Author Archives: David Le

Crowdfunding Classrooms: a Unique Approach for Obtaining School Supplies

In today’s educational environment, having a dynamic, innovative, and adaptive mentality toward your mission is essential.

For nonprofits and educational institutions, many struggle to carry out their mission because of budgets. Shannon Raftery, a kindergarten teacher faces the unrealistic task of providing her 25 students with a quality education each school year on a $200 supply budget. Shannon typically spends $100 – $150 each paycheck in an attempt to meet her students’ educational needs, but despite her philanthropic efforts the additional amount isn’t enough.

It has become clear that a different approach is necessary to create a nurturing learning environment for Shannon’s students and many others in similar situations. Shannon turned to Crowdfunding to acquire the necessities for her students and has been successful so far. Education campaigns through Crowdfunding websites have received significant contributions in recent years. In 2010, Crowdfunding raised $31.2 million that number grew over four times in 2015 to $140 million for education campaigns.

For now, schools and their teachers have been able to help close the gap for their budget deficits through Crowdfunding. However, in a constantly changing business environment, it is very likely that a different approach to acquire the necessary funding for their students’ education will be required in the near future. Therefore, the demand for individuals and organizations that are able to provide services for these types of organizations to prosper is exponential.

To read the full article, visit here.

New Increased Overtime Threshold: Does This Help or Hurt Workers?

yes_no_maybeOn May 18, 2016 the Obama Administration put in place a new threshold for full-time salaried employees to be eligible for overtime to $47,476, which is more than twice as much as the current threshold of $23,600 and will be effective December 1, 2016. The premise behind increasing this threshold is that low to middle earning income workers haven’t had any significant changes in the last few decades despite high earning income workers still having their compensation increase significantly during that same time frame.

On the face of this new threshold, it seems that it will have a positive consequences for these workers that are now eligible for overtime but are there implicit consequences associated with the new threshold? This new rule has been criticized by small business, nonprofits and universities noting that this will make a lot of these workers unaffordable to these organizations and will cause them to switch these workers into hourly workers and/or lay off some workers and allocating the terminated employee’s responsibilities to their employees that retained. If these salaried employees are converted into hourly employees, it will also require these employees to clock in and out and will not allow these employees the flexibility in their hours for work. Some universities are claiming they may not be able to afford this under the assumption that their revenue remains consistent and their operations will only be sustainable if they cut services and/or raise tuition.

The counter argument is that the this will provide an incentive for employers to provide an annual salary increase to make the employee’s salary go above the threshold to avoid paying these workers overtime and have some workers have their weekly hours worked pushed back to 40 hours.

Will this be a relief or a burden on the impacted workers?

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2016/05/17/millions-more-workers-would-be-eligible-for-overtime-pay-under-new-federal-rule/

Will the Trend of Awarding Grants Above the 5% Minimum Catch On?

fishing for moneyAccording to the Non Profit Quarterly, the Patricia Kind Family Foundation and the Untours Foundation are asking other foundations to award grants above the 5% minimum, in order to sustain their tax-exempt status, in an attempt to create a trend of foundations utilizing more of their assets towards making a positive social impact rather than using most of their assets for other purposes that aren’t as pertinent to their mission. These two foundations have built a strong reputation for increased grants awarded and with this “legacy” they created, but what will this mean for the nonprofit organizations that are potential grant recipients?

If the trend of awarding grants above the 5% minimum catches on, will nonprofit organizations that are potential grant recipients and utilize a large percentage of their resources towards their mission receive more grants or will all nonprofit organizations receive more grant funding despite some of them allocating a smaller percentage towards their mission relatively to other organizations? One thing that is for sure is that if foundations do begin to start awarding grants above the 5% minimum, the prospective grant recipients will more likely be inclined to increase and reallocate their assets towards their programs that are geared towards their mission.

This presents an opportunity for organizations similar to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which promotes strengthening nonprofit organizations to fully realize their potential in their community. Among the multiple efforts the Center for Nonprofit Excellence carries out to fulfill their mission, one way they fulfill their mission is by consolidating multiple grant awards in one place to make obtaining grants by nonprofit organizations more efficient. With the combined efforts of the Patricia Kind Family Foundation and the Untours Foundation advocating other foundations to award grants above the 5% minimum and other nonprofit organizations with a mission similar to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, will it build enough momentum for nonprofit organizations to deviate their assets towards their mission and have a material social impact?

