What We’re Reading (and Loving) This Summer

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Eloquence is on display this month as writers wax forth on two essential nonprofit topics: the importance of indirect or administrative costs and the value of advocacy in advancing missions. In case you missed them while you were away, or are packing your late summer reading file for a trip, we offer these seven short articles to help you get/stay up to date:

On Owning Your Own Costs – and Getting Reimbursed for Them

  • Ensuring the Benefits of the OMB Uniform Guidance,” Beth Bowsky, National Council of Nonprofits, writing on the Nonprofit Finance Fund blog, August 18, 2015, celebrating the use of data and advocacy to make the case with governments for reimbursement of indirect costs.
  • Nonprofits Must Be Able to Adapt,” Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, writing on the Social Velocity blog, August 18, 2015, offering succinct sustainability advice such as “know your costs,” “just say ‘no’,” and “measure outcomes.”
  • Let nonprofits spend more so they can do more,” Jacob Lief, CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, August 11, 2015, taking nonprofit executives to task for accepting the notion that low overhead is sustainable or reasonable, and pointing out that overhead at for-profit businesses ranges from 25 percent to 50 percent. Here’s some powerful advice: “We need our own narrative, take the risk of public condemnation, and, if it arrives, defend each other against it, in order to be able to spend the money and take the risks needed to be effective.”

On Advocacy and the Challenges We Face

  • Make Advocacy a Part of Every Board Member’s Duty,” Sonya Campion, trustee of the Campion Foundation, writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 13, 2015, laying out steps foundations can take to advance their own missions by learning the law, funding advocacy, and asking grantees “how they are leveraging their boards in advocacy … as a strategy for greater impact.”
  • Stand for Your Mission: Trusted Voices in Michigan,” Donna Murray-Brown, CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, August 13, 2015, writing on the MNA Blog, persuasively making the case for why it is essential that nonprofits get involved in advocacy and policy work. Here is a sample: “Michigan nonprofits are on the front line of service and of need, so it is our obligation to identify issues that affect the people we serve and advocate for changes we would like to see on their behalf.”
  • Are You Watching the Court Rulings on Property Tax Exemptions? Maybe You Should,” Linda Czipo, Executive Director of the Center for Non-Profits in New Jersey, writing on the Dodge Blog, August 14, 2015, highlighting judicial challenges that nonprofits are facing in New Jersey, and explaining why nonprofits elsewhere should take note, and action.
  • 5 Reasons Why State Advocacy Rocks,” Diana Manos, Connectivity blog, August 24, 2015, in which nonprofit state association advocacy experts share the reasons why you can and should get action going in the states.

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