September 18, 2018

Webinar Recording Unveils Unemployment & HR Risk Management Tips for Nonprofits

UST offers their highest attended webinar- learn more about the unique tax alternative provided to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with dedicated HR support and educational tools, presents a short on-demand webinar to showcase some of the most common unemployment & HR risks that are costing nonprofits thousands of dollars annually.

UST shares insights into their many service offerings as well as best practices that can help reduce costs and streamline workforce processes.

This educational webinar also teaches nonprofits about:

  • Reducing unemployment tax liability as a 501(c)(3)
  • Self-funded reserves and insurance options
  • Ensuring compliance with state and federal law
  • Efficiently managing unemployment claims, protests, and hearings
  • Avoiding costly HR mistakes
  • Importance of onboarding and professional training
  • Enhancing goodwill by utilizing outplacement services

"Whether your primary focus to protect your assets, ensure compliance, reduce unemployment costs or to simply allocate more time and money to your mission-driven initiatives, this webinar can provide invaluable insight that can help you to refocus your funding and employee bandwidth on the communities you serve,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST.

This webinar will also explore UST's holistic program, which is already helping more than 2,200 participating nonprofits lower their unemployment and HR liability. If you work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with 10 or more full time employees, be sure to watch this webinar today!

September 13, 2018

[Webinar Recording] Exclusive Ways for Nonprofits to Fund Health and Unemployment Insurance

[Webinar Recording] Exclusive Ways for Nonprofits to Fund Health and Unemployment Insurance

UST has partnered with mission-driven health insurance broker Nonstop Administration & Insurance Services, Inc. (Nonstop) to offer an educational webinar recording that is designed to showcase insights and proven solutions aimed at lowering costs, mitigating risk and improving health equity for staff. 

UST and Nonstop know that the traditional models of health and unemployment insurance are cost-prohibitive for many nonprofits. That’s why their co-created webinar recording addresses these challenges by providing the following key takeaways:

  • Exposure to different funding models for two budget line items that impact your bottom line and your HR team
  • How to look beyond traditional insurance funding models to find alternative solutions
  • What you can do to increase employee retention and recruitment while also keeping organizational costs down

If you're responsible for the financial management of a nonprofit with 10 or more employees, watch the webinar recording here: bit.ly/2p5UhvC

The largest nonprofit unemployment trust in the nation, UST helps 501(c)(3) organizations nationwide save time and money through a host of workfroce management solutions that include - unemployment claims management, cash flow protection, HR Workplace assistance, outplacement services and more. The company services nonprodits from all sectors with 10 or more full-time employees. UST encourafes nonprofits that are currently tax-rated or direct reimbursing on their own to review their options as they may be over-paying.

Headquarted in the San Francisxo Bay Area, Nonstop Administration & Insurance Services, Inc. is proudly changing the way nonprofits and their employees access healthcare with a partially self-funded health insurance program called Nonstop Wellness. The Nonstop Wellness program decreases the annual costs of healthcare for nonprofits while reducing or eliminating copays, deductibles and coinsurance. Nonstop's mission is to ensure nonprofit;s growht and statinabilitystarting with health wellbeing of others.

September 10, 2018

Meet UST(s) Mondays - Andrea

Andrea joined the UST team just a few months ago as our newest Customer Service Representative. After working as an intern with several nonprofits while in college she said she was inspired by the work and knew she was destined to continue helping in some way - working with UST has given her that opportunity! 

Andrea grew up in the local area and graduated from Cal State Channel Islands with a degree in Communication and an emphasis in Organizational Business. She continues to have a love for learning which often takes her on adventures to museums and historical landmarks in her free time. She shared that she recently took a fascination to astronomy and currently enjoys spending time at the Griffith Observatory submerging herself in the educational components offered there. She hopes to one day visit Europe, where she can create an experience where she can immerse herself in history by visiting such landmarks as the Colosseum, Brandenburg Gate, Acropolis and The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Her favorite place to be is Disneyland which also happens to be one of her best childhood memories. You can’t replace time spent with family—making memories and there’s no better combination than a place with food, fun and laughter. She also loves watching sports, football in particular and is a Green Bay Packers fan.

Help us in welcoming Andrea to the team via Twitter @USTTrust or Facebook @ChooseUST with the hashtag #MeetUSTMondays!

September 07, 2018

[Webinar Recording] Fundraising Registration 101

Thousands of nonprofits have registered to solicit donations but don’t always understand state requirements and whether or not they apply to their organization. This nonprofit-exclusive webinar will explain the essentials of fundraising registration as well as review valuable information meant to help ensure that you’re registered before filing your next Form 990.

 

Presented by Affinity Fundraising Registration and hosted by Maia Lee, this on-demand webinar highlights crucial details you need to know to raise funds legally in any state with information not found in any book or website. Maia is the Director of Sales & Marketing for Affinity Fundraising with more than 10 years of nonprofit marketing and development experience.

 

This educational webinar will help you:

 

  • Understand whether you need to get registered and in what states
  • Get key information about possible exemptions
  • Learn how to get started, what it will take, and what pitfalls to avoid
  • Discover where you may be subject to fines and penalties
  • Find out if your website donate button triggers registration requirements
  • Learn how to explain registration requirements to your board
  • And more!

