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Resolve to conduct exit interviews with every departing employee and departing long-time volunteer or board member--regardless of the reason for the departure. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

There are more than 1 million nonprofits in the United States, and more than 70% of these entities receive annual support of less than $200,000.  Philanthropic advisors play an important role in guiding these volunteer-driven nonprofits in the performance of their vital community work.  Here's a tool to help them stay healthy and improve sustainability. (Planned Giving Design Center)

Many nonprofit professionals find it difficult to ask for a break.

This holiday season, do your due diligence and ensure that your fundraising practices uphold the law-and the reputation of your nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

WNC Nonprofit Pathways: Leadership Forum presentation by Denice Hinden of Managance Consulting & Coaching.

A pure cash donation is easily valued and relatively simple to report in your nonprofit's financial records. But when donors receive a benefit in exchange, the amount of their charitable deduction gets more complicated.

Understanding a nonprofit’s costs is necessary in order for charitable nonprofits to be financially sustainable. Rather than reporting artificially low costs, or ignoring what it really costs to deliver programs and services, the National Council of Nonprofits is encouraging all nonprofits and board members to model transparency of full costs. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Funding pitches need to excite, engage, and inspire a major donor to write the big check. Heather Yandow with Third Space Studio presented at a Center Conference these best-practice tips for creating the perfect major donor pitch.

If you didn’t get the gift after a fundraising call, consider these 10 “horrid reasons.”

Ten rules you'll want to consider as your organization begins with e-Philanthropy.

Follow these simple tips to keep your computer running smoothly.

Use these tips to make board meetings more effective and efficient.  Make sure you are making the most of everyone's time and remain on target with the roles and responsibilities of each person involved.

Is your organization stuck on a no-growth plateau?
One of the most rewarding things about serving as a nonprofit board member is the opportunity it affords to help create positive change. This resource presents 11 ingredients Billy Shore, founder and chief executive officer of Share Our Strength, identified as key to Share Our Strength’s growth and success during a difficult economic period. These ingredients include
increase capacity
build internal unity
be collaborative but also competitive
hold yourself accountable

Considering a search for a new CEO or Executive Director? Here's a template to guide you through the 12 Steps to a Successful Search. (BoardWalk Consulting)

What advice do nonprofit leaders have for grantmakers who want to practice good stewardship and leverage their resources for the greatest impact? This resource provides suggestions gathered from focus groups and interviews with more than 1,500 nonprofit leaders.

These tips can help you succeed in any state legislative session. You can use the same principles with local elected officials, too.

The 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. (IRS)

Dedicated, trustworthy volunteers are incredible assets for nonprofits. Paying closer attention to how and what you communicate might be just the catalyst you need to grow your volunteer team. Be sure they hear these messages directly from you!

Although at times it may seem like only big businesses or recruiters use LinkedIn, it also offers plenty of great tools for nonprofit organizations. Learn how LinkedIn can help your nonprofit extend your marketing efforts and drive growth. (Network for Good)

Charitable solicitation compliance is not optional. It is the law. Charitable solicitation is regulated on the state-level and the requirements vary by state. 41 states require registration and 4 additional states require disclosure statements to be included on solicitations. Charitable solicitation can take on many forms of asking for a donation, including fundraising online. In addition to registration, many states require foreign qualification of the nonprofit corporation and appointment of a registered agent. Penalties for noncompliance can be severe, so proactively registering and maintaining compliance is ideal. (Harbor Compliance)

Charitable nonprofits may freely engage in lobbying as long as that activity amounts to only an “insubstantial” amount of the nonprofit's activities.  View this information from The National Council of Nonprofits to learn what that means. 

The Bridgespan Group put together a list, organized by skill type, of ways nonprofit leaders can engage promising staff members in critical skill development areas without sending them to formal external trainings. Use these suggestions as a checklist, identify which opportunities best fit with your staffs’ development (or your personal development) needs, and put a few into action!

Fifty five ways your board members can raise $500 for your organization. (Chardon Press)

In part two of this series, “How To Develop Your Nonprofit Operating Reserves,” we examined common factors that organizations should take into account when considering how much to set aside for their operating reserves. This week, let’s walk through seven steps to developing a policy to manage the use and replenishment of reserve funds.

Many nonprofit organizations struggle with the concept of marketing themselves and their missions. It seems too sales-centric, too fueled by money. They ask, "Is it slimy to apply marketing to nonprofits?" Our answer: Definitely not. (Network for Good)

Here they are… the 7 Things to Know About Volunteer Background Checks in 2016

While there are no guarantees about how long any employee will stay put, following these basic tips may lengthen the tenure of fundraisers.

There’s a type of racism in the workplace many of us have personally witnessed, perpetrated or experienced: tokenism. (The Nonprofit Revolution)

Some of the “truths” about black holes are eerily familiar. Their characteristics are similar of the traits of “dark risks”‒ the controversial risks that cause many leaders in nonprofits to look away. These are the risks that make everyone uncomfortable. “Dark risks” share many fascinating characteristics with black holes.

There are 360 degrees in a circle, and the 360-Degree Look places the organization at the center of the circle and looks at it from the viewpoint of its many constituencies. In particular, the 360-Degree Look helps compensate for the board's limited view of how well the organization is functioning. There are several reasons for this limited view. 

 "Who do we know?" When board nominations come up, this plaintive question usually isn’t far behind.  But how do we recruit people we don’t know?  This is especially important when new board members are needed to lead change.

A Board Member "Contract" by Blue Avocado

Many board members don't think about the organization's insurance until something adverse happens. As one Blue Avocado reader commented: "Insurance isn't sexy, but it's as essential as a roof over your head." In these tight times, it's tempting to make insurance a low priority, but this strategy can be penny wise and pound foolish. Blue Avocado asked Pamela Davis, president and CEO of the Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group (and President of American Nonprofits, sponsor of Blue Avocado) to give us the low-down on liability.

As board members, we have twin responsibilities: to ensure that our organization is making efficient, appropriate use of funds and to ensure that we are reporting our overhead correctly. This article provides eight key ideas to know about overhead. (Blue Avocado)

The unwillingness of most foundations to provide general operating support to most nonprofit grant applicants is the one significant factor causing the grantmaking practices of a major part of the foundation sector to cripple small community-based and other nonprofit organizations.

Through this Publication 4302, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state charity officials provide general guidelines for charities operating vehicle donation programs. (IRS)

If thoughts of detailed client histories and reports to funders make you break out in a cold sweat, it may be time to consider the many good case management tools that will help you track demographics, interactions, scheduling, billing information, and more. In this update of our 2009 article, we summarize what tools case management experts would recommend. Idealware

The right donor management software can make a big difference in your ability to raise funds.

Accepting payments by credit card is not necessarily difficult or expensive. In this article authors Laura S. Quinn and Kyle Henri Andrei, provide some tips and tools to process credit card transactions, both on- and offline, for organizations of all sizes. (Idealware)

Nine nonprofit internet specialists share some of the Web hosting providers that have worked well for them, and some tips for hosting everything from a basic website to a powerhouse web application. (Idealware)

Terry Allebaugh had his “aha” moment when he was away from the office. He was at a workshop on executive transitions presented by the N.C. Center for Nonprofits with support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC Foundation.

He realized he’d fulfilled his work at Housing for New Hope (HNH), which he founded “to prevent and end homelessness one valuable person at a time.” After 20 years as executive director, he realized it was time to move aside and let new leadership take the helm. He wasn’t ready to retire, but he was tired of the CEO’s administrative responsibilities.

A resource for community-based organizations – and those organizations that serve them – that are considering or are in the midst of organizational development (OD) activities. It represents the perspectives and lessons learned of a number of nonprofit leaders who have been engaged in OD work over the long term. (Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation)

Not all donors are created equal.

Imagine you have two donors who each give $100. However, one volunteers regularly, never misses opening an email and brought other supporters to your organization. Will you communicate to both donors the same way?

If you aren’t measuring donor engagement, you might have to.

Donor engagement is a measure of all of the things that make up a complete donor profile, beyond just gift size and superficial demographic information. And it can be one of the most powerful data point in a fundraisers toolkit.

If you’re a fundraiser or nonprofit development professional, you’ve likely heard the term “donor retention.” It’s one of the hottest topics of discussion in the nonprofit sector. But what is donor retention? And why is it important?

At the Center’s 2014 Statewide Conference, your peers gathered in a session entitled, “Succession Planning: Peer Conversations About the Issues,” to share best practices focused on the roles of board members, executive directors/CEOs, second-in-charge staff, and consultants. Shannon Williams, Brenda Summers, Trisha Lester, and Dothula Baron shared these highlights. 

Thanks to the leadership of the National Council of Nonprofits and its network of statewide center across the country, your nonprofit will soon be paid for necessary operating costs if you receive government grants or contracts.  

Researchers have long known that happiness and good health go together.  Happier people have less depression and stress, stronger immune systems, lower heart rates, and longer lives.

Foundations approach fellowships in various ways: some are geared toward experiend professionals while an increasing number are seeking young people to nurture their interest in the field.

Why do well-meaning, well connected people sometimes join boards and then say, “I’ll do anything but raise money?” They understand their responsibility to ensure adequate resources for their organization. They attend fundraising training. But ultimately too many board members are "fundraising averse."

Companies are beginning to track the correlation between associates’ pro bono participation and their skill development, and leveraging employee engagement surveys such as Gallup and Towers Perrin to identify causal patterns. Taproot and True Impact’s evaluation guide, are helping us to effectively quantify the impact of pro bono on the nonprofits they support.

To find the right firm for your search, you must consider a number of factors. This article shares what actions should be taken prior to selecting and engaging with a search firm. (The Bridgespan Group)

In this article, learn about some tools and ideas for building a simple, attractive website without breaking the bank. (TechSoup)

Explanation of qualified sponsorship payments that don't count as unrelated business income. (IRS)

How do you try to integrate communications about your campaigns and the things you need with ongoing community building, putting out useful content, and curating the work of others?

This article presents some of the questions that government officials ask, and offers some answers. The intent of the article is to help those officials better understand how they can work with nonprofits to stretch tax dollars and tap nonprofits’ unique capacities to benefit communities. (Popular Government)

Includes online reference that will help you learn more about prospect research and get you started doing some research on your own. (AFP-Triangle Chapter)

Abide by these federal laws governing the activities of lobbying as they relate to nonprofit organizations. (Alliance for Justice)

A tumultuous economy can present unique challenges for nonprofit fundraising. Looking for ways to cope? AFP has compiled a toolkit of resources to advise and guide member fundraisers in tough economic times. (Association of Fundraising Professionals)

The Women's Center and the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County merged to form the Compass Center for Women and Families.  Learn about the merger process directly from the executive directors of both organizations. Presented at Center Conference.

The IRS released Notice 2015-17 containing long hoped for penalty relief and guidance regarding employer medical reimbursement arrangements.

Representatives from the U.S. Departments of Education, Justice, Agriculture, Labor, Transportation and others offered these tips to nonprofits applying for federal support.

How we link fundraising and accountability will set successful nonprofits apart from others.  Find out what your peers said were current opportunities and challenges for fundraising.

Accountability is a popular buzzword in the nonprofit sector and most nonprofit board members recognize that the board sets the tone for organizational accountability. From time to time, however, some members of the board may forget that they too must be accountable and live up their leadership commitments. Attend this webinar to learn how to effectively, and practically enforce board members responsibilities. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

If your nonprofit receives in-kind gifts or donated services, you may wonder whether and how to record them in your financial records. From an accounting perspective, consider these key questions.

In this guide for non-profit organizations, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative Director Tyra Sidberry and writer Pat Dixon provide a step-by-step approach – in seven phases – to achieving diversity and inclusiveness in the non-profit workplace. While she advises us to make it clear to our coworkers and board that this work is ongoing, Sidberry offers practical advice for creating a better work environment and a more productive organization better able to face the challenges presented in the 21st century. 

Knowing what to say in a gift acknowledgment can be tricky. The National Council of Nonprofits makes it easier with these tips.

It's easy for your organization to get overwhelmed with data. Executive dashboards can provide an overview of your organizational health at a glance. But how do you actually create one? We provide three examples of nonprofit dashboards. (Idealware)


Social media may be free, fast and far-reaching, but it still takes time to master.  Consider these tips from the Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

Resources on how to create advisory committees.

This summary explains the distinction between lobbying and the broader range of activities that constitute advocacy.  (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

After an event concludes your work has only just begun.

A toolkit for those interested in marketing -- from planning to evaluation.  (Free Management Library)

A comprehensive list of resources to help you with strategic planning. (Free Management Library)

Every nonprofit needs a crisis management plan, even if it's short and simple.

Looking for a way to recognize board members and their superior service?  Ambassadors charts are an organized and thorough way to outline each board members contributions to the organization, whether a pledge to donate or reaching out to potential donors.

This guide compiles information on many federal programs and funding opportunities available to individuals, communities and businesses in North Carolina. (Office of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, North Carolina)

Americans gave an estimated $358 billion to nonprofits in 2014, surpassing the peak last seen before the Great Recession. The 2015 Giving USA says that this total slightly exceeds the benchmark year of 2007, when giving hit an estimated inflation-adjusted total of $355 billion.

You asked…we listened. The Center is pleased to announce that we have negotiated excellent retirement plan options that are now available to all our Members.

Few nonprofits are as successful as they’d like to be with racial diversity on their boards. This resource provides a thought-provoking perspective from an African American who has served on many nonprofit boards.

There is an important distinction between financial management and financial leadership. Nonprofit Quarterly

Some basic considerations for each phase of the RFP process. (Tech Soup)

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (Pub. Law 109-280), signed into law on August 17, 2006, includes a number of charitable giving incentives and reforms. (Independent Sector)

Nonprofit leaders seeking to understand their organization's financial situation usually start by reviewing the financial reports. (Nonprofits Assistance Fund)

Most small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less ($25,000 for tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2007 and before Dec. 31, 2010) are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, unless they choose to file a complete Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead. (IRS)

Here are instructions for completely the Annual Financial Report Form from the Secretary of State

Annual giving programs are designed to build your funding base.  Learn more about them in this article.

In general, exempt organizations are required to file annual returns, although there are exceptions. If an organization does not file a required return or files late, the IRS may assess penalties. In addition, if an organization does not file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status. (IRS)

Get answers to your most asked questions about Charitable Solicitation Licensing.

Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is found in an increasing number of workplaces in the United States, in part reflecting larger restructuring of business organizations. When employers improperly classify employees as independent contractors, the employees may not receive important workplace protections such as the minimum wage, overtime compensation, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Some do's and don'ts for leading through effective board governance. This article is also available in Spanish.

Use this checklist to be sure you’re complying with selected laws that govern 501(c)(3) nonprofits in North Carolina. If you’re not sure what you need to do to comply, check with the administering agency or your accountant or attorney. This is not a complete list, but it’s a great start! It's in chart format to make it easy for you to follow. 

Nonprofits need new ways to finance their present and future. People who care about nonprofits are not just talking about funding but also about broader capitalization. They’re looking for new or underutilized financial resources and trying to approach old sources in new ways.

At the recent Not-For-Profit Accounting Conference co-sponsored by the N.C. Association of CPAs and the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, Stephanie Walker, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Greensboro and vice-chair of the Center's board, and Gwen Vass, a CPA with Williams Overman Pierce LLP, spoke about internal controls for small nonprofits. 

10 trends of 2013 and 10 predictions for 2014. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Twelve key questions to ask in order to avoid omitting key planning elements.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 30,000 members in 235 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.  The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.

Use this list of benchmarks to evaluate a fiscal-sponsorship arrangement and answer that all-important question: Is this partnership right for my organization?

Term limits for board members can help reduce fraud, says the chief of the N.Y. attorney general charities bureau in this article by the New York Nonprofit Media.

A planning guide for successful benefit auctions. (AuctionPay)

Thinking of creating an audit committee for your organization's Board of Directors? Do you already have an audit committee, but not sure of its responsibilities?

Created by the National Council of Nonprofits, this Nonprofit Audit Guide provides charitable nonprofits with the tools they need to make informed decisions about independent audits.

Good preparation can lessen an audit’s impact on you and your staff, increase its efficiency, and enable the auditors to provide more benefits to your organization. Use these tips to help you with your next audit.

While funders aren’t our personal friends, we can bring a similar spirit into the relationship. Here are six principles for great friendships and professional relationships.

Organizations that do not file for three consecutive years automatically lose their tax-exempt status. An automatic revocation is effective on the filing due date of the third annual return or notice.

If your nonprofit organization is tax-exempt it will automatically lose its tax-exempt status if annual returns are not filed with the IRS in three consecutive years. 

On June 8, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a list of more than 275,000 nonprofits that had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked due to failure to file annual returns. View the IRS automatic revocation list, and read the National Council's special webpage on automatic revocation and download a tip sheet on what to do if your organization's tax-exempt status was revoked.  (National Council of Nonprofits)

Although no measures will completely insulate your organization from harassment charges, you can reduce the risk by having a clear anti-harassment policy and an effective internal procedure for investigation and dispute resolution.  Use these steps to protect your organization.

A growing number of organizations are embracing the concept of telecommuting to provide a variety of flexible work options to support business and employee's personal needs. However, before you offer telecommuting as a work alternative, create clear guidelines for employees to follow.  

Succession planning can be a touchy subject. Members of a nonprofit board may fear the risk of insulting a CEO by suggesting the topic as an agenda item. Some CEOs may feel disinclined to raise the subject because it could send mixed signals about their intent to remain with the nonprofit. Yet succession planning is a critical risk management issue for every nonprofit board. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

The need to look into the future and how to approach that process will be explored in the May program in the Center's 2010 series of webinars. The program will examine long-term financial planning and investment strategies from a risk management perspective.  (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)   

Criminal history background checks are a single tool in a toolbox of screening tools that nonprofit leaders should consider. Certain positions in a nonprofit may warrant the use of one combination of screening tools that looks quite different from the combination used for other positions. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

This document provides guidance toward basic planning and implementation of an outcomes-based evaluation process (also called outcomes evaluation) in nonprofit organizations. (Free Management Library)

 Selection of particular board training topics and training methods depend on the nature and needs of the organization. The guidelines and sample agenda provided in this resource may prove useful to organizations as they develop their own approach to board training. (Free Management Library)

View these basics on federal filing requirements from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Doing good is tough work, and consensus shows that many do-gooders face more resource restraints than their private sector peers. With the stress of impressing your manager or your peers, the pressure to produce superb programs, and the weight of scrutiny from regulatory bodies, funders, and the general public, it's easy to burn out fast. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

There are board chairs and there are great board chairs.  Being a conscientious board member is in itself a challenging, time-consuming job.  But becoming the chair of the board means a lot more responsibility. This article is also available in Spanish.

This article showcases four things you can do to keep your fundraising strategies fresh.

Just think how many of your daily operations are tied to your vendor relationships — the printer, payroll processor, copier contractor, computer technician, designers, and others. Here are tips to avoid vendor problems.

The job of grant writer should include a fair amount of detective work. Much of the work in seeking grants comes before the pen hits the paper (or maybe, before you even start typing into an online grant form). 

This article provides basic information on what nonprofit boards should generally include in and exclude from their meeting minutes and how those minutes should be maintained. (Robinson Bradshaw)

Best practices for benefit events.

A "maverick" committee - one that acts independently of the rest of the board - can be dangerous, especially when it also happens to be your executive committee.  Here's some tips to help you minimize the dangers.

When are board members governing, and when are they micromanaging? If only there were a scientific measure to tell us! Instead, some guidelines may help.

The following chart is meant to help guide nonprofit board and staff as they determine who’s involved in various activities of governing and managing the organization. You may adapt to fit your organization's needs.

Your organization—the CEO and the board members and the Governance Committee of the Board—have to commit to the hard work of getting a good board chair. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

As if nonprofit board chairs don’t have enough to do, maybe we should give them one more assignment — don’t leave before you tell us what you’ve learned! This article highlights what the board chairs of some of our Member organizations have said about their experience.

Given the tremendous responsibility and decision-making power of boards, and the length of most board members’ tenures, making sure you have the right composition of leaders on your board is absolutely fundamental.

This template allows organizations to gauge the level of skill and various affiliations or connections a board member may have within the community. It gives each the opportunity to list his/her strengths and weaknesses so that the group can maximize their efforts to most effectively support the mission of the organization.

This resource will allow an organization to evaluate the areas of interest for continuing education of board members so that an organization can prioritize opportunities in the coming year.  (Interfaith Assistance Ministry)

Adapt this sample board expenses policy for your organization.

The foundation of a committed, knowledgeable, and effective board is orientation and education. As an essential companion to orientation and education, every organization should have a thorough, easy-to-use manual that board members can use throughout their terms. (BoardSource)

A resource to help you with your next board meeting or retreat. (The Free Management Library)

Board members are unable to drive in for a meeting and ask if they can participate through a conference call. What should you do?

Use this sample template from the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations to have board members gage their performance and the performance of the organization.

When board members leave — whether at the end of a term or prematurely — the board can gain valuable insight about its own affairs from the departing members, if they are willing to share their views. (BoardSource)

Board members should bring to the table interest and expertise necessary to achieve the objectives of the organization. Use this resource to focus on the skills needed when recruiting and making reappointment decisions. (BoardSource)

This resource reviews term limits, attendance, and whistleblower policies for board members.

