It’s Friday, February 3rd. Yesterday was Groundhog Day. Pennsylvania’s Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow, suggesting six more weeks of winter (or “winter,” as we call it in Los Angeles). However, Phil has competition! Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog whose city claims he has an 80% success rate, says no more winter. You can learn about Staten Island Chuck here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjimLdYQkM8
Once you’ve chosen sides in the Phil vs. Chuck battle, check out these five nuggets of news from the nonprofit world:
1) THE 15% MYTH AND WHY IT NEEDS TO END
Should nonprofits restrict their spending on overhead to 15% of all expenses? Absolutely not, writes Gail Picco, author of Cap in Hand: How Charities Are Failing the People of Canada and the World. Overhead—the costs of which include administration and effective management—may require more resources to be effective, and if nonprofits tie themselves to an arbitrary number, they could be hobbling their ability to do good. How can your nonprofit can avoid this mistake?
2) INCREASE YOUR IMPACT
Donating funds for good? Increase your impact by seeking out niche, local organizations and contributing to them: your $100 will got a lot farther than it will at a large national charity. Columnist Tivoni Devor has tracked down a site, Melissa Data (https://www.melissadata.com/lookups/np.asp) that lets you look up all nonprofit organizations in your zip code. Find out more ways to have an even bigger impact:
3) FEWER PEOPLE SERVED = BETTER?
The Chippewa Valley Free Clinic (CVFC) in Wisconsin, a nonprofit free health clinic, used to have more patients than it could handle, but the number of people using its services has gone down. Normally that’d be a bad thing, but the decrease in visitors has enabled the clinic to provide more comprehensive care to the people who do walk in. Find out what changed:
4) FOLLOW THE MONEY…IF YOU CAN
Tracking donations to charitable organizations may have just gotten more difficult. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, co-founded by philanthropist Jessica Chan and her husband, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, has structured itself as an LLC. Unlike private foundations, LLCs are not required to report their donations on tax returns, which will make it significantly harder to find out who’s donating to and funding nonprofit LLCs. Scholar Sarah Reckhow lays out the potential difficulties:
5) FROM CLIENTS TO EMPLOYEES
Philadelphia-based nonprofit Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) trains local educators to visit homes and help parents read to their kids over a two year period. But it’s got a savvy recruiting program: 25% of its home visitors are parents who had benefitted from the program. Using parents already familiar with the program gives them an immediate authenticity. Find out what else PCHP is doing right:
That’s all for the Friday Five. We’re off to spend far more time than we should comparing groundhog statistics. We’ll see you next week!
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