Across the Country State Governments Are Placing Extraordinary Burdens on Nonprofits

April 26, 2010

On March16, the National Council of Nonprofit released a special report documenting how states are delaying contract payments to their nonprofit partners, slashing funds for essential programs, and imposing new fees and taxes on 501(c) (3) organizations. The report suggest and encourage the leaders of governments and the nonprofit community to work together to help solve the problem created by governmental financial crises.  special report

Boston is Working on Plans to Significantly Increase Payments  Nonprofits Make for Government Services They Use

A Boston mayoral task force will begin final work Tuesday on a plan to significantly increase payments nonprofit institutions make voluntarily to finance government services they use, The Boston Globe reports.

The city wants major tax-exempt organizations to gradually increase their payments for city services to 25 percent of what they would owe in property taxes. Nonprofit leaders said that the 25% target would hurt them and force layoffs and reduction of services at hospitals, universities, and charities. The city responded by suggesting that nonprofit institutions could soften the financial burden by covering up to half their payments through free community services, such as  health screening or scholarships.

It is important for all nonprofit leaders to take a real close look at the Provena Covenant Medical Center v The Department of Revenue ruling.

In the Provena case, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the right of Illinois to deny a hospital tax exemption deduction on the ground that the hospital had failed to provide sufficient charitable work. The central issue in this case is whether Provena Hospitals established that it was entitled to a charitable exemption under section 15–65 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/15–65 (West 2002)) for the 2002 tax year for various parcels of real estate it owns in Urbana. In the opinion it was detailed that the Illinois statute, eligibility for a charitable exemption under section 15–65 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/15–65 (West 2002)) requires not only charitable ownership, but charitable use.

Always Keep Your Eye on Your purpose

Up to 25% of Nonprofit Group Could Lose Charity Status

According to The New York Times up to 25% of nonprofit groups could lose charity status as of May 2010. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 includes a requirement that all charities file tax forms and directs the Internal Revenue Service to revoke exemptions for groups that fail to file for three years in a row. The three-year deadline falls on May 15. Charities that had annual revenue of less than $25,000 in the pass were excused from filing tax forms. The IRS has sent out hundreds of thousands letters to potentially affected groups since the bill’s passage. It said it will probably not issue revocation notices until January to give nonprofits a chance to file the required documents.

Michigan Nonprofit Groups Protest Detroit Hospital Sale

In the March31, 2010 issue of Philanthropy Today it was reported, a trio of Michigan groups active on health and legal issues is raising objections to the proposed sale of the Detroit Medical Center to a for-profit company, reports the Detroit Free Press. In a letter to the state’s attorney general, the Michigan Universal Health Care Network, the local clergy charity Moses, and Michigan Legal Services contend the planned purchase by Nashville’s Vanguard Health Systems violates state law and threatens continued care for the poor. The Attorney General Mike Cox must approve the deal.

· $75-Million Gift Will Help Start New Southern Calif. Hospital

The telecommunications mogul Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan, have pledged $75-million to the University of California San Diego to launch a new hospital project, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The university announced plans Thursday for the $664-million, 245-bed facility next to its existing Thornton medical center in La Jolla, Calif. The Jacobs Medical Center will focus on maternity and infant care, cancer treatment, and advanced surgery.

· Bloomberg Is Quietly Ending a Charitable Program

The New York time reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s richest man and biggest philanthropist, is quietly pulling the plug on an unusual program that poured nearly $200 million of his fortune into nonprofit groups across five boroughs, in a sign of major change under way in his charitable giving plans.

Since he was first elected mayor in 2001, Mr. Bloomberg has provided money to hundreds of mostly small neighborhood, arts and cultural groups through the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic trust.

· N.J. charity scam, honed for skeptics, shut down

An April 1, 2010 post in the Philly.com reported on a N.J. Charity scam which was shut down. A pair of New Jersey businessmen ran a massive, nationwide telemarketing scheme designed to enrich themselves while collecting money for police, firefighters, and military veterans. The Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that they had finally put an end to the lucrative scheme engineered by the two men, Scott Pasch and David Keezer. To settle civil charges against them, Pasch and Keezer agreed to a lifetime ban on telemarketing and soliciting for charities, the FTC said. And the two men and their companies also agreed to pay $18.8 million in civil penalties – the most in FTC history, the agency said. No criminal charges have been filed.

http:/search.philly.com/?cat=site&q=N.j.%20charity%20scam

Quotes of the moment

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”, “That is good because the problems we face are too complex to be solved by any one person or any one discipline.”- Warren Bennis

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” -David Brinkley

“The difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our
attitude towards it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and
every difficulty has an opportunity.” — J. Sidlo Baxter

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering hope for the hopeless, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!


Keep Your Mission in Front of You at All Times

March 26, 2010

Let’s see what happening in the nonprofit world.

Keep Your Mission in Front of You at All Times.

A major concerns facing nonprofit today is the scrutiny of watchdog organizations, governmental agencies and the public. Acorn, a nationwide charitable organization has just recently decided to close its operation due to the negative publicity it received during the presidential election campaign which has resulted in the lost of substantial funding. The New York time reports, Acorn battered politically from the right and suffering from mismanagement along with a severe loss of government and other funds, is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. The California and New York chapters, two of the largest, have severed their ties to the national group and have independently reconstituted themselves with new names.

