Thursday, June 27, 2013

Announcement: Upcoming NYCON Events & Trainings

Compliance Check: Revising Your By-Laws 
[Free Lunch & Learn Webinar for NYCON Members
July 11th, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EDT)
Presented by Dave Watson, VP of Legal Accountability & Compliance Services (LACS), NYCON and Michael West, Esq. Legal Advisor, New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.
Register Now
Legal Workshop
Though many nonprofit staff and board members may think that bylaws are just something you have to do have to start your organization - oftentimes drafted, reviewed, approved and promptly shelved away -what some don't realize is that your organization is governed by that document and, as such, bylaws spell out what you can and can't do by way of good board governance.
Our webinar is designed to help you understand key bylaw clauses, how they affect your organization and how the new developments in New York regarding nonprofits may impact your bylaws.

Large structural changes to the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York will be discussed briefly, and detailed questions will be referred to the August and September during the two 'Revising You By-Laws to Comply with New York's Nonprofit Revitalization Act'.  Any Package Bylaw-Personnel Policy Reviews throughout the remainder of this year will include free updates of language and bylaw clauses when NYCON's team of attorney's develops them to meet these new obligations 

[Benefit Spotlight] The Budget and Cash Flow 
Toolkits for NYCON Members...
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Presented by Michelle Jarvais, CFO of NYCON and Beth Mathews,
Senior Accountant at NYCON
Flu Toolkit for NonprofitsIf you missed our previous "Budget and Cashflow Toolkit Webinars" don't worry because there's another one coming up in July! Just in time for budget and cash flow planning, we've developed a new benefit for our members that will truly be the "best friend" of every fiscal person who uses it!

Designed with the needs and resources of the smaller to medium sized nonprofit in mind, NYCON's CFO and her staff have designed a "foolproof" tool for developing a streamlined, compliant and easy to understand budget. 

The features of the
Budget Toolkit include:
  • Built in instructions on "Getting Started" and "How to Develop Your Budget"
  • Built in formulas and linked spreadsheets
  • Definitions & Glossary on types of budgets, frequently used budgeting terms & more
  • Helpful notes that 'pop up' as you create your budget spreadsheet
  •  Quick and easy allocations (for shared costs like space and supplies, etc.)
  • Templates that your organization can utilize to customize for your own organization's budget and salary and fringe expenditures.
  • And more! 

On our webinar we will also show you an example of the new
"Cash Flow Toolkit" which, just like the
Budget Toolkit, will be a great addition to any nonprofit fiscal office.  
With funding being tight and payments from state contracts and other funders becoming less timely and reliable, it is essential for a nonprofit to attempt to monitor its own cash flow. This toolkit, like our Budget Toolkit, takes the mystery out of forecasting and helps to guide you step-by-step through the process.

See how these tools can help your nonprofit.

Get to know your NYCON Benefits
NYCON Membership Benefits Orientation
New Dates Added in July, August & September
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (EDT)
Presented by Valerie Venezia, VP of Membership and Marketing and Amber Vanderwarker, Membership & Marketing Associate

In our "Get to Know Us" Sessions, NYCON staff will tell you a lot more about our membership benefits - and answer all the questions you have regarding our process, costs and what you get for FREE.

 We will be talking about these benefits...   
  • Nonprofit Training, Education and Professional Assistance NYCON empowers our members with the best practices, policies, and procedures as well as information on ever-changing regulations, funding, accountability and more.   
  • Cost Savings Solutions for Nonprofits NYCON leverages the purchasing power of thousands of nonprofits to bring you economies of scale on everything from Office Supplies to Fundraising Software.   
  • The Nonprofit Voice in New York State NYCON represents our members on the local, state and national level, giving voice to small and medium sized nonprofits everywhere.
Find out how NYCON Membership will benefit you by attending this 1-hour session
 Register Now   

Camp Finance 2013: Rethink, Retool & Reboot! 
Preparing for Better Days Ahead
October 10th & 11th, 2013    New Paltz, N
With Special Keynote Speaker Dan Pallotta

