Tuesday, December 30, 2008

100 Memories - Make a List for Year’s End

This idea comes to us from our friends at For Impact. As Nick Fellers relates:

Every year-end I make a list of 100 memories from the year. These could be events, moments, firsts, lasts, etc. etc.

It’s a great way to reflect on the year and prepare for the next.

This tradition was inspired by Michael Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. He says one of Leo’s brainstorming exercises was to come up with 100 big questions about life, the universe, etc. The idea is that the first 30 will be easy. The next 30 will be cool and the remaining questions will be profound, insightful and guiding. You will see telling themes emerge.

The same is true of the 100 memories list. After you get past obvious moments like weddings, travels and births the really some great insights about what you value/treasure start to emerge. Watch those themes and design your 09 to make more memories like these!

Try this great idea for your nonprofit! Imagine listing the 100 memories about your nonprofit and the value and power of this list. Watch here for a sample list (to be posted) to get you started or feel free to share your list.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Nonprofit Investment Rules About To Hit

The Nonprofit Times featured a helpful article on the changes in financial statement reporting and disclosure requirements for nonprofit organizations with donor-restricted endowment funds and board-designated endowment funds. The article is available here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Nonprofit's Holiday Insight

Paula Huntsman, the Council Director of Otsego County - Girls on the Run, shared these recent thoughts:

Jack Johnson's Rudolph Song lyrics:
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose
and if you ever saw it
you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
use to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say;
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?
"Then how the reindeers loved him,
as they shouted out with glee
"Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
you'll go down in history!
"Well Rudolph he didn't go for that he said "I see through your silly games.
How can you look me in the face when only yesterday you called me names?
"Well, all of the other reindeers, man,
well they did sure feel ashamed,
"Rudolph, you know we're sorry.
We're truly gonna try to change"

This song is a great example for life. Rudolph is different but Santa sees Rudolph's difference as something good and useful- a gift! Rudolph stands up for himself and the reindeer who were teasing apologize and vow to change. Oh, if we could all do this;
  • ~See our differences as gifts
  • ~Stand up for ourselves and be heard
  • ~Apologize when we've hurt someone
  • ~Vow to change our bad habits.

At Girls on the Run we talk about all these issues. The very first lesson as we are getting to know each other we explore our likes and differences. In another lesson we learn key phrases for standing for ourselves without putting the other person on the defensive. We also have a lesson where we explore our habits and think about change.

My New Years wish is for all of us to apply these lessons to our lives and by doing that we will make the world a better place to be!



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NYS Budget Impact on the Arts

NYS Arts, formerly The Alliance for New York State Arts Organizations, announced the following info about Governor Patterson's proposed budget cuts and their impact on the arts and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

The Governor's proposed cut for the arts in the current 2008-09 budget stands at $7 million. And the total cut to the 2009-10 arts budget is almost $10 million from the start of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

  • The Governor's proposal remains unchanged. He proposes eliminating the NYSCA funds that have not yet been awarded from the OCTOBER and DECEMBER cycles totaling $7 million. This means that almost all of the almost 600 organizations in those two cycles will not receive any funding.....including those who have general operating support pending. The inequities are staggering! This proposed reduction is the second one in this current budget (don't forget there was almost approximately a 10% reduction a couple of months ago). It will bring the NYSCA budget down to $38.9 million from $48.5 million at the start of the current fiscal year.


  • The Governor's budget proposes a "$7 million dollar" cut to NYSCA in 2009-10, or $38.9 million for local assistance/grants to the field. HOWEVER, this is actually almost a $10 million cut or approximately a 20% reduction from the beginning of the current fiscal year when the budget was $48.5 million. This means that there will not be an additional cut to NYSCA if the Governor's second proposed cut is approved by the Legislature. NYSCA Operations budget is almost $5.5 million....down from $6.1 million at the beginning of the current fiscal year and down from $5.7 million after the mid-year cuts.


  • The Governor proposes merging the New York State Theatre Institute with the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center ("The Egg"). Under the Executive Budget, the New York State Theatre Institute becomes a subsidiary of "The Egg", the Theatre Institute will continue to provide artistic and educational programming for children and families from its current facilities in Troy under the merger. State support for the new organization will be $3.65 million.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Resource Sharing Roundtable Generates Ideas and Invites Your Feedback

Andrew Marietta, CCSNYS
Debra Marcus, Planned Parenthood of South Central New York
Ed Shafer, Pathfinder Village
Julie Dostal, LEAF
Kathie Greenblatt, Catholic Charities of Delaware & Otsego Counties
Liz Callahan, Hanford Mills Museum
Lynn Glueckert, Catholic Charities of Delaware & Otsego Counties
Susan Kenny, Roxbury Arts Group
Terry Capuano, United Way of Otsego and Delaware Counties

Facing an uncertain economy, growing budget cuts, and increasing demands for services, the Leatherstocking AEA Resource Sharing Roundtable was convened to discuss possible ideas to respond to these challenging times. In preparation for this meeting a brief survey available here was implemented that asked about nonprofit challenges and potential ways to respond. The meeting of executives opened with an introduction by Julie Dostal, executive director of LEAF, who related that she wanted to hear what other directors are doing to cut costs and save staff (which was a focus everyone agreed was a priority). The group proceeded to discuss a number of ideas that their individual agencies are exploring. Ideas ranged from cutting staff benefits and hours to facility improvements and cost sharing. A more detailed list is below.

The group also discussed staff morale and how to address, especially related to these ideas. The group agreed budget updates were essential, although too much information can be an issue. The directors need to be advocates and reinforce confidence. Lastly, the group discussed getting the board involved and helping address these future challenges.

  • Benefits package reductions, such as reduction in pension plan contribution
  • Ask staff to volunteer to decrease their hours
  • Staff furloughs
  • Executive directors reduce their hours
  • If buyout for health insurance offered, reduce buyout
  • Energy audit and improvements, such as lighting, lower temperatures, insulation, etc.
  • Close facility for winter or spring
  • Centralize buying of supplies, such as oil, office supplies, etc.
  • No longer counting on state funding and budgeting based on majority of income coming from fees and donors

The group felt that rural areas will see the largest impact from cutbacks. Centralizing or consolidating services generally moves them to larger population centers, and this will hurt the local region. Thus, the group felt that the rural voice needs to be heard and advocated.

Possible next steps:

  • Collect nonprofit facilities upgrades and capital improvements as a group to communicate to elected officials as opportunities for infrastructure improvements under new administration
  • Explore joint fundraising efforts, such as an appeal or event
  • Create joint annual report for region’s nonprofits (invite local newspaper, like The Daily Star, to discuss this idea)
  • Focus on integrating more technology into communication and fundraising efforts
  • Set follow up meeting to have a more facilitated conversation or address a potential idea more directly

Please share your feedback or additional input here or send them by e-mail. Next steps for this group will follow soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nonprofit Gift Cards for the Holidays!

