Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Policy Poll: Government Contracting & Prompt Payment Practices

Take the "Government Contracting and Prompt Payment Poll": Help Enhance the Upcoming National Report with Real Stories from New York's Nonprofits!  
Deadline: December 2nd

As many of you are well aware, government contracting issues have an immense impact on the ability of nonprofits in New York State to carry out their mission. 

Though we are the only state with a "Prompt Contracting" law designed to safeguard nonprofits through the contracting process, there are still many hurdles New York Nonprofits face when attempting to get timely, adequate payment for our services.  NYCON strives to be an active and committed partner both with our Members and representatives of  government on initiatives aimed at improving the state contracting process.  

In order to do this, NYCON is now asking all nonprofits with government contracts to please take a few moments to complete this Pulse Poll: Contracts and Grants regarding your recent experiences.

Results from this poll will be used to supplement and enhance the findings from the upcoming Urban Institute study. We would greatly appreciate any stories and specific examples you can provide on how your government contracts or grant experiences have affected your organization or those you serve.  

All stories will be kept anonymous unless you have given your permission to use your experience as an example in any discussions or documents produced regarding these issues.  

NYCON does expect media sources to be contacting our office after the study's release. We hope your answers can be a resource for us to draw upon to give a clear and realistic picture of how state contracting problems impact New York's nonprofits presently.  
Click here to take the Pulse Poll: Contracts and Grants, or paste this link into your browser:

Please complete your survey ASAP, but no later thanDecember 2, 2013. Also, please share this message broadlywith your colleague organizations that may have government contracts or grants.    

If you have any questions, please call us at (518) 434-9194 ext 126or email avanderwarker@nycon.org.

Doug's Signature

Doug Sauer, CEO
New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON)

The Urban Institute, along with the National Council of Nonprofits, will be releasing a study on December 5th, 2013 on state contracting and payment practices.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nonprofit Resource Center Information

The Nonprofit Resource Center at the Robert P. Kinchen Central Library maintains an extensive collection of resources for nonprofits, including books on starting and managing a nonprofit, fundraising, proposal writing, board development, bookkeeping, managing volunteers and free access to the Foundation Directory Online database. Visit Central Library at The Galleries, 447 S. Salina St, Downtown Syracuse, or call 315-435-1900 for more information. http://bit.ly/1gwPCrS

The Nonprofit Resource Center is part of the Foundation Center's network of over 425 funding information centers called Funding Information Network. As a member of this nationwide network, the Nonprofit Resource Center provides visitors with free public access to a core collection of Foundation Center print directories and online resources as well as books on fundraising, grantwriting and nonprofit management. The Nonprofit Resource Center is designed to serve the needs of grantseekers, funders and donors. 

Kara Greene
Robert P. Kinchen Central Library
447 South Salina Street
Syracuse, New York 13202-2494

Upcoming Events & Trainings

The Five "I's" of Fundraising
[Lunch & Learn Webinar]
November 14th, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Presented by Susan Weinrich, VP of Organizational Development & Capacity Building Services, NYCON
Free for NYCON Members Only 
Money for FSA
Geared towards the Board members, participants will learn how fund development fits within their overall board responsibilities and how to organize themselves to help address this challenging area. This session covers a range of strategies for generating revenue with an emphasis on fundraising. Topics include:
  • Creating a development plan
  • Organizing a fund development committee
  • Fundraising strategies for success
  • Staff & board roles in fund development
Most importantly, it will help Board Members overcome their fear of fundraising and recognize that their involvement is critical to the success and sustainability of the organization.

NYS Grants Gateway Info Session: Best Practices for Nonprofit Governance & Policy Creation [Vestal] 
Friday, November 15, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Presented by Michael West, Esq., Legal Advisor, NYCON 

NYS GGAre you in the process of becoming 'prequalified' with New York State in order to receive funding for a contract currently in place or for future funding for which you'd like to be considered?  Your prequalification status may be delayed for multiple reasons. If your application is being held (or if you haven't been able to complete it) due to questions about any of the following reasons this workshop will be a great resource for you.
  • Operational documents (charitable determination letter from the IRS, audit, IRS Form 990, Organizational chart, etc.)
  • Governance Policies & Practices (internal controls, separation of duties, nepotism and other clauses in your bylaws and personnel policies)
  • Other Documents or Governance Policies that you don't have and aren't sure how to create.
In this session we will be focusing on best practices for nonprofit governance and policy creation as they relate to the Grants Gateway portal, the prequalification questionnaire and the online Document Vault. We will also be discussing the options and process for NYCON assistance available to you as a member.   

