Nonprofits First
News & Press
Blog Home All Blogs

#GreatGive17 Training Workshop

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Friday, February 24, 2017

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

What does it mean to be transparent?

Posted By Delferine Spooner, Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today's not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) face unprecedented scrutiny from many sources. Donors are more savvy online researchers, and they look to obtain data about an organization before giving time or money. External rating agencies, such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, compel organizations to follow best practices in governance and information sharing. Government regulators are responsible for ensuring legal compliance, and bad publicity from mainstream or social media can harm the reputation of noncompliant organizations.

What does it mean for an NFP to be transparent? Charity Navigator defines transparency as "an obligation or willingness by a charity to publish and make available critical data about the organization." Transparent organizations provide donors and the public with timely and accurate information about their finances and activities. The goal of transparency is to establish and maintain the trust of the organization's key stakeholders.

An organization can be transparent in many ways. Below are seven tips to get started:

  1. Make documents that are open to public inspection easy to access.

    All organizations that file IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, are required to make the return available to the public. Although filed Forms 990 are eventually made available on GuideStar, the largest online NFP database, there is a delay before the most recent information is available. As a best practice, organizations can post IRS documents on their website as soon as they are filed.
  2. Review and update governance practices and board-approved policies.

    Not-for-profit managers can periodically log in to GuideStar and update the organization's profile for accuracy. Respond to optional questions that allow stakeholders to learn more about the commitment to oversight practices. Some topics include board orientation, CEO oversight by the board, and practices regarding ethics and reporting of conflicts of interest.
  3. List board members and staff on your organization's website.

    This information helps the donating public, many of whom are researching your organization and visiting your website, to understand who is leading the organization. Many NFPs strive to recruit a diverse board with complementary skill sets, such as local business leaders, community volunteers, and experts in your organization's program focus. Try to include biographical information, which can give your organization greater credibility and demonstrate a commitment to diversity. Plus, your volunteers will appreciate the recognition.
  4. Post important information on the organization's website.

    Form 990 asks how an organization makes its governing documents, conflicts-of-interest policy, and financial statements available to the public. Posting items such as an organization's IRS determination letter and audited financial statements helps provide additional transparency.
  5. Tell the organization's story.

    Posting an annual report and regularly updating an organization's website provides the public with information beyond the disclosures required by law. Examples of information included in the annual report that may not be available elsewhere include program results, community impact, and an overview of the board's strategic priorities. For example, sharing the number of children who were tutored or given books as part of a literacy program would help tell an NFP's story.
  6. Use social media to its fullest.

    Increasingly, social media is a primary source of information for many supporters of NFPs. Information is quickly accessed, giving organizations the opportunity to be transparent in real time about mission, programs, and results. Make sure this messaging is consistent with the materials on the website, annual report, fundraising appeals, and marketing information.
  7. Pay attention to Part VI, "Governance, Management, and Disclosure," of Form 990.

    Although many items asked about in the policies section of Form 990, Part VI, are not required by law, transparent organizations have policies in place that go beyond what is legally required. Policies addressing whistleblower protection, document retention, and executive compensation indicate an organization strives to act in an open and ethical manner. The AICPA Not-for-Profit Section has sample policies here.
    NFPs have great stories to tell. Sharing information and data about the organization's activities, governance, leadership, and mission in as many ways as possible is a great way to build a solid reputation and attract more supporters to your organization's mission.

Alyssa Federico, CPA, is vice president for finance at Foundation For The Carolinas. She serves as a member of the AICPA Not-for-Profit Advisory Council and volunteers on several NFP boards. To comment on this article, email senior editor Neil Amato.

Original post can be found here.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Caroline Tanner - How will Rising Leaders impact your organization?

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2016
Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Sean Dollard - Why are you participating in Rising Leaders?

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2016
Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Value of Volunteer Time

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Thursday, February 9, 2017

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.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.8 million Americans, or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 billion in 2014. For the latest information, please see

How the Numbers are Calculated

The value of volunteer time is based on the hourly earnings (approximated from yearly values) of all production and non-supervisory workers on private non-farm payrolls average (based on yearly earnings provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) for the national average. Independent Sector indexes this figure to determine state values and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time for recognition events or communications to show the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers.

According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the value of volunteer services can also be used on financial statements –- including statements for internal and external purposes, grant proposals, and annual reports –- only if a volunteer is performing a specialized skill for a nonprofit. The general rule to follow when determining if contributed services meet the FASB criteria for financial forms is to determine whether the organization would have purchased the services if they had not been donated. Accounting specialists may visit FASB’s website for regulations on use of the value of volunteer time on financial forms:

It is very difficult to put a dollar value on volunteer time. Volunteers provide many intangibles that can not be easily quantified. For example, volunteers demonstrate the amount of support an organization has within a community, provide work for short periods of time, and provide support on a wide range of projects.

The value of volunteer time presented here is the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers. This is only a tool and only one way to show the immense value volunteers provide to an organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does have hourly wages by occupation that can be used to determine the value of a specialized skill.

It is important to remember that when a doctor, lawyer, craftsman, or anyone with a specialized skill volunteers, the value of his or her work is based on his or her volunteer work, not his or her earning power. In other words, volunteers must be performing their special skill as volunteer work. If a doctor is painting a fence or a lawyer is sorting groceries, he or she is not performing his or her specialized skill for the nonprofit, and their volunteer hour value would not be higher.


1 Latest figure from 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, indexed by Independent Sector in April 2016.
2 Corporation for National and Community Service: National Data Volunteering and Civic Engagement in the United States (2014).

Original post can be found here.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 26 of 39
 |<   <<   <  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  >   >>   >| 

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal