Common Ground A Publication of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits
an example That’s Working
Volume XVIII, Number 4 our executive director/CEO has The succession management
just announced to the board committee created a plan for
What’s Inside Page that she intends to retire in a few years. the executive director (ED) search,
Besides planning her retirement party, updated the job description, prepared
403(b) or 401(k) for you? 2 what happens next? One nonprofit in a budget, advertised the position, and
Rowan County provides a good case selected and provided direction to a
Announcing an affordable 3
study of an effective, well-planned third committee described below. The
executive transition. committee used a project management
Save on background checks 3 Established in 1986, Rowan Helping framework that outlined specific tasks,
Ministries (RHM) meets the basic who would be responsible for what,
A juicy lobbying tale 4 human needs of those in crisis through and a timeline. Board members felt
cooperative community action. Dianne they needed this kind of structure, and
What makes volunteers tick? 5 Scott has been executive director for they’re happy with how smoothly it’s
Hosted or installed software? 6 almost 20 years. worked.
A year and a half ago, Dianne told One of the board’s innovative
Nonprofit jobs pay off by 7 her board of her plan to retire in June strategies was to engage key donors
forgiving student loans 2010. She said, “I needed to be able to in the process. David Lee, a member
think about this transition with my of the succession management and
Help low-wage workers 8 head, especially since there is a lot of search committees, explained, “The
emotion wrapped up in my leaving.” whole community needs to see this as
Nonprofit Awareness Month 9
At first the board didn’t grasp the a positive transition.” Each committee
full impact of this. But one board member met one-on-one with a
Retreat to a nonprofit haven 10 member, David Lee, saw the need to handful of donors to let them know
start planning. He helped his board about the transition and answer any
Invest in the common good 11 peers create a detailed plan to guide questions they had. Donors reacted
them through the stages of transition. very positively.
Legislative & Legal 12 The board created three committees: executive transitions continueD on P. 13
Why the Census matters
Use your Member benefits
1 The succession
tee identified the key skills,
talents, and experience
Good Stuff Free 16 needed in their next
executive director. Former
FINALLY! Salaries and 16
board members, the
benefits in N.C. nonprofits
current chair, and Dianne
made up the committee.
They thought about where
Of Special Interest the organization was
to Board Members heading in the future –
size, external environment,
Retirement plans for 2, 3
your staff and needs of the
community. Dianne agreed
Do well by doing good 11 that the next person might
Boards must use salary 16 need a different set of skills
data now to lead the organization for Dianne scott, executive director of rowan Helping Ministries,
the next 20 years. and Dave Lee, board member.
Linking North Carolina’s Nonprofit Sector
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
403(b) vs. 401(k):
What’s the Difference?
c ommon Ground is published quarterly
by the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. Our
mission is to enrich North Carolina’s communities
R emember, by December 31,
2009, you must have a written
plan document for your 403(b) retire-
contributions will be refunded to them
if the ratio is not in sync. A Safe Harbor
401(k) can negate top-heavy testing
and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and
ment plan that outlines eligibility, concerns, but be sure you consult with
nonprofit voice. We serve as a statewide network for
your service provider about all possible
nonprofit board and staff members, an information contribution limits, fees, benefits, dis-
center on effective practices, and an advocate for the impacts on your plan if you consider
nonprofit sector as a whole.
tributions, administration, providers, converting to this type of plan.
Please send comments or items to: and other features. Make sure your Employees used to maximizing their
n.c. center for nonprofits, 1110 Navaho Drive, plans are in compliance with the 403(b) plan contributions may not like
Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27609-7322, 919-790-1555, new IRS regulations. See “403(b) 401(k) restrictions.
Fax 919-790-5307, email@example.com, www.
ncnonprofits.org. Retirement Plans: Changes for 2009” 401(k) administration fees may be
Copyright 2009, North Carolina Center for in your spring Common Ground (www. higher because of ACP/ADP testing.