For access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

September 05, 2018

Nonprofits Experience $26.2 Million in Unemployment Claims Savings with UST Program

Utilizing State-Specific Unemployment Claims Administration, UST Participants Save More than $26.2 Million on Unemployment Claim Costs.

Founded by nonprofits for nonprofits—UST, a program dedicated to helping nonprofits reduce paperwork burdens and protect assets, today announced it has identified $24,950,103 in unemployment cost savings plus an additional $1,259,711 in errors that are refunded to UST participants.

For 35 years, UST has been helping 501(c)(3) organizations exercise their exclusive nonprofit tax alternative, as allowed by Federal law, to pay only for their own unemployment claims which can save them thousands annually. Because they are no longer subsidizing for-profit companies in the state tax system, and are receiving expert claims guidance, UST members can efficiently manage their unemployment claims while mitigating liability.

UST participants are able to efficiently combat improper unemployment claims, meet important deadlines and prepare for claims hearings by utilizing their state-specific claims representative—helping them to avoid costly penalties while offsetting the administrative headache. UST’s claims administrator equips more than 2,200 participating nonprofits with the guidance and resources they need to confidently manage their claims process.

“Being in the nonprofit sector, employee bandwidth and funding can often be stretched thin and UST is able to provide its members with significant funds in these times of need,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “Helping to filter this money goes right back into the nonprofit community—strengthening the missions’ of nonprofits—is what the UST program is all about.”

Whether you’re a tax-rated or reimbursing employer, UST can help protect your funding and simplify your claims management processes. If you’re a 501(c)(3) looking for ways to help your nonprofit save money for 2019, benchmark your unemployment costs by filling out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form by November 15.

August 22, 2018

[Webinar Recording] The Role of the Nonprofit Board

Board members are the driving force of any nonprofit and lead the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical and legal governance – ensuring the nonprofit is able to advance its mission. One of the fundamental challenges that board members face is the lack of understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

 

​​​​​Join Barbara O'Reilly, CFRE, Principal of Windmill Hill Consulting, to learn how to strengthen your leadership team and determine the roles every board member can—and should—play in creating a strong culture within your organization.

 

This webinar will teach you how to:

 

  • Use a board matrix to identify potential talent
  • Understand essential steps in formalizing a board recruitment process
  • Create a board orientation process that helps new leaders fully contribute to the governing work of the board
  • Understand the various roles board members can play in fundraising
  • Tactics for working with underperforming board members

Want access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

August 17, 2018

Nonprofit eBook Uncovers Six Strategies to Develop and Maintain a Thriving Workforce

UST releases a new eBook, focused on helping nonprofit organizations create a workforce to stand apart in a competitive job market.

Founded by nonprofits for nonprofits, UST publishes an eBook that reveals the latest best practices that can help nonprofits find and retain employees that fit their organization’s culture, mission and values. This resourceful eBook provides ideal strategies nonprofits can utilize when tackling a competitive market and juggling the many organizational challenges that comes with maintaining a dynamic workforce.

The eBook, “Competitive Hiring Practices That Empower Nonprofits,” reveals that “56 percent believe their current job is only a temporary stepping stone to something better.” However, with the right tools in place nonprofits will be able to offer their employee’s professional development while creating a nurturing base where talented people can grow, feel challenged and valued.

“Hiring the best-fit personnel can be demanding of your time, energy and resources”, explains Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This eBook offers the critical tools organizations need to draw in and maintain best-fit professionals that can help carry out mission-driven initiatives.”

With recent survey data and nonprofit employment trends, UST is able to provide nonprofits with six proven strategies to develop and maintain a thriving workforce.

The eBook, now available for free download, also offers:

  • New statistics from the sector
  • Onboarding and coaching tactics
  • Key ways to create a stand-out culture
  • Critical employee engagement tips

Be sure to download your complimentary copy today!

August 13, 2018

Decrease in Unemployment Rate means Gradual Employment Growth

Employers added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate went down to 3.9 percent making the number of unemployed people decline by 284,000. At the end of July, the total number of people unemployed is now at $6.3 million.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.4 million, which accounts for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. In addition, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—also referred to as involuntary part-time workers—changed slightly in July, at 4.6 million, but has been down by 669,000 over the course of the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because of their hours being reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

America increased employment in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care and social assistance sectors. In professional and business services, there was an increase of 51,000 jobs in July making an overall increase of 518,000 over the course of the year. In the manufacturing sector, there was 37,000 jobs added with most of the gain in durable goods. There was a rise in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000) and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs in total. Lastly, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 34,000 and with an upward trend of +17,000  jobs in health care employment this past month, the number of jobs has totaled 286,000 since the beginning of the year. Hospitals and social assistance added 23,000 jobs during the month of July.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.65 in July.

Each year, the establishment survey estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release this preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision on August 22 at 10am.

August 01, 2018

Nonprofit Toolkit Offers the Top Guides for Managing Unemployment

UST releases 2018 UI toolkit to help nonprofit organizations better understand unemployment insurance options and claims management best practices.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions, announces the release of their 2018 UI Toolkit– comprised of UST’s top unemployment guides for managing unemployment. These tools provide valuable information that can help nonprofit organizations better understand the ins and outs of unemployment from the employer's perspective.

