Summertime is a great time to kick back and get some deals. We’re bringing you the Blue Avocado with sizzle. In this issue you can sign up for free phone calls with Blue Avocado writers Kim Klein and Vu Le, webinars with Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman, not to mention a couple of cool free accounting products, and discounts on Charity Channel books and Nonprofit Quarterly. Wow!
The rules: sign up for any of these deals within these 4 days or they're gone: Tuesday, July 15-Friday, July 18, 2014. All deals/registrations close at 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific on Friday, July 18.
Our next regular issue (#99) will come to you in September with What Board Members Need to Know About Overhead, an accounting/compliance guide to nonprofit auctions, nonprofit humor, and more. And we're ramping up for our 100th issue celebration in October! --Susan Sanow, Blue Avocado Project Manager and Jan Masaoka, Blue Avocado Publisher
What is Kim Klein Thinking About Now?
Monday, August 4, 2014 12 noon pacific/3 pm eastern
Free! Where else would you get to sit in with legendary speaker, writer and advocate Kim Klein, interviewed by Jan Masaoka and you can ask your questions, too? In this live 60-minute interview we'll hear the backstory to some of Kim's most provocative Blue Avocado articles (such as Coming Out as a Christianand Nonprofit Tax Quiz). And we'll hear what most delights and outrages Kim these days. Don't forget: free, but you must click here to register by July 18.
What's So Funny, Vu?
Monday, August 18, 2014 10 am pacific/1 pm eastern
Free! You already love reading Vu Le, Blue Avocado humor columnist and Seattle nonprofit leader. Join a free conversation with Vu and Jan Masaoka to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how Vu manages to be so bitingly funny yet still searching for unicorns.
While listening, you can practice his Nonprofit Yoga poses, too. What questions do you want to ask Vu -- besides where he gets his great haircut? Suggestions for future column topics? Sign up free by July 18.
Board Recruitment Time? Use the Blue Ribbon Nominating Committee Technique
Monday, August 11, 2014 10 am pacific/1 pm eastern
Free! Speaker: Jan Masaoka, Founder and Editor, Blue Avocado and CEO of CalNonprofits
Board recruitment discussions often start with the tired question, "Who do we know?" Instead, let's start with "What board members do we need to accomplish our most pressing tasks this year?" Tested successfully with hundreds of nonprofits, we'll also tackle some difficult questions such as whether and how to recruit people of different races or educational backgrounds and whether to have fundraising or donation requirements. Click here to register free . . . only through July 18 of course.
What are Nonprofit CFOs Like and What Do They Want?
Free webinar Monday, August 25, 2014 12 noon pacific/3 eastern
Steve Zimmerman,CPA,MBA, Spectrum Nonprofit Services
In this exclusive-to-Blue-Avocado webinar, co-researcher Steve Zimmerman will recap the findings of the national Nonprofit CFO Study where more than 900 folks weighed in. He'll reveal some surprises about this crucial but often overlooked staff including educational backgrounds, workload, what they think of how their boards understand finance and whether they think their CEOs make fair salaries. And answer all of your questions about it, too. Register here by July 18!
Nonprofit Quarterly discounts
Thank goodness for Rick Cohen and Nonprofit Quarterly; if they weren't covering issues, who would? Rick's articles probing foundation fiscal misadventures and government-nonprofit fiascos, the status of African American museums and more should be required reading. Just for Blue Avocado readers, NPQ is offering a $15 discount on a one-year subscription to its print magazine. In addition to the discount, you will receive the NPQ compendium, How to Create Great Nonprofit Management Teams, from Boards to Leadership -- available for download after checkout. To redeem click here by July 18!
It's a Blue Avocado Happy Hour Meet-Up!
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 5:30 pm in San Francisco
Pull up a seat at the bar, but there's room for just 35 of our readers! E-mail me (Susan) the title of a favorite Blue Avocado article to email@example.com Friday, July 18, 2014 at 9 am pacific/12 noon eastern. If you are among the first 35 responders, you will be sent the secret location to join Jan Masaoka and friends at a San Francisco site Sept 9, 2014, 5:30 pm – 8 pm for no-host fun (light appetizers provided). If you live, work or just happen to be in the area, this will be fun.
Jitasa Offers Free Finance Dashboard Presentation for Your Board
Tired of dull eyes around the table as you walk through the same financial statements and reports yet again? Let Jitasa create dynamic financials dashboards and board presentations from your financials so you can articulate the story behind your numbers -- to the board, the staff, and even yourself.