Recently, a senate inquiry into pay practices at Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been headlined in the news. Dean Zerbe posted an article, How Charities Can Stay out of Trouble with Lawmakers, in the March 23, 2010 issues of The Chronicle of Philanthropy http://philanthropy.com/blogPost/How-Charities-Can-Stay-Out-of/21982/?sid=&utm_source=&utm_medium=en.

The article discuss what nonprofit should do to avoid the harsh scrutinize of watchdog groups or lawmakers. The writer as well as some leaders in the nonprofit community suggests that nonprofit organization must take a hard look at their organization and ask some essential questions.

It was suggested that most important question to ask yourself; “what is our mission and how can we achieve the mission?” Your mission statement should be the central part of any discussion or decision making process; it should be the motivation and focus point for all of the organization activities. Your mission statement should be displayed in prominent location throughout your organization, it should be the first and last thing visitors should see.

The article pointed out that “The need for 501(c) (3) organizations to have a well articulated charitable mission coupled with concrete and measurable accomplishment is a here-and-now issue given the recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court in Provena.” In the Provena case, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the right of Illinois to deny a hospital tax exemption deduction on the ground that the hospital had failed to provide sufficient charitable work. This landmark case

There are efforts by states and local governments to deny certain tax exemption to nonprofits, especially real estate and sale taxes to large intuitions such as hospitals and universities, because said taxes would provide a must needed revenue. It is suggested that The Provena Covenant Medical Center V. The Department of Revenue should be a must reading for every charitable executive.

Advocates Plot Next Steps even as the Ink Drives on Health –Care Overhaul Law

The health care bill was finally sign into law by President Obama on March23, 2010. However, there is still a bitter fight going on by opponent and advocates of the bill. An article publish in The Chronicle of Philanthropy  said that the nonprofit groups that have been fighting for years to get legislation to overhaul the country’s health-care system are breathing a sigh of relief­—while also plotting their next steps. “This is the culmination of decades of work,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, just before he left for the signing ceremony at the White House. “It’s both thrilling and emotional.” Mr. Pollack said the battle is not over, however. He is working to set up a new charity, Enroll America,that will strive to ensure that people who are eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage and health-insurance subsidies under the new legislation actually get it. See:  http://philanthropy.com/article/Advocates-Plot-Next-Steps-Even/64801/?sid=&utm_source=&utm_medium=en

It should be noted that under the Health–Care Bill nonprofit hospitals will be required to conduct “a community health-needs assessment” at least once every three years and take other actions. In their assessments, hospitals will have to outline steps they will take to meet the identified needs. Also under the new health care act nonprofit hospital will be required to publicize whether free or discounted care is available and must provide help in applying for said assistance. There are also some restriction and requirement placed on the billing procedures.

Quotes of the Moment

Learn to love the things that seriously stimulate you and work hard toward the achieving of that mission- WD

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. – Margaret Mead

“In business and in life, doing things right is not nearly as important as doing the right things.”- Unknown

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing- that ‘s why we recommend it daily.” -Zig Ziglar

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering hope for the hopeless, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Are There Too Many Nonprofit In The United States and Does The United States Need Any New Tax Exempt Organizations?

January 27, 2010

The profit community plays an essential role in improving communities in the United States and around the world. I am strongly against any eliminations and/or restrictions on the number of nonprofits granted tax exempt status.

I have written a number of posts on “Should You Start a Nonprofit in Today Economy?” This is an important question that many in the nonprofit sector are asking today. There are a variety of opinions on this issue as discussed in my previous posts.

Now the questions that are being asked “Are there too many nonprofit in the United States and does the United States need any new tax exempt nonprofits?” Let’s take a good look at this discussion.

A recent discussion that was posted on a Linkedin group discussion forum, Don Griesmann’s wrote an excellent post on “2010 New Year Resolution-No New Nonprofit unless.”

http://dongriesmannsnonprofitblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/2010-new-years-resolution-no-new.html

I basically agree with his post with very little exceptions. Don believe that unless an organization meet the requirements on his “unless List” it should not really consider starting and applying for nonprofit status nor should it be given the given the privilege of nonprofit tax exemption status. I support his concept in theory but not in reality. I do not want any barrier to the nonprofit start-up and development or the tax exemption process. However, I do support his “unless list” because it is a guideline that spelled out what is required and necessary for a nonprofit to survive and thrive so that it can achieve its mission. If taken as stated, it will eliminate those organizations that are not serious nor really able to committed doing what is necessary for success.  Although I agree with Don Griesmann’s “Unless Criteria List” only for the purpose of discussion and information for new nonprofits, I do not wish to give IRS or any other government agencies any more legal authority to regulate and monitor nonprofit organization.

I totally disagree with those that believe there are too many nonprofit, my reasons were articulated in my post on “Start and Maintaining a Nonprofit Organization in tough Economic Times” in my blog post.  In tough economic times we should not be trying to discourage or make it more difficult to start new nonprofits nor make it even more difficult through rules and regulations to maintain its tax exempt status. I think that the people in their own communities should and will make the determination as to whether there are enough nonprofit in their communities by their actions and support. No one should be given the authority to determine or pick and chose which organizations and services are important or relevant to a certain community or group!

One of the main arguments for restriction is that there is a limited amount of funding to go and therefore said funds should be allocated only to organization that can show success. This reasoning basically eliminates newer and smaller organizations and does not take into account that approximately over 80% of all donations to charitable organization come from individuals. These individual will make their own determination as to whom they want to support.