Stanford Social Innovation Review's blog featured a recent post on Nonprofit Gift Cards and their expected boom this year. The post by Perla Ni, founding publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, defines these cards as cards redeemable as a donation towards a nonprofit. She lists a couple of organizations where cards are available and the comments section lists additional sources.

Presently, there isn't a local resource offering nonprofit gift cards. Any suggestions for putting this in place for Leatherstocking AEA organizations? Is your nonprofit offering this kind of giving option to your supporters?

The Rise of New Online News Organizations

The New York Times featured an article recently on the rise of new web-based news organizations that are nonprofits. The article outlines what these organizations, like VoiceofSanDiego.org, offer and how they are filling the void of contracting newspapers.

This development also reinforces the need for nonprofits to focus on their websites as sources for news and information. As the past media panel related, nonprofits offer expertise and information. Thus, nonprofit websites can and should be positioned as essential resources.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Retirement Plan Changes

Like many directors, a Leatherstocking AEA executive director was inquiring recently about the new retirement-plan regulations taking effect January 1st regarding 403(b) plans. There are a number of recent articles available that help give direction and guidance to preparing for these important changes. For example, the Philanthropy Journal offers an article by Kimberlee Sipe defining and discussing the new changes here. Do you have an article you would like to suggest? Post it here or e-mail the link.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Foothills Performing Arts Center is a regional arts and civic facility located in Oneonta, New York, which will be a venue for performances, concerts, drama productions, private events, and other activities. The Center has completed a first phase and is functioning as a venue while the second stage – an atrium and a larger theater – is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2009.

The Executive Director will provide the leadership and vision necessary to achieve the Center’s mission and objectives. Responsibilities include, engaging and scheduling events, managing the budget, and ascertaining that a consistent revenue stream is being produced, including a fundraising campaign, while maintaining contacts with donors, projected event participants, corporations, and governmental units at all levels.

Qualifications are a Bachelor’s Degree and at least ten years of relevant experience, including running a business, grant writing, and at least some exposure to evaluating events, their profitability and necessary contacts with agents and sponsors.

Salary for this position is in the $60,000-$80,000 range, with paid holidays, vacation and other benefits.

Please respond with a cover letter and resume to:
(preferred method via email to)
Mr. Douglas C. Reeser, President
Board of Directors and Search Committee
or PO Box 977, Oneonta, NY 13820

Monday, December 1, 2008

Using Web 2.0 in Response to Budget Cuts

Thanks to Beth Kanter, well known web 2.0 expert and a past speaker at CCSNYS Money for Mission conference, who shared the following link to a social media campaign to fight a proposed 100% arts budget cut in Ottawa, Canada. Take a look at this video to learn more about this effort and the call to action. This is a great example for nonprofits to consider in responding to the impact of the present tough economic times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Updating Your Nonprofit's Policies

We received a great question today about personnel policies:
1)When the personnel handbook policies are rewritten and adopted, does this negate all previous policies?

Share your input on this question or check back for the answer from CCSNYS Legal Accountability & Compliance Services. A quick point about your nonprofit's personnel policies: CCSNYS recommends that you have these policies reviewed on a regular basis in order to protect your organization and stay up on changes to employment laws and regulations.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Defense of Raising Money: A Manifesto for Nonprofit CEOs

An Executive Director recently recommended this essay, which was posted by Seth Godin on his blog:
In Defense of Raising Money: A Manifesto for Nonprofit CEOs
The director of business development at the Acumen Fund has been linked all over the web for his essay that begins “I’m sick of apologizing for being in charge of raising money.” He wonders, “How is it that in the nonprofit sector we create this illusion that growth and change and impact can happen absent … energy and engagement?” This link goes to Seth’s Blog; original PDF here.

Employee Info Retention Question

The following questions were submitted to us by a nonprofit director regarding employee records: How long does a not-for-profit have to hold on to past employee information, including attendance records?

CCSNYS Legal Advisor Mike West provided the following guidance: The art of effective record retention boils down to two standards -- reason and risk. Some business people fear risking adverse consequences and hang on to everything forever -- this is the kind of unreasonable behavior that can turn your office into a landfill! Others trash everything early and often -- an unreasonably risky path to neatness.

To guide you in minimizing your risks, there are generally accepted, reasonable time periods recommended for retaining business records. Mike further relates that in a nutshell, most sensitive employment records must be saved for a period of 7 years. More specific examples are:
  • Time books/cards (for exempt & non-exempt employees) -- 7 years
  • Time cards/sheets -- 3 years after record is made
  • Payroll records and summaries, pensions, payroll taxes -- 7 years
  • Personnel records -- 1 year from making the record

Here is an example records retention policy provided by the National Council of Nonprofits.

Have a hr question? Post it or e-mail it to share on NYNED. Also, consider CCSNYS membership, which offers members access to the CCSNYS Legal Accountability and Compliance Services staff.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New “Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center” Launched

With the economy battering corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals, Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, says that the most frequent question he gets these days is: How is the economic downturn affecting America’s nonprofits?

The inescapable answer is that already limited resources are being stretched even thinner. The gap between the increasing demands for more nonprofit services and the plummeting financial support they receive is accelerating, prompting many nonprofits to scramble for options.

So the real question that needs to be asked, says Delaney, is a different one: How can nonprofits continue serving their communities’ expanding needs on dwindling budgets?

To give nonprofits tools to answer this question, the National Council of Nonprofits has assembled the Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center, a free, online clearinghouse of resources designed to help nonprofits cope with the multiple challenges created by the faltering economy.

The Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center consists of three “Focus Areas”: Basic Facts & Analysis, Impact on Nonprofits, and Proactive Positioning—Action Steps for Nonprofits. In combination, these sections aim at helping not only nonprofits but also grant makers, journalists, policy makers, and the general public understand the scope of the economic downturn, how it affects nonprofits in various subsectors and regions across the country, and what nonprofits can do to weather these turbulent times.

An evolving tool, the Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center is updated continuously with new resources, allowing nonprofits to adapt to changes in the economy as they happen. Each resource added to the Vitality Center is vetted by the National Council’s staff before being posted for public view, making the Vitality Center more relevant and effective than a search engine for finding these types of resources.

Visit the Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center.

The National Council of Nonprofits (formerly the National Council of Nonprofit Associations) is the network of state and regional nonprofit associations serving more than 20,000 member organizations. By linking local nonprofit organizations across the nation through state associations, the National Council of Nonprofits helps small and midsize nonprofits manage and lead more effectively, collaborate and exchange solutions, engage in critical policy issues affecting the sector, and achieve greater impact in their communities.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ideas from Others: Middle Tennesee Nonprofits

As the Leatherstocking AEA moves forward on collecting ideas and input for meeting current economic challenges, other nonprofits across the U.S. are having similar conversations. Featured here is The Center for Nonprofit Management, located in Middle Tennessee, and their results from a series called “Weathering the Economic Storm.” Here are some details:
We learned from you that the Middle Tennessee nonprofit community is
determined to come together to learn strategies from each other on how to
overcome this challenging climate. From all the sessions, we compiled a list of
tips from you and our experts that moderated the sessions.

