Monday, December 23, 2013

Myths and Realities of Board Member Fundraising

By Gail Perry

How do YOUR board members feel about fundraising? Not enthusiastic, I’ll bet! One of the biggest myths around is that board members should be willing and able to raise money. We wish!

But here’s the reality: Most board members have some very real challenges when they are confronted with fundraising.

Let’s look at the myths – AND then how we can build on the reality.

1. MYTH: Board members are willing to raise money, and they accept it as their job.

2. MYTH: Board members understand how to be successful at fundraising.

3. MYTH: Board members are active, enthusiastic, and ready to help.

4. MYTH: Board members’ experience on the board is fulfilling and satisfying.

Read the full article, including the “Realities” and think about how you will better support your board’s 2014 development efforts.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rules for Entering a Joint Venture Arrangement with a For-Profit

By Michael Wolf, CPA, Manager at Sikich LLP

For decades, non-profit organizations have been looking for ways to increase revenue in order to better achieve their charitable purpose. One way they have found to do this is by entering into a joint venture arrangement with a for-profit entity. The joint venture arrangement provides details on the creation of a partnership of limited liability company that is owned by a non-profit organization and a for-profit entity. Some reasons for forming a joint venture agreement are to raise capital or take advantage of tax credits such as federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. An example of a joint venture agreement would be a zoo contracting with a gift shop operator to sell items unrelated to the zoo’s exempt purpose. The revenue earned by the non-profit organization from the joint venture could be tax exempt if the joint venture arrangement follows these guidelines set in Revenue Ruling 98-15:

1. The joint venture member's participation must further a charitable purpose.
2. The joint venture agreement explicitly provides for the furtherance of the charitable purpose and only incidentally for the benefit of the for-profit owners.

According to various court cases, the proper question is simply who has effective control, regardless of whether it is based on a majority of the governing body or on powers granted in the partnership agreement. Before entering into a joint venture (or general partnership or limited liability company) arrangement with taxable partners, please consult a tax professional to help determine if the joint venture satisfies the requirements of Revenue Ruling 98-15. The non-profit partner could lose its exemption if a private party can control or use the non-profit's activities or assets for the benefit of the private party, unless the benefit is incidental to the accomplishment of exempt purposes. More information on this topic can be found on the Sikich Blog.

Read the full article.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Government Contracting and Payment: Lingering Problems (Urban Institute)

A study released by the Urban Institute, conducted in partnership with the National Council of Nonprofits, examined the government contract and grant experience of nonprofits in 2012 compared to 2009. The release included an expert panel discussion. Article summarized from

Though there is certainly a contrast between the state payment environments of Illinois and Indiana, the study both confirms and identifies important issues for nonprofits who contract with the government at all levels. This is an important read for both board and staff leaders.

- The average among of money owed by state government to nonprofits has declined by 17.7 percent from 2009 to 2012.
- Human service nonprofits report that grant and contract payments typically do not cover the full costs of services.
- Roughly two-thirds of nonprofits surveyed found problems with differing government agency applications, reporting formats, outcome requirements, and financial or budget categories.
- More than half of nonprofits reported problems with differing definitions of services and target populations.
- Nonprofits report significant limitations placed on administrative expense recovery.
- Government grants and contracts increasingly require nonprofits to front the costs of service delivery.
- A troubling issue is governmental agencies requiring nonprofits to come to the table with matching funds – a government-mandated form of cost sharing.
- The nonprofits best able to weather these grant and contract challenges and obstacles are the larger nonprofits.
- Government grant and contract procedures are increasingly "rigged" to favor for-profits who can meet working capital and other requirements and that for-profits are not ask to do things such as cost sharing.

Read the full article here. 

Read the study here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Time for a Financial Check Up

From Alerding CPA

Beyond the holiday festivities that will take place during the month of December, many of our clients view December as the time to gear up for the close of another fiscal year. Other nonprofit clients are hitting their fiscal year’s halfway mark and are now ready for a mid-year checkup.

Organizations may spend hours preparing budget reports and plans at the start of their fiscal year. They may not maintain the same level of effort in managing and evaluating that budget throughout the year. Various factors may have altered how they would prepare their budget today versus how they prepared it six-to-seven months ago. Budgets should be used as operating tools and updated as factors change.

Finance Committees should be evaluating cash flows and anticipated spending for the second half of the year to understand shortcomings and how to invest additional cash that may not have been in the original budget. (I know many of you are thinking, “that’s a problem I’d love to have.”) Are there any expenditures that have been incurred that weren’t expected? Many organizations that own a building or utilize equipment for day-to-day operations face this at least once a year.

How has accounting personnel changed this year and are controls still adequate to prevent and detect instances of fraud? Oftentimes a change has taken place and Management does not adjust vendor contacts or authorized signers in a timely manner. It’s prudent to evaluate any documented internal control procedures to ensure they are still accurate.

It’s always good to maintain open dialogue with the Organization’s bankers, accountants, investments advisors, and any significant vendors. Meeting annually with these providers helps ensure you are maximizing the benefit of the respective relationships. The ever-changing economy makes investment advisors very useful in ensuring that your organization is getting the best possible return.

Lastly, what goals did the Organization establish that may have fallen by the wayside? We all know the next six months will speed by in much the same way. Take a high level view of the Organization and ask the question “how is our year really going?” Utilizing committee meetings over the next couple months to answer this question will help the Organization zero-in on those important elements that will help make 2014 a great year.

For further assistance in evaluating the progress of your Organization and assessing Board Development needs, please contact Natalie Hopkins, Audit Manager for Alerding CPA Group, at 317-569-4181 ext. 244 or Check out our website to view our firm’s commitment to nonprofit organizations and our community.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crowdfunding is Exploding! (Dec 3 Webinar)

With Crowdfunding & social giving growing 18% annually, learn how to set up your own crowdfunding campaign - Crowdfunding and social giving channels account for among the highest online donation growth. Crowdfunding is the collective effort of individuals who pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Central Indiana-based Net Literacy is partnering with LegalZoom to present a dynamic webinar highlighting the opportunity that crowdfunding could have for your organization. Drawing from industry best practices, they will guide you through the process of vetting platforms and setting up your crowdfunding campaign. Join them on December 3rd at 1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST. Register Now >>

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Step Up Now to Raise Money for 2014

Last May, 35 nonprofits of all sizes and missions raised a combined $125,000 in a fund raising walk on the Canal while someone else handled all the event logistics. Do you envy those nonprofits that present their own walks with hundreds or thousands of people but don’t want their event headaches or don’t have an army of supporters?

