Writting a winning grant proposal- Your not-for-profit can’t afford to submit sloppy, unprofessional grant proposals. You’ll be more successful if you familiarize yourself with the grant-maker’s goals and objectives, the types of projects it has funded in the past, and its processes and procedures. Your proposal should follow the grant-maker’s instructions to the letter, meet all deadlines and include adequate support with facts and figures. Also, be sure to double-check for spelling, math and other errors before submitting your proposal. If you need help with your revenue model, contact us (March 27, 2019) Click here for full article.
Nonprofits: You too can fall victim to a celebrity scandal- Celebrities can provide a big boost to the not-for-profits they publicly support. They can also harm them by association. Accusations connected with the #MeToo movement and other scandals have brought down many stars and caused major headaches for some nonprofits. Don’t wait for a PR crisis. Include a “morals clause” in contracts with spokespeople, make a crisis plan that describes who will speak for your organization and what they’ll say, and get to know your local media when you have good news. They’re more likely to give you fair coverage when news is negative. (March 20, 2019) Click here for full article
Holding on to your nonprofit's exempt status- Whether you’re running a 501(c)(3) or other type of tax-exempt organization, be careful. The activities you conduct and the ways you generate and use revenue could threaten your exempt status. Lobbying and campaign activities are generally restricted for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. And all nonprofits should ensure that excess profits aren’t used for the private benefit of an individual or entity. Also, organizations that generate income through a business conducted regularly and outside their mission’s scope may be subject to scrutiny. Contact us for information. (March 13, 2019) Click here for full article
Divide and conquer: How joint cost allocating works- Your not-for-profit likely feels pressure to prove that it dedicates most of its resources to programming. However, accounting rules require that you record the full cost of any activity with a fundraising component as a fundraising expense. The exception is when an expense meets three joint activities criteria: purpose (the activity is intended to achieve a program purpose), audience (the audience isn’t primarily donors) and content (the activity supports programs). If your activity satisfies these, you can allocate costs between fundraising and other functions. (March 6, 2019) Click here for full article
Does your nonprofit adequately protect whistleblowers?-A formal whistleblower policy is critical to protecting your not-for-profit’s financial security and public reputation. Your policy should state which individuals (for example, staffers, volunteers and clients) and activities (such as fraud, conflicts of interest and discrimination) are covered. Also explain how reports will be investigated and what will happen when investigations end. It’s particularly important to stress that your nonprofit will protect whistleblower confidentiality to the extent possible. (February 27, 2019) Click here for full article.
D&O Insurance: Some FAQs for nonprofits-Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance enables board members to make decisions without fear that they’ll be personally responsible for any related litigation costs. Such coverage is common in the business world, but many not-for-profits incorrectly assume that their charitable mission and the volunteer status of their board insulate them from lawsuits. To determine whether your nonprofit needs D&O insurance, consider the risks you may face (for example, financial mismanagement and self-dealing), the policy period and the claims insurers will reimburse. (February 20, 2019) Click here for full article.
How to convince donors to remove "restricted" from their gifts-Restricted gifts can be difficult for not-for-profits to manage. Unlike unrestricted gifts, these donations can’t go into your general operating fund and be used where they’re most needed. Some donors will be determined to make restricted gifts, but you may be able to persuade others to remove restrictions if you explain how the money will be used in a responsible and mission-enhancing way. Provide donors with sample bequest language that refers to your general fund. Use similar language in fundraising materials and thank-you letters. Contact us for more ideas (February 13, 2019) Click here for full article.
Warning! 4 signs your nonprofit is in financial danger-To avert potential disaster and ensure your not-for-profit’s long-term survival, board members need to be alert to subtle signs of financial distress. These might include budget variances that aren’t easily explained or management dipping into operational reserves. Also be wary of financial statements that are late, inconsistent or not prepared according to GAAP. And investigate if long-time donors express concern about your nonprofit’s finances or the executive director starts to overstep his or her authority. Contact us if you suspect financial trouble. (February 6, 2019) Click here for full article.
Don't let unemployment insurance fleece your nonprofit- As an employer, your nonprofit must pay unemployment tax. But there's no reason you should overpay due to errors or even fraud. You may also have the option of becoming a "reimbursing employer". (January 23, 2019) Click here for full article.