Motivated board members give of their time and take their responsibilities seriously, but motivation comes through conscious effort. This article profiles seasoned volunteers and taps their wisdom about how to build a committed board.

Allegations of mismanagement, misuse of funds, wrongful termination, and employee discrimination can put the personal assets of directors and officers at risk – and cause harmful repercussions for your nonprofit. This article details some of the potential allegations against directors and officers.

Volunteerism is a huge part of the economic force, bettering our communities and making them run more efficiently. The Board of Directors of an all-volunteer organization shoulder the responsibility of providing guidance to the organization by managing it, and leading other volunteers with their hands, minds, and spirits.

Use this template to gauge the performance of each of your board members.  Take note of strengths and weaknesses to maximize the efforts of the board as a whole and make the most of talents evident through this evaluation.

Boards are not — and should not — be static. To be effective, they must change and evolve as their organizations change and grow. Many years ago, Karl Mathiasen III wrote a paper for BoardSource in which he identified three different and quite distinct types of nonprofit boards that develop as their organizations grow and change, including

  1. organizing/founding boards
  2. the governing board
  3. the institutional board

This resource provides brief descriptions of the three nonprofit board types, presented as food for thought only. Do you agree with them? Do they stand the test of time? Do you recognize your own board in any of them?

Research shows there is a reasonably strong relationship between board performance and nonprofit effectiveness.  Unfortunately, it also appears that there is no single standard of effectiveness.  Use this resource to gain some guidance on this dynamic relationship.

What has your organization's Board of Directors pledged to contribute?

Board self-assessment from Executive Transitions Tim Wolfred CompassPoint Nonprofit Services 

This survey is designed to collect feedback on your Board of Directors' performance. Use it as a tool for evaluation to identify strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. 

Do you know the proper terminology for nonprofits and boards of directors? The glossary contains important terms that will help you navigate your responsibilities as a board member. Learn more about essential documents used by nonprofits such as articles of incorporation, Form 990, and the difference between a mission and vision statement; legal obligations for board members including conflicts of interest; and governance committees, executive committees, and more common committees within boards of directors. (BoardSource)

Without meaning to, many nonprofits put their boards on imaginary pedestals, which leaves many employees — especially new employees — unsure about how to approach board members. This compilation of FAQs helps explain the intricacies (and the benefits) of the board–staff partnership. (BoardSource)

This scoring sheet allows for the evaluation of the board as it relates to staff.  It is a good measure of best practices and helps to pinpoint which areas need attention.

Nonprofit boards have traditionally found new members the “inside out” way with current board members seeking out people they know. But you can also develop your board the “outside in” way.

Your nonprofit is going through an executive transition. The new executive director is finally in place. Now it’s time for the Board of Directors to back out of the way and let the new ED find his or her own way. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

When a new executive is hired, the board, acting as a body, has been working hard on its governance responsibility of hiring. The jig isn't up there, however. Each member is critical in helping help a newly-hired executive succeed.

BoardSource has long recognized the critical role that boards play in overseeing their organizations’ mission, finance, and strategic direction. With more than 25 years of hands-on experience working with nonprofit boards, BoardSource has become the go-to resource for funders, partners, and nonprofit leaders who want to magnify their impact within their community through exceptional governance practices.

The Alliance for Justice helps nonprofits and foundations navigate the rules and regulations, and better understand what’s possible through advocacy. Their goal is to help nonprofits embrace advocacy and begin to use it as a tool to further support the communities they serve. Have an advocacy-related question? 

Although direct mail fundraising has been declining gradually, in part due to increasing volume, it still succeeds if you use strategies that personalize your appeals. What can  you do to make it work?

While print communication isn’t the only way to get the word out, this medium can generate the most impact.

Find out how branding can help your organization differentiate you from your competitors for support, participation, or attention.

Virtually every nonprofit organization could use more financial resources to do its work. Statistics and experience indicate that many nonprofit organizations have yet to realize the potential resources that can be secured through a wellorganized fund development effort.

Few issues facing trustee boards are as critical to governing well as the job of reckoning with diversity.  Use the reflective questions in this article to begin a journey to greater diversity on your board.

You shouldn’t have to know everything about fundraising to be part of a fundraising committee.

Two basic factors affect donor loyalty, and both require effective, two-way communication. Learn how you can build donor loyalty.

Trisha Lester, the Center's vice president, chairs the board development committee for a national nonprofit.  In this article, she offers some useful tips from what she's learned through the experience.

AHEC/Community Partners has been working to support community coalitions in defining, developing and carrying out their own agendas for over 10 years. This study looks at lessons learned throughout their history. (AHEC Partners)

Identifies benefits that local governments receive from working with small community nonprofits, challenges that these nonprofits often face in developing internal strength, reasons that governments help address these challenges, and strategies that governments use to provide such assistance. (UNC School of Government)

This free diagnostic survey was developed to help leaders understand where their organizations are strong, and what can be improved. (The Bridgespan Group)

This publication presents alternative models of succession planning designed particularly for nonprofits.  (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

What DOES "building the pipeline" really mean? It means knowing and getting known by enough people to support the work of your organization with their time, advice, tangible goods or financial support.

Highlights some of the most useful lessons that TCC Group has learned about how to help develop effective nonprofit organizations. (TCC Group)

Whether you enlist the help of a construction management team or handle your business move in-house, one thing is a must: stay organized. Download our free Business Move Checklist and Business Move Coordination Tasks here to keep organized and make sure your company doesn’t miss a beat when it comes time for this exciting but challenging time in every business’ evolution. When it comes time to make a new home for your company, be sure to have this helpful resource at your finger tips.

Find out how to choose donor databse software that is the best for your organization (Bloomerang).

The current approved bylaws of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Inc. 

Nonprofit board members are usually volunteers. Even though compensating board members is standard in the business world, only a small percentage of nonprofits compensate board members.

Most procrastination-fighting techniques focus on changing your behavior: just get started, take action, any kind of action. But a recent study suggests a different approach: being kind to yourself.

The conversation on capacity building has not kept pace with the evolution of the sector. The nonprofit sector often neglects to include the host of other actors that comprise the entire social ecosystem, including funders, the private sector, government, management support organizations, and their various networked combinations.

This report highlights the challenges associated with executive transitions and describes a model of executive management transition.  (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

This template for projecting cash flow is the first step to manage cash flow at your organization. (Nonprofits Assistance Fund)

Provides access to a database of Federal programs available to nonprofits. (CFDA)

Does your organization have a process for establishing chief executive compensation? If not, the board should work on creating a plan to recruit and retain the best possible chief executive. This checklist outlines 11 key items to consider when creating a compensation plan. (BoardSource)

CEO evaluation forms for the board of directors.

Sample  CEO evaluation policy, executive compensation policy, and emergency leadership transition management plan to be used by the board of directors.

Overhead. Administrative costs. Indirect costs. Whatever term you use, the perception of these costs by the public and by donors is one of the greatest sources of frustration for nonprofit professionals. But there is hope on the horizon.

Reviews ways your nonprofit can access in-kind donations to support operations.

Charitable auctions have stood the test of time as a great way to leverage our consumption oriented culture for the benefit of philanthropic activities. (Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta)

This publication discusses organizations that are qualified to receive  deductible charitable contributions, the types of contributions you can  deduct, how much you can deduct, what records to keep, and how to report  charitable contributions. (IRS)

This IRS Publication explains the federal tax law for organizations, such as charities and churches, that receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and for taxpayers who make contributions. (Internal Revenue Service)

The purpose of this memorandum is to describe briefly the state and federal rules applicable to the solicitation of charitable contributions by Section 501(c)(3) organizations in the State of North Carolina. Dianne Chipps Bailey (Robinson Bradshaw)

If your nonprofit's budget is over $25,000, you generally have to register with the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division of the N.C. Secretary of State. All nonprofits should contact the Secretary of State to determine if you need to register for a Charitable Solicitation License or to apply for exemption from the license.

Fundraising activities are regulated by state law. Many states require charitable nonprofits as well as any paid professional “fundraising counsel” or consultant hired to assist the nonprofit with fundraising activities, to register with the state before the nonprofit or professionals solicits any donations. Additionally, many states require nonprofits that enter into agreement to share the revenue from sales activity with another organization to file with the state to disclose that fundraising activity. All in all - it's complicated! (National Council of Nonprofits)

Charitable trusts are an increasingly popular way for people to make a difference while earning tax breaks for themselves and their heirs. These vehicles can offer valuable donation sources to your organization. The key is to be sure you focus on the right people.

A checklist to help your organization demonstrate accountability.  Adapt them to fit your organization's needs. (Independent Sector)

This document will help you to fine-tune your bylaws, making sure to include each of these elements as detailed.

Nonprofits are responsible for numerous governmental filings throughout the year, such as the Form 990 to the Internal Revenue Service. This checklist is designed as a quick reference for the major filings required to stay exempt and retain your nonprofit corporation status.

Financial record keeping for nonprofits can be much more complicated than it is for for-profit businesses.  Regardless of where you get funding, you must keep detailed records of every dollar spent. 

To avoid potentially costly exempt vs. non-exempt classficiation errors read this article from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

The Urban Institute developed the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) to classify nonprofits by type of activity. (National Center for Charitable Statistics)

Misclassifying workers is one of the most common mistakes made by nonprofits that result in IRS penalties. In recent years the IRS has been stepping up its enforcement of employee classification, creating a compelling reason for nonprofits to reexamine whether workers are properly classified as employees and independent contractors, and as exempt or non-exempt employees. (National Council of Nonprofits)

The hidden reason for micromanagement is often a lack of confidence in the ED.  What can you do if you're on the board?  What if you're the executive director?

Ethical standards and principles are the foundation for maintaining public trust. (AFP)

Statement of values and code of ethics for nonprofit and philanthropic organization from Independent Sector.

Collaborating with other organizations is like going on a long hike together, whether you’re creating a joint program or a coalition, negotiating a merger, or just sharing a copier. Consider these tips before you begin your next collaborative project.

This guide is a three part series that takes a look at the following: When is a collaborative approach appropriate and useful, and when is it inappropriate and harmful?  How should individuals and organizations respond to invitations to collaborate? When should they initiate such efforts?  How should collaborative processes be conducted? (University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation)

This final part in this series provides the appendix and resource materials to help you in a collaborative process. (University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation)

Want to relieve some of the burdens on nonprofits related to grants? Project Streamline identified “better communication” as one of the four core principles for grantmakers to achieve this.

Engaging women, youth, and communities of color in philanthropy and volunteerism is an important task for unleashing new resources in the field. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

This is the first in a three part series to assist communities to effectively plan, develop and implement real community based collaboration. Although this paper is written about Oregon, it is equally applicable to any state in the United States. (National Network for Collaboration)

This resource provides information about state government financial and technical assistance programs and services. (CRIS)

This chart compares the meanings of these types of tax status, lobby activities, political activities, applications required, and disclosure of fundraising solicition information. (The Alliance for Justice)

CompassPoint intensifies the impact of fellow nonprofit leaders, organizations, and networks as we achieve social equity together. We believe that nonprofit organizations and leaders need relevant support that builds on their strengths, experiences, and achievements and that those individuals and organizations that invest in increasing their leadership and management capacities are better poised to achieve progress.

This article addresses high-level legal concerns facing public charities and private foundations as they consider whether and how to compensate their directors. (Robinson Bradshaw)

Nonprofits compete with for-profit workplaces for talented workers, so setting the right level of compensation can make the difference between attracting and retaining qualified employees or, in contrast, suffering from high turnover and/or not being able to find the hoped-for caliber of employees. (National Council of Nonprofits)

This fact sheet from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management provides an overview of federal guidelines for employee compensatory time. (U.S. Office of Personnel Management)

U.S. Office of Personnel Management

View this guide from the IRS to see if your public charity is in legal compliance.

Discusses overtime pay and includes examples for non-exempt employees. (United States Department of Labor)

Confidentiality Agreement for Service on the Transition & Search Committee (The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits)

This resource details three safeguards an organization can take to prevent and avoid conflicts of interest. It also includes a sample document which can be adapted for use. (Board Cafe)

The Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama has provided this resource to collect personal data as it pertains to conflict of interest.  It details the participant's other business activities and charitable involvement. (Alabama Association of Nonprofits)

The purpose of this policy and procedures document is to give members a frame of reference when creating a policy as it pertains to a particular organization.

This sample conflict of interests policy is designed to protect the interests of the National Council of Nonprofits by ensuring the integrity of our decision-making process and fostering public confidence in our integrity, by preventing the personal interests of members of the Board of Directors (“directors”), staff members, and volunteers from interfering with the performance of their duties to the National Council of Nonprofits, and by preventing a possible excess benefit transaction. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Conflicts of interest raise one of the thorniest issues for nonprofit boards. For guidance on handling conflicts, reference this article. It was created specifically to help nonprofits recognize and avoid legal trouble.

This brief article explains the importance of a consent agenda and how it can help your board meetings run more smoothly. (Board Café)

Creating an efficient meeting agenda is an issue with which many chairs and chief executives struggle. Standard, repetitive items often eat up the agenda and not enough time is left to focus on serious deliberation. Consent agendas are one way of liberating the allotted meeting to important issues requiring careful discussion. (BoardSource)

Cut your operating costs by practicing these 12 energy-saving steps.

An interim executive director can be an effective resource for a nonprofit in transition, giving the board time to conduct a thoughtful search and avoid rushing to hire an inadequate candidate.  Here are some ways an interim executive director can help.

Learn the five key attributes that can transform any run of the mill pitch into a fundraising dynamo. (Network for Good)

Our partners often ask us to explain the difference between a contract and a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Although there can be legal distinctions between the two types of documents, there may be no legal or practical difference if they are written with similar language. The key is whether the parties intend to be legally bound by the terms of the agreement. If so, they have likely created a legally enforceable contract regardless of whether they call it a contract or an MOU.

A summary of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations regarding coordinated communications with federal candidates and political party committees.  (Alliance for Justice)

Holding the chief executive accountable is a critical board role. Ensure that both the board and CEO understand expectations and that the chief executive is properly executing his or her core roles. (BoardSource)

How does the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on corporations and elections affect you? On the surface, it doesn’t. If your organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you still cannot support or oppose political parties or candidates for office.

Allocating costs has become a hot topic in nonprofit financial management as stakeholders realize the need for reliable, consistent information. Board and staff members need accurate information about the costs of activities so they can. 

Authors of an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review suggest some nonprofits should consider a “bifurcated board” — a two-part board with some members governing and others taking on other responsibilities. Read this resource for reasoning behind this thought.

In September 2001, President Bush issued Executive Order 13224 which broadly prohibits transactions with individuals and organizations deemed to be associated with terrorism.

Form 990 has been substantially redesigned.  This four-part mini course will walk you through the redesigned Form 990 and some of its schedules to help you complete an error-free return. (IRS Stay Exempt)

Considering firms to provide services?  Use this spreadsheet to organize the information your audit committee will need to make a decision.

Your budget is more than numbers. It's a tool you can use to motivate employees, control expenses, increase revenues, make effective plans, and fulfill your organization's goals.

While all nonprofits depend to some extent on philanthropic support, not all are successful at raising funds. The primary difference is the presence, or absence, of a philanthropic culture.

A clear policy about the board’s relationship to staff can prevent board intrusions into personnel management. This sample policy for each board member to sign will help establish clear boundries.

Your web strategy for online fundraising should include three main objectives: maintain a site design that has high usability, remember that content is king, and determine ways to increase site traffic. Work these initiatives into the part of your online fundraising plan dedicated to website improvement. (Network for Good)

An emergency action plan (EAP) is usually a written document required by particular OSHA standards. For smaller organizations, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally if there are 10 or fewer employees. [29 CFR 1910.38(b)] The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. (OSHA)

Case statements for fundraising campaigns help you focus your campaign and tell your organization’s story. What you make of it and how you best utilize it is up to your organization.  This resource looks at a few things to consider when drafting a statement.

This article shows research from several organizations that experienced mergers. It reports their reasons for merging and what happened after they merged.  (Nonprofit Quarterly)


Concerned that contract-like letters of agreement with your grantees would make your organization too formal and bureaucratic? Letters of agreement don’t have to be complicated. Here’s how you can use them to clarify the  grantor-grantee relationship.

Not sure whether to send an HTML versus plain text e-newsletter?  Learn the pros and cons and get information on how to do it right. (NPower)

Policies are the operational guidelines for an organization. This resource discusses their purpose, types, and how they are created.

One of the most effective and cost efficient ways to  prevent intellectual, emotional, creative, and even physical burnout  is the sabbatical. This study reviews findings based on surveys of 61 sabbatical awardees and 30 interim leaders, interviews with program staff and awardees, and interviews with consultants and evaluators who support these programs. (Third Sector New England and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

A short collection of creative ideas to help with your fundraising.

Sample crisis communication plan that you may adapt for your organization. (Colorado Nonprofit Association)

Crisis Communication Plan: A PR Blue Print

Answers to commonly asked questions about crisis management. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Instead of "How can we get the board engaged?" perhaps the question should be:"What should the board engage with?" This resource takes a look at board roles and duties. (Board Cafe)

Used strategically, crowdfunding helps nonprofits build meaningful engagement, inform their work, spread their messages, and expand their donor base to increase their overall funding and impact.

Crowdfunding is still a relatively new concept, and many nonprofits face the same questions when considering it for the first time. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions: (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

Ideas for crowdfunding for your nonprofit and fundraising for overhead costs from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Board members have a passion for the mission but may not know what’s expected of them. Help
them be effective by providing information that’s easy to digest.

Some assumptions about nonprofits are like urban legends. Like the legendary alligators in New York City sewers, these stories have gained credibility through their longevity. This article includes several popular myths about nonprofits.

Executives make a decision to leave a long-term leadership position in many different ways. Regardless of how the decision is made, the following steps --- sometimes condensed to a few days or extended over a few years -- may occur. (TransitionsGuide)

This article demystifies common concerns that are preventing organizations from strategic planning.

This article highlights some of the considerations relating to designing and administering severance pay plans. It discusses the primary design elements available in these types of plans and how employers can use these plans to lessen the chance of legal action filed on behalf of former employees. It also discusses issues related to compliance with federal and state laws

This publication is designed to help donors and appraisers determine the value of property (other than cash) that is given to qualified organizations. It also explains what kind of information you must have to support the charitable contribution deduction you claim on your return. (IRS)

How to develop fundraising policies and procedures.

A sample job description for Director of Public Relations.

Does a nonprofit really need to purchase directors and officers liability insurance? The short answer is “yes.” Find out why...

This article addresses the federal tax-related restrictions on an employer that wishes to sponsor a fund to provide assistance to its employees in the event of disaster or financial hardship. There are several options for employers to provide such disaster and hardship relief to employees. This article focuses on two possibilities: an employer-sponsored private foundation and an employer-facilitated crowdfunding arrangement. This article also discusses third-party charity providers as a possible solution to an employer’s need to provide emergency assistance. Finally, the less practicable options of establishing a public charity or a voluntary employee beneficiary association are briefly discussed but generally not recommended. (Robinson Bradshaw Publication)

Dissolving an organization can be a difficult and emotional process, but there are steps you can take to ensure that the process of winding down your nonprofit is as smooth as possible. 

As described in the book Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, to govern comprehensively, boards work in three modes: fiduciary, strategic, and generative. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

The board matrix is usually a list of skills and competencies that are "supposed" to be on the board, but is it necessary?

Consider the suggestions in this article to make your board of directors more diverse, representative, and inclusive.

The workplace is constantly changing and employers are seeking to diversify their workforce.  The following provides an in-depth look at diversity and how best you can adapt. (Free Management Library)

Has your board asked itself: What does it say in the bylaws? Does anyone have a copy of the bylaws? I know I got one when I started on the board but...

Is it really possible to communicate effectively about our work or issues in a short time, like a minute? The answer is yes! With practice and an innovative tool -- the "10 in 60 Community Rap" -- you can become an effective, confident presenter.

If you’re required to use an external evaluator, or if you don’t have the expertise on staff, use these tips to find and work successfully with an evaluation consultant.

Read this information from The National Council of Nonprofits to learn why document retention policies are necessary.

If you’ve found funders for your technology needs, congratulations! For the rest of you, we know it can be an uphill battle. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. Read what Paula Jones, Director of Technology with the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, has learned and glean something from it that helps you secure the technology support needed to achieve your mission.

Has your board of directors made the shift to meeting the challenges of today’s economic climate? While most boards have focused on financial oversight and accountability, they must be especially concerned about financial sustainability.

This article reviews several scenarios in which nonprofits call or do not call upon their board to raise money for the organization.  It also offers a few suggestions as to how to involve the board in fundraising without creating a sense of a burden for them. 

Here's a quick test for your nonprofit to determine if your organization needs an audit.

See examples of Social Media Policies you can adapt for your organization.  (Beth's Blog)

More workers may be entitled to overtime due to Department of Labor (DOL) guidance that defines “independent contractor” narrowly enough for many previously classified as independent contractors to now be properly classified as employees. (Society for Human Resource Management)

These tips may be helpful as you answer questions during the holiday season.

Prior to 2004, Congress became increasingly interested in the valuation of charitable contributions of intellectual property rights.  

