to your e-mail subscription page. You can also post messages on Facebook or Twitter promoting it. People who actively engage your online resources are most likely to be receptive to digital communications, so they are prime candidates to target.

With a little effort, your organization can expand its reach to a broader constituency of people with similar interests and, potentially, its ability to mobilize and fundraise. Growing an email list requires a little strategy and forethought, and retaining the people on that list requires a steady stream of relevant, engaging content. It’s a work in progress, but the rewards can far outweigh the effort.

Former Nonprofit CFO Pleads Guilty To Forgery

The former chief financial officer (CFO) of a Metairie, La. nonprofit has pleaded guilty to charges that she embezzled almost $250,000 from the organization and another official there.

Federal prosecutors accuse Kelley Williams, 38, of forging the name of the nonprofit's president on checks she made payable to herself and depositing them into her personal bank account, according to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle. She allegedly attempted to disguise the payments as legitimate expenses by using computer accounting software.

While the name of the nonprofit for which Williams worked is not disclosed, it was revealed in court records that it provides personal care attendants, transportation, education, and training to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Williams faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine following her guilty plea yesterday. Her sentencing is set for Nov. 7.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

8 Reasons Galas Aren't The Answer

Galas are a time-honored tradition in the world of special events. They are a great way of raising awareness and money for your cause. Yes, a lot of people seem to love going to these ritzy events; but are they really right for your organization?

In his book "Fundraising Strategies for Community Colleges," Steve Klingman argued in favor of scrapping the gala all together in favor of an annual fund campaign. To him, galas are just too much trouble than they are worth for most nonprofits. While he acknowledged the positives of galas -- fundraising, cultivation, recognition, volunteer involvement -- he maintained that they are outweighed by a host of negatives. He listed eight of those downsides:

  • A gala event has a low yield as a fundraising vehicle.
  • A gala saps annual fund dollars. Rarely do event-driven programs co-exist with robust annual fund dollars.
  • A gala pre-empts other fundraising efforts for a significant portion of the year.
  • When staff time is added in, net revenue is too low.
  • A gala focuses donor attention on the event rather than the mission.
  • A gala distracts volunteers from more beneficial involvement. Using them to make annual fund calls is much better use of their time.
  • Donors quickly forget a gala.
  • A gala is expensive to produce. The cost of such items as dinner, facility and balloons can easily eat up 50 percent of each ticket.
What do you think? Do you agree that galas are simply not worth the time and money, or do you think they still have a place in the special event universe?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Management Reporting And You

A nonprofit might have the greatest plan in the world, but it's still just a plan at the end of the day. It has no more guarantee of success and is only potential. To help reach that potential, good oversight is needed to ensure that the plan is followed as closely as possible.

This is where management reporting comes into play. These are a series of reports that detail how the nonprofit is doing. According to Howard Berman in “Making a Difference,” performance reporting is just a subset of an overall, larger, management reporting performance assessment and evaluation function.

Berman wrote that to successfully complete such a report, the following six questions must be answered:

  • Is the enterprise doing what it said it was going to do? Is it executing its operating plan, producing the anticipated outputs, on time and on budget?
  • Is the enterprise doing what it said it was going to do efficiently? Is cost divided by output at least continually improving -- if not, at an absolute best practice?
  • Are the outputs that the enterprise is producing achieving the expected outcomes? Is it achieving the expected results -- or benefits for the involved stakeholders?
  • Are the realized outcomes being achieved in an efficient manner? This is a combination of questions 2 and 3.
  • Are the outcomes producing a significant impact? Are they producing a result that would not have otherwise been achieved?
  • Is the effort sustainable? Can it be continued or will it fail of its own weight, due to either financial and/or operational imbalance?

Moody's Downgrades Nonprofit Hospitals

Moody's Investors Services maintained its negative outlook on the nonprofit health sector, announcing Monday that more hospitals received downgrades than upgrades, citing the down economy and federal budget cuts.

The credit rating agency said that the ratio of downgrades to upgrades was 1.33 to 1, according to Reuters. The hospitals that received upgrades were primarily due to strong management, high revenue from state provider taxes, and mergers. Overall, however, Moody's was not optimistic.