Furthermore many of the proponents of restricting the number of nonprofits have overlooked to some very important considerations as to why we should not restrict nonprofit growth such at employment and finances.

EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC IMPACT

  • In 2005, nonprofits employed 12.9 million individuals, or approximately 9.7 percent of the U.S. economy. This is greater than the number of people employed by the financial activities sector.
  • Employees of nonprofit organizations account for 8.1 percent of wages paid in the U.S. in 2006.12
  • In 2006, the nonprofit sector accounted for 5.0 percent of GDP.

FINANCES

  • In 2005, the total expenses of all reporting public charities – public charities required to file Form 990s with the IRS –totaled nearly $1.1 trillion. Total revenues were estimated also at $1.1 trillion.
  • Most nonprofits are small. More than 73 percent of reporting public charities reported annual expenses of less than $500,000 in 2005. Less than 4 percent of reporting public charities had expenses greater than $10 million.
  • The total combined assets of all nonprofits are estimated at $3.4 trillion for 2005.
  • Reporting public charities held $2 trillion of total assets.

The above employment and finances were taken from the fact sheet listed below.

The facts that some experts use to suggest why there are already too many nonprofits in my opinion are just facts. Facts can be analyzed, interpret and utilized in many ways and in particular to benefit the user.  Please find facts which some experts use to support their position that there are too many nonprofit.

According to the Independent Sector Fact Sheet

www.independentsector.org/programs/research/Charitable_Fact_Sheet.pdf

There are over 1.9 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. The Internal Revenue Code defines over 27 categories of organizations exempt from federal income taxes, including private country clubs, labor unions, business associations, fraternal organizations, and many others. The majority of these organizations – about 1.5 million of them are public charities–Public charities are the face of the nonprofit sector in the United States, and they include most nonprofits in social services, health care, education, and the arts. (Religious congregations are also treated as public charities, though they are not required by law to seek approval and register with the IRS.) These organizations make up the independent sector.

The independent sector includes 501(c)(3)s (public charities, private foundations, and religious congregations) and 501(c)(4)s (social welfare/advocacy organizations). Together these organizations are sometimes referred to as the independent sector to emphasize their unique role in society, distinct from government and business.

There are approximately 1.4 million 501(c)(3) organizations, including hospitals, museums, private schools, religious congregations, orchestras, public television and radio stations, soup kitchens, and foundations.

Whereas other types of nonprofit organizations benefit the private, social, or economic interests of their members, 501(c)(3) organizations must benefit the broad public interest.

A new study by a Stanford group shows that over 50,000 new nonprofits are recognized by the IRS as tax exempt organization each year. The total number of independent sector groups has approximately doubled in the last 15 years. Obtaining 501(c)(3)tax exempt status is a valuable thing. It entitles organizations not only to tax exempt status, but also permits donors to claim tax deductions for their gifts.

One of the argument raise on reasons for limiting the numbers of organization giving 501(c) (3) tax exempt status is lost revenue to IRS.

In 2008 Americans donated more than $300 billion to 501(c)(3) organizations, costing the United States Treasury an estimated $50 billion in foregone tax revenue. http://www.stanford.edu/~sdsachs/AnythingGoesPACS1109.pdf

I discuss the above argument in my December post.

There is a great deal of focus on the fact that fact that the IRS approves more than 50,000 applications for 501(c)(3) status every year and rejects only a very, very small number of applicants. Obtaining recognition by the IRS as a public charity is not that difficult and especially for a skilled professional! The IRS offer online and off-line help in the application filing process. It’s not the intention of the IRS to deny exempt status to organizations that meet the requirements as state in the application for tax exempt recognition.

There are some who propose various reform measures to strengthen the oversight of the tax exemption determination process. These individuals or groups want to eliminate the numbers of successful filing and/or because of some organizations that have been granted tax exempt status are viewed as bizarre or eccentric by some observers. I  personally have some real concerns and strong objections with reform measures to strengthen the determination process for the purpose to disqualifying or eliminating the number of successful filing solely to keep the numbers down or because some organization have bizarre or eccentric purposes. What may have been deemed bizarre or eccentric missions a short time ago may be seen as normal today or tomorrow!

The reforms as proposed could and will lead to some serious discrimination practices against certain groups that have already being giving protected rights under the U.S. Constitution. Presently there is litigation pending and various challenges in court relating to IRS and other governmental agencies regulatory and enforcement practices against certain charitable groups and in particular one religious group.

If an organization meets the requirements as specified in under IRS 501(c) (3) for recognition as a tax exempt organization then it should be given the same rights and privilege accorded to all others organization under the statue. We should not have personal believes, biases and prejudice entered into the 501(c) (3) Tax Exemption process.

The Nonprofit World Responds

A massive, 7.0 magnitude Earthquake struck Haiti near the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th. The lives of approximately 3 million people have been shattered by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. In spite of the tough U.S. economy more than $305 million was donated to 32 U.S. nonprofit groups within eight days after the massive earthquake struck Haiti.

Many groups are raising large sums for relief efforts in Haiti online and through text messages. It has been estimate that this will be the most funds every raised by donations giving through text messages. People gave to various nonprofit organizations that were helping in the fund raising relief efforts. Many individuals and groups gave to multiple relief organizations. Nonprofits of every kind and of all sizes help in the fund raising relief efforts.  The unprecedented help give by nonprofit of all types support the argument that we should not set a limitation on the numbers of nonprofits giving tax exempt status.

