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Nonprofit Knowledge Matters


“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” So said Bill Nye, and who’s going to argue with the Science Guy?! His classic wisdom inspires the theme of this edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Matters, which shares insights and trends we’ve been learning from others in the nonprofit community. We begin with a couple of lessons about diversity, equity, and inclusion before moving to an update on communications trends and some new developments to keep your nonprofit on the leading edge.

Why a “Culture Add” Is Better than “Culture Fit”

When hiring new employees, placing too much emphasis on finding someone who “fits” your organization’s current culture might be unconsciously restricting your nonprofit’s effectiveness. Instead of limiting your search for someone who will squeeze into and fit within your existing culture, hire someone who can add to and expand its culture and values. YW Boston contributed this excellent article to the blog of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, one of our members in Massachusetts. Read more from YW Boston about how your nonprofit can add to its culture.

More on adding to your organization’s culture

The Pursuit of “Earned Knowledge”

Horace said that “Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.” Stephen Heintz of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund underscores that truth in this personal story showing that “written history is not complete.” Using a trip to Montgomery, Alabama as the backdrop, Heintz illustrates through a simple occurrence why traditional learned knowledge often is not enough. We also need practical, real-world lived experience. Blending learned knowledge with lived experience can yield “earned knowledge,” which “can help unleash inclusion, bottom-up creativity, and bolder experimentation to uproot the legacies of inequity and violence that continue to plague our society.”

Webinar on Fixing the Rules Governing Government Grants

Governments rely on nonprofit organizations to provide services to individuals at all stages of their lives. Yet, governments are not always good partners when it comes to hiring and reimbursing nonprofits for the costs of providing those services. That could change for the better – and soon. The federal government recently proposed revisions to the primary law governing government grantmaking – the OMB Uniform Guidance – that could result in greater reimbursements for indirect costs, reduce administrative burdens, and increase transparency. Many nonprofits are asking: What would these changes mean? Do the revisions go far enough? Is there anything I can do to make things better? Learn more by joining a national webinar, Fixing the Rules Governing Government Grants, Monday, March 10, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern. This free program is presented by the networks of the National Council of Nonprofits and the National Human Services Assembly. Register now!

New Data on Nonprofit Impact

It’s not news that nonprofits have a tremendous impact in our communities. But nonprofits in Kentucky now have new data to demonstrate that impact. In the recently-released 2020 version of Kentucky Nonprofits: More Than Charity, the Kentucky Nonprofit Network relates that nonprofits are the fourth largest industry in the commonwealth, employing 9.8 percent of the private workforce, paying 10.6 percent of private industry wages, and spending $24 billion in Kentucky communities. Wow! Looking for data from other states? Check out Nonprofit Impact Matters and our microsite featuring state-by-state nonprofit data.

2020 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report

In her annual report on trends in nonprofit communications, Kivi Leroux Miller declares that “email deliverability and engagement are like the climate change of nonprofit communications,” with some people in denial about the problem and others wanting to fix it, but not knowing how. Without changes in these areas, many nonprofits may be looking at more of their messages landing in spam folders, instead of in front of supporters. The report also includes new data on how nonprofits are managing their email lists and engaging their social media followers.

New Forms for Nonprofits Raising Funds in California

Beginning February 1, California is requiring charitable nonprofits and professional fundraisers raising funds in the state to use new and updated forms. Gene Takagi of the NEO Law Group (who many regard as the go-to resource on nonprofit law, especially in California) provides a rundown of the new forms and how they differ from the old versions.

IRS Requiring Tax Exemption Forms to Be Filed Electronically

We’re saving this one for the end, since most of you reading this newsletter work for organizations that already have their tax-exempt status. Still, we want to share that IRS Form 1023, the form that needs to completed to earn recognition as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, now needs to be filed electronically. The shorter Form 1023-EZ (which you’ve probably heard us express concerns about) already needed to be completed online. As an added aid for people who are preparing to file the full Form 1023, the IRS also released an interactive Form 1023 tool that allows applicants to walk through the process before completing the actual filing.


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