Nonprofit Organizations, Inc. All rights reserved. ncnonprofits.org/ If your 403(b)
Approval is required for reprints.
faq/cgxviii2pg7. sponsor encourages
“If you convert
The Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
and a member of the National Council of Nonprofits pdf). you to convert to a
and Independent Sector. Contributions are tax- The “old”
deductible as allowed by law. 403(b) plans to a 401(k), you 401(k), it may be be-
cause they no longer
editor and Graphic Designer: Sarah Weissberg.
assistant Graphic Designer: Caroline McDowell.
used by many
nonprofits may not be able to offer a 403(b). You
may want to switch
contributors: Beth Bordeaux, Charletta Briscoe, Tracy
Careyette, David Heinen, David Hemmerly, Jane
maximize your own providers, not
Kendall, Trisha Lester, Sarah Mann, Jan Masaoka, Sally
Migliore, Joseph Scarano, Kimberlee Sipe, Renee Vaca where each plan contributions. plans. See page 3 of
this Common Ground
an individual, See page 3 for a to learn about a new
403(b) plan offered by
Board of Directors
Chair: Tog Newman, N.C. Arts Council and
new, affordable the Center.
Southern Arts Federation
Vice Chair: Jane Preyer, Environmental Defense account. There alternative.” If you need to
make changes to
Fund, N.C. Office were multiple
Treasurer: Walker Sanders, Community Foundation your plan, do so
of Greater Greensboro immediately. It could
Providers did not administer the plans
Secretary: Jane Kendall, N.C. Center for Nonprofits take months to come into compliance,
Juan Austin, Wachovia Corporation in a consistent way, the level of service
and currently, no extension has been
Allan Burrows, Capital Development Services varied, there was no due-diligence
Melissa Le Roy, Foothills Equestrian Nature announced for the December 31, 2009
process for investments, and
Center, Inc. deadline.
Doris Stith, Community Enrichment Organization
employees sometimes had no
Failure to comply with the new
Stick Williams, Duke Energy Foundation investment guidance.
Kelly Williamson, APCO Worldwide The new regulations change how regulations means the entire plan
403(b) plans operate and are becomes “disqualified.” All assets
staff administered, and employers need to could lose their tax-favored status if
Charletta Briscoe, Office Assistant
be more involved in the day-to-day the employer does not maintain a writ-
Tracy Careyette, Financial Management Associate ten plan or fails to comply with the
Beverly Guyton, Executive Assistant aspects of the plan. Essentially, the
David Heinen, Director of Public Policy and new 403(b) now resembles the 401(k). universal availability requirements.
Advocacy So what is the difference between Although the new regulations can
Ordelia High, Receptionist and Office Assistant
a 403(b) and a 401(k)? The most seem overwhelming, they are intended
Joye Hodges, Conference and Events Coordinator
important difference is that 401(k)s are to improve the plan for everyone.
Paula Jones, Technology and Administrative Director
Jane Kendall, President subject to “top-heavy testing,” or ACP/ – Kimberlee Sipe
Trisha Lester, Vice President ADP testing. This means: Kimberlee Sipe (ksipe@capitalbank-nc.
Sarah Mann, Development Associate
Caroline McDowell, Administrative Assistant 401(k)s have a monetary ratio that
com) is financial consultant for Capital
Sally Migliore, Senior Associate stipulates proportionate contributions Investment Group located at Capital Bank
Renee Vaca Razo, Chief Financial Officer between higher-paid and lower-paid and specializes in group retirement plans.
Sarah Weissberg, Membership Director employees. Nonprofit employees whose She serves on the external relations
Geia Williams, Member Services Associate salaries greatly exceed those of other
Angela Wilson, Database Clerk committee for Prevent Child Abuse North
staff run into problems maximizing
their plan contributions. Their extra
Page 2 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
an affordable retirement Plan
and Great employee Benefit!
Y ou asked…we listened. The
Center is pleased to announce
that we have negotiated excellent
ensure that nonprofit careers are sus-
tainable for all the dedicated workers
who also need savings for retirement.
on their current plan, participants could
save anywhere from 30-40%. As more
Member nonprofits participate, fees will
retirement plan options that are now In our Member Survey earlier this continue to drop until they are reduced
available to all our Members. to zero!
year, many of you
Whether your nonprofit is small or asked for a retire-
large, it would be hard to beat the ment program – so “The Center created protected by
affordable group pricing that we have here it is!
negotiated for you. Among the this program because Assure.