Walking for Dreams ( has a long history of growing each year in organization participation and funds raised. Your nonprofit organization registers with WFD and agrees to pay a participation fee of $400 which covers all the logistics, a pre-event meeting/training or two, walk site at the canal with refreshments, and a shared event registration website where your walkers can send their supporters to donate by credit card. You keep all of the funds your walker team raises (less a small credit card processing fee if paid through the website).

Over the years, I have walked as a supporter for several different organizations and our whole family enjoys the event. They encourage people to bring their dogs and make it a nice afternoon on the canal or downtown. Next year’s event is scheduled for Sunday, May 18, 2014. For more information, go to

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When is Outsourcing HR Right for You?

The ACA has added another layer of headaches to the challenges faced by every nonprofit in providing effective an work environment for staff while remaining legally compliant and serving your clients, students, or patrons. As you contemplate yearend changes, here is a good article from the archives of the Nonprofit Quarterly to help advance that conversation with your board or staff team.

Human resources (HR) outsourcing can address some of the staffing and skill-related problems that plague small and budget-strapped nonprofits. For these organizations, staffing an HR department with the right combination of full-time employees who have the right expertise can be a tall order. As a result, these organizations' HR departments may suffer from a dearth of employees or critical skill gaps.

Because of financial or time constraints, many organizations try to get strategic and managerial expertise from the same hire. As a result, they may hire a lower-level HR professional who lacks crucial strategic or managerial skills, or they may opt for a high-level professional who isn't interested in managing the day-to-day activities of the HR function. In either case, hiring an inadequately skilled employee only adds to organizational costs and creates greater inefficiency.

What are the reasons to Outsource HR?

How Does HR Outsourcing Work?

Read the article here. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Indiana Foundations Support Quality of Place

From November 6 - 14, 2013, around the state, the Indiana Grantmakers Alliance (IGA) will convene more than 100 grantmakers to discuss and clarify the philanthropic sector's role in building Indiana's quality of place.  These regional forums are designed to engage Indiana foundations in exploring the effective principles and practices that enhance local quality of place and community economic prosperity.

As Ball State's Dick Heupel and Michael Hicks state in their report, The Future of State and Local Economic Development Policy, "The livability of communities is a close second only to schools in driving residential investment, growing wealth and boosting the economic prospects of a region."

The IGA forums will provide insights into the various pillars and principles which support quality of place and outline steps for foundations to take as they seek to advance this work. Findings will be shared with key stakeholders to enhance these efforts across the state as well as to help neighborhoods and cities make their communities more livable for individuals of all ages and abilities. The forums will be held from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., local times, in the following locations: 
·         November 6, Evansville, IN
·         November 7, Starlight, IN
·         November 12, Hammond, IN
·         November 13, Indianapolis, IN
·         November 14, Auburn, IN

Learn more and register 
for the event(s) you wish to attend.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Screening Questions Work for You

In early October we announced a change in our job ad pricing to make the use of the screening questions feature more affordable. Effective, November 1, for only $199, job advertisers will receive a two week, up to 30 days on the job board, plus the screening questions feature where you can have candidates answer up to 6 questions as part of their resume submission. (The basic 2 week job ad will be $175 for 2 weeks)

Save Time and Money - Have you noticed that the resume review and screening process puts all the work on the shoulders of the employer to try to interpret whether a resume or cover letter show that the candidate has the skills and experience you need?  You can use the screening questions feature almost like a mini-phone interview to have them respond to some of the "must have" skills or experience you need.

Lighten Your Load - Your screening questions will provide more guidance to candidates about what you are looking for, so fewer unqualified candidates will apply.

We Offer Examples to Get You Started - Let's assume you are interested or at least curious, with so much to do you don't really have time to invent 5-6 questions to include with your ad. We have assembled some questions that you can use "as is" or as thought provokers to modify to meet your needs.   Sample questions link. Below are a few examples:
1. Share your experience in creating or organizing a development office to increase its effectiveness?
2. Talk about how you have been successful in engaging board members in furthering the mission and financial sustainability of the organization.
3. Describe the membership mix and priorities of your ideal board finance committee?
How Does it Work? - We like to keep it simple, so you continue to submit your ads to Kristen at  and simply list the questions you want to include. As always we will invoice you after posting.                                                                                 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I WILL Retire Someday

Preparing Yourself and Your Organization - Oct 30

The recession dramatically shifted retirement dates for many nonprofit leaders, but the past 18 months has shown a big increase in organizations preparing for and working through leadership successions. Charitable Advisors has been pleased to be selected to support boards and organizations throughout central Indiana through these important leadership changes. Later this month, we are partnering with Kim Donahue at United Way of Central Indiana to host our recurring free workshop on preparing yourself and your organization for retirement.  Whether retirement is 10 months or 10 years away, if you are a nonprofit ED or CEO thinking about next steps, please join us on October 30 from 8:30-10:30am at United Way of Central Indiana to meet with a small group of nonprofit leaders who are exploring the possibilities. We’ll talk about research on what retiring CEOs do next, be joined by a financial planner to field your questions about getting ready financially plus briefly review what you can be doing to better prepare your organization for your eventual retirement. No charge. FMI and to register here. 

If October 30 is not a good match for you and your retirement timeline is fall of 2014 or beyond, please register for the April 23, 2014 session also co-hosted by Kim Donahue at UWCI. No charge. FMI and to register here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Job Ad Update from Charitable Advisors

We are continuously looking for ways to better connect and serve the nonprofit sector in Central Indiana. You may have noticed our new format as we strive to be easier to view on a smart phone. Beginning November 1st, we are also tweaking some of our advertising opportunities to offer new services and make them more valuable to you.

Restructured Job Ad Pricing (effective Nov 1)

Rationale: Nonprofits who have tried our Screening Questions service find it can save hours by providing quick insight into candidate qualifications and match. But at $249/ad ($150 for standard two week ad plus $99 for questions service) it seemed a little high for regular use.

New pricing structure: A two week ad with the Screening Questions service has been reduced to $199 so that it can become the standard ad placement. Regular two week job ads will now be $175 for 2 weeks ($150 for 1 week) in the newsletter plus up to 30 days on the Nonprofit Job Board at Sample questions.

New Ad Options (effective October 2013)

Interns/Americorps (only $88 for 2 weeks) – paid and unpaid internship and Americorps roles are becoming more important to a broad range of nonprofits. These two week ads include up to 30 days on the Nonprofit Job Board at and will run in a special section of the NFP News.

High Volume/Difficult to Fill/High Turnover ($450/qtr) - Always recruiting for Group Home staff or a certain Case Manager role? Want to make sure Physical Therapists know you are always anxious to speak with them? Need to recruit a large number of staff for a summer camp or special initiative? We’ll set up a long running ad on the Nonprofit Job Board plus run it every week in a special section of the NFP News.

