Top Ways the Tax Law Impacts Nonprofits

TGRC Tax presentation

Timothy A. Clark, Managing Director UST and Wealth Strategies Advisor at U.S. Trust speaks to nonprofit professionals at the Texas Grants Resource Center

Many of the changes to the federal tax code (passed at the end of 2017) have taken effect this year. This month, the Texas Grants Resource Center (TGRC) had a primer on how these changes might influence the work of nonprofit organizations.

Timothy A. Clark, Managing Director UST and Wealth Strategies Advisor at U.S. Trust and Amber Carden, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management spoke to nonprofit professionals at the TGRC to help guide their mission-driven work through the maze of tax changes.

Some of the top tax law changes that might impact nonprofits are:

  • The adjusted gross income limitation on cash contributions to public charities, including donor advised funds, was increased from 50 to 60 percent;
  • Standard deduction increased from $12,700 to $24,000 for those filing Married-Joint;
  • Pease limitations were repealed (phase-out of itemized deductions no longer applicable).

Will these changes lead to more or less charitable giving? Conventional wisdom suggests that an increase in the standard deduction (for example) means fewer people will itemize deductions, meaning fewer people will be able to take the federal income tax charitable deduction.

However, Americans have been making charitable gifts since before there was even a tax code. Also the data shows that Americans give to nonprofits because they are charitable (not necessarily for a tax incentive). This was one the biggest take-aways from the presentation: nonprofits should keep appealing to donors’ sense of going good – this sense is generally a higher motivator than tax incentives.

 

 

Image: Erler

IMPORTANT:  This presentation is designed to provide general information about ideas and strategies. It is for discussion purposes only since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy are dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances. Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy.
 
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How Can Nonprofits Best Use Facebook?

Facebook at TGRC Sept 2018

On September 25th Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann, Facebook Account Manager for nonprofits spoke to a group of nonprofit professionals from Texas Grants Resource Center

Social Media is a great way to get the word out about the work of your nonprofit organization. Facebook offers so many options for nonprofits: from outreach to fundraising. On September 25th, 2018 Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann, Facebook Account Manager for nonprofits spoke to a group of nonprofit professionals from Texas Grants Resource Center about how best to use Facebook for the good of the community.

Here is a selection of some of the info, tips and hacks that Veronica described:

  • There are currently 2 million nonprofit pages on Facebook
  • 150 million people are connected to a nonprofit page on Facebook
  • If a nonprofit wants to get verified with Facebook this is the link to start: facebook.com/donate/signup
  • Also it would be wise for a nonprofit to be registered and up to date with GuideStar
  • Facebook will be participating in a coordinated effort for #GivingTuesday (this year it is November 27th)
  • 100% of donations made through Facebook payments to nonprofits now go directly to those organizations
  • Suggestion: if you have an influencer who supports your nonprofit, ask that influencer to add a ‘donate’ button to a Facebook live video
  • Some nonprofits that use Facebook well (to look at for examples): St. Jude Children’s Research Hosptial, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Save the Children.
  • If a nonprofit has a donate button on a Facebook live feed, there is 10 times more engagement than other “non video” donation posts.
  • Nonprofits can set up mentorships if their page has a group
  • When deciding what to post on your nonprofit’s page, always ask: “will this translate into donations, volunteers or other support?” If the subject is not aligned with the nonprofit’s mission, the post probably won’t help much (even if it gets a lot of likes).

Here is a link to some of the Facebook offerings that Veronica described. Here is a link to info about future Texas Grants Resource Center presentations.

 

 

 

Image: Erler

 

Funder Focus: The Moody Foundation

Moody 3

Bernice Torregrossa, Grants Analyst and Regional Grants Director for The Moody Foundation speaks to nonprofit professionals at the Texas Grants Resource Center

On August 23, 2018, The Moody Foundation‘s Bernice Torregrossa, Grants Analyst and Regional Grants Director for Central Texas, spoke at the Texas Grants Resource Center. She described the philanthropic work of the Foundation, gave information about the guidelines for applying and answered questions from the nonprofit professionals in the audience.

The Moody Foundation is a Texas funder that supports the arts, education, environment, health, and social services. The Foundation accepts inquiry letters on an ongoing basis from Texas-based nonprofits. Over the years, the Moody Foundation has made more than $1.2 billion in grants throughout the state.

The Texas Grants Resource Center’s monthly presentations for nonprofit professionals further the mission of the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). The DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) houses this program. To sign up to get first notice of upcoming speakers go to this page.

Thank you to the Moody Foundation for all the work you do to support Texas and for coming to present to central Texas nonprofit organizations at TGRC.

