Every non-profit organization begins with a mission statement. Over the years of serving clients, some nonprofits drift from their mission, while others are able to grip firmly to the mission that originally opened their doors. For those who are able to stick to their original mission, collaborations with other local organizations can play a key part in their success.
Ever changing client needs, a change in board members and key leaders in the organization, all of these can lead a nonprofit to drift from their original mission. By collaborating with other local organizations, client needs can be met without a radical change to your mission. Building relationships and open communication with other organizations is a key piece to any collaboration.
While most of us working in the non-profit world have been trained with the line of thinking that we need to be as frugal as possible in all areas of our organization, keeping overhead to 23% or less, there is another school of thought, which borrowing from the corporate world, says non-profits should spend more to make more.
In his book, Uncharitable, Dan Pallotta discusses the restraints of public expectations on non-profits and their spending. These often unrealistic expectations affect all aspects of non-profit organizations from trying to find ways to advertise with little or no marketing budget, to offering below average wages to organization employees. Even with limited spending, public expectation for professional collateral is equal to that of large corporations. So, how do non-profits keep up?
April 21 – 27, 2013 is National Volunteer Week. Most nonprofits will spend at least a day of that week recognizing and thanking volunteers. It is likely that your board members may join the staff in thanking the volunteers during the festivities. One problem…who is thanking the board?
Board members give of their time out of love for the mission, just like volunteers. They offer their professional expertise and guide the nonprofit to success. Too often, they are overlooked when it comes time for a thank you.
Though they waited until the 11th hour, Congress was able to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), avoiding the “Fiscal Cliff” for the time being. Since its passage on New Year’s Eve, non-profits and their donors have been trying to sort out the impact of this bill on their bottom line.
Many non-profits and donors worried that the bill would include a cap on itemized deductions, thus reducing donations and leaving a gap in budgets that were set, perhaps, last Fall. While this did not happen, the down side of the bill is that the “Pease” limitation, which donors have had a break from since 2001, has been reinstated, causing families earning more than $300,000 per year to face reduced deductions on itemization, including charitable giving, and, basically, a higher tax rate.
The economy has been the focus of many headlines over the past five years. Most people outside of the nonprofit world do not consider the impact that the ups and downs of the economy have on charitable organizations.
In October 2012, more than fifty percent of non-profits reported a lack of any increase in giving during the first 3 quarters of the year. The giving freeze is likely related to the salary freeze or decrease happening in companies large and small around the country. The same percentage of organizations facing the lack of increase in giving in 2012 expect the trend to continue into year-end giving, which is typically the largest giving period of any year. The recession has even seen some non-profits considering mergers to survive.