Jitasa is pleased to offer a free one time service for Blue Avocado readers. Your Jitasa Financial Analyst will:
Set up your Executive Financial Dashboard with financials from your QuickBooks system*
Create a dynamic PowerPoint presentation of financials for your board meeting
Offer limited to the first 100 respondents who sign up before July 18 at 5 pm pacific/8 pm eastern. Questions? Email Ron Kwak, Director of Marketing at ron.kwak at jitasa.is. Where to sign up? Here.
CharityChannel books: sizzling book discounts
Why read a mystery on the beach when you could be reading a nonprofit management book at a 15% discount? CharityChannel Press offers their entire collection to Blue Avocado readers for 15% off . . . books, manuals, in any quantity, but just for the four-day bonus issue period (July 15 – July 18). You can order as many times as you want over the four-day period.
Start by shopping here, and when you're ready to order, use the code blue and you’ll receive the 15% discount. This offer can be used as many times as you want over the four-day period, but the offer may not be combined with any other offer except for additional discounts for bulk purchases.
Need More Sizzle This Summer?
Here are some upcoming summertime Bacon Festivals:
7/18 – 7/20 – Bacon & Barrels – Los Olivos, CA
8/2/14 – Baconfest VA – Roanoke, VA
8/2/14 – Omaha Beer & Bacon Fest – Omaha, NE
8/2/14 – Big Bite Bacon Fest – Long Beach, CA
8/16/14 – Central City Bacon Tour – Central City, CO
8/16/14 – Indiana Bacon Festival – Delphi, IN
8/23/14 – Bacon-Fest – Kansas City, MO
8/23/14 – Bacon, Sports & Beer Celebration 2.0 – Chicago, IL
8/30/14 – Hormel Black Label Bacon Fest – San Diego, CA
9/1/14 – Bacon Labor Day – Simpsonville, SC
If you enjoy Blue Avocado and/or appreciate these special offers, please make a donation to our sponsor American Nonprofits (you can specify it is for Blue Avocado). We're like public tv: free for everyone -- including our 64,000 subscribers -- but we realy on donations from folks like you. And don't forget to pass along Blue Avocado to your friends, co-workers, co-board members and others. Thanks! -- Susan and Jan
Planned giving professional Greg Lassonde gives us step-by-step instructions for soliciting bequests and planned gifts, and sets this in the context of paradigm changes in the field:
While there is a growing amount of data about the importance of legacy giving, two statistics about prospects stand out above the others:
· 70% of Americans and 80% of Canadians give to charity during their lifetimes
· Fewer than 5% make a legacy gift
This discrepancy offers us an opportunity to reach more donors for legacy gifts than we thought were available, In fact, surprisingly, the majority of legacy gifts (both dollars and numbers) for almost all organizations come from donors who have not been major givers previously.
This article is adapted from a presentation made to Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). Our deepest thanks to Unmi Song for speaking these truths:
Good afternoon; I am Unmi Song, President of the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. The overhead issue is one of the most important -- and most neglected -- topics that funders should be thinking about and discussing.
There is a lot of buzz around "impact" and "outcomes" and "evidence-based practices." But there is not enough buzz around what it takes for nonprofits to achieve these things.
What I've learned recently is that the assumptions we funders have about overhead are wrong! If we think . . .
Is staffing a committee more like herding cats or like herding turtles? Actually it's more like Dancing with the Stars. An important skill for nonprofit managers is knowing how to support a committee of volunteers, such as an Advisory Committee, a Board Finance Committee, or a coalition:
Staff at many levels support your organization’s volunteer committees. For instance, an administrative assistant may support a committee that is planning the spring fundraiser. Or the CFO may support the board Finance Committee. And, of course, the executive director supports the board.
When supporting a committee, the most seductive trap for a staffperson is . . .
Kirk Kramer of The Bridgespan Group suggests some new approaches to leadership development in his recent papers. For Blue Avocado readers, he cuts right to the chase:
Blue Avocado: Kirk, what's the single most interesting point you have to make about nonprofit leadership development?
Kirk: As an executive director, hold your senior leaders responsible for developing future leaders. Add "developing leaders" to their goals for the year and hold them accountable to it, just like you would any other goal.
Maybe in some mythic past it was possible to think first about strategic impact goals, and then about how to raise the money. But today we know better: you can't talk about what you're going to do without talking about how to get the money. And, you can't talk about how to get money without talking about what you're going to do.This piece is adapted from a chapter inNonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman.
What is sustainability?
