Back to School

It’s that time of year:  back to school for most colleges and universities and school districts around the country.  I was among them, starting my 31st year of teaching.

What I teach now—nonprofits—is not what I taught when I started—criminology.  And no, there isn’t a link, the former a logical path to the latter, though, I must say, increasingly there does appear to be a larger commonality than I would like.

No crime this week, just nonprofit management, operations and governance, taught as part of La Salle’s Read more

September 7th, 2012 0 Comment

We Don’t Have the Money

I was never a big fan of the circus, and it had nothing to do with the clowns.  It was the tightrope walkers that caused me angst.  While, everyone was looking up, and I’d be looking at my shoes.

Today, many of my peers are sharing my angst over tightrope walkers, but they are the ones on the rope.   The economy of the last three years has thrown into vivid relief the paucity of most nonprofit salaries.  Not that it was hard to see this before.  Read more

We Don’t Have the Money March 16th, 2012 0 Comment

Zero Sum Pie Tastes Bitter

Why does the scrutiny always get focused on the charities instead of the funders?  Are the latter immune from wrong-doing or questionable-doing?  And I am sure in far too many circles, the mere fact that I’m suggesting that a funder might do wrong is blasphemous and minimally cause for tar and feathering.  After all, look what happened to Rell Grrls  when an employee tweeted about Comcast!  But two different articles, read hours apart, just got me thinking.

Go get the nonprofit!  The New Jersey Division of Read more

We’re in This Together

I usually don’t play favorites within the nonprofit sector.  I advocate on behalf of the entire sector, not one part.  But everyone doesn’t play the same way

Arts and culture groups:  you are not the only part of the nonprofit sector that enriches our communities!  If I read one more article, op-ed piece, blog post or tweet that touts the singular benefits that arts and culture organizations bring to a community, I am going to scream.  Why do you push the rest of the sector out Read more

Are We Better Off?

Recently, the IRS published the list of the 279,595 nonprofits which had their nonprofit status revoked for failure to file a Form 990 for at least three consecutive years, a requirement put forth in the Pension Reform Act of 2006. Taken in the larger scheme of things, 280,000 out of a total of approximately 1.6 million nonprofits is about 18%.   Since that release, newspaper headlines around the country have been reporting the local numbers, which vary depending upon whether reporting on a town, county or Read more

Who is Sean Coffey and Why Should I Care?

I don’t know Sean Coffey—don’t know anything about him—but if I were a resident of the State of New York, he’d have my vote for Attorney General—hands down!

Let me go on record saying that I am generally not a one-issue voter.  It just isn’t smart electoral behavior.  But I am so sick and tired of lawmakers who abuse nonprofits for their own benefit and, in so doing, damage the reputation and work environment of the millions of nonprofits who work so hard to do such Read more

This Message is for You


It is not often that the IRS gives us a clear “heads up” as to what are some of its favorite things to “catch” nonprofits doing wrong.  But such a heads up has come in its interim report (released May 2010) on research it has been conducting on how well colleges and universities comply with reporting regulations.  DO NOT STOP READING THIS JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY; THIS APPLIES TO YOU!

The IRS sampled 400 public and private colleges and universities offering Read more

July 8th, 2010 0 Comment

Free Speech for Nonprofits?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court made a decision that could have huge implications for nonprofits across America, regardless of their missions.

In Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, the Supreme Court relied on the First Amendment protection of free speech to say, according to Justice Kennedy who wrote the majority opinion, that Congress may not fine or jail “citizens, or associations of citizens (emphasis added), for simply engaging in political speech.”  In other words, with its 5-4 decision, corporations are no longer Read more

January 28th, 2010 2 Comments

Embrace Trust

Trust.  It is such a huge word for the nonprofit sector yet one we spend little time talking about.  Our whole currency, if you will, is based on trust:  our clients, donors, collaborators, and others trust that we will do a good job, deliver a valuable product, protect and steward our dollars, fulfill our mission promises, etc.  If these stakeholders stop trusting us, we are doomed.

Yet, when was the last time the staff and board of your organization talked about trust? What does it means Read more

A Tough Hybrid to Swallow – the L3C

My intent was to write about L3Cs—low-profit limited liability companies.    Five states already allow them, several more have legislation pending, and many are encouraging the congress to create such legislation.  Ever heard of them?

So I went looking for a simple, yet clear, definition of just what an L3C is.  In the process, I got sidetracked by a table comparing an LLC, an L3C and a nonprofit.

According to the design and intent of an L3C, it is a cross between a for-profit and nonprofit organization:  it Read more