News & Articles
It’s time; time for change, that is. The old cliché that change is constant is still accurate. The changes seem to be coming at a faster pace than usual. Some of the biggest changes have already begun in many parts of the nonprofit sector and promise to continue for the better part of the next decade. Much of it is structural in nature — which makes it easier to predict — while at the same time the initial slow pace makes it easier to deny.
When Paul Hamann was appointed president of the Night Ministry in July 2007, he didn’t realize how much of a challenge he’d face in the new role. Hamann had already been a leader in the organization, a Chicago-based nonprofit serving the city’s vulnerable youth and adults. He’d been overseeing daily operations for five years.
Whether it’s the bad rap that capitalism got during the Great Recession or shareholder activism that has turned heads, no longer is it just the realm of do-gooder charities and nonprofits to save the world. For-profit businesses are getting into the act, whether it’s calling it a social enterprise, impact investing, or taking advantage of newly created legal structures such as Public Benefit Corporations (PBC or B-Corporations) or Low-profit Limited Liability Corporations (L3C).
The creation of veterans’ charities has outpaced the rapid overall growth of nonprofits during the past decade. Despite what seems like a regularity of some veterans’ charities to be in the news for alleged malfeasance, veterans-related charities have fared well relative to overall charitable giving. Some of the largest and oldest organizations are at least holding steady in terms of revenue while charitable giving plummeted sector-wide due to the recession.
The official count is 8,302 partners for #GivingTuesday tomorrow. More organizations might get involved but the official count is now frozen in time. It is more than triple the 2,500 reported last year for the inaugural event.
Some might lament that there aren’t enough hours in a day. The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is looking for another week in the month. To make up the potential gap that cuts to the nation’s food stamp program might create, the Dallas, Texas-based organization would have to add another week to each month.
#GivingTuesday started last year with a modest goal: Get 100 partners. Before the day was through, it had 2,500. “We were really overwhelmed at how this call to generosity resonated so intensely,” said Beverly Greenfield, director of public relations for the 92nd Street Y (92Y) in New York City, where the idea for #GivingTuesday originated in conjunction with the United Nations Foundation.
New political activity rules for tax-exempt organizations proposed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have some in the sector calling the move an attack on First Amendment free speech rights.
Imagine there is a law that mandates you cannot drive fast, but the speed limit is not posted: You have been given no definition of what it means to go fast. This is the situation charities face when it comes to political activity. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has failed to define what constitutes political activity, relying on the “facts and circumstances” of each case to decide whether an organization is participating in political activities.
Some 41 percent of all U.S. donations go to religious congregations. That number jumps to 73 percent when religiously-linked nonprofits such as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and Jewish federations are included. Those are some results from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University study called “Connected to Give: Faith Communities.”
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December 2, 2013Table Of Contents
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