The 2018 UI Toolkit provides exclusive access to unemployment claims management tips, how-to-guides and an informative webinar recording. Plus, it showcases the top 5 things nonprofits must know about unemployment insurance, as well as best practices for protesting claims.

For a limited time, the toolkit is available for a free download, and here are some of the highlights:

  • 5 Things Your Nonprofit Must Know About Unemployment Insurance
  • 10 Ways to Minimize Unemployment Costs
  • 4 Things You Can Do To Help Prevent Retaliation Claims
  • Case Study: Council of Community Clinics

“Here at UST, we want to provide nonprofits with the top resources to better manage their unemployment needs,” explains Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This UI Toolkit provides the insight nonprofit organizations need to know when it comes to managing claims and avoiding costly liability.”

Be sure to download your free UI Toolkit today!

Want access to more nonprofit toolkits, checklists and tips? Sign up for UST’s Monthly eNews.

July 26, 2018

Tips for Adding New Technology to Your Nonprofit

Over the years, nonprofits have become more willing to incorporate different elements of technology into their organization—encouraging growth, utilizing the strengths of a smaller bandwidth and increasing brand awareness across multiple channels. Technology has opened many doors for nonprofits along with offering new approaches to communication with their target audience and encouraging more community-driven efforts. However, nonprofits tend to have a difficult time with incorporating an innovation with the technology element—the two don’t always see eye to eye.

An effective innovation may not always require your organization to spend a large sum of money in order to make it work. To find success in your innovation, nonprofit leaders need to realize innovation can be a risk, however knowing some of the issues that your organization may face can better prepare you when applying a new technology. And because of budget restraints, innovation tends to happen less creating certain limitations on what can be done.

Often times, nonprofits receive free or discounted software, however some hesitate to take the time or to make an investment into the initial set-up, continual maintenance or the training of staff on how to use the tool. This tends to cause more problems than offering any actual benefit to the organization. Incorporating new forms of technology can offer some economical approaches for organizations that can help them avoid major setbacks and offer effective implementation for certain tech tools.

While bringing on new forms of technology has it’s challenges, there are some ways to combat these issues and make it worth your time and money. First, having an actual plan in place can help you better understand the needs you want to meet and meet deadlines within your timeline. Second, while a tool may be free, it may not be the best fit for what your organization needs. Finding a tool with a better value will be more beneficial in the long run, even if it costs a little more money. Lastly, be sure to set aside time to train your staff on how to properly use the tool—expecting your staff to just figure it out can lead to frustration or the possibility for future errors.

July 23, 2018

Meet US(T) Mondays - Josh

Josh joined UST in the Spring as an Enrollment Specialist with our sales team and was intrigued by the idea of how our efforts could so greatly impact the nonprofit communities we serve through our day to day business.  Josh himself, has done his fair share of working with the nonprofit community by mentoring youth, cleaning beaches, helping out at animal rescues and working in food shelters and that’s just to name a few.

Josh is a native to the area and enjoys getting lost in the surrounding hills which happens to be his favorite place to be. He explains, “I like the feeling of not being entirely sure of where I am or where I’m going when on a hike, and then feeling excited to find out.” In addition to working full-time, he’s working on completing his Master of Business Administration, occasionally teaches indoor cycling, enjoys yoga, Pilates and abstract expressionist painting. With a firm belief in personal development, he would also like to earn a PhD in Business Administration or Art history.

Having studied art history and philosophy in college, Josh hopes to one day travel to some of the places he studied, such as the Alhambra in Spain, Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Great Mosque of Mecca and Bodh Gaya in India. Not your average travel destinations but certainly amazing places to visit. 

In addition to the many activities he enjoys in his spare time, he also enjoys spending time with the love of his life, Zima, his 3-year old Siberian husky. Like so many of his fellow co-workers, Josh always has a good story to share about his beloved pet which makes him a perfect addition to the UST team.

Help us in welcoming Josh to the team via Twitter @USTTrust or Facebook @ChooseUST with the hastag #MeetUSTMondays!

 

July 20, 2018

Generating a Diverse Workforce for Your Nonprofit

What makes a workforce diverse? According to Merriam-Webster, diversity is defined as “an instance of being composed of different elements or qualities.” As a nonprofit organization, expanding diversity in the workplace can be a good way to propose fresh ideas into an otherwise stale environment, and incorporating new perspectives can help employees tackle problems from a number of different angles.

When building a diverse workplace, it’s important to implement policies that encourages employees to feel supported, protected and valued. Creating an environment where your employees can feel at ease to be themselves, regardless of their ethnicity, should be a priority when diversifying a workforce.

Adopting a new approach can be overwhelming or can even cause confusion of where to begin. Here’s a few helpful tips and resources for introducing diversity and inclusion into the workforce at your nonprofit.

