Four Keys to a Successful Online Giving Campaign 

The popularity of online fundraising was already on the rise before COVID; Blackbaud reports that online fundraising has grown 17% in the U.S. since 2016. Now COVID lockdowns have shattered fundraising expectations for nonprofits who rely heavily on special events, admissions, and fees for service to fill out their budgets. As a result, nonprofits are being challenged to quickly and effectively pivot fundraising efforts to the online space. Here are some of our best tips for success. 

What Every Nonprofit Needs to Know About Contracts

Quite simply, a contract is an agreement between two parties that can be enforced by a court.  It involves an offer by one party to provide something of value to another party, followed by the other party’s acceptance of the offer and exchanging money or something else of value in consideration for the services or goods that are to be provided. 

How to Use an Employee Assistance Fund to Aid Employees During COVID

As the economic hardships of the pandemic continue to mount, many are looking for ways to help employees weather the crisis. After 9/11, the Internal Revenue Code was amended to allow employers to make direct payments to employees for “qualified disaster relief” under Section 139. Likewise, employee assistance funds are also commonly used vehicles to provide disaster relief and/or emergency hardship financial support for people affiliated with a particular employer. Both vehicles serve not only to protect one of your business’s most important assets — your people — by getting them back to work, but they also serve to boost morale, build community, and reduce employee turnover in the long-run.

Black Lives Matter; Making a Difference With Your Charitable Giving

AdHoc said it best: “For everyone that is feeling outraged by the multiple lives that have been lost at the hands of the police, we’d encourage you to channel that anger into action.” For some, that action looks like self-education and awareness, or protesting, or speaking out amongst their friends and community. Another consideration may be giving to one of several organizations working diligently in the fight against systemic racism and violence. 

Diversify Your Board

While nonprofits may have a much different endgame in mind than their corporate counterparts, they can glean many benefits by incorporating a more diverse cadre of community members on their board rosters.  The fresh perspectives and experiences that new and different members bring to the table result in organizations that are more nimble, effective, and ultimately better equipped to carry out their mission.

9 Tenets of Fiduciary Duty as a Board Member

Fiduciary duties, as codified in state law, board bylaws, and common practice, are quite simply a set of rules to ensure that boards are run effectively, lawfully, and with the best interests of their mission in mind.  Here, we’ll look beyond the legal jargon to distill the legal and ethical responsibilities of board members to oversee the management of and ensure accountability to your nonprofit organization. 

Is Your Nonprofit Considering a Strategic Restructuring?

We’ll spare you the pandemic intro; we know that nonprofits are acutely feeling the effects of the current financial crisis.  And uncertainty about COVID-19 virology and what a “new normal” might look like is frustratingly confounding. But now is not the time for “magical thinking,” according to a panel of experts recently convened by BoardSource.  We participated in their webcast to learn more about how nonprofits can best navigate the hard decisions ahead.

Strategies for Handling Difficult Board Members

Think back to the last time you had to (or at least wanted to) confront your boss about micromanaging your work. Now imagine having ten bosses instead of one. You’ve just stepped into the shoes of your nonprofit’s executive director. While we might all like to cast aside the possibility of an overreaching board member in our organizations, even the most well run nonprofit boards will deal with difficult board members at some point. Boards are full of, well, humans, who have a unique set of personal experiences, emotions, and motivations that influence on their job as a director. Sometimes, that can lead to conflict that is uncomfortable, unproductive, and even contrary to the organization’s best interests. 

The Pitfalls of Delegation (and how to avoid them)

Delegating activities to committees and other qualified individuals can be helpful for nonprofit boards that are short on the time or expertise needed to carry out certain functions. For example, nonprofit boards typically delegate the day to day management of the organization to officers such as the C.E.O./Executive Director. Boards also delegate specific tasks to committees who can devote more time to particular matters.

CARES Act Assistance Programs Available to Nonprofits

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) became law. The CARES Act provides $349 billion in benefits for small businesses, including qualifying nonprofit organizations. Specifically, certain nonprofits are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program and the expanded Economic Impact Disaster Loan program (EIDL). The CARES Act also provides payroll tax relief and expands the charitable deduction to all taxpayers for one year to incentivize charitable giving. 

What Your Non-Profit Needs to Know About Force Majeure

Force majeure has become the word “du jour”; French for “superior force,” it refers to a principle of contract law in which parties to a contract can limit their liability and performance obligations. In the simplest terms, it allows parties to suspend or discontinue the performance of contractual obligations in cases of emergent circumstances beyond the parties’ control. It may also operate to limit contractual liability. But its practical application is nuanced. Here’s what you need to know:

What Employers Need to Know about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by Deanna Rader

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) was signed into law, and it goes into effect on April 2, 2020. It is the first relief package approved by Congress and requires certain employers to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

Best Practices for Taking Board Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes need to record the proceedings in a way that is simple, unambiguous, and accurately reflects the wishes and actions of the Board. A simple rule of thumb is that minutes should contain enough detail to reflect the steps that the Board took and any critical discussions that took place. Well drafted minutes are essential evidence that the directors fulfilled their fiduciary duties. 

The Pros and Cons of Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal sponsorship is when a nonprofit organization accepts tax-deductible donations on behalf of another organization that does not have 501(c)(3) status.  Solicitations are made in the name of the fiscal sponsor and therefore permit the sponsored project to rely on the sponsor’s IRS determination letter, solicitation registrations, etc.

How to Claim Parking Tax Refunds

On January 21, 2020, the IRS issued guidance detailing how nonprofits can apply for refunds of the repealed “parking tax.” Recall that in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposed an unpopular and widely criticized 21% tax on employee transportation benefit expenses incurred by nonprofits. The transportation tax, or “parking tax” as it came to be known, was retroactively repealed in December of 2019. The retroactive nature of the repeal creates an opportunity for nonprofits that paid the tax to seek refunds. 

What’s New for Nonprofits in 2020

At the close of 2019, Congress passed legislation that has a significant impact on nonprofits. On December 20, 2019, the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020,” also known as H.R. 1865, became law. This act includes two provisions that significantly impact nonprofits:

The simplification of the excise tax on net investment income; and
The retroactive repeal of the unrelated business income tax on qualified transportation fringe benefits.