The Donor Bill of Rights.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 modifies donor recordkeeping requirements for cash, check, or other monetary gifts. These requirements are effective for contributions made in tax years beginning after August 17, 2006. (Council on Foundations)

In the twelve years since the first academic article on the topic of donor retention was published, the state of our knowledge has changed very little. Academic researchers continue to emphasize motives for giving rather than the determinants of switching or lapse, and even practitioner interest in the topic has been scant. The emphasis remains firmly on donor acquisition, with donor retention coming in a very poor second.

An effective Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) prevents misunderstandings and disputes by clarifying the expectations of the partners. The process of developing an MOU is an instructive and potentially invaluable experience in partnering. You will learn how responsive your partner will be—are your calls returned promptly? Does your partner give the partnership the attention and seriousness it requires? You may also learn how your partner reacts when you disagree on an issue.

If your annual budget is less than $5,000 and you've never applied for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, you still need to file an e-Postcard.  (Michael Malamut) 

As a result of the Center’s and your advocacy, the N.C. General Assembly passed a law to save your nonprofit time and money. Instead of expensive printing and mailing, now you can email your ballots for elections, bylaws changes, or any other issues for which your members have the right to vote.

Nonprofit organizations have an ethical responsibility to give the public information about your mission, activities, accomplishments, and decisionmaking process. Besides promoting accountability, these steps in transparency are also legally required for nonprofits.

Measuring your economic impact is an often overlooked way to define, measure, and communicate your nonprofit's value.

This brochure contains two templates that can be used to evaluate leadership in your organization. (Conference Board of Canada)

Here are some resources to help you set the stage for meetings that are strategic, outcome-oriented, and productive. (National Council of Nonprofits)

The following IRS rules are a general guideline only.  In applying the rules, context is critical.  Consult an attorney for guidance on your nonprofit's specific activities.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is releasing this fact sheet to provide information to help section 501(c)(3) organizations stay in compliance with the federal tax law. The contents reflect the IRS interpretation of tax laws enacted by Congress, Treasury regulations, and court decisions. The information is not comprehensive, however, and  it is not intended to replace the law or be the sole source of information. (IRS)

There is a fundamental reshaping of how IRS and state charity offices regulate nonprofits. The transformation of a paper-based reporting system to an electronic one is underway. Key milestones for this transformation will be achieved in 2006.


Eleven tips to help you with your next contribution letter. (Nonprofit Expert)

Part one of this two-part series describes common embezzlement methods and how to prevent them.

Part two in a two-part series. This issue discusses common myths about embezzlement.

An outline to devise an emergency preparedness plan for your organization (Centers for Disease Control)

This plan emphasizes the importance of backing up the Executive Director’s key functions within the organization to provide stability in the event of an unplanned absence. Tim Wolfred CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

A template for your organization to devise an emergency response plan of action and steps to take. (Ready)

A sample succession plan should your organization be faced with an emergency situation. (Center for Nonprofit Advancement)

Sample policy and procedure for filing an informal complaint

Here's a sample job satisfaction survey you can use with your employees.

View this resource from the National Labor Relations Board for information on the requirement of posting employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act.   

View this resource from the IRS on how to distinguish between an employee and an independent contractor for tax purposes.

It is good practice for your nonprofit to regularly review how your workers are classified. Because of recent and forthcoming changes in federal and state employment rules, it’s more important than ever to think carefully about worker classification.

Applying for an EIN is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service. Beware of web sites on the internet that charge for this free service. (IRS)

Contains specialized and detailed employment tax information supplementing the basic information provided in Publication 15 (Circular E). (IRS)

Form used to document that each new employee is authorized to work in the United States. (USCIS)

This handbook describes the major requirements of state and federal employment law that apply to private, nonprofit organizations and offers suggestions for adopting personnel practices that reduce exposure to costly litigation and produce a more productive workforce. 

Learn the specifics of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor.  These standards affect more than 130 million workers, both full‑time and part‑time, in the private and public sectors. 

List of employment-related posters NC employers must display.

This fact sheet provides a summary of the Fair Labor Standards Act's recordkeeping regulations. (Dept. of Labor)

Your organization will receive good, bad, or neutral pressdepending on whether your
employees are satisfied in the organization and feel a part of its mission.

Explanation of endowment and investment policies.

Here are a few tips to aid in spicing up your board meetings.  Make your members want to attend!

Read this article from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center for lessons on how to enforce board member responsibilites.

Follow this ePhilanthropy Code of Ethics to build trust among your online friends and donors.

Most nonprofit organizations at some point in the organization’s life must face the reality that in order to continue to be viable they need to raise funds.

During the March webinar we will explore the role of ethics and conflicts of interest policies to strengthen the foundation of a nonprofit. What role do these policies serve and how should leaders go about developing practical policies that set the right tone for the nonprofit? (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)    

Evaluations need not take a long time -- many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results, can be transformational for a Board.  This resource links to a variety of free Board self-evaluation tools. (Free Management Library)

Virtually everyone agrees that boards should conduct performance reviews of executive directors (EDs or CEOs). Even so, the predominant practice is neglect, and the predominant feeling is resentment. The neglect comes from the board: only 45% of nonprofit CEOs have reviews, reported CompassPoint's recent Daring to Lead 2011 study. Resentment comes from the executives, who are too often either resentful of the review process or even more likely and paradoxically, disgusted with the board for not conducting one.

The evaluation of the Executive Director is the responsibility of a nonprofit's Board of Directors, as stipulated by the bylaws.  This resource will guide the Board through the policies and proceedures necessary to conduct an annual review.

Now that 990s are easily available online, smart managers and board members are paying extra attention to how they present their organizations on these forms. Remember, you must provide your 990 to anyone who asks. This article shares five tips for improving yours.

Planning a capital campaign can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.

It is considered a best practice for nonprofits to have in place an emergency succession plan to cover the sudden and unexpected absences of their executive directors.


It is illegal for North Carolina lobbyists and their principals to give gifts to legislators or other “designated individuals,” but these exceptions are allowed.

The board of directors is responsible for hiring, and establishing the compensation (salary and benefits) of the executive director/CEO by identifying compensation that is "reasonable and not excessive," but that also is attractive enough to retain the best possible talent to lead the organization. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Why should your organization have a written policy to review the compensation of nonprofit executives? (National Council of Nonprofits)

In the last issue of Blue Avocado, we discussed how board evaluations of executive directors (CEOs) are different from all other performance evaluations in the organization. These differences -- including the limited ability of board members to observe the executive -- are also among the reasons why 45% of executives have not had a review in the last year (CompassPoint's Daring to Lead 2011 study). In this article we draw on that discussion and on the submissions of dozens of Blue Avocado readers to propose a process and an evaluation instrument.

A sample job description for the Executive Director.

This is Form 1 of 2 for the purpose of evaluating the work of an executive director. 

This is Part 2 of the evaluation of the executive director.  This chart provides areas for rating and comments for all aspects of an executive director's work.

An executive session — sometimes called a closed meeting or an in camera session — provides a venue for handling issues that are best discussed in private, for fostering robust discourse, and for strengthening trust and communication. Learn how to use executive sessions regularly and wisely in this comprehensive white paper. (BoardSource)

Nonprofits that recognize the inevitability of transitions and plan ahead for executive succession are better equipped to manage that change when it comes. Tom Adams, President of TransitionGuides and Jeanie Duncan Senior Consultant with TransitionGuides presented this workshop at a Center Conference.

This series of articles on executive transition management is funded in part by the Casey Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

Executive transitions vary in length based on the unique circumstances of each organization. However, almost every transition involves the same phases and key steps oh behalf of the board and staff members.
This graphical resource provides a blueprint executive transition timeline that nonprofits can use to help prepare for an upcoming transition or to update their succession planning process. (BoardSource)

In some cases, the very survival of an organization can hinge on executive transition and how it's handled.  Part II of this series "cracks the code" with important steps for success.

Your executive director/CEO has just announced to the board that she intends to retire in a few years. Besides planning her retirement party, what happens next? One nonprofit in Rowan County provides a good case study of an effective, well-planned executive transition.

Learn how grantmakers take up the transition challenge, engage with boards, support new CEOs, and help grantees use the moment to go in promising new directions. (GrantCraft)

Example of how proactive planning pays off when going through an executive transition

If you are a new employer, or new to dealing with federal employment taxes, the first place to go for information is Publication 15, Employer’s Tax Guide (Circular E). This publication, revised annually, contains basic information employers need to collect information needed to determine and pay their and employees’ employment tax liability, file correct tax returns, and withhold federal taxes. (IRS)

Filing responsibilities once you have receive/apply for my tax-exempt status

Curious about the process of determining if an organization will receive tax exempt status?  The IRS provides a breakdown of the process. (IRS)

Before a tax-exempt organization (EO) can determine how to treat payments for services rendered, the EO must first know the business relationship that exists between the organization and the person performing the services. (IRS)

Under common law rules, anyone who performs services for an exempt organization is the organization’s employee if the organization can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even if the organization gives the employee freedom of action. What matters is that the organization has the right to control the details of how the services are performed. (IRS)

Determine if your organization is eligible for tax exemption. (IRS)

When the founder or longtime executive of a nonprofit leaves an organization, the board often grapples with how to say goodbye and thank you. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Employers ask exit interview questions verbally or in questionnaire form. These days, it's not uncommon for exit interview questions to be in electronic questionnaire form on computers.  (

This resource details how to perform exit interviews and discusses common situations that arise when an employee leaves. (Free Management Library)

Nonprofits attract bright, dedicated, and capable staff and volunteers. And many have the “Midas touch” for recruiting dynamic, well-respected, and effective board members. Despite all that resident talent, every organization needs outside help sometimes.  What experts do you need and how do you find them?

Offering online donation processing can help your organization in many ways.

How you react to the economic crisis can go a long way toward calming fears and ensuring that your nonprofit remains solvent and is better prepared for the future. Here are ten things your board can do now to address the financial crisis.

Though Sarbanes-Oxley applies only to publicly-traded companies, its changes are working their way slowly but surely down the pike towards nonprofits in the form of new accounting standards. Eventually, these standards likely will affect all entities including nonprofits, privately held companies, and even quasi-governmental agencies. Learn about these accounting standards.

A collection of strategies, best practices, and useful resources to help with your fundraising efforts.

A factsheet to help your organization with financial management. Discussed responsibility of the board, policies, procedures, accountabilty, and financial reviews.

Learn of the roles, responsibilities, and effective practices of a Board of Directors.  Review board composition, board and staff relations, and various other resources to maximize what is best for your board and organization.

View this resource from the U.S. Department of Labor for information on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Security Advisor, which provides employers and employees with the information they need to understand federal overtime security requirements.overfederlfeprovides employers and employees with the information they need to understand federal overtime security requirements. provides employers and employees with the information they need to understand federal overtime security requirements.  

Use this information to register your nonprofit as an employer.

After a summer Supreme Court ruling, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) adopted a new rule allowing nonprofits to run issue advertisements that mention candidates before an election or primary. However, nonprofits that do this must disclose any donors who give more than $1,000 to the issue advocacy effort. (FEC)

Wish you knew about federal grants available and how to apply?  This articles gives you resources to help you.

This one-page fact sheet provides an at-a-glance look at the key points of federal lobbying law. (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

The IRS has announced that the standard business mileage rate is 55.5 cents per mile for all business miles driven from July 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2011. (IRS)

Nearly half of nonprofit donors are lost between the first and second ask, according to one fundraising consultant’s study.  Follow these tips to keep them in the fold.

Nonprofits with revenues over $25,000 are required to file a Form 990 (or 990-PF for private foundations) with the IRS each year. It replaces an income tax return. The filing deadline is the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of your fiscal year. (For a June 30 fiscal year end, the deadline is November 15. For a December 31 end, it's May 15.)

View this link to file your e-postcard.

Samples are included for Finance Director/Controller, Staff Accountant, and Bookkeeper or Accounting Assistant.

Developing and adopting a written financial policy is a valuable practice for any nonprofit organization, no matter how small or large. (Nonprofits Assistance Fund)

The regulatory spotlight on fiscal oversight and finance-related risks has caused some leaders to sweat more than usual. This webinar will explore some of the recurring and evolving financial risk management challenges facing nonprofits across the sector. Learn what your organization can and should do to keep cool in a challenging environment. Topics that will be covered in this session include the dilemma of operating reserves, the board's role in fiscal oversight, unmasking conflicts of interest, and more. Expectations and interest in fiscal transparency and close scrutiny continue to grow: are you ready for your close-up? (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)(Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

Board and staff leaders know that planning ahead is critical for their nonprofit's financial future. Uncertain economic times are a good reason to undertake that planning so that you can stay ahead of potential financial shortfalls. Carol Hardison, CEO, Crisis Assistance Ministry, and Pamela Williams, Partner, Langdon & Company, LLP presented this session at a Center Conference.

Information on financial transparency from the National Council of Nonprofits.

This article addresses the tough decision of having to fire an Exective Director.  (Board Cafe)

One of the most important responsibililities of a nonprofit board is fiscal oversight. Yet many board members remain unclear about what exactly that means. This webinar will explore the board's role in providing fiscal oversight and risk oversight. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

Fiscal sponsorship refers to a relationship in which one organization shares its tax-exempt status with another. This resources answers common questions about fiscal sponsors. (National Council of Nonprofits)

The role of the fiscal sponsor can include performing many different administrative functions on behalf of the sponsored organization/project, including taking on the responsibility of receiving and administering charitable contributions on behalf of the sponsored organization. (National Council of Nonprofits)

What is the difference between a fiscal agency and a fiscal sponsorship?

Explore additional resources on fiscal sponsorship, including links to sample agreements, tips on finding a fiscal sponsor (or serving as one), case studies, and background on pitfalls to avoid. (National Council of Nonprofits)

An updated perspective on fiscal sponsorships and their value to social projects.

You just filed for your 501(c)3 designation so the IRS will recognize your group as a tax-deductible nonprofit organization. Now you're ready to start fundraising, but there's a catch: Your donors can't give to a tax-exempt organization, and you're not eligible for grants yet because you aren't officially recognized as a not-for-profit entity. The solution: fiscal sponsorship. (Network for Good)

Fiscal sponsorships can provide opportunities for increasing revenue and minimizing expenses. 

Based on Greg Colvin's book, this post discusses six problematic scenarios for fiscal sponsorships. (Nonprofit Law Blog)

Five questions every search committee should ask (of its candidates) 

Five strategies to enhance your fundraising.

Here are five common mistakes found in employee handbooks and how to remedy them.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published guidance to state and local government employees regarding compensatory time. (The U.S. Department of Labor)

View IRS links for Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF, as well as their schedules and instructions for TY 2011.

The Internal Revenue Service has completed its revision of the 2008 Form 990 instructions and posted them, along with three new background documents explaining the new form and instructions.  This resource details the changes that have been put into place. (IRS)

Who must file Form 900-N (e-Postcard)? When is the e-Postcard due? How often do I need to file? Are there exceptions to the filing requirement? What organizations are ineligible to file the e-Postcard? (IRS)

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Reporting the cost of health care coverage on the Form W-2 does not mean that the coverage is taxable. Learn more from this resource from the IRS.

Overall giving by the largest private and community foundations decreased 10% between 2002 and 2003, according to Foundation Giving Trends: An Update on Funding Priorities, a new report from the Foundation Center (FC).

Though foundations continue to play an important role in North Carolina's philanthropic landscape, NCGives' newly released Foundation Giving in North Carolina report shows that the economic recession has indeed left its mark, with the most recent IRS data available revealing a 23% drop in North Carolina foundations' cumulative assets in 2008. (NC Gives)

We asked leaders from a variety of North Carolina foundations: “What’s the best — and worst — thing a grantee has done to create an effective relationship?” Their answers follow several themes.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) asked 6,000 grantees of 37  foundations in 2009 and 2010 about their funders’ communications and helpfulness in response to the downturn. Find out  what the had to say.

For nonprofit boards, addressing a few key questions can guide your group to effectively fulfill an important need in your community. Use this resource to promote conversation among your board about your organization's next actions.

An article by Carol Lukas, consultant to more than 50 collaborations in the past ten years. Carol has identified four keys that—while not a guarantee to success—are essential to a well-functioning collaboration. (Fieldstone Alliance)

Here's what you need to know when you talk to your organization's counsel.

"The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rules known as the Uniform Guidance went into effect at the end of 2014, streamlining the rules governing administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements on federal awards, removing inconsistencies in the old circulars. And, probably most noteworthy, the rules require that governments pay their nonprofit contractors reasonable indirect costs."  (Maine Association of Nonprofits)


The Library provides free, easy-to-access, online articles to develop yourself, other individuals, groups and organizations (whether the organization is for-profit or nonprofit). Over the past 15 years, the Library has grown to be one of the world's largest well-organized collections of these types of articles and resources.

Thinking outside the box allows for unique opportunities to surface.  A nonprofit and funder share their fundraising success stories.

With sustainability as the focus, nonprofit staff and boards can and should consider a whole range of circumstances related to transitions of leadership that create risks to the mission. Looking at leadership transitions from an enterprise risk management perspective may offer board members a less threatening and perhaps even more familiar and potentially engaging way to think about succession planning. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Melissa Le Roy, President of OnFire Nonprofit Consulting presented at a Center Conference on how you can take a great idea and flesh it out into an articulate, compelling, and complete proposal. 

Every nonprofit in North Carolina will have at least some contact with the Department of the Secretary of State (SOS).  Read on to make sure you're in compliance and to find out how the SOS can help.

With investment earnings down because of the stock market, foundations have fewer grant dollars to give away even though they are bombarded with more requests.  This resource looks at how funders can achieve maximum impact with limited philanthropic dollars through the support of pulic policy.

Read tidbits of wisdom from seven nonprofit professionals who raise money and other resources.

This article contains five easy-to-follow tips for keeping your fundraising efforts going strong regardless of the economic forecast. (ASAE)

Discusses how organizations can begin to retool their fundraising to survive and grow during this difficult time.

A collection of tips to help you with your fundraising.

Nonprofits can get involved with elections, as long as they remain nonpartisan.

A report inspired by a spirited discussion on GEOList among GEO members about general operating support, its limitations and its advantages. (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations)

Sample roles and responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer. (Free Management Library)

Provides a snapshot of the generations, their work styles, and some differences and similarities in leadership.

Suggestions from several foundations around the state about what sets apart one proposal from another and what's most important in the grantseeking process.

Reviews the common elements for most successful grant proposals.

This article is an interview with Conference speaker Delena Wilkerson, executive director of the Chicago-based Nonprofit Financial Center (NFC). The interview highlights the biggest financial challenges faced by nonprofits and strategies for overcoming them.

Getting the media to pick up your story takes time and perseverance, but the hard work pays off! Ruth Anderson shares tips on how you can get stories about nonprofits published in your local paper.

This checklist can help you prepare for incoming interns and how to prepare them for seamless integration into the workplace and office culture. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Low overhead. Some donors look for it. Some grantmakers still require it. Nonprofits agonize about it. But researchers at Indiana University and the Urban Institute warn that low overhead can be harmful to nonprofits’ effectiveness.

The 990 asks whether a nonprofit has a “gift acceptance policy” that requires the review of any "non-standard gifts" (gifts other than cash or check). Use these resources to develop an appropriate policy for your nonprofit. (National Council of Nonprofits)

This gift acceptance policy serves as a sample for the types of gifts a nonprofit organization could accept and informs stakeholders about critical issues triggered by gift types. NC Center forNonprofits

Overall giving to nonprofits in the U.S. continued to increase in 2005, growing by 6.1% to an estimated $260 billion (current dollars adjusted for inflation).

Your nonprofit board may decide to close ("dissolve") the organization because it has achieved its mission, because its mission is no longer needed, or because it cannot attract adequate resources.

Key steps for your board to consider when deciding to dissolve.

A marketing campaign is a coordinated, concerted, multi-channel effort to get certain people to take an action. This resource details seven universal principles of successful marketing campaigns which you can apply to marketing your nonprofit to any audience. (Network for Good)

In partnership with Google, we offered a deep dive training on Google Analytics for Nonprofits. This resource includes the slides and materials from that training.

Learn more

Fundraising and resource development are vital components of every nonprofit's operations and some leaders report that fundraising takes more time than ever. Risk may be the reason for this phenomenon. A growing array of risks arise when a nonprofit seeks support from individual and institutional donors, and the complexity of laws regulating fundraising activities frustrates even the most seasoned leader. This webinar will explore the risks associated with asking for and accepting the support your nonprofit needs to deliver its mission. The presenter will offer practice strategies for managing the risks you know about as well as those that are coming around the bend. 

Nonprofit boards have two fundamental responsibilities: governance and support.  Acting as the formal representative of the pbulic, the board governs and provides oversight to the organization.  At the same time, board members as individuals support the organization by volunteering, raising money, and advising.

This resource is a governance compliance checklist of practices and policies that are addressed in the Form 990. In general, organizations should be structured to avoid the “red boxes” in the checklist. Be sure to analyze your organization’s particular situation to determine whether changes are appropriate. (Robinson Bradshaw Hinson)

All boards (even the most organized, responsible, and congenial ones) need to document their activities, internal rules, and processes. Some of the documentation is legally required; some is simply helpful to have. Some documents are public; some must be kept confidential. Some serve as guidelines for decisions; some are part of the record keeping. For a board that takes its fiduciary role seriously — and they all should — written rules and documentation of activities are simply part of ongoing, everyday risk management.