  • Go back to basics: Refresh yourself on your core mission and make sure your organization is only serving that basic principal. If you have to trim, always trim back to your mission.
  • If it becomes necessary to merge the organization to keep the programs alive, this might be the time to take that action - remember it is the service that matters rather than the agency.
  • To that end, put new initiatives on the back burner… unless you know how you will pay for them in a sustainable way
  • If you were planning a capital campaign, consider moving back its starting date; if your capital campaign is in progress, consider a temporary pause in making requests.
  • If you need to, cut something loose that you provide as a service that another agency does well. Inform that agency that you are stopping that service so it can pick up the ball.
  • Develop contingency plans for different budget models (e.g. 10%, 25% cutback budgets) so you have a back-up plan if past funding sources don’t come through. Use cost/benefit analyses to determine what to reduce and what to maintain.
  • In an effort to cut costs, try to renegotiate your leases or other administrative arrangements
  • Make sure you have a strong message that you can communicate easily, in writing and verbally, both to use with donors and with the public at-large
  • Communicate with board and staff about what is going on
  • Use volunteers wherever you can. Be creative. Contact Hands on Nashville at (615) 298-1108 for ideas and assistance.
  • A special kind of volunteerism is a loaned executive program. Boomers or others from friendly corporations might take the place of paid staff.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need. Whether it’s an in-kind donation, or to a contributor that said “no” the first time.
  • Consider asking past donors to change restricted gifts into unrestricted for the 2009 year.
  • Consider asking past donors to make payments earlier of previously-made pledges.
  • Look for creative and innovative ways to raise money.
  • Save dollars by outsourcing programs instead of using staff.
  • Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Joint ventures can be a great thing for your organization and its long term viability.
  • Keep your key funders in the loop (they should not find out what is going on in the media!)
  • Engage government and business to influence public policy decisions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Resource Sharing Roundtable

At the suggestion of Julie Dostal, Executive Director of the LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, a roundtable discussion will be scheduled in December for nonprofits to discuss ways to respond to budget cuts and decreasing revenues. The following survey will help gather ideas for this discussion on sharing resources, cutting costs, and sustaining operations. Feel free to share your feedback and input on this idea.

November 12th Program: Marketing Tips and Tools Wrap Up

Our final meeting for 2008 was an engaging program featuring the Baseball Hall of Fame's Director of Communications, Craig Muder. With a decade long career in the newspaper industry and now employed by a nonprofit organization he used to cover, Craig provided invaluable insight into the media world and how nonprofits can make sense of its sometimes frustrating systems. He imparted three main points.
  • First, relationship building is the key. He discussed how you need to make the media feel like they are a part of what you are building.
  • Second, the media is an imperfect system. You cannot expect your message to be delivered as is, so self-publishing should be a focus. By using your nonprofit's website, you can control and reinforce your message.
  • Lastly, nonprofits need to understand that the media is not plotting at their desks to screw up your message. They are trying to produce a product as quickly as possible in a highly competitive environment.

Craig also offered insight into the newspaper world. He outlined how much planning goes into assembling a newspaper, especially in terms of coverage. Like any organization, the media have limited time and resources. He suggested that nonprofits should notify the media about events and issues two weeks in advance and follow up with a reminder phone call.

The 15 participants who attended the meeting continued the discussion with a number of questions. One such question was asked about how nonprofits can build relationships with the media. Craig's advice was to be honest. He also suggested identifying people in the media who seem to be committed to their jobs. There is significant turnover in media, especially among reporters.

The program ended with a discussion about negative or unwanted press coverage and the challenges in dealing with it. Craig's advice was that you have to remember the idea a reporter is pursuing for a story usually is coming from the top. The best way to respond is to not be defensive and work to give the reporter your angle on the issue. Help the reporter do their job and influence them with your perspective. Usually, you will have some success in getting your point across.

Do you have your own tips for success with the media, especially in dealing with negativity? Feel free to share them here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

E-mail and Electronic Records Retention Policy

We receive a request recently for an e-mail and electronic records retention policy. With the significant focus on e-mail and other electronic communication (like blogs, twitter, chat rooms, etc), it is more important than ever to have a policy in place . Take a look at the following article by Jenna F. Leavitt, Esq., titled Designing a Compliant Electronic Record-Retention Policy for Your Association. Although the article is written in regards to associations, this information is very applicable to nonprofits.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Make Marketing a Board Priority

Marketing is often an afterthought for many nonprofits, and convincing a board of directors of its importance can be a challenging task.

Ann, an executive director from a Central New York nonprofit relates just how challenging this can be. "My board is never very supportive of our marketing efforts and they don't see how important this can be to our success," she says. "It's a challenge to approve the budget to create materials and the website we so desperately need. I'm frustrated because at each board meeting it's discussed how we need to secure more donors, the big-time donors, and have better turn out at our events. My board just doesn't make the connection that without marketing ourselves, people don't really know who we are or our impact on the community."

Here are some steps to help a board of directors make marketing a priority:

Hold board training
Utilize a communications consultant to train the board to understand the benefits of developing marketing strategies to promote the impact and message of the organization.
Sometimes an outside perspective is necessary for the board to understand the value of marketing and for added support of the CEO or executive director's ideas.

Diversify the board of directors
Seek out new board members from the private sector that either have a marketing and communications background or that utilize marketing effectively in their businesses.
Diversifying the board can help with marketing, fund development, finance and many other challenges that nonprofits face.

Develop a marketing plan
Work with the board to develop a marketing plan for the organization to lay the foundation for marketing efforts. Don't forget to include marketing in the overall organizational strategic plan.

Include communications in grant proposals
Always include a communications piece in all grant proposals to help build a marketing budget. Also, seek local business support to help underwrite marketing efforts.

Show concrete results
Relate the impact of marketing efforts in a language boards can understand. Instead of stating a goal to increase the awareness of XYZ nonprofit, state the goal in a measurable way. Through marketing efforts, as determined in the marketing plan, XYZ nonprofit will develop 4 new media contacts this year, increase foundation support by 20 percent and have 150 attendees at an event. Keep the Board updated on the progress and evaluate whether the marketing strategies utilized are effective. Most importantly, show the return on investment of marketing efforts.

Stacy Jones is a nonprofit marketing consultant based in Troy, N.Y. and a Shoestring Creative Group Network Affiliate. Stacy can be reached at stacyj@shoestringgroup.com or 518-365-2153.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NY Policy Update

NY Policy News
Nonprofit mental health organizations’ boards must have trainingS08047 would have set training requirements for boards of not for profit organizations that deal with mental health issues. The bill also set disclosure requirements; however, it was vetoed by the Governor on September 28, 2008.

