Too Many Hats?

Is your nonprofit  a startup or experiencing growth? Do you find yourself overworked? Is it not clear what each Board of Directors member should doing? How do you balance the responsibilities of staff and the Board? 

My name is Jason and I am the Graduate Assistant for the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Center. I am also enrolled in the Early Advantage MBA program at the  Crummer Graduate School of Business. I have had the pleasure of working for several nonprofit organizations as an intern, and a staff member. Also, I currently sit on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit. I can definitely attest, that the questions above are not easy ones to answer. However, through my observations I’ve found there are some simple tools an organization can use to help alleviate some of these grey areas.

1st: CLARIFY: Take a look at your job descriptions for both staff and the board.  Many times, employees of new and growing nonprofits find themselves confused by their job descriptions because their roles are changing constantly to fill in gaps. If the manager of nonprofit continually makes their goals and objectives for a position clear, it will lead to more productivity from staff members. Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.55.25 AM

2nd: CLARIFY: Often times, there are Board Members who do not contribute their share of work to the organization (especially in start-up nonprofits). I would suggest revisiting the position of the Board and making sure the entire Board is clear on their role and how they should interact with staff members to achieve their common goals. The board and staff should be able to function in unison.

3rd: ClARIFY: It is important to understand the mission of your organization and how each staff and board member contribute to the mission of the organization. As your organization continues to grow staff and board members will continue to gain responsibilities. The executive board of your organization needs to be prepared to clarify at what point the organization needs to make that transition and hire more staff members, or expand the roles of the board. These are important milestones to plan for and clarify ahead of time.

As you can see, there is running theme I wanted to highlight.  I have seen the difference that clarity can make for a growing nonprofit. Clarity will always help members of an organization understand how their job relates to the mission of the organization, as well as provide an understanding of how other members of the organization contribute to the nonprofit.



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The Rising Trend of Online Giving

With the rapid rise of social media platforms, there has also been a rise in the levels of online giving in the nonprofit sector. MDG advertising actually analyzed some of the online donor trends for nonprofits. This is great information to begin the conversation at your nonprofit about how you use social media and what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to fundraise. If you’d like to read more from the article, click here. Below you will see a great info graphic on the topic.



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Is a Grant Always The Best Alternative?

This week we are happy to feature guest blogger Karen Eber Davis. Karen is a nonprofit consultant and an instructor for the Philanthropy Center.

A nonprofit has a playground for children with special needs. It needs replacing.  Should they ask their local friendly foundation for the grant to replace it? They haven’t approached them in several years. It’s likely to be a winner.

I recommended NOT doing it. Surprised?

Here’s the thinking:

  • Funding the playground will appeal to other donors including individuals, foundations, and corporations. The playground serves high need, cute children. It has longevity. It offers a naming opportunity. Imagine the PR value of the video clip: A little girl laughing in glee as she goes down the new slide. How might this opportunity be used? To entice a new donor with the potential for multiple years of giving to make a first gift.
  • The donors of the present playground haven’t been contacted by the nonprofit’s current leaders. How else might this opportunity be used with them? To reconnect and thank them for their valuable gift. If the ensuring relationship warrants it, they might be offered the right-of-first-refusal to fund the new play area.
  • Within five years, the organization anticipates a capital campaign. The playground’s wear and tear exemplifies, in part, why the capital campaign is needed. How else might this opportunity be used? To meet with all of the complexes’ original donors. At meetings, cumulative results and preliminary ideas about the capital campaign can be shared. Feedback can be requested. As appropriate, donors willing to help now can be offered the opportunity to fund the new playground.
  • When all of the above opportunities are exhausted, if the playground is still unfunded, the nonprofit might request funding for it from the local friendly foundation. In all probability this won’t be necessary. Instead, the opportunity with this foundation can be used for a practical need with low crowd appeal.

In my experience advising nonprofits for almost twenty years, I have found that even if they will be funded, not all grants should be written. Make your goal to get the maximum income for your nonprofit over time, not the most grant funds.

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Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits 2013 Infographic

Earlier this year, the Philanthropy Center conducted the 2013 Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Survey. The survey was completed by more than 160 nonprofit organizations in the Central Florida area and includes data from nearly 10,000 position classifications in total. The survey lists data for more than 130 individual position classifications and the pay ranges for those positions. The information is also provided based on the size of the nonprofit organization.

The report includes in-depth data about retirement options, health plan options and more. This data helps give nonprofits valuable information how their compensation and benefits packages compare to other nonprofit organizations. Purchase the full report

During this research, key information began to emerge. The information was so compelling, we decided to let the numbers speak for themselves. Leave a message below and let us know what you think.

Nonprofit Infographic - Compensation

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2013 End of Year Donation Tax Information for Nonprofits

Important information to keep in mind with end of the year donations…

2013 End of Year Donations

The IRS’s basic rule is that a gift must be “delivered” to the charity by 12/31. Cash and checks must be handed over to the organization by 12/31 if delivered in person or if sent using a private service like FedEx or UPS. If the donation is mailed through the US Post Office, it must have a postmark of 12/31. The organization will receive it after 12/31, but that is ok because the donor relinquished control (the IRS’s baseline threshold for determining a gift date) on the date s/he put the donation in the mail on or before 12/31. Credit card gifts must be “fully processed,” i.e., approved by the credit card merchant, for the gift to be considered “delivered” by the due date.

Donation Thank You Letters
During November and December, nonprofit organizations receive the majority of their philanthropic donations. It is important that they thank their donors and acknowledge the donation in a way that allows the donor the benefit of a tax deduction. In order to comply with the IRS, nonprofits need to include in their thank you letter the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, the amount of the contribution and a statement regarding whether or not goods or services were received for making the donation.

Here is a link to an IRS article titled Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions (updated in September 2013).

Here is a link to an IRS article titled IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Giving (updated in September 2013).

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