An ice storm hit Kentucky this past Tuesday leaving about 500,000 households with no power. Gratefully Rob and I were not among them, so we opened our house to one of his colleagues and her two dogs. It's been interesting to see Cedar and the two new dogs figure out how to interact. The parallels between humans and animals can be very intriguing.
In the meantime, there continues to be interesting headlines related to nonprofits and the field of fundraising. While many foundations and corporate giving programs are being, shall we say, challenged, others are stepping up and committing to give more to support social service programs. Social networking continues to make buzz in our sector - although there are struggles related to measuring results and harnessing the full potential of this new two-way communication vehicle. Sources of these articles range from blogs and RSS feeds to more traditional e-newletters.
Here are some of last week's most interesting articles:
Half a Million Nonprofits Could Lose Their Tax Exemptions (Jan 2009, Guidestar Posting) Did you know that in May 2010, half a million nonprofits could find themselves stripped of their exempt status? The IRS estimates that that's the number of smaller organizations that have failed to file a Form 990-N. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 requires exempt organizations that don't meet the income thresholds for Form 990 or 990-EZ to file a new return with the IRS. The IRS created Form 990-N for this purpose, and smaller nonprofits began using it last year to report on tax years ending on or after December 31, 2007. http://www.guidestar.org/news/features/half_a_million.jsp?source=jan09nwsltr
Many Foundations Have Lost Almost One-Third of Their Assets, Chronicle Study Finds (January 26, 2009, Subscriber Update from The Chronicle of Philanthropy) The steep decline in the stock market last year triggered an erosion of foundation wealth, with many grant makers losing nearly one-third of their assets, according to a new Chronicle survey of some of the nation’s largest philanthropies. For the 57 grant makers that provided financial data for 2007 and 2008, endowments declined a median of 29 percent. http://philanthropy.com/news/updates/index.php?id=6881
Essential Cultivation Steps Before—and After—'The Ask' (Jan. 26, 2009, Association of Fundraising Professionals) The process of good donor relations does not stop once a gift has been made. It is just beginning, according to veteran fundraiser Laura Fredricks JD, LLC, who explains that stewardship goes far beyond the words “thank you.” “Particularly now I think donor relations is absolutely essential,” Fredricks explains. She views stewardship and cultivation as mirror images of one another. “Stewardship is simply cultivation that takes place after ‘the ask’,” she says. “Too many people view stewardship as recognition. It contains that element, but that is not the whole story.” http://www.afpnet.org/ka/ka-3.cfm?content_item_id=24785&folder_id=914
Social Networking Sucking in Adults Big Time: May be Right Channel for Your Nonprofit (January 27, 2009, Getting Attention Blog) Once again, the folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project have opened our eyes: The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years -- from 8% in 2005 to 35% now. The fact that mom and dad and maybe grandpa are on social networks, reported out in detail here, has huge implications for your nonprofit communications work tomorrow and a few for your work today: http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2009/01/social-networking-sucking-in-adults-big-time-may-be-right-channel-for-your-nonprofit.html
Bill Gates Issues First Annual Letter (January 27, 2009, Philanthropy News Digest) Bill Gates, who six months ago left Microsoft, the company he co-founded in 1975, to assume a full-time role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has released a public letter about the foundation's efforts to improve education and global public health, as well as the impact of the economic downturn on those efforts. In his first annual letter (20 pages, PDF), Gates pointed to the foundation's successes — and some of its failures — as it works to reduce the number of childhood deaths worldwide, improve agricultural outputs in Africa and South Asia, and close educational achievement gaps in the United States. http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=242400031
Nonprofits Hope for a Piece of Economic Stimulus Package (January 27, 2009, Philanthropy News Digest) As Congress digs in to negotiate President Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus package, advocates for groups on the front lines of the economic crisis hope that the nonprofit sector gets a piece of the stimulus pie, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The sector, which employs 10 percent of the workforce — more than the auto and steel industries combined — has seen its revenues plummet as foundations, corporations, and state and local governments cut back on their funding for nonprofits. http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=242400029
22 Ways A Blog Can Rock Your Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign (January 21, 2009, CorporateDollar.org) Last week I spoke with a national non-profit who was interested in hiring me to oversee their 2009 social media campaign. Before our call, they sent me a 37-page strategic plan for using social media to enhance awareness and fundraising for their non-profit. These women did their homework. They outlined everything they knew about the most popular social media sites and why they would be using them. But they left out one important element: Why Social Media? http://www.corporatedollar.org/2009/01/2-ways-blog-rock-nonprofits-social-media-campaign/
Corporate funders retool giving strategies (September 21, 2008, Texas Assn. of Nonprofit Organizations) Bucking the tide in the bleak economy, corporate giving at some of the largest U.S. companies is prospering, with some expecting to increase their giving. Increasingly aware of heightened community needs, some companies are looking beyond writing checks to help solve community problems with other resources. "We've continued to invest as a company and continued to grow the foundation," says Jim Whaley, president and CEO of the Siemens Foundation in Iselin, N.J. San Jose-based Cisco Systems also plans to increase its giving in the wake of higher earnings. http://www.tano.org/en/art/?103
$100 Million In New Grants (from Foundations and Corporations) Target Economic Crisis (January 29, 2009, NPT Instant Fundraising) The Foundation Center has been collecting the most recent data available on U.S. foundation support for the crisis and updating this information regularly on an interactive map and a daily RSS grant feed available at its Web site. “The new administration will have to take the lead in restoring America’s badly tattered social safety net,” said Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center. “In the meantime, foundations are doing what they do best: acting swiftly, reaching those too often forgotten, and piloting new approaches to deepening challenges.” http://ga0.org/ct/871U4on1hrNy/