Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nonprofit Bloggers Highlighted

Provided by Minnesota Council of Foundations, bloggers roundup about philanthropy.

25 Random Things that Make the Nonprofit Sector Great
Fieldstone Alliance has a terrific list to remind us all about why we do the work we do.

Kiva lets any old weirdo shape their message
Donor Power Blog: Kiva is giving people a window on their data, which will let them create fun, quirky, individualistic ways to raise funds for Kiva. People might express the Kiva fundraising offer in ways that make the people at Kiva very uncomfortable. But Kiva went ahead and did it anyway, which means they get it.

Foundations Can Be Better Advocates
Philanthropy Journal: Foundations can raise their voice on policy issues, do more to spur a more inclusive conversation to address issues, invest more in policy and advocacy work by nonprofits, and use their role as shareholders to help shape the business practices of companies in which they invest.

The crumbling of nonprofit arts organizations: what models will rise from the ashes?
Beth’s Blog: With unemployment and cutback, for many a trip to the art museum can appear to be a luxury. In response, arts organizations are cutting staff, trimming budgets, canceling shows, shortening seasons or closing their doors. Maybe arts organizations need to be doing “Social Capital Impact” studies along with other forms of advocacy?

Funder/Grantee Relationships: Or, What To Do After You Get That Check
Denver Foundation: Long before you send in a grant report, you can interact with the funder and share both good news and challenges. You have a chance to further engage a funder in your mission.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Financial Safety Net of Nonprofit Organizations Is Fraying, Survey Finds

The NY Times featured an article on the findings of a recent survey that show the financial health of the nation’s nonprofit groups is rapidly deteriorating. The survey included 900 nonprofit leaders from around the country.

Only 12 percent of those organizations expect to end the year with an operating surplus, compared with 40 percent who ended their most recent fiscal years with money on hand, according to the survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a charity that provides loans and other financial services to nonprofit groups.

Almost a third said they did not have enough cash on hand to cover more than one month’s expenses, while roughly another third said they only had enough money to get them through the next three months.

Another point of interest is that more than half the respondents said they would like help communicating their financial difficulties to their boards and donors, highlighting the growing belief in the nonprofit world that government and the public do not understand the role it plays in American society. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Number of nonprofits dramatically increasing reports the IRS

"The number of charities and private foundations registered with the Internal Revenue Service has increased by more than 5 percent in each of the past two years, according to figures released by the tax agency, and reached a total of nearly 1.2 million last year." This is according to an article published yesterday in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Many foundations have lost money in the last year or two, and I think that individuals and corporate donors are going to be less likely to give in this difficult economy. It is well known that local donors give to those causes close to them; close to their heart or close to their home. For many, donating at all this year is going to be questionable. This makes funding those organizations already in existence more difficult than ever before.

What do you think? Is there enough funding going to enough nonprofits that are providing enough services? Should there be an unlimited number of nonprofits out there struggling?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Study Finds 1 in 4 Nonprofits Plan Staff Cuts

The Philanthropy Journal related that just as demand for many nonprofits services skyrockets, the U.S. nonprofit sector likely will be cutting jobs in 2009, a new study says.

More than one in four nonprofits say they plan to downsize or lay off staff next year, compared to the 7.6 percent than foresaw reductions last years, says the study by Nonprofit HR Solutions.
And only about four in 10 groups say they anticipate creating new positions in 2009, down from six in 10 in 2008. Read more here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Media Roudup for Nonprofits

The Minnesota Council on Foundations offers the following articles of interest for nonprofits:

Researchers Examine Foundation Expectations for Giving in 2009
Foundation Center: Of the hundred largest foundations, only two have announced that they intend to increase their giving in 2009. To keep giving stable despite shrinking endowments and assets, ten large foundations, including The McKnight Foundation, are planning to increase their payout rates or establish cost-cutting measures such as freezing salaries, leaving staff vacancies unfilled, or reducing staff benefits.

Economic Downturn a Significant Concern Among Corporate Giving Officers
Foundation Center: Corporate grantmakers indicate their biggest challenge is an increase in grant requests, followed by inadequate financial resources, a decline in their corporate foundation endowment, and measuring results/outcomes.

Stimulus Applications Could Overwhelm
Washington Post: The site where nonprofits and local governments can search federal programs and apply for more than 1,000 competitive grants from 22 agencies is already straining under the weight of recent growth.

