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Council of Nonprofits in the News

Government-funded nonprofits slammed; fixes seen

Posted: 
May 21, 2014

A second report, by the National Council of Nonprofits, says that problems in government-nonprofit contracting systems throughout the U.S. are “profound, thoroughly documented and, most importantly, solvable.”

Solutions recommended in the report are “tested, free or relatively inexpensive,” and readily available,” says the report, “Toward Common Sense Contracting: What Taxpayers Deserve.”

Nonprofits Cite Headaches in Government Contract Work

Posted: 
May 15, 2014

State governments owed each nonprofit about $200,000 on average, the federal government owed $109,000, and local governments $85,000, the survey found.

The late payments have required groups to tap lines of credit and seek bridge funding from private donors and foundations, says Tim Delaney, president of the National Council of Nonprofits. Those donors, he says, should be outraged.

“They should be upset they are subsidizing government operations.”

Mr. Delaney says that in some instances, changes in policy can help minimize aggravation. For instance, he points to a federal Office of Management and Budget regulation that allows nonprofits to carve out at least 10 percent of government grants for overhead, such as rent and utilities. The change, which will begin in December, could lower the number of nonprofits (currently 75 percent) that say government payments don’t cover the full cost of contracted services, he says.

Judge Rejects New York’s Salary, Contract Caps

Posted: 
May 1, 2014

“We didn’t like the proposal in the first place, because it’s arbitrary limits being placed on nonprofits doing their jobs,” said David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, D.C. “We felt the salary cap and administration costs cap are wrong and bad policy. I hope the executive order will be withdrawn and more consistent policy be put in place instead.”

Thompson cited the federal Office of Management and Budget issuing guidance in December regarding administration or indirect costs. “OMB said nonprofits receiving federal funds have to pay legitimate indirect costs and empowered nonprofits to negotiate, with a 10 percent minimum,” said Thompson. He believes New York should follow OMB’s lead.

New York Council of NonprofitsDoug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council for Nonprofits, based in Albany, said that while New York’s nonprofits cheered the verdict, it’s just one piece of an increasingly complex regulatory puzzle for nonprofits in New York. “There was the executive order. There’s a lot of governance regulations around the Office of Medicaid Inspector General, the Nonprofit Revitalization Act. Then there’s the Grants Gateway initiative, which is supposed to make applying for grants easier but has created a whole other set of compliance standards,” said Sauer. “With the accumulation of regulations, our people are feeling battered and confused.”

Sauer said striking the regulations from the DOH was the right move. “With the administration cap particularly, there’s a lot of angst,” he said. “The government is placing increasing administration burdens on nonprofits and at the same time is not compensating for those burdens. Regarding the executive compensation, there’s a lot of regulation around that but no demonstrated proof that it has any impact whatsoever. This (ruling) provides an opening (to attack regulations in other departments), and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other challenges.”

The Giving Guide: 5 Things to Ask Before Donating to a Charity (And 5 Things That Shouldn’t Discourage You)

Posted: 
April 17, 2014

I’s no wonder that Americans are known as the most generous people in the world. In 2012, Americans donated more than $316 billion to charity, 3.5 percent more than they did the year before — and nearly three-quarters of the money that went to public nonprofits came from individual donors.

But while many Americans are eager to support their cause, with 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone, it’s not always clear which organization deserves to receive their money. To help figure it out, NationSwell talked to Jennifer Chandler, vice president and director of network support and knowledge sharing at the National Council of Nonprofits, a resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Of course, the first thing you should consider is whether the nonprofit is fiscally responsible, she says. But beyond that, Chandler outlines five other key questions to ask before choosing a charity, as well as five “problems” that shouldn’t dissuade you from giving.

Six Changes for Nonprofits as Results of the Affordable Care Act

Posted: 
April 3, 2014

A possible victory for the nonprofit sector occurred when nonprofit advocates, led significantly by the National Council of Nonprofits, reminded the White House that its proposed small employer health insurance credit—a tax credit against business earnings—didn’t work for nonprofits, which typically generate little or no profit-like surplus. The White House modified the incentive so that nonprofits could benefit, though at a lower level than for-profit business employers. Nonetheless, it appears that small nonprofit employers—and for-profits as well—were scarce participants in this incentive program, despite the fact that it was an incentive meant to be operational just about immediately after the ACA’s enactment.

Weaving the Threads of Public Policy and Philanthropy

Posted: 
March 18, 2014

What was the most compelling message we heard while in D.C.? Colleague Tim Delaney, President and CEO of National Council of Nonprofits, offered a powerful case for shifting foundations’ immediate attention to the state policy landscape. Why? The numbers tell the story: since 2011 the states passed 109,000 laws while Congress passed 360. Many of these laws target the charitable sector. NonProfit Quarterly recently published Tim’s call to action entitled Foundations Can Rewrite History by Focusing on the States, a must-read about new and widespread state efforts to tax, cost shift and constrain nonprofit independence.

Keeping an Eye on the Ball

Posted: 
March 12, 2014

While in Washington, we had the opportunity to also hear from President of the National Council of Nonprofits Tim Delaney, the always passionate, highly articulate advocate for our country’s nonprofit sector. NCN is the national association working directly with our colleagues at theCenter for Non-Profits.  Tim did a masterful job of illustrating that the most seriously significant policy and legislative proposals affecting our field nationally are actually happening at the state level.  Then he shared this amazing bit of information: while Congress passed fewer than 80 laws in 2013 (including some naming post offices) state legislatures adopted almost 40,000.  According to Tim, informed policy practitioners see the arc of history being written now at that state level.

Tax Board Bans Recording Equipment In Hearing Involving Nonprofit

Posted: 
March 12, 2014

Denials of property tax exemptions for nonprofits seem to be a growing tactic of cash-strapped state and local government, said David Thompson, vice president of the National Council of Nonprofits. His organization has been tracking tax exemption denials as well as fees imposed by government on nonprofits.

"In recent years, local government has been turning to nonprofits as a new source of revenue," he said. "Nonprofits that were the jewels in the crown of a city just five years ago are now treated as scofflaws subject to the scorn of local politicians. The politicians blame the nonprofits rather than facing the budget challenges head on."

Thompson said that when government imposes taxes and fees on nonprofits, it robs organizations of things they've been commissioned to do. 

"What the local politicians see as 'found money' are in fact resources dedicated to the community that have been donated by individuals who feel the nonprofits — and not the government — are best qualified to solve local problems." he said.

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