Common Ground Fall 09


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Common Ground Fall 09

  1. 1. Common Ground A Publication of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits executive transitions: an example That’s Working Y 2 Volume XVIII, Number 4 our executive director/CEO has The succession management Fall 2009 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 retirement plan! 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 is here! 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 13 14 1 The succession planning commit- 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
  2. 2. 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,, www. 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. 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 were employer- sponsored plans 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 participant had Razo. 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 self-directed retirement 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 problems. 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 Carolina. Page 2 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
  3. 3. 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  Investments 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 Fiduciary affordable group pricing that we have here it is! negotiated for you. Among the this program because Assure.  Education about 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 The highly-rated first time. Now you can provide a great sets its own contribution are sustainable for all plan is sponsored by benefit to your hard-working staff level and match the dedicated workers Hartford Retirement Plan Services without the hard work of researching requirement. options and interviewing providers.  hard-dollar No who also need savings through a new partnership with Your nonprofit will have its own plan administrative fees 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 (, 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 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 Background checks 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, 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
  4. 4. 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 Congressman Mel Watt’s legislative 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., 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 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? org/mbronly/faqMO.asp#advocacy. Also 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
  5. 5. 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 Set 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., 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 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 giving. 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 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 (  These folks tend to join at higher donors. Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 5
  6. 6. 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 functioning smoothly. 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 (, 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 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- tomatically and stored on remote servers. You the vendor has automatically get all software updates, secure back-ups 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. Hosted solution vendors keep A Retirement their servers up and running and Plan You Can you just need a reliable high- Afford! speed internet connection. F Otherwise, if 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
  7. 7. 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; 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, forgiven. For details, see www.ibrinfo. org/what.vp.html. 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 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
  8. 8. N.C. Center for Nonprofits Low-Wage Workers and nonprofits L et’s look at three uncomfortable facts: The challenge of providing more compensation may seem overwhelm- clinics, and immigration legal help. Be sure they know about Earned Income 1 Many jobs in nonprofits are ing, especially during a financial crisis, Tax Credit. See “Helping Eligible Em- low-wage: child care workers, but there are several options that won’t ployees and Clients Access EITC Toolkit for Nonprofit Agencies” ( intake workers, database clerks, torpedo the budget. Absenteeism and nassembly/documents/EITCToolkitPrintVer- custodians, door-to-door canvassers, turnover are expensive. Reduce both sion.pdf). elder care workers, support staff, with these ideas from The National  Funders, ask prospec- home health care aides, and others. Human tive grantees about 2 While raising salaries would be by far the best way to support these important staff, this isn’t possible Services Assembly’s Caring “While nonprofits are used to thinking about salary levels in non- exempt positions, and talk about increasing for most nonprofits – certainly not in Workplaces strengthening their your funding by an the short term, and often not in the Initiative (www. amount that would go clients’ families, they may directly to increasing long term given business models and funding constraints. fspc/CaringWork not be aware that some of salaries at those levels. 3 Discussion about salaries and placesInitiative/ their own employees are Intermediate Steps job retention have focused on index.html) and in vulnerable situations.”  a cafeteria plan Offer the people at the top: executive staff others. instead of specific and program leaders. Think about benefits. Some staff how many articles you’ve seen on Steps to Take Fairly Quickly may get free health executive director retention and at Little or No Cost care through the Veterans Administra- Temporary or episodic flex time.  tion, their spouses, or Medicare. They compensation (and we don’t dispute Exempt staff can leave the office for a could use health insurance funds for for a minute the crucial importance of couple of hours for personal appoint- child care, life insurance, or other costs. the executive director). In fact, many ments. Figure out ways to allow non- Look at all your non-exempt positions.  executives will attest that one of their exempt staff the same flexibility. Are they in line across departments and biggest challenges is recruiting and Paycheck options. Consider weekly  across both direct services and admin- retaining high-quality staff in direct payroll provided in cash envelopes and/ istrative jobs? Often people who work services and other low-wage, crucial- or via direct deposit into their checking for managers in administration make to-the-mission jobs. accounts. Many nonprofit low-wage more than people in direct services. In an economic downturn, low- workers are forced to use payroll check- Conduct an anonymous employee  wage workers are often more cashing services and payday loans that financial assessment survey. Consider exploit their need for fast cash on vulnerable than their supervisors. bringing in debt counselors and people paydays. Their spouses may have lost their jobs, to assist in opening bank accounts, Help staff make fuller use of your bene-  their parents are less likely to have applying for food stamps, and other free fits. Many may be unaware of Employee health insurance, and they have less in resources. Assistance Program (EAP) benefits such savings.  you can’t provide raises for all staff, If as mental health counseling and refer- make sure you provide them for the rals to sub- crucial-to-the-mission low-wage staff stance abuse treatment who are difficult to replace. It may be programs. possible in this downturn, for instance,  Help employ- to announce wage freezes for exempt ees access staff but small wage increases for direct- government service, non-exempt staff. This sends and community an important message, makes business resources, such sense, and raises morale. as food stamps, Board members, ask for a presentation  respite care (for on the number and types of non-exempt their elderly and/or direct service positions and what family members the wages are. Work with staff to com- and children pare these to other nonprofits so to see with disabili- whether you are paying less, the same, ties), free after- or more. Think about small steps. For school pro- example, you might aim to raise non- grams, commu- exempt salaries by x% over four years. © nity health continueD on P. 9 Page 8 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