Featured Office and Real Estate - Beyond staff, real estate costs are often the biggest expense for nonprofits. In late September, we launched an Real Estate column with Catherine Esselman of Penn Real Estate. This forum also provides advertising options if you have extra space or a facility to sell or lease. Ads are priced monthly. Text Only Ad - 50 words plus contact info and/or link is $150/month. Picture Ad - 50 words with a picture plus contact information and/or link is $300/mo. Contact with questions.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome Horizon Bank!

Horizon Bank

We are very excited to have Dave Voris and the rest of the team at Horizon Bank joining us as a sponsor. Horizon is a community bank serving Central and Northern Indiana, as well as Southwest Michigan. Since 1873, their focus has been to anticipate and fulfill customer needs with exceptional service and sensible advice. Beginning in Michigan City, Indiana and growing for the past 140 years, their success comes from employing local professionals who know what their business and not-for-profit neighbors need. Learn more here

Each Horizon office is led by experienced, local professionals with deep roots in the communities they represent.  These professionals are given autonomy for local decision-making, rather than decisions made at a corporate entity hundreds of miles away.  With a proud legacy of service, we take seriously our responsibility to assist in the growth and prosperity of the communities we also call home. We serve Indianapolis nonprofits and businesses because we live Indianapolis nonprofits and business. Contact an Indianapolis advisor today at (317) 608-2128 or stop by our new office at 117 East Washington Street.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Let's Talk Real Estate - New Segment

Catherine Esselman

Beyond staff, real estate costs are often the biggest expense for
nonprofits. Beginning this week, we are adding a new weekly segment focused on real estate and office space. We're partnering with Catherine Esselman of Penn Real Estate(pictured above) to show you inspiring reuses, great office spaces, and cost effective strategies to make the most of your facility space. Check it out each week for an insight into a building you haven't seen or a story you didn't know. If you have a facility or real estate story that you think could be interesting to others, contact Catherine at

Catherine Esselman has been working in commercial real estate for 8 years. She began in the retail sector, working as a leasing agent for a shopping center developer out of Cleveland, Ohio. After returning to Indianapolis, Catherine joined Penn Real Estate and got involved in the exciting things happening in Fountain Square and downtown Indianapolis. She has a passion for creative reuse and for helping nonprofits find the right work environments for their staff and volunteers. Her unique perspective on the local real estate market has been a valuable resource for both nonprofit and for-profit clients. Check out her website at, click on "Indianapolis" or contact her at:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Welcome - Alerding CPA Group


Not-for-profits have an unyielding passion for providing the services and programs necessary to help improve communities and lives. The need is great. Alerding CPA Group’s experience with Not-for-Profits enables organizations to provide ongoing services without having to tackle the ever-changing regulations and financial landscape. Our goal is to always keep you one step ahead and allow you to grow your financial investments so you can reach your goals of helping more people.

We view our role in financial reporting as an opportunity to provide assurance to you and to the readers of your financial statements, as well as constructive solutions and recommendations for your financial statement presentation. Our reporting services include audit, review, and compilation, along with long-term planning and board governance training, to name just a few.
Alerding CPA Group provides in-depth tax planning and preparation. With ever-changing tax laws and requirements, our tax planning and preparation experts keep you up-to-date. They have a wealth of knowledge and understand complex tax transactions. We provide guidance on different tax implications and requirements in relation to benefit plans, profit sharing and pension planning while maintaining the highest level of ethics and accuracy EVERY time.

Our diverse NFP client base includes associations, membership organizations, patriotic groups, Greek organizations, churches, governmental entities (A-133 clients), pension funds and numerous health and welfare organizations. Find out how Alerding CPA Group will invest in your NFP’s success so you can invest in your mission. Call Chris Mennel @ 317-569-4181 or

We are pleased to welcome Alerding CPA Group as a new sponsor of the Indianapolis Not-for-Profit News. We encourage you to review their website and contact them with your questions or interest.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Get Involved - Get on Board

Research shows that nonprofit board service is one of the most effective methods to develop and strengthen leadership skills. It's also a critical experience and perspective for every nonprofit leader to possess. This year is the 11th Get on Board event designed to connect current and aspiring leaders to nonprofit board opportunities. Over the past 10 years, more than 5,000 community members have attended and made over 2,000 board and committee member connections.

Now is the time to register if you are planning to attend and share the opportunity with people in your network. Get on Board 2013 is at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Monday, October 7 from 4-6:30pm. Free parking in the museum garage. Register here. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3 Things You MUST Know About Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment is far from a popular topic, but taking a proactive approach to understanding your unemployment taxes, also known as unemployment insurance (UI), is proven to lower the associated costs. These are the top 3 things every nonprofit should know about unemployment insurance taxes.

1. What is the state Unemployment Insurance (SUI) Tax? - The state Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax is an insurance program that provides temporary, partial wage replacement to workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The program is funded by Unemployment Taxes paid by employers. Each employer is assigned a tax rate, which is based on the amount of benefits charged to their account each year.

2. Is My Nonprofit Liable? - 501(c)(3) nonprofits are exempt from federal unemployment taxes, but may be liable for state unemployment taxes if they meet something called the “4 for 20” provision. This provision is triggered when four or more individuals are employed on the same day for 20 weeks in a calendar year, though not necessarily for consecutive weeks. Even for small nonprofits that are exempt from liability, it is encouraged that they pay into the unemployment tax system, or an alternate coverage plan, to protect their current employees from the ups and downs of employment.

3. Cost-Saving Alternatives - There are alternatives available to nonprofits with 10 or more employees who are interested in lowering the cost of unemployment. Unemployment Services Trust (UST) provides an alternative to paying into the state unemployment tax system. Through UST, agencies directly reimburse the state only for the claims of their former employees, dollar for dollar. This saves organizations an average $100 per employee upon joining UST.

Want to learn more? Visit or contact UST for help benchmarking your unemployment insurance costs today—but don’t wait long, Indiana has a state opt out deadline of December 1. Call us at: Phone: (888) 249- 4788 or email:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Staff Burnout - Healing Our Sector's Secret Sickness

By Kedren Crosby, Principal, Crosby Consulting 

In the nonprofit sector, we're encouraged to punch the time clock with our hearts. Of course, there is rarely a time clock, so often our hearts work around the clock in frenzied pursuit of our agency mission. We love our work but can become consumed by its bottomlessness. Perspective begins to wane, personal lives suffer, balance is lost and so goes the denouement from zealot to burnout.