Striving for Self-Sufficiency: Earned Revenue & Entrepreneurial Strategies [Utica] 
November 21, 2013 from 9:00AM - 11:30AM
Presented by Doug Sauer, CEO, NYCON  
Cost is $10 (At the Door) 
A Program of the Mohawk Valley Nonprofit Leadership Group 

There was a time where the most stable and viable nonprofits were those that relied on the traditional business model of contributions and government grants. Dependency on the "market" forces of philanthropic and taxpayer support is increasingly being viewed a limitation regarding sustainability as often they are outside of the influence and control of the nonprofit. Achieving self-sufficiency involves a third leg to the revenue stool - earned revenue, where there is a direct exchange of a product, service or privilege for monetary value. Participants in this workshop will have an opportunity to discuss and learn about earned revenue and entrepreneurial strategies - the pros, cons, and preparation and cultural shifts necessary to proceed down the entrepreneurial path.  

This presentation is being funded by the Cororate Partners of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties.  
We appreciate their support.Please visit their website for more information, www.foundationhoc.org   

How Changes in New York's Unemployment Program Affect Your Nonprofit [Lunch & Learn Webinar] 
November 22, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Presented by Cecilia Piazza, Director, Unemployment Program, First Nonprofit Companies 

bargraph-money.jpgThis webinar will discuss, in detail, the various unemployment insurance  coverage options currently available to nonprofit organizations, and specifically how unemployment compensation rates are assigned, the upcoming tax cost increases in New York State and various federal and state unemployment insurance benefit programs for claimants. 
Did You Know? Nonprofits Have Options
Nonprofits typically have fewer unemployment claims than the private sector; therefore, they often subsidize the state unemployment fund by paying more than necessary. Federal and state laws allow 501(c)(3) organizations to reimburse the state unemployment fund, rather than pay the UI tax in advance of having actual claims. FNC's unemployment programs may well reduce your unemployment costs if you currently participate in the state tax system, and can provide you with a safety net if you have already chosen the reimbursable option.
Participation in FNC programs provides:
  • Unemployment insurance savings of as much as 60%
  • No pooling or shared risk
  • Fixed annual cost
  • Fully insured option to eliminate risk or Stop Loss Insurance with customized attachment points to minimize your exposure
  • Professional representation in unemployment hearings and claim amount auditing included
  • Access to training and services that can decrease the number of invalid claims
  • If your nonprofit employs 10 or more people, this is an option worth learning about and exploring.
FNC covers over 1,500 nonprofit employers across the country. They want to help even more organizations save money and avoid risk - starting right here in New York.

Beyond Collaboration: Exploring & Navigating Corporate Affiliations [Hudson] 
December 11, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM  
A Workshop Provided by the New York Council of Nonprofits with Support from The Dyson Foundation
Presented by Doug Sauer, CEO and Dave Watson, Senior VP of Legal Accountability and Compliance Services & General Counsel 
Register Today      FREE
business-deal-illustration.jpgPerhaps now more than ever, community-based nonprofits are seeking ways to do businessdifferently and are exploring whether affili  ation may be a path to sustainability and growth.  Join NYCON's highly experienced staff experts in learning about the various forms, processes, potential benefits and risks associated with corporate affiliations,including merger, acquisitions, subsidiary relationships and shared service arrangements.

This initiative is available to help nonprofit organizations, libraries or units of government based in the Mid-Hudson Valley (Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster counties) move from the exploring the feasibility of strategic restructuring, to planning the restructuring and implementing the plan, to enhancing the restructured entity. Funding is available for additional technical assistance, consulting, training or meeting facilitation and more. If, after this session, your organization is contemplating a serious merger or restructuring, then we encourage you to take advantage of this valuable resource through The Dyson Foundation. The "Beyond Collaboration" Workshops are provided as a part of The Dyson Foundation Nonprofit Strategic Restructuring Initiative.

New Tools for Creating a Vibrant, Engaged and Energized Board in the 21st Century [Lunch & Learn Webinar]
December 13, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (EST)
Presented by Andrew Marietta, Regional Manager, NYCON Central New York Office and Valerie Venezia, VP of Membership & Marketing
Free for NYCON Members; $50 for Non-Members
laptop-business-woman.jpgWhile we still have to recognize the traditional factors that motivate our Boards of Directors, we also need to acknowledge the fact that the most successful ways to connect with these individuals may have completely changed. Models of board meetings & board communication have not caught up with the current ways we engage in our "everyday" communication.

This session will help identify motivating factors (both old & new), identify and discuss new ways of recruiting & engaging board members and how new online tools can help make the best use of everyone´s time and accomplish more with less. For those of you who attended this workshop at Camp Finance, on this webinar we will be able to spend more time on areas of concern like: managing & directing cultural change within your organization and additional specifics on tools you can use to make your (and your board members) life easier.

