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Allison Fine, my co-author for the   Networked Nonprofit , and I are actively researching the use of Artificial Intelligence to better understand what nonprofits need to know about artificial intelligence to future proof their programs, marketing, and fundraising strategies? The field of artificial intelligence has been around since the 1950’s and evolved into many sub-areas and an alphabet soup of technical jargon. Although we are most interested in the human, organizational, and societal impacts surrounding AI, it is important to understand the technology at a high level. This article is a good primer: “ The three Different Types of Artificial Intelligence. ...
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Spoiler alert: It’s not by doing   more   social media. It’s not by running   more   events. It’s by focusing on   asking your donors to upgrade, to make monthly gifts   and   leave gifts   through their will. It’s all about asking your donors to give more money, more often, ongoing. It’s getting long-term results by doing things now. Why is this important? Because the latest   trend reports are here   and donor numbers are down once again. Donors down  -5.8% Revenue down  -7.3% Existing [repeat] donor retention down  -3.7% New donor acquisition down  -9.5% Donors giving more than $1,000 down  -8.2% Now some ...
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There are still some precious weeks left for planning and preparation before the giving season begins. Nonprofit organizations around the country are gearing up for what should be their most fruitful fundraising months of the year. With so much excitement in the air, it’s time to make sure your goals are set for #GivingTuesday. Start backwards Let’s fast forward to the day before your ideal #GivingTuesday. Imagine what it would look like. Though it’s just a single day of giving, you ― like the most successful nonprofit teams ― are treating it as the first step in a longer-term ladder of engagement. By this point, you’ve done the legwork to make the ...
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Many factors have contributed to vast changes in the corporate reporting landscape in recent years. These include accounting standards changes such as revenue recognition, leases, and credit losses. However, it’s widely recognized that financial statements and financial information alone may not tell the whole story when evaluating businesses. What do these changes mean and how can CPAs take a leadership role?   Surveying the landscape According to a   2015 Ocean Tomo study , off-balance-sheet intangible assets in 1975 represented, on average, 17% of the market value of companies. That figure drastically increased to as much as 87% in certain ...
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It’s September, which means North Texas Giving Day is coming up! To help you prepare for this day dedicated to generosity, we wanted to make sure you know what it is and how you can participate with East-West on September 19. If you’re already familiar with North Texas Giving Day and would like to participate, visit this link on September 19 to give:   www.eastwest.org/givingday . What is North Texas Giving Day? North Texas Giving Day was started by Communities Foundation of Texas in 2008 with hopes of highlighting local nonprofits while moving individuals to generously give to their missions. To date, $240 million has been given to nonprofits throughout ...
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Tax-exempt organizations will be able to find most of their reporting requirements in one place under regulations the IRS proposed Friday ( REG-102508-16 ). The rulemaking mainly consolidates existing subregulatory guidance in one location, while also responding to a recent court decision that held invalid the agency’s attempt to change certain donor-reporting rules. Donor reporting The IRS had issued a revenue procedure in 2018 announcing that many tax-exempt organizations no longer need to report the names and addresses of their substantial financial donors ( Rev. Proc. 2018-38 ). However, a federal court in Montana ruled in late July that if the IRS ...
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Nonprofits became apprehensive after seeing the   Giving USA   2018 numbers, particularly as they pertain to the small and mid-size donations upon which many nonprofits depend. That worry continues as data emerges from the Association of Fundraising Professionals’   Fundraising Effectiveness Project ’s   2019 Second Quarter Fundraising Report . That report shows a year-to-date decline in charitable giving in 2019 compared to last year, with a 5.8 percent decline in number of donors, a 7.3 percent decline in dollars raised, and a bigger decline in gifts at the middle and larger sizes. (Most organizations, of course, do not receive the mega-gifts that have ...
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Tax professionals should review their security measures and create a data theft recovery plan. This plan can help save valuable time and protect tax professionals and taxpayers after a data theft . One of the first things a preparer should do after a theft is contact the IRS. Here are other steps tax pros should outline in their plan: Contact the IRS and law enforcement : Report client data theft to the local IRS Stakeholder Liaison . They will notify IRS Criminal Investigation and other appropriate offices within the agency on behalf of the preparer. Speed is critical. If reported quickly, the IRS can take steps to block fraudulent returns in a preparer’s ...
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It began with   Little House on the Prairie   and a photocopier.  Short on funds for his Bronx high school class, Charles Best copied his sole book so that all his students could read the literary classic. Suddenly, he was hit with inspiration. What if there was a way to connect teachers with individuals who would help fund classroom projects?  In 2000, Best launched   DonorsChoose.org.   The nonprofit organization posts teachers’ requests for support, collects donated money and uses the funds to send the needed supplies. Now, the charity supports schools and teachers coast-to-coast and has fulfilled more than 1.3 million classroom projects.    That’s ...
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It's tough to find a business leader with a lot of free time on their hands. Whether they're attending meetings, answering emails or handling their day-to-day company duties, most of their day is jam-packed with obligations. However, it's important for even the busiest executives to clear some room in their day or week for personal development. To help you fit this essential activity into your schedule, we asked a panel of   Forbes Coaches Council   members to share strategies and techniques they often recommend to busy leaders. Here is what they advise trying:   PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS 1. Practice The Pause A pause ...
