Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Get the Word Out About Your Social Media Efforts

A question people always ask is how do you build your social network? As nonprofits move into the social media world, publicizing their blog, Facebook page, or YouTube videos are the challenges they confront.

A recent e-mail from Catherine Tweedie at the Arc of Delaware County illustrated for me one of the easiest ways to get out the word. At the bottom of her e-mail, she had her contact info listed, but also Delarc's YouTube link and Flickr link (see below). By following this example, each staff person for Delarc can contribute to drawing more attention and increasing connections for the organization with each e-mail they send out.

Catherine Tweedie, Director of Community Relations
The Arc of Delaware County http://www.delarc.org
See Delarc's Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArcDelaware
See Delarc's Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delarc
34570 State Hwy 10, Walton, NY 13856
Ph: (607) 865-7126 Fax: (607) 865-7129

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pro Bono Work Pegged At $120/hour

The NonProfit Times Reported - March 30, 2009
A new study estimates that the standard pro bono services provided by corporations to nonprofits is valued at an average of $120 per hour.

Taproot Foundation’s Pro Bono Action Tank (PBAT) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) released the standard.

The valuation model was developed through research, donated by Wellesley Hills Group, LLC, that analyzed billing rates across a variety of professional services firms. The $120 per hour figure was determined using the model and input from a corporate advisory committee created to oversee the research.

The $120 is based on a rounded average billing rate for mid-level employees across disciplines. The rounded average for entry level is estimated at $85 per hour while executive level is $180. The averages vary across disciplines, from a low of $80 for entry-level marketing, advertising or public relations to a high of $320 for executive-level legal or medical services. Three other skill areas are included in the study: accounting and financial services; architecture, engineer, construction; and, human resources, IT services and strategic consulting.

Companies that are not professional services firms often do not have Fair Market Value (FMV) rates defined, creating a need for a dollar valuation standard. The standards will allow corporations to more accurately track and report the value of pro bono services as cash equivalents, according to Charles Moore, executive director of the CECP.

“Establishing a standard for the valuation of services is a critical first step to create transparency in the marketplace and to recognize companies for their contributions,” said Jamie Hartman, executive director of the PBAT. “There is an opportunity to make billions of dollars worth of pro bono services available to greatly increase the impact of corporate philanthropy in our society,”
Standards like these also will make it easier for all businesses to engage in pro bono services, according to Emily Talley, senior director, community affairs, Capital One Financial Corporation, and member of the Pro Bono Action Tank Leadership Group.

The new standard was included in the 2009 CECP Annual Corporate Giving Standard Survey, which can be viewed on the CECP Web site, www.corporatephilanthropy.org.
The pro bono valuation standards can be found on the Pro Bono Action Tank Web site at: http://www.probonoactiontank.org/resources/

This article is from NPT Weekly, a publication of The NonProfit Times.
Subscribe to The NPT Weekly eNewsletter or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest news and ideas related to fundraising delivered to your inbox

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Non Profits Lack Social Media Strategy

Social Meda Today offered in a recent post by Sally Falkow that although a growing number of non profits are aware of social media and are using it, there is a clear lack of strategy. This finding is based on a new study from Talance, a Boston-area web development firm.

The 2009 Massachusetts Non-Profit Social Media Report polled non-profits in Massachusetts with budgets ranging from under $1m to over $100m annually. Most (69%) operated on budgets under $1m and 28% operated on budgets ranging from $1m to $5m.

Here’s what the survey showed:
  • Non-profits know about social media
  • Most respondents are using social media as a networking tool but are not yet leveraging it as a tool to engage with donors
  • 55% are already using social media
  • 25% are planning to use social media
  • 80% are unfamiliar with microblogging tools such as Twitter
  • Only 7% are currently using a microblogging service
  • Strategy is the missing element. More than 75% did not have a marketing plan

In another study, the Community Philanthropy 2.0 survey, found that there is an opportunity for nonprofits to participate as trusted providers of credible information and ultimately cultivate the next generation of major donors through the social web. Read more here.

