Nonprofit Life & Style

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Worth Reading & Why
Take a 3 Minute Vacation Right Now

Rewrite the Script When These Characters Show Up in Workplace Politics

At some point, each of us joined the nonprofit sector as a starry-eyed idealist. Take a second now and channel that spirit: you were ready for a change, you were ready for action and you were determined, resourceful and optimistic. And why shouldn't you have been? You were going to change the world. In fact, you have. But somewhere along the way came that moment of disillusionment when you realized that wonderful intentions don't always equal harmony, much less success. In fact, nonprofit organizations can be just as political (if not more so!) than their for-profit counterparts. But just like their for-profit counterparts, a toxic workplace can cost time, money and hurt service delivery.

IRS Nullifies Section 501(c)(3) . . . Issue #95 April 1 2014

April 1, 2014 . . . Blue Avocado is in secret merger talks with the Red Cross, Greenpeace,Yellow Ribon Fund, Purple Heart Foundation, American Black Film Festival, and Brown University. "At last, there will be a place where wounded veterans can make films about college students eating guacamole in disaster areas," said a spokesman.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time," said circusman P.T. Barnum famously, "but you can only fool all of the people on April Fool's Day." Here are the winning entries in our contest for stories "impacting" the nonprofit sector today. -- Susan Sanow and Jan Masaoka

IRS Announces Recall of Section 501(c)(3)

From Paul Sussman, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, San Francisco

The Internal Revenue Service announced today the recall of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code due to "unwieldy and inconsistent requirements" that can cause "extreme inconvenience, high operating costs, and in rare cases, . . .

Three Minute Vacation: Talk to Yourself

Guaranteed, you'll end up talking to yourself as you read the 22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other. Here's a look at word choice, pronunciations and accents from across the United States. (tip: look for the GO RIGHT arrow in the upper-ish right to get to the next map)

Would you say, "So, you guys, I am putting on my sneakers, grabbing a submarine, hopping on the highway and heading to the city," or would you say "So y'all, I am putting on my tennis shoes, grabbing a hoagie, hopping on the freeway and heading to the city" and mean the same thing.

We may all be speaking American English, but we're worlds apart. Not to mention those English-speaking New Zealanders. And if only we could better understand the language differences between grantmakers and grantseekers!

Take a 3-Minute Vacation Right Now: A Different Kind of Fact

Some days it feels like the nonprofit sector emits a constant drumbeat of dismaying statistics about how awful the world is. And then, because we are always told we have to be positive, we add in a little story about how one or two people are overcoming the odds. Unintentionally, this juxtaposition creates an impression of the nonprofit sector where we are helping five people do better while 87% of their population is in terrible shape.

So here's a little, temporary antidote: some facts that will make you happy.

Is it April 1 Yet? Blue Avocado #86

At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." (As a regular nonprofit, we could never have considered suspending operations for long periods of time in order to plan.)

Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers?

There's other great news in April for nonprofits. Read on. --Jan Masaoka

Obama Administration Hires Senior Official Not from the Gates Foundation
Submitted by Michael Edwards

In a move that sent shock waves

through Washington and the Gates Foundation, President Obama has appointed 55-year-old Dolores Pinata to head a new blue-ribbon Commission on the Future of Philanthropy. Pinata, a 30-year veteran of community organizing in Arizona, was selected ahead of the favorite for the post, 19-year-old Josh McKinsey, an intern at the Gates Foundation.

New Law To Require Nonprofit CEOs to Carry Handguns
Submitted by Penny Eardley, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Health Foundation

Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill's sponsor, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.

Flexible Straws for the Sick Sucks
Submitted by Lee Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ViewPoint Peer Counseling, Cameron Park, California

Flexible Straws for the Sick, a New York-based nonprofit has a serious problem. When the organization gave 2,000 flexible straws to people with the flu, they intended to serve all in need. The supply of chicken soup did not last. Now there are over 500 sick people with just flexible straws for relief.

Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement
Submitted by Dan Lozier, Pastor, Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa

Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards saying "Too Little to Fail". "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.

Conflict Resolution Nonprofit Finds New Revenue Stream
Sumibtted by Leanne Jaskowiak, Peacemaker Resources, Bemidji, Minnesota

The staff of Peacemaker Resources will be fanning out on April 1, 2013 to create conflicts in retail stores, restaurants, school offices, law enforcement agencies and elsewhere. All requests for mediation arising from conflicts created on April 1 will receive a 35% discount from the Peacemaker Resources.