New Report Addresses Opportunities for Funders That Collaborate

  Press Release

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Noah Rimland Flower
Monitor Institute, a part of Deloitte
Consulting LLP
(415) 932-5345

New Report Addresses Opportunities for Funders That Collaborate

Companion "Interactive Tool Finder" Aids the Search for
Technology Solutions

New York, NY — November 7, 2013. A new report released today sheds light on how online tools are changing the way funders collaborate. Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better is the product of research conducted jointly by the Monitor Institute and the Foundation Center. This report helps funders learn about the different phases of collaboration and online tools that can help them advance all types of sharing, coordination, and cooperation.
"Increasingly, foundations seek to leverage the impact of their giving by joining with others to address large, complex problems," said Katherine Fulton, president of the Monitor Institute, a part of Monitor Deloitte. "The logistical challenges they face in working together can be daunting, but new technologies can make collaborations easier by reducing inefficiencies and enabling new methods of working together that were difficult to imagine just a few years ago."
The report aims to help funders get smarter about how emerging new technologies can help them work together more effectively and provides guidance on how to make thoughtful choices about investing in the development of new tools that facilitate collaborative work.
An interactive tool finder developed by GrantCraft, a joint service of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre, complements the report by presenting seven distinct collaborative needs (including finding partners, designing strategies, and assessing progress) and 17 types of tool functionalities (ranging from data gathering to project management) in an online matrix that facilitates intuitive exploration of available resources. This free resource helps users generate custom results that provide details on recommended solutions, including their cost; whether they are best for small-, medium-, or large-sized collaborations; how easy they are to use; and if there is a mobile-friendly version.
"In a time when the challenges of repairing the world seem to know no bounds, working together as a global community of problem-solvers is more important than ever," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at the Foundation Center. "Technology is helping funders harness the power of collaboration, opening up new opportunities for strategic partnerships and making it easier to build effective relationships across organizations and geographies."
The research on which the report is based included an extensive literature review on collaboration in philanthropy, detailed analyses of trends from a Foundation Center survey of the largest U.S. foundations, interviews with 37 leading philanthropy professionals and technology experts, and a review of more than 170 online tools. The content of the report is divided into three primary sections: an introduction to emerging technologies and the changing context for philanthropic collaboration; an overview of collaborative needs and tools; and recommendations for improving the collaborative technology landscape. Key Findings from Harnessing Collaborative Technologies outlines overarching themes from the report and serves as a companion piece to the full report.
The Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better report and Key Findings executive summary can be downloaded for free in the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site and from the Monitor Institute's web site.
Funding for the project was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visitfoundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.
About the Monitor Institute
Monitor Institute is a social change consultancy that works with innovative leaders at nonprofits and foundations to advance social impact across a diverse range of issues. Monitor Institute strives to be a scout for social innovation, bringing new approaches to clients and contributing to the public debate on leading-edge topics such as impact investing, strategic philanthropy, and networked collaboration. As a for-profit/for-benefit hybrid, Monitor Institute pursues social impact while operating as a fully integrated unit of Deloitte Consulting LLP. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. For more information, please visit monitorinstitute.com or call (415) 932-5382.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The NEXT Le Moyne Leadership Event!

November 15, 2013
Balance in an all-consuming world!
In this age where we are asked to do more and more and be more and more, the challenge of balancing one’s many roles and expectations can be daunting.  This talk will consider the challenge of “being all things to all people” in our lives, and some strategies for managing the chaos of too many demands and too little time.

Your session leader: Dr. Frances Pestello  is a Professor of Sociology at Le Moyne College.  Dr. Pestello  comes to Le Moyne after 25 years at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio where she served as professor, as well as eight years as chair of the department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work.  Her interests are social psychology, law and deviance.  She has written on the relationship between attitudes and behavior, deterrence, and the impact of taking psychiatric medication on one’s sense of self.


All sessions begin at 8:30 with breakfast of fruit, cheeses and pastries; program 9:00 – 11:45.

To register, email  or fax your name, organization, and full contact information  (including email and phone) todowneyrv@lemoyne.edu  fax 445. 4787. Seating is limited, so please consider your registration a commitment.  If you are unable to attend, please contact us as early as possible.

Costs are $35 for each session, including materials.  Make checks out to: Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College.   Questions: Mrs. Dale Wilson, Assistant to the Dean, 445.4280; wilsondg@lemoyne.edu.  A confirmation will be emailed to you the week before your event.


Still, I am learning.  - Michelangelo

Renée Downey Hart,  PhD
Professor of Practice
Madden School of Business
Le Moyne College
Syracuse, NY  13214

Is NYC’s DeBlasio Really a Threat to Nonprofits? Or to the Status Quo?


