In Case You Missed It: Last Week’s NP News, Today | July 1

Each Monday, we'll bring you the latest headlines and trending topics that inform your work as a nonprofit professional. Check back with us every week and equip yourself with what you need to know for the week ahead!

TOP HEADLINES

Online Giving Continues to Grow: How to Grow Along With It (Katya Andresen)
Practical lessons to help you take advantage of the news from last week’s Chronicle of Philanthropy report—online donations were up 14% in 2012 over the previous year—include tips for making online giving easy and encouraging recurring gifts. About.com spotlights the trends accounting for the increase, including the rise of “multichannel marketing.”

IRS Offers Fast Track for Advocacy Groups (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
The IRS finally states exactly how much advocacy is acceptable for a 501(c)(4) group in a new effort to streamline the approval process: nonprofits-in-waiting “can win tax-exempt status within two weeks if they pledge not to devote more than 40 percent of their time and money to partisan activities.” It may not be so cut-and-dried, however; Nonprofit Quarterly finds much to be confused over in the latest “fix,” and in the reporting on it: “For the IRS to duck an issue that nearly everyone uninentionally describes incorrectly is a very odd position to take.”

Anti-Defamation League Speaks Out on Voting Rights Decision (Nonprofit Quarterly)
A brief look at the reasons and implications of SCOTUS’s decision last week to invalidate the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, with commentary from the ADL.

Did President Obama Just Endorse Fossil Fuel Divestment? (Co.Exist / Fast Company)
There’s a lot for environmental organizations to be excited for in the historic speech President Obama delivered last Tuesday, but it’s the easy-to-miss phrase “invest, divest” that’s generating the most buzz. (MSNBC host Chris Hayes called it “the most crypto-radical line the President has ever uttered.”) The Atlanta Business Chronicle has five takeaways from the speech. Among them: don’t hold your breath waiting for new carbon regulation, and don’t get used to Obama’s nominee to head the EPA.

DOMA and the States: What are the Next Strategic Steps for LGBT Groups? (Nonprofit Quarterly)
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, NPQ takes a look at the promising consequences, and a fresh set of challenges facing advocates.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Dinged for Inadequate Oversight of Federal Money (Nonprofit Quarterly)
A Department of Justice audit cited the national organization for failing to get the proper paperwork from local chapters receiving funds, charging “unallowable expenses” to grants, and more, while managing $23.2 million in federal money. The Chronicle of Philanthropy The DoJ has since frozen all funds to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

 

GEORGIA

Study: Georgia Drops to No. 43 in Well-Being of Children (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest Kids Count study, looking at measures of education, economic well-being, health, family, and community, puts Georgia six spots lower than last year’s report, to no. 43. Though the study found that health and education indicators have improved, it also found one in five Georgia children living in poverty.

UGA Foundation Won’t Pay Domestic Partner Health Insurance (Athens Banner-Herald)
The board of The University of Georgia Foundation voted against providing domestic partner benefits, citing two reasons: the foundation’s ties to the state (which doesn’t permit state funds to be used for domestic partner benefits), and the fact that “such benefits don’t fall under the mission.” UGA Foundation (That mission being, in part, to provide “fiduciary care for the assets of the Foundation for the long-term benefit and enhancement of the University.”)

 

BIG DATA

A Few Questions About “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” (Markets for Good)
A look at the questions raised for nonprofits by a New York Times piece on corporate America’s unprecedented ability to collect information on their customer—questions like, “If data is the currency of our time, how can we treat it as a currency for social good?”  Markets for Good hosts a director at FSG who thinks the “faraway dream” of big data is worth considering, even in the tech-challenged world of most nonprofits.

“Decisive” Reveals How We Use and Misuse Data (Joanne Fritz / About.com)
About’s nonprofit guru Joanne Fritz is excited about a helpful new book on data-based decision making called Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

 

CAUSES

Outlook for Children Living in Poverty Improved in 2011, Report Finds (Philanthropy News Digest)
A summary of findings from the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation report. Highlights: though 16.4 million children were living in poverty in 2011 (an increase of 3 million from 2005), the rate of children without health insurance fell nearly 30 percent. Education numbers are also encouraging.

Problems Migrate: Lessons from San Francisco’s Homeless Population Survey (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Universal advice drawn from San Francisco’s latest Biennial Homeless Count which, for the first time, collected demographic information about sexual identity—and found that 29% of respondents self-identified as LGBTQ.

Ants in the Kitchen: The Role of Data in Human Rights Funding (Philanthropy News Digest)
The Foundation Center’s new report, Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Fundraising, found a “startlingly low amount of funding going to address the issue of freedom from violence.” The director of learning and partnerships at Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights takes a look at those and other findings from the June report.

 

CHALLENGES

Friction and Financial Woes Escalate for Girl Scouts (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
As the national organization deals with shrinking funds with aggressive reorganization, it’s experiencing backlash from local chapters and volunteers over shuttered troops and for-sale summer camps.  

Pay for Goodwill Workers as Low as 22 Cents an Hour (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
At issue: a 75-year-old federal provision allowing employers to pay the disabled “according to their abilities,” meaning thousands of disabled Americans make less than the minimum wage.

Nashville Symphony Averts Foreclosure (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
The Nashville Symphony negotiated a settlement with its debtors “less than a week before its performance hall was to be auctioned.”