View this report from the National Council of Nonprofits on the government contracting issues for nonprofits.

Why do foundations use grant agreement letters that prohibit their grantees from applying grant funds toward public policy advocacy such as lobbying? Federal tax law does not require foundations to include lobbying prohibitions in grants made to public charities.

Four principles that nonprofits should follow when seeking or accepting any grant.

A resource for learning and sharing the craft of grantmaking in the U.S. and in other countries. (GrantCraft)

North Carolina grantmakers provide their top 10 list of what not to do or say in the proposal process.

Find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies. (

Explains the differences between direct lobbying of legislatures and grassroot lobbying, where your nonprofit gets the public to take action. (The Nonprofit Lobbying Guide, 2nd Edition, Independent Sector)

Learn what to do to raise money...and what not to do.

Today, editing digital footage on a personal computer is fast, easy, and affordable.  In this article Idealware research analyst, Kyle Henri Andrei, reviews video editing tips and tools.

With global warming now a very “hot” topic, green building is gaining attention. Find out ways your organization can go green.

Provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of board members.

These guidelines raise awareness and broaden the understanding of fiscal sponsorship and to promulgate standards of best  practice for the field in order to improve the practice of fiscal sponsorship and increase its value to society. (National Network of Fiscal Sponsors)

This is a sample policy for public policy decision making.  This document is editable in Microsoft Word.

Here at GuideStar we gather and disseminate information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization. We provide as much information as we can about each nonprofit's mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and so much more.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.  (U.S. Deparment of Labor)

Nonprofits have clearly embraced cyberspace. A Network for Good survey by GuideStar found that nearly three-fourths (74%) of the 4,804 nonprofit participants use cyberspace to engage current and potential supporters. Another 13% plan to add this capability this year.

Do you use an acronym or shortened name instead of your nonprofit’s full legal name? North Carolina law requires all corporations, including nonprofits, conducting business under assumed names to register each of these names with the county register of deeds.

View this resource from the National Council of Nonprofits to learn about health care reform and how it affects nonprofits.

The history of Nonprofit Awareness Month is this: In 2006, 13 nonprofit professionals from our state, along with more than 400 nonprofit leaders from across the U.S., attended the Nonprofit Congress in Washington, D.C. Delegates selected three top priorities for the nonprofit sector: (1) Advocacy and Grassroots Com-munity Activities; (2) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness; and (3) Public Awareness and Support of the Sector.

Is someone thinking of including your nonprofit in their will? Check out an online service, Planned Giving Design Center, to help you with planned giving even if your staff doesn’t have expertise in this important fundraising area.

Nonprofits are forever in debt to their founders. Founders are a part of your history — and usually your legends. But if you’re on the board of an organization where the founder is still very much involved (usually as CEO or a board member), you have some special responsibilities in helping the founder and the organization navigate the future.

Do you ever get the feeling that the behavior of your board is cyclical? Miriam Wood asked the same question nearly 20 years ago, and answered, "Yes." In this archival classic from the Spring 2011 issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, Julia Classen digs in to see to see if Wood's assertion holds true despite the exponential growth, increased professionalism, and an explosion in academic research in the sector. Here's what she found. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Do you feel overwhelmed when you look at a nonprofit's Form 990? Don’t feel bad—even Form 990 experts were newbies at one time.


Guidestar has created an illustrated guide that gives an overview of each section of the form and answers the questions most often asked about the 990. (Guidestar

Consultants must know what can be learned by teaching, guiding and giving advice, and what can only be learned from experience. They must know what they can do for an organization, and what an organization can only do for itself.

Hiring and appraising the executive director of a not-for-profit organization are big jobs. Many competent and effective boards approach these jobs with fear and trepidation, knowing that making the right choice for the executive director has far-reaching consequences for the health, viability, and future of the organization.

Some small nonprofit organizations — both Boards of Directors and senior executives — believe that if they can just find the right Development Director or consultants, senior staff won’t have to spend their time on fundraising. Unfortunately, it almost never works that way. 

Immigrants from Latin America are dramatically changing North Carolina’s demographic and economic landscape. Hispanics live in every county and work in all sectors of the economy. A new report by a UNC institute and the N.C. Bankers Association quantifies the economic impact and points to a wide range of related policy issues and business opportunities.

When we think of giving or philanthropy, we often imagine a wealthy person donating money through a nonprofit, usually to help people in need. This is one kind of giving, and it’s important.

Use the resource to help determine the value of specialized skills. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics)

An Act to increase the limit on raffle prizes and to authorize the raffle of real property. (NC General Assembly)

A nonprofit's mission requires a solid foundation on which to deliver services. Many nonprofits are at risk of not realizing their missions because the underlying structure of the organization isn't as solid as it needs to be. Or perhaps the sound policies of the nonprofit aren't being followed to a "t." This webinar will offer strategies for examining the risks you face that stem from things outsiders can't see. Learn how to diagnose risks and shore up the foundation of your nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)   

The first webinar of 2010 will examine methods for evaluating and addressing governance risks. The program will examine a wide range of topics including the composition of the board and best practices for empowering the board to discharge its legal responsibilities. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

Did you know your nonprofit's "program efficiency ratio" (PER) can be used as an indicator of good stewardship by important stakeholders?

The BEST project has garnered attention at the state and national levels as a capacity-building model for nonprofits. This article on page 10 highlights ways nonprofits can work with funders to ensure nonprofit success. (Stewart Mott Foundation)

It's one of the biggest decisions in direct-mail fundraising -- and one of the trickiest.  Mal Warwick shares his research and results on what works.

All nonprofits must spend some contributed income to raise the funds needed to carry out valuable programs, but there is confusion about how to report fundraising costs accurately. (Nonprofit Association of Oregon).

Many believe that a business plan is only beneficial to for-profit organizations, but this is not the case.

Ever wondered about gender differences in the nonprofit sector? The N.C. Center for Nonprofits gathered this information to give you a snapshot.

Consider these questions as you account for non-cash (in-kind) gifts in your financial records.

No two nonprofit board-CEO relationships are alike, but several interesting models have evolved over the past century. Each one has merit and claims many adherents. None offers a sure-fire recipe for the success of the organization, but these different perspectives do help explain why boards and chief executives sometimes reach very different conclusions about how they should do their jobs.

Do you wonder if your board looks and works like other nonprofit boards? You can compare yours to others with the Governance Index from BoardSource. Its 2004 Index survey, with results from more than 900 chief executives and board members, found that...

Want a quick and simple way to identify areas of strength and weakness on your board? Use this resource to score each of your board members.  Each score range equates to a status level for board performance. (Grassroots Fundraising Journal)

Nonprofits need profit. Because every nonprofit is unique, the amount depends upon individual circumstances. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Building Movement Project” is investigating differences between older and younger people working in progressive social change organizations. They’re looking for ways the nonprofit sector can support the next generation of leaders. They began talking with older and younger nonprofit directors and staff and expanded the study to discussions with more younger leaders (aged 25-40) in nine U.S. cities. Here’s some of what they’ve learned.

Find out about the three types of prospects for major gifts and steps on how to make the ask.

How to build an effective executive committee by Joan Garry

Ten best practices for online fundraising.

Many nonprofits have been wondering, just how do we claim the new small employer health care tax credit? Well, the IRS has announced that eligible nonprofits can claim this credit on Form 990-T, the form currently used by tax-exempt nonprofits to report and pay unrelated business income tax (UBIT). (IRS)

Unless your organization's sales fit specific criteria, you will need to collect sales tax on certain items. Read the steps on how to do so properly here.

There is no single method for conducting a chief executive assessment, but boards and chief executives are more likely to find the assessment constructive if it is implemented in a thoughtful and planned way. BoardSource encourages boards and chief executives using BoardSource’s chief executive assessment tool to follow these ten steps:

Fundraising is not an easy job. And in today’s economy, it can feel as challenging as brain surgery. So, what makes certain fundraisers so successful, their work seem so effortless? Hear from seven seasoned professionals.

If you decide that crowdfunding fits your nonprofit, you'll want to check out all your options. Here are checklists of the top crowdfunding sites and the questions to consider in choosing the one that fits your goals, mission, and budget.

Thanks to Ruth Peebles, president of The INS Group (@TheINSGrp), for providing these resources to help you make good decisions. Ruth served as an intern at the N.C. Center for Nonprofits while working on her MPA degree in the mid-1990s.

A job description is a useful, plain-language tool that describes the tasks, duties, functions and responsibilities of a position. It outlines the details of who performs a specific type of work, how that work is to be completed, and the frequency and the purpose of the work as it relates to the organization’s mission and goals. Job descriptions are used for a variety of reasons, such as a tool for recruiting, determining salary levels, conducting performance reviews, clarifying missions, establishing titles and pay grades, and creating reasonable accommodation controls. Job descriptions are useful for career planning, training exercises and legal requirements for compliance purposes. A job description gives an employee a clear and concise resource to be used as a guide for job performance. Likewise, a supervisor can use a job description as a measuring tool to ensure that the employee is meeting job expectations.

In part one of this series, “5 Cases for Building Nonprofit Operating Reserves,” I outlined how reserves provide stability and promote strategic decision making for nonprofit organizations. This week, let’s examine common factors that organizations should take into account when considering how much to set aside for their operating reserve.

When organizing a raffle, you can make your life more difficult by not paying attention to the myriad details that a raffle involves.

How does one do disaster relief properly? 

Most 501(c)(3) public charities will benefit from “electing” the 501(h) lobbying expenditure test. The rules that govern lobbying under 501(h) are clearer than those that apply under the “insubstantial” standard. Find out how your organization can make this elect 501(h). (Alliance for Justice)

One question that almost always arises among nonprofit professionals is, “How do you engage board members in much-needed fundraising?” 

Ever wonder why corporations support your nonprofit?  This article looks at trends in corporate giving.

To get accurate, timely, and clear financial reports you need a skilled bookkeeper.

In the last Common Ground, we asked several grantmakers how they recommend foundations and nonprofits manage the end of a funding relationship. This time, we asked   several nonprofit executive directors for their advice. Here’s what they said about handling – and even making the best of – this situation.

Is staffing a committee more like herding cats or turtles?  Actually it's more like "Dancing with the Stars."

View this information packet on how to start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit from the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.

Not sure where to start?  Download this booklet, which provides guidance to those thinking of starting a nonprofit.

Like any source of money, an endowment can lose value, which is why organizations should have diversified income streams so that investment income is not critical to survival.

Of all the innovative advances in online fundraising over the past decade, one of the most impressive has to be the rise of crowd-funding websites. Let’s talk about crowd-funding websites for non-profits: what they are, and how your organization can use them to raise more money quickly and efficiently. (The Fundraising Authority)

Idealware, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides thoroughly researched, impartial and accessible resources about software to help nonprofits make smart software decisions.

From the most basic questions (like how to use software to help manage emailing hundreds of people at once), to the more complex (like understanding the role of social networking and mobile phone text-messaging in fundraising strategy), organizations need a trusted source for answers. 

Idealware provides an authoritative online guide to the software that allows U.S. nonprofits—especially small ones—to be more effective.

How do you know if your nonprofit is making a difference? Impact is the difference your nonprofit makes: There's the work you do, and the difference it makes.The National Council of Nonprofits and its state association network encourage nonprofits to embrace a culture that supports evaluating the difference your nonprofit is making. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Nonprofit employers seeking data and metrics on how the current state of the economy is affecting nonprofit employment and human resource practices can now access at no charge the Opportunity Knocks Impact of the Economy on the Nonprofit Workforce Research Webinar. 

Ensuring that your critical data is backed up regularly is essential for keeping your organization up and running, no matter what happens. (Techsoup)

Containing sensitive information such as identification papers and credentials, nonprofits' personnel records should be handled practically, legally, and securely.

Here is a list of resources to help improve or to remove board members

Find out how to evaluate your procedures to be more effective and efficient.

Fundraising guru, Kim Klein, links fundraising to organizational mission.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a new way to make your federal student loan payments more manageable. And if you're a teacher or work in government or at a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization, you might qualify for a new type of public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) after 10 years of eligible payments and employment.  

The following tips for Microsoft Outlook can help you put the power of e-mail to work, boosting your personal productivity to higher levels. (NPower Charlotte Region)

We all know that a stressed organization operating with the best of intentions can still make ill-advised decisions – especially in the financial arena – and the results can be damaging. We also know that sometimes seeing a financial crisis is difficult. Our new tool will help you spot if you’re in crisis or coming close to one. Once you know, you’ll be able to take the steps to recover. (The Foraker Group)

Alternative giving programs can be a great source of revenue.  Learn what works as several nonprofits tell their story.

We provide program planning and evaluation consulting, training, and web-based tools to nonprofits and funders across geographic and programmatic boundaries. We want to make evaluation accessible to all nonprofits, so they have the knowledge and skills to manage and improve their work. 

The IRS provides detailed instructions for filing Form 1099-MISC.

Many nonprofit leaders report difficulty understanding the terms of the insurance coverage on which their nonprofit organizations depend. This webinar offers the chance to pose any coverage-related question and receive an answer in plain language. The program will begin with a survey of common questions about the process of obtaining coverage and an overview of the typical coverages purchased by nonprofits. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Answers to commonly asked questions about insuring volunteers. Know what types of claims could be filed against your nonprofit and what coverages are out there to protect you. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

During a chief executive transition, nonprofits generally rely on transition leadership to bridge the gap between the former executive's departure and hiring a new CEO. However, the type of transition leadership an organization chooses depends on a number of factors.
Learn about what factors your organization should consider when identifying a temporary executive and three types of leadership:
  • acting chief executive
  • interim chief executive
  • transition chief executive

Adapt this sample description for your organization. (CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

This publication describes the benefits and basics of using an interim executive director in a leadership transition.  (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Section 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes an excise tax on excess benefit transactions between a disqualified person and an applicable tax-exempt organization. (IRS)

Charities use a wide variety of methods to solicit charitable donations. New and powerful technologies utilize not just the internet and email, but also social media and mobile phones. Today, a volunteer can create a fundraising page and start soliciting on behalf of a charity in minutes. So, too, can a fraudster. 

This report addresses how governments that hire charitable nonprofits to deliver services and then reimburse them for less than reasonable indirect costs undermine the ability of nonprofits to deliver high quality services. (National Council of Nonprofits)

The Internal Revenue Service has sent a clear message to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that their lobbying is perfectly permissible under federal tax law.  In the this letter to Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI), the IRS answered nine key questions regarding nonprofit lobbying.

IRS addresses activities that could jeopardize a private foundation’s tax-exempt status. It identifies general compliance requirements on recordkeeping, reporting, and disclosure for private foundations, including private operating foundations and non-operating private foundations. Content includes references to the statute, Treasury regulations, IRS publications and IRS forms with instructions. Publication 4221-PF is neither comprehensive nor intended to address every situation. (IRS)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity.  It's a nine digit number that the IRS assigns to organizations in the following format: 00-0000000. (IRS)

Use IRS Form 1023 to apply for tax-exempt status.

Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits

The Internal Revenue Service has released formal guidance related to nonprofit political activities. Revenue Ruling 2007-41 describes 21 real-life scenarios. This guidance is particularly useful as nonprofits consider election-related programs and activities between now and November 2008. (IRS)

The Internal Revenue Service announced a formula that will allow businesses and tax-exempt organizations to estimate their federal telephone excise tax refunds. (IRS)


The IRS provides on-line training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at The site includes information about applying for tax-exempt status, how existing exempt organizations can maintain their exemption, and more in depth topics.

The IRS provides on-line training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at The site includes information about applying for tax-exempt status, how existing exempt organizations can maintain their exemption, and more in depth topics.

The IRS provides on-line training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at The site includes information about applying for tax-exempt status, how existing exempt organizations can maintain their exemption, and more in depth topics.

The IRS provides on-line training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at The site includes information about applying for tax-exempt status, how existing exempt organizations can maintain their exemption, and more in depth topics. 

The IRS provides on-line training for tax-exempt organizations and charitable organizations seeking tax-exempt status at The site includes information about applying for tax-exempt status, how existing exempt organizations can maintain their exemption,and more in depth topics.

Explains the federal tax law for organizations such as charities and churches that receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and for taxpayers who make contributions. Discusses types of receipts (written versus e-mail) and thresholds. (IRS)

View this document from the IRS on the procedures and requirements of obtaining tax exempt status.

This resource helps to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under common law. You must examine the relationship between the worker and the business. All evidence of control and independence in this relationship should be considered. (IRS)

If your nonprofit doesn’t have a large internal marketing capacity or budget for outsourced help, a volunteer committee may be a way to stretch your marketing resources. Consider these things as you think about this route.

Before you join the crowdfunding frenzy, it is important to ask yourself the following question: Is crowdfunding right for your nonprofit? The answer is: it depends. (Nonprofit Technology Network)

Most 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or more and all private foundations are required to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF with the IRS. Others must file the Form 990-N (e-Postcard). The form is filed annually within 4.5 months after your fiscal year ends. (IRS)

Is it a conflict of interest for a board member to serve on the boards of several organizations with similar missions in thesame community? The answer is no.  Find out why in this resource.

The job of the nonprofit executive is one of the most rewarding I know. It’s also among the most challenging, requiring a deep passion for the work and the ability to juggle competing demands, sustain multiple relationships, and manage a very possibly under-resourced infrastructure. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100 million from 3 million donors last year, reminding us of the power of individual giving and the underutilized potential of social media. New York City’s largest human services organization reached the brink of bankruptcy after providing essential services for 80 years. More than 100,000 clients suddenly faced a disruption in services.

You have seen stories like this in the national news. North Carolina is no exception. For seven straight years, nonprofits in our state have seen annual increases in the demand for their services. The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s new 2015 State of the Sector Report quantifies the record rise in demands on nonprofits in our state.

Federal law prohibits 501(c)(3) nonprofits from intervening in political campaigns. But this doesn’t mean you can’t persuade candidates to talk about issues related to your mission. In fact, “bird-dogging” candidates can be one of the most effective advocacy tools for nonprofits during election years.

View this information from the National Council of Nonprofits on what activities can jeopardize tax-exempt status.

Here is a sample of a job description for a digital content manager

The purpose of this manual is to: define planned giving in simple terms; articulate the market opportunity that exists; detail the step-by-step initiation process; provide a marketing plan; explain benefits to the donors; and provide documents that will be helpful for your organization. (Charlotte Community Foundation)

 An effective way to monitor board activity and keep members accountable for what they commit to is to keep detailed records of what occurs at each meeting.  This also puts into writing to status of action items, making it easy to tell which member to follow up with.

An interview with Wayne McDevitt, Governor Hunt's chief of staff.

Consider these simple ways to keep your staff focused and positive.

Grants make up the bulk of most nonprofit organization's funds, but also hard to find if you don't know where to look.

When a nonprofit loses a key person, several things can happen. First and foremost, the business is disrupted as the board and management try to assess what has happened and develop a plan of action. 

We offer the following as key roles of nonprofit boards. (Adapted from Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, by Richard T. Ingram and published by BoardSource). 

Looking to develop a risk management program?  Here are the five steps in the Risk Management Process. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

The following checklist by Tom Adams is a guide to minimizing the risk and upheaval of a leadership transition and increasing organizational capacity and effectiveness.

Use this handy checklist to be sure you’re complying with these selected laws that govern 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofits in North Carolina. 

Layoffs that are motivated by economic or administrative reasons -- such as loss of funding or staff reorganization -- are common in the nonprofit sector. Here are answers to your common questions about layoffs. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

High-performing nonprofits pay attention to leader development and transitions As a direct link exists between their leaders’ effectiveness and their impact in the world. This article takes a look at an example organization and how their leader transition was orchestrated.

Key questions to help your organization through your next executive transition. (TransitionsGuide)

The Executive Director (ED) of every nonprofit holds a great deal of institutional knowledge and a big picture view of the organization. The purpose of the transition memorandum is to pass on some of that institutional knowledge and to help facilitate a smooth leadership transition. (RoadMap)

Executive Transition Preliminary Sample Budget (RoadMap)

Sample executive transition work plan (RoadMap)

We are peppered with apologies from politicians, business people, and celebrities. Even TV journalism has one of its own stars apologizing profusely.

Public apologies by famous people can be incomplete hedges designed to preserve the speaker’s status while admitting enough to make the inquiry go away. It rarely works because people don’t completely believe them. But, we can gain valuable insights by how famous people mishandle these things.

What can those new to nonprofits expect, and what should they know about leadership?

Assess your organization against this new checklist. We encourage you to share it with your board, audit committee, CEO, chief financial officer, and auditors and add it to your next board meeting agenda. 

Remember when you were young and heard an older person say, “Oh I wish I knew then what I know now?” Now that I’m older, I understand and find myself thinking the same thing!  

Winter 2011 legal and legislative update.

This resource details the Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and the Duty of Obedience. (BoardSource)

Legislative scorecards are a particularly useful way for nonprofits to update members on policy issues. Both public and private foundations can create – and can fund 501(c)(3) nonprofits to create legislative scorecards to educate their own members about elected legislators’ positions on policy issues.

How the board responds, how the founder or executive prepares the organization, and the skills and understanding of the new executive all impact the outcome of a leadership transition. Here's how one founder, aided by his Board, a consultant, and a talented new executive, worked successfully through this challenging process. 