  1. Provide your employees with a list of key terms around diversity—this could help spark up conversations and the asking of questions.
  2. Arrange a one-on-one meeting with each employee to find out what diversity and inclusion means to him or her personally.
  3. This Diversity Toolkit created by USC's MSW program outlines a discussion of identity, power and privilege. It offers ideas on how to facilitate these conversations and how to instill a productive learning process.
  4. Consider implementing a “zero tolerance policy” to prevent any form of bullying or harassment and in the workplace.
  5. Bringing more awareness to the Americans with Disabilities Act can help to educate your staff on the importance of being mindful to those with disabilities. The Corporation for National and Community Service offers some extensive information on disability inclusion that can be very helpful.
  6. Learning from fellow nonprofits is always a perk. Consulting with other nonprofits on their approach to diversity in the workplace can be a great resource.
July 13, 2018

Nonprofits Receive Over $3.8 Million in Cash Back Through UST’s Claims Management Services

UST is giving 532 nonprofits $3,869,249 in cash back for their ability to reduce their anticpiated unemployment claims within the year.

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that help reduce costs so that they can focus more on their missions, announces that it will be dispersing $3,869,249.80 in cash back to more than 532 of their program participants. After accruing all of their claims savings, audited state returns and cash back throughout the last year, UST members will have $30.1 million filtered back into their nonprofits’ pockets.

UST aims to provide 501(c)(3) nonprofits with the latest HR training, outplacement resources and unemployment claims management tools they need to stay compliant with the state and federal laws, while also helping to reduce paperwork burdens.

One of UST’s most popular programs, UST Trust, helps reimbursing employers build a reserve—protecting their money on the front end—so they don’t experience the steep ups and downs in their cash flow due to unexpected unemployment claims. Unlike their for-profit counterparts, UST Trust participants can receive cash back through UST when their organization is able to reduce their unemployment claims and still maintain a healthy reserve balance for future claims.

“The $3.8 million we are returning to UST participants can offer their organizations the flexibility they need to execute additional mission-driven initiatives,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “Here at UST, we are pleased to be able to continue returning funds to our members and further supporting the communities in which they serve.” 

These refunds are just part of how UST serves its mission of “Providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that reduce costs and strengthen their missions.”

To learn more about the UST program for 501(c)(3) employers, visit www.ChooseUST.org. If you’re a reimbursing or tax-rated nonprofit, and looking for innovative ways to save money, fill out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form.

July 11, 2018

Legalities Surrounding Arbitration Clauses

Question: May we add an arbitration clause prohibiting class action lawsuits to our employment contracts?

Answer: Yes. Until recently, courts were split on the issue and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that “it is a violation of federal labor law to require employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from joining together to pursue employment-related legal claims in any forum, whether in arbitration or in court.”

However, in its May 2018 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ended the split, overruled the NLRB, and held that arbitration agreements providing for individualized proceedings (thus banning class actions) are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), and neither the FAA’s saving clause nor the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) suggest otherwise.

As a result of SCOTUS’s decision, an employer may add an arbitration clause waiving class and collective actions to its employment contracts without fear of violating federal law due to the mere presence of the clause. However, it is essential that any employment contract — with or without an arbitration clause — comply with all applicable laws. Therefore, as always, we recommend seeking counsel to properly draft your arbitration agreement and for further guidance.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

July 05, 2018

How to Get Nonprofits Back on the Social Media Map

With Facebook implementing a new algorithm to bring it back to its original purpose—an interactive platform that allows you to share memorable life moments—nonprofits are now put in a position that requires them to work that much harder to be noticed amongst all the noise. Nonprofits have utilized Facebook as an outlet to tell and share stories to better reach their audience, however this new algorithm poses a challenge to be able to reach those individuals that would interact or benefit from their content. On the bright side, implementing appropriate strategies can help maintain and improve your content’s performance.

To get the most out of the current changes with Facebook’s algorithm and to better your chances of being seen by your audience, here are five steps that can help put your nonprofit in a good position to be visible to your social community:

1) Identify Important Content: In order to find success on any channel, you have to develop content that will do well within the parameters of that particular channel. This is where the latest algorithm can make this difficult; however prioritizing what you’re posting will make all the difference. Posting content that will connect with your audience on a more emotional level will help grow relationships with your followers.

2) Analytics are Your Friend: Don’t be afraid of Facebook’s update until you see how it effects the performance of your content. However, if you see your results slowly dropping, start comparing the results of other posts and ask yourself “why one post worked better than the other?” Be willing to question your work and make adjustments accordingly.

3) Design Shareable Content: This is no secret to anyone that the top-rated posts are those that are designed to be shared. Whether the post is a simple image or a clever video, shareable content continues to be proven the most effective type of content to share with your audience.

4) Ask Questions: To really know and understand your audience, ask them questions. Simply posting a question and encouraging them to answer below will increase the number of interactions that benefit your organization and in-turn relay positive feedback to Facebook’s algorithm.

5) Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New: Every nonprofit has a different approach when it comes to figuring out how often they should post and what the response rate will be. The update to Facebook’s algorithm has the potential to be very impactful and is likely to have an effect on your current digital strategy. If you notice a change in your performance, try something new—you never know if that one change will make all the difference.

