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Nonprofits Should Focus Where the Action Is: In the States

Posted: 
February 27, 2014

Tim Delaney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, made the following statement in response to the tax reform proposal put forth by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI):  

“The National Council of Nonprofits urges charitable nonprofits to keep their advocacy efforts focused on activities in their state capitals and city halls rather than getting distracted by the latest federal tax reform proposal that is sure to generate lots of media attention. For the time being, charitable nonprofits should stay the course of focusing on the real legislative opportunities and threats in the states. In 2013, Congress enacted fewer than 80 bills, while states approved nearly 40,000 new laws. This year is likely to see the similar results.  

“Nonetheless, Chairman Camp’s 979-page package should not be ignored. Over the next several months, its various components will be parsed and analyzed. For instance, the package contains a proposal – a two-percent AGI floor on charitable giving – that pleases economists who have been challenging charitable giving incentives for years. But their unproven theories could have devastating real-world consequences by diminishing charitable resources for communities.  

“In recent years, similar theories for tinkering with charitable giving have been tried in the states – after endorsement by powerful Washington politicians – and the results have been disastrous. For example, the President’s proposal to cap itemized deductions was enacted in modified form in Hawai`i in 2011, only to be repealed for charitable giving in 2013 due to the harmful consequences to the community. Several other states considered the cap on charitable deductions in 2013 and largely rejected it. Likewise, the call to convert tax deductions into tax credits – a proposal seen in several other federal tax-reform packages – was seriously considered before being rejected in Minnesota last year.  

“The charitable nonprofit community and the people they serve have a great deal at stake in the tax reform debate, which too often looks at the donors without considering community needs. For now, charitable nonprofits should focus their advocacy efforts in the states, where the challenges are real, and not be distracted by the headlines in Washington.”  

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

Statement from National Council of Nonprofits on OMB Grant Reforms

Posted: 
December 19, 2013

Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, made the following statement in response to today's release for public inspection by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of "Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards" to streamline federal grants rules and procedures:

“The new guidance from OMB makes one point perfectly clear: that governments should pay the actual costs of the work performed under written agreements on their behalf. Once the new OMB grants guidance goes into effect, governments at all levels will be required to pay the indirect costs incurred by charitable nonprofits for services provided in communities when federal funds are involved.

The new guidance means that nonprofits should be able to focus more on their missions and should be under less pressure to raise additional funds to essentially subsidize governments. In turn, charities with no government contracts or grants could see less competition for scarce philanthropic dollars. This is a major win for the entire charitable nonprofit community.

“At issue is the clear requirement in the guidance that pass-through entities (typically state and local governments) reimburse their nonprofit contractors and grantees for their reasonable indirect costs, sometimes called administrative or overhead expenses. A nationwide study published December 5th by the Urban Institute found that governments arbitrarily limit indirect costs for necessary program and organizational expenses; one in four nonprofits (24 percent) reported that governments refuse to pay any indirect costs of the organization, and half (49 percent) reported that they were limited to 7 percent or less. This will no longer be tolerated when federal funds are involved.

“Other parts of the new guidance will allow nonprofits to focus more on delivering services in their communities, and spend less money on wasteful paperwork by raising the Single Audit threshold to $750,000, eliminating duplicative and unnecessary audit criteria, and clarifying cost allocation rules.

“The leaders at OMB are to be commended for acting on the concerns expressed during the regulatory process by charitable nonprofits contractors and grantees that are providing services in local communities across the country on behalf of governments. We look forward to continuing to work with OMB and governments at all levels to ensure fair treatment for nonprofit contractors and grantees, which will result in more efficient delivery of services.”

For more information on indirect costs and government contracting, see the National Council of Nonprofits' report, Investing for Impact: Indirect Costs Are Essential for Success, or visit our webpage on OMB grant reforms

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​The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve.

New White Paper Outlines Promising Solutions to Government-Nonprofit Contracting Problems

Posted: 
December 5, 2013

Washington, DC – A new white paper, issued today by the National Council of Nonprofits, provides actionable solutions to ongoing problems with government contracting and grant practices and procedures that hurt governments, nonprofits, and taxpayers.

Highlighting real-world examples of governments working with nonprofits to fix broken contracting systems, A Dozen Common Sense Solutions to Government-Nonprofit Contracting Problems illustrates twelve actions that governments and nonprofits can take, depending on the issues in their state or locality. These solutions, which directly address the problems outlined in Findings from the 2013 National Survey of Nonprofit‐Government Contracts and Grants by the Urban Institute, are designed to cut down on wastefully duplicative processes and ensure effective investment of taxpayer dollars.

“Nonprofits are community problem-solvers, so it’s no surprise that when government and nonprofits come together, solutions are not far behind. We’ve seen great strides in a few states since the initial reports documenting the problems were issued three years ago,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “This white paper provides a menu of proven, replicable solutions that other states can use to fix broken systems, save money, and work better with nonprofits to serve communities.”