  9. 9. 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 volunteers.  these stories on your website Put with a picture and a message about Nonprofit Awareness Month. professionals from our We have the  them to tell this story to their Ask 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 Center. 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 Put 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. Put Grassroots Com-  Meet with Use the hash tag “#npaware”. munity Activities; elected officials. See the Center’s Toolkit (www. Get them to (2) Nonprofit 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 and visit 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 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’, www.compass 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
  10. 10. 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  Asheboro: Caraway Conference Center several hours to and Camp, flourish. Options  Black Mountain: YMCA Blue Ridge range from an Assembly, afternoon  Chapel Hill: Mount Carmel Ministries potluck at some- Aqueduct Conference Center, http:// one’s home to day-long sessions  Highlands: The Mountain Retreat and at a local confer- Learning Centers, www.mountaincenters. ence center. org Consider  Hickory: Catholic Conference Center, holding your  Little Switzerland: Wildacres Retreat, get-away at a nonprofit retreat  Montreat: Montreat Conference Center, center. Founded on values that  Pittsboro: Dan Pollitt Center at RAFI- nonprofits often USA, share, they  Tryon: Foothills Equestrian Nature understand Center (FENCE), nonprofits’ needs  Valle Crucis (near Boone, Banner Elk): The Valle Crucis Conference Center, and our retreat objectives and 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 (  Page 10 Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4
  11. 11. N.C. Center for Nonprofits Investing for a Cause socially responsible investing T ough economic times can actually be an opportunity to revisit your nonprofit’s investment and actively work with the company’s management to improve its practices. This can include filing, co-filing, and Investing Trends in the United States, one of every nine dollars under professional management in the U.S. today is in SRI. strategies and goals. One optimistic voting on shareholder resolutions that focus on social and corporate Getting started with SRI requires trend in the financial world is Socially some thoughtful planning. Consider: governance issues. Responsible Investing (SRI). With What are your Community  SRI, your organization puts its money investing goals? Do you to work building a more sustainable provides want to world while earning competitive investment invest in new returns. SRI is growing in popularity capital to sustainable tech- with nonprofits and foundations communities nologies, or because it can align your investment underserved would you philosophy to your organization’s by traditional rather make values. It can also help deepen your financial institutions, an impact relationship with donors by “putting locally through and gives them your money where your mouth is.” community direct access to Strategies. The three core investing? How credit, equity, strategies for professionally-managed capital, and much of your SRI portfolios are: basic banking portfolio will Screening means including or exclud-  products they you commit to ing securities from a portfolio based otherwise lack. SRI? Will it be a on certain criteria. “Positive screening“ It allows local attempts to identify profitable portion of your organizations assets, or will companies with a history of excellent to provide © employee relations, community SRI be the financial services to low-income involvement, and environmentally- residents and supplies capital for small foundation for your investments? conscious policies and practices. businesses and community services, Consult an advisor who under- Respect for human rights and such as affordable housing, child care, stands SRI. The nonprofit Social safe, useful products are also often and healthcare. Investment Forum offers a list of considered. Investors use positive financial professionals working in SRI screening to invest in industry leaders Considerations. Interested? Here ( in the hopes that the general standard are a few factors to consider about SRI: Interview several and ask them about of business practices will improve. Performance. What surprises many  SRI stock and bond funds, the screens “Negative screening” identifies investors is that SRI can let them do companies with poor records in these well while doing good. When properly they use, fees, their overall investment areas. These companies are then managed, risk-adjusted, and controlled philosophy, how they integrate SRI in excluded from an investor’s portfolio. for investment style, socially screened their portfolios, and how they work Because screening requires extensive portfolios perform comparably to their with their clients. research into company policies and unscreened peers. Remember, SRI requires practices, many investors rely on Availability of information. Today,  knowledge of investment choices, mutual funds to manage their screened investors can easily access a wealth of the market, and available resources. investments. Such funds can match information. Recent reforms provide Also consider factors such as risk many sets of values, but it’s important more transparency, stricter corporate tolerance, investment time horizon, to remember that no company is governance and accountability, and and diversification.  perfect. A company that makes chairs more disclosure of company – David Hemmerly from recycled materials might also information, so SRI organizations are produce toxic waste in the process. better able to provide knowledge and David Hemmerly (919-201-5147, Screened mutual funds may include choices to stakeholders. is companies with various strengths Sustainability. As public concern about  founder of Fidelis Wealth Management, and weaknesses based on the fund’s global warming, alternative energy, a comprehensive financial planning firm qualitative criteria. human rights, corporate scandals, and serving families and nonprofits. Shareholder advocacy goes beyond  other issues grow, new opportunities screening. Shareholder advocates will continue to be offered to investors. purposefully invest in companies with According to Social Investment Forum’s poor social or environmental records 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Fall 2009, Vol XVIII, No. 4 Page 11
  12. 12. 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 To 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, reform bill. 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. Affect Nonprofits  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 see  House bill doesn’t currently The nonprofits that lobby. The Alliance for Senate/PDF/S202v8.pdf. 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 ( 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 you posted.  elements from all three bills. For the lobbying activities aren’t considered latest and to take action, see New State Grant System Open earmarked for lobbying if they’re for an The N.C. Office of State Budget and amount less than the project’s lobbying Management (OSBM) has opened its budget.  Other Proposals 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