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Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly


It’s tough to imagine the last year and a half without the heroism of emergency nurses. Forever on the front lines when any of us or our loved ones has a medical emergency, they treat, they heal, they comfort. Today, October 13th, is Emergency Nurses Day. Many of these emergency nurses are part of the nonprofit workforce, and many are not; they all deserve our appreciation. We invite you to join us in expressing deepfelt gratitude for their dedication and sacrifices during the pandemic and the many ways they keep us all in good health. Thank you!


This edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly includes some additional celebrations – of Hispanic Heritage Month and some great news for nonprofit employees with student loans – and some trends in potential workforce issues and cybersecurity. ad


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Even with only a few days left in Hispanic Heritage Month, there are many (nonprofit-related) ways to celebrate and learn. You can join the National Gallery of Art on Friday for a virtual conversation about Emilio Sanchez's Cañaverales. You can share Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s children’s book about embracing our differences: ¡Solo pregunta!: Sé Diferente, Sé Valiente, Sé Tú / Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, available from the nonprofit Supreme Court Historical Society. (It’s a terrific book and a favorite of this author’s young son.)


So, why does this celebration of Hispanic heritage run from September 15 until October 15, rather than being a calendar month? Because September 15 is the day that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared their independence from Spain. Also marking their independence during the month of celebrations are Mexico (Sept. 16), Chile (Sept. 18), and Belize (Sept. 21).


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Good News for Nonprofit Employees with Federal Student Loans

Thousands of nonprofit employees who came into the sector relying on the government’s promise through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and have been disappointed so far will finally have greater and easier access to that promised relief, thanks to short-term revisions detailed in a new fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Education. The temporary expansion is expected to help more than a half million borrowers, many of whom work at 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organizations. The plan includes a limited waiver to count all prior payments by borrowers (regardless of loan program), improved automation, simplified qualified payments and application process, and expanded outreach and communication to eligible borrowers.


A dismal 1% of borrowers have received forgiveness under PSLF due to the complicated eligibility rules, unnecessary hoops, dreadful oversight, inaccurate reporting, and poor communications spanning many years and several different Administrations since the inception of the program. These temporary changes should help thousands of people who work for nonprofits.


Nonprofit workers who believe they are eligible for forgiveness or wish to have their employment at their current charitable nonprofit employer certified should take action through the PSLF Help Tool. Our PSLF expert, Tiffany Gourley Carter, has more details on these temporary changes and what they mean for nonprofit employees. Additional information is expected soon.


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Not Simply Help Wanted - but Help Needed

The workforce crisis affecting many businesses that aren’t able to find enough workers is especially challenging for nonprofits. Nonprofits don’t have the same flexibility to increase wages to compete with big businesses. Whether we are funded through government contracts – most of which already don’t cover the full cost of services – or donations, finding the revenue to cover higher salaries isn’t easy. And, when nonprofits experience workforce shortages, it has negative effects on the people we serve. The Boston Globe looked at this phenomenon in-depth in “Human services agencies face staffing crisis, delaying services for those in need.” Michael Weekes, President & CEO of Providers’ Council in Massachusetts, shares more about the crisis that human services nonprofits in the Commonwealth are facing, and his organization's advocacy efforts to address the crisis, on our blog.


We also want to hear from you. Is your nonprofit facing a staffing shortage? What factors are creating the problem? What does it mean for the people your nonprofit serves? Please share your nonprofit’s experience in this quick survey so we can learn more about the scope of the issue and try to find solutions.



October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness MonthWe are proud to be joining the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance in efforts to improve cybersecurity and recognize Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The theme this year is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” There are resources available to share with your nonprofit’s staff and the people you serve in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, and Spanish (in addition to English). The resources include tips on everything from social media and identity theft to multi-factor authentication and phishing.


Each week has its own theme. This week’s focus is Fight the Phish. No, not the band. As we’ve mentioned in the past, most nonprofits don’t have to worry about being the target of a sophisticated hacking attack; the greater vulnerability is usually a nonprofit employee or volunteer clicking on a familiar-looking email. A recent report by Verizon found that more than 80 percent of cybersecurity incidents are phishing attacks. To help reinforce the importance of remaining vigilant, you can share this To Click or Not to Click tip sheet.


On another cybersecurity topic, if you want to learn more about how to protect your nonprofit from ransomware, there is a webinar (cost $50) being hosted by CyberJedi LLC on October 18. Tomorrow, from 2-3 pm Eastern, the National Cyber Security Alliance is hosting a free event, “Cybersecurity in A Flash! Ransomware: Response and Recovery.” And, for a slightly more humorous take, you can watch this segment on ransomware from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.


As part of this year’s awareness month, the National Cyber Security Alliance released the latest edition of its Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report. Among the findings:

  • Around half of Millennials (44%) and Gen Z (51%) say they have experienced a cyber threat.
  • When it comes to security of passwords, only 46% of respondents said they use a different password for important online accounts and 20% reported that they never or rarely do so.
  • 64% of respondents said that they don’t have access to cybersecurity training, but even more concerning is that more than a quarter of those who do have access to cybersecurity training choose not to use it.

These survey results show just how much of a challenge it continues to be to secure your data. We hope you will utilize the resources shared here and over the past couple of months in this newsletter so we can all keep our nonprofits’ data safe and secure.

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