Find answers to your questions about Charitable Soliciatation License (CSL), who needs it, and how to apply.

In this article Ted Ford Webb shares a set of stories about the complexities in executive transitions. (Nonprofit Quarterly)


In many nonprofits, a time comes when the question arises: should the organization accept personal loans from board members? This article does not try to answer that question. It does try to outline -- very briefly -- some of the choices in how such loans can be made. Use this article as a starting point for a discussion with the board or a discussion with your personal financial advisor.

Check out these websites for more information about the laws governing advocacy by 501(c)(3) nonprofits and tips on effective advocacy campaigns.

In the summer of 2010, the N.C. General Assembly changed the state reporting requirements for nonprofits that lobby. The Center proposed these changes because the old law confused the IRS, funders, the media, and the public about how much time and money some nonprofits spend on actual lobbying. Review the alterations in this article.

This chart will help to understand what needs to be tracked in terms of time and expenses as related to federal direct lobbying, federal grassroots lobbying, and state lobbying.

This workbook describes the steps necessary to create logic models for your own programs. This process may take anywhere from an hour to several hours or even days, depending on the complexity of the program. (Innovation Network)

Nonprofit lobbying is easier than you think.  Here's a first-hand account.

It's worth your while to follow risk management strategies when engaging a consultant, just as you do when hiring an employee. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Improving the public policies that affect your group’s clients and cause may help you take a giant leap toward achieving your mission. Test your knowledge of what you may and may not do.

Your organization can raise public awareness of your cause, build relationships with government and help shape laws and policies that affect its mission by dedciating at least one staff person or volunteer to spend 3 hours per week doing public policy work. (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

There are many activities a small nonprofit can implement to sow the seeds for planned gifts and to respond to other gift requests and donor interests.

Advocacy is essential to nonprofit work — but it’s not always seen as a crucial part of serving on a nonprofit board. However, that view is beginning to change. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Most nonprofit boards place a priority on having an active treasurer and finance committee. Too often, though, these crucial roles turn into nothing more than rote reviews of financial reports and audits.

Use these events to build a wealth of resources and contacts to help you for years to come. There are nine tips to help you.

The case statement is your chance to tell your story.  Consider these elements when you write your next proposal.

You can’t live in the nonprofit world without attending a sometimes mind-boggling number of meetings.  Review this resource and learn what nonprofit managers and consultants suggest to make meetings more productive.

Volunteer work is not just an item on a resume or college application – it’s an essential part of a functioning society. The benefits of volunteer work reach far and wide with a ripple effect that begins with the individual and nonprofit organization and extends beyond the larger community, benefiting everyone in its wake. In this guide, you’ll learn more about the importance of volunteer work, how to find volunteer opportunities, and how to transition from volunteering to a career in a nonprofit. (Learn How to Become)

This article includes information to help you plan for an endowment.  It includes advice on getting started, planning, addressing concerns, finding the right donors, and management. (The Chronicle of Philanthropy) 

Be kind to committees.  They are our most maligned species.  Take a look at these tips to make sure you're making the most of your committees.

Hosting a successful special event requires manpower, resources, creativity, expert planning and super organizational skills. Is your organization set to go?

Sample job description for manager of finance and administration

In a perfect world every nonprofit employee, volunteer and board member would be "content" 100% of the time. Few if any nonprofits live in such a world. This webinar will explore the risks associated with stakeholder discontent and offer practical suggestions for managing discontent. Find out what to do now to minimize the likelihood of unhappiness and learn how to respond with finesse to employee, volunteer and Board discontent. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)(Nonprofit Risk Management Center)(Nonprofit Risk Management Center)(Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

Provides best practices and tools for managers of environmental and conservation nonprofits in our challenging economic times. Learn how to track your finances, recognize danger signals, assess your options, and make tough decisions fairly with the best interests of the organization in mind. (Institute for Conservation Leadership and Environmental Support Center)

Partnering is second nature for many nonprofit leaders. Yet enthusiasm for partnering may create blind spots that obscure our view. Without a clear picture nonprofit leaders with good intentions may stumble. This webinar will explore practical steps for sizing up potential partners and increasing the odds of success, instead of missteps. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Unique accounting standards require that nonprofi ts report contributed income in one of three categories: unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted. This resource aims to define unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted income and give nonprofi t leaders the tools to record, report, and eff ectively manage contributed income and net assets. (Nonprofit Assistance Fund)

One of the most difficult risks to assess and address in a nonprofit is the possibility of theft of financial and other assets by insiders—the people the nonprofit depends on to achieve its mission. One starting point for preventing workplace theft is understanding why and how people steal from their employers. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Among the largest fundraising expenses are costs related to newsletters, brochures, annual reports, websites and e-newsletters. How can you produce these effectively and efficiently without sacrificing quality? Try these cost-effective vendor strategies.

The craft of direct mail fundraising grew out of what used to be called "direct mail marketing," best known to the general public as "junk mail" because all too often, it advertises goods or services the recipient has absolutely no interest in. Use these tactics to make an impact with your mail.

Whether your nonprofit is more like an intimate family or an enormous well-oiled machine, fraud can occur, and when it happens, it can damage your reputation, relationships with funders, and staff morale. In other words, you can’t afford it.

We asked gubernatorial candidates Pat McCrory (Republican) and Bev Perdue (Democrat) about their positions on several issues important to our state’s nonprofit sector. Learn where they stand in this resource.

Evaluating Return on Investment (ROI) provides great advantage for moving a nonprofit organization's fundraising office, its management and the board forward in aligning the business of fundraising with their overall philanthropic mission. (WealthEngine)

A comprehensive advocacy strategy includes communications with government officials, the public, and the media.  Develop your nonprofit's media advocacy plan by using this checklist.

We're sharing our media list with you because your organization is a Member of the Center, we value your important work, and we want to do all we can to help. This list is updated regularly, but it becomes outdated very quickly. If you have additions or corrections that you'd like to share with us, please send them to Caroline McDowell.

Media outlets covering nonprofit news throughout the state.

Sample media relations policies

Minutes of board meetings sometimes seem so routine that people underestimate their importance. This article includes what many consider important elements for board minutes.

For a variety of reasons, nonprofit boards may find themselves considering a merger with another nonprofit. (Board Cafe)

What’s the profile of the most generous American donors? They’re working-age people making $50,000 to $100,000 a year. They give gifts equal to 2.5% of their investment assets and are considered middle class.

This is the last part of our series on foundation funding. It focuses on printed sources of grant information and how to study foundation guidelines.

Managing your nonprofit's investments can be tricky. Good risk management requires foundations and nonprofits to balance sometimes competing goals.

A mission statement tells the aim, direction or grand intent of the organization. Its few words embody the organization’s basic commission to make something happen in the world (Carver). The statement is generally short, to the point and answers the following questions.

Moody's Investors Service said the outlook for nonprofits was "cautiously stable" and better than the "mixed" picture it had previously used to describe the situation. View what factors contributed to this assessment in this resource.

Four sample gift acceptance policies. (NRMC)

Every year, donors and nonprofits lament that more could be done if there was just more money. More money for more good. 

Not sure whether to engage in online fundraising?  Here's a few reasons you may want to consider.

These samples aid nonprofits in establishing confidentiality policies by which their board, staff, donors, clients, and volunteers should adhere. The National Council of Nonprofits has put together these samples to create a framework upon which any organization can build their own guidlines. (National Council of Nonprofits)

By law, nonprofits must pay sales tax on purchases in N.C. and can only get reimbursed with the approval of the N.C. Department of Revenue (DOR). In recent years, DOR has denied sales tax refunds to many 501(c)(3) nonprofits based on its interpretation of a vague law. 

When nonprofits need to put something in writing, they frequently choose to avoid entering into an intimidating legal contract and instead opt for the less threatening MOU.

Part 2 of a two-part series.  This final part focuses on how to stop the board from micromanaging and rather focus on governing.

In a recent survey of 850 current Masters of Public Administration and Masters of Public Policy students, 45% chose the nonprofit sector as their top career destination.

Thanks to a wave of technological innovation in philanthropy, people can now open their hearts and wallets without missing a beat.

It is fundamental for nonprofits which work to educate communities, engage citizens in public life, provide critical services, and advocate for policy change-to get beyond their democratic concerns about initiatives and understand the opportunities the ballot box provides. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Due to advocacy by the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, the N.C. General Assembly has passed legislation (H.R. 85) to allow N.C. nonprofits to use raffles more effectively for fundraising.

This section of Chapter 55A outlines information regarding dissolution. (North Carolina General Assembly)

Sets forth which types of individuals and organizations need to obtain the license; the process of applying for, acquiring, and renewing the license; fees; licensing requirements for fundraising consultants and solicitors; enforcement and prohibitions. (North Carolina General Assembly)

This section of Chapter 55A details indemnification and immunity for board members. (North Carolina General Assembly)

This section of Chapter 55A outlines the requirements and duties of the board.  It also reviews the specifics of a director.  Details outline the election and term requirements for directors as well as the removal of a director.  Meeting requirements are detailed as well. Quorum and voting as well as all other business details are found in this document. (North Carolina General Assembly)

Learn what Chapter 55A of the N.C. General Statutes requires of committees of the board. (North Carolina General Assembly)

This section of Chapter 55A defines conflict of interest for directors and details what he/she is able to do as it relates to this leadership position. (North Carolina General Assembly)

This section of Chapter 55A outlines information regarding mergers.

This section details officer guidelines  as established by the legislature in Chapter 55A. (North Carolina General Assembly)

This section sets forth standards of conduct for boards of directors as established by the legislature in Chapter 55A. (North Carolina General Assembly)

With new leadership and a historic budget shortfall, it won’t be business as usual in the N.C. General Assembly this year (2011). Here’s a preview of what nonprofits can expect in the 2011 state legislature.

For information about Charitable Solicitation Licensing (CSL) and nonprofit compliance requirements.

The duty of the Secretary of State is to ensure uniform compliance with the statutes governing the creation of these entities, record the information required to be kept as a public record, and provide that information to the public.

The National Council of Nonprofits (Council of Nonprofits) is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. 

The Human Interaction Research Institute hosts a database that foundations, researchers, nonprofit organizations, and service organizations throughout the U.S. can use to quickly identify foundations that focus on capacity building. The Philanthropic Capacity Building Resources (PCBR) database contains 368 descriptions of foundation directed programs that provide funding or direct services to increase the ability of nonprofits to accomplish their missions. (Human Interaction Research Institute)

Ease the pain of your first federal grant by reviewing these pointers.

The North Carolina legislature enacted the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) to modernize the rules governing endowment fund spending and management. The newly-enacted UPMIFA effects three primary changes to North Carolina law. (Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson)

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. (NC General Assembly)

Join your nonprofit colleagues from across the state at NC Nonprofits Day, March 10, at the state legislature in Raleigh. Hear a briefing on the public policy issues facing the sector and tell your organization's story directly to your Senator and Representative.

Learn more

It is well accepted that employment of relatives in the same area of an organization can cause serious conflicts and problems with favoritism and employee morale. Use this sample document to develop similar guidelines for which a nonprofit would abide.

After many years’ work, nonprofit advocates succeeded in obtaining final passage of a package of reforms and incentives designed to strengthen the U.S. nonprofit sector. Learn how this will help your organization.

At press time, regulators in the Secretary of State’s office were moving fast to get temporary rules in place prior to the Jan. 1, 2007 effective date for the new lobbying law enacted last summer. On Nov. 13, a number of groups and individuals, including the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, offered comments at a public hearing on a set of proposed rules.

Pension Protection Act of 2006 enacted numerous changes to the tax law provisions affecting tax-exempt organizations, including public disclosure of UBIT Returns. (IRS)

For many years, small employers reimbursed an employee for the cost of individual health insurance policy premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses and were not required to include these amounts in the employee’s gross income. But, starting in 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) changed this as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

With any luck, the dust is beginning to settle after a flurry of development activity during the calendar year end.  Now is the time to inventory your organization’s fundraising practices and procedures to ensure that they are not only compelling but also legally compliant. We have prepared this article so that you might better understand your organization’s obligations under the myriad of state and federal rules when soliciting charitable contributions in the state of North Carolina and beyond. If you have questions after reading this article related to your organization's compliance obligations in states other than North Carolina, please do not hesitate to contact me. (Robinson Bradshaw Publication)

This article covers the basic understanding of a 501(h) classificiation, who is eligible, why one would elect 501(h) status, how to file, and how to lobby and the associated rules and regulations.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of  is for publicly traded companies. It does not apply to nonprofits, so why should you care about it?

Nonprofits planning advocacy campaigns often confuse "strategy" and "tactics." Answer the questions included in this article to develop the strategy for your next advocacy campaign.

An online tool to assist nonprofits focus on the simple steps that can be taken to manage risks that could result from the actions (or inactions) of volunteers or that can arise as a result of a volunteer’s injury or complaint. (NRMC)

Use this sample timeline to develop a nominations and elections process for your organization's Board of Directors.

Committees help facilitate board’s work; prepare board members for informed decision making; provide a mechanism to use all available skill and expertise; and offer hands-on opportunities to serve the organization.  Committee members do not have the same liabilities as fullfledged board members. Their role is that of an advisor. They are chosen for the position because of their special interests or capabilities. How could others who are not full board members benefit the organization by serving on committees?

Advocacy, public policy, and civic engagement are essential tools for all nonprofits in achieving their missions. 

Tips from nonprofit leaders about how to advocate successfully for your cause.

Nonprofits Assistance Fund invests capital and financial expertise in nonprofits through loans, training, practical guidance, and financial management resources.

Auctions are known for two characteristics: they raise money (sometimes a lot), and they are a ton of work. (Blue Avocado)

This checklist is a general outline to guide the orientation of new board members. Your organization should modify it as you see fit to ensure that all new board members are provided with the information necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. (BoardSource)

Almost 400 people from 47 states and DC put their heads together to create a national vision for nonprofits at the first-ever Nonprofit Congress in Washington, D.C. Find a review of this inaugural event here.

Dissolution, or the closing of an organization in its current state, is more common than one might think. But when an organization seriously considers ending its life, it’s a difficult and complex process. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

We have seen too many sudden closings of nonprofits lately. This article provides some do’s and don’ts of closing your doors with honor and integrity. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Essential: Our State’s Nonprofit Sector is a Vital Economic Engine is the N.C. Center’s first comprehensive report about the economic impact of 501(c)(3) nonprofits in our state.  

Download Now!

Your questions about the public service loan forgiveness program answered. (National Council of Nonprofits)

We admit that we tried to wrap it up and tie a bow on it, but we couldn't figure out how to share what nonprofits need to know about the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") in a way that creates excitement.

This presentation explains the consequences of excessive executive compensation, explains how organizations can protect themselves, and discusses Rebuttable Presumption of Reasonableness,  Non-Fixed Compensation, Revenue Sharing, and Incentive Compensation. (GuideStar)

This survey provides baseline data about the rate of transitions in nonprofits and the career paths of current executives. (Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Nonprofit Executive Succession Planning Toolkit from Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

In the absence of an adopted policy, staff and board members are likely to operate under a set of assumptions that may or may not be accurate or productive. If the idea of creating a financial policy seems daunting, these guidelines for policy development and this basic example may be helpful.

Maintaining meaningful and well-considered policies and procedures is a critical component of a 
strong financial management system.

How can nonprofits’ leaders and boards better mitigate their fraud risks? First and foremost, they should focus on governance. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Whether your nonprofit organization is large or small, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of fraud and to detect it if it occurs. (Robinson Bradshaw)

Who really governs a nonprofit organization?

Nonprofit guides are free Web-based grant-writing tools for non-profit organizations, charitable, educational, public organizations, and other community-minded groups.

View this information on nonprofit internships from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Determining where IT should fit into the organization, how many IT staff people are needed and what those people should be spending their time doing can be diffi cult decisions. Part 1 of this report focuses on the nature of IT staff and departments in nonprofits. (Nonprofit Technology Network)

Staffing the information technology (IT) function is frequently a challenge for nonprofit organizations. Financial resources are typically limited and hiring managers often feel overwhelmed and under-educated when it comes to IT. Part 2 of this report covers IT salaries, budgets and evaluation in the nonprofit sector. (Nonprofit Technology Network)

Nonprofit Leadership Development Toolkit from The Bridgespan Group

A tool for determining what stage your organization is in to help you understand your organization's strengths and weaknesses with respect to its particular stage of development. (Fieldstone Alliance)

Making high quality, affordable management assistance available and easily accessible for all nonprofits is and has always been the "core business" of Nonprofit Management Solutions. 

A nonprofi t may set aside a cash reserve to provide a cushion for planned or unplanned future needs. This resource includes considerations for reserve planning and two sample policies.

Looking for a place to meet?  Consider holding your event at a nonprofit retreat center.

Our mission is to help nonprofit leaders become risk aware. We help leaders identify and appreciate critical risks and take action. We offer RISK HELP™, Web tools, in-person and virtual training, and custom consulting solutions. We provide reliable counsel on risk issues ranging from employment practices, to risk oversight and governance, enterprise risk management, fraud prevention, financial risk management, and youth protection.

This study points to the large stake that North Carolina has in the health of its nonprofit sector.

Get information on eligibility for nonprofit postage rates and the application process. (USPS)

Increasingly, nonprofits are turning to more flexible strategic frameworks to guide their board and staff instead of formal strategic plans. This infographic outlines this evolution and includes description of different strategy and planning options, key qualities of strategic frameworks, and tips on how boards can monitor their progress towards organizational goals. (BoardSource)



Nonprofit VOTE partners with America’s nonprofits to help the people they serve participate and vote. We are the largest source of nonpartisan resources to help nonprofits integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services.

What is a ballot measure? How are ballot measures different from candidate elections? May a 501(c)(3) nonprofits work for or against a ballot measure? Nonprofits VOTE answers all of these questions and more.

When North Carolina’s nonprofits and foundations work together on advocacy and civic engagement, we are tremendously successful at tackling the problems facing our state. Recently, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), with the help of the N.C. Center forNonprofits, studied a sample of N.C. nonprofits working with underrepresented constituencies.

 Dr. Laurie Paarlberg of the University of North Carolina Wilmington discusses how nonprofits can cope with the deepening economic crisis. This is part 1 of a three-part series. (Star News)

Dr. Laurie Paarlberg of the University of North Carolina Wilmington shares this series on how nonprofits can cope with the deepening economic crisis. This is part 2. (Star News)

Dr. Laurie Paarlberg of the University of North Carolina Wilmington shares this series on how nonprofits can cope with the deepening economic crisis. This is part 3. (Star News)

Nonprofits are trusted in their communities, making them ideal messengers to provide people with voter guides.

With elections in the news and changes in the election laws, you may be wondering if and how your nonprofit can be involved.

Voting is one of our sweetest freedoms, but it’s often taken for granted. In 2010, about 45% of the state’s nearly 6.2 million registered voters turned out for the mid-term election, and that’s about average.

The average job turnover rate among nonprofits is less than half the average for the business sector, according to the Opportunity Knocks 2008 Nonprofit Retention and Vacancy Report.

Nonprofits hired at a faster pace than business or government, and the number of nonprofit workers doubled in the last 25 years. These and other statistics point to a vibrant nonprofit work force, according to a recent report covering 1977 through 2001. Among the key findings are...

Nonprofits are changing how they do business in response to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOA) of 2002. Review the findings from a survey conducted by Grant Thornton LLP (GT).

Self-dealing within nonprofits is getting more governmental scrutiny. What do nonprofits themselves say about how often it takes place, whether the practice needs reigning in, and what would happen if it were banned? View the results from a survey conducted by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) which includes responses from 100 groups in 17 states.

With the tough economy and more people looking to nonprofits for support, it’s especially important for the public to understand the impact of our sector on North Carolina.

A list of North Carolina Community Foundations with contact information.

Federal recovery funds are critical to getting North Carolina back on track and the Governor is committed to putting these funds to use with a high level of efficiency, transparency and accountability to rebuild our infrastructure, grow our economy, stabilize our budget and get North Carolinians back to work. (Office of Economic Recovery and Investment)

Nonprofits can apply to get a refund of most sales and use taxes paid on purchases. The following taxes are not refundable.

NTEN aspires to a world where all nonprofit organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to meet community needs and fulfill their missions. We believe that technology allows nonprofits to work with greater social impact. We enable our members to strategically use technology to make the world a better, just, and equitable place.

Handout from the Finding Free & Cheap Stuff workshop designed to make nonprofits think differently about resource development. (Bobrow-Williams Consulting)

Includes sample job descriptions for administrative assistant, secretary, and office manager positions.

Like any complex process, office moves benefit from organized planning that breaks the process down into manageable parts or stages. Use this simplified office move checklist to keep your business relocation organized and on track.

The critical mission of the Office of the State Auditor is to provide citizens and North Carolina’s state leadership with independent, unbiased and professional assessments of whether public resources are being properly accounted for. 

Charities are prohibited from using any federal funds for legislative lobbying and electioneering. However, they are not restricted from using private resources to lobby. Use this resource to learn the best practices when it comes to OMB Circular A-122. (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

12 Winning Strategies to Survive & Thrive in a Down Economy

Adding online giving to your fundraising mix should not disregard the human touch, but can simply augment a strong overall fundraising plan.  How can an online component help you build and strengthen donoro relationships.