The nonprofit movement in America was birthed out of the same religious fervor which esteems martyrs and saints. In the 1800s, Tocqueville internationally esteemed our uniquely American ability to self-sacrifice and organize to create a more civil society. Our roots are steeped in self-denial for the good of the cause. We often throw our personal lives 'under the bus' for the betterment of the organization. Honestly, is it any wonder people burn out?


Technology has inextricably enmeshed our work and personal lives. We find it difficult to compartmentalize when one piece of our world goes awry. Operating in this fiscally austere economy is also extraordinarily discouraging with the reality of budget cuts, program eliminations and lay-offs. If the wrong stars are aligned for long enough, one begins to relate to Sisyphus, the character in Greek mythology who was destined to push a massive boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down again and again - for all eternity. Ugh!

So.. what do you do about it? Read on....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Don’t Lose Your Deduction on Technicalities

By Steve Stucky, CPA, Partner at Sikich LLP

There is a lesson to be learned from David and Veronda Durden. The couple was denied a $25,000+ deduction on their tax return for a charitable donation they made to their church because of a simple technicality. The IRS disallowed the deduction, increasing their tax liability by thousands of dollars because the proof they had confirming the donation didn’t meet all of the IRS’ strict requirements. The most shocking part is the Tax Court recently ruled in favor of the IRS, leaving no recourse for the generous couple.

The Durdens made the contributions over the course of one year by writing checks—all more than $250 each. At the end of the year, the church sent them an annualized summary of the donations, which the Durdens kept as proof. The IRS argued that the annualized summary failed to meet the four requirements needed for proof of a cash donation more than $250 and therefore was not valid. The four requirements include:

1. It must be in written form and contemporaneous, meaning you must receive the proof by the tax return’s due date or by the date you actually file the tax return—whichever is earlier.
2. The proof must include the amount donated.
3. The proof must state whether the recipient organization provided any goods or services in consideration for the donation.
4. If any goods or services were received, the proof must include a good faith estimate of their value. If the donors only received “intangible religious benefits,” then it must explicitly state that.

The summary that the Durdens received did not meet the fourth requirement. They argued that they “substantively” complied and that it was just a technicality that the proper language wasn’t on the annualized summary. The IRS and the Tax Court did not care. Don’t expect the IRS to be reasonable when it comes to getting more of your money, whether it comes to your charitable donations or just general business deductions. Take every precaution and follow every regulation to the letter. The church already qualifies as a nonprofit charity, and almost all church members regularly contribute their monies through the collection plate, which seems to meet the “intangible religious benefit.” This seems like a good chance for reversal, but that takes time, effort and money to challenge the IRS. A simple solution is for all nonprofits, including churches, to include this additional language on summaries on a regular basis.

FMI, contact By Steven K. Stucky, CPA; Partner, Sikich LLP. Steven can be reached at 317-842-4466

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Planned Giving Group of Indiana

We are very excited to welcome the Planned Giving Group of Indiana(PGGI) as a sponsor. Beginning with today’s edition, PGGI will be providing weekly information and updates to keep you better informed about the latest in planned giving and fund development. PGGI is a great complement to both your professional development and networks and we encourage you to explore membership in both PGGI and AFP.

I want to quickly introduce you to a few key components of the PGGI website:

- Board Member List – see who regards PGGI as important to their organizations and careers
- GiftLaw Pro - provides quick information to some of your most frequently asked questions
- Events Calendar - keeps you up to date with the fall speaker schedule
- Washington News – learn how key legislation could impact your organization
- Membership

Don’t miss the Sept 5 kick-off for the new year of programming. Come as a visitor or find a current member and come along for free. Go to their website to register. Members $25, non members, $40.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Seminar: Improving the Fiscal Health of Your Nonprofit

Join the Sikich nonprofit team and guest speakers next Wed, Aug 7 – 8:30am-11:30am, as they provide insights on maintaining and enhancing the financial health of your organization. Pam Velo of Velo Philanthropic Advising will talk about her years of work in assisting major donors to connect with their philanthropic goals and how your organization can create those relationships. Bernstein Global Wealth Management will discuss current trends in investment management and the Sikich team will offer ideas to navigate your increasingly difficult financial decisions. Don’t miss this great opportunity for Executive Leadership, CFO/Controller, Development staff, Finance Committee and other board members. Register here.

Whether you represent a professional association, social service agency or charity, be confident that your non-profit organization will stay financially secure while keeping the best interests of your communities in mind by discussing your unique situation with a Sikich expert. You’ll know you’re getting the best and most customized accounting, advisory, technology and managed services from someone who is involved in community activities and has assumed leadership positions on non-profit boards. To learn more about Sikich Nonprofit Services, contact Steve Stucky at: or 317.842.4466

Monday, July 22, 2013

“...Run More Like a Business?”

Here’s a chance with Bryan Orander, Charitable Advisors

I don’t usually respond well when I hear people make simplistic statements like “nonprofits should run more like businesses”. When I ask for clarity, they add definition around setting aggressive goals; executing effective marketing strategies; building a brand; recruiting the best people; and generally operating in an intentional, well-organized manner that consistently generates a profit. So they expect that two person nonprofit to operate like Eli Lilly & Co? From a practical standpoint, my perception would be that most nonprofits are run as well as or better than small businesses of comparable size.

That being said, here is an affordable opportunity for a member of your nonprofit staff team to join me and a cohort of small business owners to reflect on where your organization is headed and what you need to do to improve your impact, financial and staff management, and operations. Each series is limited to 15 attendees and only a few slots are open to nonprofits. The discussion will not be about nonprofit boards, restricted revenue, or foundation relations but it will be about all of the things that nonprofits share in common with businesses – reflection and planning for profitability and sustainability; identifying your purpose and target audiences; researching your assumptions; identifying new products and services; hiring, organizing and leading your team, developing processes that let you work more effectively and train new staff more easily; cash flow management, financial budgeting and forecasting, etc.

Using a proven curriculum from Kauffman Foundation, this program is still in its first year with Business Ownership Initiative locally so they are offering the dramatically discounted rate of only $300 for the 10 week series. For more information.

Register for the next Series, beginning the morning of Friday, September 13 at: Bryan Orander, President of Charitable Advisors and Publisher of the Not-for-Profit News in Indianapolis and Cincinnati will be the lead facilitator for this session.

If you have an idea for a new nonprofit, social enterprise, or business, they also have a 10 week series to help you flesh that out and decide if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, also only $300 this cycle. Limited nonprofit slots are available. For more information.

Register for the next Series, beginning the evening of September 11 at: Denise Herd, President of Herd Strategies will be the lead facilitator for this session.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How Financial Policies Sustain and Strengthen Your Organization

(Jim Simpson - Financial Technologies & and Management)

The board and finance committee responsibility includes ensuring that financial policies and procedures exist and are followed by the organization. Staff management is often delegated the responsibility to develop and maintain financial policies and procedures with limited direction or guidance from the board and finance committee. The board and finance committee can be consumed by more immediate financial matters like budgets, audits, financial statements, and cash flow.