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Tax professionals should learn the tell-tale signs that their office may have experienced a data theft. Such thefts could have resulted in fraudulent tax returns filed in their clients' names. Here is a list of warning signs that a tax professional or their office may have experienced a data theft: Their clients' e-filed returns are rejected by the IRS or state tax agencies. This happens because someone else already filed a tax return with their client's Social Security number. Clients who haven't filed tax returns begin to receive taxpayer authentication letters from the IRS. The IRS sends letters such as the 5071C, 4883C and 5747C to confirm a taxpayer's ...
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Big strides have been made recently in the acknowledgment that overhead ratios are poor indicators of an organization’s impact or financial efficiency. Although the movement toward outcomes-based measurement offers a promising alternative to understanding impact, very little has been done to truly shift the sector’s understanding of what it takes—or even means—for nonprofits to be financially efficient and adaptable. The myths and misinterpretations of the true full costs of delivering vital programs have contributed to a chronically fragile social infrastructure for our communities. Now more than ever, as the call to achieve high standards of outcomes-based ...
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Early in my career, office phones had to be answered by a live person or risk missing a phone call and losing a potential customer. Back then, we would stagger lunch breaks and vacations to ensure someone was in the office during working hours to answer the telephone.   Things have really changed! Fast forward to today when technology pretty much runs every aspect of our lives and telephones are no different.   I think it’s a sad reality that most organizations use a   telephone system   to screen and triage phone calls before transferring the call to the appropriate person – forcing an electronic interaction that isn’t always customer friendly. ...
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Churches allocate nearly half of their budgets to staff compensation, according to the recently completed 2019 Church Budget Priorities Study from Church Law & Tax. The finding closely mirrors findings from its predecessor in 2014—but compared to surveys conducted in 1999 and 2009, personnel expenses as a portion of church budgets have been higher in recent years (40 percent in 1999; 38 percent in 2009). While some may question spending so much on staffing, the new study’s   How Churches Spend Their Money Executive Report   offers this explanation: Some may wonder why a church allocates close to half of its budget to staff salaries and not to ...
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Most nonprofit leaders agree that we need a new way to communicate about the true costs of our programs and the vital importance of strong organizational infrastructure. But we have not yet developed a simple, consistent message when sharing our view with potential supporters and investors. We are stuck with old terms and old images. The following series of images and descriptions is really a blog in pictures. How we visualize our understanding of nonprofit structure and programs shapes the overhead debate. It’s time to get graphic about our new ideas—to deploy fresh images to help educate the public, our funders, and ourselves. It’s Time to Retire This ...
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The church is made up of a family of believers who come together to worship and grow in faith. Similar to our natural families, a healthy church is comprised of members from many demographics. The church wants the children because they are the future leaders. A healthy church also wants the elderly. The oldest members remind us of where we have been, and how we would not be where we are without their tireless effort through decades of service. Every demographic in between the children and the elderly make up the family we call church. Each unique group has its own interests and needs and deserves the focus, resources, and support from the church. ...
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WHY ONLINE FUNDRAISING? As the internet becomes more and more part of our daily lives, it’s important for nonprofits to keep up with this trend. Statistics show that  54% of donors worldwide prefer to give online  and online giving is growing each year. It grew  12.1% in 2017  with overall online revenue for nonprofits increasing by  27% in 2017 ! That means donors are moving online and so should you! Here’s what you have to gain from moving toward fundraising online:    ONLINE FUNDRAISING SAVES YOU TIME & MONEY Online fundraising builds automation into the process to save you time and money. Think about all of the steps you have to ...
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Most distraction-busters require action by employees themselves. But consider this: Are you or the supervisors on your staff part of the problem? Employees typically will drop what they’re doing if they hear from the boss, whether it’s in the form of an email, phone call, or personal visit. Before reaching out to a worker, assess the urgency of the issue at hand. If possible, wait to touch base with employees until you can accumulate multiple messages or questions. Customized Cubes   Other steps you can take to help employees stay on task center around their working environment. Assuming they don’t have private offices, determine whether employees’ workspaces ...
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It began with   Little House on the Prairie   and a photocopier.  Short on funds for his Bronx high school class, Charles Best copied his sole book so that all his students could read the literary classic. Suddenly, he was hit with inspiration. What if there was a way to connect teachers with individuals who would help fund classroom projects?  In 2000, Best launched   DonorsChoose.org.   The nonprofit organization posts teachers’ requests for support, collects donated money and uses the funds to send the needed supplies. Now, the charity supports schools and teachers coast-to-coast and has fulfilled more than 1.3 million classroom projects.    That’s ...
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The IRS has certain guidelines that must be followed by churches who wish to give benevolence to individuals and families. A written benevolence policy and completed benevolence application can help ensure compliance with IRS requirements. Below is a draft outline of sections that can be included in a written benevolence policy and a discussion of each section. Objective of this Document Indicates why the policy is in effect. This section might include: Establish a consistent process for the evaluation of benevolence requests. Outline eligibility criteria for requesting as well as guidelines for approving and distributing payments. Establish ...
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