View this link for information on online reporting of grants.

View this link to search for organizations with state grants and contracts.

This tool contains sample elements that can be used in the creation of an operating reserve policy. As with any policy of this nature, the NFP may wish to consult their legal counsel or independent auditor for assistance in developing an operating reserve policy that is appropriate for the organization that has been customized based on the risks, operations and structure of your organization

Most of us have at least a few “squirrel” tendencies.  It is comforting to have something put aside for the winter or the proverbial rainy day.  In an organization, this stash is referred to as its “operating reserve;” it is what keeps the doors open during a temporary financial drought.


In 2015, the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s State of the Sector report revealed that only 23 percent of those nonprofits responding had more than 6 months of cash in reserve. In fact the majority of the nonprofits responding reported that they had less than three months of operating reserves on hand. And 12 percent had less than thirty days. This may be the reality for many nonprofits, but that does not mean that it is optimal.

Members of the Toolkit Workgroup have compiled this "Operating Reserves Policy Toolkit" to serve as a technical reference for nonprofit board and staff policy committees, as well as their financial consultants and professionals, as they respond to the message of the whitepaper. (National Center for Charitable Statistics)

Sample job description for Operations Manager

Fundraising needs to be one of the things people do in the midst of other organizing, speakig, marching, registering, or other activities.  This article discusses ways to do it.

Just as people need to occasionally step back from their busy lives to take stock of how they're doing and where they're going, so do organizations. (Fieldstone Alliance)

This resource is an overview of different overhead definitions, and what may or may not be included.  (Nonprofit Assistance Fund)

Use these guidelines and sample agenda to help your organization with its next board orientation. (Free Management Library)

A timeline to help your organization should your Executive Director and Board Chair leave at the same time. (TransitionGuides)

Melanie Lockwood Herman, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center shares some risk management strategies to consider when partnering with a consultant/vendor. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

In forming positive and productive working relationships, groups often evolve through specific stages of development. What follows is a framework that examines a continuum of working relationships along five stages. (National Council of Nonprofits)

As investment advisors to both wealthy individuals and nonprofit organizations, we witness charitable giving from many angles. Individuals seek our advice on the most tax-effective way to make donations. Both they and the nonprofit they want to support often wonder whether a particular gift should be earmarked for an immediate cash need or for longer-term goals.

Many discerning individual donors have learned that, like investing in business ventures, it is possible to envision a positive “societal return” on gifts when directed to the right organizations.

Last summer Congress passed and the President signed H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act. Many provisions affect nonprofits — some far-reaching, others highly specific. 

This article provides several scenarios of activity and then examines each to determine if it would be permissible or not. (Independent Sector)

Visit www, for resources and information on how your nonprofit can engage voters.

The Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest shares some helpful tips to prepare you to meet with your legislator. (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

Sample personnel policies that you may rework for your organization.

Please note: The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits is providing this sample policy to serve as a starting point for your nonprofit’s development of an appropriate policy for your organization. Every nonprofit should customize its policies to ensure that they are appropriate for the organization’s particular circumstances  and are consistent with the actual practices of the nonprofit. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits does not provide legal advice to member nonprofits, so your nonprofit may want to have your legal counsel review the policy before you adopt it.

In a meeting of the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), the National Council of Nonprofits heard directly from a panel of regulators about what conduct can spook state charity regulators into conducting investigations of charitable nonprofits. 

The South has transformed itself, but growing  inequities make its future vulnerable. Southern philanthropy can provide the “passing gear” now needed to move our region forward.

It is the time of year for workplace holiday celebrations. This article explains why knowing the purpose of a holiday event is key.  Bruce Clarke,

Robin Barefoot, Triangle Community Foundation and Douglas Benson, Foundation for the Carolinas presented at a Center Conference this workshop on the importance of planned giving and questions you should ask to assess your organization's readiness.

Once the exclusive domain of universities and other large nonprofits, planned giving is used increasingly by small groups as a way to diversify their base of funding.  If you want to start or expand the planned giving options available through your nonprofit, you aren't alone.

Eleven tips for effective e-newsletters.

A sample policy and procedure to evaluate your Executive Director/President's Performance. 

View this IRS resource for a listing of political activity by nonprofits.

Looking for volunteers?  Looking to volunteer?

Preparing for an audit doesn't have to be a daunting task. Here are a few things you can do on an ongoing basis and throughout the year to make the process easier.  

Some see the audit as a necessary evil to be endured. With that attitude the process will likely drag on longer and cost more than expected, produce financial statements that don’t put the organization in the best possible light, and lead to little or no feedback for management to run your nonprofit more effectively. 

Wow, it's time for your audit again. Time flies when you're having fun! As with much of life, being prepared goes a long way. Here's what you can do.

The 2005 Identity Theft Protection Act passed by our state legislature has provisions that affect nonprofits. You particularly need to pay attention if you maintain records about members, donors, volunteers, meeting attendees, and others.

Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence is based on the fundamental values of quality, responsibility, and accountability. This document has three purposes: to provide individual organizations striving for excellence -- and the board and staff members who lead them -- with a tool for strengthening their governance, management, and operations; to support the growth and quality of the nonprofit sector; and to promote stewardship by individual nonprofits and the sector as a whole.

Principles & Practices: Civic Engagement & Public Policy

Nonprofits play a central role in the democratic process by providing means for individuals to deliberate on public policies and decisions that affect them. To the extent possible, nonprofits should engage in public policy and advocacy activities to promote constituent, organizational, and sector interests. Nonprofits should work to promote broad public participation in public policy and advocacy efforts and should provide assistance to the public in these efforts.

Nonprofits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. Nonprofits must comply with all legal requirements. They should adhere to sound accounting principles that ensure fiscal responsibility and build public trust. Nonprofits should use their financial resources to accomplish their missions in an effective, efficient manner and should establish clear policies and practices to regularly monitor how funds are used. 

Effective management of human resources is essential for creating successful organizational results. Nonprofits should exercise fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified employees and volunteers. Nonprofits must adhere to all applicable employment laws and should provide a safe work environment.

Answers common questions about private foundations vs. public charities. (Minnesota Council on Foundations)

This BoardSource blog post tackles the issue of proactive succession planning. Learn more about the board's role in preparation, leader development, and planning for the future of your organization.

The Urban Institute has released a landmark national report that uncovers longstanding problems by state for nonprofits that contract with federal, state, and local governments. The report also shows how the recession has affected nonprofits in each state.

Procedure for changing bylaws.

Some nonprofits hire outside consultants to be responsible for fundraising activities, while other nonprofits hire staff members for this role, or use a combination of employees plus consultants. There is no right or wrong approach, but how your nonprofit elects to handle staffing for its fundraising activities can have important ramifications. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Employees in direct service organizations are often subject to compassion fatigue as a result of working in high-stress environments. This checklist can assist in determining if employees are suffering from compassion fatigue, burnout, or secondary traumatic stress.

This resource maintains a database of the voting record of every goverment official, sorted by state.

Robert Penna and William Phillips from the Rensselaerville Institute’s Center for Outcomes describe eight models for applying outcome-based thinking. (The Evaluation Exchange, Harvard University)

If you don’t own vehicles, vehicle insurance may seem the least of your concerns. But if paid staff or unpaid volunteers are involved in an accident using their own vehicles for business purposes, your organization could be named in a lawsuit.  Find out how to protect yourself.

This resource reviews the status and next steps for priorities for N.C's nonprofit sector priorites. These action items include short-term, ongoing, and long-term state priorities for the sector in 2008. It also details priorities at the federal level.

Nearly 200 nonprofit leaders from across the state participated in the Center’s recent 2005 Public Policy Forum for North Carolina’s Nonprofit Sector. The annual event helps nonprofit board and staff members strengthen their advocacy skills for shaping state policies, programs, and budgets.

Review this document to better understand what public records are and how the General Assembly mandates that they be handled.

Interested in having your federal student loans forgiven because of your nonprofit service? This basic checklist details the steps necessary for gaining public loan forgiveness.  (Equal Justice Works)

Charlotte Purvis, President of Purvis Communications, Inc. presented at a Center Conference these ten tips to making a C-level presentation.

Affluent, college-educated Americans have more faith in nonprofits than they have in government, business, or news organizations, and they have grown more confident about the work of nonprofits in recent years, according to a survey by the Edelman public relations company.

In a 2007 Harris Poll, the majority of those surveyed think nonprofits should have more power and influence in Washington. Of the 1,013 adults polled across the nation, 68% responded that nonprofits have too little power and influence. Only 18% responded that nonprofits have too much.

A recent law change means that nonprofit organizations in our state must meet new criteria as a charitable organization to qualify for refunds of the sales taxes they pay in North Carolina. 

Certain nonprofit entities are allowed semiannual refunds of sales and use taxes they pay on direct purchases and leases of tangible personal property and services. Learn more about form E-585, Nonprofit and Governmental Entity Claim For Refund State and County Sales and Use Taxes, and how your organization can request refunds. (N.C. Department of Revenue)

Try these tips to boost your fundraising.

Charitable organizations have long used raffles as an effective way to raise support.  Conducting a raffle seems simple enough, at least on the surface, right?  But before undertaking a raffle, you’d be well advised to familiarize yourself with the requirements outlined in this update. ( The Deborah and Dennis Walsh Foundation)

The internet has become a powerful tool for advancing both nonprofits and philanthropy.  Think about these things when considering an Internet-Based Service Provider (ISBP).

How can you secure grant funds for general operating support of your organization’s work in achieving its mission?

Five tips on how nonprofits raise funds during a recession.

For the first time in five years, nonprofits responding to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) survey saw average positive gains in giving, but they still continued to lose donors faster than they gained them.

Who are these donors for your organization?  Learn how to better serve them in this article.

This tool from provides calculation of 14 ratios including a mix of balance sheet and income statement ratios. (Nonprofit Assistance Fund)

Reserve funds are becoming real necessities for most nonprofits. This article addresses the need for reserve funds and best practices.

Recent studies suggest that the charitable sector will be increasingly drawn into an all-out “war for talent” with the government and business sectors.1 As the Baby Boomers retire from their leadership positions over the coming decades and the labor market grows ever tighter, how will the nonprofit sector attract the most committed and talented leaders? What would draw Generation Xers and Generation Yers to positions that typically offer long hours for short pay?

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, in partnership with The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation and, decided to ask them.

Rick Gove shares his expertise on preparing for a media interview.

If an organization meets three requirements, payments it makes to a disqualified person under a compensation arrangement are presumed to be reasonable, and a transfer of property or the right to use property is presumed to be at fair market value. (IRS)

Reports on the impact of the economic recession on nonprofits.

Nearly 40 percent of nonprofit organizations currently lack adequate staff to deliver their programs and services, according to results of a national survey released by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies.

Tips on how to fundraise in a recession.

Managing records for nonprofits by Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Provides basic information about employer payroll taxes, including a calendar of when you need to file. (IRS)

This article details the importance of having a process in place for recruiting and orienting new board members.  By following this process, it becomes evident that recruiting board members is much like hiring a staff position.  Orientation is crucial to an effective board and this article dives into what that process could look like. (Free Management Library)

What can we tell someone hoping to start a new 501(c)(3) organization about the journey upon which he is about to embark? (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Whether you’re collaborating with another nonprofit, a business, or government, proceed carefully to avoid unnecessary risks to your organization. Here are some tips to consider.

Controlling operating costs has become a necessity in this financially challenging environment. Consider these strategies.

Learn what contributions can or can't be made.

As part of a new energy bill (S.B. 3), the N.C. legislature created a new tax credit for donors.  Find out how your donors can take advantage of this credit.

Information, regulations, and forms needed for nonprofits that receive state funds. (Office of State Budget and Management)

Here's a helpful guide for reporting requirements for nonprofits with state grant funds

Learn the necessary reporting requirements of a supporting organization as defined by the IRS.

A nonprofit's reputation is a vital asset on which it depends. Yet that asset is at risk everyday and many leaders feel powerless to evaluate the degree to which reputation is at risk and respond capably when the "brand" is tarnished. Sources of brand risk include every stakeholder group near and dear to the heart of the nonprofit: volunteers, staff, donors, client/members, and more. This webinar will explore the process for managing reputation and offer practical tips on protecting the name and mission of your nonprofit safe. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)   

Request for Proposal (RFP) for Outsourced Accounting Services 

Request for Proposal of Search Firm for Selection of President of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits (The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

Sample RFP for strategic planning

This document, produced by the NC Center for Nonprofits, serves as a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an Executive Search Firm template.

In 2009, the US Postal Service released new standards for addressing flat-sized mail, including magazines, catalogs, digests, and large envelops.  The standards are part of the USPS's new Flats Sequencing System (FSS), which will reduce carriers' time spent manually sorting mail. The new standards went into effect March 29, 2009. Failure to comply will result in the charging of additional fees. (USPS)

Like families, organizations need financial nest eggs for different purposes. One of the main purposes is an operating reserve — sometimes called an operating contingency fund. They are a first line of defense against financial uncertainties ranging from uneven cash flow to cutbacks from major funders. 

View this page from the National Council of Nonprofits to view tools and resources on board goverance.

Five resources to help you with federal and state funding opportunities.

A handout which lists resources for foundation and corporate funding.

Various resources to help your organization with laws regulating nonprofits in North Carolina.

Stay current on everything legal with this resource list complete with sample policies and online search engines.

This document shows two concise lists -- the responsibilities of the board as a whole and the responsibilities of each board member.  It's a great tool to adapt and share with your board!

Retreats are a great way to get  your staff away from the daily distractions and repetiveness of the office setting.  Set time aside to discuss and solve key problems, creating a sense of bonding amongst staff members.

Audits may not always be appropriate, especially if your budget is modest and you are not required by outside parties to have an audit. You may want to consider these less involved and less expensive ways to have a CPA compile or review your financial statements.

An organization’s direct marketing program serves two extremely important roles within the overall fundraising strategy: (1) to raise unrestricted revenue and (2) to identify a pool of major gift prospects.

Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted from Purpose. Does this sound like your life? A national study with this name found that both grantmakers and nonprofits are suffering from a glut of paperwork that diverts their attention from their missions. And both groups can do something about it.

Effective budgeting and forecasting are vital components of sound risk management. This webinar will offer a risk management approach to budgeting and forecasting, highlighting practical strategies to position both activities as assets to the overall risk management program.(Nonprofit Risk Management Center)    

Smart nonprofits take risks—many risks—every day. Such organizations are creative, inventive, and continue to succeed despite the changing environment. These organizations know that success demands risk-taking, and they create an organizational culture that regularly assesses risk, favors intelligent risks, and mitigates the impact of known risks

This is a reminder from the IRS on rules for charitable contributions of clothing and household items.

The potential for executive burnout has risen in the past few years.  Sabbaticals are a good way to renew and retain executives.

Use Salaries & Benefits in NC Nonprofits to set fair compensation for your staff. Get solid data for more than 300 different positions – by field, region, and budget size. If you have paid staff, you need this report so you can answer "yes" on the IRS questions about whether you set salaries using comparability data.

Frequently asked questions about nonprofits collecting sales and use tax on admission charges to entertainment and live events

This performance appraisal tool can be used as part of the annual review for the President/CEO and other staff. (Applied HR Solutions, Inc.)

Even though nonprofit organizations aren't required by law to publish annual reports, most nonprofit leaders recognize the value annual reports can provide. 

A sample Audit Committee description, which includes the purpose and primary responsibilities of its members. 

There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  Take a look at these sample descriptions and tailor them to your organization's needs. (Board Cafe)

It is important to know what is expected in order for a board member to fulfill his/her commitment to serve your organization.  Make it clear by using this sample to outline what the duties and responsibilities would be required.

Here is a sample Board Member Commitment form that you could use.

Use this sample as a base for developing your organization's board member job description.  It is important for members to know what they are volunteering to be a part of while also establishing mutual expectations and requirements.

Use this template to create a nomination and election policy for your organization.

Sample Board Self-Assessment Tim Wolfred CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

Sample budget guidelines

This document serves as a sample for constructing bylaws.

Sample bylaws for a nonprofit with membership

Sample bylaws for a nonprofit with a self-renewing board of directors

Sample bylaws for organization without members

This code of ethics will help to define boundaries for your organization and help to differentiate acceptable from unacceptable.

Sample Confidentiality Agreement for Board and Staff Members

Sample Confidentiality Agreement for Search

Adapt this sampe confidentiality agreement for your organization.

Sample Confidentiality Agreements for Information about Clients (National Council of Nonprofits)

Use this document as a policy by which all trustees and employees must abide. You may adapt this sample for your organization.

A sample confidentiality policy you can adapt for your organization.

Another sample confidentiality policy that you can adapt for your organization.

Sample language you can use to check references or run a criminal backgound or credit check. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

A sample contract for consulting services that you may adapt for your organization.

Use this sample inventory sheet to keep record of both onsite and offsite locations of important documents, bank account numbers, and other important information. (TransitionGuides)

A sample job description for development director.

A sample document retention and destruction policy you can adapt for your organization. (Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem)

Certain federal laws prohibit the destruction of certain documents. Not-for-profit organizations should have a written, mandatory document retention and periodic destruction policy. Policies such as this will eliminate accidental or innocent destruction. In addition, it is important for administrative personnel to know the length of time records should be retained to be in compliance

Sample Donor Acknowledgment Form (Robinson Bradshaw)

Not sure how to thank your donors? Use this template to guide your message.

Sample email retention policy

Procedure for the appointment of an acting executive in the event of an unplanned absence. Tim Wolfred CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

Sample Employee Dating Policy that you can use

A sample employee handbook that you may adapt for your organization.

Every organization will eventually experience a change in executive leadership, which is a time of both risk and opportunity.  Create a succession policy to help organizational sustainability.  (TransitionGuides)  

Executive transitions can be stressful for everyone involved.  Transition Guides makes this transition easier with an "Executive Search & Transition Time Line Worksheet" to assist your organization in the process. (Transition Guides)

Most grantors require a final project report, including a financial report. This sample illustrates a final financial report outlining budgeted expenses, actual expenses and the expenses allocated to that particular funding source. (Maine Association of Nonprofits)

A sample fiscal operations policy handbook that you can adapt for your organization.

Looking to create a fiscal sponsorship? Use this template to create an agreement that outlines proceedures and expectations for all parties involved.

Sample of Fluctuating Workweek Policy

This tool will help the Board to evaluate the Chief Executive. It should be customized to the particular culture and purpose of the agency by modifying the performance criteria  as appropriate for the organization. (Free Management Library)

Sample Fraud Policy

Sample gift acceptance policies from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Sample gift acceptance policy for a large organization with multiple chapters.

Sample grievance policy and procedure

Sample Identity Theft Protection Policy

Sample identity theft protection policy

Sample In-Kind Contribution Policy

A sample Independent Contractor Agreement you may adapt for your organization. (Blood Systems, Inc.)

A sample Independent Contractor Agreement you may adapt for your organization. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

A sample internal control policy that you may adapt for your organization.

Sample Internal Control Policies

Sample investment and reserve policy statement

Use these sample policies as a guideline to create an investment policy for your organization.

Samples descriptions are included for Board President/Chair, Vice President/Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary.

Sample letter of inquiry for foundation funding.

Use this template to aid in tracking your lobbying expenses.

This is a sample plan for an imaginary local animal rescue organization called Save the Animals (STA) which is trying to take their outreach efforts online to become well known in the community. While the specifics of your online fundraising plan will be unique for your organization, the overarching themes will likely be similar. This intensive plan calls for a relatively high budget but you will likely want or need to dedicate much less. (Network for Good)

This sample is a starting point for designing your own budget. You may customize this sample budget to fit your organization's needs.

Sample organizational climate survey

Sample partnership agreement memorandum of understanding between two organizations

Use these questions as an outline to conduct performance reviews with staff.

Use these questions as an outline to conduct performance reviews with staff.

A sample personnel policy for that you may rework for your organization.  (Free Management Library)

Another sample personnel policy for that you may rework for your organization. (N.C. Center for Nonprofits)

Planning to use images of your constituents on your website or other materials?

A sample policy that outlines the acceptible from the unacceptible when it comes to charitable gifts.

Sample policy to provide employees a confidential means to report suspected financial impropriety or misuse of resources by other staff, board members, or volunteers.

Public recognization of an organization or event is a great way to create awareness.  

Most foundations and corporate funders require organizations to submit a project budget with their grant application. William A. Bayreuther Grantwriting has provided complementary samples of proposal budgets for a 1 year project, 2 year project and a capacity building request. (Maine Association of Nonprofits)

Sample request for proposal for property and liability risk management and insurance consulting services

A sample reserve fund policy you can adapt for your organization.

A sample RFP for audit services that you can adapt for your organization.

Sample RFP for Executive Search Firms 

Sample RFP for Executive Search Firms

Sample chart to use to compare RFPs for a retirement plan

Sabbaticals are a win-win for everyone in an organization, but plans must be made in order for things to run smoothly. 

A sample severance pay policy you can adapt for your organization.

This signature authority policy serves as a sample of the permission to execute transactions established by relevant policies and permission to approve transactions for execution.

With the increasing use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, nonprofits of all sizes are utilizing policies and guidelines to manage their organization's use of these mediums. 

Sample special event budget.

This sample statement defines self-dealing transactions and describes the appropriate approval process and why prohibition of private inurement is imporant for all organizations.

