Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nonprofit Conference List

An interesting list of upcoming nonprofit conference opportunities:

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Leaders Conference April 24-25
Nonprofit Technology Conference April 26-28
Nonprofit Congress May 14-16
Alliance for Nonprofit Management July 15-17
Blogher July 24-25
Academy of Management August 7-11
Nonprofit Day August 27th
Risk Management and Finance Summit for Nonprofits September 20-22
Nonprofit HR Conference October 4-6
Independent Sector Nov 4-6
International Leadership Association Nov 11-14
ARNOVA Nov 19-22
Board Source Leadership Forum Nov 20-21
American Humanics Management Institute Jan 2010
Nonprofit Governance Symposium Jan 2010
Nonprofit Bootcamp Date TBD
California Association of Nonprofits Date TBD

Media Roundup

The Minnesota Council on Foundations featured the following roundup of how the media is covering nonprofits and philanthropy.



  • Dramatic IRS Shift for Nonprofits Philadelphia Inquirer: Nonprofits, which don’t pay federal taxes, but still must report their income, are confronted with a new, more complicated public-reporting form, called form 990, that demands a deeper look at how organizations operate. It now delves into questions such as how top officers are compensated and what potential safeguards exist to prevent corruption.
  • Twitter Followers Raise Thousands of Dollars for Charity Chronicle of Philanthropy: Twestival, which took place in more than 175 cities around the world from Banaglore to Baton Rouge, brought together people who use the social networking site, Twitter, to meet in person and raise money for charity.

Developing Entrepreneurial Ventures for the Arts

The New York Council of Nonprofits (formerly the Council of Community Services of New York State, Inc.) will offer Entrepreneurial Ventures for the Arts in 2009. This specialized training, supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, will address the interests and markets of arts organizations in exploring alternative revenue generating activities. With funding cuts, decreasing donations, and growing economic challenges, the need is greater than ever to develop other sources of unrestricted operating revenue for arts organizations. An entrepreneurial venture takes calculated risk based on sound facts and adherence to rules and regulations, and this two-day session can help organizations figure out the feasibility and keys to success in undertaking such ventures.

Unlike traditional social entrepreneurship trainings, this curricula will include but extend beyond business planning and include expert assistance and advice on legal and tax related matters. This training course is a highly interactive immersion into the world of innovation and revenue generation. Participants learn through instructional and peer-learning experiences how to develop and practically apply "real world" elements of entrepreneurial ventures to their organization, including strategies on developing board understanding and support for such ventures. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be invited to submit a business venture plan for development, which will be reviewed and given constructive feedback.

Entrepreneurial Ventures for the Arts will be offered on two dates this year. The first program will be May 7 and 8 at the Support Center for Nonprofit Management in New York City. The second program will be held July 9 and 10 in Albany at the Council of Community Services of New York State. For more information and registration, click NYC or Albany. You can also call 1-800-515-5012 ext 141.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Charities Now Seek Bankruptcy Protection

NY Times examines a number of nonprofits seeking bankruptcy protection as an option. The article relates that usually insolvent nonprofits would shutdown and put a dissolution plan in place with charity regulators in their state. Now, nonprofits are exploring bankruptcy because "nonprofits have been pressured by donors to operate more like businesses." Have any comments or feedback on this article? Share them here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Saving Federal Arts Funds: Selling Culture as an Economic Force

The NY Times featured a look at the stimulus development and the push to recognize the economic impact the arts make. The article discusses how this argument for the arts was carried out and the preservation of $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus package.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Museum Advocacy Update

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS sent out a recent Advocacy Update that related:

Early this morning (Friday), the U.S. Congress unveiled the Conference Report for H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, setting the stage for final passage by the House and Senate, expected to occur in the next few days.

Museums, zoos, and aquariums had initially been barred from competing for any funds in the Senate-passed bill. Zoos and aquariums were barred from funds in both versions. In reconciling the two pieces of legislation, Congress is set to adopt the following language:
"SEC. 1604. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool."

"Museum supporters should be very pleased that we were able to mobilize a massive field-wide effort to prevent a funding ban on museums in this bill," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "However, the fact that Congress - and specifically the U.S. Senate in its February 6 vote - initially saw fit to exclude museums from funding shows that we have a lot of work to do in making the case for museums." He added: "It is also disheartening that zoos and aquariums will be prohibited from competing for most economic stimulus funds made available through this bill. Zoos and aquariums have tremendous public benefit for environmental education and wildlife conservation, and contribute greatly to our nation's economy by spurring tourism."

Museums employ more than a half-million Americans, spend an estimated $14.5 billion annually, and rank among the top three family vacation destinations. Visitors to cultural and heritage destinations stay 53% longer and spend 36% more money than other kinds of tourists.

The bill also includes the following funding:
  • National Endowment for the Arts - $50 million to preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector.
  • Smithsonian Institution - $25 million for repair and revitalization of existing facilities.
  • National Park Service - $146 million for critical repair and rehabilitation projects, $589 million for energy efficient retrofits, the preservation and repair of historical resources within the National Park System, and other critical infrastructure projects, and $15 million for historic preservation projects at historically black colleges and universities.
  • National Science Foundation - $100 million for improving instruction in math, science, and engineering.
  • Community Development Fund - $1 billion to bolster critical community services and infrastructure needs, to be administered by local governments.

