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Nonprofit Knowledge Matters


If you follow our Twitter channel @buildnpcapacity, then you’re familiar with #TransparencyTuesday and our weekly tips on cultivating a transparent and accountable nonprofit. Nonprofits demonstrate external transparency whenever we tell stories about our impact, file our annual return with the IRS, or list our board members on our websites. In doing so we’re laudably being transparent with our external audiences, but are we always as transparent internally? How often do we have candid conversations in the board room about governance challenges? How often do we gather as staff to talk about the influence of our diverse identities or the contributions of diverse talents?  And how often do we point out to donors what it really costs to deliver our missions? Diversity, overhead, and board governance challenges are just a few of the candid conversations we should be having both externally and internally. We hope this issue of Nonprofit Knowledge Matters helps promote a culture of candor at your nonprofit by making those potentially difficult conversations a little easier. 




Where Is Your Board Falling Down?

If you’ve played dominos, you understand how one push can send an entire line-up sprawling. It’s the same with nonprofit board practices. When one is not working well, the rest of the board’s governance practices are weakened. A nonprofit board without term limits, or lacking in diverse perspectives, or that refuses to raise money or advocate, is one that will have a hard time attracting new board members and resources to keep the organization afloat. If your board is not having candid conversations about its own culture and practices, BoardSource’s Leading with Intent survey offers a starting place for topics for those conversations. While the survey itself is targeted to nonprofit CEOs and board chairs, the entire board may benefit from thinking about the questions being asked. Just by participating in this year’s survey, every nonprofit can up its game!


As we wait for BoardSource to receive survey responses and then share the newest board governance benchmarks, here's a Tip Sheet to spark candid board conversations that will keep your nonprofit standing tall.   

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‚ÄčReframing Overhead


Reframing Overhead as Core Support

In March, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits collaborated with the Minneapolis-based Nonprofits Assistance Fund to co-host a conference on financial sustainability for nonprofits. The conference was a sell-out. Nonprofits and board members had the opportunity to explore their own sustainability, rethink business models, and wrestle with the best ways to measure outcomes. The conference also provided the opportunity to explore ways in which “overhead” is synonymous with “core support.” Looking at overhead through this frame could be transformational for those stuck in the mindset that their donation should not be used for overhead expenses.

Read on as Kate Barr, executive director of the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, explains how outcomes are essentially dependent on spending that supports "overhead."

How Will Changes to Overtime and Overhead Regulations Affect Your Nonprofit?

Nonprofits across the country will soon be dealing with changes to federal regulations governing employment and contracting practices that have the potential to affect the costs and operations of nonprofit organizations – especially those with government grants and contracts to provide services on behalf of governments at all levels.


What’s In Play?

  • Overtime: The U.S. Department of Labor is expected soon to announce new overtime regulations that will require most employers, including nonprofits, to pay overtime to all employees earning less than approximately $50,000. (The current threshold is $23,660.) The new salary level threshold will apply regardless of whether individual employees are considered salaried (exempt) or hourly (nonexempt).
  • Overhead: Starting in 2017, government grants rules from the federal Office of Management and Budget impose new procurement procedures that dictate the steps that nonprofits and state, tribal, and local governments must take when using grant funds that originated from the federal government (even if passed through an agreement with another entity) to purchase goods and services (e.g., buying printers or laptops). Specifically, the OMB Uniform Guidance provides that nonprofits and others will be required to obtain and document multiple price quotes before making aggregate purchases over $3,500 when using federal funds from government grants or contracts.

Nonprofits with government grants and contracts at any level (local, state, federal) are invited to participate in a quick National Survey to develop data that supports better policies and solutions to potential adverse consequences of the pending reforms. Because of the time-sensitive nature of these pending legal changes to nonprofit operations, please take the survey by Monday, May 23 and share it with your peers who support the financial function of a nonprofit.


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Build Your Nonprofit's Capacity with Encore Talent!

If your nonprofit could use a boost of talent and is open to using skilled pro bono volunteers and/or increasing its diversity with 50+ adults who are experienced workers, there is a new resource you should know about: the Encore Talent Works toolkit for engaging “encore talent.” This new toolkit fills a gap in information needed to successfully connect nonprofits with encore talent such as a map that nonprofits can use to recruit experienced talent to their workforce. By showcasing local and regional talent banks, such as ReServe (East Coast), Experience Matters (Phoenix), Boomers Leading Change (Denver), and national groups such as Executive Service CorpsConscious Elders Network, the Transition Network, and the AARP Experience Corps, as well as national volunteer matching sites (such as Volunteer Match), this toolkit offers a ‘one stop shop’ for understanding and recruiting “encore talent.” We encourage you to explore the toolkit

Read why all nonprofits should consider tapping the skills and diverse experience of 50+ adults to boost mission delivery and effectiveness ...

Breaking News … on Nonprofits, Leadership, and Race

The Building Movement Project has extended the deadline for responding to its national survey on Nonprofits, Leadership, and Race … until May 31, 2016. This confidential survey for anyone working in the nonprofit sector (including grantmakers) asks about your own experiences, views on leadership, and perspectives on diversity in the sector. The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the survey, contact Building Movement Project's Co-Director, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld.



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