Financial Policies and Procedures help sustain and strengthen your organization by defining:

• How the accounting function is performed including transaction processing like accounts payable, account receivable, payroll, journal entries, and grants and program management?
• What authorization and custody controls exist to reduce financial risks and protect organization?
• What environment and culture exist for your organization, how is authority defined, and what external influences exist?
• How does your accounting system help you implement your financial policies and procedures?
• What segregation of duties and controls exist to detect or prevent accidental or intentional mistakes?
• What training do you provide to ensure competence and knowledge of accounting staff?

It is important that you compare your major transaction processing (A/P, A/R, Payroll, etc) transactions to best practices and evaluate costs versus benefits for each transaction process. If you have not reviewed and improved your financial policies and procedures recently then an experienced outside perspective, like FTM's, can help. An organization with good financial policies and procedures benefits from operating efficiencies, clear expectations, financial accountability, and better training.

More Information - At the end of this article is more detail about how financial policies help sustain and strengthen your organization. Read it at:

FTMs next nonprofit webinar will provide more details and will be held on Thursday, July 25th at 12:30 EST. You can register by emailing us or calling us at 317-819-0780.

Financial Technologies & Management (FTM) has been a supporter of the Not-for-Profit News for eight years. They are a full service CPA firm providing bookkeeping, accounting, controller, CFO Advisor, and Software Advisor services to over 350 nonprofit and religious organizations since 1999. Contact them at 317.819.0780 or to see how they can help your nonprofit organization.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Overhead Myth

A letter to Donors from BBB, Guidestar, and Charity Navigators

To the Donors of America:

We write to correct a misconception about what matters when deciding which charity to support. The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs-commonly referred to as "overhead"-is a poor measure of a charity's performance.
We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and results. For years, each of our organizations has been working to increase the depth and breadth of the information we provide to donors in these areas so as to provide a much fuller picture of a charity's performance.

That is not to say that overhead has no role in ensuring charity accountability. At the extremes the overhead ratio can offer insight: it can be a valid data point for rooting out fraud and poor financial management. In most cases, however, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a charity's financial and organizational performance does more damage than good.

In fact, many charities should spend more on overhead. Overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work: investments in training, planning, evaluation, and internal systems- as well as their efforts to raise money so they can operate their programs. When we focus solely or predominantly on overhead, we can create what the Stanford Social Innovation Review has called "The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle." We starve charities of the freedom they need to best serve the people and communities they are trying to serve.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

10 Tips for Writing Your Nonprofit Story

From Network for Good

Stories are powerful tools for nonprofit communicators. That said, a story will fall flat if it is not written or presented well.

1.Identify the good story. Not every event at your nonprofit is a story.
2.Stay focused.
3.Don't try to get fancy with your writing. Use clear, straightforward language, and tell your story in a logical sequence.
4.Find great anecdotes to illustrate your story.
5.Ask detailed questions in your interview.
6.Don't take a "kitchen sink" approach.
7.Tell your readers why they should care.
8.Answer the question: Why now? Give your story a sense of urgency and make it timely.
9.Make your story part of a larger picture.
10.Proofread and fact check. Better yet, have someone else proofread it.

Read the full article for explanations of each tip.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

6 Quick Tips to Get Ready for Your External Audit From Foster Results

Foster Results has published a series of articles to help nonprofits get ready for their annual audit. Not sure what comprises an effective audit committee? Learn more here. 

Here are six quick tips to get your started:
- Begin by creating sound financial policies that document the internal controls at your organization
- Understand best practices for Finance/Audit Committees
- Document how you allocate costs to your programs and track your staff time according to management/general, fundraising and program costs
- Have Board minutes organized so that the auditor can easily review them and maintain a current listing of Board members and terms
- Look at accounts receivable at least quarterly to follow-up on old accounts and ascertain if the amount will be received or if it should be written off
- Maintain current, accurate information about fixed assets such as purchase date, depreciation method, serial numbers and location of fixed asset in your organization

The most important take away is — if you follow processes and procedures throughout the year that are considered good practice, then getting ready for the external audit will be a matter of pulling things together versus putting undue pressure on you and your staff.

Questions? - Contact Beth Huffman, Nonprofit Services Director at: or learn more here. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Can UIndy's School of Adult Learning Do for You?

University of Indianapolis Logo

We are excited to have another school of UIndy join our sponsor team. The School for Adult Learning (SAL) at the University of Indianapolis offers programs for adults at any educational level. From undergraduate degrees to certificate programs to a new graduate degree, SAL's innovative programs are available in an accelerated format, and students are even able to earn college credit for what they've learned from life and work experiences.
Program options include:
- Five-week courses, each for three credit hours, through the Accelerated Programs Division
- A Master of Science in Strategic Leadership & Design that can be completed in just two years
- Non-credit workshops, seminars, and other training through the Institute for Leadership and Professional Development

A one-stop-shop, SAL's faculty and staff take a one-on-one approach with students, guiding them through the application, admissions, and financial aid processes. A career advisor ( is even available to SAL students and graduates for assistance with topics ranging from resume writing to job searching to graduate school applications. Learn more at:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What is Project Management?

And why should nonprofit staff care?

“Project Management.” The term seems to be popping up all over in both not-for-profit and for-profit circles. But what does it mean – and why is it important for you to know? Project management is the process through which projects are planned, executed and monitored. Although you may be a social worker, volunteer coordinator, elder care provider, counselor, substance abuse specialist, or other nonprofit employee whose primary job focus lies elsewhere, you may find project management taking a place in your job as one of those “other activities as assigned.” So how do you become an effective project manager?

The University of Indianapolis offers a Graduate Certificate in Project Management for Human Services Professionals( . This certificate, offered in a completely online format, is designed for professionals specifically from the human service sector who have a bachelor's degree or higher in any discipline.

The three required courses (9 credit hours) are offered through the University’s Center for Aging & Community. The program content is focused on project management skills applicable for any human services environment, not just those who work in aging services.

Professionals who complete the certificate will be equipped to effectively plan, monitor and execute projects plus gain practical management skills you can immediately put into practice that make you a more versatile employee.

A new cohort of this program will begin in Fall 2013. Students who begin the certificate program can expect to finish by the end of Summer 2014. For more information, visit or call (317) 791-5930.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Connect to Corporate Sponsors and Partners

Frank Eagan, CFRE - Dir of Corporate Relations, Indiana Historical Society

We all know that the majority of donations come from individuals, so why bother with corporations? According to recent Giving USA statistics, in 2011, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $217.79 billion corporate giving in 2011 totaled $14.55 billion, representing just 5 percent of total giving. Perhaps pursuing corporate funding is more work than it is worth? My own experience as the Corporate Relations Director for the Indiana Historical Society tells me something different.