The program works for organiza- benefits of this we want to help ensure retirement plan-
tions that already have a plan and for 403(b) plan are: ning for staff.
those wanting to create one for the Your nonprofit that nonprofit careers
Now you can provide a great
sets its own
are sustainable for all plan is sponsored by
benefit to your hard-working staff level and match the dedicated workers Hartford Retirement
without the hard work of researching requirement.
options and interviewing providers. hard-dollar
No who also need savings through a new
Your nonprofit will have its own plan
charged to your for retirement.” Capital Investment
and set its own benefit levels. nonprofit. This is Group, Inc. at
By pooling the buying power of the very unusual. Capital Bank.
nonprofit sector, we can help you save Easy compliance with new regulations
through better rates than individual To learn more, contact Kimberlee
on retirement plans, including a
organizations can usually negotiate. Sipe (firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-
complete plan document. You’ll save
Offering competitive benefits is one up to $6,000 plus valuable time by not
645-3289) or see www.ncnonprofits.org/
way you can attract and keep top- creating this new required document benefits/retirement.asp.
notch employees. yourself! By working together, we can all
The N.C. Center created this Easy online contributions from payroll. stretch our dollars and give our
program because we want to help Low fees for participants – depending employees the benefits they deserve!
Another Way to Save
R unning background checks
on new staff and volunteers
is an important risk management
step for nonprofits. We’ve part-
nered with American Background
to give you Member discounts on
these screening tools. You also get
this introductory offer: one Basic
Volunteer Screen at no charge!
For more information, contact
Kay York (kyork@americanback
ground.com, 888-533-6880). Say you
are a Center Member and mention center volunteer sandy cyr enjoys lunch with eleanor Qadirah, president of rowan
the free introductory offer! Blues and Jazz society, at our statewide conference for n.c.’s nonprofit sector. How
can you keep talented volunteers engaged in your nonprofit? read about it on p. 5.
Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 3
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
A Novice’s True Tale of Her Adventure on the Hill
Look at Me, i’m Lobbying for nonprofits!
L et me say first that I am not a
lobbyist. I’m a fundraiser here
at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. Until
Our meeting with
recently, my political involvement assistant was very
amounted to little more than listening similar. After leaving
to NPR and voting. So, when the his office, I was
opportunity came to lobby in Wash- feeling a little better.
ington, DC, I was a little intimidated. We had our routine
Our meetings were fantastic! I’m down pat. I didn’t
sharing the experience to let everyone have to look at my
know that you can and should lobby. If notes quite as much.
I can do it, you can do it. My voice wasn’t
We pre-arranged meetings with all sounding quite as
of North Carolina’s elected officials shaky. I was actually
who could see us that day – three starting to get the
representatives and one senator. Our hang of this whole
five major issues ranged from lobbying thing.
www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/3777954520, Creative Commons
including nonprofits and their We met next with
employees in health care reform to Representative Bob Etheridge. He Second, policy makers and their staff
increasing charitable mileage had squeezed us in between commit- are genuinely interested in hearing
reimbursement rates for volunteers. tee meetings, and asked right away, what nonprofits have to say. Third, it’s
David Heinen, our director of public “What is it you need me to do for our job to educate them about certain
policy, briefed Sally Migliore, Sarah nonprofits?” Quickly, we told him. He policies and how these affect our
Weissberg, and me on the issues and promised to do what he could, and organizations and those we serve.
armed us with strong talking points. thanked us for bringing these issues to Last year, my colleagues met with
My compatriots and I prepared his attention. Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth
our spiel. We would emphasize We were on a roll when we arrived Dole and Representatives G.K. Butter-
the economic at our last meeting with field, Howard Coble, Bob Etheridge,
importance of Senator Kay Hagan. Walter Jones, Brad Miller, and David
nonprofits, share Right away, the Senator Price. They told me their story when
stories about the said she was well they got home. Center Members
wonderful work acquainted with the Tharesa Lee of Neuse River Community
nonprofits do in our Center (she spoke at Development Corporation and Walter
state, and then ask our Public Policy Weeks of Wake Enterprises were part
for their help on Forum a few years ago) of North Carolina’s nonprofit
issues that affect all and added, “Nonprofits delegation.
nonprofits. in North Carolina are Now I hope my story will
We started our doing such great encourage others in nonprofits to
noble quest in the work.” We beamed. She lobby. It was one of the most
Cannon Building, cut right to the chase rewarding and empowering
where we met and asked what she experiences of my young career.
with Congressman sarah Mann could do for us. She – Sarah Mann
Heath Shuler’s promised to look into
Sarah Mann is development associate
legislative assistant, Erin Doty. The the health care bill. She thanked us for
at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.
Congressman’s office was filled our work at the Center.
For advocacy news, see www.ncnon
with Native American artifacts (he Elated, we headed back outside
profits.org/advocacy.asp. For lobbying and
represents western N.C.) and pictures into the heat and celebrated our
advocacy tips, visit our online resources
of his children. Erin was receptive to accomplishments over popsicles.
for Members only at www.ncnonprofits.
all of our ideas and took copious notes. So what did I learn from all of this?