The operating reserve is your nonprofit's financial safety net- What is an operating reserve? Cash set aside for a rainy day? Is it the same as a nonprofit's net worth? And how much is too little, or too much? Read on for some answers. (January 16, 2019) Click here for full article.
Charitable donations: Unraveling the mystery of motivation- There are probably as many motivations as there are charitable donors, and most people have more than one reason to support a particular nonprofit. We look at a few less-obvious factors. (January 9, 2019) Click here for full article.
Are your volunteers putting your nonprofit at risk?- Volunteers can expose your nonprofit to as mush risk as paid staffers. So treat them almost like they are employees. Here's how. (January 2, 2019) Click here for full article.
Nonprofits: Look before you leap international borders- If your nonprofit is thinking about expanding abroad in 2019, make sure you're aware of the factors that could determine your foreign venture's success. (December 26, 2018) Click here for full article.
5 questions can help nonprofits avoid accounting and tax mistakes- Many nonprofits' accounting and tax policies and processes aren't quite up to snuff, potentially putting them at risk of making serious mistakes. Find out if your organization might be among them. (December 19, 2018) Click here for full article.
Financial best practices for religious congregations- Because religious congregations are subject to less IRS scrutiny than even their fellow nonprofits, it's especially critical that these organizations follow some financial best practices. Learn what they are. (December 12, 2018) Click here for full article.
Nonprofit member surveys: Do's and don't's for the 5 D's- When planning member surveys, your nonprofit should focus on the "5 D's" to help ensure the success of your efforts. (December 5, 2018) Click here for full article.
3 ways to improve development and accounting collaboration- Do your development and accounting departments work as independent silos? This can be dangerous to your nonprofit's fiscal health. We have three tips for improving collaboration. (November 28, 2018) Click here for full article.
Don't let the "commerciality doctrine" trip up your nonprofit- Courts have ruled that some nonprofits' otherwise exempt activities are substantially the same as those of commercial entities and revoked their tax-exempt status. Here's how your organization can avoid this fate. (November 21, 2018) Click here for full article.
5 delegation best practices for nonprofit leaders- Nonprofit executives simply can't do it all. If your organization is busy and growing, it's critical you learn when to delegate to staffers and how to encourage them to effectively accomplish the new tasks. (November 14, 2018) Click here for full article.
How fiscal sponsorships work for established- and fledgling- charities- If your organization is approached about "sponsoring" a fledgling charity without 501(c)(3) status, be careful. For a fiscal sponsorship to boost your nonprofit's profile you need to enure the right fit. (November 7, 2018) Click here for full article.
Make your nonprofit's accounting function more efficient- If your nonprofit's accounting staff is having trouble with its workload, look for ways to improve efficiency. Adopt these six tips and you can reduce frustration as well as boost timeliness and accuracy. (October 31, 2018) Click here for full article.
How successfully has your nonprofit shifted from overhead to impact?- Bye-bye, overhead ratios! Hello, "impact"! What does focusing on the broader effects of nonprofit spending mean to your organization? (October 24, 2018) Click here for full article.
Why your nonprofit's internal and year-end financial statements may differ- If your nonprofit's periodic financial statements fail to jibe with your auditor's year-end statements, you may think someone is at fault. Actually, there can be perfectly good reasons why the numbers are different. (October 17, 2018) Click here for full article.
The fine are of valuing donated property- Your nonprofit should calculate the value of noncash, donated items using fair market value(FMV). But that's harder than it sounds. Read on to learn about the three factors that are relevant to FMV. (October 10, 2018) Click here for full article.
Nonprofits: Here's how to embrace accountability- How accountable is your nonprofit? The answer can affect everything from the donations and grants you receive to the people who want to work and volunteer for you. Review these best practices. (October 3, 2018) Click here for full article.
Using insurnace to manage your nonprofit's risk - Many kinds of insurance policies are available to nonprofits, but it's unlikely your organization needs all of them. How do you determine which ones are essential based on your nonprofit's risks and budgets? (September 26, 2018) Click here for full article.
