News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.
On Tuesday, September 22, representatives of Michigan’s nonprofit organizations will gather in Lansing for the annual Michigan Nonprofit Day. This is the one day each year that nonprofits and our state legislative representatives (individually and collectively) focus on the nonprofit sector. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss.
Highlights of the day include:
- Morning Breakfast Plenary with co-chairs of the Michigan Legislative Nonprofit Caucus
- Keynote address by Robert Egger, Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen and author of Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All
- One-on-one meetings with House and Senate members
- Lunch with Legislators
- Mini breakout sessions on making sure everyone is counted in the Census, basics of lobbying and advocacy, grassroots mobilization and media advocacy in a digital world
- VIP Tour of the State Capitol
Never met with a senator or representative? Two webinars will be held for registrants prior to Nonprofit Day to help prepare you for productive meetings, either individually or in groups.
Information and registration
Michigan Nonprofit Day
Just as important―and some would say more important―as a fund development audit, is a risk management audit.
Nonprofits are governed by many of the same laws and liabilities as for-profit businesses, and some additional ones related to tax-exempt status and charitable donations. Whether newly-formed or operating for years, many nonprofits neglect the business side of their organizations because they “don't know what they don't know” or are concentrating so hard on doing their mission-driven work. Especially vulnerable are long-time all-volunteer organizations.
If your organization hasn't conducted a risk assessment or audit in the past year, or ever, now is the time, before a crisis occurs. Like a fund development audit, it starts with an evaluation of your organization’s governance decisions, policies, and insurance coverage to determine which ones are working for you or against you or missing all together.
On July 15, Dan Willson of Lighthouse Agency will lead our Roundtable discussion on the risk management side of operating a nonprofit and answer your liability exposure and coverage questions. He will provide a checklist of items to review for a variety of situations so you can start an audit immediately.
Additional resources are available at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center website which, this summer, is focusing on employment law issues for nonprofits. A big question being covered is: Are summer interns considered employees under state and federal laws? Visit www.nonprofitrisk.org for the answer.
ONEplace recently hosted a webinar on evaluating your fund development plan. The speaker, Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE, encouraged participants to measure the philanthropic culture and practices of their organizations on a regular basis and to conduct a formal development audit before starting any new or significantly different funding strategy.
Our economic environment has changed considerably and, many predict, permanently. This calls for “new or significantly different funding strategies” for every nonprofit going forward. Before trying new ideas or stopping current activities, take a close look at your overall development plan through an audit. Don't think you have a development plan? Whether written, or not, what you are doing to bring money into your NP, is your current “plan.”
What is involved in a development audit?
- A comprehensive examination of past and current fund raising activities: annual fund to capital campaigns, special events, personal solicitations, planned giving programs, newsletter asks, memorials... everything.
- An assessment of their value to the organization in terms of amount of money raised, and “human resources” (staff, board, volunteers) and technology (software, hardware, training), needed to raise the money-the return on investment
- A review of policies and procedures related to fund raising
- A review of external factors affecting your fund raising abilities
- Recommendations for increasing effectiveness in all of these areas
What a development audit is not.
- A “blame game,” rather it is a tool for improving your development program and strategically meet your fund raising goals through the best use of human assets and technologies
Who conducts a development audit?
Start with internal assessment using some of the tools available at Capital Venture or Society for Nonprofit Organizations or Association for Fundraising Professionals. Lysakowski the recommends utilizing an independent, third party who can talk with all of your audiences (internally and externally) in a neutral, confidential manner, summarize their candid input, and make recommendations for improvement.
Whether starting a new fiscal year with fresh hopes, gearing up for “regular” fall fund raising activities, or facing a financial crisis, investing some time, and perhaps money, in a development audit will pay off.
Taking an impartial look at what you've been doing, and the outcomes being realized, will help your organization plan and execute fundraising initiatives more strategically.
Workshops and Webinars
Workshops and webinars focusing on concepts and skills for building fund development capacities are being offered by ONEplace, the Nonprofit Alliance in Battle Creek, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids. Check Workshops and Event schedules regularly for current and new offerings.
Workshops, Webinars, Peer-Learning
On June 22, President Obama launched United We Serve, calling on all Americans to help in our nation's recovery by volunteering in our communities this summer. The initiative runs for 81 days, until the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 and is being coordinated by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“This summer, I’m calling on all of you to make volunteerism and community service part of your daily life and the life of the nation,” said President Obama. “And when I say ‘all,’ I mean everyone—young and old, from every background, all across the country. We need individuals, community organizations, corporations, foundations, and our government to be part of this effort.
“The challenges we face are unprecedented in their size and scope, and we cannot rely on quick fixes or easy answers to put us on the road to recovery,” said President Obama. “Economic recovery is as much about what you're doing in your communities as what we're doing in Washington – and it's going to take all of us, working together.”
By visiting www.serve.gov and entering your zip code you can find local opportunities, post organizational projects, and get ideas for creating projects.
Kalamazoo has always had a high level of volunteerism. This initiative in these critical time urges each of us to reach out wider and deeper. Are you involved in new or bigger volunteer projects this summer?
Let us know by submitting a comment. And, thanks for volunteering.
President Barack Obama signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act