Resources of many kinds: What is American Nonprofits and what can it do for you?

Here at Blue Avocado, we work hard to bring you the most relevant and practical information for small to medium-sized nonprofits. But we couldn't do this work without our parent organization and publisher, American Nonprofits (AN). Working together to support community nonprofits, AN has created several new and exciting initiatives.

Short-term resources for long-term gain

Let's be honest, it's tough to make ends meet. And when you're waiting for a grant to materialize, or your reimbursement check to come through, you still have to keep the lights on. To complicate this matter more, most banks and even many community development financial institutions (CDFIs) don't lend to nonprofits for small, short-term loans. The reasons vary from lack of collateral to bank regulations, and either way, most nonprofits cannot access short-term, unsecured operating capital. Lenders have not found a way to do this effectively.

In response to repeated requests for access to short-term capital and additional resources, American Nonprofits has worked to provide more financial assistance to nonprofit organizations. Conceived of first as a member credit union, we've recently re-tooled our approach towards supporting small and medium nonprofits. Currently, we're trying to launch a fund based on the work of our friends at Nonprofit Insurance Alliance of California (NIAC).

NIAC members may be aware of the NIAC member loan fund. This revolving loan fund offers $50,000 loans to NIAC members for short-term cash flow needs at a 6% interest rate. Through this program, NIAC has lent out more than $3 million to organizations that would never qualify for bank debt. NIAC has helped homeless service organizations, theatre groups, advocacy groups, and more. Their default rate is zero percent, so we know it's working.

Based upon this successful model, American Nonprofits is now working to create a nonprofit revolving loan fund. We have secured $500,000 of loan capital and putting the finishing touches on another tranche. By the end of the year, we should have enough loan capital to start offering loans to American Nonprofit members in the San Francisco Bay Area. While the loan capital is small, ultimately, we will be applying for CDFI status so we can expand our reach and attract Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) funding from banks. When we are successful, this will open the doors to more financial support which we will in turn offer to you. We'll keep you up to date with the progress, but in the meantime, would love to hear your thoughts.

Sharing resources, sharing knowledge

Beyond trying to solve the credit issue for nonprofits, we're also ramping up our efforts to share more intellectual capital through a resource database. Over the last six months, we have been developing content for you via our webinars and through terrific tools and resources. Last month, we held two webinars on FASB changes and maximizing online donations. Based upon feedback, we'll be offering the FASB webinar again (Register here) thanks to our friends at Your Part Time Controller. We're also open to hearing from you about great resources for future webinars. If you know of any firms or consultants or other nonprofits that might be interested in hosting a webinar or sharing additional resources, please get in touch.

Until then, we'll keep building our multi-pronged approach to benefiting the community.

Together we are stronger.

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