Your help is urgently needed! Relief agencies are continuing to rush aid to survivors of this deadly disaster. You can donate to your charity at: http://haitiearthquake.yahoo.com/networkforgood/index.html Network For Good is a fund raising portal that has been around for some time collecting funds for creditable nonprofit organizations. The above list only represent a small numbers of the organizations that you can made a donation and feel comfortable  that your donation will reach the people in need.

You should take a look at: The DOs and DON’Ts of Disaster Donations!
http://informationincontext.typepad.com/good_intentions_are_not_e/2010/01/the-dos-and-donts-of-disaster-donations.html

Hope for Haiti! Do what you can with what you got!

Keep on extending that hand!

Quotes of the Moment

“Every set-back is a set-up for a comeback”- Joel Osteen

“If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” – Ann Landers

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” — John F. Kennedy

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” – Edmund Burke

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith”- Kahil Gilbran

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”-Voltaire

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering hope for the hopeless, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Rapid Growth in Charities-Just a Random Thought

December 8, 2009



A report by Sanford University stated that the numbers of 501(c)( 3) has grown by more than 60% in the United States to 1.1 million in just a decade. I think that some of this growth may be contribute to the economic and political climate over the less decay. The report also stated that the $300 billion donated to charities last year cost the federal government more than $5o billion in lost tax revenue. There are some who think that the IRS should tighten up the requirement and limit the numbers of charitable organizations and also decide which organization should or/ are more able to better provide these services.

I think that there is a greater need today for more nonprofit organizations. The government may lack the resources, skills and sometimes the desire to provide the services that many of these organizations are providing. The federal government  does not have the management skills, resources and capabilities to make these type of decisions. Instead of considering actions which will discourage Americans from donating we should be looking to encourage Americans to donate more time and resources to nonprofits.

This whole discussion about lost revenue is an oxymoron because the numbers speak for themselves. Most of the donations to 501(c) (3) organizations are giving because they are tax exemptions.  If you discourage donors from giving ” what is the taxable benefit” to IRS?  How can limiting  an organization abilities to receive tax exempt donations or the donor ability to give a  What do you think?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/us/06charity.html?ref=

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering hope for the hopeless, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Keeping up the Hope

November 17, 2009

For every economist, politician or financial expert who tell us the recession is over, there are thousands of people who thing we are in a depression. Even in the mist of experts saying the recession has bottom out, the trickle-down effect of the U.S. economic recession has created extreme hardships for many Americans.

The reports on unemployment leave no reasons to believe that things are getting better. There are hundreds of thousands workers who have been laid off or terminated. Unemployment in some communities has reached nearly 15 % and there are 26 states with unemployment near 10%.

Since the beginning of 2009 there have been over 2.7 million Americans whom have lost jobs. Many of these jobs are in the auto and finance industries and have no real chance of re-emerging even when the economy recovers. The harsh reality is that today’s economic crises have overwhelmed some people and caused some awful consequences in our community. Many of our family, friends and neighbors have simply given up hope. We are hearing too many news reports about distraught individuals, who are killing not only themselves but also their family. It’s up to us to identify people with possible self-destructive behavior and help them get the professional care and resources that are needed.

There are many nonprofit organizations that are able to deliver the resources to those who have become emotionally troubled as a result of the economy. The organizations that are able to provide hope to those in need desire your help in connecting them with those that feel hopeless. There are many organizations that provide free assistance and they will welcome any and all financial contributions or volunteers.

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering hope for the hopeless, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site.

Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information. http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

THINGS TO PONDER

Are we missing our lives?

One of the benefits of the downturn in the economy is that many people are being forced into simplicity. I read an article where psychologist Robert Wicks stated, “Simplicity is a silver lining to the downturn in the economy.” He also stated, “In the up economy, people were successful, but in many cases, they were missing their lives.”

Are we missing our lives? What are we doing to really enjoy our lives? Psychologist Wicks said, “They weren’t spending time really enjoying friends. The simplicity that’s possible during economic times would not come to the force if a crisis has not occurred.” Don’t wait for economic crises to force you to enjoy the simple things in life.

Learn to be happy. One of the keys to being happy is by focusing on gratitude. How often do you show your gratitude and in what ways? It’s suggested that you establishes a practice of gratitude. While you are at it, I suggest you should also develop strategies for dealing with stress and hardship.

Maybe you should consider “volunteering” in order to make other people happy or giving them hope. You certainly will make yourself happy in the process.

Quotes of the Moment

“When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others.”- Ann Morrow Lindber

“The best cure for your own self-inflicted suffering is often services to other” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

How Nonprofit Can Thrive During Tough Economic Time

September 22, 2009

This post will continual the discussion in the previous post on “How to Maintain a Nonprofit during Tough Economic Time”, but also look at some examples of “How Nonprofit Can thrive during Tough Economical Time.

Economic concerns are still large in most conversations with unemployment and foreclosure still rising. So, how do you keep your nonprofit strong and stable when the economy has donors scare to spent or give. In situation like this many people panic. Surviving a bad economy should not send your organization retreating for cover, but it should force you to focus on solutions and efficiencies. A good leader should know when to retreat so that an organization can rebuild its strength so that it can come back to fight another day.

