Archive for June, 2009

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!

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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!