She promised to pass our information First, lobbying is not scary and is not
read about our historic White House visit:
on to “Heath.” Meeting one: slam that different from fundraising! You’re
dunk. just seeking a slightly different end.
Page 4 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
What volunteers value, What They need
V olunteers take on significant,
time-consuming tasks to help
out nonprofits. We coordinate events
Recognition. A pat on
the back goes a long way.
Humility makes us say, “It’s
that take months to plan, participate no big deal,” but it really is a
on governing boards, and lead teams big deal to feel appreciated.
of other volunteers. We do everything When recognizing volunteers,
from fundraising, marketing, and be specific. Instead of,
quality improvement to delivering “Great job on the fundraiser
lunches, visiting folks in the hospital, dinner!” try, “I was blown
and fostering homeless pets. My son away by how many folks
and I spent one summer scooping turned out for dinner. You
poop at the animal shelter! Of course, really did a fantastic job
we played with puppies, too. organizing volunteers and volunteers, like these at Manna FoodBank in asheville,
Volunteers give so much for no pay. reaching out to new people are the backbone of many nonprofits. Photo courtesy
Yet only about a third continue after who have never attended of John Bell
the first year of service (Corporation before.” Public recognition is nice but I Continue to provide support and access
for National & Community Service, find that what people really appreciate to resources and information that can
Volunteering in America, 2008). How help volunteers do their jobs better.
is a handwritten note of thanks (no
can nonprofits hold on to volunteers? Keep up the communication. Have
one does that anymore!) or mentioning
Cary Cherniss has studied helping regular check-ins to let volunteers
the details of a volunteer’s work when
professions (teachers, nurses, know what you are observing, to give
introducing that person to others. appreciative feedback, and to encourage
therapists and lawyers). He finds that
Autonomy. Even volunteers (may- their feedback as well.
professional satisfaction comes from
be especially volunteers) want to be
meaning, recognition, autonomy, and Help your volunteers find
remuneration. Let’s consider the first treated professionally and given space
to show creativity in their work. Tips: professional satisfaction in their
three in regards to volunteers.
the stage and get the right people for work. When word gets out, you may
Meaning. This is the desire to help find yourself with a waiting list of
the job. Clearly identify the work to
others and to make a difference in the volunteers!
be done, identify how it impacts your
world. Show volunteers their impact! – Beth Bordeaux
nonprofit’s mission, make a job descrip-
Continuously remind them of the tion, and identify the skills needed to Beth Bordeaux, MSW (beth.bordeaux@
difference they make, not just in your do it well. Screen volunteers carefully. gmail.com, 919-303-2522) is president of
opinion, but through real results. This won’t discourage volunteerism. In GTM Evaluation & Planning, Inc. (www.
Don’t be afraid to evaluate volunteer fact, setting criteria and limiting your gtmeval.com) and has 20 years experience
efforts in light of your organization’s positions will create integrity within working with nonprofits and human
mission and values. When people give your volunteer program. service agencies in N.C.
of their precious time, they want to Provide ongoing training and open
know if they are making a difference. communication about expectations.
More Reasons to Add that “Donate Now” Button!
I n a study by Target Analysis
Group and Donordigital, the
median gift for online donors was
giving levels and have higher lifetime
Online donors make up a relatively
If you don’t collect donations on-
line, get started! Integrate this with
your direct-marketing program
$57, compared to $33 for non-online small proportion of most nonprofits’ because online donors migrate to
donors. See www.donordigital.com/ donors. But, their numbers are grow- offline giving. Be sure to ask for the
projects/target-donordigital_internet_ ing fast. For the nonprofits in the study, same level or higher, as they tend to
giving_summary.pdf. the median cumulative growth in downgrade when they move offline.
They also found that online online donors has been 101% the past Two free button options are Net-
donors are younger and have higher three years, compared to 6% growth work for Good (www.networkforgood.
incomes than direct mail donors. for non-online (primarily direct-mail) org) and JustGive (www.justgive.org).
These folks tend to join at higher donors.
Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 5
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
software: Hosted or installed?
