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[40405-WHATMATTERS] What Matters: Nonprofit innovation stymied by lack of funds: study

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  • United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2010
      United Way's What Matters

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      May 31, 2010


      Nonprofit Resources

      Events & Fundraisers

      Issue Updates

      Employment & Volunteer Opportunities

        Webinar discusses nonprofit governance issues

        With heightened scrutiny on the nonprofit sector, leaders aim to enhance transparency and accountability throughout their organizations, especially at the board level.
        Despite best intentions, however, good governance practices can be thwarted by insufficient data, inability to access information, poor communication, and lack of clarity about roles, strategies, and even mission.
        Through a model of active governance, boards can meet their responsibilities in mission achievement, as well as risk management, oversight and evaluation.
        Active Governance: How to Actualize Boards' Best Intentions, an online workshop on nonprofit governance scheduled for Tuesday, June 15th from 1pm to 2pm, will provide a robust framework for active governance, particularly in the context of today’s landscape, and introduce new tools for supporting it
        For more information, click here.
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        5-day Grantsmanship training set

        The Grantsmanship Training Program is coming to Philadelphia June 28-July 2, hosted by the New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator at Resources for Human Development.
        The training program is a comprehensive, hands-on workshop that covers the complete grant development process, from researching funding sources to writing and reviewing grant proposals. During the workshop, participants learn the Grantsmanship Center's proposal-writing format, the most widely used in the world.
        Participants exit the class equipped with new skills, new professional connections, and follow-up services for one year, including a professional proposal review, access to The Grantsmanship Center's exclusive online funding databases, and an array of other benefits.
        Tuition is $895 for the five-day program and class size is limited to 30 participants.
        For more information, click here. To register online or to learn about scholarship opportunities for qualifying organizations, click here.
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        Website seeks profiles of area nonprofits
        More and more, people are doing everything online, including learning about issues and donating their time and money to their favorite charities.
        Once fully launched later this year, Generocity will offer all nonprofits within the Greater Philadelphia access to a growing Internet-savvy audience with compelling stories to energize greater and deeper involvement in worthy efforts, and appeal to new groups of donors who seek innovative, easy-to-use online civic engagement and donation tools.
        To make it easier for potential volunteers and donors to find out about nonprofits, Generocity has created a brief online form to gather basic information about organizations. Generocity’s writers will use the information to create organizational profiles and, eventually, stories for the public.
        Individuals and organizations completing the form will be entered in a randomized monthly drawing to be one of 10 people who will receive a $50 deposit to start their Generocity giving account.
        To create a profile, click here.
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        Small nonprofits can still file 990 forms
        The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will help small charities keep their tax-exempt status even if they missed the May 17 deadline for filing a new online form.
        In a statement, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that a new law requires nonprofits with annual revenues of $25,000 or less to file a Form 990-N, even though in the past they were exempted from the requirement. Those failing to file for three consecutive years lose their tax exemptions.
        Shulman said that the IRS recognizes that many of the affected groups are just learning that the deadline for submitting the form was May 17th.
        "I want to reassure these small organizations that the IRS will do what it can to help them avoid losing their tax-exempt status," he said.
        The 990-N, also known as "e-postcards," requires basic information like the name of a principal officer and a mailing address.
        Shulman said the IRS would provide guidance "in the near future" about how it will offer relief to the affected charities. "So I urge these organizations to go ahead and file - even though the May 17 deadline has passed."
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        Prize recognizes nonprofit collaborators
        The Collaboration Prize is a national award presented to nonprofit organizations that collaborate effectively to gain greater impact. The prize was created and is funded by the Lodestar Foundation.
        The prize is designed to identify and showcase models of collaboration among nonprofit organizations. Recognizing the impact that can be achieved from working together, the prize identifies and showcases collaborations among two or more nonprofit organizations that cooperate to demonstrate innovative and effective responses to challenges or opportunities.
        In 2011, the Collaboration Prize will award a total of $250,000 to the collaborations that best exemplify the impact that can result from working together. Each of the eight finalists will receive $12,500 and the winner will receive an additional $150,000.
        Applications may be submitted by any individual familiar with the collaboration, including an employee of any entity involved in the collaboration.
        Applications close on July 16th.
        For more information, click here.
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        Retired business leaders seek to help nonprofits