Nonprofit Policy Update

Nonprofit Federal Policy Update provided by the National Council of Nonprofits, a dynamic, national network that links nonprofits to achieve greater impact in our communities.

Will There Be a Second Economic Stimulus Package?
Democrats may push to enact a $61 billion stimulus bill in a lame duck session later this month if they can secure Republican support. Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that the Senate pass the $61 billion package (HR 7110) that the House passed in September, and which included funding for infrastructure projects, state Medicaid programs, an extension of unemployment insurance and food stamps. In September, Senate Republicans blocked consideration of a similar $56.2 billion stimulus bill (S 3604). Democrats are hoping that GOP losses in Tuesday’s election and the worsening economy may soften the Senate minority’s stance. In recent weeks, the White House has signaled it is open to ideas but has dismissed many of the Democrats’ proposals as not being stimulative. CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS, 11/5/08

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke supports another stimulus package, as do state and local officials facing budget shortfalls. They urged Congress at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing last week to open up the recently enacted financial industry bailout plan to state and local authorities struggling to find buyers for tax-exempt bonds. New York Governor David Paterson asked lawmakers to provide a direct infusion of federal spending to states, including a temporary five percent increase in federal support to states for Medicaid through fiscal 2011, an additional seven weeks of emergency benefits for unemployed workers, and a temporary increase in funding for the food stamp program. CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS, 10/28/08, 10/29/08

The Revised GIVE Act regarding charitable volunteer mileage may have a breath of life were a stimulus package to be agreed upon, but that is highly speculative right now.

Final Regulations Issued Implementing College Loan Forgiveness Provisions for Nonprofit Employees
The Department of Education has published final regulations for the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA). This Act provides for loan forgiveness for full time employees of “public service organizations," a provision the National Council of Nonprofits successfully lobbied to expand to include all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Nonprofit full-time employees (at least 30 hours a week) making monthly college loan repayments can count each month of nonprofit employment towards the 120 months of payments needed to qualify for forgiveness of the remaining loan balance, beginning with payments after October 1, 2007. The effective date applies to payments, and thus existing nonprofit employees with outstanding student loans of more than ten years future duration can benefit from this provision. For more information, see a Q & A on our website.

Rush to Finalize Regulations by Bush Administration
The Bush Administration has been pushing to revise a wide array of federal regulations in the next two and a half months. Look for more deregulation of private industry, the easing of emission controls, and relaxed drinking water standards. As many as 90 new regulations are in process, including proposed rules governing family and medical leave. The Washington Post, 10/31/08

Monday, October 27, 2008

Employee Compensation Follow Up

If you haven't checked up on the previous post of a ED's questions about setting compensation and developing policies, the post has drawn some responses. Read the post here. Also, take a look at this Philanthropy Journal article by Linda Lampkin, the research director at ERI Economic Research Institute. She discusses some general thoughts on what to keep in mind when setting employees' salaries, and more importantly, the new requirements for the revised 990 regarding nonprofit executive director compensation. ERI Economic Research Institute, which provides salary surveys and cost-of-living comparison data for both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, is a possible resource for your nonprofit.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Job Posting

OTSEGO 2000, Inc., a regional environmental nonprofit organization with professional staff and an exceptional 27-year record of accomplishments, seeks chief executive with outstanding leadership, communications and fundraising skills to take it to the next level. The enthusiastic successful candidate must be prepared to apply entrepreneurial thinking and skilled follow-through to support the organization’s innovative approach to protecting the Otsego Lake Region and its environs.

The Otsego Lake region is a mosaic of many small and picturesque communities. It features irreplaceable resources, including Otsego Lake, the Glimmerglass Historic District and the Route 20 Scenic Byway. OTSEGO 2000 strives to work with local communities and organizations to provide a high quality of life for their residents and visitors. Leading this 501(c) (3) with the challenging mission of fostering vibrant communities while protecting cultural landscapes and directing and integrating staff activities in the following areas: community planning and development with a focus on historic preservation planning; environmental protection, educating constituencies about the rich history and importance of the Otsego Lake region; and oversight of economic development initiatives that OTSEGO2000 sponsors (e.g. Cooperstown Farmers’ Market).

OTSEGO 2000, Inc.’s office is located in Cooperstown, New York, on Otsego Lake in beautiful Otsego County. Compensation is competitive, commensurate with experience, and includes healthcare and other benefits. For more information about OTSEGO2000 and its programs visit http://www.otsego2000.org/.

For full details of position, contact admin@otsego2000.org
The closing deadline for the receipt of applications and nominations is November 1, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LAEA November 12th Program Meeting Announced

Building on the conversation from the previous Media Panel Program, the Leatherstocking AEA November 12th Program will feature Brad Horn, Senior Director of Communications and Education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He will speak to: how to get the media's attention/response; how to cultivate and build relationships with the media; how to deal with negativity in the media; and evaluating and tracking your impact in the media. The meeting will also include networking time for organizations to discuss their individual challenges and successes.

Location: Denny's, 4979 State Highway 23, Oneonta, NY 13820
Time: 8:30am-10:30am
Cost: Breakfast off the menu (paid for individually)


Brad Horn is senior director of communications and education for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Horn oversees all internal and external communications, community relations, media relations, special events, publications and promotions, advertising, artifact acquisition, visitor services, photography, public programs, club relations and the Museum’s Web site. He also oversees the Institution’s internship program and education department.

Horn joined the non-profit, educational institution in February 2002 as director of public relations, previously overseeing the day-to-day media relations, publications and club relations efforts.

Horn began his career in baseball in 1995 with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and has held a number of positions in sports public relations including assistant director of public relations with the Texas Rangers (1998-2000), communications manager for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) at Indianapolis Raceway Park (2000-2002) and as director of media relations for the minor-league Fort Worth Fire hockey (1995-1997).

Horn was named a “Top 15 to Watch” among public relations professionals by PRNews in June 2005. He also received a “30 under 30” recognition from PRWeek in 2005.

Horn will receive his master’s degree at Syracuse University this fall in communications management. A native of Houston, Texas, Horn received his bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from Texas Christian University.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Local Event: Networking Meeting October 29th

Patti Timoney, Executive Director for Catskill Rural AIDS Services would like to pass on the following news that Positive Partners of Delaware and Otsego Counties, a group of individuals & organizations sharing resources for HIV/AIDS education and services, is expanding to include Schoharie County and will be holding a networking breakfast on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 from 9 am to 11 am at the Broad Street Grill in the Clarion Hotel, 55 Market Street, Oneonta. The purpose of the breakfast is to provide information and encourage community involvement. All organizations that provide services to people with HIV/AIDS are encouraged to attend along with all other human service organizations. There will be a presentation on the HIV Care Network. Organizations wishing to address the group will have the opportunity to do so and there will be a table for information sharing. The breakfast is free and reservations can be made by calling Catskill Rural AIDS Services at (607)436-9554.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Executive Director Compensation

The question here was asked recently:
Our board is in the process of incorporating some new policies and wants to include a written policy on determining Executive Director compensation. Can you point me in a direction to identify how a small non-profit makes those determinations and/or do you know of another agency about our size that might be willing to share their written policy? Any suggestions are welcome!