June 26, 2018

UST Nonprofit Members Utilized Over $1.1 Million in Cloud-Based HR Resources

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

 

UST, a program dedicated to providing nonprofits with workforce solutions to help reduce costs and focus on their missions, today announced that their 2,200+ participating nonprofits saved more than $1.1 million dollars in human resource expenses within the last year through its value-added UST HR Workplace program.

 

UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR, provides nonprofit professionals with the guidance they need to streamline HR procedures, maintain best practices, and ensure compliance with state laws. By providing expert HR advice, thousands of HR templates, hundreds of training courses and an award-winning online library for all workplace concerns, UST HR Workplace gives nonprofits the knowledge they need to avoid costly risks and liability issues.

 

“Regardless of the size of a nonprofit’s HR department, UST HR Workplace provides an invaluable sense of security—helping nonprofits save both time and money,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This on-demand HR service helps nonprofit HR professionals avoid costly litigation and stay up-to-date on evolving HR best practices and legal changes.”

 

Staying on top of the latest HR laws and educating employees on organizational policies can help mitigate volatile unemployment claims and reduce costs long-term. Last year, UST members took over 5,900 online training courses and submitted close to 1,200 HR questions. The most popular resources included Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employees training, hotline inquiries regarding compliance and compensation, the Employee Handbook Builder and downloadable HR forms and policies.

 

UST HR Workplace has been a go-to resource for UST’s participating nonprofit employers since its launch in 2014 and is a robust support system that helps to save time and money—offered at no additional cost to UST members.

 

To learn more about how nonprofits can get a free 30-day trial of UST HR Workplace, click here.

June 22, 2018

A Nonprofit Financial Check-Up

Nonprofits play a vital role in society by indirectly boosting the economy. Just like their for-profit counterparts, they have payroll, pay mortgages and utilities and have overhead costs. Unlike for-profits, they rely primarily on grants, donors and the community for financial support – making it all the more important that they understand the financial risks they face.

Earlier this year, the findings from a study put out by SeaChange Capital  Partners, Oliver Wyman and GuideStar, “The Financial Health of the United States Nonprofit Sector:  Facts and Observations,” were released and the results signaled an urgency for improved risk management to reduce the likelihood of financial distress within the sector.  

 

Some key takeaways from this report include:

  • Overview of the size and scale of the US nonprofit sector
  • Key financial metrics segmented by size, sub-sector and geography
  • Learn how you can strengthen your nonprofits financial position
  • Ideas for reducing financial distress within your organization
  • Key financial health indicators

 

If you missed it, download your copy today and learn how you can either put a holistic risk management framework in place or enhance your current risk management practices!

June 20, 2018

UST Uncovers $2.8 Million in Potential Unemployment Claims Savings for 135 Nonprofits

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

UST, a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces it has identified $2,839,940 in potential unemployment liability savings for 135 eligible nonprofits.

 

For 35 years, UST has been helping 501(c)(3) organizations exercise their exclusive nonprofit tax alternative, as allowed by Federal law, to pay only for their own unemployment claims which can save them thousands annually. Because they are no longer subsidizing for-profit companies in the state tax system, and are receiving expert claims guidance, UST members can efficiently manage their unemployment claims while mitigating liability.

 

“UST has continued to identify potential unemployment claims savings for multiple nonprofits across the United States,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know that the UST program continues to provide financial relief to such hard-working nonprofits and the communities they serve.”

 

UST offers exclusive access to a variety of resources, ranging from a live HR hotline and job description builder to e-filing capabilities and claims hearing support. By utilizing their dedicated claims representatives, cloud-based HR resources, and outplacement services, these nonprofits can refocus their saved time and money on what matters most—achieving mission objectives.

 

If you’re a 501(c)(3) looking for ways to help your nonprofit save money, benchmark your unemployment costs by filling out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form today.

June 15, 2018

HR Question: Employer Rights Surrounding Medical Marijuana

Question: Can we maintain a zero-tolerance marijuana use policy in our workplace if medical marijuana use is legal in the state?

Answer: Yes, you can. Employers have an absolute right to maintain a drug-free workplace and do not have to allow or tolerate drug use or intoxication in the workplace. Although some states permit the use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes, most state laws provide exemptions for employers to prohibit the use of marijuana in the workplace. If you maintain a drug-free workplace, then your employees may be subject to discipline and/or termination when working under the influence of marijuana (i.e., on-the-job intoxication). In states where marijuana use has been legalized for medical or recreational purposes, employers may elect to establish intoxication standards for marijuana metabolites, rather than imposing discipline for any presence of the drug. However, this standard must be applied consistently and regularly to all employees.

As of February 2016, marijuana continues to be an illegal drug under federal law (which trumps state laws), and employers are not required to permit on-the-job use of or marijuana intoxication by employees or applicants. You may discipline employees who are legally using marijuana under state law but who are in violation of your workplace policy, because under the law, employees are not protected from being fired for failing a drug test.

Alternatively, you may elect to accommodate your employee’s medical marijuana use, but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require you to reasonably accommodate current unlawful drug use. Employees who claim disability discrimination for their medical marijuana use may attempt to file under the ADA. However, the ADA excludes current illegal drug users from protection; therefore, employers are free to conduct drug tests on employees, subject to certain limitations, to detect the presence of illegal drug use.