Leadership's role during a nonprofit's merger - Nonprofit leaders may think they can turn over the logistics of a merger or acquisition to their professional advisors. But executives and board memebrs play a critical role during the five major phases of the merger process. (September 19, 2018) Click here for full article.
Volunteers are assets nonprofits must protect - If you don't treat your volunteers like the valuable financial assets they are, you may lose them. Learn four ways to keep them happy and engaged. (September 12, 2018) Click here for full article.
Compensating nonprofit board members - Despite some drawbacks, compensating board members may make sense for your nonprofit, but be carefule to follow all applicable rules and regulations. (September 5, 2018) Click here for full article.
When should you reconsider a special event? - Special events can be huge moneymakers for nonprofits. But sometimes they can be money pits, costing much more than the funds they raise. Here are some tips for avoidig an unprofitable event. (August 29, 2018) Click here for full article.
Make a licensing agreement work for your nonprofit - When licensing agreements work, both charities and companies win. But to help ensure an arrangement doesn't cause PR and other problems, you'll need to perform due dilligence before signing an greement. (August 22, 2018) Click here for full article.
Nonprofits should be prepared for sudden outpouring of support - Is your nonprofit ready for a surge in donations? It could happen following a natural disaster or other event that affects the community you serve. Prepare now. (August 15, 2018) Click here for full article.
Steering your nonprofit through its growth stage - Growth-stage nonprofits are generally in a more comfortable financial position than at their inception. But even if you've cultivated funding sources, you must find ways to maintain growth and address other growing pains issues. (August 8, 2018) Click here for full article.
Update your nonprofit's social media policy - Social Media has changed a lot in the past few years. To use it effectively, you must pay attention to developments and revise your social media policy as needed. Find out what you should address and what should be updated. (August 1, 2018) Click here for full article.
Why nonprofits might want to revisit the Donor Bill of Rights - Trust and respect are critical components of a nonprofit/donor relationship. The 10 best practices detailed in the Donor Bill of Rights can help your organization communicate its commitment to these values. (July 25, 2018) Click here for full article.
How private foundations can avoid accusations of self-dealing - Private foundations that violate conflict-of-interest rules risk costly taxes and even loss of their tax-exempt status. That's why you need to know what types of transactions are off-limits and which stakeholders are prohibited from participating in them. (July 18, 2018) Click here for full article.
When it comes to revenue, nonprofits need to think like auditors- If you want to make the best-informed decisions about your nonprofit's future, rigorously review your revenue figures. Revenus data can enhance activities from budget development to goal setting. (July 11, 2018) Click here for full article.
Data analystics can help solve your nonprofit's biggest challenges - Is your nonprofit considering new initiatives or cost-cutting measures? Could you use solid data to validate trends, uncover root causes and improve transparency? Data alaytics may be the solution. (July 5, 2018) Click here for full article.
Holding a fundraising auction? Make sure your nonprofit is tax-compliant - There's more to a fundraising auction that solicting items and preparing bid forms. If your nonprofit doesn't fulfill substantiation requirements, you might not get future doantions and, in some circumstancsm the IRS could impose penalties. (June 27, 2018) Click here for full article.
Should your nonprofit hold virtual board meetings? - Virtual board meetings aren't without obstacles. But for many nonprofits, they can ease board member attendance problems and even recruitment challenges. (June 20, 2018) Click here for full article.
Make the most of your fundraising with simple metrics - If your nonprofit wants to make better decisions when allocationg limited fundraising resources, get in the habit measuring your cost ratio and return on investment. (June 13, 2018) Click here for full article.
3 steps to a more ethical organization - It's not enough to have a mission statement. Your organization also needs a code of ethics that explains how to practice your values. To create a code, follow these three steps. (June 6, 2018) Click here for full article.
Does your nonprofit properly report donations? - Do Forms 8282 and 8283 sound familiar? If not, your nonprofit may be neglecting to file required forms about donations or to obtain required forms from donors. Learn more so that your organization can avoid penalties. (May 30, 2018) Click here for full article.
Financial sustainability and your nonprofit - Short-term thinking may get your nonprofit through the day, but it won’t enable you to serve your community for years into the future. Learn what your organization can do to help ensure its financial sustainability. (May 23, 2018) Click here for full article.