Some nonprofits in the nation’s largest city are worried about the probable election of Bill de Blasio as New York’s next mayor because of his potential impact on philanthropy and social service providers there, and two recent media pieces are a reflection of that. But I might add that the operating word in that last sentence is “some.” DeBlasio has strong ideas on many topics, such as charter schools, as NPQ has reported previously, and the mayor of New York has an outsized influence on funding for the local nonprofit sector as well as on public policies that impact them. But does he pose a threat to the nonprofit sector, or to the status quo of the nonprofit sector, and to whose benefit? We’ll be interested to hear from our colleagues in New York on the matter.
“‘This is why we can’t have nice things,’ New Yorkers might have muttered when they heard the news: Bill de Blasio, a shoo-in to be elected mayor next month, supports a plan to gut one of New York City’s most successful policy innovations of the past three decades,” says Evan Sparks in a blog post on the Weekly Standard website, entitled “Would-Be New York City Mayor Would Gut Central Park.”
Sparks is a contributing editor at Philanthropy magazine. He is referring to de Blasio’s support of a plan to redistribute money from Central Park’s operating budget to other, smaller parks throughout the city, not by moving money around within the city’s parks budget, but through a proposal “to raid the assets of the private nonprofit group that runs Central Park.” This was previously reported upon in another NPQ newswire.
The proposal is a state senate bill that would create a new “Neighborhood Parks Alliance” to redirect money to city parks considered neglected. The money would come from management conservancies like the Central Park Conservancy, the High Line, and other private conservancies with operating budgets over $5 million, who would be required to surrender 20 percent of their operating budgets. Sparks doubts the plan to seek funding from private, nonprofit groups would pass constitutional muster, but if it did, he says the result would be “dreadful for all parks—and philanthropy—in New York City.”
The Central Park Conservancy took on the task of reversing decades of physical neglect and social decay in the 1970s. The idea was that Central Park needed more than contributions from rich Manhattanites; it also needed new management, independent from the city’s parks bureaucracy. The conservancy was eventually awarded a long-term contract by the city to manage the park—the city pays a management fee to the conservancy and provides public safety, while the conservancy raises the large majority of its budget and employs 90 percent of the park’s staff. Everyone acknowledges that Central Park has been transformed by this arrangement.
The Central Park Conservancy inspired similar efforts throughout the city and across the country, especially for center-city parks with historic landmarks, complex landscaping, athletic facilities, performance venues, zoos, food and beverage services, etc. Conservancies are also good at generating funds and interest, and most park advocates say that the conservancy model has supported a renaissance of urban green space. Donors have come through in big numbers, and Sparks says that money has become a target for de Blasio, who has been quoted as saying that “some of that has to be moved to where the need is greatest, in neighborhood parks that are really suffering.”
Sparks and others don’t think de Blasio’s plan will work; he says Central Park attracts donors because it serves so many people from so many walks of life, and people want to give to a particular park. He calls the proposal “a tacit 20 percent tax on all gifts to New York’s big park conservancies.” He also calls it “an assault on the principle of philanthropic freedom—the liberty that all Americans have always enjoyed to choose the objects of their private giving.
By endorsing this plan, de Blasio is substituting his policy preferences for the charitable choices of thousands.” He also thinks the parks bill would cut off future conservancy efforts, something a number of conservancy leaders agree with. But, open space equity advocates from those neighborhoods with “suffering” parks support the idea.
Meanwhile, Adam Dickter, assistant managing editor of New York’s Jewish Weekdelves into de Blasio’s track record with issues of interest to the Jewish community, particularly the ultra-Orthodox, who comprise a growing proportion of the city’s Jewish population, both in terms of numbers and influence.
“A Mayor de Blasio, the first Democrat to hold office since 1993, will also encounter pressures from Jewish groups based on campaign positions he’s taken,” said the article, continuing that “others will remember his support for day care vouchers, eliminated by [outgoing Mayor Mike] Bloomberg, that have heavily assisted large struggling Orthodox families. He has also said he’d be open to ways of helping religious and other private schools get more public funding, if it doesn’t conflict with the law.”
Social service organizations all over the city will be looking at how their contracting processes may change. The Bloomberg administration’s strict businesslike regulations regarding contracting with the city rankled Latino nonprofit leaders (NPQ had a newswire on this matter, as well).
But the paper reports that de Blasio is a major critic of the councilmember earmarking process for specific organizations because of corruption, and has called for that system to be scrapped. How that plays out depends on who becomes the Council’s next speaker. This uncertainty is causing anxiety within the Jewish social service network at a time when some programs have been frozen because of a state probe of misappropriated funds at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

One Jewish organizational leader told the Jewish Week that he hoped an alternative to scrapping member items could be found that also addressed the corruption concerns, with more accountability and transparency. The city’s nonprofits will certainly get into the mix over earmarks, as they should. Both articles illustrate the fact that the fortunes of the nonprofit sector and a community’s political leadership are often joined at the hip, but we would love to hear from NPQ readers who are DeBlasio watchers in NYC. What are your thoughts on his positions, and what his candidacy and probable win means for NYC nonprofits?—Larry Kaplan