A sample succession plan to insure that the organization's leadership has adequate information and a strategy to effectively manage the organization in the event the executive director is unable to fulfill his/her duties.

Sample succession plan graphic Tim Wolfred CompassPoint Nonprofit Services

Sample Succession Policy

Sample job offer letter for a temporary position

Sample unified chart of accounts

Be sure expectations are clear from the start when working with volunteers. (National Volunteer Caregiving Network)

The easiest and least expensive way to assess a program is through surveying methods.  Here's an assesment you can use to evaluate your volunteer program.  (Charity Village)

Sample privacy policy for a nonprofit's website.

A sample whistleblower's policy that you may adapt for your organization.

Sample whistleblower policy

A sample wireless communications device policy you may adapt for your organization. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Provides nonprofit leaders practical recommendations on promoting effective oversight of their organizations. (Independent Sector)

SAS No. 112 is the reason for the increase in reported internal controls. Learn about SAS 112 and the impact it may have on your nonprofit.

You may be overpaying state unemployment taxes by overlooking an opportunity to select a different method of payment. Nonprofits are required to pay for unemployment claims in one of two ways. 

If you make your donor or membership list available for exchange or rental by other fundraisers, here are eight do’s and don’ts to consider when you receive requests to use it.

The nuts and bolts of selecting a consultant.  Includes tips for writing the contract. (Community Foundation of Western North Carolina)

Eight questions to consider when selecting a Donor Management System (Idealware)

Tips on reviewing job applicants and hiring new employees. (Free Management Library)

Use this sample assessment for your board. (Board Cafe)

Whether the donor to a private foundation is an individual, a family, or a forprofit company, it is important to understand that once cash or other assets are gifted to a private foundation, those assets then belong to a separate legal entity that is subject to many restrictions.

Fundraising guru, Kim Klein, addresses how to set fundraising goals by breaking it down into easy steps.

While nonprofits are all over our communities and state, you probably find some common misconceptions about what nonprofits are and what they do.  (National Council of Nonprofits)

Social media is can do more than connect you with others.  Read tips on how improve your organization's transparency through technology.

Audits are getting more expensive.  And it’s not just the auditors whose hours are increasing. Staff’s time on the audit has expanded as well. How can you ease the burden?

Fundraising evaluation is the final stage of any fundraising effort and the one most often overlooked.

This question raises the blood pressure of many executive directors, and opinions are sharply divided, but what is the answer?  See what Jan Masaoka, publisher of Blue Avocado and CEO of CalNonprofits, has to say on the topic.  

Because one of the board's chief responsibilities is to assess the performance of the agency and its executive director, boards often need to discuss sensitive issues without staff present. This article outlines a few of those situations. (Compass Point)

An article in our November/December 2005 issue of Common Ground

North Carolina’s sales tax laws can be confusing. Find out whether or not you should collect sales taxes.

Real estate is typically the second largest cost for nonprofits, second only to employee salaries and benefits. Whether you own or lease space, understanding the true value of your real estate and its impact on your bottom line is essential.

Nonprofit leaders weighed in on the question of executive directors serving as board members of the nonprofits they lead. 

Nonprofit executives need practical advice to develop practical, defensible document destruction and retention policies. No leader wants to retain more than is necessary, but we all fear destroying something that might be needed to defend our organization. This webinar will explore the process for developing a practical and custom documents destruction and retention policy. The policy of another nonprofit may not work, don't risk it by "borrowing" a policy ill-suited to your nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)   (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)    

Signature Authority Policy is intended to ensure that commitments of its resources are properly reviewed and approved and that its contracts and agreements are signed by authorized officials. It identifies who within the Corporation is authorized to commit institutional resources on its behalf through agreements executed in its name. It also describes necessary steps in the contract review process and protocols for the delegation of signatory authority.

Template that you can use for signature authority policy

Nonprofit executive directors often wonder if it's the right time to leave. Maybe the demands of the job seem ever more burdensome, or the board seems increasingly dissatisfied, or the ticking of the retirement clock is getting louder. 

Do you employ high school and college aged staff?  Is growing their skill set and professional development part of your mission?  Consider having them periodically fill out a Skills and Experience Inventory.  This helps you discover the skills of your young staff, helps you to plan training, and gives you data to report the outcomes for young staff.  

In this two-part series, we will explore ways to succeed with foundation grants.

The Small Business Center Network’s (SBCN) offers a very wide range of programs and services for existing and prospective business owners. You will get an overview of the different ways in which the Small Business Center Network can help you realize your dream of owning your own business or making your current business more profitable.  (Small Business Center)

View this resource from the National Council of Nonprofits to learn about the Small Employer Health Credit and if you qualify.

Nonprofits with annual budgets under $5,000 must file Form 990-N (e-Postcard) every year, even though they aren't required to apply to the IRS for recognition of their tax-exempt status.

Whether you are just starting the communications planning process, checking in on a communications campaign already in progress, or interested in reviewing an effort you have already executed, the Smart Chart 3.0(TM) will help you assess your strategic decisions to ensure that your communications strategy delivers high impact. (Communications Leadership Institute)

Social enterprise is, fundamentally, about using a market-driven business model to address key social and environmental issues. It is an emerging field with diverse and shifting interpretations. This reousource will sort through all this, introduce you to the major players, and give you a launching pad for future inquiry. (Free Management Library)

Because of the constant accessibility of social media, keeping profiles tidy all the time is a must. Here are some tips and ideas for social media housekeeping that you can tackle right now. (Network for Good)

Tough economic times can actually be an opportunity to revisit your nonprofit's investment strategies and goals. One optimistic trend in the financial world is Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management.

The gaps in employee skills that employers talk about the most are not technical, math, or reading problems.  Instead, employers' top concern is the lack of soft skills needed for success in almost every role.

By following these three basic steps, we can transform our organizational conversations on public policy issues. We need and should attract varied points of view to our boards as a strategy to support our mission and governance . 




A sample document for assigning the Executive Director's roles and responsibilities to other staff when the Executive Director leaves for sabbatical. 

Every nonprofit goes through a lifecycle, but at which stage is your organization?

Convened by BoardSource, the Stand Your Mission campaign's mission is to have advocacy become as fundamental a part of every board member's responsibility as fundraising and fiscal responsibility are. (The NonProfit Times)

The Center has developed a guide to the U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime rules for North Carolina nonprofits that go in effect on December 1, 2016.

Now is the time to inventory your organization’s fundraising practices and procedures to ensure that they are not only compelling but also legally compliant. Dianne Chipps Bailey (Robinson Bradshaw)

The Office of the State Auditor has opened its new online Grants Information Center.

State government has changed how nonprofits must report on state grants they receive. Last fall, the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) took over the online reporting system for nonprofits that receive state grants. Here are common questions and answers.

Beginning with an overview of the liability environment, this fourth edition of State Liability Laws for Charitable Organizations and Volunteers provides a state-by-state review of the evolving landscape of charitable immunity and volunteer protection laws. (NRMC)

Nonprofits can and should lobby — a powerful way to change public policy for the common good — but know the law before you start. Recent reforms have helped level the playing field with better-financed interests.

View information on state taxation and nonprofits including: corporate franchise and income tax, sales and use tax, property tax, motor fuels tax, withholding tax, and gross receipts tax. (North Carolina Department of Revenue)


Whatever happens with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s scrutiny of nonprofits, you can do several things now to increase your organization’s accountability and transparency.  

An IRS microsite created especially for 501(c)(3) organizations. Whether you are new to the world of tax exempt organizations, an old hand at managing them, or a tax professional who works with them, you will find something of interest here.  (IRS)

This publication focuses particularly on board leaders. It provides a set of practical perspectives, hands-on tools, brief case studies, and useful resources to help board chairs, officers, and members take a proactive approach to preparing their organizations for a transition. (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

And what happens when you use both? Imagine you're a college student studying at the library when a woman approaches and says if you'll complete a short survey about technology - how you use iPods, etc. - she'll give you $5. You figure that's enough for a tall latte and a muffin and follow her to a room where several other students are gathered.

No nonprofit is complete without a strategic plan, which determines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it's going to get there and how it'll know if it got there or not. 

Critical to succession planning and organizational resilience are systems that support skills development for board and staff. 

Capacity building enables nonprofit leaders and organizations to develop the skills and resources they need to improve their work. Since each situation is unique and circumstances are always changing, effective capacity-building support is tailored to best suit the needs of grantees. This publication offers practical guidance and considerations to help grantmakers design an effective approach. (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations)

May these tips give you success in your next funding request.

This 30 question self-evaluation is designed for assessing three key pillars of financial health:

·         Liquidity – The organization’s ability to meet current financial obligations as they arise

·         Sustainability – The likelihood that the organization can survive funding interruptions and other unexpected events

·         Financial leadership –The ability of management to navigate the organization through financial hardship

(Planned Giving Design Center)

Deborah Hechinger, BoardSource president and CEO, opened the Center’s 2004 Conference by admitting her distress about recent nonprofit scandals. She stressed that effective board governance can make a major difference in reassuring the public about our sector’s special role in American society.

Developing a thriving board of directors is a never-ending challenge. That’s just reality, and it should be. Your board represents the community you serve, and your community doesn’t stand still. Neither do your goals. How can you make sure that your board evolves to meet the changing needs of your community and organization? One major way is with an effective, ongoing process for board recruitment.

An important aspect of any effective search strategy is the search structure, which refers to the people who will be involved in each hiring process and the roles that they will play. Developing an appropriate structure for each search will ensure that the hire is made in accordance with the needs, values, and capacity of your organization.

Succession from one generation of leadership to the next is a period of opportunity and risk. 

Whether or not you are anticipating a change in executives. Here are some questions and issues to be addressed now, and some that draw attention to longer-term planning. (Blue Avocado)

This article explores succession planning for nonprofit leaders other than the CEO. Eureka moments often occur during our consulting engagements when nonprofit teams realize the CEO is one of many individuals whose departure could cause ‘transition trauma.’ Read on for inspiration for establishing a non-CEO succession planning process. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

There has not been much written about the role of the retiring executive in succession planning, which is natural, as succession signifies the successor. This article outlines some principles to ensure a more successful transition. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Explains the 501(h), which allows 501(c)(3) nonprofits to use an expenditure test to determine how much lobbying is permissible. (Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest)

Learn of the requirements and mandates of the North Carolina Lobbying Law.

In 2013, MRBF chose to examine the  strategic communications capacity of its policy grantees, with an understanding  that this capacity is closely tied to their effectiveness as advocates for policies that move people and places out of poverty. 


Will 2004 be remembered as the year the economy turned the corner for nonprofits? GuideStar's third annual nonprofit economic survey indicates it just might.

Your insights are incredible. Thanks to all 812 of you who completed your Member Survey. You told us the challenges you see for your organization and for the nonprofit sector, and your hopes for your community. The Center and the sector will be stronger because of what you’ve shared. Now let’s begin sharing the results with you.

The economy is shaking up our sector. We’re doing more with less. Tough times give us a rare window to look with astonishing clarity at what matters most.

Nonprofits are facing especially troubling times. Private contributions decline as individual, corporate, and foundation donors are less inclined to give; governmental funding declines or disappears; and earnings from endowments shrink along with their capital market values.  (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Sweeping new regulations for overtime have been proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor. They are designed to expand overtime protections for millions of workers employed by nonprofits, for-profits, and governments. They would not go into effect until after a period of public comment and analysis.

In most cases a graceful exit, in which the founder leaves the organization completely, is the most appropriate way for an organization to manage the transition from a long-time or founding chief executive. However, the conventional wisdom about founder transitions has taken on the character of an absolute rule. (Management Assistance Group)

Every morning, millions of people resist the urge to hit snooze and drag themselves out of bed because three words won't leave them alone: Just do it. Nike first used that tagline in 1988, but two decades later it still compels us to strap on a swoosh and break a sweat.

On Form 990, you must break down your costs among program services, management and general, and fundraising.  The IRS has raised the stakes for proper reporting.  This article explains how to report it accurately and the penalties for not doing so.

This publication explains the benefits and the responsibilities under the federal tax system for churches and religious organizations. (IRS)

An exempt organization is not taxed on its income from an activity substantially related to the charitable, educational, or other purpose that is the basis for the organization’s exemption. (IRS)

Are you allowed to report expenses paid to volunteers if the expenses are in connection with services performed for your nonprofit?  Dennis Walsh, CPA, answers this important question. 


This notice discusses federal tax reporting and income tax withholding requirements that apply to raffles conducted by organizations exempt under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code. (IRS)

If you’re not strategic about your information technology, you can end up with a hodgepodge of computer hardware, applications software, and operating systems. Use these tips to plan ahead.

TechSoup is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a clear focus: connecting your nonprofit, charity, or public library with tech products and services, plus learning resources to make informed decisions about technology. Our free resources are available to all users.

A collection of resources on telecommuting including sample policies and things to consider before implementing a policy at your organization. (TechSoup)

Strategic planning has long been used as a tool for transforming and revitalizing corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, yet few tools are better suited to help address the staggering array of challenge brought about by a changing environment.

For many of us, lobbying is something other people do - people who wear fancy clothes and buy politicians lunch at expensive restaurants.  But lobbying, or more simply, trying to influence those who make policies that affect our lives, is something anyone can do.  And it is something all of us should do if we believe in a good cause and a democratic form of goverment. (Independent Sector)

Tips for donating your used equipment. (TechSoup)

Feeling in the dark when it comes to the audit process? A bit of effort up front will save you time and frustration in the long run. The Center's Financial Manager offers tips and tricks of the trade to get you off on the right foot.

These sample policies set forth a standard by which all board members must abide by in terms of term limits and attendence.  It also details a confidentiality agreement for staff, board members, or volunteers. 

This guide is your source for everything you need to know about text to donate, also known as text to give. (MobileCause)

Find out more about the public support test and how to calculate your nonprofit's public support under each option.

An ages-old artform, storytelling is a powerful way to capture your audience's attention, whether they're donors, potential donors, grantmakers, media reps, policy makers, or prospective volunteers. Communications consultant and trainer Andy Goodman offers ten "laws," or must-haves for good storytelling.

Why buy when you can borrow? This is the mantra of many nonprofit leaders who view the borrowed policy, procedure or framework as a “good enough” way to manage risk. This program will begin by exploring the downsides, or “sins” of excessive borrowing. Learn about an alternative to borrowing that won’t bust your budget or create additional exposures for your nonprofit. Find out how to develop practical, custom policies and cultivate the support you need prior to implementation. 

Why does health care reform matter to nonprofits? What are "Affordable Insurance Exchanges"? Find the answer to these questions and more.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – also known as the Affordable Care Act, ACA, or Obamacare – was signed into law in 2010. How will it affect your nonprofit?

This checklist details some of the requirements found in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards).

For many nonprofits, “approving the budget” is the cornerstone of board financial oversight.  Unfortunately, though, this act is too often an empty ritual: one where board members peruse a budget that they are unsure is either appropriate to the planned activities or is realistic.  This issue’s Main Course Article takes a look at the problem and suggests some fixes. (Board Cafe)

The boards of nonprofit organizations have several responsibilities. Of the nation's 1.5 million nonprofit organizations, a large number continue to rely on volunteers exclusively. In a small organization, the members of the board often establish and carry out policy. As a nonprofit organization grows and matures, the board often hires staff to implement its policy directives.

Board members as influential community leaders can help increase the likelihood of your nonprofit's success by engaging in advocacy. This article shares some insightful information about board members and their roles as ambassadors advocating for the mission of their organizations.  (Stand For Your Mission)

With so many different options in the market and things to consider, choosing the right Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software for your nonprofit can feel overwhelming. This guide can help you navigate through the process. (thedatabank)

Originating from a discussion at the 1999 NAAG-NASCO Seminar in Charleston, SC, these Principles have been adopted by NASCO as guidance to state charity officials as to when state registration is required for Internet charitable solicitations. (National Association of State Charity Officials)

When questions about a nonprofit leader’s exceptionally high salary make the front page of the paper, we wince. A single nonprofit is being criticized for being an outlier, but it feels as if all charitable nonprofits and their values are being questioned. (National Council of Nonprofits)

During February we will continue our review of governing structures by using the risk management process to evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the finance committee and audit committee.  (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)  

Ten rights that all donors have to ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public. (AFP)

A new survey that reveals how North Carolina nonprofits are feeling the strain.

It's a moment that nonprofit board and staff dream about yet also secretly dread. You find yourself face to face with a VIP - a Very Important Prospect - someone who can help your organization in a big way.

The Foundation Center consist of free funding information centers in libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers that provide a core collection of Foundation Center publications, supplementary materials and services useful to grantseekers. Use this interactive map to find the funding centers located in North Carolina. (Grantspace)

The Foundation Center

Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. 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.

For Part I of this series, we interviewed North Carolina grantmakers about how they manage the end of a funding relationship. This article relays their tips for both grantmakers and nonprofits.

The signs of election season are everywhere. Political pundits are returning from their campaign hiatus and candidates are criss-crossing Iowa and New Hampshire. Meanwhile, public charities have been wide awake since the last presidential election, providing services, molding policy, and leading their communities on a broad array of issues.

The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers is a comprehensive resource for emerging professionals pursuing their first position in the nonprofit sector. Whether you are a current student, a recent graduate, or someone entering the workforce for the first time, this resource will provide you with indispensable advice, relevant strategies, and nonprofit-specific resources to strengthen your job search. (Idealist)

Leaders are often in denial about when their effectiveness is losing its edge and when is the appropriate time to leave. This article offers an overview of the challenges and three common dilemmas in leadership succession. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Part II of this series considers the legal and fiscal relationship between a sponsored program and its fiscal sponsor.  See your Winter 2012 Common Ground for Part I about possible advantages of fiscal sponsorships.

Sometimes when you're stressed, it can be hard to see how your experience is affected by how well your baseline needs are taken care of.

In this article Dianne Chipps Bailey discusses the legal, ethical, and practical reasons why individuals soliciting charitable contributions for nonprofit organizations should not be compensated based on fundraising results. (Robinson Bradshaw)

This true/false quiz is based on seven core assumptions that are pretty dependable in the for-profit sector, but with nonprofits, a challenging pattern develops.

How, why & why not to merge nonprofit organizations.

The stated goals of the IRS in overhauling the Form 990 were "enhancing transparency, promoting tax compliance, and minimizing the burden on the filing organization." All nonprofits should be aware that the new Form 990 includes a series of questions focused on governance and management.

What’s the best way to make use of the latest foundation trends?

In the wake of the elimination of redevelopment agencies, cities are seeking alternatives to help create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods. Community development corporations (CDCs) are one such tool that has been used successfully throughout the United States to accomplish community revitalization goals. (Western City)

Part one of a two-part series. Young professionals tell their stories about how and why they were drawn to the sector.

An FAQ for the Nonprofit Sector (The Nonprofit Finance Fund)

Nonprofit layoffs not only wreak the same havoc on the individuals losing their jobs, they often spell hardship for the clients, members and constituents of the nonprofit as well. (Blue Avocado)

A handbook for volunteers and staff of charitable organizations, especially new volunteers and staff, to help them take advantage of the liberal rules for lobbying by charities. (CLPI)

Why are nonprofit organizations struggling to attract and retain the talented senior executives they need to fulfill their missions? Over the coming decade, this leadership challenge will only become more acute.

Provides information on current and past legislation in the N.C. General Assembly and on legislative calendars and committees.  It also allows you to search for your federal and state elected officials by zip code, county, or your congressional, state, or house districts. (The N.C. General Assembly)

This guide is tool for facilitating ongoing board dialogue on your organization’s legal right to advocate and for helping you cultivate a culture of standing for your mission in all possible ways. (Stand For Your Mission)

Doung Blizzard, Vice President, Membership, Capital Associated Industries, Inc., presented at a Center Conference this session on evaluating the process you currently use for performance appraisals.

Program evaluation doesn't have to be a painful process.  View this Nonprofit Quarterly article for links to tools that can help make the process easier.  (Nonprofit Quarterly

Very often, board members reach their term limits and leave feeling good about their contributions. But that is not always the case.  Learn how to step away from a difficult role leaving both yourself and the organization with a positive experience using the tips in this resource.

How to effectively search for funders.

Looks at seven key principles for handling transitions successfully. (William Bridges, author of "Managing Transitions")

The State of Grantseeking Fall 2013 Survey is complete and the results are in! 

The world has become a more turbulent place, where anyone with a new idea can put it into action before you can say “startup” and launch widespread movements with a single tweet. (Stanford Social Innovation Review)

On paper, nonprofit boards and CEOs are required to work together. Yet instead of making sweet music to the upbeat tempo of a nonprofit's mission, many nonprofit boards find themselves working at odds with the CEO they hired.

Overhead or administrative spending has become a way that many funders measure how well a grantee is doing, but a growing number of funders and nonprofits are finding that it does not paint an accurate picture of a nonprofit’s financial health, sustainability, or overall effectiveness.

Recent initiatives like the Overhead Myth and Real Talk About Real Costs point to effectiveness as a composite of financial health, leadership strength, organizational capacity, and program outcomes.

Includes information of members of Congress and U.S. House committees.

The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

An audit committee is considered a best practice for nonprofits. It helps the governing board perform its fiduciary and financial oversight roles, reduce risk, and maintain donor confidence.

