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  • Changing Overtime Rule Could Impact Budgets

    By The NonProfit Times — August 10, 2015

    Nonprofit managers might need to budget more for salaried employees if a proposed rule to extend overtime eligibility is finalized. The new rule, announced recently by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to allow more salaried employees to be paid for work done beyond the standard 40-hour week.

  • Charity Defense Council Steps Up For Red Cross

    By Mark Hrywna — August 7, 2015

    The Charity Defense Council (CDC) opened what appears to be its first major front in the war on overhead.

  • Live From DMA: Direct Mail Hiatus Cost ACS $30 Million

    By Mark Hrywna — August 5, 2015

    New donors declined by 11 percent and new donor revenue dropped by $11.3 million in the first year that American Cancer Society (ACS) paused its direct mail acquisition program. Over five years, the hiatus would have had a projected impact of $29.5 million to the organization.

  • New CEO at Charity Navigator

    By Mark Hrywna — August 5, 2015

    Charity Navigator has tapped a former Microsoft executive to become its third chief executive in its nearly 15-year history.

  • Which Message Goes To Whom?

    By The NonProfit Times — August 4, 2015

    A local busload of students, on their way home from a high school game, was “t-boned” by a truck. Most of the injured were members of families with bottom-end incomes. So the appeal for funds to help cover medical costs centered on humanization of help.

  • ICYMI: The 50 Most Influential Leaders

    By The NonProfit Times — August 3, 2015

    “Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.” Socrates’ advice on the human condition can easily be the motto for the charitable sector and for the superstar executives who understand the concept and are honored as the sector’s most powerful and influential of the past 12 months.

  • Your Sustainability Checklist Simple math can determine your solvency

    By The NonProfit Times — July 31, 2015

    The term “sustainability” is a roaring success, if one measures its frequency of usage. And, why not? It’s a tribute to our relatively recent interest in examining our impact on things ranging from the environment to organizations.
    For the latter, it’s a pathway to managing tangible and intangible resources in such a way as to gain maximum assurance that an organization will be around tomorrow.
    The task grows a bit simpler when it comes to financial sustainability, although it might not always seem that way. Here are four indicators, in order of immediacy, to help you keep your nonprofit on a solid financial footing. Work your way through the plain English of these indicators and you’ll be taking a great step toward ensuring that your organization will be around for a long while to come.
    Each of these indicators can be found on an Internal Revenue Service’s federal Form 990, the yearly filing document required for most nonprofit public charities. Each indicator will be referenced in terms of its page number and description on the Form 990. The indicators will be described in order of a range of immediacy beginning with the very short-term indicators and ending with a long term indicator.
    At the top of Page 11 is a line described as “Cash — non-interest bearing.” This is one of the most fluid and most important of the sustainability indicators because no cash, no mission. Think of it as the group’s checking account, which it probably is.
    Below that line is a similar sounding “Savings and temporary cash investments.” This means that this amount of cash is almost as available as the non-interest bearing cash in the first line. Supplementing the cash balance of the first two lines is “accounts receivable,” which is the money that outside people and organizations owe the nonprofit.
    Nonprofits that score well in this indicator usually do so because they have a steady stream of revenue that is at least slightly more than its overall expenses. To get a rough idea of how well off you are, add the amounts in Column B from line 1 through line 9, then divide that number by the sum of line 17 through line 19. Pat yourselves on the back if you get a number greater than “1.” Your short-term assets are at least equal to and might be greater than your short-term obligations.
    The official name for the calculation above is the “Current Ratio.” It compares the cash and near-cash assets you have against the obligations you have incurred for the short term. Overall, this is a good indicator of sustainability. It says that one’s short-term assets are equal to or more than one’s short-term liabilities.
    Incidentally, corporate entities of all kinds — including nonprofits — share a common desire when it comes to financial indicators: They want to look good. As a result, they try to pick a fiscal year that leaves them looking as sound as possible. For example, a university might choose a fiscal year that begins on July 1. There are probably multiple reasons, but consider the economic benefits:
    • Most of the faculty is not being paid during the period;
    • Some of the last semester’s tuition revenue might not have been spent yet;
    • Summer school revenue is in hand and not spent; and,
    • Some early payments for the upcoming semester might have already been received. The balance sheet and income statement won’t look as good for another 11 or 12 months, so this is a good time to end the year.

  • Of Humans & Glitches Data breeches and viruses in a flash (drive)

