The theme for this month’s Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly was going to be "relief." Relief as vaccines are reaching millions more people daily. Relief as we could finally start thinking about what a return to in-person operations might look like. And a look at a couple of nonprofit-related provisions in recent COVID relief packages that benefit nonprofit organizations and people who work for them.
We still have those articles for you below, but recent events leave us confronting the truth that, even with relief from the COVID pandemic, we are nowhere near relief from the broader crises in our society. There are no words as we process the tragic killing of Daunte Wright and the footage of Caron Nazario being pulled over in Virginia. Our friends at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits have compiled some resources in this Twitter thread for anyone who would like to learn more and support efforts in the Minneapolis area. We also recommend checking out “Until Justice Just Is,” led by YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, to learn more about how we can all be part of the effort to end systemic racism and heal our nation. When will relief arrive? Never, if we just sit and wait. Relief will not arrive on its own. We each need to do our part.
Nonprofits and the path back to in-person operations
Although many staff and volunteers are eager to return to in-person operations, many questions need to be answered first. Can nonprofits require employees to be vaccinated? If vaccines can be required, should they be? With how much we’ve all learned about virtual volunteer opportunities, what does the future of volunteering look like? What messages are resonating as employers talk to employees about the importance of being vaccinated and continuing to mask up? To learn the answers to these and other questions, we hosted a national webinar last week to hear from experts in law, volunteerism, and messaging. You can tune in now to learn “What nonprofits need to know as staff and volunteers return from remote work to in-person operations.”
But even if we resolve the challenging issues inside our facilities, outside them many people in our communities still need to be vaccinated – and your nonprofit can play a role. There is a role for every nonprofit, not just for big or health-related nonprofits. We all can help the people we serve overcome the obstacles that many are facing right now as they try to get vaccination appointments and shots in their arms. In our other national webinar last week, “How every nonprofit can help the communities we serve get vaccinated,” we heard from renowned medical expert Dr. Vin Gupta about the latest on the pandemic and from Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, about the newly-launched COVID-19 Community Corps. As engaging as those speakers were, the highlight was hearing from frontline heroes: Astrid Aveledo, Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Grays Harbor & Pacific Counties in Washington; Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly in California; and Vanessa Fields, Director of Southeastern Halifax Coalition in North Carolina. Each leader shared how their organization is proactively problem-solving – not only seeing and listening for, but also anticipating and then eliminating the barriers that are preventing the people they serve from getting vaccinated. Language barriers, reading barriers, technological barriers (both access to and use of), trust barriers, transportation barriers, and more – all removed by these humble yet inspiring leaders. Through their actions, they proved that whether you help five people or 500 get vaccinated, your nonprofit can make a huge difference saving lives and serving communities.
In addition to viewing the webinar recordings, we invite you to visit our regularly-updated COVID-19 resources for nonprofits.
Are your donors waiting to be asked about their legacies?
Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Development professionals know this all too well. Potential supporters are often waiting to be engaged in thinking about how they can help your nonprofit serve the community. One of the most overlooked areas where nonprofits can increase support is legacy giving. One in three Americans say they would consider making a charitable bequest in their will or estate plan, if asked. Yet only 17 percent of donors who would be open to such a conversation have been invited by a nonprofit they support to create such a plan. That is a lot of missed shots for nonprofits. That’s why we’re hosting a webinar on April 21 at 3:30 pm Eastern. Expert Joe Tumolo will join us to share how your nonprofit can get started with a legacy giving program, even if you have limited fundraising capacity. All registrants will also receive a copy of our new guide to legacy giving, created in partnership with Neon One.
Is your nonprofit missing out on a valuable tax credit?
When the CARES Act was signed into law last year, nonprofits had to choose between using a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan or the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Understandably, most opted for a PPP loan that was more valuable.
The laws have since changed – in ways that can help many nonprofits. Congress improved the CARES Act in different ways for 2020 and for 2021 by including key changes in both the COVID relief law enacted last December and the American Rescue Plan Act passed last month. Now, nonprofits can claim the ERTC for wages not paid for by a forgiven PPP loan, plus more may be eligible for the ERTC.
We know that every dollar matters for nonprofits right now. Be sure yours isn’t missing out, if it is eligible for this tax credit. Learn more about the ERTC in this article from tax expert Steven Woolf.
Why working in the nonprofit sector really pays (off your student loan debt)
The chance to earn relief from student loan debt can be a powerful recruiting tool for nonprofits. A recent study by AIG Retirement Services found that 66 percent of public service employees called student debt their greatest financial stressor. Not only do nonprofit employees have the opportunity to serve their communities through their public service employment, but they can also see any remaining balance on their qualifying student loans forgiven, tax-free, after making ten years of on-time payments.
If you are reading this, you are probably already in the nonprofit sector. If you have been working your way toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), there is more good news. The CARES Act, and subsequent actions by the Department of Education, suspended federal student loan payments through September 30, 2021 – plus, you still receive credit for those months toward loan forgiveness.
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