IRS Says Number of Charities and Foundations Hit 1.2 Million

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the number of charities and private foundations registered with the Internal Revenue Service has increased by more than 5 percent in each of the past two years, and now has reached a total of almost 1.2 million (as of 2008). This finding is according to figures released by the tax agency, which also found that the number of groups classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code rose from 2007 to 2008 by 58,548, or 5.2 percent — one of the highest percentage increases in recent years. Read more here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day and Shred Your Confidential Documents for Free!

Nonprofits are looking anywhere and everywhere for cost savings. Consider this year's Earth Festival for one simple idea. ConfiData, a division of Empire Recycling, will provide a document shredding truck for disposal of confidential papers. Staples and paper clips need not be removed. The truck will be parked in the school’s circular driveway, and the actual shredding process may be viewed through an onsite camera. The service will be available from 11am to 2pm.

Earth Festival 2009 will be held on Saturday, April 18 at Milford Central School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.eenoc.org or call 607-293-6043 for more information.

Catskill Rural AIDS Services Reorganizing

The Daily Star followed with another story about CRAS, citing the nonprofit is in the process of reorganizing. The group, which provides support services for patients and others affected by HIV/AIDs, had to suspend services recently because of tough economic times and a need to raise money. Read more here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Catskill AIDS services stop

The Daily Star related that Catskill Rural AIDS Services has temporarily suspended operations, according to board members. The perceived closure has prompted efforts locally to fill gaps in transportation, social services and other supportive activities for patients and others affected by HIV/AIDS. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Health Insurers Willing to End Policy of Higher Cost for Sick

The NY Times featured the following article about the health insurance industry and a discussion of a national plan. This is a positive development for nonprofits, who continue to struggle to address rising health insurance costs for their employees. With yearly increases of 10-15%, nonprofits are increasingly cutting health insurance coverage or passing on more of the costs to their employees.

As the article relates, the health insurance industry is now willing to end the practice of charging higher premiums to sick people if Congress adopted a comprehensive plan requiring all Americans to carry insurance. Insurers are still opposed to creating a government-run health insurance plan, and instead, are willing to negotiate on their longstanding policies, such as pricing insurance policies, in part, on the basis of a person’s medical condition or history. This new position, which came as a surprise to lawmakers, could narrow the issues on which insurers are ready to fight the Democrats now controlling Congress and the White House.

Council Services Plus, the insurance subsidiary of the New York Council of Nonprofits, will continue to track these developments. Questions about insurance, contact us anytime.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Study Examines Past Mergers and Predicts Future Increase

The Philanthropy Journal posted the following feature concerning a study of nonprofits considering mergers as an option for staying in business. The Bridgespan Group's study relates that during this present recession about 2 in 10 nonprofits are considering merging. This finding is consistent with their 11-year study of more than 3,300 nonprofits in four states that concludes nonprofits typically merge because of financial troubles or leadership problems. The 11-year study also identifies three factors that predict successful mergers and acquisitions: a larger number of nonprofits with many small players, significant competitive pressure, and obstacles to organic growth. Feel free to share your own feedback about this study.

Girls on the Run Expands

Girls on the Run will move into Delaware and Schoharie counties next year. Paula Huntsman, council director of Girls on the Run of Otsego County, said a $22,000 grant from the Rural Health Education Network of Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie and Madison is helping the program expand. Read The Daily Star article here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Federal News Update For Your Nonprofit

This Nonprofit Policy News is offered by the National Council of Nonprofits and New York Council of Nonprofits.

Senator Baucus Introduces the Nonprofit Capacity Building Act of 2009
On March 17, the National Council's efforts over the last five years to strengthen small and midsize nonprofits cleared another hurdle when Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (MT-D) introduced the Nonprofit Capacity Building Act of 2009 (S 609). The bill would create an innovative $25 million fund for matching grants to intermediary nonprofit training and technical assistance entities. Read more.

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Developments
Serve America Act Moves Rapidly from the House to a Senate Floor Vote Next Week
National service legislation is moving rapidly through Congress on a bipartisan basis. The legislation would more than triple the number of AmeriCorps volunteers and include a Volunteer Generation Fund to help organizations recruit and manage volunteers; a Social Innovation Fund to increase private and public investment in nonprofits to replicate and expand successful programs; expand the National Civilian Conservation Corps; and much more. The Senate is planning to consider the bill early next week. Read more on our website and visit the Service Nation website to learn more.