Finding info on this topic is challenging. There is plenty of information regarding reporting compensation, especially related to the new 990. GuideStar has an article posted, IRS Changes Requirements on Reporting Nonprofit Executive Compensation, by Linda M. Lampkin at ERI Economic Research Institute. The main points to keep in mind regarding compensation with the new 990 are:

  • Review and approval by the board
  • No person with conflict of interest involved in compensation decisions
  • Comparable data (salaries for like jobs in like enterprises under like circumstances) collected and used to make decisions
  • Documentation of decisions when they are made

These are good points for any executive director compensation policy. Charity Goverance Consulting, LLC has posted some articles and feedback about nonprofit director compensation that may helpful too. If anyone would like to offer their own feedback or share a policy, please let us know.

Other nonprofit blogs are a great resource for exploring this ongoing conversation. Here is one example of a post link from Kristen Denzer's Nonprofit SOS blog that discusses what qualifies as too much regarding compensation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Next Program: Media Tips and Tools

The Steering Committee had a recent conference call to discuss the next program set for Wed, November 12th. Program topic ideas had been put forward by Group participants, such as a program focusing on strategic planning and SWOT analysis to a working session to identify nonprofit needs and divide Group participants by these needs to help formulate solutions. But the conversation came back to the success of the previous media panel discussion, and the need for a follow up session.

The media panel offered participants a big picture conversation from regional media businesses. The information was great, but the Steering Committee found themselves asking how do we take the next steps? How do we respond to the media panel's suggestions? What are the tips and tools to working with the media and getting your message out? Maybe you have your own questions, which we would love to hear. The Committee is planning the Nov 12th program to focus on the how to of working with the media, the tips and tools, and participant sharing of examples of success. More details will follow soon. Register now!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bringing the Power of Nonprofits to the People through Big Media

A recent article relates a how the Houston Chronicle, utilizing technology from good2gether, has launched the Do Good Channel on Chron.com. good2gether is a CCSNYS partner, and Founder/CEO Greg McHale was the recent keynote speaker at our Money for Mission conference. For those of you wondering where you access the Do Good Channel from the newspaper's homepage, click on the Hurricane Ike Victims Need Your Help button on the right rail. As you can imageine, the development of this resource is a huge success for nonprofits. It validates nonprofits as essential resources and sources of information for everyday readers. A win-win for everybody, nonprofits gain tremendous exposure and the Houston Chronicle has more content and resources to provide their readers.

Our recent media panel program has opened a new door between nonprofits and our regional media. Does our future have the possibility of a Do Good Channel in The Daily Star or Press & Sun-Bulletin? Or how about a video channel for nonprofits with News Channel 34? Let's bring this idea to the attention of our media, and show how we can make this a win-win for us all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

In Action: Harnessing the Media

Moms seek to create kids’ museum was the headline in The Daily Star today. This group of moms, known as Oneonta World of Learning or OWL, were recent attendees at the Leatherstocking AEA's media program. This grassroots group has hit the streets running. Interested in more info, take a look at their blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Program Brainstorming

Here is a program meeting idea I received from Ricardo Sierra at Hawk Circle that I'm posting for consideration:

Hey, here is an idea for the program in December: What if we got the group together in a large room, or breakout rooms, and divided the groups into Needs. Some Directors who have some expertise in certain areas, could be part of a panel, to give help, advice, support or encouragement to others. Then, they could be part of a discussion group to help in their particular area of need or support. Maybe we could see if we could start as a large group in the morning, then break out into the smaller groups based on needs, then have lunch and then switch again, choosing other groups, with a final ending and dessert or whatever.

The other thought I would throw out there is some professional development on a personal level for directors, such as 'Are you creating your own roadblocks to success?' type of program. Have you read the whole 'Leadership and Self Deception' series? I took a course from them after reading the books and listening to the tapes, and really got a lot out of their work at the Arbinger Institute, and I got a tremendous amount out of it..... That could be a great way to offer something more personal around the holidays, etc....Anyway, it would be great to keep the ideas flowing, so we will see what feels right, and it will all work out!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's Next? Fresh Ideas & Stronger Relationships

Participants in Wednesday’s Leatherstocking AEA panel reinforced some basics about communications between nonprofits and the media while also providing encouragement and bringing up new questions. Check out the post below in order to view video clips and listen to the program online.
All of the panelists began by emphasizing the importance of establishing relationships with appropriate contacts and being knowledgeable about the process of getting in print/on air. Calvin Stovall of The Press & Sun Bulletin told those in attendance that, although “there is an art to doing this,” persistence will lead to experience and success.

Familiarity with the organization—both your own nonprofit as well as the media outlet you’re targeting—is key. The panelists stressed the importance of doing your homework before contacting a media outlet; know the organization, their objectives, and their target demographic. It’s also important to have someone available to communicate effectively with media contacts on your organization’s behalf.

So what’s next? How has your organization been working to develop relationships with local media? Did the panel spark any new ideas about utilizing the media to increase the visibility of your organization?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Turnout For Media Message

Over 50 participants attended the program meeting Wednesday (the 17th) to listen to a panel discussion featuring our regional newspaper, tv and radio businesses. The media panel questions that were presented helped us look at ways for nonprofits to work better with the media. The panel featured:

Their bios are available here. Our panelists gave input on topics such as: ways to get more media coverage; media resources for nonprofits; perceived influence of paid advertising on coverage; and editorials and opinion pieces. They emphasized the value their media businesses see in our organizations. We help generate news, provide expertise and input about news stories and issues, and provide activities and events for everyday readers, viewers and listeners. Whether it is the individual nonprofit or a collaboration like the Leatherstocking AEA, our media look to us for assistance and support in their jobs. This program provided a connecting point for the media to meet the various nonprofit organizations in our community. Most importantly, this program helped illustrate the strength of our nonprofit community. As you contemplate the information you heard at the program (or linked here), what is a next step? Do we start a pr campaign about our organizations? Do we focus on building collaborations and joint advertising? What are your ideas? Let us know what you think.