Collaboration: Every Nonprofit Should Be Doing It
Florida Weeky: I can almost hear the collective sigh of nonprofit executives, staff, volunteers, and board members, because I know you are probably tired of hearing your funders talk about partnership and collaboration. But I am here to tell you that in this day and age, and with this economic climate, you can’t afford not to collaborate.

Education Push Includes Merit Pay
Wall Street Journal: The president’s plan, which largely implements promises from his campaign, includes new incentives for states to boost the quality of preschool programs and easier access to financial aid for higher education. Mr. Obama also called on states to raise standards for student achievement.

Charities Flunk the Gratitude Test
Chronicle of Philanthropy: A nonprofit communications blogger is disappointed by the general lack of response to her gifts to 12 charities.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Advice for Nonprofits Downsizing to Independent Contractors

Blue Avocado offered the following question about transitioning employees to independent contractors for their Ask Rita in HR series (written by Ellen Aldridge & Pamela Fyfe):

Q: Our nonprofit group home has to downsize and as part of our reorganization we are considering changing some of our employees into independent contractors as a cost-saving measure. If we did that, we wouldn't have to pay for benefits and we'd have more flexibility - we could match our personnel to our workload. What is the potential downside to making that change?

Read what their answer is here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buffalo Federal Stimulus Package TOWN HALL FORUM

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and the New York State Senate Invites You To:
Federal Stimulus Package TOWN HALL FORUM
• How your community can benefit from the Stimulus Package
• What projects are eligible for funding
• Information about job creation and business opportunities
Date: Saturday, March 21, 2009
Location: Cheektowaga Senior Citizen’s Center
Time: 11 am - 1 pm

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Location: University of Rochester Alumni Center
Time: 6 - 8 pm

For furthur information, please contact the office of Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith at (212) 298-5585

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Problem With Non-Profits: Perspective from Freakonomics Blog

This excerpt is a reader's perspective shared on the NY Times Freakonomics blog:

I am writing to suggest a blog topic about a book I recently finished reading called Uncharitable [by Dan Pallotta]. Uncharitable concludes that the constraints society places on non-profits leave them unable to solve the great social problems of the world. The book argues for the capitalization of philanthropy, including: competitive wages to attract the best applicants, increasing spending on advertising to build demand for philanthropy, and allowing investors to purchase stocks in non-profit organizations so philanthropy is not capital barren.

The remaining comment is available here. The points above raise interesting points for discussion. Do these suggestions have any merit? Share your input by posting here.

NYS Information Regarding Stimulus Funds

The National Council of Nonprofits, a partner association of the New York Council of Nonprofits (formerly CCSNYS), continues to post their Special Reports on Economic Stimulus & Recovery. The National Council of Nonprofits is proud to openly share this evolving series of Special Reports about our nation’s economic recovery, including analysis of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly referred to as the economic stimulus bill) that President Obama signed into law on February 17, 2009.

The newest report, Sources of Information Regarding Stimulus Funds, is available now: Special Report #4
This report identifies national and state sources of information about the federal stimulus funds, including official recovery websites that states have established.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nonprofits fret over Obama’s plan to tax wealthy

Nonprofits are raising concerns over a tax provision in President Obama's budget plan that they say would lead to a sharp drop in charitable donations.

Set to take effect in 2011, the provision would reduce the charitable tax deduction for households earning $250,000 in gross income annually. Under the current system, those in the 35 percent tax bracket receive a 35 percent deduction on charitable contributions. Under Obama’s proposal, the deduction would be reduced to 28 percent. Read more here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cultural Blueprints Offers Ideas to the Arts and Nonprofit Sector

As we begin 2009, now is a good time to revisit the New York State Council on the Arts Cultural Blueprints blog. Cultural Blueprints was a statewide series of public forums initiated by the New York State Council on the Arts to identify regional and statewide strategies and opportunities for the arts to serve as a catalyst for cultural, economic and community development. A session was held in Western NY, and the notes available here outline the discussions that took place. Participants explored five themes: Infrastructure, Intellectual Capital and Workforce Development, International and Global Thinking, Investment and Financial Models, and Image and Identity. Explore the key themes of these breakout sessions as well as some of the potential action steps proposed by participants.