"The increased proportion of downgrades is driven by the continued slow economic recovery, increasing pressure on state budgets, and a large and growing federal deficit that may lead to reductions in Medicare and Medicaid which translate into weak volumes and revenue declines," Moody's said in a statement.

In a reversal from previous quarters, the dollar amount of downgraded debt for nonprofit providers exceeded the dollar amount of upgraded debt, $2.78 billion to $2.11 billion. Moody's said this was an showed an increase of downgrades for large health systems.

Finally, the agency said that the United States Supreme Court's decision last month to uphold the Affordable Care Act was a "neutral event" for nonprofit hospitals.

"Reductions and changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and funding will be negative in the long term due to expected cuts to these programs stipulated under the act," Moody's said.

You can read the full story on Reuters.

Monday, July 23, 2012

IRS Considering Changing 501(c)(4) Governing Rules

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is considering changing a rule that allows social welfare nonprofits to run attack ads while not disclosing their donors.

According to a recently published letter from Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS's exempt organizations division, the agency is "aware of the current public interest in this issue," and that they will consider changes to the rules. The letter was sent on July 17 to two campaign finance reform groups, Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center, according to The Huffington Post.

The two advocacy groups had long pressed the IRS to not only review the regulations governing 501(c)(4)s, but also to investigate specific groups, including the Republican-leaning Crossroads GPS and the pro-Obama group Priorities USA. Both of these organizations have received increased scrutiny this election cycle, as critics claim that they should not be tax-exempt because their primary purpose is to advocate for a specific candidate.

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer told The Huffington Post that the response from Lerner was significant, since it was the first time the IRS has publicly stated that they will consider changes to the regulations. He also pointed out that by mentioning the date the regulations were first put in place -- 1959 -- Lerner acknowledged they do not reflect current circumstances, such as the United States Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Both Wertheimer and Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Herbert responded to the IRS today with a letter pressing the agency to move quickly to investigate social welfare groups spending large amounts of money on the 2012 elections while hiding their donors from the public.

You can read the full story in The Huffington Post.

Ex-Nonprofit Director Charged With Misusing Funds

The former executive director of a now defunct nonprofit in Southwest Florida was arrested today for allegedly using state funds for personal gain.

According to a report in The Sunshine State News, Robert Michael Eugene "Gene" Bruist was charged with aggravated white collar crime, grand theft, scheme to defraud, and communications fraud. The state's Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, alleged that Bruist used $900,000 in state funds meant for the now closed Center for Independent Living of Sotuhwest Florida for personal use, including international travel. The money was meant to help disabled people in Southwest Florida.

If convicted, Bruist faces up to 95 years in prison and a $2 million fine in addition to paying the $900,000 back to the state and other victims.

“When someone steals state funds for personal gain, it is no different than stealing directly from the pockets of hard-working, honest Floridians,” Atwater said in a release. “Holding Bruist accountable for disregarding his responsibility to disabled Floridians sends a clear message that we will defend the taxpayers of this state and crack down on this kind of corruption and fraud.”

Bruist's arrest is the result of a joint investigation by Atwater's Office of Fiscal Integrity and the Florida Department of Education's Office of Inspector General. In addition to the fraud allegations, Bruice also has several DUI charges.

Is Your Annual Giving Program Successful?

Every nonprofit manager wants to have a successful annual giving program, but how can you tell if this is the case? Turns out all you have to do is look for the signs.

During the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy's recent international conference, Ann Thompson-Haas, principal of Oakland, Calif.-based Larkwood Consulting, and Betsy Chapin Taylor, chief development officer at Elranger Health System in Chattanooga, Tenn., presented "The Seven Vital Signs of the Most Successful Annual Giving Program."

During their presentation, Thompson-Haas and Taylor said that if a nonprofit wants to determine if its annual giving program is in good shape, it should:
  • Clarify the definition and purpose of annual giving and communicate with others whose agreement and participation you need.
  • Work toward and achieve revenue goals while investing enough for long-term return. To enhance revenue, include a personal solicitation, create effective “donor clubs,” and manage costs, including indirect costs.
  • Make donor base development an integral part of the program.
  • Match annual giving methods to varied donor needs and preferred channels of giving.
  • Show your donors you love them more than you need them with strategic communication and stewardship.
  • Find ways for annual, major and planned gifts to work together.
  • Make volunteers your partners – they can be your best advocates and help achieve high performance.