2009 Omnibus Appropriations Passed and Signed
On March 11, President Obama signed the $410 billion FY 2009 omnibus bill (HR 1105) comprised of nine appropriations bills not passed last fall. Funding went up eight percent over the prior fiscal year, providing more funds for block grant programs but decreasing funding for the Compassion Capital Fund. Read more.

FY 2010 Proposed Federal Budget Generates Controversy over Charitable Deductions
President Obama's proposed FY 2010 budget suggests making a downpayment on health care reform by reducing high income earners' tax deductions - including deductions for charitable contributions. For more information, analysis, and commentary about the controversy visit our website and read our Special Report.

IRA Rollover Legislation Re-Introduced
The Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2009 (HR 1250) would permit tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes on a permanent basis and remove the current dollar limit on donations per year. Read more.

Obama Turns Back Clock on Some Bush Midnight Rules
To learn more about how the Obama Administration is taking action to reverse controversial regulations finalized in the closing days of the Bush Administration, visit the OMB Watch website.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Norwich High School Students Learn About the Power of Giving

The Evening Sun highlighted a pilot program to administer $10,000 in grant funds to area nonprofits that Norwich High School students participated in. Funding for the program was provided by the United Way, Community Fund of South Central new York, the Upstate Institute, NBT Bank and the Weyhauser Family Foundation.

The students received nine request for proposal forms from area non-profit agencies asking for funding for specific projects. Read more here.

NY Times Highlights Charities Political Contributions

The NY Times featured a recent article about political contributions given by nonprofits. Charities are barred by federal law from making contributions to political campaigns. The reporters, Danny Hakim and Jeremy W. Peters, reviewed campaign-finance and federal tax records and found at least 81 tax-exempt charities that gave contributions to legislative candidates since 2005. The donations were by a wide-range of organizations, including museums, churches, hospitals, Little Leagues and soccer clubs. The reporters believe these results highlight the lack of enforcement regarding this law. They also offer that the contributions often went to lawmakers who helped the charities secure state money. Read more here.

Many nonprofits, especially volunteer-driven, have minimal understanding of nonprofit compliance and accountability, so a Little League giving to their local politician probably isn't a surprise. However, this article illustrates that organizations with staff don't clearly understand this issue and need more information. It would even seem politicians are unaware of this federal law. How can nonprofits avoid this pitfall in the future? Share your thoughts on this issue.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Decline in religion is felt locally

The Daily Star featured an article examining the local state of religious participation. The article follows a recently released national survey. Read more here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

CCSNYS now New York Council of Nonprofits

Dear Friend,

As you may know, in December 2008, after much deliberation, The Council of Community Services of New York State, Inc.s' (CCSNYS) board of directors formally proposed to our membership that CCSNYS officially become the "New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc."

Though we realized our name had served us well over the years, and was certainly well known in it's own right, it no longer accurately captured the mission and spirit of our organization.We felt that the new name would reflect a true representation of what we do in our community and where we see the exciting future of our organization, as a more unified voice for the New York State nonprofit community!

We're glad to say that you agreed.
At a special membership meeting on January 26th, 2009 in Albany, NY our members overwhelmingly voted to change our organization's name to the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON).
We hope you are as excited about this new name as we are. The name ushers in an era of increased visibility for and recognized value of the nonprofit community. New York's nonprofits are engaging in critical conversations at the state and national level. We are making our voices heard regarding the important role nonprofits play in improving communities, enhancing the quality of life and stimulating the economy.
During this important time, NYCON will strive to be the "soap box" and the "tool box" for New York's nonprofits.

As for changes to our "look," we're happy to unveil the new logo above. You will see other changes to our website and our printed information introduced gradually. As for our website and email addresses, they will eventually change, but you will still be able to use www.ccsnys.org and contact our staff at their CCSNYS email addresses.

As for the staff and board members of NYCON, we thank you for taking part in helping us move forward. We are excited about serving you as the New York Council of Nonprofits for many years to come. As always, if you have questions about the name change or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

Doug Sauer, CEO
New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Podcast: How Is National Public Radio Using Online Networking Tools?