Camp Finance is an unparalleled opportunity for your staff and board members to retreat, learn, network and make lasting connections with peer and nonprofit experts.
Here's just some of  what some of last year's attendees said about Camp Finance:

  • "Knowledgeable speakers and real life experiences."
  • "Gave me take away tools I can use."
  • "It was a great time to step away and reflect on some critical issues for our organization in the context of a great group of professionals. I had some important questions answered and discovered some new questions I needed to be asking."
  • "The speakers were very approachable and helpful as were all NYCON staff. Of course the setting and food served were very WOW."
Camp Finance has always been a source of information, encouragement and support for nonprofits in New York State - especially through our most challenging times.  
It's a chance to engage with leading nonprofit experts, your nonprofit peers, and take back useful knowledge and tools to your nonprofit.
We hope to see you there! 

Check Out Our Recorded Webinars!
Thanks to the support of CS Plus,NYCON's popular Lunch & Learn Webinars are now being recorded and will be available for members for up to six months! 

NYCON Policy New and Updates:
Capitol Building

Other Events & Webinars of Interest to NYCON Members:
June 27, 1:00 pm -2:30 pm Eastern.$40.00
Nonprofits are using social media, but how do they use it for fundraising? Yes, social media can be used for fundraising, and organizations are already doing so. In this new session, developed specifically for the Day of Giving Toolkit, we outline the how social media can integrate with fundraising efforts and be an effort on their own. register >

July 9, 1:00 pm -2:30 pm Eastern.$225.00  
Most nonprofits care a lot about their donors. But do you have the right donor management system to help you keep track of them?
Navigating the choices you have when choosing a donor management system can be daunting. That's why Idealware has created the online course, "The Donor Management Systems Toolkit", to help you navigate the choices.

July 9, 1:00 pm -2:30 pm Eastern.$40.00
Idealware will cover the principles of good storytelling, look at examples and research about what's working for nonprofits, and then discuss the tools that can help you put them online.

Monday, June 24, 2013

National Council of Nonprofits: Advocacy Matters

Nonprofit Advocacy Matters banner

Getting Serious About Tax Reform
Comprehensive tax reform remains on track despite the political scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service and the looming debt limit debate, according to the chairmen of the two tax-writing committees in Congress. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, stated that he thinks the IRS “revelations are frankly helping to spur and help people realize the need for reform.” He has also suggested tax reform could be linked to raising the debt ceiling as a potential compromise to prevent a government shutdown. Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has indicated that Republicans hope to include a tax overhaul and possible changes to entitlement programs in a deal to raise the debt limit, which is likely to be negotiated in September or October. To keep momentum moving  forward on comprehensive reform, Baucus and Camp plan to make joint appearances across the country to promote a tax overhaul, as they also host several bipartisan, bicameral lunches for rank-and-file members.

As part of the tax reform investigation, the Senate Finance Committee recently released a staff report on tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving that reviews current law and the many alternative proposals on the table. The report, the ninth in a series by Committee staff, presents reform options in four broad areas: the charitable deduction, the taxation of business activities of nonprofits, the political activities and lobbying of tax-exempt organizations, and a final catch-all category of broad tax-exempt issues. Notably, the paper sets aside the fundamental question of “whether any revenues raised by tax reform should be used to lower tax rates, reduce deficits, or some combination of the two.”

Sequestration Spotlight
Impact on Older and Younger Americans
Sequestration – the arbitrary, across-the-board spending cuts enacted by Congress when it couldn’t reach agreement on a rational deficit reduction plan – is imposing measurable harm to programs serving older and younger Americans. Seventy percent of Meals on Wheels providers report being forced to reduce the number of meals served to elderly people as a result of sequestration, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA). Individual programs are cutting an average of 364 meals each week and waiting lists for meals have increased by an average of 58 seniors, according to the survey. Likewise, children across the country are losing access to early education. Sequestration cuts are pushing 70,000 children out of Head Start classrooms, 20 percent more than federal authorities originally anticipated. InMassachusetts alone, 1,359 fewer children will benefit from Head Start services compared to last year. The National Council of Nonprofits is collecting stories from nonprofits affected by sequestration and other cuts at to help nonprofit leaders relay to policymakers the human consequences of sequestration – consequences that could be felt for decades. 