Refer to your state’s laws on employer rights and medical marijuana law. Additionally, you may want to update your policies to ensure you are clear about whether you will accommodate marijuana use in the workplace and the subsequent action should an employee be found using marijuana.

Finally, keep in mind that this issue can be complicated. When in doubt, seek legal counsel to ensure compliance.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

June 13, 2018

Understanding Nonprofit Tax Cuts for Transportation Benefits

Transportation benefits can be a great employer-incentive to offer employees. Whether it be for public transit or public parking—these benefits can be paid to a 3rd party transit or parking company or directly to employees. However, due to the latest federal legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employers may no longer deduct transportation fringe benefits as their own deductible business expenses. When it comes to nonprofit employers that provide this benefit, they are required to report and pay the tax on the value provided as taxable “unrelated business income.”

So what specific impact does this act have on nonprofit employers? This Act requires an unrelated business income tax “UBIT” on nonprofit organizations for providing transportation fringe benefits. If a nonprofit employer uses some of its revenues to pay for employees’ transportation benefits, then such revenues will be taxed to the employer. In addition, these nonprofit revenues would not otherwise be taxable, given the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status. This change is meant to level out the employer tax—providing more of a unity between taxable and non-taxable employers in terms of taxable income to the employer. 

A UBIT is the income a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization can generate from a trade or business that is commonly carried on by the organization and is not related to the organization’s exempt purposes.  Prior to the Act, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s unrelated business income was subject to a tax rate determined under a marginal rate structure in which the lowest tax rate was 15% and the highest tax rate was 35%. This Act removes this marginal rate structure and offers a flat rate of 21% on unrelated business income. With that being said, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s expenses related to the provision of qualified transportation benefits will now be subject to the flat UBIT rate of 21%.  

For the nonprofit sector, treating transportation fringe benefits as unrelated business income will likely result in new reporting and potential tax liability implications.  Also, the IRS has not provided any specific instructions on the estimated payment requirements for taxes associated with transportation fringes. Until additional information is given, it would be in the organizations best interest to follow current standard procedures for tax payments that are associated with Form 990-T.

June 08, 2018

Keeping Your Talent Invested

Stellar recruiting and retention strategies are key to a nonprofit’s growth, but sometimes those solutions do not align with budgets. With the increasing rate at which talent moves through the nonprofit sector, it’s more important now than ever to reinvent the wheel when it comes to investing in employees.  

There are more and more people seeking to serve a higher purpose and one of the ways they see to accomplish that is to grab an opportunity to craft a mission-driven career.  If the nonprofit sector can’t demonstrate that they offer viable career opportunities within a strong organizational culture, they will miss the chance to cultivate future talent. The biggest talent acquisition challenge nonprofits face is limited budgeting but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day it’s the people that fuel the nonprofit sector – not just the donors and the volunteers but most importantly, the people who work for you.

Gaining a better understanding of how the leaders in your organization think about the development of talent, will allow you to start aligning those ideas with the overall goals of the business. Focus on your assets and what opportunities as a whole your organization has in its sights and commit to those aspirations by investing in the people. Creating an effective workplace isn’t just about compensation. Employees consistently rank company culture, leadership, career growth and work-life balance right up there with pay. The act of investing in talent sends a clear message that the company values its people by increasing morale, performance and retention.

You can make gradual improvements and see major results. Here are some things to consider:

  • Allow a greater amount of decision making with managers
  • More delegation with greater opportunities to learn
  • Continuous feedback and positive encouragement
  • Keep your team appraised of company progress and set backs
  • Wellness programs

It doesn’t hurt to also consider how much philanthropic capital is routed to talent efforts? Review where your donors dollars are going and make a case to shift some of those funds if there is currently no talent investment already set up. Grantmaking needs to intentionally invest in talent to keep top talent engaged and start Initiating conversations regarding the value of employee retention.

People are the most important asset—driving impact, performance and sustainability in the sector. No matter your nonprofit’s budget, you can have a strong organizational culture even in this time of uncertainty and budgetary struggle. And in fact, if you hope to advance your mission, you must make these types of changes. Take the time to invest in your teams and systems to stay ahead of the talent curve.

June 06, 2018

U.S. Employment Shows Promise with Decrease in Unemployment

U.S. employers added 223,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in May, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. With the unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent—an eighteen year record low—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported employment has continued to trend upward in multiple industries, including retail trade, health care and construction.

May marked the 92nd straight month of job growth in the U.S., with the number of unemployed persons declining to 6.1 million. Since the beginning of the year, unemployment rate has gone down by 0.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 772,000. 

The U.S. economy added 31,000 jobs in retail trade, with an increase occurring in general merchandise stores, building materials and garden supplies. Employment in health care increased by 29,000 and construction rose by 25,000 with a continual growth of 286,000 positions over the past 12 months. Both professional and technical services have shown a gain of 23,000 jobs and has increased by 206,000 over the year. Manufacturing employment has continued to grow during the month of May with 18,000 jobs—durable goods required due to an addition of 6,000 jobs in machinery. Employment in other major industries, such as wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality and government, showed little to no change over the course of the month.