        RSVP of Montgomery County’s Volunteer Executive Consultants has been providing expert and affordable counseling services for more than 25 years.
        VEC is a team of retired business executives with skills in a multitude of areas. They volunteer their time to assist small and mid-sized nonprofit agencies. Typical assignments include an initial fact-finding meeting to determine needs, issues and challenges, followed by a proposal to help agencies address issues in a cost-effective manner.
        Small fees may be charged which flow directly back to RSVP services within the community.
        To schedule a consultation, call 610-834-1040.
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        Seminar on nonprofit intellectual property issues set
        Philadelphia VIP/LawWorks, Pfizer and DLA Piper LLP are co-sponsoring a free seminar on intellectual property issues for nonprofits Wednesday, June 2nd from 10:30am to 3:15pm.
        The LawWorks project of Philadelphia VIP refers eligible nonprofits, small businesses and homeowners to lawyers who provide free legal services.
        This seminar will discuss basic concepts of trademark and copyright law, common places where intellectual property laws intersect with a nonprofit’s activities, and legal issues raised by the use of the Internet. In addition, the course will provide practical advice about how to apply these legal principles to your day-to-day operations.
        The course is designed for board members, executive directors and other nonprofit staff and volunteers responsible for marketing, communications and fundraising.
        The training takes place at DLA Piper LLP, 1650 Market St, Suite 4900, in Philadelphia.
        Lunch is provided. To reserve a space, email here.
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        Webinar discusses building in sustainability
        PA Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network and Regional Career Education Partnership Collaboration are coming together to join representatives from the Finance Project to learn about tools and practices for building sustainability into programs and initiatives.
        The webinar, "Building Sustainability," is scheduled for Tuesday, June 8th at 10:30am.
        The Finance Project helps organizations around the nation identify and develop financing strategies. Publications include Follow the Money: A Tool for Mapping Funds for Out-of-School Time Initiatives and Cutting Costs; Keeping Quality: Financing Strategies for Youth Serving Organizations.
        To register for the workshop, click here.
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        Cleopatra exhibit opens with CADEkids benefit
        CADEkids – which stands for "Change Attitudes, Decisions, & Environments for Kids" - will offers complimentary tickets to the Cleopatra exhibit at the Franklin Institute with its Our Children - Our Treasures spring event on Thursday, June 10th, 5-9pm.
        The event also features a raffle for a luxury Nile cruise, 17-game season tickets for the 2011 Phillies, and other items. It will also honor Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey.
        To purchase tickets and for other information, click here.
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        Whole Foods helps Urban Tree Connection
        The Urban Tree Connection assists urban, low-income communities to revitalize their neighborhoods by transforming abandoned open spaces into safe and functional places that inspire and promote positive human interaction.
        On Thursday, June 3rd, the Whole Foods Market in Wynnewood will donate 5 percent of its gross proceeds from 11am to 7pm to support the work of the UTC.
        For more information on the group, click here.
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        Networking event highlights two nonprofits
        Synergy – (“Substance + Soul = Synergy”) is a networking and fundraising initiative that takes place on the second Thursday of every month that highlights and benefits charitable organizations who directly serve underprivileged children and their families.
        This month’s event takes place on Thursday, June 10th from 6-9pm at the OCTO Waterfront Grille at 221 N. Columbus Blvd. in Philadelphia.
        In addition to hors d’oeurves and drink specials and music by DJ Corey DST, this month’s event features benefits the Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Program of the National Black MBA-Philadelphia Chapter and ACHIEVEability.
        For more information, click here.
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        Obama proposes new poverty measure
        The current way the federal government measures what constitutes poverty in the US is based on standards of living in the 1960s. Using that standard, a family of four is not considered as living below the “poverty line” unless it makes less than $22,000 per year.
        In its FY 2011 budget proposal, the Obama administration is requesting $7.5 million for development of a supplemental poverty measure that will better enable tracking the nation’s progress in reducing poverty. This measure would provide a more accurate account of the constraints American families face today and how well federal programs are working in providing pathways out of poverty.
        Advocates are also asking for funding to develop and release an additional measure of what it takes to "make ends meet" so that it is possible to measure how many families are able to get a foot on the bottom rungs of the middle-class.
        To sign an online petition in support of these proposals, click here.

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        Coalition calls for new revenue for PA
        Pennsylvania faces a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion for the current year and next year looks even worse. Community service organizations across the Commonwealth are encouraging outreach to members of the General Assembly to ask that they not balance the budget on more service cuts in necessary to assure the health, education and well-being of Pennsylvania’s children and families.