North Carolina Tax Debate Splits on Treatment of Nonprofits
Nonprofit tax exemptions and charitable deductions are very much at the center of the debate over tax reform in North Carolina, with the House and Senate split over whether and by how much to undermine the ability of charitable nonprofits to succeed in serving local communities. The House-passed tax reform plan would cap all itemized deductions but expressly preserves the charitable giving incentive. The bill maintains current sales tax exemptions for all charitable nonprofits, including arts groups, but repeals the current tax credit for individuals who do not itemize deductions. The House bill is now in conference committee with a more severe Senate tax package that would cap the charitable giving incentive and limit sales tax exemptions for many nonprofits, while reducing individual income tax rates and phasing out corporate income taxes. The Senate bill would also eliminate the tax credit for non-itemizers, cap sales tax refunds beginning July 1, 2017 for nonprofits paying $100,000 or more in sales taxes, and require nonprofit arts groups to charge sales tax on admission fees, among other things. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits has developed a comparative chart and other excellent resources for understanding the issues and taking action to oppose these harmful measures.

Government-Nonprofit Contracting News
  • Texas Governor Perry signed legislation creating the Texas Nonprofit Council, which will work with the Interagency Coordinating Group of state government agencies to strengthen collaboration between government and the nonprofit sector. The Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations was a strong advocate for the legislation and will remain active in promoting efficiency and cost savings that benefit taxpayers, as well as nonprofits and the people they serve.
  • The Iowa Nonprofit Collaborative has commissioned a study of government-nonprofit contracting practices in the state. The survey goes into detail looking at the effectiveness of RFP processes, performance measurement, payment for services, and other relevant issues.

States Diverge on New Corporate Forms
State legislatures in recent years have considered various proposals to change the rules governing for-profit enterprises to enable greater socially-focused activities. Last week, Nevada joined the list of states that recognize benefit corporations, a new for-profit corporate form that clarifies fiduciary responsibilities of board members to recognize that both social benefit and profits are appropriate concerns. In North Carolina, lawmakers reversed course on low-profit limited liability corporations (L3Cs), repealing legislation passed in 2010 allowing their formation; the legislation awaits the Governor’s signature. L3Cs are another recent form of for-profit entities with social interests that are allowed to seek funding from private foundations. Existing North Carolina L3Cs would be grandfathered in the legislation.

New Disclosure Requirements for New York Social Welfare Groups
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman approved newtransparency standards and regulations for the electioneering activity of 501(c)(4) social welfare groups. Under the rules that took effect on June 5, social welfare nonprofits are required to report their political spending and itemize their activities if the total exceeds $10,000 per year. Social welfare organizations active in elections with expenses of more than $10,000 are also required to list large donors who gave more than $1,000, ending the anonymous flow of money into political campaigns via these groups. Attorney General Schneiderman hopes New York will serve as a model for similar regulatory reforms elsewhere. Charitable nonprofits organized under Section 501(c)(3) are prohibited from engaging in election-related activities and are not affected by the new regulations.

Earning Respect, Even in Opposition
An intense, grassroots campaign led by the Maine Association of Nonprofits inspired legislators to reject an amendment that would have imposed a two-year, two percent tax on nonprofits with $500,000 in assets and annual gross receipts of $200,000. However, the goal of the proposal to levy taxes on certain nonprofits remains intact and has been inserted in the state’sbiennial budget as a study. The measure would create a task force to review the feasibility of imposing taxes, fees, or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) on certain nonprofit organizations, with the goal of generating approximately $100 million in revenue annually. A representative of the Maine Association of Nonprofits would be one of four stakeholders serving on the task force, demonstrating that standing up for mission and fellow nonprofits engenders respect from policymakers, regardless of their policy goals. 

