Artificial Intelligence & Nonprofits: A Primer

Most people expect to understand and be comfortable with Artificial Intelligence (AI) about as soon as they conquer - say - ancient Sanskrit. It’s one more weird technology thing, many fear: a science fiction nightmare that will take over our lives or - worse still - replace us altogether. It’s tough to work up enthusiasm for, much less welcome, a scary new storm cloud like that rolling in from the Read More

Nonprofit Thought Leaders: 10 Useful TED Talks

From time to time, we engage in random policy wonkery, recommending to readers provocative tidbits from policy experts, observers, and other thought leaders. For example, in Nonprofit Sector Featured in New Slate Series, (August 28, 2018), we highlighted a series that Slate magazine launched in May 2018, featuring noted philanthropy commentator, Felix Salmon.  Titled Introducing the Slate 90: A dive into the Read More

Behested Payments: Now, It’s L.A.’s Turn

On February 17, 2019, the Los Angeles Times ran a story with the headline: An L.A.councilman promoted a charity. Should he have disclosed the donors? The story was about (former) Councilman Mitchel Englander who, for many years, had taken an active part in fundraising for the North Valley Family YMCA. He had, according to this reporting, probably run afoul of a California law requiring “... elected officials to Read More

Impact Security: New Charity Funding Vehicle

What are the biggest challenges for the philanthropic sector? Almost anyone’s response will include finding the money to carry out the organizational mission. There is a new product available that claims it is the first “in which a financial return might be earned through an investment in a nonprofit.” It doesn’t displace the role of the donor; instead, investor and donor coexist. The Nonprofit Times recently Read More

Accounting Irregularities: Regulators Zooming In

The editors of The Nonprofit Times recently published a warning to charities around the nation: More than ever, state regulators are taking aim at certain accounting practices they assert are misleading and improper. In particular, they are focusing on two issues: (1) allocation of joint costs and (2) valuations of gifts in kind (GIK); that is, non-cash donations. While - so far - the regulators’ positions on Read More

CA Issues Cease-and-Desist Orders to Out-of-State Charities

On March 12, 2018, Javier Becerra, the Attorney General of California, announced cease-and-desist actions against four charities from other states that had fraudulently - according to the government - solicited funds from California residents. The jurisdiction of this state’s top law-enforcement officer extends not only to California charities but also to 501(c)(3)s anywhere in the nation who ask for Read More

Charity Navigator Announces New Service

New Jersey-based Charity Navigator (CN) is “the country’s leading online charity evaluation service.” A 501(c)(3) itself, this organization helps donors make informed decisions about spending their charitable dollars. It gives information and data for about 1.6 million nonprofits including evaluations of these organizations' financial condition, accountability to the public, and transparency in operations.” Charity Read More

What to Do With an Unusual Grant

Imagine a scene like this: A small group of people is celebrating the receipt that day of an IRS Determination Letter granting 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, status for their new community organization. They are still at the “sitting around a dinner table” stage because there hasn’t been time or the funds to set up office space. On the agenda for that evening is crafting a fundraising strategy to attract financial support Read More

501(c)(3) Groups: Steer Clear of the Legal Minefields

For directors and staff of many 501(c)(3) organizations, a primary concern and ongoing worry is - as it should be - compliance with all rules and regulations necessary to maintain the valuable federal tax exemption. Indeed, in earlier posts, we highlighted - collectively and individually - the key ways that a 501(c)(3) can sink a tank exemption. That was - actually - the title of the lead post in this multi-part Read More

What’s Next After the Tax Exemption Letter?

There’s no shortage of books, articles, blog posts, website columns, and other sources of information about how to form a nonprofit corporation or how to get a tax exemption. What happens, though, at the moment after all the initial work is done? The corporation has been formed; you have the fancy binder. The 1023 or 1023-EZ has been filed (and perhaps has been quickly approved). The initial board meeting has been Read More