Pope-A-Palooza and Tom's Shoes
Submitted by Sara Sternberger, Executive Director, Bridging, Twin Cities, Minnesota

During the month of April, for every pair of red loafers purchased from Tom's Shoes, another pair will be donated to the new Pope. "This is just another way that Pope Francis can reach out to the masses while supporting a good cause," said a Vatican spokesperson.

Supreme Court Bows to Facebook

"I was convinced by all those red equal signs on Facebook," said swing voter Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. "How could I vote against same-sex marriage given those?" he asked. The Court appeared deadlocked, though, on whether the national dance should be Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.

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Congratulations to Blue Avocado readers for submitting items for this special April Fool's Day issue: Penny Eardley, Cathy Enright, Michael Edwards, Leslie Garvin, Leanne Jaskowiak, Lee Kaplan, Dan Lozier, Sarah Martinez-Helfman and Sara Sternberger. Your books are on the way!

Who picked the winners, anyway? Thanks to our judges Siobhan Kelley of the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group (and part of the Ask Rita team), Blue Avocado humor columnist Vu Le, and Blue Avocado project manager Susan Sanow. They know April Fool's Day funny when they see it!

NEXT ISSUE: Our next "regular" issue comes out next week . . . keep your eye out for What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Healthcare Reform, Have Your Cake and Restrict It Too, Matrix Map for Financial Sustainability, and more. JM

At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." (As a regular nonprofit, we could never have considered suspending operations for long periods of time in order to plan.)

Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers?

There's other great news in April for nonprofits. Read on. --Jan Masaoka

Obama Administration Hires Senior Official Not from the Gates Foundation
Submitted by Michael Edwards

In a move that sent shock waves through Washington and the Gates Foundation, President Obama has appointed 55-year-old Dolores Pinata to head a new blue-ribbon Commission on the Future of Philanthropy. Pinata, a 30-year veteran of community organizing in Arizona, was selected ahead of the favorite for the post, 19-year-old Josh McKinsey, an intern at the Gates Foundation.

New Law To Require Nonprofit CEOs to Carry Handguns
Submitted by Penny Eardley, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Health Foundation

Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill's sponsors, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.

Flexible Straws for the Sick Sucks
Submitted by Lee Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ViewPoint Peer Counseling, Cameron Park, California

Flexible Straws for the Sick, a New York-based nonprofit, has a serious problem. When the organization gave 2,000 flexible straws to people with the flu, they intended to serve all in need. The supply of chicken soup did not last. Now there are over 500 sick people with just flexible straws for relief.

Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement
Submitted by Dan Lozier, Pastor, Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa

Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards saying "Too Little to Fail". "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.

Conflict Resolution Nonprofit Finds New Revenue Stream
Sumibtted by Leanne Jaskowiak, Peacemaker Resources, Bemidji, Minnesota

The staff of Peacemaker Resources will be fanning out on April 1, 2013 to create conflicts in retail stores, restaurants, school offices, law enforcement agencies and elsewhere. All requests for mediation arising from conflicts created on April 1 will receive a 35% discount from the Peacemaker Resources.

Pope-A-Palooza and Tom's Shoes
Submitted by Sara Sternberger, Executive Director, Bridging, Twin Cities, Minnesota

During the month of April, for every pair of red loafers purchased from Tom's Shoes, another pair will be donated to the new Pope. "This is just another way that Pope Francis can reach out to the masses while supporting a good cause," said a Vatican spokesperson.

Supreme Court bows to Facebook

"I was convinced by all those red equal signs on Facebook," said swing voter Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. "How could I vote against same-sex marriage given those?" he asked. The Court appeared deadlocked, though, on whether the national dance should be Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.

***********

Congratulations to Blue Avocado readers for submitting the winning items for this special April Fool's Day issue: Penny Eardley, Cathy Enright, Michael Edwards, Leslie Garvin, Leanne Jaskowiak, Lee Kaplan, Dan Lozier, Sarah Martinez-Helfman and Sara Sternberger. Your books are on the way! And for the dozens of others who submitted . . . better luck next contest.

Who picked the winners, anyway? Thanks to our judges Siobhan Kelley of the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group (and part of the Ask Rita team), Blue Avocado humor columnist Vu Le and Blue Avocado project manager Susan Sanow. They know April Fool's Day funny when they see it!

NEXT ISSUE: Our next "regular" issue comes out next week . . . keep your eye out for What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Healthcare Reform, Have Your Cake and Restrict It Too, Matrix Map for Financial Sustainability, and more. JM

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