Missed the Program and want to revisit the discussion? Check out the mp3 and video clips:
Listen to the recording of the program here:Boomp3.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nonprofits & Crowdsourcing

Check out this MSNBC article to read more about the different ways nonprofits are harnessing social media to spread their message, organize, fundraise, and increase the sense of involvement and participation among their supporters. Crowdsourcing describes the way individuals and organizations are utilizing online social media to invite mass collaboration. As Joe Rospars, Barack Obama’s media expert, points out, “fundraising now flows from engagement — it’s no longer enough to simply believe in the cause. Now it’s critical for people to participate in a cause, and feel like they've had some input, before they decide to help it pay for stuff.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media & Learning Competition

The MacArthur Foundation recently announced the 2008 Digital Media & Learning Competition that will award $2 million to projects focused on participatory learning online. Awards in the Innovation and Participatory Learning category will range from $30,000 to $240,000. This year the foundation added a new category for Young Innovators; these awards are for visionaries between the ages of 18 and 25 and will be range from $5,000 to $30,00.
To read more about the competition, check out the website here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Media Panel Update

As we near the end of August (and summer), our September 17th AEA meeting is fast approaching. We have been busy confirming our panelists for the program, "Nonprofits & The Media: Strengthening Our Partnership." We are very excited to have the following panelists: Calvin Stovall (Executive Editor of The Press & Sun Bulletin), Sam Pollack (Editor of The Daily Star), Brian Sickora (CEO of WSKG), George Wells (General Manager of Central NY Radio Group) and representatives from News Channel 34 in Binghamton and WISF 15 in Oneonta. We are firming up the details for the program, and the Steering Committee recently finalized the panel discussion questions. The questions are:
  1. What are some tips to get more and better coverage?
  2. What are the best ways nonprofits can collaborate with the media to establish a higher local and regional presence?
  3. What role do nonprofits play for the media, and what does your organization want from nonprofits?
  4. Does purchasing paid advertising have an impact on editorial or feature coverage?
  5. Is there an opportunity for input or feedback about editorials or opinion pieces before they are delivered?
  6. What scenarios can you think of where nonprofits and media outlets could both benefit?
Let us know what you think about the panel questions! We are already planning for our last meeting of the year, and the Steering Committee discuss a follow up program that may feature a discussion with experts on ways to work with the media. Join us on September 17th and help your nonprofit community strengthen our relationship with the media.
Register here!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planning Capital Campaigns

As you plan capital campaigns, what do you think of using the AEA as a place to touch base with area organizations to see if there are other large campaigns planned for the same time? We were thinking that a point of connection might decrease the amount of overlap that sometimes occurs. Do you see the need for this kind of communication and planning? Do you think the AEA is a good place for this? We were thinking that this might be a case where the blog calendar might be useful. Let us know what you think!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Community in the 21st Century

Check out this short article on "Weaving a Tighter Web 2.0" by Mike Musgrove from The Washington Post. He uses several examples of sites that are incorporating more "cross-pollinating features" that make it easier for users to access and share content with each other. From online gaming to photo sharing, online communities are becoming stronger every day. The possibility of using online networks to benefit your organization is exciting, but it's easy to become overwhelmed when exposed to the dozens of websites and tools under the Web 2.0 category. Try to explore your options and experiment; don't get too distracted by the unfamiliar language. As Jeffrey Housenbold, the chief executive of Shutterfly says, "Social networking is just this era's new way of saying community."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's the purpose of an editorial?

Responses to the media survey that we sent out were mostly focused on event coverage and advertising-- but what about opinion pieces? Editorials focusing on the nonprofit community have appeared in several local publications this summer and have left us with some questions: What's the goal of an editorial? Should you have the opportunity to give input before the piece is published? Is it appropriate to respond to an opinion piece? How would you go about doing so? What's the best way to continue discussion about a hot topic?

Here are two examples of opinion pieces that discuss nonprofits:
Village of Cooperstown Library
Taxing Utica Nonprofits

Even if your organization hasn't been the focus of an editorial, you probably have some opinions of your own in response the the questions raised. What do you think the purpose of an editorial is? Share your comments by clicking below.

Journalism Today

While planning the upcoming media panel, we have had the opportunity to chat with many different media representatives. It's been interesting to learn more about the perspectives of folks outside of the nonprofit community as we describe the program we are putting together. Although he will not be participating in the panel, Steve Waters, publisher of The Rome Sentinel, shared some of his big-picture ideas on the state of journalism today. He directed us to his essay on "Journalistic Indifference" where he explores the idea that "if journalism does not protect society it undermines its own existence." You can read more on his blog Just add Waters. While discussing responsible journalism, he also pointed us toward the book Less than Words Can Say by Richard Mitchell, the "Underground Grammarian."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blame it on the price of gas...

Has the rising price of gas affected your volunteers? If so, The New York Times is looking for your story! If your organization relies heavily on volunteers and is seeing volunteering impacted in any way due to the rising price of gas, The New York Times wants to hear about it. We don't have many details, but do know that they are looking for organizations with volunteers who are willing to talk about how the price of gas is impacting their ability to continue working with your nonprofit. If this sounds like your organization please contact Valerie Venezia immediately via email at vvenezia@ccsnys.org or call (800) 515-5012 ext. 121 and she will connect you with The NY Times reporter. Thank You!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

8th Grader Elected to Catholic Charities Board

Charlotte McKane, a 13 year old student at Oneonta Middle School, has been elected to the board of directors of Catholic Charities of Delaware & Otsego counties. Serving the community is nothing new to Charlotte. In 2006 she was received national recognition as a Build-A-BearWorkshop Huggable Hero for her work raising money and obtaining donations for local programs. She is the founder of Charlotte's Circle, a foundation that supports the local nonprofit community, and the recent recipient of the Catholic Charities Volunteer of the Year award. Kathy Greenblatt, executive director of the local Catholic Charities said, “Charlotte is aware of the families and individuals living in poverty in our area. She also brings research and fundraising skills to our area.” You can read the rest of the story here.

Charlotte clearly has experience that will serve her well as she sits on the board of directors. Electing younger people to boards is an excellent way to cultivate interest at an early age and encourage life-long involvement with the nonprofit community. Bringing fresh perspectives to the board can be an essential part of developing your board; check out some suggestions for involving youth in your organization and the legal considerations in NY.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Congratulations to Betty Currier!

Betty Currier, founding director of Leatherstocking Education on Alcoholism Foundation (LEAF) is one of six Americans to be named by the Johnson Institute as a 2008 America Honors Recovery Honoree. This national award honors individuals who have overcome their own experiences with addiction in order to contribute to their community and the recovery movement. Betty is a current board member of Friends of Recovery of Delaware & Otsego County and a consultant to the Council on Addictions of New York State. On September 25th she will be honored with five others during a luncheon held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Congratulations, Betty! We're lucky to have such a committed and energetic advocate right here in the Leatherstocking region.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"The State of Nonprofit Marketing"

Michael Wesolowski passed along the report "The State of Nonprofit Marketing" that he found on Nancy Schwartz's blog. A timely tip considering our upcoming panel on nonprofits and the media. The report, released by The American Marketing Association , is based on the results of an online survey that was distributed to marketing professionals at 125,000 nonprofit organizations. One of the findings reported is that, "Building awareness, generating revenue, branding and acquiring and retaining members and customers are top marketing priorities for nonprofit organizations." Not exactly a ground-breaking discovery. However, for small organizations "building awareness" was clearly the highest priority, with revenue generation and customer acquisition far below. The report went on to highlight the essential roles that the media and personal connections play in increasing visibility. It's well recognized that positive media attention is priceless, but casual conversations can go far in promoting an organization. The research director for the study writes, "These core audiences for nonprofits need to see specific evidence of the organization's impact, not just general messages about the organization's work."