You can read the entire 496-page conference report HERE.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kresge Foundation Meets Economic Downturn Head on, Awarding a Record $63.6 Million in Grants in Fourth Quarter 2008

The state of the economy did not deter the trustees of The Kresge Foundation from awarding $63.6 million in grants at its fourth-quarter board meeting in December, making the quarter, together with the $181 million in grants for 2008 as a whole, the most generous in the foundation's 85-year history. Read more here.

Many foundations are working to increase their funding during this difficult time. We thank our local funders for their important support. As one funder remarked recently, "they are making a economic investment" in their communities by funding nonprofits.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Amendment Excluding Museums Passes Senate, 73-24

During Senate consideration of the economic recovery legislation today, an amendment was passed prohibiting funds from going to museums, zoos, and aquariums. The amendment, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (S. Amdt. No.309), states, "None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquariums, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium,community park, museum, theater, art center and highway beautification project."

The amendment was adopted on a 73-24 vote. You can see how your Senators voted HERE.

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the economic stimulus legislation will have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee before the bill is submitted to the President.
"Congress needs to be reminded that museums are a vital part of our economy," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "It's time for us to make our case and I am calling on all museums to send their Members of Congress an Economic Impact Statement showing the ways in which their museum contributes to the economy."

You can do this today by answering a few questions about your museum HERE. Many people do not realize that museums employ more than a quarter-million Americans, spend an estimated $14.5 billion annually,and rank among the top three family vacation destinations.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Using Giant Fortune Cookies For Good

If anyone has heard of Peter Shankman's Help A Reporter Out (HARO), you will know where I got this info from. By the way, if you aren't aware of HARO, check this website out! A great example of harnessing the power of the Internet, and a great model for nonprofits to look at for disseminating information or requests for assistance.

This afternoon's e-mail gives a plug for Good Fortunes giant Fortune Cookies and using them to send your resume. These are one-pound fortune cookies. What about sending a donor or sponsor a pitch for supporting your event or organization inside a fortune cookie? Or a thank you gift with a fun message? Or how about a marketing pitch for your next event or program? Strange ideas? Yes, and I'm sure there are better ones out there. Share one here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Nonprofit News Round Up

The following articles were collected by the Minnesota Council on Foundation.

Foundations, Corporations Have Committed More Than $100 Million to Address Economic Crisis
Philanthropy News Digest: A growing number of grantmakers have made exceptional commitments to address the causes and impact of the current economic downturn.

Many Foundations Have Lost Almost One-Third of Their Assets
The steep decline in the stock market last year triggered an erosion of foundation wealth, according to a new Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of some of the nation’s largest philanthropies.

House Stimulus Legislation Would Bolster Social-Services Spending
Chronicle of Philanthropy: The economic-stimulus package approved by the House of Representatives would provide new money to an array of health and social-services programs, offering some relief to charities that are facing rising demand and shrinking revenues as the economic crisis deepens.

Charity Must Not Become a Casualty of the Recession
Richard Branson in the Daily Telegraph.

Nonprofit Groups Feel the Credit Crunch
Chronicle of Philanthropy: Nonprofit organizations are in for a tough year of tightening credit markets and a deepening recession, according to two new reports from Moody’s Investors Service.

Nonprofits and the Economy, a three-part series from the Wilmington (NC) Star-News:
> Part 1: The downturn’s effect on philanthropic giving
> Part 2: What it means to North Carolina
> Part 3: Strategizing under the current conditions

When Donors Can’t Keep Their Pledges
Wall Street Journal: Although a pledge is a legally enforceable contract in most states, charities typically don’t enforce them. But a donor’s ethics and reputation may still be on the line. If you have been a steady supporter of a charity but have to cut back on your usual gifts this year, get in touch with the charity right away and consider alternative forms of donations.

2009 Nonprofit Economic Climate: Info and Tools

In December 2008, Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) joined together to present a workshop that offered nonprofit leaders concrete tools to lead their organizations in response to the current ecnomic challenges. With the support of The Clark, Robin Hood, and Tiger foundations, the tools and presentation from this program are available online here. The link offers a 90 minute webinar and powerpoint and various tools.

Topics include:
  • How the current market environment will affect nonprofits
  • Practical scenario planning and modeling: how to develop smart, strategic responses
  • Recognizing the hidden opportunities to strengthen your standing
  • Revenue and expense considerations
  • Cash flow management and managing credit
  • Role of the Executive Director and Board in leading the organization through a downturn

The link provides assessment tools and checklists to keep you grounded during crisis periods. Also included is a list of critical issues to address with suggested prioritization.

The Ethical Executive

Standford University Press has published a timely book, The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps that Every One of Us Falls Prey To by Robert Hoyk and Paul Hersey. An important topic to examine in light of the abuses that have arisen in the last couple of years, the book describes 45 "unethical traps" into which anyone can fall. The authors explore these traps, many that are psychological in nature, and how they can distort your perception of right and wrong. The authors take account of these realities, and offer a "real-world" method that will predict, preclude and, offer a way out of these traps.