“In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat there is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.”-Robert Collier, Writer & Publisher

Here are several suggestions to focus on during tough time.

1. Don’t cut back on fund raising.

You must keep your name out in the donor community. You    should become more focus and efficient with your fund raising efforts. You gain nothing by cutting back fund raising and you certainly stand a chance of gaining something with your more focus efforts. You should get a better return on your fund raising investment dollars. Get more personal and cultivate your relationship with your donors. Keep acquiring donors. Donors are general worth more every year.

2. Give donors what they want.

Donor’s behaviors are changing radically, but that don’t mean people are not giving. It means that donors are thinking longer and harder before they give. You need to find out what your donors want and find a way to deliver it. Communicate with your donors to learn, what’s more important to them. Give them a call, sent a email, take a survey, uses online tools to view chat rooms and message boards. If you keep your eye on your donors, you can take advantage of their many woes and give them what they want and add to your success in tough times.

3. Let donors know that they are appreciated and needed more that more now than ever.

Donors want to feel good. Let them know they are appreciated. Make them feel special. Donors want to have an impact, make a different with their donations. Donors want to know that there was a return on their donations. In business it’s known as a return on investment (ROI). Don’t give donors the doom and gloom story, give then something positive. Give them testimonials of those that their donations helped. Who can the donor save? What can be made possible with their donations? How can they change a life with a small donation? Tell a compelling store. Add pictures, add video to your website, a picture is better than a thousand words.

4. If you must cut, cut what’s unclear.

If you have lees money, spend on those things that are necessary to reach your mission. Spend money on things that have a measurable impact. Donors want to see the returns on their donations. Don’t spend on things that have questionable impact or none measurable results. Spend funds in marketing that will have a direct impact not something that has a lot of form (looks good and sound good) over substance (getting the intended results; donations, volunteers, etc). Cut programs that are either unneeded or too costly to justify for your budgets or returns from the program.

While the economy may be responsible for some of your problems, but it’s not the whole store. Your organization must prove its relevance to donors and supporters. You need to communicate with your donors to find out what they are looking for as a return on their donations. Communicate with your staff, supporters and volunteers to find out how things can be made better. Keep looking to find out your problems and what steps are necessary to correct the problems.

There are many more suggestions and tips that we will discuss in later posts.

During these tough economic times nonprofit, citizens and the government will be forced to work together more than ever in order for nonprofit to thrive. We will need new ideals and solutions for today’s problems. We must share strategies and resources and also collaborate when necessary. Now, more than ever we need to share resources and information so that   nonprofits can not only thrive but emerge even stronger. Have resources to share? Contact us so we can share with others.

Keep checking back here for more ideals, information and resources as we moved forward in tough times.

Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources  and valuable information. http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

THINGS TO PONDER

Have you ever considered telling a compelling story that will touch donor’s hearts? If you have been operating for awhile you have stories to tell.  There is no better time to search out the personal testimonies of those you help and let them talk to the donors in their own words. The donors will be deeply touched and greatly appreciated when they connect to someone they have helped or maybe even saved a life. A Multimedia presentation can do wonder for your fund raising campaign. Also, just as valuable. Invite donors to a forum or programs where the donors can interact with the beneficiaries of their gifts. A caveat!  Don’t sink to begging or doom and gloom tactics.

Quote

“ Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

By sharing information, ideals and working  together, we can help our organizations, serve our community and change the world!

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work , please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

How to Maintain a Nonprofit During Tough Economic Time

July 18, 2009

It is undeniable that the economy is having a real effect on corporate donation and individual giving. This is the perfect time to start or rebuild your organization. There is never a better time to identify and utilized all of your organization’s assets than when you’re in tough economical times.

Asset building is very important to your organization. Although money is very important, assets building is not only about asking a donor for money. It’s about building upon your assets and all the other assets that can help your organization further its mission.  Look for assets that are free or can be shared. During tough times others will usually be happy to share assets.

Generally all nonprofit organizations have the following assets:

1. Mission based assets.

2. Human (resources) assets.

3.  Community assets.

Mission based assets are “What you do.” All of the activities and all steps for each of your programs are your mission based assets. Identify what assets and resources you already have and build your choices on those assets.

Make sure that your budget and business plan is focus on your mission and vision. Some activities that are not directly related to your mission may have to be cut. Identify how each asset or resource can help you obtain your mission.

Also, please remember that some time you may not need to focus on the money. You may be better served, if you focus on human resources. Utilized your human assets for their ideals, knowledge and though about how your organization may better reach its mission.

There are prediction and believe that these tough time will make it a challenge to recruit volunteers. At a time when many organizations are struggling to find new funding, reaching out to old donors while attempting to fulfill their missions; the volunteers necessary to accomplish all of this may be getting harder to recruit and keep.

I believe that you can still successful recruit volunteers by adjusting to the changing time. Look at the newly retired baby boomers and the millions of recently released employees whom may be out of the work market for a long time. That is a large pool of valuable talent and resources from which you can recruit. You must, show your volunteers that they are really appreciated by listen to them and respecting their ideals while you also increase your volunteers recognition programs.

You should utilize your community assets. Sometimes it may be best to collaborate with other organizations. Even in better economic times it’s better for nonprofit organization to collaborate. In these tough times it may be essential for some organizations survival. There are many free assets available in your community, including businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, government agencies and the media.

