FRIDAY FIVE: July 20, 2018

DID YOU KNOW? The Rosetta Stone was found in 1799 by one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers during their campaign in Egypt.

Though several scholars have tried to crack the code found on the Rosetta Stone, a French Egyptologist named Jean-Francois Champollion was the one who ultimately deciphered the hieroglyphics using his knowledge of Greek as a helping guide. His contribution gave way to new insight on Egyptian culture and language and brought hieroglyphics back to life – a language thought dead for nearly 2,000 years. Now that you’ve been inspired by this story of how discovery led to a bringing-together of the cultures, let’s check out these five timely nonprofit headlines from the news this week.

1.  Leveraging the Pro Bono Business Model for your Nonprofit

People are happy to volunteer their time if they know that doing so will give them a sense of purpose. A nonprofit may encounter some unique challenges in seeking to leverage a pro bono business model though. For example, how do you ensure people honor the commitment they make? Effective leaders should tap into their employees’ emotional intelligence and use positive reinforcement where needed in order to provide a platform for their working-for-free employees to thrive. In order to create an operational system to facilitate the work, nonprofits should focus on finding the right people, such as business-minded people who value the cause and dedicated people who want a more authoritative position in order to create a larger impact. Burnout and attrition among volunteers must be tackled as well though. It is important to maintain a strong sense of community, ensure that time off and breaks are taken, and celebrate victories while taking into account individuals’ needs. Learn more by clicking on the link above!

2. Current news on suggestions for 501(c)(4) reformation

Section 501(c)(4) has, at times, undermined provisions of section 501(c), leading to statutory changes for veterans’ organizations, homeowners’ organizations, amateur sports, and credit counseling. As a result of these negative impacts, Ellen P. Aprill has written an article with suggestions on how to reform the 501(c)(4). She makes the case for possible taxation of investment income and predicted growth of the subsector in light of 2017 tax legislation that increased the standard deduction and limited certain itemized deduction. Check out her article by clicking the link above.

Want more information connected to 501(c)(4)s engaged in political activity? Want “More About 501(c)(4)s Than You Ever Wanted to Know? Check out this link.

3. What is a 501(h) election?

Do you have 501(c)(3) status and want to learn more about the effects of lobbying on your nonprofit? A 501(h) election may help you.         All charitable nonprofits may freely engage in legislative lobbying as long as those activities remain an insubstantial amount in comparison to the nonprofit’s other activities. A 501(h) election is a consideration for those nonprofits who may be worried whether their legislative lobbying activities will interfere with their tax-exempt status. Essentially, it is a form that nonprofits can file in order to elect to be measured by an “expenditure test.” In other words, it serves as insurance for nonprofits who may otherwise overstep their tax-exempt status into IRS no-no land.

Table of Limits specified in section 4911.

Organizations with an interest in filing 501(h) election should submit Form 5768 at any time during the tax year for which it is to be effective.

Learn more by clicking the link above for more info.

4.  How to counteract workplace toxicity

Though nonprofits do great work, it should not be taken for granted that they are great places to work. Are your organization’s values and cultural norms explicitly stated? If not, create an explicit values statement. Are there accountability policies in place? Start with incorporating questions about values and culture into the board’s annual performance assessment. (Check out the National Council on Nonprofits for helpful resources in this area.) Have members reflect on their overall performance in light of the organization’s mission, values, and goals. Have in place a 360-degree feedback process to provide employees perspective on their achievements. To this end, managers should use a survey tool or confidential interviews from peers.

Does your organization have policies in place to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at all levels? With the help of strong human resource policies, nonprofits can develop a culture of belonging in which employees can thrive. Does your revenue model take into account fair and equitable employee compensation? It is clearly bad practice to overwork and underpay your employees, and attracting and retaining talented staff involves fair compensation. Make the case to your funders that your budget must include the full cost for delivering great programs. Don’t forget other employee benefits, such as sabbaticals, wellness or self-care programs, and professional development opportunities as well! Click on the link above to read more.

5.  How to handle customer disappointment

Nonprofits provide important services, and complaints inevitably crop up. However, customer complaints are often preventable. A mantra for your organization to live by:

1)       Open communication lines with customers.

2)       Set good/feasible expectations with customers.

3)       Maintain high commitment to customer service.

a.        This will help prevent issues before they become problems.


Research shows that resolving a customer complaint in a positive manner will lead the customers to

1)       recommend the business to others

2)       return as repeat customers


Top Customer Complaints:

1)       Product Disappointment

a.        Customers will often leave negative reviews of the product and business on Yelp and Google, which can then result in businesses responding in a manner that worsens the situation.

                                                               i.      Remedy: Have an excellent Quality Control department and Customer Expectation Management.

1.       QC- Is it the right color/size/etc. for the order? (Don’t have a QC dept.? You, the owner, can fill this role and be your own quality control member.)

2.       Customer expectations- share important product details with the customer before purchase so reasonable expectations are set.

2)       Poor Service

a.        Bad service experiences can lose customers to the competition. Reports of employee rudeness/knowledge/speed

b.       Customers need the assurance they’ll be treated with courtesy, and that their issue will be resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner.

                                                               i.      Remedy: Breed a culture of service within the team. Every team member (including those not directly involved with customer service) should exemplify customer respect.

3)       Negative Atmosphere

a.        Think dirty restrooms, uncomfortable seats, horrible temperatures, and aggravating music.

b.       A lack of transparency that allows for customers to find what they need can also contribute to the problem.

                                                               i.      Remedy: Be honest when you answer this question: Is your establishment user-friendly? The physical grounds are an extension of the business and play a part in representing the whole of the establishment.

1.       Open communication lines à Dirty restroom – Call this number and leave feedback. Thank you for your time! (It’s super important to catch these issues in real time!!!)

4)       Poor Communication

a.        (E.g. Product is no longer available; There was a mistake in the order; Can’t deliver as promised.) Hey, mistakes happen. Don’t fret, just communicate. Companies should be more up front with customers about issues that have popped up. Secondly, have a game plan in hand for when an issue arises, and communicate with the customer about it. Make sure a game of phone tag doesn’t ensue and allow for follow-up with the customer so that the issue doesn’t stay unresolved.

                                                               i.      Remedy: Be upfront, clear, and always available. Even if there’s bad news, deliver it to the customer.

5)       A Lack of Information

a.        Customers want to know the services your business provides.

                                                               i.      Remedy: Share important details about your business.

1.       Clear, easy to find contact information with phone, email, and mail options

2.       Directions and parking options

3.       Menus or prices

4.       Service details and amenities available

5.       Testimonials or reviews

6.       Options for giving feedback

Want more top customer complaints? Click on the link above. 😊

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re all set for a great weekend ahead. See you next week!

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