        The advocates say that they believe there is support for new ways to bring revenue into the state coffers, although they do not propose specific increases in tax, fees or other government levies.
        Public Citizens for Children and Youth, however, is calling for elimination of what it calls “special interest tax breaks.” For more information, click here.
        To sign on to a letter opposing further service reductions, click here.
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        Advvocates support Promise Neighborhoods funding
        Promise Neighborhoods is an Obama Administration program to replicate the successful Harlem Children's Zone model in at least 20 communities throughout the nation. This model, which combines high quality education with community and family-based supports, provides continuous services from cradle through college to career.
        Research demonstrates that young people are more likely to succeed in school when their
        comprehensive needs are met. Promise Neighborhoods does not focus on a few isolated issues or attempt to rescue just a few children in low-income communities. Instead, it focuses on the whole child and whole community, lifting up and transforming them in a process that emphasizes what works.
        To sign on to a national letter in support of the proposed $210 million in funding for Promise Neighborhoods in 2011, email Patrick Lester of United Neighborhood Centers of America.

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        PEC, schools estimate number of homeless students
        People’s Emergency Center and the
        School District of Philadelphia have estimated the number of homeless teenagers by adding housing questions to the bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national survey that informs public health and education policy.
        The survey showed that there were at least 2,400 homeless teenagers in the City in 2009. Since during the same period the School District served only 600 homeless teens and the City of Philadelphia’s housing providers served only 500 teens, policy leaders are now questioning why all homeless teens are not being served as well as identifying strategies to reach the teens.
        To view the survey results, click here.
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        Steep decline in donations continues
        A study conducted by researchers at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College says that Americans donated $217 billion in 2009, a decrease of $11.2-billion or 4.9 percent compared to 2008.

        The researchers said that the 2009 drop comes after an estimated 6 percent decrease in 2008.
        The estimates -- which exclude grants made by foundations and corporations and bequests from estates -- are based on a model that uses changes in economic data to forecast charitable giving. The model is designed to be modified every three months based on new data, such as price and market indices as well as information about income and net worth.
        The researchers were more optimistic about giving in 2010, projecting giving by individuals to range between $222 billion and $227 billion, an increase of 3 to 4.5 percent.
        A full report on the study will be published in the July/August issue of Advancing Philanthropy, a magazine published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
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        Nonprofit innovation stymied by lack of funds: study

        A new study from the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University shows an eagerness to innovate, experiment and evaluate throughout the nation’s nonprofit sector – but a lack of money to bring to scale innovative ideas that succeed.
        The study, part of the Johns Hopkins University’s Listening Post Project, was based on a survey of more than 400 social-service, economic-development, and arts charities.
        Over 80 percent of organizations in the survey said they had adopted at least one innovative program in the past five years. But more than two-thirds said that, while they had identified an innovative program in the past two years, they were unable to adopt it, generally because they lacked the money.
        Innovation was more common at large nonprofit groups than small ones, according to the study. Ninety-one percent of survey respondents with budgets greater than $3-million said they had adopted at least one innovative program or service in the past five years, compared with 75 percent of groups with budgets under $500,000.
        “Recent discussions of innovation have really focused on new start-ups, the social entrepreneurs, the social ventures,” said Lester M. Salamon, director of the Center and one of the report’s authors. “The tendency is to think that as organizations grow in size, they lose their innovative spirit, but that doesn’t seem to find support in the data.”
        The survey also said that 85 percent of the nonprofits said they measured the effectiveness of at least a portion of their programs and services at least once a year.
        The most common approach was to focus on ways to quantify a charity’s work, such as the number of performances an orchestra holds or the number of meals a soup kitchen serves.
        But many charities also looked beyond the numbers to figure out what results they had produced, such as whether they were making a dent in curbing hunger or homelessness in their communities, with nearly 70 percent of groups that evaluate their work reporting that they used such so-called outcome measurements.
        Very few nonprofit leaders reported downsides to measurement and evaluation. Only 7 percent said they were less able to take risks because of their focus on measurement, and just 8 percent said they had struggled to keep costs low because of evaluation requirements.
        While nonprofit leaders recognized the benefits of evaluating whether their efforts made a difference, they wished there were better tools for doing so. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they needed improved tools to measure the qualitative impact of their work, and 81 percent called for measurement tools that took less time to use.
        “The message that evaluation is important is heard loud and clear,” one respondent told researchers. “The message that we need help developing the methodology to do so and the assistance in implementing it and paying for it is not being heard at all.”
        To read the complete report, click here.
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        Youth panel discusses 'State of Black Philadelphia'' report
        The Urban League of Philadelphia will present Youth Provocation: Enacting the Vision & Impacting the Future for Our Schools, its annual urban leadership forum, on Tuesday, June 1st at 1pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1110 Arch Street – Room 105 AB, in Philadelphia.
        The event features a panel with a diverse group of highly-motivated high school students from the Greater Philadelphia region that will address issues and challenges facing young people today along with solutions to create an education system that will adequately prepare them for college, career and life.
        The dialogue based on findings from the Urban League of Philadelphia State of Black Philadelphia report.
        For more information on this free event, call

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