Archive for March, 2016

Building Successful NonProfit Boards

Nonprofit dynamo Carole Berde was quoted in an article by NonProfit Director saying, “A good staff person and an effective board member ask questions that make others think about issues in a different way.” This is probably the most accurate and best description of a good board member (or staff member) that I’ve ever heard. Elmira Bayrasli nailed it for Forbes in Building Successful NonProfit Boards when she said, “People need to think of nonprofit board seats as a deep responsibility and a job that requires due care and attention. To begin, the very cause of the organization is at stake as is its survival. That’s a higher ethical imperative than just ensuring the health of the organization’s bottom-line.” One of my friends puts it more bluntly when speaking of her term as board chair, “If we screw up, someone will be sleeping under a bridge.” So, let’s take a look at habits of highly effective boards. 5 Habits of Highly Effective Boards Courtesy of Sarah Daxton/Third Sector Today, A team of researchers from The Bridgespan Group and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation recently collaborated to pinpoint what drives the highest performance among nonprofit boards. Bridgespan shares the results in…

Pro Bono: The Good & The Bad

Increasingly, nonprofits find themselves in a situation where they need to develop programs and scale quickly—and to do so with the limited resources on hand. No one wants to get caught without a strategic plan in this scenario. The reality is that only about half of the small to midsized nonprofits ($500,000 to $20 Million in revenues) in the U.S. have a strategic plan, according to an article penned by James W. Shepard, Jr. He writes that the majority of those that do often make critical decisions without access to important data and analysis. So what can you do if your organization simply cannot afford a staffer (or more), especially in the face of an overwhelming need? Many organizations turn to nonprofit staffing agencies for temp solutions. This provides immediate help without hiring permanent, full-time staff. Kristi Lewis, Temp Services Manager for PNP Staffing Group, says the average size of nonprofit organizations using temps has 10-15 staff members. Organizations with over 100 employees also turn to PNP as they adjust to workload fluctuations, critical situations and seasonal needs. PNP also offers project-based assistance. The Taproot Foundation connects nonprofits and social change organizations with skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro…

7 Threats to NonProfit Fundraising Sustainability

In honor of the NonProfit Finance & Sustainability Conference (March 3) and the NonProfit Legal & Tax Conference (March 17-18), we are focusing on finance, taxes and sustainability. Kudos to the numbers people who help nonprofits to remain viable! Dan Quirk, a marketing specialist at DonorPro, penned the following article in 2015, published with permission of Third Sector Today. Like it or not, our fundraising efforts may be thwarted due to forces which lie beyond our control. Here, we’ve identified 7 of the greatest environmental threats to nonprofit fundraising sustainability in an effort to allow you to better prepare for them. Forewarned is forearmed! Millennial Loyalty It’s been widely reported that the Millennial generation is less loyal than the Baby Boomers and their parents. It’s true–Millennials are easily impacted by what their social networks are doing, are always looking for the best deal regardless of the brand, and often care more about causes they want to help than the specific nonprofit they are giving to. These characteristics pose a huge threat to nonprofit sustainability now, and will continue to increase as Millennials come into Baby Boomer inheritances. Jeff Forster (Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management) spoke on the seismic shift in generational giving at DonorPro’s Virtual…

5 Reasons Your Resume Gets Overlooked by NonProfits

Career change? Job Searching? Just keeping your options open? Whatever your goal, your resume is a must-have tool on the path to landing the interview. And here are 5 reasons that your resume will get overlooked. A resume creates the first impression to be a top candidate. To stand out, a candidate needs to have something beyond the standard short and sweet resume to emerge as a well-qualified candidate. Mashable discussed it recently with 5 Reasons Your Resume Doesn’t Stand Out From the Crowd. 1. You have a generic “experience” section. You can describe your work experience in a unique and professional way rather than labeling this section “work experience” or “professional experience.” Instead of this generic label, change this section to something more specific to the position. If the position is for an event planner or for a local nonprofit, include “Event Planning Experience” or “Nonprofit Experience.” 2. Focusing on responsibilities instead of accomplishments. Instead making a bullet list of day-to-day activities, add more details and focus on what you accomplished. The Muse supports this in 43 Resume Tips That Will Help You Get Hired, by stating that an individual should use as many facts, numbers, and statistics as you can….

It’s That Time of Year. How’s Your 990 Coming Along?

Just in case you were wondering about why most people hate tax season, a new poll from Pew Research Center spells it out. And even if you work at a nonprofit, you still have to file personal taxes. The organization, however, most likely doesn’t. Nonprofit organizations are, by definition, tax-exempt from paying federal taxes. They don’t get off the hook however. An annual report to the IRS, known as the Form 990, is still a must for most. The Form 990 is a report designed to provide the government and the public a clear understanding of a charitable organizations activities each year. If the organization fails to file, it runs the risk of being penalized by the IRS. According to a report from the Urban Institute, about 35 percent of the 1.41 million nonprofits registered with the IRS are required to file some version of the form 990. A great place to start and make sure that your organization is compliant with the IRS is its website. Visit the IRS’ Charities and Nonprofits Annual Reporting and Filing page to find answers to some of the basic questions. Guidestar also offers a handy and easy- to-read review, Highlights of IRS Form…