Friday, December 14, 2012

Exempt Magazine -- Fall 2012

The sister publication of The NonProfit Times, Exempt Magazine, is the perfect publication for those in the sector whose forte is finance. The magazine is released quarterly, and the time has now arrived for the release of the latest edition.

The Fall 2012 issue of Exempt tackles a number of topics, from inflation to social media. Let's take a look at some of the content you can expect to find within the pages:

Articles

  • Hedging Against Inflation by Diversifying Investment IncomeSome of the nation’s largest nonprofits are complex businesses, generating income from donations but also via fundraising events, program service revenue or membership fees, as well as investment income.
  • Managing Risk In The New NormalAs you prepare to flip the page on your old-fashioned paper wall calendar and toast the New Year, are you thinking about risk? What adventures await your nonprofit in 2013? What risks will pay dividends, and which will you be regretting at this time next year?
Column
  • Finance And FundraisingAre you are asking this question about social media: “How do we know this investment of staff time in social media will pay off?” If you are getting answers from staff like this: “We have 10,000 fans on Facebook,” hit the pause button and work on defining what success means. (Also check out this chart on social media metrics).
This is not all the content in this quarter's edition of Exempt. To see the whole issue, sign up for a digital or print subscription via our website.

State Connection Examined In Nonprofit Probe

A federal and state investigation into an Albany, N.Y.-based nonprofit turned its attention to the state level, as investigators examined the circumstances that led to a former assemblyman from Brooklyn being added to the organization's payroll.

According to a report in The Albany Times Union, details emerged Thursday that investigators were looking into how former Brooklyn assemblyman William F. Boyland Sr., came to be on the payroll of the Altamont Program, the parent organization of Father Peter Young's network of services for the homeless. The date of Boyland Sr.'s addition to the organization came shortly after he and his son, William Boyland Jr., arranged grants to the organization. The grants, known as member items, totaled at least $1.2 million over four years beginning in 2006.

That wasn't the only grant Boyland Sr., helped procure for the Altamont Program. He and Assemblyman Speaker Sheldon Silver secured a $300,000 community project grant for the organization in 2004. After he left office in 2006 his son, Boyland Jr., secured three successive legislative grants from 2006 to 2009. Those funds were managed by the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, according to records.

The Altamon Program was originally under investigation for allegations that Dennis Bassat, a director at one of the Program's offices in Troy, embezzled funds and misused its credit card. There are also questions about the nonprofit's use of its grant funding and payroll expenditures.

Bassat was fired two years ago after officials at the Troy location discovered he had allegedly issued checks from a business account to fake employees and then took the money for himself. Officials said the checks were written in amounts of less than $600 to avoid detection.

The investigation expanded into the Boylands' role in the organization on Thursday, when state investigators and FBI agents obtained a search warrant for the Troy offices. Financial records were seized by investigators, and employees were questioned. A source told The Times Union that one employee at the organization questioned exactly what Boyland did and whether he was provided with a credit card.

You can read the full story in The Times Union.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12-12-12 Concert Rakes In Cash For Sandy Relief

Yesterday was a special day for a number of reasons. First, it's going to be a long time before we see a date, day, and year (12/12/12) like that again. More importantly, it was the date of the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Our editor-in-chief, Paul Clolery, was in attendance for the six-hour long show, and has a summary of the night's events on our website. The concert featured legendary performers including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, and Sir Paul McCartney, in addition to contemporary artists like Kanye West, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and Alicia Keys, who closed out the night with a rendition of her hit song "Empire State of Mind" alongside McCartney.

Yet the big story of the night was money raised for Hurricane Sandy Relieft. Donations went to organizations serving victims of the storm through the Robin Hood Relief Fund. Before an act even took the stage, the concert raised $37 million. A final donation tally was not available as of this writing.

Individuals who called in through the night to make a contribution had the chance to speak to a host of celebrities who were working the call center. These included big names such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Buscemi, Naomi Campbell, Tony Danza, and James Gandolfini.

One of the highlights of the night came when McCartney, one of the last two surviving Beatles along with Ringo Starr, helped front a reunion of the '90s grunge band Nirvana. The band was headed by the late Kurt Cobain, and McCartney filled his role by performing a new song written by the surviving members of Nirvana called "Cut Me Some Slack."

