Council of Nonprofits in the News

Nonprofits concerned, confused over Anne Arundel grant rule

May 26, 2014

David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, called the three-year stipulation unusual, particularly if the group provides services the government does not.

Forcing nonprofits to find funding outside of government grants is a common theme across the country as state and federal governments have cut back in an economy still dealing with the after effects of the 2008 recession. But he said time-limits don’t make sense for nonprofits trying to build “continuity.”

“The national trend is the opposite,” Thompson said. “It makes terrible sense (as an) across the board policy.”

Reboot: IRS Revising Political Activity Rules

May 23, 2014

The IRS typically holds a regulatory public hearing before revising regulations, according to David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits. That public hearing was expected sometime this summer but given the huge response during the public comment period in this case, he said it made little sense to have a public hearing on regulations that will be changed anyway.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep fanning the flames of flawed regulations when you know you will revise them,” said Thompson. “It makes sense for them to downplay it too. They’re doing something that just makes sense,” he said. “It presumes there will be a major rewrite but they can’t say that.”

Lisa Maruyama on the business of nonprofits

May 23, 2014

Hawai`i Alliance of Nonprofit OrganizationsLisa Maruyama heads the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations, which serves as a voice for Hawaii’s nonprofits. She says the 2014 legislative session was fairly quiet in terms of how it affected local nonprofits, and talk of the financial impact of federal sequestration has died down. She talked with PBN about an issue facing many nonprofits — how paid staffs and volunteer board members can work together.

Critics Say New Short Form for Tax-Exempt Status Will Draw 'Cheats’

May 22, 2014

Critics of the short form, including the National Council of Nonprofits and the National Association of State Charity Officers, say the current long version of the application serves important purposes: It educates applicants about the requirements for tax exemption and helps the IRS screen out unscrupulous organizations.

The short form would “undercut the credibility of the entire nonprofit sector,” by allowing “cheats” an easy method of getting an exemption, says Tim Delaney, president of the National Council of Nonprofits.

Mr. Delaney likens the short form to doing away with testing for a driver’s license and relying exclusively on the police to keep roads safe through enforcement.

Government-funded nonprofits slammed; fixes seen

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

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

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)

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.

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