Networks produce. They add value, as proven last year when nonprofits gained more capacity - and mutual moral support - by coming together through their state and national networks to exchange insights and learn from each other. By contributing their own perceptions and knowledge about a shared nationwide experience, nonprofits helped themselves and others navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Networks also multiply power, as shown last year when nonprofit networks amplified nonprofit voices for greater collective clout than individual nonprofits could have achieved on their own to advocate for – and obtain – much-needed financial relief from governments.
Networks generated core information for our newest resource for you, Strengthening State and Local Economies in Partnership with Nonprofits. Building on the shared experiences and expertise of nonprofits across our networks, we compiled information about dozens of programs from across the country where nonprofits are working together with state and local governments to deploy funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to improve their communities. We encourage you to use the report by sharing it with local government officials and replicating one or more of the programs in your community. And, if your community is making use of the American Rescue Plan Act funds in another way, let us know so others can learn from your example!
Keep reading this month’s Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly to learn about quick, easy, and important cybersecurity tips your nonprofit can implement today, how nonprofits can help the people they serve, their own employees, and the lives of children nationwide by spreading information about the new expanded Child Tax Credit that offers cash payments for the next six months, and how your nonprofit can save lives as the delta variant of COVID continues to surge.
Tips to Protect Your Nonprofit Today
Cybersecurity remains a hot topic for everyone – including nonprofits. One of the many evolving threats to your nonprofit’s data is that an attack might not target your organization directly, but instead may compromise your data indirectly through one of your service providers. This happened recently with the hack of Kaseya, which many IT companies use to provide remote monitoring and troubleshooting for their clients. Because there are so many elements to consider when it comes to cybersecurity, we’ll be featuring additional articles in the coming months on this topic. For now, we’ll start with two important – and easy – steps your nonprofit can take today:
Use a password manager. The days of a common password for an organization’s shared accounts are over. Staff turnover and the risk of all of your organization’s accounts being compromised if just one is attacked mean long overdue changes to this common practice. Every account needs a unique and secure password, yet there is no way to remember them all. This is where password managers come in. They establish unique, complex passwords for every account and easy ways to automatically, securely, and seamlessly share those passwords across the organization. And the good news is that several top-rated password managers offer nonprofit discounts, such as 1Password and DashLane.
Test and train. Most cyber breaches don’t happen through expert hackers breaking through a security system. In most cases, they find their way in through getting someone to click on a link that seems legitimate. Everyone thinks they can identify a spoof email, but it’s not as easy as you think. Companies like KnowBe4 offer the ability to set up free security tests for your users and set up an ongoing security awareness program for your organization.
Advanced Child Tax Credit Payments and Nonprofits
Starting this month, and continuing through the end of this year, the IRS will send payments of up to $250 or $300 each month, per child, to the parents or guardians of the 65 million eligible children under 18 years of age in the United States. Those parents and guardians include people nonprofits serve and nonprofit employees. A major strength of the new advance Child Tax Credit program is that payments will happen automatically without people having to fill out any paperwork. But what if it doesn’t happen “automatically,” as designed? It has been estimated that, while the new program will work smoothly for 88 percent of recipients, “4 million to 8 million eligible children are at risk of missing out,” and they likely do “not even know the ... obscure-sounding, and scarcely advertised policy exists.” Read on, because it takes a village to raise a child, and we all need to make sure that what has been described as the most significant anti-poverty program in 50+ years doesn't leave any child behind. See Are the People Your Nonprofit Serves and Nonprofit Employees Receiving the New Child Tax Credit Yet?
Saving Lives, One Person at a Time
“Another turning point. Another fork stuck in the road.” Those words, written by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, represent where we are today in fighting the pandemic. There is much to celebrate, with millions of people vaccinated and getting to see family members for the first time in more than a year. But millions more remain unvaccinated. Hundreds of Americans are still dying every day from COVID-19. The turning point at which we find ourselves is the rapidly surging delta variant, which threatens everyone – the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike – in part because it creates opportunity for deadlier mutations to emerge that evade current vaccines. And the new fork stuck in the road has four prongs: (1) those who are vaccinated, (2) those who are vaccine hesitant, (3) those who haven’t had adequate access to the vaccine, and (4) those who flat-out refuse. While we can’t convince every person to get vaccinated, nonprofits can help the middle two groups.
People have great trust in nonprofits, and we can help people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated learn the facts about how safe the vaccines are, how effective they are, and how getting vaccinated can help them get back to their lives and protect others.
We must also help people who want to be vaccinated, but have not had adequate access due to one or more obstacles to getting a vaccine. It might be a language barrier, a worry that the vaccine isn’t really free, a lack of transportation or childcare, or any other type of hurdle that is preventing someone who wants a vaccine from receiving one. Whatever the reason, you can help. It’s what nonprofits do. Not just improve lives, but actually save lives. Learn about the importance of the vaccines and how different nonprofits are helping their communities in our recent webinar.
We can do this. Tools to help are available. And remember, when you help one person get vaccinated, you could be saving not only that life, but many others as we fight to stop COVID-19 before other variants emerge.
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