I recent read a Washington Post editorial by Michelle Singletary where she stated “I know that in tough time you want to pull back on your spending, including planed donations, but that’s exactly when your giving should not go down–when the need is so great.” Ms. Singletary  suggested that the way to continue giving is to be a regular donor. She said “Another way to find money to give,  de-cutter your house. Pack up all the stuff you’re not using and sell it at a flea market or online and donate the proceeds .You should make this a yearly fundraiser in your household.” There are many community assets that go untapped and under used by nonprofit organization.  The media is very under utilized by the nonprofit sector.                                 ‘

Review and utilize all of your organizations available assets and collaborate whenever possible. Think creatively and go were others nonprofit organizations have not gone. Don’t be left out! Your organizations can thrive in hard times.

More information, suggestions and tips on how to thrive in hard times coming in later posts. Look to see you around early August 2009.

Please take a look at my website and newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.

http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other please forward so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

Things Too Ponder

Why are we struggling with our fund raising?  There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your  fund raising and a course the economy may be a major reason. According to Giving USA corporate donation which is roughly 5 percent of all giving dropped by 8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. Individual bequest declined at a rate of 6.4 percent. The drop in the amount of bequest is believed a result of people who had made provisions for charity upon death changing their plan when the economic situation forced many of their families to need help. Giving USA stated “It’s estimated that 6.42 billion in lost funds from new philanthropy during 2008 can be directly tied to businesses not being able to do business, thus not hiring people and keeping jobs in their communities”

The economic is certainly affecting the ways people are giving. Accordingly, nonprofits will need to become more creative in their fundraising  efforts. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Show your appreciation! People love to feel that they are appreciated. Be kind and friend when you’re asking for help. Being positive and showing real enthusiasm can win over donors and volunteers. Many times volunteers are more important than money.
  • Create a personal relationship with the donors! Many times people are more willing to give when they have a personal relationship with the person or organization asking for the donation. Donors feel as if they are helping a friend or member of their family. Whenever possible ask for the donation in person.
  • Look for businesses that can have a relationship with your organization! Offer something of value to the businesses for their donations. Sometime it could be publicity which is a great exchange for a donation.

Del Martin, Chair of Giving USA Foundation said “With the United States mired in a recession throughout 2008. There no doubt in anyone’s mind that charitable giving would be down, however, what we find remarkable, is that individuals, corporation and foundations still provided more than$307 billion to causes they support, despite the economic conditions.” Although, there is a definite drop in giving, donors are still giving therefore the nonprofit sector must do more with less.

Accordingly, your organization should take a good look at similar organizations that are successful or doing better with their fundraising efforts. In business you should always know what your competitors are doing and if they are successful you should consider following their lead. This business practice may also be helpful to nonprofit as well. Your organization must continual to research and come up with creative solutions on how to become better at its fundraising efforts.

Quote O f The  Moment

“The difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our attitude towards  it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” — J. Sidlo Baxter

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work , please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Part III- Should You Start a Nonprofit In Today’s Economy?

June 22, 2009

It’s the new Obama Administration position that America needs its nonprofit organizations like never before.

This blog will take a closer look at nonprofit policy priorities for Obama Administration. A just completed poll found that the vast majority of nonprofit executives report very little improvement in the past administration policy toward nonprofit organization are pinning high hope on the Obama’s Administration to establish a more supportive policy toward the nonprofit sector.

The new survey of over 1,000 U.S. nonprofit organization conducted by John Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project listed four specific measures the new administration should set policy priorities. Focusing on nonprofit organization in four key fields; children and family services, elderly housing and services, community and economical development, and arts and culture, the survey asked the nonprofit leaders, “what can a national administration do to equip nonprofits to help Americans cope with the present economical crises.”

There are many suggestions from the experts on what nonprofits want from the new administration. High on the list were as follow:

  • Reinstatement and expansion of tax incentives for individual charitable giving.
  • Restoration and for growth of funds for nonprofit funds in the federal budget.
  • Federal grant support for nonprofit training and capacity building.
  • Expansion of tax incentive to encourage volunteering.
  • Student loan forgiveness for those working in the nonprofit sector.
  • Establishment of special health insurance tax credit for workers in the nonprofit sector.

There were many other suggestions but, I chose to stop with the above sample.

Now more than ever, during this time of unparalleled economical challenges, it’s critical that the nation work together. The government alone cannot fix all the problems. President Obama stated, “Nonprofit should and supposed to be intermediary or connecting organization linking the federal and states programs with those that need help.” The president further stated “We need your services right now, at this moment in history, I’m not going to tell you what your role should be; that for you to discover. But I am asking you to stand up and play your part. I am asking you to help change history’s course.”

On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Service American Act, a heroic expansion of opportunities for all Americans to serve their communities and our country. The act will triple the size of Americorps from ( 75,00 to 250,00) members and focus that service on today’s challenges, including clean energy, education, health care, veterans care and economical opportunity. The bill will make funds available to develop and grow successful ideals in the nonprofit sector and strengthen the capacity for the nonprofit sector to use volunteers more effectively.

The act allocates $5.7 billion over five years to encourage volunteerism among Americans of all ages. Americorps volunteers receive living allowance of about $12,00.00 for ten to twelve months of service. The act also provides $500.00 summer scholarships to middle and high school students and $ 1,000.00 educational stipends to older volunteers.