The two reports released today, A Dozen Common Sense Solutions to Government-Nonprofit Contracting Problems from the National Council of Nonprofits and Nonprofit-Government Contracts and Grants: Findings from the 2013 National Survey from the Urban Institute, are part of a multi-year collaborative project of the National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. The project is designed to identify the scope and depth of the problems that charitable nonprofits face when performing work on behalf of governments pursuant to contracts and grants.

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

New Report Connects Reimbursement of Indirect Costs with Nonprofit Efficiency and Effectiveness

Posted: 
September 30, 2013

Council of Nonprofits releases fourth in a series of solutions-oriented “streamlining reports”
documenting issues with government-nonprofit contracting systems

Washington, DC - A new report details how a combination of governments’ inconsistent terminology, arbitrary application of those terms, and unrealistic expectations impair the ability of nonprofits to deliver services that governments at all levels contract with them to provide. The report, Investing for Impact: Indirect Costs Are Essential for Success, goes on to offer solutions that can result in even more efficient service delivery and better outcomes.

“This new report documents the harm created by government policies and practices that effectively force nonprofits to directly subsidize government programs by covering the actual indirect costs that are incurred while performing contracted services. This approach is not only unfair, but also unsustainable as nonprofits struggle in perpetual survival mode,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “The solutions are simple and fair: governments must standardize the terminology and pay for the full cost of services which they contract with nonprofits to provide.”

“It is clear that there is momentum now moving us in the right direction. Acknowledgements from nonprofit watchdog groups and the OMB show that people are beginning to understand how important indirect costs are to effective service delivery,” added Jack Jackson, Senior Vice President, Finance and CFO of Catholic Charities USA. “State officials can help accelerate that process to the benefit of their communities.”

Investing for Impact is the fourth report in a series offering state and local governments solutions to improve contracting processes with nonprofits in ways that improve services to the public, restore value for taxpayers, and strengthen communities over time. More information on government-nonprofit contracting issues, and these earlier resources, can be found at www.govtcontracting.org.

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org

National Task Force to Improve Government-Nonprofit Contracting Practices Begins Work

Posted: 
June 26, 2013

Washington, DC – Government officials and nonprofit leaders are coming together to identify and promote solutions to broken contracting systems.

As part of an ongoing initiative led by the National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits), the new National Government-Nonprofit Contracting Reform Task Force is identifying and promoting proven solutions that streamline contracting policies, improve outcomes, and save taxpayers money, all while maintaining or even increasing accountability.

Demonstrating the collaborative nature of the Task Force and the partnership necessary between governments and nonprofits to deliver results, the Task Force will be co-chaired by Fran Barrett, InterAgency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services in the New York Governor’s Office, and Barry Silverberg, President & CEO of the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO).

“The National Government-Nonprofit Contracting Reform Task Force brings together recognized experts with hands-on experience in government-nonprofit contracting,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “Governments and nonprofits recognize that the antiquated contracting ‘system’ is so broken that it has become a nationwide problem hurting taxpayers and the public. So we recruited Task Force members from government and nonprofits, each region of the country, and red and blue states to enable the experts to identify, exchange, and disseminate policies and practices that result in real systems improvements to best serve our communities.”

“In New York, we have recognized that the current contracting system imposes costly and burdensome challenges, so we have launched efforts to streamline processes that will save taxpayers money and allow nonprofits to focus more time on delivering results, rather than paperwork,” said Fran Barrett. “I look forward to working with my colleagues across the country to find and share more solutions to make this process more efficient nationwide.”

“Here in Texas, as a first step, government and nonprofits have been focusing on building relationships with each other so we can truly work in partnership to better serve our communities by improving contracting systems,” said Barry Silverberg. “I think that is where reform efforts need to start. I am eager to share what we’ve learned so far and to learn from the collective wisdom of others on the Task Force who have been seeking to improve their human services contracting systems as well."

The first meeting of the new Task Force will be held in Chicago at the end of June. Additional information on the Task Force and the Government-Nonprofit Contracting project can be found at www.govtcontracting.org.

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

 

 

Task Force Members

  • Fran Barrett, co-chair, InterAgency Coordinator for Not-for-Profit Services, New York Governor's Office
  • Barry Silverberg, co-chair, President & CEO, Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO)
  • Henry Bogdan, Managing Director, Public Policy and Advocacy, Maryland Nonprofits
  • Walter Davenport, Consultant/Corporate Director, Walter C. Davenport, CPA
  • Susan Dreyfus, President & CEO, Alliance for Children and Families
  • Matthew Hammoudeh, Assistant Secretary of Operations, Illinois Department of Health and Human Services
  • Jack Jackson, Senior Vice President for Finance/CFO, Catholic Charities USA
  • Tracy Kahlo, Executive Director, Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (PAVE)
  • Maggie McConnell, Assistant General Counsel for Business Services, Maricopa County Community College District
  • Naomi Munzner, Director, Office of Grants Management, Minnesota Department of Administration
  • Walter Sachs, Inspector General, Department of Management Services, Florida Department of Management Services
  • Michael Weekes, President & CEO, Providers' Council
  • Dace West, Director, Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships

Local Leader Elected to National Nonprofit Board

Posted: 
June 21, 2013

Washington, DC – The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) announced the election of Trisha Lester, Vice President of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, to its Board of Directors.