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.92. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.7 percent and the average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.59 in May.

With job openings being at a two-decade high, this is good news for the many young people who have recently graduated. However, there are still many working-age people on the sidelines of the job market. Though more people have joined the workforce in the first quarter of 2018 than in the first quarter of 2017, the share of prime-age workers who are employed still hasn't returned to where it was prior to the recession.

June 01, 2018

We Need a Little More Communication Please

Effective communication in the workplace is an integral element to business success. It isn’t just about managing conflict, although an important benefit, good communication creates an environment that allows employees to be productive and highly effective.

The desire for human connections at work isn’t a new concept and long gone are the days when employees came into work and sat in front of a computer for an eight-hour stretch with little to no communication at all. Nowadays, more than ever, we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day business that we forget to make time to connect with those around us. When employees come together for the pure enjoyment of one another’s company, they experience an increase in morale and commitment to each other as well as the company itself – keeping them engaged and positive.

Many of the conversations we have at work are naturally focused on the business – impending projects, upcoming events or deadlines and of course, those funding concerns as opposed to interpersonal conversations. However, if you want engaged employees who are committed to your nonprofits mission, we must pick our heads up out of our own busyness and acknowledge those around us. The desire to want to be noticed, valued and appreciated are all fundamental human needs, so just by facilitating more and better conversations through simple human interactions such as talking more, asking more and even thanking more, can help to strengthen your teams morale and loyalty.

Employees look forward to coming to work when they feel like they have something in common with their fellow co-workers or even better – have a valued friend at work. And while there are typically five generations in the workplace today – cross-generational connections can sometimes take time and effort. Ensuring there is time for relationship bonding through open communication can help your organization in unexpected ways. It also doesn’t hurt when they know they can talk to their boss about problems and feel heard.

Communication is about more than just talking, it’s about connecting with people -one of the most powerful benefits in the workplace. Effective workplace communication helps employees form highly efficient teams so start building strong relationships by reaching out and taking the time to connect in meaningful ways.

May 31, 2018

70 Nonprofits Choose UST as Their Primary Nonprofit Workforce Solution

UST helps 501(c)(3)s lower their unemployment costs & maintain HR compliance, providing resources to help refocus on mission objectives.

 

Santa Barbara, CA (May 31, 2018) – UST, a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces that 70 nonprofit organizations from across the U.S. decided to join more than 2,200 of their nonprofit peers and enroll in UST’s cost-saving program.

For 35 years, UST has been helping 501(c)(3)s manage their unemployment claims in a safe, efficient manner. Whether a nonprofit is tax-rated or reimbursing, UST is here to help nonprofits manage their cash flow and streamline their day-to-day operations.  Just last year, UST found $2,839,940 in potential unemployment cost savings for eligible nonprofits.

UST’s newly added members now have exclusive access to a variety of resources, ranging from a live HR hotline and job description builder to e-filing capabilities and claims hearing support. By utilizing their dedicated claims representatives, cloud-based HR resources, and outplacement services, these nonprofits can refocus their saved time and money on what matters most—achieving mission objectives.

“With more than 2,200 organizations now participating in the Trust—and growing—I have no doubt that we can continue to provide our incoming members with the tools and education they need to further advance their missions,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST.

If you’re a 501(c)(3) looking for ways to help your nonprofit save money, benchmark your unemployment costs by filling out a free Unemployment Cost Analysis form today.

May 18, 2018

Is Your Board Equipped to Handle Your Budget?

Being on a nonprofit board can require you to wear many different hats and one of the most important aspects of being on a board is learning the budget approval process. Some board members come equipped with a business background—comfortable dealing with budgets and numbers. On the other hand, some may not have the same appreciation or knowledge base when it comes to understanding the financials.

Since each nonprofit organization has a different approach when it comes to handling their budget, there can be some confusion or differences of opinion amongst board members. Educating your board on the proper key terms, types of budgets and the different approaches, is key to ensuring the best decisions are being made on behalf of the organization.   

Here are a few key terms to understand when learning the basics of a budget and some specific terms used when discussing nonprofit budgets:

  1. Cash basis: A method of recording transactions for both revenue and expenses only when the corresponding cash is received or payments are made.
  2. Accural basis: Under the accrual basis of accounting, revenues are reported on the income statement when they are earned. 
  3. Income-based budget: This budget requires a consistent income based around a particular period.
  4. Zero-based budget: A method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period.
  5. Capital expenditures: Money that is spent by a business or organization on acquiring or maintaining fixed assets (i.e. land, buildings and equipment).
  6. Depreciation: A reduction in the value of an asset overtime—due to wear and tear.
  7. Fixed costs: A range of different types of business costs, such as rent, that are constant.
  8. Variable costs: A cost that can vary in relation to changes in the volume of activity.

These terms will help your board increase its financial literacy by reducing the mystery of nonprofit budgets, financial reports and auditing. Since a budget plays such a vital role in a nonprofit’s ongoing financial viability, it’s important your board members can fully understand and approve such budgets.

May 16, 2018

HR Question: Employer Requirements Surrounding OSHA Regulations

Question: Which employers are required to maintain records of illnesses and injuries under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) recordkeeping and reporting regulations?