On signing the bill President Obama said “What this legislation does is to help harness this patriotism and connect deeds to needs. It creates opportunities to serve for students, seniors, and everyone in between. It supports innovation and strengthens the nonprofit sector. And it is just the begging of a sustained collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource-our-citizens- in the work of remaking this nation.”

Nonprofit organization should not only be concerned with fighting for more money, but also with advocating for appropriations that will do something to help the country’s failing economy.

My next post (around July 5th) we will look at nonprofits organizations maintaining and surviving in these tough times.

Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information. http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

THINGS TO PONDER

Have you ever volunteered? If yes, in what capacity? If not, why not? If you chose to volunteer, do you have a unique skill or experience you can share? Maybe it could be simply a greatly appreciated helping hand. Maybe, you can tutor a young child, help a senior citizen or simply give someone a ride. Do you have a desire to help those in need of help?

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a deep pulsating desire which transcends everything.” -Napoleon Hill

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work , please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Part II-Should You Start a Nonprofit in Today’s Economy?

June 2, 2009

Due to family and other matters I was unable to post the last several months.  I will be posting  around the 5th and  20th  of the month.  Hope  to see you!

I touched on some of the “pros and cons” of the question and concluded  “it’s a good time to start a nonprofit organization in tough economical time.”

I’ve heard many nonprofit experts and philanthropic leaders suggest that there are too many nonprofit in America. Their argument is that the more than 2 million nonprofit organizations are simply too many for private donors and the public sector to reasonable support. In my opinion the number 2 million nonprofits is somewhat misleading. That number is simply a number collected from IRS data base. I suspect that thousands of these organizations simply exist only on paper, are either dissolved or have not function for several years.

We heard the usual arguments concerning that there are too many organizations working on the same issues in the same community. There is also the old argument that the bigger more establish organizations can do a better job. These same arguments have been around for a long time and it appears that they are more vocal or receiving more coverage during these tough times.

In my opinion, the people who are raising these same old arguments are simply not dealing with today’s realities. We find ourselves fighting a financial crisis that has cause the collapse of many of our most successful industries. Unemployment has reached nearly the 13 percent level. More people are in need of the services that nonprofits provide. Yes, I agree with the argument that a  nonprofit should attempt to be more efficient and effective.  However, let put the arguments on hold and do everything we can to develop and support our communities with the help of the nonprofit sector, including encouraging and supporting the start-up of new nonprofit organization.

We need to strengthen the nonprofit section by using web based tools that make training, fund raising,  record keeping, recruiting and contact management more efficient and effective during good and bad times. We should also take a look at the for-profit sector where the industries giants were merely form over substance organizations. We now see a real picture of who is effective  in running their organization. It appears that the big boys were the worst managed but asked for the biggest bail-out. The same may hold true in the nonprofit sector. Don’t lock-out or deny the development of new nonprofit. The donor and public section should be able and will decide which organization they want to support.

Yes, this is a great time to start a nonprofit because President Obama is dedicated and encourage American to work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector.  President Obama in his inauguration speech said, “What is required of the us now is a new era of responsibility- a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so gratifying to the spirit so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.” The task at hand is the remaking of America and helping those less fortunate than us. The President also stated “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean water flow, to nourish starved bodies and feed hunger minds.” As bad as our crises is, it’s many times worst in other part of the world.

President Obama called on all Americans to help make their communities better through community service.  Accordingly, I do not think there are too many nonprofits, there are not enough to handle the stress that the economy is placing on our nation today and for sometime in the foreseeable future. There are too many nonprofit that hang on to out-dated mission statements, shun older and/or younger helpers and simply not providing the needed services.  We need new organizations, new people and new ideal. This new influx of people will come from the new retiring baby boomers, students and those that have responded to the call of our President.

In my next post (around June 5th) I will talk about The Obama Administrative Policy toward the nonprofit sector.

See you soon!

Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information. http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

THINGS TO PONDER

In this moment in history, “What’s your role?” Have you really thought about what service(s) you can offer to your community? Can you tutor a child, help a senior or provide a hand.  Advocating and supporting legislation that will assist in solving our nation economical problems will be helpful. Everyone can play a role.

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work offering, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!

Should You Start A Nonprofit in Today’s Economy?

March 28, 2009

This is hes important uestion.eprofit community are asking today.an important question that many in the nonprofit community are asking today. What do you think? If this question was asked of you as a consultant what would be your advice? With all the media talk and analysis of the world declining economy, the nonprofit community continual to strive to stay focus and achieve its missions. In spite of all the dismal talk and as bad as the future projections are, there is a lot of optimism and desire in the nonprofit sector.  However, is this optimism realistic enough to use precious and scarce resources on a new start-up nonprofit venture? Some people will suggest that maybe you should volunteer with an existing organization offering the same services. The establish organization will say, that they are already providing the service, but need more funds to be successful. There are various opinions on this question. In this post I will share my perspective on this question.

Everyone is talking about the economy, most believe it’s screwed and will remain so for some time. On January 30, 2009, the Associate Press wrote that the Commerce Department Report stated, “The economy shrank at 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as the deepening recession forced consumers and business to throttle back spending”. The report further suggested that the figure is likely to be even lower in the months ahead. The AP stated, “The report provide clear evidence of the economy rapid deterioration as housing, credit and financial crises… the worst since the 1930… feed on each other. It’s a vicious cycle that has proven difficult for Washington policymakers to break”.