Whether or not your board is considering closing, it may help to know the choices. Here are some options to consider.

How does a founding or long-term executive learn to let go of his/her organization?

Our state is incredibly fortunate to have so many innovative, hardworking nonprofits serving our communities and transforming people’s lives. This fall, we honored three of our Members with the 2010 Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award. They are excellent stewards of the public’s trust, resources, and support. 

In an informal poll of fund raising clients it was not surprising to learn that a major challenge in the current economy is donor retention.  In addition, this is the #1 question we get in emails and telephone calls each week.  Here is what we hav learned from donors we have interviewed over the years, and of late, in recent studies about their continuing giving

An article featuring telecommuting policies and advice for managing remote workers.

It happens sometimes. After all of the energy spent recruiting an incredible new class of board members, boards don’t get around to thoroughly orienting those new members. BoardSource details tips for a successful board orientation in this resource.

Board members play a critical role in shaping the broad goals of a nonprofit’s evaluation effort. As you embark on evaluation, note this article's quick tips that will make your life (and your staff’s lives) much easier.

Your nonprofit's relationship with your Certified Public Accountant is a delicate and important one. At the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, we hear from many of you who want help from many of you who want help finding a CPA who understands the particular challenges that nonprofits face.

Foundations have an institutional aura and mystery about them that often communicates power, capacity, and authority. Tinkering with a proposal by reshaping goals or adding contingencies can create ethical issues for grantmakers and, from the nonprofit's point of view, erode the integrity of a proposal. How much is too much?

Do you apply for federal grants?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the lengthy grant application?  Here are some tips to help.

Tips for grantwriters.

Want to change your nonprofit's fiscal year but not sure how to start? Use these tips to help your organization avoid potential problems.

A new CEO’s arrival is a chance to welcome new ideas and energy. But when the new leader is following a beloved, long-serving predecessor, a successful transition is a challenge.

This article discusses the new trend of institutional funders asking their grantees to describe general and project-specific risk management strategies. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

A variety of articles and sample policies to get you started on succession planning.

Here are the top 10 risk associated with fundraising, along with some strategies for unearthning and managing these risks in your nonprofit.

The environment in which nonprofits operate today is full of tempting traps that can inadvertently take your organization off its core mission. Some of these are especially hazardous because they may actually seem like a good way to achieve your mission. Avoiding these traps takes persistence and courage.

Many organizations depend on the approval of their exempt status application.  Avoid these ten most common delays in the process to ensure your organization's timely approval.

As social entrepreneurs around the world create new organizations to solve emerging public problems, they do so drawing on a broad range of organizational forms, ranging from the traditional nonprofit form to the classic business corporate form. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Tracking volunteer time: sounds like another chore? Actually it can help you meet match requirements, improve your financial statement presentations, and reduce liability. This article explains why and how to include volunteer time in your budgets and financials. (Blue Avocado)

We must answer the public's cry for accountability.  Here are ten traits of an accountable nonprofit.

Rules of thumb for successful transitions; a checklist for managing the departure and transition; the composition and responsibilities of the transition team; leadership questions that the staff and board needed to consider; issues the communications team would handle; priorities for the first five days; and a timeline covering the six-month transition process.

Many books and articles have been written for the leader who enters a new role, with guidance for making the “first 90 - 120 days” as effective and constructive as possible.  This article discusses the three phases of transitioning out. (Center for Leadership Studies)

This report, prepared by the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy for North Carolina Gives, provides new insights into the magnitude and direction of charitable giving in the Tar Heel state. (Urban Institute and NCGives)

Family philanthropists, like all donors, want to give back and make a difference but they do so together with family members. They apply their family experiences, traditions, and values to their charitable giving.

A nonprofit board is often so consumed with the responsibilities of governing the organization that it overlooks self-evaluation of the board. By analyzing its role in the organization's successes or problems, the board can identify lessons that enable it to become more effective in the future. This article was adapted with permission from How to Build a More Effective Board by Thomas P. Holland. (Board Source)

In case you’re still not sold on the concept of screening volunteers, here are specific reasons why you should. In a nutshell, it all comes down to managing risk for your organization.

Healthy nonprofit organizations employ financial management practices that build stability and flexibility both today and in the future. In this resource, the Nonprofits Assistance Fund sets out the twelve golden rules for nonprofit finance, including Budgeting, Diverse Funding Sources and Interdependence.

This article shares twelve ideas to help get the new executive director started on a path to success. (Blue Avocado)

The instructions to the 2006 Forms 990 and 990-EZ and Schedule A incorporate significant changes to address legislation enacted in 2006 and comments received from the public. The following are highlights of the significant changes. Questions and answers supplementing the instructions for these changes are also available. (IRS)

Find state offices that regulate charitable organizations and charitable solicitations. (National Association of State Charity Officials)

BoardEffect summary of U.S. State laws regarding using electronic communication tools in a board room.

This site includes information on U.S. Senators and committees.

The U.S. Supreme Court released a decision protecting the right of nonprofits to engage in issue advocacy around the time of an election, primary, or convention. In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court found that a federal law limiting electioneering communications was unconstitutional when applied to grassroots lobbying by nonprofits — a victory for nonprofit lobbying rights. The Federal Election Commission is revising its rules to incorporate this decision.

As a nonprofit, your organization is generally exempt from paying income taxes, but some of your revenue may require you to pay. Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) is levied on revenue from things you sell that are unrelated to your basic purpose.

Many nonprofits generate extra income to supplement fundraising.  Selling items and services can be a big help.  Just be aware of what qualifies as Unrelated Business Income (UBI), and is therefore taxable.

This study reveals that many nonprofits are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed. (CompassPoint)

A national study reveals that many nonprofit organizations are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their  ability to raise the resources they need to succeed.  

The Volunteer Protection Act was passed in 1997 and remains the standard.  Find out what this means for your organization and its volunteers. (Public Entity Risk Institute)

This publication provides general information on Employer Identification Numbers (EINs). (IRS)

UCOA, the Unified Chart of Accounts for nonprofit organizations, is a chart of accounts freely available to any nonprofit organization. UCOA seeks to promote uniform accounting practices throughout the nonprofit sector. (National Center for Charitable Statistics)

The Unified Registration Statement (URS) represents an effort to consolidate the information and data requirements of all states that require registration of nonprofit organizations performing charitable solicitations within their jurisdictions.  (Multi-State Filer Project)

Learn how Social Ventures Australia led a consortium of nonprofits to create a scale social enterprise out of the wreckage of a bankrupt business, and what lessons can be learned from their efforts. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Even though an organization is recognized as tax exempt, it still may be liable for tax on its unrelated business income. For most organizations, unrelated business income is income from a trade or business, regularly carried on, that is not substantially related to the charitable, educational, or other purpose that is the basis of the organization's exemption. An exempt organization that has $1,000 or more of gross income from an unrelated business must file Form 990-T. An organization must pay estimated tax if it expects its tax for the year to be $500 or more.

At one time or another, most nonprofits face the question of whether one of their activities is unrelated to their mission and subject to IRS oversight and the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).

This publication reports on the findings of a study conducted by the Building Movement Project on generational difference in leadership in small- and mid-sized social change organizations. (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

If an institution determines that a restriction contained in a gift instrument on the management, investment, or purpose of an institutional fund is unlawful, impracticable, impossible to achieve, or wasteful, the institution may release or modify the restriction, in whole or part, if certain criteria are met.

Find information and services for nonprofits, including grants, loans, assistance, taxes, management and more. (

Your organization may be growing and need extra hands on deck to maintain the recordkeeping. Or, maybe it’s small and needs external help to manage finances. Either way, working with outsourced accountants may benefit your operations and save you money.

Consider how often you check your email every day versus how often you visit other organizations' websites. Other people spend more time in their own inboxes, too. When it comes to cultivation, email marketing is king.

Board Connect, LinkedIn's free new service, helps nonprofits guessed it, board members.

How you interact with your audience has changed forever. The days of the monologue have passed. People expect to be engaged in real-world collaboration and conversation through the social web.

It’s in these conversations that you discover trends and gain an honest understanding of your audience’s experience with you or your organization. This might be what they like about an event, how a speaker made them feel, or what they think about your services.

Heather Black, director of the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division of the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State, provides tips to help your organization. 

This piece is good to share with board members as a base of commonly understood information that will help them manage loans better against the blips, delays and growth tracks in nonprofit finance. 

This estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. (Independent Sector)

While the emphasis of this role is finance, it includes responsibilities for managing a breadth of staff functions and requires an individual who is both strategic and tactical.

The online service, GuideStar, posts Form 990s and information on nonprofits' missions, programs, and finances. Add information about your nonprofit to make sure donors and media are getting a complete and accurate picture of your organization. (GuideStar)

Consider using or adapting this volunteer application for potential volunteers in your nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

This guide seeks to explore the expanding world of volunteer screening, identify relevant laws as well as fundamental privacy protections, and offer suggestions for organizations and volunteers. References and additional resources are included at the end of this guide.

A list of the volunteer centers located in North Carolina.

Volunteer Handbooks are a key foundational risk management strategy. They can help protect your volunteers, clients, and agency from unintended harm by providing guidelines for acceptable conduct. They’re also a great resource for volunteers when they have questions about a policy or process they may have forgotten or missed during orientation.

Sample waiver for a volunter/intern.

Consider using or adapting this agenda sample for volunteer orientation within your nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Sample volunteer policy and procedures document from The National Wildlife Federation. (National Council of Nonprofits)

All states, including North Carolina, have a law to limit legal liability for at least some types of volunteers. A federal law, the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (S. 543), provides consistent protection from liability for volunteers across the country. It preempts state law unless the state provides additional protection. (Department of Transportation)

Includes information about the volunteer rate  as well as the characteristics of volunteers. These data on volunteering were collected through a supplement to the September 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS). (United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

While contributions of money or property donated to 501(c)(3) organizations are tax deductible, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services as a volunteer. (IRS)

Volunteering is good for career development, according to 57% of respondents to a recent survey. Volunteers think helping nonprofits adds to their skill set and introduces them to other professionals. Thirteen percent of respondents found a job or made a career change as a result of volunteering.

Most nonprofits depend on volunteers for mission advancement. Volunteers make our missions happen, but they also expose our organizations to risk.

This handbook provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

Nonprofits today are being pressed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their program activities by initiating and completing outcome-oriented evaluation of projects. This guide was developed to provide practical assistance to nonprofits engaged in this process. (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

Does your organization offer advertisements on your website?  If so, you'll want to know how that effects your unrelated business income taxes.

This article looks at four common business models and helps you determine which one fits your nonprofit.

Employers should limit their questions to knowledge, skills, and other qualifications necessary to perform the job.  Be sure to steer clear of these questions.

A veteran foundation leader reflects on what experience has taught him about  how to boost a foundation’s effectiveness.

The Wizard of Oz. The Godfather. Jaws. When I think about these three classic movies, I recall three very different stories. When screenwriting teacher and storytelling guru Brian McDonald thinks about them, he keeps getting one message.

In March 2006, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Auditing Standards Board issued eight Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS), collectively called the "Risk Assessment Standards." Effective for audit periods starting on or after December 15, 2006, the changes in SAS Nos. 104-111 are considered by many to be the most significant audit changes in recent memory.

The story of your nonprofit is told in various ways and formats. One of the ways is through your published financial statements and Form 990. While you may hope that stakeholders are focusing on your "vision statement" and the compelling descriptions of programs on your Web site, in reality their attention may be riveted to the story your numbers tell. Attend this webinar to learn how to manage the risks associated with telling your story in numbers and practical steps for ensuring that the story is both accurate and mission-advancing. 

Find out what it means to be "evidence-based" and how it can help your organization become more successful.

Knowing your nonprofit’s actual costs is common sense. Fortunately, an increasing number of enlightened donors, grantmakers, and government partners are recognizing the reality that essential costs include not only direct program costs, but other costs too – whether referred to as “overhead,” “management and general,” “administrative,” or “indirect costs.” (National Council of Nonprofits)

Written to help officials better understand how they can work with nonprofits to stretch tax dollars and tap nonprofits’ unique capacities to benefit communities. (Popular Government)

Learn what to do when you find yourself in disagreement with a board decision.  Use these sample situations to determine the appropriate course of action for expressing your opinion.

To make critical decisions, boards need the right information in the best format at the right time. Some of it is for discussion at meetings and some is for board members to read on their own. Ask your board members each year what they want and how and when they want their information.

This article provides a few sugguestions as to how to find a medium when it comes to too much sharing or not enough sharing with board members. (CompassPoint)

Don’t be caught asking this question after it’s too late! As a baseline, you should adopt these internal controls. 

The Foundation Center defines the characteristics of a foundation. (Foundation Center)

Learn what a feasibility study is, why they are important, and some tips to help your organization.

Probably the most common experience nonprofits have with advisory boards is that they invite people successfully onto such a board, and then fail to have that board accomplish much of anything. So it's worth a few minutes to consider the options for doing it right, and even whether to do it at all. 

The Board of Directors of a nonprofit is its legal governing body. In contrast, an Advisory Council has no formal, legal responsibilities. Rather, it’s convened to give the nonprofit advice and support. Nonprofits typically form Advisory Councils for one of three reasons, which are illustrated in this article's examples.

Learn about what an audit is and what an auditor does. (CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

Nonprofit capacity building refers to many different types of activities that are all designed to improve and enhance a nonprofit's ability to achieve its mission and sustain itself over time. (National Council of Nonprofits)

Since most grantmakers give to organizations, not individuals, fiscal sponsorship may help you qualify for more funding opportunities. Thus, you may be able to fund and start your project sooner. Meanwhile, you can work on getting your own nonprofit status if that is your ultimate goal. (GrantSpace)

The Foundation Center offers insight on the differences between a private foundation and a public 501c3 organization. (Foundation Center)

While boards typically have five to 20 members, some have one and some have 120.  Ask yourself: what does our board need to accomplish over the next two years? What is the number of board members we need –with what skills, resources, field expertise and constituency connections—and that we can effectively mobilize to get the work done? (Board Cafe)

Transactional and relational fundraising create different responses and connections. Read on to find out more.

Your organization might be wondering how to get involved in elections. It’s important to understand what types of election-related activities you can and can’t do. Here are some of the most common issues.

Crowdfunding is any effort to raise money from a large number of people. At first, it was primarily used by young entrepreneurs as a way to capitalize new for-profit ventures. Now projected to become a $90-96 billion industry by 2025, crowdfunding is being touted as a valuable new tool for nonprofits’ fundraising. No data tell us yet how much has been raised for charitable causes in this way.

Difficulties with fundraising are often simply symptoms of a problem or part of a larger problem.

Includes short-term and long-term strategies to help your organization deal with a board member who is not contributing to the well-being of the board and the organization.

This article is also available in Spanish: ¿Qué hacer cuando los miembros de la junta directiva no hacen nada?

Tax-exempt status is one of your nonprofit's most valuable assets. Protection of this status means both prudent financial management and constant care to ensure that your organization's activities are consistent with those for which it was originally granted tax exemption by the IRS.

If you have endowment funds, then a change in state law will make it easier for you to administer them. The state enacted the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) on March 17, 2009, replacing the previous Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act. The new act provides three things worth noting.

One in six nonprofit CEOS is age 60 or older, and while many want to move into a next act that allows them more freedom, they have five barriers to overcome.

Does your board raise the funds your organization needs? If not, it may be time to make some changes.

Kivi Leroux Miller shares a true story and provides a sample release you can rework for your organization. (Nonprofit Marketing

While there are few precedents for establishing the limits of a board’s liability when organizational funds have been embezzled, it is generally clear that if board members have acted within their fiduciary capacity and have not been grossly negligent in their oversight of the nonprofit’s funds, they cannot be held liable for stolen funds. (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Hiring development staff is a big step for many nonprofits.  Hear from several nonprofits about what led them to hire development staff and what's happened since.

Sometimes people want to see a specific nonprofit’s Form 1023, also known as its exemption application. This question usually comes from would-be nonprofits that want to refer to Form 1023 samples from similar orgs as they fill out their own applications. Sometimes, a visitor wants to verify that a nonprofit’s activities indeed align with its mission, as described to the IRS. (GrantSpace)

Even with a clear fundraising plan in place, nonprofits sometimes can find themselves temporarily short of cash, due to unforeseen circumstances like disasters or delays in payments. The Foundation Center does not provide grants, recommend specific funders, or approach them on your behalf, but we can point you to resources to find possible funders and useful advice.

Retreats or special meetings can help boards refocus on the mission and vision of the organization, conduct a board self-assessment, and promote personal ties among board members. This resource offers some ideas to consider for your next board retreat. (CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

Lessons learned about how a new executive can get off to a positive start.


The Charitable Solicitation Licensing (CSL) Division of the N.C. Secretary of State keeps three registries important to nonprofits – one for nonprofits themselves, and two for fundraising professionals.  Find out what license your organization and your contractors needs.

Provides general guidance for the establishment of a comprehensive whistleblower protection program at a nonprofit. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

One of the myths associated with nonprofit D&O exposures is that there are few sources of claims since nonprofits don't have shareholders.  Learn about who could be a potential claimant in a suit against nonprofit directors. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

When dialogue starts to misfire, instead of trying to tamp it down or bludgeon it with one of Robert's Rules, boards need to explore the reasons why and be open about what they think is a healthy depth of deliberation.

E-filing is now mandatory for many organizations.  (IRS)

Some food for thought on who in your organization should be writing grant proposals.

Who is responsible to “do something” about a board member who is AWOL,deadwood, undependable, or worse?

You find an abundance of advice for nonprofit boards and executive directors about the advantages of "partnership" and "open communications." But sometimes that advice just isn’t enough.

Who's the boss? The board or executive director/CEO?

The answer. It depends on whether the board is acting as a body, or whether board members are acting as individuals. The key is remembering that the board is different from board members.

Leadership change is often marked with emotion, tension, and stress. If the director's departure is forced, emotions may be particularly high for staff and board members.

With the release of a new edition of Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, BoardSource has formalized the expectation that advocacy is an essential board responsibility.

This two-part series looks at the role of boards and why governance is dangerous territory. It takes a look at the definition of governance and why it has limitations.  The article concludes with how to continue a smooth, working relationship with your board. (CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

In this second part of Why Boards Don't Govern, this article goes beyond the idea that "boards need to be trained" and instead proposes some practical ways to strengthen governance. (CompassPoint Nonprofit Services)

Part one of a two-part series. This issue looks at why some boards micromanage.  Part 2 will focus on how to stop this practice.

In our market-driven society, it may seem natural to pay fundraisers on commission like businesses do sales people. But the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP)  and other associations for fundraisers consider percentage-based compensation unethical. This article looks at key points of AFP's position on commissions.

Discusses when it's appropriate to use ratios and how to calculate them.

Financial shortfalls and other circustances sometimes force nonprofits to dissolve, file for bankruptcy, or merge. Of cource, this impacts your programs, clients, and stakeholders. Here are some important questions to consider.

Each of the leaders featured in this text has acquired battle scars and a dose of wisdom that stand to benefit future generations of people who want to make a difference with their time, talent, and treasure. (Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy)

Action planning worksheets from the WNC Nonprofit Pathways Leadership Forum with Managence Consulting and Coaching.

Find out whether your organization is required to provide workers' compensation coverage.

A fact sheet on working with consultants. Includes considerations before hiring, tips for working with a consultant, and evaluation.

Find help with a particular area, such as ladders, transportation or food service. Set up a workplace safety program. Print out sample forms. Lots of links to detailed information on special topics, such as bloodborne pathogens, AEDs, and workplace stress. (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)

Discusses the components of a proposal and how your local libray can help with your grant research.

Overview of the key components of a grant proposal with tips on how to present your case effectively. (Minnesota Council on Foundations)

A summary of things to remember as your create your case statement to support your nonprofit's fundraising.

If your nonprofit made long distance phone calls between Feb. 28, 2003 and Aug. 1, 2006, you’re eligible for a refund on the federal excise taxes for those calls. 

Planned giving can seem intimi-dating for small nonprofits. And usually, a planned gift takes more time than other gifts. So is it worth it?

Four tips to help your organization do effective PR without a full-time professional.

Nonprofit employers face a unique set of challenges. They are always trying to do more with less — fewer staff members, less support, less funding. A combination of these pressures can result in poor employment practices, even when one thinks they are doing “the right thing.”

The news release is written and out the what?  This article gives you five steps to take to make it a success.

Beyond networking and fundraising, your board can play a key role in assessing the organizational and operational quality of your nonprofit. Learn how to harness their knowledge and energy to survive and excel.

What is the board supposed to be discussing and doing, anyway? Rather than suggesting a strategic plan or a conventional list of discussion topics, here’s a powerful approach to determining the board’s agenda – and work – for the year.

Read these five tips to make sure you cover all your bases.

Many nonprofits generate extra income to supplement fundraising. Selling items and services can be a big help. Just be aware of what qualifies as Unrelated Business Income (UBI), and is therefore taxable.

Youth Volunteer Waiver Form Sample

NC General Statute regarding qualified immunity for volunteers. (N.C. General Assembly)

Choose one for Sept. 19:  Learn to Lead Adaptively using Harvard’s popular model, Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by the person who wrote the book, and The 2014 Legal Update.Get 4.5 hours CLE credit for the nonprofit legal update at a bargain rate.