Read more about it via the links listed below:

Nonprofit Quarterly Source: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2016/02/23/2-foundations-choose-higher-payouts-inviting-others-to-do-the-same/

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence Mission: https://www.thecne.org/about/mission-vision-values/

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence Grant Listing: https://www.thecne.org/engage/grants/

 

Is Your Nonprofit’s Communication and Marketing Effective?

00439613Most of us agree that nonprofits generally have a positive social impact for society. Just like for profit organizations though, nonprofits still need to operate efficiently as a business in order to carry out its mission and one of the key attributes a nonprofit must have in order to be successful in carrying out its mission is having a strong ability for communication and marketing.

A sizable amount of nonprofits rely on contributions, grants, fundraising, etc. as their source of revenue in order to continue to carry out its missions and a vital part of doing that is the nonprofit organization’s ability to communicate and market to their target audience about its primary cause and raise awareness of their missions. When effectively communicating a nonprofit organization’s mission, the nonprofit organization must understand what is important to their target audience and how their goals are supporting their target audience’s ideals.

Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication researched contemporary, effective trends for communication and marketing in today’s dynamic business environment. Below are the five trends that John Trybus, Center for Social Impact Communication Deputy Director, has identified as contemporary, effective trends for communication and marketing towards each nonprofit’s target audience.

  1. The need for more strategic storytelling – John notes that because people are more influenced when emotions are in play, stories should be utilized when sending the organization’s message to their target audience because stories create emotional connections with their target audience.
  2. The power of smart imagery – Visually seeing images of what the organization is trying to achieve and/or eliminate to create a positive social impact has a strong emotional connection with their target audience that words can’t create alone.
  3. The currency of influence – John asserts that embedding in the current and potential supporters’ perspective of the nonprofit organization that the supporters only bring value because of their monetary contributions is the wrong route to take, whether it was by intentional of unintentional. Instead, communicate to their target audience asserting that their target audience is a supporter for their nonprofit because they’re bringing value by raising awareness.
  4. The synergy of purpose and profit – A large amount of supporters today are more influenced by organizations that incorporate corporate social responsibility in their activities and operations. Displaying to the supporters that their organization’s activities are making strong and positive social impacts are more likely to receive support and continued support.
  5. The rise of the social strategist – The four trends mentioned don’t originate from the organization itself, but actually originate from the individual with the innovative ideas driving those trends. These individuals combine “head and heart” together to create a social impact that will obtain and retain supporters.

To read more about these trends visit: http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/45/master-of-professional-studies-in-integrated-marketing-communications/news/5405/nonprofit-marketing-trends

Are Certain Acts of Philanthropy Truly Acts of Philanthropy?

yes no maybeAccording to the Boston Globe, General Electric pledged $50 million in grants to be used in Boston and other Massachusetts cities over the next 5 years as it prepares to move its global headquarters from Connecticut. Boston public schools would receive $25 million, the city’s community health centers would receive $15 million and $10 million for manufacturing-oriented training opportunities for small-business owners and students outside metro Boston over the course of 5 years.

Despite this act of philanthropy from General Electric, not everyone is excited about General Electric’s move to Boston. Yesterday on April 4, 2016 Monday, there were protesters against General Electric’s move to Boston due to the state luring General Electric by providing $120 million in state grants and $25 million in tax relief for property taxes in Boston for General Electric. As a result, Boston schools are struggling with $32 million in budget cuts and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are raising fares and reducing service.

Supporters of the state and city providing General Electric with state grants and city tax relief argue that this is an investment for them. General Electric notes that they will employ approximately 800 people in its new headquarters and approximately 200 will be in corporate leadership positions. Protesters of General Electric receiving assistance argue that an “extremely abusive transnational corporation” receiving millions of dollars of tax cuts while the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, their schools and public services are vastly underfunded is outrageous. In addition, protesters note that just because General Electric pledged $50 million in philanthropy, its “not a substitute for fulfilling your civic duties, for paying your fair share in taxes”. Protesters urged that General Electric to do more in the community and for the city and state officials to force General Electric to do so. Only time will tell whether the city, state and General Electric’s decisions will carry out their claims for improving their communities and that this is truly an investment for the city and the state.

See the sources below to read more.

Sources:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/04/04/pledges-local-philanthropy-over-five-years/VRgmBiWm46ww8cNeCYT8CL/story.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/04/04/dozens-protest-event-downtown-marching-snow/F5cI3P9eeVH9Ny5MU8TrkM/story.html?p1=Article_Related_Box_Article

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