Different types of non-profit missions show varying percentages of corporate support. Art and cultural institutions receive 6 to 12 percent of their annual funding from corporations, on average. The Children's Museum is a nationally recognized leader, receiving 31 percent of its annual funding from corporate gifts and sponsorships in 2012, according to Jenny Burch, associate vice president of development. While this is a rare example, it is important to look at what steps help create strong corporate giving programs.

Through trial and error I have found that the first step in developing a corporate partnership is to find corporations that offer products and/or services that might have a thematic connection to the fundable opportunity. At the Indiana Historical Society, for example, Kroger became a first time presenting sponsor for our planned 1944 Indiana grocery store interactive visitor experience. Kroger was a logical prospect since they are a grocery store with a large presence in our community plus a long history in Indiana. Getting them involved during the early development stage of this exhibit paid off since they also provided vintage labels from products sold in that era, making the space more authentic to our visitors. In-kind donations have continued from Kroger that offset costs for several of our public programs and they have continued to sponsor some of our education programs. We have also benefited from Kroger associates becoming IHS volunteers.

In summary, development professionals create valuable long-term relationships with companies by connecting the missions of the two organizations and involving the business in the creative process. Not every corporate gift or sponsorship can have these results, but corporate fundraising can be well worth the trouble and bring far more than a onetime check and logo if the proper steps are taken.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I WILL Retire Someday - Preparing Yourself & Your Organization

Through May, Charitable Advisors has already supported five board search committees this year in seeking new Executive Directors or CEOs. Leadership transition is a critical time for any nonprofit organization, but especially for founders and long-term leaders. Whether you are 10 months or 10 years from retirement, you are probably thinking about the next phase of your life. Most nonprofit executives have worked many years for modest pay and even those who have made a good living wonder how their combination of savings, social security, and pension/retirement income will translate to life after full-time paid work.

In this free two-hour workshop, we will use an informal case study format to create interaction among leaders in their 50s, 60s, and 70s who are thinking about the next steps in three important areas:

- Ideas for the next phase of work/life – what has research shown that nonprofit leaders are doing after they “retire”.
- Preparing yourself financially – how do you determine where you are now and what it will take to reach your income and lifestyle goals?
- Preparing your organization – few nonprofits groom internal successors but you can increase the likelihood that your organization’s impact will continue in the future.

WHEN? – Thursday, June 6, 2013 from 8:30am-10:30am

WHO? - In order to create the most productive dynamics for group discussion, attendance is limited to the first 15 current Executive Directors and CEOs of central Indiana nonprofits to register. There is no charge. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

WHERE? - Fishers Office Suites, 11650 N Lantern Road, Fishers 46038. That is one block west of the McDonald's/Target at Exit 205 at I-69 and 116th Street


John Wheeler, MBA,CPA,CFP/FPS with Castle Wealth Advisors. John’s father retired in 2011 after a 16 year career as the Executive Director/CEO of Abilities First, a mid-sized nonprofit in southwest Ohio. John has worked with executives of large organizations, owners of businesses, and executives of non-profit organizations. John grew up with a foot in the nonprofit sector and has experience with the challenges that executives of nonprofit organizations face both personally and professionally.

Bryan Orander is President of Charitable Advisors and Publisher of the Not-for-Profit News. Charitable Advisors supports successful Leadership Transitions through a variety of services including: organizational assessment and preparation, search committee startup, and search support.

FMI or to register go here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Board Members as Loyal Opposition?

(Note: Many of us are always looking for another angle or analogy in thinking about the important role that the nonprofit board plays. Here is a take from Canadian governance that might be of interest. Note that the "loyal opposition" should not be considered the same as devil's advocate which seems a common role for some "helpful" board members. - Bryan)

When it comes to governance, boards of directors tread a very fine line. Those who seek to lead the organization run the risk of usurping the role of the CEO. Those who follow the CEO's lead run the risk of abdicating their responsibility and joining the ranks of management. In fact, the true value of governance lies neither in leadership nor in followership, but in the unique role of "loyal opposition."

For many years, boards of directors of Canadian corporations and public institutions were criticized as being "parsley on the fish" (decorative but not useful) or an old boys' club, where protection of fellow members and mutual back-scratching ranked ahead of any other obligation. Largely ignored by organizational theorists until ten or fifteen years ago, boards are now intuitively understood to be important, but their function is still not fully conceptualized. This lack of clarity is problematic for individual directors striving to exercise due diligence and fiduciary responsibility and for regulators and quasi-regulators seeking to establish guidance on good practice.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Change Leader or Victim of Change?

Last Chance - Don't Miss the Board Chair Summit – This Thurs, May 9, 7:30 a.m.- noon. The fourth annual Central Indiana Board Chair Summit, hosted by Lacy Leadership Association will again take place at the Arthur M. Glick JCC, 6701 Hoover Rd. This year's Summit will focus on "Leading Change". Change happens whether we like it or not – here’s a great opportunity for board chairs and ED/CEOs to grasp some tips and tools for addressing change in your organization. Participants will be completing a short “change readiness” assessment that they can take back to replicate with their full board. The Summit begins with a half hour for networking from 7:30 - 8 a.m. and then wraps up before noon. Cost is $140 for executive director/board chair pairs or $79 for an individual registration. Everyone with an interest is welcome. Register here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two Great Development Opportunities

For Aging Services Professionals – May 8

Helping Professionals Help Older Adults Embrace a New Purpose: Spirituality & Social Engagement - The University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community will host a workshop for aging services professionals -- "Helping Professionals Help Older Adults Embrace a New Purpose: Spirituality & Social Engagement" on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 from 9:00am - 3:30pm at the UIndy campus. For information and registration, visit here. 

For Board and Staff Leaders – May 9

2013 Board Chair Summit - The fourth annual Central Indiana Board Chair Summit, hosted by Lacy Leadership Association will take place on Thursday morning, May 9, at the Arthur M. Glick JCC. This year's focus is on "Leading Change" and assessing your organization's readiness for change with Thresette Briggs, president of Performance3. Ms. Briggs brings more than 20 years strategic and hands-on experience in organizational development and empowering leaders to create teams which support successful organizations. More

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Developing Your Case for Long-term Support

On Thursday, May 2, the Planned Giving Group of Indiana(PGGI) welcomes nationally known speaker Caleb B. Rick J.D. to the Riverwalk Banquet Center from 8:30-11:30AM. Please join us!