Federal Issues
  • Tax Reform
  • Sequestration
State Issues
  • Tax Reform: NC
  • Government-Nonprofit Contracting: IA, TX
  • New Corporate Forms: NV, NC
  • Electioneering Disclosure: NY
  • Nonprofit Independence: ME
  • Solicitation Regulations: NV, OR
  • Fees: MD
Advocacy in Action

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Worth Reading

Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving, Senate Finance Committee Staff discussion paper, June 13, 2013.

Federal Contracts and Grants for Nonprofits, Sarah L. Pettijohn, Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, May 2013, an issue brief explaining the variety of funding mechanisms used by the federal government to pay nonprofits to deliver services for the government.

Legislative Review 2013, Pew Charitable Trusts State and Consumer Initiatives, June 14, 2013, a five-part series byStateline on legislative developments so far this year in the states, focusing on politics, health care, taxes and budgets, social issues, and economic development.

Nonprofits Seek Government Document Standardization,” theNonProfit Times, June 10, 2013, summarizing the findings of the National Council of Nonprofits report, Partnering for Impact: Government-Nonprofit Contracting Task Forces Produce Results for Taxpayers.

Worth Quoting
“New York is home to many of the most effective, innovative and influential charities in the world. The state's nonprofit sector generates close to $200 billion in economic activity each year. In this difficult economy, nonprofits create jobs; they employ more than one in six New York workers, from scientists to social workers.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Crain’s New York Business, June 16, 2013, making the case for regulatory reform legislation.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Call to Action: Oppose Paid Board Members

Dear Nonprofit Members & Devoted Board Members,
We're calling on our members to 

ISSUE: The Attorney General's Nonprofit Reform Bills (S-5198A/A-7337) are being finalized over today and over the weekend for introduction and likely passage next week.  They are to go into effect on July 1, 2014.

  • The AG continues to support the harmful practice of having paid, voting board members on nonprofit boards. Paid board members are the single greatest source of conflicts of interests for charities and one that seriously threatens the integrity of and public confidence in our sector.    
  • Excellent board leadership includes board members"giving and getting" resources for mission, not"making and taking" them for private gain.
  • The AG's endorsement of paying board members means that these types of conflicts of interests will continue to occur and plague us.  
  • The inevitable result will be the emergence of more harmful public scandals that tarnish the good work of the over 99% of charities that believe in and practice volunteer board leadership. NYCON believes that the opportunity is right now to stop it at its source!

We urge staff, board leaders, donors, volunteers and all who care about protecting the ethical integrity of our state's charities to call today and Monday at the latest,  the offices of
Michael H. Ranzenhofer and  
James Brennan  the Bill Sponsors, to voice your support for amending the proposed Bill to prohibit compensated board members. Tell them that true reform means taking solving the problem not adding new, complex regulations trying to manage it.

*A revised bill will be submitted early next week, so please, call and make your case.

Both offices are well aware of NYCON's position, so even calling and stating your support for NYCON's case against this bill is a step in the right direction!

Michael Ranzenhofer
Albany Office Phone:(518) 455-3161
Regional Office: (716) 631-8695 
                         (585) 454-0322

James Brennan
Albany Office: (518) 455-5377
Regional Office: (718)-940-0641
                         (718) 788-7221

There are other options out there, if we're going to do this, then let's do it right! NYCON fully supports  Senator Marcellino and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin who have both introduced Bills that would end compensated board members! Check out this bill here.  

Doug's Signature

           Doug Sauer, CEO
           New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON)

Learn More on NYCON's Position  

Changing the Nonprofit Corp Law in NY: Let's Try to Get it Right the First Time... 

 the Legislation


Contact Us !
Its up to the nonprofits of New York to educate policy makers, and this is your chance to do so today!
Tell these offices you support NYCON's case against compensated board members!

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