The total job loss in 2008 was above 2.6 million or the highest level in more than six decades. In February 2009 over 260,000 American lost their jobs.

The experts refuse to use the term “Depression”. I really don’t understand the proper economist definition of a “Depression”, but I do know that to most Americans this economy is very “Depressing”. President Ronald Regan once stated “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours.” Unemployment is around 8 percent and projected to exceed 10 percent. Remember, the unemployment figure only represent those that are receiving unemployment benefits and do not include those whom have exhausted their benefits or have been unemployed for a time period whereas the government has define them as unemployables and therefore not counted in the figures.

Foreclosure is at the highest level since the Great Depression. Some figures states, 40 % of the mortgages in the U.S. are worst less than the debts owed on it”. Also, 10 % of Americans are either on or applying for food stamps. The government figure show a 7.1 percent annualized cutback in spending on “Nondurable”, such as food and clothing was the deepest since the end of 1950.

Our families, friends and neighbors are struggling to make ends meet. Maybe you were fortunate because you haven’t lost your job, home or saving. However, there are many people that are less fortunate and suffering, but the poorest communities and the poorest countries are the ones who will suffer the hardest. Many experts around the world are predicting that this crisis will get worst and last well beyond 2009. Giving the present situation, where millions of Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and millions of people around the world are starving, I believe that starting a nonprofit may be a good decision.

Many experts also, believe that now is a great time to start a nonprofit organization. President Obama in his inauguration address called on all Americans to better their communities through community service. “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility. A recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”

It’s great that there is hope and optimism in the nonprofit sector. However, starting a new organization is going to be tough, but tough time require tough action. I once received an email that said “Hope without sincere effort is a pipedreams. A person’s hope is manifested according to the strength of his efforts. A dream is of no value if insufficient energy is not put forth to bring the dream into a reality”. Starting a nonprofit today without a full commitment is not only a bad decision, but it’s also detrimental to the nonprofit sector.Your failure will only support the arguments regarding wasted and unnecessary resources used by new nonprofits.You should and must start on a solid foundation with a good plan for success.

During tough economical time, do you give less, turn you back on those in need or do you step up to the plate, dig deeper and give even more to those who need the most help? Ironically, history has shown that Americans get tougher and are at their best when times get tough. It’s during tough time that Americans are more generous and stronger as a people. I have heard and read many leaders in the nonprofit community say, that despite these tough time, donors are coming forward as they have often have done during times of crises. Some donors may not be able to give as much as usual, but they are still giving, especially individuals whom are giving small donations, time and other resources.

If you are considering starting a nonprofit, don’t be afraid of these tough economical times where millions of people are losing their jobs and their homes, they are the ones that need your help. I encourage you to start a nonprofit if you have the real desire to achieve your vision of helping others, because the needs for help are much greater during tougher times.

Many national charities such as Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International are saying that donations are declining while people seeking help are increasing. During tough times, people turn to their local charities for help with basic necessities. Charities are also requesting help. The demand for help come at the same time that many nonprofits see their own fund declining because of the economy. Food Banks are seeing their supplies dwindling because of growing demands and the high prices for food. Nonprofit leaders are going to have to become more created in their fund raising activities and engage in asset-based activities.

You have heard all the negative reports and reasons you shouldn’t start a nonprofit in these tough economical times. A brief summary of reasons why you should not start a nonprofit in tough time will usually boil down to a lack of available funds from corporate donors and individuals or there already enough nonprofit. Most of the critics focus mainly on monetary help and with very little consideration to the other resources and assets that are available in our communities. In my opinion, these critics have either forgotten or overlooked the will and determination of the American people.

If you really believe in your dream, write it down, it will then no longer be a dream, it will then become a goal. You must then act on your goals. First, do your research to determine if the services are needed or already being offer by other organizations. Gather resources on “how to start a nonprofit organization”. Seek professional advice. Starting a nonprofit is just the first step. Take the proper actions and steps necessary for success and you can make your vision happen, even in these tough times. The need for all type of supported services is at an alarming rate. If you stay focus on your vision, set obtainable goals, continual to learn, share resources and utilized all of your assets (particular non-monetary), your nonprofit corporation can thrive during these tough time.

It’s not going to be easy, but you must hang in there, don’t give up your vision. “Don’t Quit”. This philosophy is especially applicable in today’s tough economical times when starting a nonprofit.

Do to the important and length of this discussion, I have decided that it’s best to discuss this topic in several parts. I will be sharing more of my though and tips about starting a nonprofit and how nonprofit organizations can survive in these tough time in future blogs, postings or editions of my newsletter located on my website.

I would be interesting in knowing your opinion on this question. It will be interesting to see if you agree or disagree with me. Maybe your comments or suggestions will appear in my next post.

Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information. http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other please forward so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more ideals, information and comment as we moved forward in these tough time.

My first couple of post may be longer than normal because of the important and complexity of the issue, later posts will be much shorter. See you soon!


THINGS TO PONDER

Doing these tough time, we all need to give thanks for what we have, but also need to look around and ask ourselves,”What can I give today?” Donations can be given in all form, money, time, food, prayer and even a smile. A simple gift of love and a helping hand will be greatly appreciated.

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work, please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.   http://www.darlingnonprofitconsultant.com

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!


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