The 12-12-12 Concert was broadcast to a worldwide audience of nearly two billion people through television feeds, radio, and online streaming sites. The show was reminiscent of the first benefit show for charity, the Concert for Bangladesh, also held in Madison Square Garden, in 1971. That show was organized in part by legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who passed away this week at the age of 92.

You can read the full overview of the concert on the NPT website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tampa To Review Deals With Nonprofits

The city council of Tampa, Fl. has called for a review of contracts with the city's nonprofits to determine how many are falling short of their obligations.

The review was ordered after Councilwoman Lisa Montelione discovered that the Steward's Foundation had fallen short of the terms of the 25-year lease it originally signed with Tampa in 2003, according to a report on  Tampa Bay Online. In exchange for paying $1 a year to use 3 acres in Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, the organization was to teach rowing to high school students, host competitions, and provide a training area for out-of-state college teams.

That end of the bargain was fulfilled, but the Foundation still has not built the $2 million boathouse the city ordered it to construct after a 2007 renewal of the lease. A temporary structure for the boathouse exists, but the lack of permanent structure lead to the Foundation defaulting on its agreement with the city.

The Council voted 5-2 to send out a formal default notice to the organization, which gives it 60 days to correct the problem or face eviction. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has so far decided to let Steward's continue its work in Riverfront Park while the city works out its future.

Steward's Foundation president Tom Feaster told Tampa Bay Online that the reason the boathouse has not yet been constructed is because the organization has been unable to find donors for the project, due to uncertainty about the city's plans for the park.

According to public tax filings, the Foundation spent about $100,000 on its rowing programs in 2010. Feaster has maintained that other than the issue with the boathouse, his organization is fulfilling its mission, putting over 250 students a day on the Hillsbourough River to learn teamwork and improve their fitness.

Montelione will begin reviewing the agreements with the other city's nonprofits, and suggested to the Council that they may have to end support for them if they are unable to meet their obligations.

You can read the full story on Tampa Bay Online's website.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opening Of New YMCA In Coney Island Delayed After Sandy

Coney Island, a community and a perennial tourist attraction in Brooklyn, N.Y., was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but the damage done won't stop the YMCA from opening the area's first center.

The new location is on track to open, though it will likely be delayed by at least four months, according to a report in Crain's New York Business. The new Y is scheduled to open sometime during the second half of next year. The 44,000-square-foot facility will be designed to fit the needs of the area, and will include two swimming pools and a gym and fitness area, both which residents hope will combat the high rate of diabetes around Coney Island.

Plans for the new location are part of a decade-long effort to revitalize Coney Island, which might be best known for its oceanfront amusement park.

Presently, the closest Y location is in Park Slope, 16 subway stops from Coney Island. Jack Lund, CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, told Crain's that construction of the new location will employ 125, including part-time positions. These new jobs will be a boon to a community that has an unemployment rate of 51 percent, six times the average of Brooklyn. 

The Coney Island YMCA facility will be located on Surf Avenue and 29th street, where it will be exclusively focused on the residents of the community. It is expected to draw 15,000 members, two-thirds of whom will be children.

You can read the full article in Crain's New York Business.

5 Best Practices For Selecting Software

The trends are always changing in the world of technology. Who would have thought just a few years ago that tablets would become more desirable than laptops? Yet that's exactly what has happened, with major developers like Microsoft developing innovations meant for that device.

Most nonprofit managers would love to bring the latest "must-have" software to their organizations, but that's simply an unrealistic proposition. To be successful in today's rapidly changing world, it is imperative to decide which technologies best fit your organization.

In "Nonprofit Management 101," Holly Ross, executive director of Portland, Ore.-based Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), wrote that the key to selecting new software is understanding and documenting your needs. This would seem to indicate a length process, but it can actually be done by following five best practices:

  • Identify your top needs. If you are looking for graphics software, for example, will you be making graphics primarily for the Web or for print?
  • Can your existing software already do it? Before you head out into the software selection process, be sure to evaluate existing software to see if it can get the job done.
  • Find out what your peers are using. Referrals can be the best way to find the right piece of software for your organization.
  • Identify some scenarios and test. Most software packages and vendors allow you access to a demo or trial version.
  • Decide whether this software will meet your needs. You should look for software that will best meet your critical needs.