 

 

Image: Erler

PanelPicker Submissions: SXSW and SXSW EDU 2019

Hello!

Greater Good Strategies has submitted Meet Up applications to SXSW and SXSW EDU 2019 via their PanelPicker® process.

Please check out these proposal videos – and vote! Please tell your friends and make comments in the comment section. Thank you.

Here are the links: Nonprofit and Social Sector Meet Up and Educators Who Tweet Meet Up

Meet Up: Nonprofit and Social Sector

(PanelPicker® application for SXSW 2019)

SXSW is for those who think, dream, move, and create. So are nonprofits! Bring your ideas and questions to this meet-up of nonprofiteers.

The people you meet here will have ideas, answers and most of all empathy and support for the hard work you do. We’ll provide a framework and activities for networking – to ensure you connect with those from around the globe who can help and inspire you as you strive to improve your communities.

Whether you call it working for nonprofits, charities, NGOs, CSOs, or social good – come be uplifted by people like you who are making the world a better place.

Meet Up: Educators who Tweet

(PanelPicker® application for SXSW EDU 2019)

 

Twitter can help you teach, learn and engage. Educators have used Twitter to connect with other teachers, as a learning network and as part of lesson plans. How have you used twitter? Let’s Meetup and exchange tweeting ideas and best practices. Got a hashtag or chat you love? Let’s share. Come, and you just might see someone in real life who you’ve met on Twitter.

 

Credits Video Images: Phelps, Explee, Rodman, Community Archives, Ioachim, Bibliothèque de Toulouse. Levy.

The Importance of Networking

 

PeopleSpring Women’s Entrepreneur Program from Peoplefund on Vimeo.

According to a 2017 LinkedIn survey, almost 80 percent of professionals consider  networking to be important to career success. But according to the same survey, nearly 40 percent find it hard to stay in touch with their network.

In light of those figures, it is always great when an event comes along that makes it easy to connect and network. PeopleSpring, presented by the nonprofit organization PeopleFund, provides just such an opportunity for women entrepreneurs.

PeopleSpring – Ladies Lunch & Learn, is an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other women entrepreneurs and get inspiration hearing from a panel of business leaders.

PeopleFund, an organization that creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people, presents free PeopleSpring events all across Texas. The next one occurs in Austin on July 26th, 2018.

See the video, or click here for more information and to register. And click here for a recap of May’s PeopleSpring event.

 

PeopleSpring

Reference:  Eighty-percent of professionals consider networking important to career success

Video: PeopleFund

 

 

Relationships with Foundations

Erica

Erica Ekwurzel – Presenting at the Texas Grants Resource Center

On June 8th, 2018, The Texas Grants Resource Center’s Nonprofit Partner series featured Developing Donor Relationships with Family & Private Foundations, presented by Erica V. Ekwurzel, CFRE. Erica shared tips from her experience leading and supporting family and private grantmakers.

Here are some of the top take-aways from the TGRC session:

  • When it comes to applying for grants – don’t do “mission drift.” Don’t lose sight of your mission by chasing grant funding that reflects the ideas of others;
  • Review and proofread all applications;
  • If you know one foundation…well, you know one foundation.
  • Make sure that the application you send is purposeful and intentional;
  • Have data to support your proposal.

For more information on presentations by the Texas Grants Resource Center, visit Texasgrc.org.

 

Image: Erler

Tips to manage, leverage, and energize your nonprofit board

Tara

The Texas Grants Resource Center’s May presentation was all about getting the best out of your nonprofit board. Long-time nonprofit consultant Tara Levy shared the top tips for leveraging your board to support your organization’s mission.

Tara is an experienced trainer and consultant on nonprofit leadership and management, including a decade assisting nonprofits at Mission Capital before launching her independent practice (Tara Levy Nonprofit Consulting). She has served nonprofits as a staff member, board member, and volunteer.

Here are just a few of Tara’s tips on board relations:

  • Mentor new board members (pair new members up with established members);
  • Have an annual board self-evaluation;
  • Do board succession planning (for example: consider having an Incoming Board President position);
  • Connect and enjoy each other as a team.

The TGRC provides events that will uplift, educate and connect in ways that make Austin’s nonprofit community even stronger.  This program furthers the mission of the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). The DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) houses this program.

 

 

Image: Erler

 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips

Qgiv NTEN May 2018

Todd Baylis of Qgiv at Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club – May 24, 2018

Nonprofit organizations are getting a little help from friends. More and more nonprofits are inviting their biggest fans to spread the word and help raise funds for their causes.

It is called peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising and at their May meeting, Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club chapter got a crash course from Todd Baylis, Qgiv President.