While many organizations use a case statement for a capital campaign, few have developed a case for long-term support. A Case for Legacy Giving is a fundamental tool for engaging staff, board members, volunteers and donors in grasping the importance of this area of philanthropy. Participants will be invited to answer a series of questions as you begin to draft your own “Case for Legacy Giving” and “Roadmap for Marketing Legacy Giving”. This process will include a review of communication goals, identify sample tools, and describe how to build a communications inventory.

Caleb is an adjunct professor of nonprofit management at Vermont Law School and a nationally known proponent of donor-centered, outcomes-based planned giving. He has counseled hundreds of charity leaders on legacy giving, endowments, resource development and non-profit management, and spoken at dozens of conferences.

Event details and registration.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

‘Brackets for Good’ Scores for 16 Nonprofits

Every March, Brackets For Good hosts a single-elimination, bracket-style fundraising tournament for sixteen, pre-selected local nonprofit organizations. The incentive... a chance to win $5,000, in addition to donations they generate themselves.

Brackets for Good wrapped up its 2013 competition in late March with Shepherd Community surpassing Fountains of Hope in a win/win final that raised over $20,000, overall, for each finalist and a total of more than $80,000 for all participating organizations. See how the 2013 competition played out.

Register to be considered for 2014 - Any nonprofit with 501(c)3 status is welcome to register. Once the organization status is approved, an evaluation form will be sent to the nonprofit in January 2014. After the evaluation form is completed and submitted, the Brackets for Good team will perform their own “bracketology” to determine which organizations are selected. For more information about the selection process visit here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How Do You Track Grants? The Hard Way or the Easy Way?

(Beth Huffman, Foster Results)

So you’ve received a new grant award? Congratulations! Now, you sit back and relax. Right? Not so! I’m sure you’re aware the hard work has actually just begun.

When your nonprofit has received a grant, it’s your responsibility to the funder to be compliant with their requirements and report to them correctly. Effective systems and processes to manage the grant should to be set up from the beginning.

Grants management does not have to be hard, painful or complex, but a challenge that many nonprofits encounter is related to growth. Perhaps a nonprofit began with receiving just one or two grants; those weren’t so hard to manage. As the organization grows to have many grants, however, management of the grants becomes overwhelming if a system was never set up to track information and report effectively.
Good grants management systems are not created nor maintained in isolation. A good system requires a team effort...

Read the full article.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Maximizing Your Communications with a Content Calendar

Communications includes everything from social media, to e-mail campaign management, and annual reports. Technology supports these efforts, but it can only work well with an integrated strategy. Nonprofits need a content calendar, the right staffing support (paid or volunteer), and the right tools to make it all sing.

A well-executed communications plan will look to annual cycles. Some things, like the annual report, are obvious and easily lend themselves to planning far enough in advance to leverage content, public relations, media relations and supporters to maximum effect for the message. Other nonprofit cycles can also benefit from a confluence of urgency and effort, but those cycles are often treated as if they are brand new every year. Does your nonprofit do advocacy work? There's probably a pretty well known date for your legislature convening and your lobby day. Does your group do an annual gala?

Plan the rest of your communications work cycle around supporting the themes of the event leading up to key deadlines, like tickets going on sale. Are you attending national conferences this year? Plan a new white paper to be timed with that event.

Not every nonprofit will nail the content calendar the first time out of the gate. Inevitably, there are things that should have been publicized and shared weeks in advance that just didn't get on the radar until too late. That is why your support tools have to be living, adapting documents - so the moment someone in a staff meeting says, "We should have started this two weeks ago," the content calendar for your next year gets an update. The master content calendar can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, as long as each of the objectives gets tied to any other workflow management tool the organization may be using to manage staff time and effort.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welcome Formstack!

Formstack Logo

We are excited to welcome another sponsor focused on making nonprofits work better and more efficiently. Formstack launched in March 2006, in Indianapolis, and has rapidly grown to count customers in 110 countries around the world. What started as one guy trying to provide an easy online form solution has grown into a powerhouse for small organization growth. Everything they do at Formstack revolves around a principle they call S.A.F.E. In short, they strive to make sure everything Simple, Agile, Fun & Elegant.
How it works - Formstack is an easy-to-use online form builder that gives you the power to collect data, store that data, then take action on it. Formstack helps you create powerful online forms within minutes, allowing you to collect information, payments, registrations, etc., in one centralized location. All form submissions are stored in their secure database, ready for you to retrieve and create reports in a snap.

Simple - Easy drag-and-drop builder allows for quick publishing of any form. No need to call the programmers for help; you can do it all on your own.

Flexible - Whether you're collecting donations or selling your products online, Formstack's tools are customizable to your needs.

 - Starting at just $14 per month, Formstack provides you with an affordable set of tools that help you collect, engage and grow your customer base. Spend less time managing the books and more time marketing your cause.

The Formstack team is inspired by the livelihood of nonprofits, small businesses & entrepreneurs. Their mission is to provide individuals & organizations with tools to help grow & empower their work. For more information and a free trial, go

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tweaking Your Nonprofit Job Search

As we are involved in more and more searches for nonprofit leaders and review more and more resumes, articles on job hunting are jumping out at me. In the Indianapolis Business Journal this week, Bruce Hetrick shares his wisdom as a "Top Ten List" for both new graduates and experienced job seekers.

Bruce Hetrick's full article.

The second article was in USA Today this week from career columnist Andrea Kay who shares, "If your mom doesn't understand your resume or cover letter, a prospective employer won't either." Don't say "I deliver strategic solutions that support successful achievement of business objectives and goals."

Andrea Kay's full column.

My pet peeves:

- Submit in PDF form. Your fancy Word document looks very different when opened on another computer.
- Don't send your standard business resume. Nonprofits aren't impressed that you worked for a $300 kazillion corporation. Show how you have done what they would need from you by leveraging relationships and with limited resources.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't Risk It! Luncheon with Sikich

Are your organization's employees, programs, donors and technology safe?