Check out the report (and Nancy Schwartz's take on the findings) to read more on measuring results of marketing efforts and future challenges. Thanks again to Mike for sharing this find!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Games for Change

The latest issue of New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP) featured an interesting article on social issue video games. As more nonprofits look toward the Internet to increase the visibility of their issues, interactive learning models in the form of games are becoming more popular. Games for Change is an organization that helps nonprofits and foundations create digital games that promote social change. Their games include Ayiti: The Cost of Life, in which players win by improving life for their Haitian families, and the simple but addicting Free Rice where players can test their vocabulary and send 20 real grains of rice through the UN World Food Program.

Many of the games have been created using thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours (including input from high school students), but as the NYNP article reported, you don't need unlimited resources to harness the benefits of gaming. Coleen Macklin, the director of the Games for Change design and research lab pointed out that, "You can take games out there that are commercially available and begin to look at them through a different lens... Ask different questions about Grand Theft Auto. Give kids the opportunity to talk about the issues these games bring up, because they do bring up issues. Or, think about using existing games in a different way like using SimCity in a way that might emphasize issues around segregation. You don't need a big budget for this... It is just thinking about games and play in a new way."

Check out some of the Games for Change next time you're procrastinating! You can browse by topic: politics, global conflict, environment, poverty, and domestic issues.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The 200 Club: Giving Back to the Community

The Freeman's Journal in Cooperstown has launched "The 200 Club" as partof its bicentenniel celebration. The goal of the initiative is to get 200 people to donate $200 each to the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival by the time the campaign wraps up on Labor Day. Jim Kevlin, Editor and Publisher, said that the newspaper has chosen to commemorate its anniversary in this way because of the community support that has helped the paper survive over the years. Because the community supported them, The Freeman's Journal wants to support the community. The Chamber Music Festival plans to put the money in an endowment so that it can continue to offer low-cost tickets that enable everyone to attend their concerts. Kevlin hopes that the Festival will benefit from both the money, and the increased base of support that the 200 donors will create. He pointed out that if people donate, they have a more vested interest in the program's success. The 200 Club was just announced, but a dozen donors have already stepped forward, with the mayor of Cooperstown leading with the first donation. If this year is successful, next year The Freeman's Journal will create The 201 Club and choose another local organization to benefit.

The NYNED groups have been discussing nonprofit and media relations lately, and this initiative is a great example of the two working together. As we continue to discuss working with the media, let's keep creative ideas like The 200 Club in mind!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Idealware Webinars

CCSNYS' partnership with Idealware brings you valuable information on nonprofit technology topics like choosing the right software and working with tech consultants. As a CCSNYS Member, you can register for any of the webinars for only $34. You can also purchase recordings of any past seminars for only $20 each.
Check out some of the upcoming webinars:
-Getting Your Software Systems to Speak to Each Other: Understanding Data Integration
Getting Started With Online Donations
Choosing a Low-Cost Constituent Database
Getting Started With Online Desktop Sharing and Online Seminar Tools
Choosing Email Newsletter Software
Introduction to Website Analytics

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

September Media Panel Update

Earlier today Deb Marcus, Lori Solensten, and Michael Wesolowski participated in the Steering Committee conference call on the upcoming media panel. The media outlets we're most interested in participating are: The Daily Star, Press & Sun Bulletin, The Evening Sun, CNY Radio Group, WCDO, WSKG, WBNG-TV, Fox40 and News Channel 34. Our next steps include getting the media on board, securing our location, and working on potential questions and topics for the panel. The date of the media panel is September 17, 2008 from 12-2pm. You can register for the event here. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to the planning process, please contact Andrew Marietta.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We Are Media (!)

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has launched a new project, We Are Media: Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits. Beth Kanter, the project's consultant and "evangelist", is collaborating with individuals interested in the nonprofit community's use of social media to put together a valuable online resource. The We Are Media community is working to create the "go-to place for vetted resources about social media strategies and nonprofits for individuals who work for or with nonprofits and need practical advice about getting started or to quickly access best practices, examples, or experience from other practitioners working in nonprofits."

The Social Media Starter Kit will consist of three tracks: Strategical, Tactical, and Resources. Examples of Modules within these tracks are "Why Should Your Nonprofit Embrace Social Media? (Or Not?)" and "Sharing Your Organization's Story in Multi-Media." All of the modules are in the process of being created right now- and you can be a part of it! Check out the project's site or Beth's Blog for more information and for updates on the project.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Media Survey Results

Thanks to everyone that has completed our Nonprofit Public Relations/Media Survey! We have gathered some great feedback that we are using to plan our September AEA program on Nonprofits and Media. One of the main concerns expressed in the survey was a lack of time. Many responses cited the lack of time that nonprofit staff have to focus on their media coverage and the time-crunch that reporters face as well. Hopefully our panel participants (representatives from local media outlets) will be able to engage in discussion with us about how we can all get the most out of the limited time investments that we can make.

Organizations seemed particularly interested in learning how to create situations where both the media and nonprofits could benefit. Many respondents had creative ideas about how to cultivate these win-win relationships, and even more expressed interest in discovering how to do so. One response summed up the sentiment expressed by many, saying that the organization could provide "Great stories, great visuals, great sources and great style. When they find us, they'll love us-- but we're out of their regular radar range... I'm workin' on it!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nonprofit Lifecycles and Assessment

Thank you to all who participated in yesterday’s AEA meeting at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society! The 27 attendees represented 20 local nonprofits. Heidi Holtz, Program Director of The Gifford Foundation presented on how the foundation tries to support nonprofits in capacity building efforts using Susan Kenny Stevens’s “Lifecycles” approach. This “Lifecycle” model encourages assessment that results in an organization determining the stage of development that they are at. Heidi highlighted the value of pinpointing where an organization is at by emphasizing that assessment “establishes a diagnostic starting point”, which is beneficial because it’s difficult to realistically plan for the future if the current situation is not known or understood.

Susan Kenny Stevens offers one helpful model for assessing your nonprofit. Although some nonprofits choose to look to outside consultants to help with assessment and diagnosis, it’s possible to do an assessment in-house if those involved (staff and board members) are committed to the project. The value of self-assessment is that it will, ideally, lead to honest and realistic understandings of the organization both internally and in funding relationships. Traditionally, nonprofits present themselves as favorably as possible while interacting with funders, but Heidi talked about how her funding organization values the effort and honesty shown by thorough review.