Most of us in the nonprofit sector are familiar with setting programmatic goals. For instance, we might set a goal of reducing high school dropout rates by 10% in our community, or a goal of increasing the quality of the observations of one hundred amateur astronomy clubs. Nevertheless, we often aren't sure what our financial goals are, or even what they should be. If the financial goal in a for-profit company is to maximize profit, should our goal be to have $0 profit? Or should it be to grow an endowment of $10 million, or to have a surplus of 5%, or a deficit of no more than $50,000?
In classical economics, the answer to this question is . . .
What if you got a chance to chat over coffee with a deeply experienced, witty, and smart gay leader about the movement for marriage equality? He might say something you haven't seen elsewhere about the campaign. Listen in on a conversation with Matt Foreman(left, with Francisco De Leon to right):
Matt, isn't the Freedom to Marry movement a huge, unexpected, and unqualified success?
Well, yes. But frankly, I’m also a little conflicted about the issue. Fifteen years ago, when activists started pushing marriage equality in New York and I was lobbying for pro-gay legislation, I said "Folks, stay the hell out of Albany -- we can't even get a hate crimes bill passed because it would include the dreaded words 'sexual orientation' and you want us to put marriage on the table? No way, no how!"
I was convinced that marriage would have stalled and derailed . . .
Jack Shakely, former president of the California Community Foundation, takes a different tack (with a little wisecracking) on what to do about the Citizens United decision allowing for-profit corporations to spend unlimited funds on electoral campaigns:
A few weeks ago I received a breathless email (if such things exist) crowing that California had become the sixth state to pass a law demanding a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizen's United Supreme Court decision on political campaign spending by corporations. Great! I thought: now all we need is two-thirds approval in both the House and Senate, then ratification by thirty-two more states, assuming the six stay on board. Good luck with that.
Then I thought about Citizens United in a new way.
In 1931, a New York community foundation created the first donor-advised funds (DAFs). But although the term was widely used for 75 years, the phrase "donor advised fund" was not codified until 2006 when Congress passed pension and charity reform legislation.
Most donor-advised funds are held at two types of institutions:
Community foundations, where donor-advised funds are typically the large majority of assets held and grants made
Large financial institutions that handle stock-trading, mutual funds and other for-profit investments; they have now expanded into DAFs, a nonprofit analogue that’s a logical extension to their existing business and skill sets.
The IRS describes the features of a donor-advised fund:
Donors contribute to an administering 501(c)(3) to establish -- fund -- a DAF. The charity keeps accounting track of each DAF separately.
Contributions to the DAF cannot be taken back by the donor. Contributions qualify for an income tax deduction at the time of the donation, governed by the usual deduction rules and rates.
The donor has the right to recommend grants from the DAF to qualified charitable recipients. The sponsoring organization may not be legally required accept the recommendation (although implementing the donor's recommendation is the basis of the business model).
In contrast to a private foundation, a DAF typically affords the advantages of two kinds of anonymity for a donor. First, the donor's identity need not be disclosed to the nonprofit which receives a donation from the donor's DAF. Second, the administering organization (a community foundation or Fidelity, say) does not have to report on its 990 grants from DAFs on a fund-by-fund basis.
The DAF administering ("sponsoring") organization typically provides the legal, administrative, investment management, and accounting work for DAFs. Compared to creating a private foundation, DAFs are often lower cost to administer for a donor.
For example, let's say that donor Phil A. Thropy has a high income year, and makes a $1 million donation to a donor-advised fund at Fidelity. That year he can deduct $1 million from his taxable income. The following year, Phil directs $50,000 from his DAF to his alma mater Harvard and $20,000 towards the YMCA. Over the next years (without limit), Phil makes grants from his DAF and can add funds to it as well. He pays Fidelity annually a fee of 0.6% (60 basis points) to administer the fund. (Fidelity charges low amounts for higher deposits.)
When Phil dies, the ability to direct the DAF passes to his heirs or designee. Community foundations often ask DAF donors for a provision that states after the second or third designee, any remaining funds would revert to the community foundation's general fund. In other words, Phil's daughter could continue making grants out of the DAF after his death, but if Phil had agreed to such a provision, upon his daughter's death any remaining funds would become unrestricted assets of the foundation.
How much money is in DAFs?
How many DAFs are there with how much money? The most recent data released by the IRS is for tax year 2006:
More recently, The National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) published its 2011 Donor-Advised Fund Report. Intended to be "highly indicative" rather than "accurate," NPT collected data voluntarily offered by 478 administering institutions. NPT found that these 478 administered 162,000 DAFS with assets of $30 billion and charitable giving of $6.2 billion.
To return to the article that accompanies this sidebar, "Donor-Advised Funds: Non-Transparent Tax Shelters for Good," click here.