Imagine having all of your organization's information, including your most treasured donors, stored in technology that was compromised. What would you do if you were unable to reach or locate employees, or your key programs were interrupted due to a disaster situation? When any type of situation occurs, key members of the organization have a responsibility first to the employees' safety, then to operations and finally to the financial impact. One of the top five issues facing non-profit organizations is disaster response planning, so take these steps to document an effective plan:
1. Prioritize processes. Separate each of your significant processes into one of three categories: Mission Critical (most important), Business Critical or Organizationally Important (least important). In doing so, you will prioritize the parts of your organization that will be addressed under the "Immediate Action" phase should a situation occur.
2. Determine recovery objectives. How long can you live without access to a particular system? Define what you consider a disastrously disruptive event and set the maximum amount of time you can go without access to your employees, a technology system or something else you need to run the organization effectively.
3. Plan for common incidents. Learn from your history when planning for common incidents. What types of situations have you dealt with in the past? If one is more relevant than the other, plan for that type of incident first.
4. Communicate the plan. Staff members at all levels need to understand their roles in disruptive situations. Prepare a document to communicate the plan and place multiple copies throughout the office. You know where the fire extinguishers are, right? You should also know where this disaster response plan is located. Key points to remember when documenting your plan include organizational information, environmental (technology) information, who communications what (including any applicable spokespersons), testing schedules and plan maintenance.
5. Test your plan. Your plan is not complete until you test it. Often times it is not possible to pull the plug on the entire organization, so start during slower demand times. Having a Plan B is always a good idea, as well.

Disaster response planning may look like an overwhelming and complex task, but it's essential. Learn more about this topic and how you can make your organization stronger during an upcoming luncheon at Seasons 52, Keystone @ Crossing, from 11:30am-1:30pm on March 20.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Welcome Foster Results, Inc!

We are excited to have Foster Results, Inc. joining our growing team of sponsors. From nonprofit organizations to small and medium-sized businesses, Foster Results provides outsourced accounting and bookkeeping solutions to clients worldwide. The Foster Results staff is more than general accountants - they specialize in day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting services as well as financial strategy. Their goal is to become an integral part of their clients' financial and operational teams as trusted advisors.

"We create customized solutions to conform to each individual customer's needs," says Foster Results President Jennifer Foster. "We also serve in a strategic capacity while taking complete responsibility for daily financial functions." For example, is your budget being efficiently managed today to keep your organization growing and thriving for years to come? Are your grants being tracked and reported effectively? Foster Results can tell you and work with you proactively to avoid financial challenges.

What is it like working with Foster Results?
- Foster Results works with clients remotely or on site - we customize our partnership according to your needs.
- Accountants are certified professionals with varied backgrounds and extensive experience.
- Each accountant manages clients carefully matched to their experience level, skill set, and personality.

Testimonial "I want to commend Foster Results, Inc. for their work to bring about order to the Christamore House financial reporting structure. This is truly a professional organization with a strong understanding of how not-for-profit accounting works. They have been great coaches in preparing us for our annual financial audits as well." William Scott, Executive Director, Christamore House

For more information about nonprofit accounting services and additional client testimonials, contact Beth Huffman at 317-399-8920, extension 2011, or visit

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Board Building - Begin the Year with a Plan

Join Bryan on March 5 in Fishers

If you are a board leader, you either have plans for this year or are assembling plans for the year ahead. One of your priorities is likely to increase board member engagement. I work with and speak to hundreds of board leaders each year and that is the #1 topic. Reasons for low board member engagement are many and options and alternatives to increase engagement are also numerous. Please plan on joining us and bring another board member and your Executive Director. This training will build from the BoardSource "Board Building Cycle" standard training but we are allowing extra time for discussion. The event is next Tuesday, is hosted by the Hamilton County Leadership Academy, and will take place at the Delaware Township Community Center on 131st between St Rd 37 and Lantern Rd from 8:30-11:15 or 11:30am so you can still get to a lunch meeting. Register online with credit card at or by phone at 317-379-1879 or email

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Welcome Bloomerang!

We are really excited to have Jay Love back in the fold again as a sponsor with Bloomerang. Jay has been an innovator in fund development software for more than two decades and Bloomerang is breaking new ground in both ease of use and donor retention. We partnered on a great webinar two weeks ago that drew nearly 100 participants. I asked Jay's team to share a brief overview of their fast growing new company and encourage you to visit their website, learn more about how Bloomerang can help to measure and increase the engagement of your donors, and say "Hi" to Jay J. 

Who is Bloomerang? We create simple tools, and teach simple principles, that help passionate people and non-profits reach, engage and retain the help of donors who share the same beautiful vision of a better future. We've taken the knowledge from world-renowned fundraising professor Dr. Adrian Sargeant and the technical expertise and skill from trusted thought leader Jay Love to create Bloomerang.

What is Bloomerang?
 Bloomerang listened to what non-profits wanted in a database CRM. We have pooled together the latest in best practices for fundraising, loyalty, engagement and retention to create a ruthlessly simple solution that generates real-time action plans to decrease attrition and increase revenue. Our solution is clean, focused and cloud-based to deliver maximum results, maximum utilization by your team and maximum flexibility with no need for additional technology spending on your part.

Learn more about Bloomerang at

IUPUI Nonprofit Expo – Feb. 28 Exhibit or Attend

Charitable Advisors is excited to again be a promotional partner for the IUPUI Nonprofit Expo on Thursday, February 28, 2013, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 450 of the IUPUI Campus Center (420 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202).

This event allows IUPUI students, alumni, and other community members interested in nonprofits or public service to meet with various nonprofit, government, and community partners to hear about the internship, volunteer, and job opportunities they offer. Last year, more than 45 organizations exhibited and several hundred people attended. There is a small fee to exhibit, attendance is free.

For more information or to register your organization to exhibit for the IUPUI Nonprofit Expo, visit Contact Rachel Hathaway at with any questions.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

IUPUI Nonprofit Expo - Feb. 28 Exhibit or Attend


Charitable Advisors is excited to again be a promotional partner for the IUPUI Nonprofit Expo on Thursday, February 28, 2013
, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 450 of the IUPUI Campus Center (420 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202).

This event allows IUPUI students, alumni, and other community members interested in nonprofits or public service to meet with various nonprofit, government, and community partners to hear about the internship, volunteer, and job opportunities they offer. Last year, more than 45 organizations exhibited and several hundred people attended. There is a small fee to exhibit, attendance is free.

For more information or to register your organization to exhibit for the IUPUI Nonprofit Expo, visit Contact Rachel Hathaway at with any questions.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do Board Member Term Limits really help achieve long-term effectiveness for nonprofits?

By Danielle Clore, Executive Director, Kentucky Nonprofit Network

In over ten years of consulting, I can't think of a single issue as controversial as term limits for governing board members. I get it - I really do see all sides of this issue. I understand the organization's hesitance to "lose" great board members (or less than great board members, but generous donors) through term limits and rotation. I also understand the feelings board members have, especially founding or very long-term board members. There are several reasonable arguments that can be made to ignore the best practice of term limits for board members and trust me, I'm fairly sure I've heard them all. But only twice in ten years of consulting have I been persuaded that this is in the best interest of the organization - and in those two instances, this was only a short-term fix. I counseled the organizations to keep their eye on the prize - an effective board.

Read the full post and learn more about the Ky Nonprofit Network.