Monday, March 22, 2010

April 29th BACK TO BASICS for tough times

Association of Fundraising Professionals
Genesee Valley Chapter

For immediate release Contact:
March 19, 2010 Deborah Zeger, Conference Chair 585-329-8032 or

BACK TO BASICS for tough times

The troubled economy is challenging many non-profit organizations to tighten their financial belts and shore up their funding bases. That’s the genesis behind BACK TO BASICS, a regional conference to help volunteers and professionals hone their fundraising skills and connect with others in the field.

On April 29th, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Genesee Valley Chapter will host its annual Great Lakes Regional Conference at Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester. The event is one of the premier fundraising conferences in the Northeast and is expected to attract some 200 attendees from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Finger Lakes.

“The conference offers a range of practical workshops that provide relevant and usable information to help non-profits navigate these changing times,” explains Deborah Zeger, the conference chair.

BACK TO BASICS will feature Roberta (Robbe) A. Healey, Chair of the Board of Directors of AFP International, who has more than thirty years experience in non-profit organization management and development. Healey, who has lived and worked in Western New York, will share her unique perspective about how to “Crisis Proof Your Fundraising Program.”

Other headline speakers include Frank Interlichia, Associate Vice President for University Advancement and Martha Krohn, Executive Director of Annual Giving Programs. Both speakers are with the University of Rochester and will give a joint talk about the University’s success in growing its Annual Fund despite the recession.

The AFP Genesee Valley Chapter offers several financial incentives to make it easier for volunteers and professionals to attend the conference. Those incentives include Meyers Scholarships for members and non-members, a discount for early registration (by March 26th), half-day or lunch only participation, a new member discount and multiple-attendee discount. For more information, visit and look for information about the conference and Meyers Scholarships.

Conference sponsors include the University of Rochester, Temple B’rith Kodesh, Advanced Marketing Direct, Oser Press and Parachute Graphic Design and Writing.
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Who: AFP Genesee Valley Chapter is a volunteer-based organization representing more that 250 fundraising professionals in the Greater Rochester area. As part of an international organization of fundraising professionals, our mission is to advocate for philanthropy and promote ethical and successful non-profit development by addressing the needs of diverse professionals in our region. Our members represent colleges, universities and secondary schools, hospitals and health care facilities, social service and cultural agencies, and local charities.

What: Great Lakes Regional Conference, BACK TO BASICS, featuring Roberta (Robbe) A. Healey, Chair, AFP International. The event is open to the public.

When: Thursday, April 29, 2010 from 8:00 am to 4:15 pm.

Where: Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester.

How: Visit and register on-line.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bumpy ride for corporate giving amid recession

Reuters reported that giving by U.S. companies endured the worst recession in decades with mixed results as some pared back philanthropy in the face of tough times, others increased budgets and most predicted a steady 2010.

The economic downturn sparked some changes in giving priorities as well, with several companies placing more importance on basic needs such as fighting hunger and homelessness and others focusing more in their local communities.

"This is not just giving money anymore. It's solving problems. These are social issues that we're addressing," said Charles Moore, executive director of the nonprofit Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.

"Companies continue to examine their priorities. Very few are taking on new kinds of causes, and they are tending to reallocate the funds they do have," he said. "There's great expectation on the part of communities and (employees) on companies -- they expect more."

Reuters spoke to 10 companies whose philanthropic arms are ranked by the Foundation Center among the top U.S. foundations. Four said the dollar value of their giving increased in 2009, two said it remained steady, and four said it dropped. Read more here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tax Exemptions Eyed as Plug for Budget Gaps

The NY Times reported that faced with steep declines in tax revenue, an increasing number of states and localities are considering eliminating various tax exemptions for nonprofit groups.

A bill before the Hawaii Legislature, for instance, would require charities to pay a 1 percent tax, and Kansas is considering making them subject to sales taxes.

Revoking the nonprofit organizations’ exemptions from property taxes is also under scrutiny in several counties in Kansas, as well as in Pennsylvania.

And last fall, Minneapolis made charities subject to the fees it charges businesses and residents for streetlights in hope of gaining an additional $155,000, an exercise Jon Pratt, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, describes as “looking under the sofa cushions.”

In most cases, churches would be exempt from the tax measures, but all other nonprofit groups, including private schools and colleges, would be affected.

City and state officials say they have no choice.

“We’re having to look at the public services nonprofits use and how we can adequately cover those costs,” said Matt Greller, executive director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. “We can’t give them away for free any longer.”

Nonprofit groups say the moves to wring revenue out of them are shortsighted and will produce cutbacks in critical services that governments rely on them to provide, like mental health and emergency foster care services.

“Nonprofits are really hurting in this economy,” said Tim Delaney, chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits, a trade association. “Their revenues are down, too, and demand for the services they provide, services that government expects them to provide, is way up.” Read more here.