An organization’s supporters can reach out to their network of friends to introduce them to the nonprofit through crowdfunding, walk-a-thons, giving days and more. Todd’s top P2P tips include:

  • Engage donors;
  • Cultivate relationships;
  • Provide a sense of urgency (this will minimize procrastination);
  • Create templates of messages;
  • Provide training and guides for your fundraisers;
  • Incorporate badges;
  • Also, provide an opportunity for off-line gifts.

Oh, and don’t forget that Qgiv has a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that can help enhance P2P efforts.

Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club, a program of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), has presentations every month. Click here for info about upcoming events.

 

 

Image: Erler

What Do Funders Think?

Funders Forum

Nonprofits: does it sometimes seem as if there is a cloud of mystery keeping you from finding out what funders want?

All clouds lifted on May 11, 2018  at the Annual Central Texas Funders Forum presented by the Grant Professionals Association – Austin Chapter. Representatives from regional funders were there to answer questions, provide channels of communication and develop ways to work together.

The kinds of funders included: private, corporate, and community foundations. There were panel presentations and small group opportunities to ask questions one-on-one.

This year the themes and tips for nonprofits that kept coming up included:

  • Think of funders as partners;
  • Demonstrate there is a need that you will be able to solve together;
  • Funders want transparent communication;
  • Funders want to hear how their gifts and investments are touching the community;
  • Evaluation of activities is they key to sustainability;
  • Funders don’t want surprises.

It is conversations like these that help both service providers and funders support the community.

 

 

Image Credit: Erler

 

Learning and Networking Opportunities for Nonprofit Professionals

Austin-based nonprofit professionals may already know of the services of the Texas Grants Resource Center – which offers grant-search support, such as access to Foundation Center databases.

But the TGRC also houses the Community Partner Learning Program – which provides events that will uplift, educate and advance in ways that make the Central Texas nonprofit community even stronger. Nonprofit professionals and advocates gain skills and insights to boost their social impact work.

Check out descriptions of some of the recent presentations below. And if you have not already, please sign up to get invitations to future events here.


 

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit with Robin Manas

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit with Robin Manas

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit by Robin Manas (Nov. 13, 2017)
Drive web traffic to your nonprofit’s site by using Google’s AdWords, free advertising offered to eligible nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits use these Google Ad Grants to recruit volunteers, attract donations and share organization information.

 

Susannah Erler of Greater Good Strategies

Grant Writing with Susannah Erler of Greater Good Strategies

Grant Basics: Write. Apply. Repeat. by Susannah Erler (Oct. 17, 2017)
A presentation about the key to finding the right grant opportunities and to writing strong applications! Susannah Erler, a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), presented approaches and offered tips for taking your grant strategy to the next level.

 

Marisol Foster of the Webber Family Foundation

Marisol Foster of the Webber Family Foundation

Funder Focus – The Webber Family Foundation by Marisol Foster (Feb. 12, 2018)
A presentation by The Webber Family Foundation – a local funder that focuses on the gap between proficiency and potential in lower income youth. Executive Director, Marisol Foster described the philanthropic work of the foundation and the grant-making process.

Award-winning Poems About Nonprofits

For Nonprofit Geeks, like me, who follow the excellent and super-funny blog about nonprofit life titled “Nonprofit with Balls” (NWB), you know that this week the “Nonprofit Poet Laureate of the Milky Way Galaxy” was crowned. Some background: NWB (written by Vu Le) had a nonprofit poetry contest this spring. Over 250 poems were submitted; 15 were picked for awards (and the top poet was deemed Nonprofit Poet Laureate of the Milky Way Galaxy). I encourage you to read the results. They truly are top-caliber; ready for a literary magazine or a liberal arts college poetry class or an emotional movie montage.

I entered the contest. Though I did not win, place or show – I will share the entry here. One note: a running joke in the NWB blog is that hummus is a staple at nonprofit events and functions. I thought by including a running joke, I would win favor with the judges. (Nope).

If you want to be inspired and moved, read the winning entries. Alternatively, read the poem below.

My Dog
My dog runs to greet me at the door when I come home.
Does he seem so happy because I submitted a 36-page grant application on time?
Or because I successfully executed a mail merge for a fundraising appeal?
Or because I typed the monthly board minutes in record speed?
Does my dog show me so much love because he knows I am trying to save the world?
No.
My dog knows not the cares of the nonprofit staffer.
He only knows that I feed him, I walk him…
And I smell like hummus.

-Susannah Erler

P.S. You should know that I don’t actually have a dog. Including a dog was another (unsuccessful) attempt to win favor with the judges.

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Photo: National Library of Australia, 1910