A Government Retreat from Overhead Aversion

Marian Conway of The Nonprofit Quarterly says that “for nonprofits, this is a dream come true.” What is this much-anticipated gift? “The City of New York is planning to help pay indirect costs.”  Until recently, there has been a wall of resistance from donors and funders (foundation and governments) for supporting overhead items in grants and contracts. Traditionally, foundations have preferred making grants for Read More

Measuring “Impact”: New Charity Ratings Group

In the year 2019, “impact” became one of the hottest buzzwords in the nonprofit sector. But nonprofits have struggled to measure “impact.”   Just ahead of last month's Giving Tuesday event, a new ratings organization - ImpactMatters - appeared on the philanthropy scene. Whether or not this new watchdog group meets an unmet need - and, if so, whether it does the job well - is an open question.     Struggling to Read More

Four Kalamazoo Nonprofits Launch Hub ONE Collaborative

The corrosive effect of The Overhead Myth is well-known among board and staff of nonprofit organizations. We’ve written about it several times, most recently in Smashing the Overhead Myth: A Step Forward (October 24, 2019).  Simply put, there’s been a false narrative floating around for decades that a nonprofit should be judged on its effectiveness by how little it spends on overhead. But the opposite is true: Read More

Universal Charitable Deduction Gains Influential Support

There's been talk for many years about expanding the charitable deduction. But since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), interest has picked up in expanding it beyond those taxpayers who itemize deductions. This jump in support - or at least a willingness to consider such a major change - is in large part because the TCJA unexpectedly broadened the standard deduction. Now, many former itemizers Read More

Nonprofit Postal Rates: Action Alert

In September 2018, we reported the alarming news that some of the most popular postal-rate discounts long enjoyed by nonprofits may be on the chopping block. See Possible Rate Hike for Some Nonprofits’ Mail.  What was only a strong possibility back then has turned into a near-certainty now. And there’s just a short window - on or before February 3, 2020 - for the nonprofit community to act to avert or mitigate Read More

Overhead Aversion: Yes, There Really Is Such A Thing

Among the most important developments in 2019 in the nonprofit sector is that cracks are emerging in the disastrous Overhead Myth wall. This concept was first formally described ten years ago in The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle, a groundbreaking article in the prestigious Stanford Social Innovation Review. We've written about it several times including most recently in Smashing The Overhead Myth: A Step Read More

American Philanthropy: Biggest Myths

The year 2019 has been one of intense soul-searching for philanthropy. There are enormous problems that society as a whole must address. But that has led to legitimate questions on how to tackle them along with concerns about whether this nation’s philanthropic organizations, as historically and currently organized, should - or even can - take a leading role in the solutions.  As Deborah Elizabeth Finn Read More

A Plea for Higher Foundation-Payout Rules

The usually humorous nonprofit blogger Vu Le (writing at his blog, Nonprofit AF), takes on a more somber tone in The ethical argument for foundations to increase their annual payout rate beyond 5% (August 4, 2019). It’s the day after the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “The last few years,” he writes, “have been hellish on all fronts….”  “Nonprofits have been especially hard hit,” being Read More

Tainted Charity Trustees: The Dilemma

In October 2019, just days before the official reopening celebration for Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), protestors gathered near the entrance. The site had been closed all summer for a grand redesign costing $450 million. At that preliminary event, their target was Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, Inc. who is a MOMA board member. They and other critics charge that BlackRock invests in “prison companies, Read More

The Dot.ORG Sale: New Developments

In Your Dot ORG Domain May Soon Cost More (December 4, 2019), we reported stunning news that sent shock waves in November 2019 through both the philanthropy and internet communities. Since then, there have been new developments.    The Origins of the Dot.ORG Domain  In the 1990’s, in the earliest days of the internet, engineers and researchers created two 501(c)(3) in California - where else? - to bring some Read More