O nce upon a
time, we had
only a monitor and
These hosted solu-
tions aren’t for every-
one, but can be a practi-
on hand to keep your internal network
Data security. Vendors can usually
keyboard, or a ‘dumb cal option for many afford a higher level of security against
unauthorized access to your data than
terminal’, on our desks nonprofits. Consider:
you can pay in your installed system.
and no computer. Giant Price. Hosted solution
computers resided in packages require a How to decide if a hosted solution
large climate-controlled monthly or yearly will work for you? Consider your re-
rooms. That all changed fee based on factors quirements and budget. Compare soft-
like the number of ware features, ease of use, support, and
with the introduction of
users and amount of cost of ownership over time. Based on
the Personal Computer data you store. Installed
in the 1980s. Now your where technology is heading, hosted
Joseph scarano, cPa software has an up-
desktop computer can front licensing fee with
solutions may someday be the norm.
hold more data and has more power yearly maintenance and upgrade fees. – Joseph Scarano, CPA
than those giant ones. You’ll pay more for an installed solution Joseph Scarano (Joe@araize.com, 919-
Well, the internet is making our up front, but may pay more for a hosted 460-3990) is CEO of Araize, Inc., which
desktop computers resemble dumb solution over time. provides accounting, fundraising, and
terminals once again. Think about all Access to software and data. Hosted payroll software solutions to nonprofits.
you can do online – pay your bills, applications can be accessed from any-
He is a member of the N.C. Association
shop, make travel plans, send a card, where via internet. This is convenient
of Certified Public Accountants’ Not-for-
for volunteers, work-at-home employ-
find a mate, and connect with long Profit Committee.
ees, and organizations with multiple
lost friends. You don’t need a powerful For best practices in technology, see the
locations. Installed solutions are limited
computer or fancy software to do any to your own internal network. N.C. Center for Nonprofits’ Principles &
of this, just an internet connection. System maintenance and backup. Practices for Nonprofit Excellence at
We use many terms for this type With an installed system, you do your www.ncnonprofits.org/principles.asp.
of computing – “hosted solutions,” own back-ups, maintain your network
“software as a service,” and the latest and hardware,
buzz, “cloud computing.” Many and install all
companies are adopting this model to updates. The
deliver business applications. You pay software in a
them to provide online access to their hosted solution
software and your data, which is all is updated au-
stored on remote servers. You
the vendor has
automatically get all software updates,
your data is securely backed up, and of your data.
you can access the system from Reliability
anywhere via the internet. Some of and uptime. A
the management functions available hosted solution
include payroll, billing, client data may be more
management, fundraising, and reliable than an
accounting. installed one.
A Retirement their servers up
and running and
Plan You Can you just need a
Afford! speed internet
acing higher fees? New you have several
limits on the maximum you people using in-
can contribute as an employee? See stalled software,
page 3 for affordable retirement you’ll need an
plan solutions! experienced IT
person or team
Page 6 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
nonprofit employees can Get
student Loans Forgiven
T ell your nonprofit staff, interns,
and anyone considering a
career in nonprofits about the Public
payment on time counts toward the 120
payments. Your service doesn’t have
to be consecutive. For example, if you
goes for other public service employ-
ees with contractual or employment
periods of less than 12 months.
Service Loan Forgiveness Program worked for a nonprofit for a year, then How do I apply? There’s not yet a
a business for a year, and then again
(PSLFP). Thanks to successful lobby- way to register or apply for loan
at a nonprofit, you just start counting
ing by the National Council of Nonprof- forgiveness, so keep your employ-
payments where you left off.
its, N.C. Center for Nonprofits, and Have been employed full-time through-
ment records (especially W-2 forms).
others, full-time employees of all out the 10 years of repayment. If you leave your nonprofit job but
501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible to get employed in a public service job at
Be still plan to work in public service for
federal student loans forgiven! the time of forgiveness. 10 years or more, get a signed
What is the loan forgiveness pro- document from your employer stating
gram? PSLFP encourages people to If you go back to school after work- that you were a full-time employee
seek and keep public service jobs by ing in a public service job and take out and the dates your work started and
forgiving the remaining balance of more loans, the new loans won’t be ended. Do this for every public
their federal loans after they work in included in the same timeframe as service position you have.
public service jobs for 10 years. Under your first set of loans. You will have to For more on the PSLFP, call the
the College Cost Reduction and Access make 120 payments on the new loans U.S. Department of Education at
Act of 2007, it covers employees of before they are forgiven. 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
public service organizations – Full-time service in AmeriCorps or – Sarah Weissberg
including all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Peace Corps counts as a public service
job. AmeriCorps Segal Education Sarah Weissberg is membership
Important update: Those with
Awards and Peace Corps transition director at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits
federal student loans can now also
payments used for loan repayment and editor of Common Ground. Sources:
apply for the Income-Based
may count toward the 120-payment “Nonprofit Employees Can Benefit from
Repayment (IBR) plan, which caps
requirement. College Loan Forgiveness,” National
monthly payments based on income.