March 06, 2009 - Philanthropy Today - Daily Update from The Chronicle of Philanthropy

How is National Public Radio using online social-networking tools to spread its message and connect with its audience?
In the latest installment of Social Good, The Chronicle’s free monthly podcast about online networks, our host Allison Fine talks with Andy Carvin, the network’s social-media chief, about its strategy and about how smaller nonprofit groups can incorporate online tools into their outreach efforts.

Federal Recovery Act – Allocation for the National Endowment for the Arts

The following is a message from the New York State Council on the Arts:

As you may know, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. The Recovery Act includes a $50 million allocation for the National Endowment for the Arts, 40% of which will be awarded to state arts agencies for projects that focus on the preservation of jobs in the arts. The NEA has announced that funded projects must address two areas: salary support and contractual fees.

It is projected that NYSCA will receive approximately $400,000. NYSCA is working diligently to develop a fair and transparent process for the distribution of any funds received as a result of the Recovery Act. NYSCA’s proposal for further redistribution of federal stimulus funds must first be approved by the NEA and NYSCA will be sharing additional information about this process as it becomes available.

If you would like to know more about the Recovery Act and how it impacts the arts, the NEA has set up a useful portal on their website which provides links to the Recovery Act text as well as information about applying directly to the NEA for grants. Click here or visit http://www.nea.gov/recovery to learn more.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fox, Bassett Hospitals look at collaboration

The Daily Star reported that Bassett Healthcare and A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital are looking at the nuts and bolts of possible corporate ties.

The two medical institutions announced Tuesday that talks of sharing services that started last year are being expanded into a "due diligence process'' to review operations and identify possible affiliation, according to a media release. According to the article, the affiliation is sought because of economic pressures, changes in the health care industry, a national shortage of physicians and difficulty recruiting doctors. Read more here.

Collaborations are a growing trend as nonprofits look for ways to continue services and replace decreasing funding streams. The New York Council of Nonprofits (formerly CCSNYS) has a number of programs available for nonprofits looking at this option. Contact us for more info.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How much time to commit to social networking

Received the following message from friend today:
Hi Michael,
“You know the thing that I am most confused about is how you find the time to engage in the development and maintenance of the pages? Do you do this as part of your work time or do you do it as part of your free time? Please let me know so that I can share the information with my Board of Directors and gain their support.”

While social network is free, the time it takes to keep content fresh is definitely not. I spend 10 hours each week maintaining Facebook relationships as part of my job; I might add that I have a very supportive executive director and board who have agreed with my strategies, so far.

In the year I have been communicating on Facebook I would say that that a small group of [directed] volunteers could get the same effect or better; but the key would be in matching volunteers to the task, establishing communication guidelines, and regularly monitoring activity.

I am working on this matter now to handle our growing FB presence. The following idea is fluid and evolving; but my objectives are to build volunteer buy-in in order to take on more FB communication, and my targets are volunteers from throughout the US, and my time horizon is four to six weeks.

The effort started as a work around to help me post information on more than 70 FB medical group walls. You see FB tracks if you type or cut and paste, and how fast you can do either. Move too fast and you will receive a warning to cease spamming or risk termination of your profile. The first time I received the warning I was terrified, which wore offer after the third warning. But I sent a mass messaged to the Cause and Group using friendly language and got two responses. Then I went to the Cause Hall of Fame to identify the most supportive people and asked them individually to help. Now there are two-dozen people across the US cutting pasting messages I send to them, to group walls that I have assigned to them; and no more termination warnings from FB.

In a few weeks I plan to ask these people to join a private message board or list serve to talk about what they are doing with each other, and to see what ideas emerge. I am hoping those outcomes will grow into localized chapter groups or similar, communicating with each other to benefit themselves and MHAUS.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogs in, badges out as Girl Scouts modernize

MSNBC.com featured an article by Washington Post reporter Megan Greenwell that discusses how Girl Scouts is trying to rebrand and modernize. As the article relates:

Long associated with images of dorky vests and singalongs around the campfire, the 97-year-old Girl Scouts of the USA is trying to become cool. Or at least cooler. With enrollment dropping sharply, the organization is experimenting with a total makeover of the Girl Scout experience.

What's in: books and blogs written in girls' voices on topics such as environmental awareness and engineering; troops led by college students; videoconferencing with scouts in other countries. Read more here.

Social media and web 2.0 tools are clearly playing an important role in these efforts.