Procurement procedures: Is your nonprofit really in compliance? - Short-term thinking may get your nonprofit through the day, but it won’t enable you to serve your community for years into the future. Learn what your organization can do to help ensure its financial sustainability. (May 16, 2018) Click here for full article.
Knowing whether income is sponsorship or advertising - If your nonprofit receives income from sponsorships or advertising, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two and the potential unrelated business income tax consequences. (May 9, 2018) Click here for full article.
Three ideas for recruiting nonprofit volunteers - Need volunteers? Join the club. Most nonprofits struggle to maintain sufficient volunteer staffing levels. But there are relatively simple ways to recruit extra hands. Consider these three. (May 2, 2018) Click here for full article.
Accounting for pledges isn't as simple as it might seem - If you don’t record donor pledges in the right financial period, you could run into audit issues and put your nonprofit’s funding in jeopardy. Here’s how to recognize such promises properly. (April 25, 2018) Click here for full article.
Should your nonprofit have an advisory board?- Advisory board members aren't responsible for governing your nonprofit the way regular board members are. But they nevertheless have an important role to play. (April 18, 2018) Click here for full article.
Four steps to boosting positive PR for your nonprofit - Getting your nonprofit in the news in a positive way broadens its exposure, enhances its credibility and enables you to spread the word about your mission. To attract more media attention, try these four steps. (April 11, 2018) Click here for full article.
Finding a bookkeeper for your nonprofit - Nonprofit bookkeepers may be required to handle everything from accounts payable to audit preparation to sending donor acknowledgments. To find the right bookkeeper for your organization, follow these tips. (April 4, 2018) Click here for full article.
Mature nonprofits face changing priorities - Your mature nonprofit probably maintains adequate operating reserves and sufficient cash on hand to support daily operations. But what are you doing to increase impact and sustain financial stability? (March 28, 2018) Click here for full article.
Make telecommuting work for your nonprofit - Allowing employees to telecommute can help reduce expenses, enhance recruiting efforts and promote greater productivity. But there are several issues to consider before you give staffers the go-ahead. (March 21, 2018) Click here for full article.
Is your nonprofit's board providing adequate fiscal oversight? - Your board needs to ensure that your nonprofit has reliable operating cash flow, avoids unnecessary risk and adheres to accounting policies. If members aren’t qualified to make these calls, you may need to look beyond your current board. (March 14, 2018) Click here for full article.
It's time for nonprofits to embrace the cloud - If your nonprofit hasn’t yet moved to “the cloud,” it’s worth considering. Cloud computing can offer stronger security and significant cost savings, among other benefits. But look before you leap. (February 28, 2018) Click here for full article.
Boosting the matching gifts your nonprofit receives - Gift-matching enables donors to make larger contributions than they can manage on their own. Knowing their gift will be matched, they might even bump up the amount. Your nonprofit can foster matching in several ways. (February 21, 2018) Click here for full article.
Making the most of your nonprofit's internal audit function - Your nonprofit’s internal auditors have a unique perspective on your organization’s operations and financial condition. Are you making the most of their knowledge and expertise? (February 14, 2018) Click here for full article.
How nonprofits can regain their tax-exempt status - If your nonprofit has lost its tax-exempt status due to an automatic revocation, you can apply to regain your status by filing Form 1023 or 1024. Here’s how to support your application. (January 31, 2018) Click here for full article.
Collaborating for a cause: Nonprofit alliances - Before forming a strategic alliance with another organization, ensure that it shares your nonprofit’s values and is able to live up to its financial commitments. Consider these tips for success, too. (January 24, 2018) Click here for full article.
What nonprofits need to know about the new tax law - The higher standard deduction is only one of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions that require nonprofits to revisit and possibly revise their financial assumptions. Here are a few more. (January 17, 2018) Click here for full article.
Conflict-of-interest checklist for nonprofits - Does your nonprofit have a conflict-of-interest policy? Are board members required to pledge to disclose all possible conflicts? To protect your exempt status, review this checklist of best practices. (January 10, 2018) Click here for full article.
Don't let donor fatigue erode support for your nonprofit - A dedicated donor base is critical to your nonprofit’s future. Prevent donor fatigue by changing up your fundraising tactics. (January 3, 2018) Click here for full article.