Teachers who work for only nine Council of Nonprofits, www.councilof
Through IBR, nonprofit employees can
months in a year are still required to nonprofits.org/?q=policy/ccraa; and The
keep their loan payments affordable
make loan payments year-round, College Cost Reduction and Access Act of
for the 10 years before their loans are
including summer vacation. The same 2007, http://tinyurl.com/6ccjxn.
forgiven. For details, see www.ibrinfo.
Who qualifies and what are the
conditions? You qualify if you work
full-time in a public service capacity
for 10 years. PSLFP applies only to
loan payments made after Oct. 1, 2007.
“Public service” includes jobs with
501(c)(3) nonprofits. For a full list of
other eligible public service, see Title
IV of the Act at http://tinyurl.com/
6ccjxn. For loan forgiveness, you must:
Have Federal Direct Stafford Loans,
Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, or
Federal Direct Consolidation Loans. See
your loan documentation for your type
of loan. You can have an income-based
repayment plan, an income contingent
plan, or a standard repayment plan.
Make 120 loan payments while work-
tell the college students involved with your nonprofit about federal student loan forgiveness!
ing in public service positions. Every Pictured here are the student interns, volunteers, and staff of student action with Farmworkers,
month you work at a public service a 2009 nonprofit sector stewardship award winner. You’ll learn about all three winners in your
organization and make your loan next Common Ground.
Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 7
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
November is Nonprofit Awareness Month
Help educate the Public
about nonprofits’ impact!
T he history of Nonprofit
Awareness Month is this:
In 2006, 13 nonprofit
the value of nonprofits to the public,
policy makers, donors, clients, and
these stories on your website
with a picture and a message about
Nonprofit Awareness Month.
professionals from our We have the them to tell this story to their
state, along with more “inside scoop” friends, co-workers, neighbors, in
their place of worship, etc.
than 400 nonprofit so let’s tell our
Share these stories with us at the
leaders from across story about
the U.S., attended the nonprofits’ Make presentations about your
Nonprofit Congress in impact in our nonprofit and the nonprofit sector at
Washington, D.C. communities work and in your community.
Delegates selected and why we something on your Facebook
three top priorities for matter. Here’s page about Nonprofit Awareness
the nonprofit sector: what you can Month and why nonprofits matter.
(1) Advocacy and do: something on your Twitter page.
Grassroots Com- Meet with Use the hash tag “#npaware”.
munity Activities; elected officials.
See the Center’s Toolkit (www.
Get them to
(2) Nonprofit ncnonprofits.org/NAM.asp) for more
pass a procla-
Organizational charletta Briscoe
mation that ideas, samples, and hard data to
Effectiveness; and November is Nonprofit Awareness help make your case about nonprof-
(3) Public Awareness and Support of Month in your county. The toolkit has its’ impact on employment and the
the Sector. samples. economy in your county.
North Carolina delegates decided Invite local reporters to your nonprofit For more information, contact
to focus on the 3rd – to increase to take a tour. Sally Migliore (smigliore@ncnonprof
public understanding and support Identify and recognize volunteers its.org) and visit www.ncnonprofits.org/
so that nonprofits can continue to do within your organization.
NAM.asp. We're all in this together!
their best work. Write an op-ed piece for your local
– Charletta Briscoe
paper. Ask us for samples.
Thus N.C.’s Nonprofit
Encourage other staff, board members, Charletta Briscoe is office assistant at
Awareness Month was born. It’s volunteers, clients, and friends to con- the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.
celebrated during November, so sider how nonprofits have influenced
now is the time to rally the troops! their lives and ask them to send letters
We need to spread the word about to the editor about their experiences.
More Far-Reaching Steps: As Caring Workplaces member Low wages take a toll not only on
your nonprofit is a contractor with the
If Jim Gibbons of Goodwill Industries the nonprofit and the worker, but also
county, work with other contractors and International says, “Individuals are on the clients receiving services.
your elected officials to get increases in more likely to be able to go to work, – Jan Masaoka
contracts for low-wage workers. continue working, and advance their
you have several people in a certain
If Adapted with permission from Blue
careers and earnings if their home
low-wage job – say custodians in an Avocado, a free bite-sized magazine by and
lives are stable and their children are
affordable housing organization – take for nonprofit people. Subscribe and see
safe and thriving.”
an informal poll of similar organizations archives at www.blueavocado.org.