Experts Say Tampa Charity’s Contracts Might Not Withstand Legal Scrutiny (Tampa Bay Times)
Florida charity Starting Right, Now (SRN) is suing two beneficiaries to recoup costs (totalling more than $21,000) for mentoring services and other help after those beneficiaries dropped out of the program, reneging on a contract signed by each participant. Though legal experts are casting doubt on the contracts’ validity, one defendant has already agreed to pay the $3,006 demanded by SRN.

 

FUNDRAISING

Business Support for the Arts Increased 18 Percent Between 2009 and 2012 (Philanthropy News Digest)
Findings from the new Business Committee for the Arts survey, including the banner-worthy increase that makes up for a 14% drop in support between 2006 and 2009.  

Insights from a Master: Naomi Levine on the Fundamentals of Fundraising (Nonprofit Quarterly)
In a wide-ranging interview, fundraiser Naomi Levine, president of New York University’s George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy Fundraising, elaborates on her approach to fundraising—relationship-centered, highly informed, and carefully planned—and looks at recent trends through the lens of her 35-year fundraising career.

Helping Women Get Back on Track After Prison, With a Little Crowdfunding (Co.Exist / Fast Company)
Find out how new D.C.-area nonprofit Mission:Launch is getting off the ground with help from Girltank, a crowdsourcing site for female social entrepreneurs.

Proposed San Francisco Bar Pairs Drinking and Philanthropy (Time)
A nonprofit dedicated to international aid projects—including English classes for Haitian orphans and rainwater collection in Uganda—plans to fund its operations by opening and running a bar. Says the nonprofit, United Libations, on their Indiegogo page: “We want to open San Francisco’s first not-for-profit bar where 100% of profits go to development projects across the globe.”

 

LEADERSHIP

Helene Gayle of CARE, on Managers as Dual Citizens (New York Times)
The president and CEO of CARE USA spoke to The New York Times about managing the national anti-poverty nonprofit, the evolution of her leadership style (influenced by her parents and her time at the Centers for Disease Control), her hiring strategy, and more.

Millennials Genuinely Think They Can Change the World and Their Communities (Co.Exist / Fast Company)
A global survey of people 18-30 found that American millennials are especially worried about globalization, that millennials worldwide are worried about the economy and the government, and that overall they see the solutions in better education, environmental protection, and wiping out poverty. “An impressive 62% of respondents believe they can make a local difference.”

 

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Reward Your Supporters with Your Messaging (Nonprofit Marketing Guide)
Kivi Leroux-Miller continues her series on the Six R’s of Relevant Messaging, taken from her new book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits. First tip for “rewarding” communication: use “you” and “your” as much as possible. 

Five Ways to Build Your Nonprofit’s Mobile Subscriber List (Nonprofit Tech 2.0)
A look at a few national nonprofits (including UNICEF and the Salvation Army) making mobile a major part of their supporter outreach efforts.

Out-of-Control Campaign Drives Understanding (Getting Attention)
Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada found a clever way to get their message out with Surrender Your Say, a project inviting people to give up control of their Twitter feed for 24 hours to give them a “gut-level understanding” of life with Tourette’s.

 

PHILANTHROPY

Take This Online Philanthropy Course and You’ll Get to Give Away the Buffet Family’s Money (Co.Exist / Fast Company)
Ever want to play Billionaire Philanthropist? Now’s your chance, with a new offering from Learning By Giving Foundation, an online course in philanthropy that uses real money from the Buffet family fortune to spend on charities.

More Disasters Mean Changes and Challenges for Foundations (Philanthropy News Digest)
With natural disasters on the rise—2012 alone saw 11 events causing more than $110 billion in damages and 377 deaths—the CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy urges philanthropists to approach disaster relief strategically rather than “ad hoc events.”

 

POLICY & ADVOCACY

The IRS and Its BOLO Advisories (Nonprofit Quarterly)
Examining the latest revelations from the IRS kerfuffle—that their “Be On the Lookout” lists also targeted organizations with words like “progressive” and “green energy” their names—NPQ wonders whether the IRS is “even more incompetent” than we thought.

Senators Seek to Know Why Charitable Deductions Matter (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch, in charge of overhauling the federal tax code, announced they’re starting with a “blank slate”—eliminating all deductions, exclusions, and credits—inviting colleagues to make the case for any tax breaks, ncluding the charitable deduction, over the next month.

Bridgeland and Khazei Advance New Proposal for Comprehensive National Service (Nonprofit Quarterly)
The founder of FreedomCorps and the founder of City Year are heading a project to “democratize” national service with an institutionalized (though not mandatory) period of full-time national service for 18-to-28-year-olds, in either a military or civilian capacity (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and VISTA get mentions). In a Politico op-ed, they explained,  “National service would be optional, but expected. Every college admissions officer or employer must start to ask, ‘Where did you serve?’”

Lobbying for the Greater Good (Dowser)
An insightful profile of Citizens Climate Lobby, a little-known advocacy group “that punches above its weight,” currently building political will for a popularity-challenged carbon tax.

 

ON GCN.org

“Big Picture” HR Practices for Nonprofits (GCN)
A brief look at the value and practice of employee engagement strategies, drawn from our feature report in the current issue of NOW.

Member News (GCN)
Updates from Atlanta BeltLine, Make-A-Wish Georgia, Woodruff Arts Center and Refugee Family Services, and more.

 

 

Add new comment

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Subscribe to GCN Blog RSS