Council of Nonprofits in the News

Republican’s Senate Wins Boost Prospects of Tax Changes for Nonprofits

November 5, 2014

A bill passed by the House, the "American Gives More Act," would make the charitable tax provisions permanent and give people until April 15 to claim a tax deduction on charitable gifts made the previous year.

The best chance for passage of those items is during the final two months of the current Congress, according to David Thompson, vice president for public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits.

"We want to resolve our issues now while we still can," he says.

Unhappy with your raise this year? In Washington, you’re not alone.

October 19, 2014

Industry representatives say hiring and pay decisions are driven by the need for specific skills in navigating the grant funding pipelines and soliciting donations. Nonprofits rely on a variety of funding sources for their revenue, but private donations and government contracts are among the largest. While government contracts are still in short supply, donations are beginning to rebound for the first time since the recession, prompting many nonprofits to invest more heavily in people who are adept at soliciting funds.

“It’s easier for people to find out about nonprofits, largely because of social media, so there is pressure on individual nonprofits to stand out a little more,” said Rick Cohen, a spokesman for the National Council of Nonprofits. “Having someone who knows how to navigate the grant system is really important.”

Taxpayers Face Squeeze on IRA Donations as Tax Extenders Languish

October 1, 2014

The National Council of Nonprofits, which represents smaller organizations, has “cautious optimism” that Congress will extend the IRA rollover provision in 2014, David Thompson, the group's vice president of public policy, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 30. Even with an extension through 2015, though, many modest-sized nonprofits would be hard-pressed to organize fundraising campaigns aimed at such donors in that window, he said.


The length of any extension may shape which charities benefit most, Thompson said. Big organizations can assemble a fundraising campaign quickly, while smaller groups with limited budgets often can't, he said. A two-year extension helps bigger groups the most, he said.

“Permanence helps small nonprofits,” Thompson said.

Nonprofits replace humdrum charity 5Ks with rappelling

September 17, 2014

“They're looking at ways that their organizations can stand out,” said Rick Cohen, spokesman for the Washington-based National Council of Nonprofits. “It's something that really catches someone's eye on social media, and that's becoming more part of the fundraising dynamic — something that you can see in your friend's Facebook feed and say, ‘I want to be a part of this.' ”

Senate should take up house-passed bill for charitable tax benefits, supporters say

August 7, 2014

Collectively, all the elements in the bill would help increase charitable giving to a variety of entities always in need of aid, its backers said.

In other words, the effects could be broad and the time to act is now, they said, regardless of the small number of days on the Senate calendar in September and lawmakers' expected focus on spending bills and little else.

“It's a short window of opportunity,” said the National Council of Nonprofits' vice president of public policy, David L. Thompson. “Every community gets a positive impact from this legislation, so my message is very simple: take care of your communities before you take care of yourselves when you go home for re-election.”

Nonprofits Can't Fix Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan

July 30, 2014

“Governments are offloading their responsibilities, expecting nonprofits to fill the void,” said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of NonProfits, the country’s largest network of nonprofit groups. And it’s a mistake to think that any charity can just rely on volunteerism and good will to support its activities.

“Churches and faith-based groups — it’s not through magic they perform miracles either. They have to have the wherewithal to get things done. The notion that any organization or any individual can do it on a sustainable basis without required basic resources, it just doesn’t fly in the face of reality,” said Delaney. 

In fact, nonprofits rely heavily on government grants and contracts to keep afloat in the first place. About 33% of all U.S. nonprofit revenue comes from the government, according to 2011 data from theUrban Institute. By comparison, private charitable giving made up only 13% of all revenue. (Most of the remainder comes from fees for private goods and services like tuition, ticket sales, hospital fees, etc.) 

Even Catholic Charities USA, which Ryan celebrates as an alternative to the federal bureaucracy, relies heavily on federal dollars: More than half of Catholic Charities USA’s annual funding comes from the federal government, Manhattan Institute senior fellow James Piereson writes in The Wall Street Journal,. That totaled $554 million in 2010. (Catholic Charities USA did not respond a request for comment.)

Oftentimes, those dollars don’t cover the full cost of administering social services, furthering exhausting nonprofit resources. More than 50% of nonprofits said that government payments don’t cover the full cost of contracted services, particularly in terms of administrative and overhead costs, according to a 2013 national survey conducted by the Urban Institute. “They still don’t pay the full cost and expect us to deliver miracles,” says Delaney.

IRS makes it easier to get tax-deductible donations. Maybe too EZ.

July 2, 2014

"It's almost like you are filling out a library card" application, said Tim Delaney, president and chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits.

The council has been urging the IRS to review and streamline the long form. But the short form goes "too far too fast, representing radical departures from proven protocols," it said in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget.

Nonprofits Watch Nervously as Watchdog Groups Multiply and Demand More

June 16, 2014

As the number of ratings groups grows, some in the nonprofit world worry that the sheer volume makes it hard to keep up.

Jennifer Chandler, vice president of the National Council of Nonprofits, says that while her members welcome the push for more transparency, they are concerned about the amount of time it will take to ensure that their information is current and accurate on multiple transparency-group websites.

"There are so many websites now for reviewing or evaluating public charities, one has to question whether one should spend your time reviewing these sites or accomplishing your mission," Ms. Chandler says. "But you have to think, ‘if I ignore even one of them, what’s the downside’?"

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