Natalie Thompson of the National
on pay and benefits. Promise to share Published by CompassPoint Nonprofit
Human Services Assembly comments
the results, but keep the groups’ names Services, 731 Market St., Suite 200, San
confidential. Commit to meeting or
that while nonprofits are used to think-
Francisco, CA 94103 (415-541-9000,
exceeding the median pay or benefits. ing about strengthening their clients’
Raise the issue within your associations
families, they may not be aware that
and networks. Look for opportunities to some of their own employees are in
make joint calls to action. vulnerable situations.
Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 9
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
retreat to a nonprofit Haven
“I n a perfect world, we’d have
the time, money, and resourc-
es for a staff retreat.” Sound familiar?
“Outside the box” brainstorming. Staff
are often too busy addressing urgent
needs to break from routine and think
A staff retreat may seem appealing, creatively about your impact; technolo-
but time, money, and reluctance to gy, marketing, and streamlining options;
or new roles for volunteers and interns.
close your doors can often eclipse the
Successful nonprofits are innovative
perfect world. nonprofits. Retreats give everyone the
But imagine getting away from opportunity to stop, think, and build on
email, phone, and visitors and letting each other’s ideas.
staff have open conversations without Reminding yourselves why you do the
interruption for just one day. What important work you do. Nonprofits
could you accomplish? How about: work very, very hard. Sometimes we get
Strategic and operational planning.
so caught up in the “how” that we lose
Revisit your mission, vision, and sight of the “why.” This can lead to
goals. Staff are the people who best burn-out. A retreat can recharge staff
understand the day-to-day operations by reminding them about the difference
of your organization. Get their input they make in the world and in people’s Montreat Conference Center. nonprofit retreat
on how to increase results, quality, and lives. Share these stories. Consider centers offer a little piece of heaven.
efficiency. having someone touched by your
Team building. Orient new staff
organization come and speak. These are Members of the N.C. Center
members and improve communication for Nonprofits. Find one near you:
Of course, your retreat has to fit Arapahoe (near New Bern), Efland
among all staff. Focus on your
your budget, so your instinct may be (near Chapel Hill), Parkton (near
organization’s culture. If it’s already
positive, build on that strength. If it’s to retreat within your own office. But Fayetteville): N.C. United Methodist
troubled, examine the problem, get to this can feel like just another long staff Camp and Retreat Ministries’ Don Lee,
its root, and start changing it. meeting. Provocative discussions often Chestnut Ridge, and Rockfish Camps
take a change of and Retreat Centers, respectively, www.
scenery and ncumcamps.org
Asheboro: Caraway Conference Center
several hours to
and Camp, www.caraway.org
Black Mountain: YMCA Blue Ridge
range from an Assembly, www.blueridgeassembly.org
afternoon Chapel Hill: Mount Carmel Ministries
potluck at some- Aqueduct Conference Center, http://
one’s home to aqueductcc.com
day-long sessions Highlands: The Mountain Retreat and
at a local confer- Learning Centers, www.mountaincenters.
ence center. org
Consider Hickory: Catholic Conference Center,
Little Switzerland: Wildacres Retreat,
get-away at a www.wildacres.org
nonprofit retreat Montreat: Montreat Conference Center,
center. Founded www.montreat.org
on values that Pittsboro: Dan Pollitt Center at RAFI-
nonprofits often USA, www.rafiusa.org
share, they Tryon: Foothills Equestrian Nature
understand Center (FENCE), www.fence.org
nonprofits’ needs Valle Crucis (near Boone, Banner Elk):
The Valle Crucis Conference Center,
and our retreat
goals. And, giv- Do you offer conference and
ing them your retreat facilities or other services for
business is one nonprofits? Members can advertise
way for nonprof- your goods and services free on our
its to support Nonprofit Yellow Pages. Contact Sarah
each other! Mann (email@example.com).
