State Associations in the News

Study shows nonprofits have huge impact on local economy

June 28, 2014

Montana Nonprofit AssociationBozeman itself is one of the largest markets for nonprofits, according to a 2013 report from the Montana Nonprofit Association. It has 170 wage-paying nonprofits that pay out more than $111 million in wages each year, which underscores the impact that nonprofits have on the state economy, said Liz Moore, executive director for the MNA. Overall, nonprofits in Montana pay $1.5 billion in [wages] each year while employing almost 11 percent of the workforce in the state, she said.

For Maryland nonprofits, time is money

June 28, 2014

Maryland NonprofitsOverall, companies aren't giving as much money as they used to, according to a recent Giving USA report, leaving Maryland nonprofits to scramble for alternatives sources of funding. The study found that corporate giving fell 3.2 percent to $17.88 billion in 2013 compared to the year before, while personal donation rose 2.7 percent to $240.6 billion. But some companies are also shifting toward more volunteer work.

The decline in corporate giving puzzles Greg Cantori, president and CEO of Maryland Nonprofits, which serves more than 1,000 nonprofits in the state.

"It's distressing because companies have been hanging onto cash and not giving up their capital base. It doesn't make sense to me," Cantori said. "They're not hiring unless they absolutely have to."

How Philanthropy Is Changing the Culture on Full Cost Funding

June 13, 2014

Breaking the nonprofit starvation cycle is not easy, but exciting progress keeps happening. To keep that momentum going, a great deal of culture change is needed. It is an entrenched mindset that has existed for a long time, one that asks nonprofit organizations to eke by with little to no administrative expenses; in response, nonprofit organizations are accustomed to scaling back, making do with as little as possible, while their capacity and potential for innovation dies on the vine.

Donors ForumBut change is happening. Donors Forum convened more than 30 foundation CEOs in May to talk about some significant changes:

In the public sector, after significant advocacy from national groups like the National Council of Nonprofits, the federal Office of Management and Budget has issued guidance stating that at least ten percent of federal dollars awarded to nonprofit grantees should pay for their indirect costs. This gives government funders a chance to pay the real costs needed to generate outstanding, sustainable outcomes. Additionally, leading websites such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar are moving away from using overhead costs as a measure of organizational efficiency. Instead, they are developing ways to measure the outcomes organizations produce.

Charity Enforcement Bill Unanimously Approved By California Lawmakers

June 2, 2014

CalNonprofitsKris Lev-Twombly, director of public policy at the California Association of Nonprofits, said that his organization was first alerted to Assemblyman Allen’s intent to crack down on fraudulent nonprofits in the beginning of the legislative year. An article in the Orange County Register hinted he was looking at placing a cap on the amount of money nonprofits were allowed to spend on overhead. This was a proposal that Lev-Twombly said concerned them.

“That would have really wreaked havoc on smaller organizations,” said Lev-Twombly. “There are a lot of legitimate organizations that rely on in-kind donations that don’t show up as program expenses. We don’t think that kind of law is a good fit for California.”

Lev-Twombly said CAN immediately reached out to Allen’s staff after reading the article. Though they acknowledged that was one of the ways they were looking at to solve the problem of scam charities, they listened to CAN’s concerns and that proposal was not bought forward.

Nonprofits Look for Varying State Actions as Nonprofit Revitalizaton Act Deadlines Approach

June 2, 2014

New York Council of NonprofitsThe New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) has been arguing for months that nonprofits -- particularly smaller, grass-roots nonprofit groups -- simply have not had time to understand and act on all the requirements of the law which was passed last June, but not signed by Governor Cuomo until December. NYCON CEO Doug Sauer explains that the law will require many nonprofits to change their committee structures, reconsider board memberships and the assignment of board members to various committees, re-write conflict of interest policies, and more.  These actions are complicated, says Sauer, and they can take considerable time to accomplish, particularly in cases where they may require approval by association membership votes which themselves may require complicated and time consuming notification periods


Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New YorkMichael Clark, President of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC) also indicated that his group was not pressing for an extension.  “We are reconfirming our support for the original legislation and our commitment to its enforcement,” he said.

Clark added, however, that this commitment came “with the understanding that the Governor will be creating an administrative fix so the Grants Gateway process will not become a problem for any nonprofit that does not meet the July 1st deadline”.

Fighting back, Michigan nonprofits say they stabilized state economy during downturn

May 29, 2014

Michigan Nonprofit AssociationDonna Murray-Brown, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, said nonprofits' durability during the 2008 housing crisis illustrates the industry stepping up during a time of need. 

"Many times it's during an economic crisis that's when the needs of nonprofits escalate," she said. "It is the sense of stability that the community can rely upon, know there are providers out there to pull them through."

But while nonprofits maintained employment numbers across the state, the industry suffered legislative setbacks in recent years. In 2013, Michigan eliminated income tax deductions for donations to many nonprofits, including community foundations, state universities, public libraries, homeless shelters, and food banks. The move saved the state $35 million per year, but took away a popular tax credit that encouraged donations to nonprofits. The result? Donations are down this year, Murray-Brown said.

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.

Wage Fight Poses Dilemma for Nonprofits Squeezed by State Funding

May 18, 2014

To help blunt the impact on charities, some state nonprofit associations have mounted dual lobbying campaigns to increase both the minimum wage and state reimbursement levels.

Maryland NonprofitsMaryland Nonprofits, for example, backed legislation that the legislature approved last month to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016, calling it an “important step to stem the growth of income inequality.” But it also supported a measure that was approved by lawmakers requiring the state to increase payments to nonprofits that help people with developmental disabilities so they can pay their workers a certain percentage above the minimum wage.

Minnesota Council of NonprofitsThe Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and other advocates won their campaign to increase the state’s minimum wage: The governor signed a measure last month to increase the rate to $9.50 for large employers by 2016. But the council also threw its weight behind an advocacy campaign to increase by 5 percent the state’s rates for nonprofits that provide community-based services to older adults and people with disabilities, a proposal the legislature was considering in the final days of its session. Ms. Potter of Access of Red River Valley says she appreciated that the association took her concerns into account. But, she adds, the 5-percent increase “doesn’t begin to get us even close to where we were five years ago.”

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