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For the nonprofit community, an important hashtag to keep an eye on is “FixTheForm.”  It’s a self-described “scrappy grassroots international movement to identify (and fix!) the top pain points in grant applications.” Why We Need to #FixTheForm (January 15, 2021) Kari Aanestad, GrantAdvisor Blog; see also Fix the Form! A Campaign to Curb the Byzantine Process of Applying for a Grant (May 19, 2021) Dawn Wolfe, Inside Philanthropy.            Application Headaches It’s no secret that grantseeking nonprofits have long simmered about the mind-numbing obstacle courses they are obliged to traverse for the privilege of applying for even tiny…
  It’s not surprising that the pandemic has sparked a flurry of chatter and activity in our sector about “collaboration” and other creative responses to the extraordinary challenges. From the earliest days, many experts and observers worried that Covid-19 was “poised to become an extinction-level event for America’s nonprofits.”  A decade earlier, in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-09, we saw a similar uptick of such interest in mergers as a panacea.  But, according to a leading nonprofit restructurings expert writing at that time –  “[i[nstead of reflexively pulling out the biggest gun in the partnership arsenal, nonprofits…
  There’s no such thing as a quick and easy merger. That was a key takeaway from our recent post: A Look At Two Pandemic-Era Nonprofit Mergers (August 27, 2021).  Nor is a formal merger a do-it-yourself situation. There’s no adequate step-by-step, how-to guide. Instead, you need some “look before you leap” overviews before you speed-dial professional advisors.   This topic is generously covered by experts in the field; a quick Google search will yield voluminous results.  To help you wade through this thicket, we’ve selected several favorites.         CompassPoint’s “How, Why & Why Not”  CompassPoint is a 45-year-old,…
  In Nonprofits: What Not To Do (July 13, 2021), we crafted a post loosely inspired by “What Not to Wear,” the popular British TV series that debuted in 2000.  The BBC gambled on a risky premise: A clueless fashion criminal would be ambushed each week and confronted with her tragic wardrobe mistakes. The TV audience would hopefully identify with the bewilderment of the  fashion-expert hosts: “What in the world was she thinking?” But if the perpetrator agreed to follow a long list of fashion don’ts, she would be rewarded with a lavish London shopping spree.  Our July…
  Over the past decade or two, there’s been an escalating “crisis of trust” in all of the traditional institutions of society including nonprofit organizations. That pattern continued into the COVID-19 pandemic era.  Of course, “trust” is subjective; it may or may not be objectively accurate.  Nevertheless, the nonprofit sector has taken notice of unsettling polls and surveys showing a growing threat to the ability of the nation’s charities to “carry out their missions, including trouble raising cash, attracting top talent,and persuading Americans to take action on social, environmental, and other key issues.” See for example: The Trust
  When, three years ago, we first wrote about the valiant effort to push back against a proposed “historic” rate hike in nonprofit preferred postal rates, this is not the news we had hoped to bring.    “It’s a perk for nonprofits that doesn’t get as much attention or fanfare as the tax deduction for charitable contributions, but reduced postal charges are an important aid to the success of the mission of many organizations.”  Over the weekend, though, on August 29, 2021, new postal rates went into effect across the board; a court had not yet acted on a “stay” request…
  Several months ago, we posted a four-part series on options available to nonprofits searching for ways to ride out the COVID-19 crisis. Titled Nonprofits in Crisis: Alternatives to Closing, it was primarily directed to those organizations most hobbled by the pandemic, but applies as well to the (relatively lucky) groups not faced with shutdowns and revenue losses. The latter include many social-services agencies which were flooded with pleas for emergency assistance (coupled usually with substantial relief funding from governments, foundations, and private donors.)   The main point was to look for alternatives beyond familiar, traditional ones like formal mergers; to…
  The troubled Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Act is getting a shot in the arm.  The U.S. Department of Education (DOE), spearheading this resuscitation effort for the PSLF, wants input by September 24, 2021, from the nonprofit sector about how best to proceed. The National Council of Nonprofits urges that our community submit as many separate responses as possible.  In the past, we’ve seen that federal agencies carefully consider these “public comments” and often act favorably on them. The Treasury Department, for instance, solicits input on proposed tax regulations. While this is mandated by law as part of standard…
On March 3, 2021, The Chronicle of Philanthropy published an article by Alex Daniels, veteran reporter on the nonprofit beat. Titled Nonprofits Welcome Billions in Pandemic Giving but Wonder if Support Will Last, it was provocative but noncommittal.   It appeared on the same day as Philanthropy and COVID-19 in 2020: Measuring One Year of Giving, a highly anticipated 28-page research report posted jointly by Candid (formed in early 2019 by the merger of the Foundation Center and GuideStar) and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). There was an earlier report in August 2020: Philanthropy and COVID-19 in
States and local governments around the nation are sitting on gobs of American Rescue Plan Act money given to them by Congress several months ago. We wrote about that in  Billions In Covid-19 Aid: Nonprofits Should Engage ASAP (August 3, 2021). Separately, many of them have authorized significant relief funds from their own coffers that can be used by 501(c)(3)s.  For example, the California Legislature acted much earlier this year with SB 87 .  Just-Signed Bills Offer Relief from Pandemic Hardship (February 26, 2021) Preston Young, CalChamber Alert. The legislation authorized an additional $2.1 billion for the $500-million Small…