“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”  – Malala Yousafzai

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

DID YOU KNOW? In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, on July 12, 1997, and grew up attending the school for girls run by her father. When her village was taken over by the Taliban soon thereafter, the extremist leaders implemented strict social practices, including banning girls from attending school. As a young girl growing up in this remote Pakistani village where violence and oppression were commonplace and fear was endemic, Yousafzai surely had the odds stacked against her. Yet her love for education prevailed. She quickly became an advocate for girls’ education and spoke publicly and with inexplicable bravery about a girl’s right to access a safe, quality education. This soon made Yousafzai, still just a young girl herself, a target of the Taliban. On October 9, 2012, a member of the Taliban followed 15-year-old Yousafzai, stopped the school bus she was on and shot her in the side of the head. Yousafzai miraculously survived, and after being treated in a hospital in the U.K., continued her fight for a girl’s right to receive an education. In 2013, her autobiography, I Am Malala, became an international bestseller. After establishing the Malala Fund and the Malala Fund’s Gulmakei Network, an organization designed to promote girls’ education in developing countries across the world, Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014. She is currently studying philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University, and her dedication to education activism and women’s rights has only since deepened. But before you start planning your path to becoming the next Nobel laureate, check out these five nonprofit headlines from this week’s news.

1. Is the Nonprofit World for You?

Making the switch to the nonprofit sector is no simple task. Myths and misconceptions about the nonprofit world are all around us. So, before making the leap from the private sector, consider beginning with self-reflection, targeted research, and nonprofit exposure. According to Forbes, assessing why you are considering a move to the nonprofit sector can be a vital first step to determining if this switch is right for you. For more tips on how to make a successful and smooth transition from the private sector to the nonprofit world, take a look at the link above.

2. Community Inclusion in Decision-Making

It is obvious you should take into account the opinions of top strategists and researchers when considering how your nonprofit’s project should be carried out. What is much less obvious, and often far more difficult, is including the opinions of those you are attempting to represent. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, the “saviorism mentality” that has been adopted by too many organizations has forced marginalized communities’ voices to the periphery in the nonprofit decision-making process, instead of the center, where they belong. There is something to be said about recognizing knowledge that is gained through experience rather than that from a printed page. Check out the link above to see an example of how Historic Boston Incorporated, a Boston-based nonprofit, used community opinions and support to purchase and plan the redevelopment of the St. James African Orthodox Church.

3. Nonprofit Diversity: Fact or Fiction?

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, recently surveyed over 200 nonprofit CEOs about their thoughts on diversity as a key to their organizational goals. The study found that while the majority of leaders agreed that diversity is crucial to achieving organizational goals, the emphasis on diversity in gender identity, sexual orientation, and disabilities tended to lag far behind other forms of diversity in both priority and practice. Prioritization of diversity among staff members also tended to decrease when assessing higher levels of leadership. To learn more about common diversity disparities in nonprofits and how your organization can interact most effectively with funders surrounding diversity objectives, visit the link above.

4. Grants: Tracking Down the Best and Avoiding the Unlikely

Every nonprofit has experienced the time-consuming and often unfruitful task of researching and applying for grants. Before using costly grant research tools, the National Council of Nonprofits recommends first ensuring that you are connected to your state association of nonprofits, which may offer support through educational programs, grant databases, and discounts to access further research tools. Another recommended first step is checking your regional association of grantmakers for potential funders. For more information about grant research tools that best fit your organization’s needs and a chart compiled by the National Council of Nonprofits that assesses the strengths of different grant research databases, click the link above.

5. New Tax Regulations on Nonprofit Employee Benefits

The federal tax bill signed last December included a cryptic yet significant measure that changes how nonprofits and churches are taxed regarding employee benefits. Sometimes called the “parking tax,” this provision requires any nonprofit that provides transportation benefits to its employees to categorize such expenses as “unrelated business income” and pay a 21% UBIT tax on the amount of the benefit. The vague nature of the language in the new tax measure has caused confusion and resistance from nonprofits. Organizations like CalNonprofits and the National Council of Nonprofits are pushing the IRS and Treasury Department to delay changes to the UBIT, at least until this language can be clarified. To learn about how this “parking tax” might affect your nonprofit, and what steps you can take to pressure your legislators to repeal it, check out the link above for tips from the California Association of Nonprofits.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! Here’s hoping that more of the “Malala Yousafzais” of the nonprofit world get the recognition they deserve! See you next week!

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