Page 10 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
N.C. Center for Nonprofits
Legislative & Legal
Health Care Bill Amended to There is a proposal to eliminate the
include changes recommended by the
Include Nonprofit Employers “safe harbor” for determining nonprofit Center and other nonprofits to ease
Regardless of the other issues in executive compensation. This could re- nonprofits’ reporting burden.
quire nonprofits to provide the IRS with
the health care debate, it’s essential
more information about comparability Congress May Extend Estate Tax
that our elected officials develop data used to set executives’ salaries.
legislation that helps nonprofits at Current Levels
raise revenue to offset the costs of
provide affordable, high-quality Congress is considering extending
health care reform, Congress could cap
health coverage for their employees. itemized charitable deductions at the
the estate tax for a year at its current
Congress and the President have made current limit of 35% or lower, even level – with a $3.5 million exemption
it a priority to help small for-profit when the tax rates for high-income and maximum tax rate of 45%. With-
businesses provide health insurance taxpayers rise. out Congressional action, the estate
for their staffs. The Center and our tax is set to expire in 2010. The
These amendments could still be
national partners are advocating for extension of current estate tax levels
considered for the final health care
nonprofits to be treated equally with would be good news for nonprofits,
businesses in health care reform. since the repeal or major reduction of
Here’s how each of the bills would State Budget Cuts the estate tax could cost nonprofits up
help nonprofit employers: to $10 billion in gifts every year.
Senate Health, Education, Labor
The In August, Gov. Bev Perdue signed
and Pensions (HELP) Committee bill IRS Releases Lobbying
the state budget into law. The General
currently has the best option for Guidance for Nonprofits and
Assembly raised nearly $1 billion in
nonprofits. It would offer subsidies to Community Foundations
help many nonprofits with 50 or fewer new revenue to help protect many ser-
The IRS recently released new
employees to provide health coverage. vices at the core of nonprofits’ missions.
guidance on nonprofit grants and
Senate Finance Committee bill
The However, the Legislature cut overall
lobbying. This allows community
would enable some nonprofits with 25 spending by $2.7 billion for 2009-2010,
foundations and grantmaking non-
or fewer employees to use some of their so there are substantial cuts in almost
health insurance expenses to offset to
profits to rely on rules for private
every area of the budget. For details,
the payroll taxes they withhold. foundations when supporting
House bill doesn’t currently
The nonprofits that lobby. The Alliance for
provide relief for nonprofit employers, Justice, a national partner of the N.C.
The Senate and House Finance
but instead offers tax credits for small Center, requested this revenue ruling
Committees will meet beginning in
for-profit businesses. Several House (www.afj.org). Some of the key rulings:
members, including Rep. Brad Miller
November to look at broader revenue
Community foundations and other
(D-NC) and Rep. David Price (D-NC), reforms. These proposals could help grantmaking nonprofits don’t need to
are advocating for the final House bill create a fairer and more stable tax count grants to advocacy organizations
to help nonprofit employees. system for N.C. However, some of the as lobbying expenditures unless they’re
proposals could affect charitable earmarked for lobbying.
These will be amended further in
deductions and sales tax exemptions Grants for specific projects aren’t
the coming weeks, and any final health
for very large nonprofits. We’ll keep necessarily lobbying expenses.
care legislation will likely combine Grants for specific projects that include
elements from all three bills. For the lobbying activities aren’t considered
latest and to take action, see www.nc New State Grant System Open earmarked for lobbying if they’re for an
nonprofits.org/advocacy/healthcare.asp. The N.C. Office of State Budget and amount less than the project’s lobbying
Management (OSBM) has opened its budget.
new N.C. Grants system (www.ncgrants This column is not intended to give
Could Affect Nonprofits .gov). This replaces the Grants Informa-
At press time, Congress had rejected legal advice and should not be relied upon
tion Center operated by the N.C. Office without your attorney’s counsel. For
these possible amendments to health
of State Auditor. As part of the transi- more on public policy issues affecting all
care bills that could impact nonprofits:
tion, nonprofits with grant reporting 501(c)(3) nonprofits in North Carolina,
One amendment would expressly
authorize the IRS to ask the governance deadlines between Aug. 31 and Sept. contact David Heinen, director of public
questions that are part of the redesigned 30 have until Nov. 13 to file reports policy and advocacy at the N.C. Center
Form 990. This wouldn’t change nonprofit online in the new system. The noncom- for Nonprofits (dheinen@ncnonprofits.
reporting requirements, but it could pliance list and Suspension of Funding org, 919-790-1555, ext. 111). All Center
stifle potential challenges to the IRS’s List won’t be released until Nov. 16. Members receive periodic Public Policy
authority to ask these questions. OSBM plans for the new system to Updates and Alerts.
Page 12 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4