Monday, December 30, 2013

Predicting Trends in Nonprofit Finances for 2014

As we approach the beginning of a new year, I want to offer my predictions for what the next twelve months will bring in the realm of nonprofit finances.  Actually, what I have in mind is an assessment of trends I believe may be on the horizon, though many may take more than twelve months to materialize and I admittedly have substantial uncertainty about whether they will materialize at all (note: I’m already providing excuses as to why they were poor predictions).  As an accountant, I’m perhaps better suited to summarize the past year than make predictions about what’s to come, but that’s less fun so here it goes…

Monday, December 16, 2013

Best Nonprofit Reads of 2013

Below is my admittedly biased and incomplete list of favorite nonprofit articles from this year.

This is an extremely well-written piece pushing back against the overhead myth campaign.  For some reason, many don’t try to look through the eyes of donors when discussing this issue.  Schambra is a notable exception.

Using the disproportionate philanthropic response to the tragedies in Boston and West, Texas as a backdrop, Cohen provides an eye-opening view of how media and donors treat urban and rural American differently.

This piece follows the highly-publicized and tragic story of a soccer dribbler raising money for charity. Though we quickly learn charity has little to do with it, the story provides an extraordinary view into human motivation.

The story of the New York City Opera has lessons for endowment management and legal gray areas surrounding permanently restricted funds. The entire sector should be taking notice.

Cooper Union’s financial problems are a lesson to all nonprofits, and no one understands them like Salmon.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The V Foundation

It seems almost commonplace now to hear of a charity whose finances have disappointed its donors. Donor frustration seems most common among cancer charities, where donors often believe their funds will be used to promote research in pursuit of better treatments and a cure only to later find out that many resources are directed toward salaries, legal consultants, and "awareness" advertising.

With this in mind, I want to highlight a success story where finances paint a picture of an organization singularly focused on its mission: The V Foundation for Cancer Research.