In discussing Lester’s election, Howard Barnett, President of Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences, and Board Chair of the Council of Nonprofits, said, “Trisha has long been a leader in the nonprofit sector and in the State Association network. As the Council of Nonprofits continues its work connecting nonprofits with tools and information across state lines, her wisdom and collaborative spirit will help move us forward.”

“Trisha has been instrumental to the growth and success of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits over the past two decades. Her insights on what it takes to build and manage a successful State Association will be a great asset to the network in the coming years.” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits.

Trisha Lester has served in a variety of roles for the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits since joining the organization in 1992. She was appointed vice president in 1999. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 30 years in the arts, higher education, and grantmaking. Trisha has served on the boards of the Nonprofits Mutual Risk Retention Group, Latino Community Development Center, N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, Leadership America N.C., and Volunteers for Youth. Selected as one of ten 2003 Eisenhower Fellows in North Carolina, she studied governance and organizational development issues of non-governmental organizations and grassroots organizing in civil society in Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

Founded in 1990, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits works to enrich North Carolina's communities and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and nonprofit voice. Today, it serves as an information center on effective practices in nonprofit organizations, a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole. It is the leading voice for nonprofit organizations across the state and represents more than 1,600 nonprofits. Learn more at www.ncnonprofits.org

Nonprofit Leader Recognized by National Colleagues for His Commitment to the Work of Charitable Nonprofits

Posted: 
June 20, 2013

Washington, DC – For his efforts on behalf of North Carolina’s nonprofits and the expertise and insights he has shared with his peers across the country, David Heinen, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, was awarded the second annual Flo Green Network Champion Award by the National Council of Nonprofits.

“David is the definition of a champion, a valiant fighter for nonprofits and the communities they serve,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “He has set a high bar for advocacy efforts at the state level and always works to help his peers clear it. The example David sets in sharing resources and insights constantly inspires others across the network to do the same, strengthening nonprofits nationwide and back in North Carolina.”

Brad Robinson, Member Services Director for the Montana Nonprofit Association and the first recipient of the Network Champion Award, said, “David fights day in and day out in the policy trenches, but always finds time to help and support his peers. Smart, effective, passionate, dedicated, supportive; all of these are words that have been used to describe David.”

David has served as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the North Carolina Center forNonprofits since 2007. Prior to that, he was an Associate Attorney at Dorn & Klamp, PC.

The award, now in its second year, was created in memory of Flo Green, longtime Executive Director of the California Association of Nonprofits and one of the founders of the Council of Nonprofits (then the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, or NCNA). The award honors an extraordinary leader who demonstrates a commitment to sharing knowledge and elevating the work of state associations of nonprofits.

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.

Founded in 1990, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits works to enrich North Carolina's communities and economy through a strong nonprofit sector and nonprofit voice. Today, it serves as an information center on effective practices in nonprofit organizations, a statewide network for nonprofit board and staff members, and an advocate for the nonprofit sector as a whole. It is the leading voice for nonprofit organizations across the state and represents more than 1,600 nonprofits. Learn more at www.ncnonprofits.org

Nonprofit Accountability Efforts Take A Leap Forward with Launch of New Nonprofit Audit Guide©

Posted: 
May 15, 2013

Washington, DC – A new, free online resource for staff and board members of charitable nonprofits, as well as the accountants that they work with, is being unveiled today by the National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits).

The Nonprofit Audit Guide©, created with support from the First Nonprofit Foundation, is the first comprehensive, web-based resource for nonprofits that explains the complex requirements and process for a financial audit. The Guide includes:

  • A 50-state guide to nonprofit audit requirements;
  • A step-by-step approach for managing an audit; and
  • Answers to frequently asked questions on audit requirements.

“We created this one-stop-shop to cut through the confusion and provide practical tools in an important area for nonprofit financial accountability and transparency,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits. “Equipping nonprofit staff, board members, consultants, and CPAs with this guide will help ensure a smooth process that allows staff to comply with important regulations with as little interruption as possible to their day-to-day work of serving their communities.”

“The Nonprofit Audit Guide© fills a major need in the nonprofit and financial sectors. The Council of Nonprofits, working with its nationwide network of State Associations, is uniquely positioned to provide this resource that identifies core audit requirements that are uniform across the country versus those that differ from state to state. We’re proud to provide the support to make this Guide possible,” said Trish Shanahan, Interim Executive Director of the First Nonprofit Foundation.

The Nonprofit Audit Guide can be found at www.councilofnonprofits.org/nonprofit-audit-guide and will be updated regularly with new resources.

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