Saturday, December 14, 2013

Picks of the Week: December 8, 2013 - January 4, 2014

Website of the Week -- Nonprofits Talking Taxes
Nonprofits Talking Taxes is a resource website that features a workshop and curriculum designed help people have meaningful and fun conversations about nonprofits and the common good, and the role of fair and just tax policy in making our work more mission-effective. On this website you will find a number of tools to help you think more clearly and deeply about what taxes should be used for and why nonprofit leaders need to be a stronger voice for the “common good” and help staff, volunteers, and board members understand what the common good can mean for our communities.   Using these tools will help you and your group discover how engaging people in conversations about the common good may be one of the most powerful strategies we have to shape public policy which most promotes the public benefits that we believe in. To access the website and toolkit, go to:

Publication of the Week --  The Non-Profit Narrative: How Telling Stories Can Change the World by Dan Portnoy  and Brian Morykon
From the publisher: The Non-Profit Narrative is designed to help non-profits apply storytelling principles to their day-to-day operations and communications for maximum impact. Applying the idea that all organizations have great stories to tell, Dan Portnoy encourages non-profits to interpret fundraising and engagement through the perspective of storytelling. This proven process has helped non-profits raise millions of dollars, attract donors and make a profound impact for their cause.

Trend of the Week --  Government Contracting and Payment Practices: Lingering Problems for Nonprofits
Governments at all levels traditionally enter into agreements with nonprofit organizations to provide services to constituents. In 2011, one-third of revenue for 501(c)(3) public charities came from the government through formal contracts and grants (Pettijohn 2013a). Through a national survey of public charity nonprofits, The Urban Institute has assessed the size and scope of government financing, administration of contracts and grants, and nonprofit perceptions of problems and improvements in these processes. The Urban Institute also reports on the financial status of nonprofits at the end of the Great Recession. Key findings include:
  • Nearly half of organizations surveyed reported that they experienced limitations on the percentage of government funds that could be used for program and organization administration costs.
  • Approximately one-quarter of organizations with a contract indicated that they had to share in the cost of the contract and one-half of grantees said they had a matching requirement associated with a grant.
  • During the examined period, government agencies at all levels were cutting funding as a result of the weak economy. Nearly 40 percent of organizations reported a decline in local and state government funding, while almost 50 percent experienced a decrease in federal government funds.
  • With decreasing revenues, nonprofits had to make tough decisions to balance their budgets. More than 40 percent of respondents turned to their reserves to make ends meet and about 25 percent of nonprofits reduced the number of employees on their payroll. About 14 percent of organizations reduced the number of clients served and almost 11 percent cut programs.

Resource of the Week –  Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Newsletter
The Harvard Business School publishes HBS Working Knowledge, a weekly newsletter available at no charge. The newsletter offers information from the Harvard Business School to help you run your organization better, announcements of special programs offered by the School, the latest in management-related books and Web sites, and an ongoing provocative dialogue with Professor Jim Heskett. Articles specific to nonprofit organizations are frequently included. If you would like to receive this e-mail newsletter, go to: and click on the newsletter signup link. Once your subscription begins, be sure to click on "Social Enterprise & Nonprofit" in the left column for past articles on nonprofit topics.

Tech Tip of the Week -- Using the Data Analysis ToolPak in Excel 2007/2010

Most people are not aware of the Data Analysis ToolPak in Excel. This feature is disabled by default. To use the Data Analysis ToolPak you need to be familiar with Engineering and Statistical terminology. To enable it:
  • Click the File tab (2010) or Office Button (2007)
  • Click the Options button at the bottom of the menu
  • Click Add-Ins in the left pane
  • Click Go
  • Select Analysis ToolPak
  • Click OK

You can now access the ToolPak from the Data tab in the Analysis group.