    By The NonProfit Times — July 31, 2015

    Imagine a situation where during your very busy day the computer you rely on stops working due to a virus. It gets worse when you find your information has been stolen or leaked. What is especially concerning is that this unfortunate situation can be created by an employee or volunteer innocently plugging a flash drive into a computer, or by clicking a link in an official looking email.
    In some cases a data breach or virus that leaks financial or medical records is a violation of the law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Omnibus rule that came into effect in 2013 has brought hefty fines, increased audits and strict enforcement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) level fines can be $1.5 million per incident per year.
    While hackers and organized crime get most of the headlines, according to a study by Symantec and the Ponemon Institute in Traverse City, Mo., most data breaches are caused by human errors and system glitches. Two key issues cited were employee mishandling of confidential data and lack of system controls.
    Protecting sensitive information is of paramount importance to nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. Donors and supporters of your nonprofit would not be very happy to find that their financial and/or personal information was leaked from your computers. You can imagine both the short-term and long-term damage to your nonprofit and to your reputation in the community.
    Data breaches using phishing and virus social engineering attacks are very common. Phishing scams are typically a method of email fraud in which the perpetrator sends out an email that appears to come from a legitimate enterprise (e.g., your nonprofit; your bank; your insurance company). These messages usually direct the user to a spoofed website or otherwise get you to “share” personal and/or financial information. You would be surprised at how easy it is to clone a website, yes, even yours, and fool people into trying to log on to a near perfect replica. Virus writers use tactics to persuade people to open email attachments with malware (malicious software) or a Trojan horse.
    The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) in Bellevue, Wash, reported that 90 percent of breaches in 2014 could have been prevented. Security awareness vigilance is your first line of defense. It’s easy to catch people off guard. Here are a few tips to help protect your nonprofit:
    • Don’t retain too much data. Only keep sensitive information that you need for a legitimate business purpose. Is there a way you can remove or modify unneeded data elements from your records to make them less sensitive (e.g., truncating a social security or credit card number)? Develop and implement a records retention policy that outlines how long you will maintain sensitive records.
    • Think about where sensitive information might be hiding. As an example, a PowerPoint presentation to your board could contain a chart built from an embedded spreadsheet that contains the Social Security numbers of your staff members.
    • Implement a mobile device management program. Require authentication to unlock a device, locking out after three to five failed attempts; use encryption on mobile devices such as laptops and removable media; consider mobile device management software that allows an administrator to trigger the purging of all data from a lost or stolen device.
    • Regularly review your access controls. You should restrict access to sensitive information to individuals with a valid business need to access it. If you don’t, you are vulnerable to the risk of “insider threat.” These are attacks by individuals who have a legitimate login for your network but use their access for malicious purposes.
    • Use strong, complex passwords and do not share them with others. Consider requiring that they be changed several times a year.
    • Do not leave your password or user name written down in view of clients or co-workers. That Post-it note on your computer monitor doesn’t offer much protection from prying eyes.
    • Avoid clicking links that people send to you. Use a search engine to find the proper legitimate link or type in the web address manually.
    • Discard solicitation emails, even if forwarded from a trusted friend.
    • Do not download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. Best practice is to open attachments only when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender.
    • Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is too good. Does your organization typically promise you a free Starbucks card to join a new wellness initiative by clicking on a link?
    • Beware of any email, text or phone call asking for personal information, including your password. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a number to update your account and do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call and are familiar with the organization. Unsolicited keywords to watch out for: verify, account, won, lottery, login, inherited, hacked, PayPal, Western Union, fax, IRS, FBI, FedEx, USPS, UPS, delivery, DHL, invoice and ADP.
    • If an email seems to have poor grammar or is not properly translated this could be an indicator that something is wrong.
    • Enter sensitive log in data such as passwords only on “safe” sites. The site address or URL should begin with “https://” (the “s” indicates secure) and will typically show an icon of a lock or shield.
    • Protect your computer with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Malware and viruses change daily. Most security software will provide regular updates to keep up with the latest threats. While these won’t protect you from all threats, they do help in some situations.
    • If in doubt, don’t take a chance. It’s not worth the risk of exposing your sensitive information just to click on a link in an email or see what’s on a USB drive that you found.
    As you read this list, did you think to yourself that your staff has done a good job of protecting itself? That is what the organization in the following story thought, too.
    A well-known network security expert was hired to penetrate an organization. He showed up early one morning and seeded the client’s parking lot with USB flash drives, each of which had a Trojan horse file installed on it. When employees arrived for work they were quite excited to find the free gadgets lying around the parking lot. The employees gathered them like candy and some plugged them into their workstations.
    While many other employees did not use the flash drive, it only took one to violate the security of their system. This type of social engineering attack is known as baiting and the test showed the organization was more vulnerable than leaders thought.
    It was a simple example of methods that can be used by criminals to access or damage a system. How easy would it be for someone to mix some bad USB drives in with the free giveaways at a conference or trade show? Will you think about that the next time you accept a free USB drive?
    The best security technology in the world can’t protect you unless your employees and volunteers understand their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding sensitive data and protecting your organization resources. Train your employees and volunteers to recognize common cybercrime and information security risks, including social engineering, online fraud, phishing and web browsing risks. NPT

  • The 2015 Power & Influence Top 50

    By Paul Clolery — July 31, 2015

    “Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.” Socrates’ advice on the human condition can easily be the motto for the charitable sector and for the superstar executives who understand the concept and are honored as the sector’s most powerful and influential of the past 12 months.

  • 7 Habits Broken By Highly Effective People

    By Paul Clolery — July 31, 2015

    There’s an old Vaudeville gag where a patient goes into a doctor’s office and exclaims: “Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do that.” The doctor replies: “So, don’t do that.” Almost any senior executive has heard of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A copy is probably propping up a desk somewhere in the office. Any Type A personality can tell you that breaking a habit can be far more difficult than acquiring new skills. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. How you acquire a skill – basically how you were taught – can make change very difficult.


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