Whether you’re hiring an outside consultant, or having your board read up on a lifecycles theory and performing a self assessment, the value of knowing and understanding the state of your organization is clear. With comprehensive visuals and examples, Heidi pointed out that many times excellent programming can mask problems with finances and governance, or that organizations that are adequately funded and well-staffed may not have sufficient board governance. Each part of an organization can be in a different developmental phase; determining where the strengths and weaknesses are allows time and money to be more effectively allocated.

Thanks to Heidi Holtz and The Gifford Foundation for such a timely and useful presentation!

At the meeting Andrew reminded us that AEA’s next meeting will be in September and will focus on nonprofit-media relationships. He also talked about the Events and Training Calendar that will soon be up and running on this site. The calendar will feature your biggest fundraising events as well as any trainings you’d like to open up to your fellow nonprofits. As those in attendance introduced themselves yesterday, many shared exciting events taking place in the near future; the calendar will be a great place to keep each other updated about these types of happenings.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New York Council for Humanities Announcement

New Major Grant Deadlines: September 15, 2008 and March 15, 2009

The New York Council for the Humanities Major Grant deadlines have changed. For the next cycle of Major Grants, of up to $20,000, applications are due by September 15, 2008.

Starting in 2009, the Major Grant Deadlines will be permanently changed to March 15 (notification mid June) and September 15 (notification mid January) to better accommodate projects year-round.

Non-profit organizations are also welcome to apply for the Council’s Mini Grants, of up to $2,500, which continue to be accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
Council grants provide financial support for public programs presented by not-for-profit organizations across New York State that bring humanities scholars and scholarship to a general public audience.
Potential applicants may learn more about both of our grants programs, review grant guidelines, eligibility, and download grant applications by visiting nyhumanities.org/grants. For other inquiries, Council program officers are available for consultation via email or by phone at 212.233.1131.
The Council also a number of other programs including Reading Between the Lines, Speakers in the Humanities, Speakers in the Schools and Together Book Talk for Kids and Parents. For further information about these programs and our organization, please contact us at 212.233.1131 or visit our website at www.nyhumanities.org.

Lauren Kushnick
Program Associate
New York Council for the Humanities
150 Broadway, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10038

Sunday, May 11, 2008

LAEA June Program Focuses on Nonprofit Lifecycles

Leatherstocking AEA June Program: Lifecycles Model
Presented by Heidi Holtz, The Gifford Foundation, Program Director for Community Grantmaking
The Gifford Foundation's Heidi Holtz will offer the Leatherstocking AEA an informative presentation on the Foundation's new capacity-building initiative, based on Susan Kenny Stevens' Nonprofit Lifecycles. Heidi will discuss the Stevens' model and book, including the seven nonprofit lifecycle stages and the predictable tasks, challenges, and inevitable growing pains that nonprofits encounter and can hope to master on the road to organizational sustainability. The discussion will also address how this model is used to assess nonprofits. The Gifford Foundation and its programs are focused on the Syracuse region.

Register Here!

Program Discussion for 2008

On a recent conference call, the Steering Committee discussed board assessment and succession planning. The conversation focused on the challenges of board governance, including turnover and the limited pool of qualified candidates. They also discussed how board assessment and evaluation play an important role in board operations. The conversation focused on defining appropriate board roles and expectations, and the difference between higher level issues and tools and templates.

The Committee of Executive Directors distinguished between boards that have national and local board members. The topic transitioned into a conversation about nonprofits facing different stages in their lifecycles. Expanding on this topic, an idea was put forward to invite a program officer from The Gifford Foundation to discuss their new focus on Nonprofit Lifecycles.

Another program idea discussed was to focus on nonprofit media relations, including news and public relations and paid marketing. This topic would be split between the last two program meetings for the year. The September program would focus on news and public relations, and involve inviting newspapers (daily and weekly), radio, and television editors and directors. The meeting format would be a panel discussion, and include local and broader regional representatives. Proposed meeting locations include SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Delhi, or SUNY Morrisville.

Friday, May 2, 2008

SUNY Oneonta and CCSNYS Social Media Partnership

Are you interested in developing your online skills and helping local nonprofits? SUNY Oneonta's Center for Social Responsibility and Community and CCSNYS (the NYS nonprofit association) are partnering to help connect the college community to nonprofits through the use of online social networking. We are looking for students who are interested in developing and implementing new ways of connecting with and helping nonprofits. Please share your interest and feedback by completing the following survey here. Thank you.

If you have any questions, contact amarietta@ccsnys.org.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

AEA Program Ideas

The Steering Committee is working to set up a conference call to discuss possible program ideas for the next AEA meeting on June 4th. A couple ideas have been mentioned for the Group by different directors. One idea is to replicate the recent efforts of the Oneida and Herkimer ED Group and their staff assessment survey. This survey is going to be used for a program discussion on staff retention in their region. You can read more about it here. Another idea is to focus on the topic of board assessment. As one director remarked recently, a board assessment is a tricky undertaking, but is an integral part of your nonprofit operations. A board assessment helps the board look at themselves collectively and chart their next steps (for example, in identifying areas of need on the board, better defining job descriptions, or addressing committee structures). This process helps answer the question for the board of what do we need right now. Do you have other program ideas? Please feel free to share them by posting your comments here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Web 2.0 is Everywhere

I just returned from the American Association of Museums (AAM) Annual Conference in Denver. CCSNYS was presenting on our Museum Board Empowerment Program, which is a three year-old governance program supported by the New York State Council on the Arts. Governance is a growing topic at AAM, but it will come as no surprise that web 2.0 was the really hot topic. Museums are using web 2.0 to increase their outreach, start new conversations, and engage their audience in new ways. AAM even added a blog for their Annual Meeting this year. Check it out here. From video to Facebook applications, museums are using social networking to facilitate new approaches to their collections and exhibitions. Museums, like any nonprofit, are trying to do more with limited resources. They are having tremendous success with web 2.0. Visit this blog, http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/, to read more about web 2.0 in museums.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Social media works wonders for nonprofits

Read a recent article about nonprofits and their use of social media. The article explores recent studies and trends about the importance of social media for nonprofit and their fundraising strategies. Read more here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You. Online.

Just wanted to thank everyone that came out to the National Soccer Hall of Fame today for the Web 2.0 Workshop. Just remember, all of this stuff is not for everyone (organization). First, think of the Mission, then Prioritize, then Plan. We talked about slide.com a little today. Think about what energy and enthusiasm some well timed, fun, engaging, emotional, (insert power word here) photos would have on your next event, program, fundraiser, annual meeting, etc.

P.S. Here is that information regarding blog policies from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center that we discussed earlier today.