Answer: Employers that had more than ten employees at any time during the last calendar year are generally required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. OSHA provides a partial exemption from the recordkeeping requirements for employers who had ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year and employers in certain low-hazard industries.

To determine if your company is required to prepare and maintain OSHA records, you will need to find your industry’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code number using one of these methods:

Once you have identified your industry’s NAICS code, you can use the Partially Exempt Industries Table to determine if your industry is exempt from the recordkeeping rule.

Important: States with OSHA-approved plans may require employers to keep records for the state, even if employers are within an industry that is exempted from doing so under OSHA regulations.

Unless your facility is municipal, state, or federally-owned, it is subject to OSHA regulations as long as it has employees. Having non-profit status or a small number of employees does not exempt a business from OSHA compliance

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

May 11, 2018

Four Benefits of Human Resources Calling the Shots

One of the many benefits that come with having a designated person or team to handle all Human Resources related issues, is that it allows the organization to operate at its full potential—especially nonprofits. Due to the inherent nature and structure of nonprofits, they can run into challenges when it comes to certain HR tasks and if not handled correctly, the fulfillment of their mission might be hindered.

Nonprofit organizations primary focus is on the communities they serve and the causes they support. When you have an HR professional on your team, it eliminates the burden of you having to worry about whether or not your nonprofit is covered regarding the logistics of legal issues, management of compliance, etc., allowing you to focus on what matters most—your mission.

Along with managing the day-to-day legal and compliance issues that may arise, HR provides many additional benefits as well. Here are four ways HR can enhance talent management, employee retention and a work-life balance.

  1. Finding the Right Employee: Hiring the right employee enhances your work culture, encourages high employee morale, positive thinking, future planning, and accomplishing professional goals. It also ensures that you are making the most of the time and energy being invested in a new employee and making sure, they are a good fit for the work culture.
  2. Onboarding is a Must: Starting a new job is exciting, however, the unknown can be quite nerve racking. An onboarding process offers a more hands on approach then just handing a new employee an employee handbook and sending them on their way. This should be a time when an employee can ask one off questions and an HR professional can offer more information.
  3. Creating a Career Plan: Offering your employees an opportunity to plan a strategy for how they want to move forward in their professional life is a great way to learn more about your staff. It’s a way to show your employees that you care and you want to see them succeed. The more you invest in your employees, the more likely they will do good work for your organization.
  4. Employee Performance Reviews: While performance review methods and approaches can vary from organization to organization, universal principles about how to talk with an employee about his or her performance exist. It is important that the employee knows exactly what’s to be expected of his or her performance. These periodic discussions about performance need to focus on the significant portions of the employee’s job.
May 08, 2018

[Webinar Recording] Nonprofit Recruitment and Retention Best Practices

With the national unemployment rate steadily declining, and a substantial increase in expectations for competitive benefits and salaries, nonprofits are definitely feeling the squeeze—especially when competing against for-profit organizations for key staff members.

How can we overcome these challenges when funding support is steady at best, and often decreasing?

 

This webinar will teach you how to:

  • Attract stronger candidates and enhance their loyalty to your nonprofit
  • Establish a path to compensation growth for valued front-line staff members
  • Gain board support for increased compensation and investment in employee development

​​​​​Join Kathy Keeley, Executive Vice President, Programs and Senior Consultant at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, to develop a framework for effective recruitment and retention strategies in the current workforce environment.

Want access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

May 03, 2018

UST Launches New Website to Unveil New Branding & Nonprofit Programs

In an Effort to Provide More Robust and Readily Accessible HR and Unemployment Resources to the Nonprofit Sector, UST Launches a New Website that Acts as a One-Stop-Shop for Workforce Solutions.

Santa Barbara, CA (May 4, 2018) – The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), a program dedicated to helping nonprofits ensure compliance and protect assets, today announces the launch of their NEW website: www.chooseust.org.

For 35 years, UST has helped nonprofit employers to better manage their unemployment funding, maintain HR compliance and maximize employee bandwidth. WIth UST's recent revamp of the UST Support program, as well as the latest addition of UST's new insurance program, UST Secure, UST decided to give their webiste a fresh look and feel to mimic their evolving nonprofit services.

“We hope this enhanced website can serve as a one-stop-shop for nonprofit organizations nationwide—helping them to streamline day-to-day operations and stay on top of the latest best practices,” says Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST.

This new website will provide nonprofits the ability to readily navigate the many UST resources and tools that can help them reduce overhead costs, manage their claims and access HR & outplacement tools.

To determine which UST programs will best suit your needs, please submit a free Cost Analysis form today. (Use Priority Code "2018PR-LAUNCH" to expedite your request).

April 30, 2018

Meet US(T) Mondays - Jenny

Having recently joined UST as a Customer Service Representative, Jenny is excited to now be working with nonprofit organizations. As for volunteer work, she’s a sucker for animals and spends as much time as possible supporting the cause during her downtime.

Outside of work, Jenny enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and her fur baby, Diego. They often venture out on hikes at the beach or in the hills and she and her boyfriend fancy exploring new restaurants and breweries when time allows. Jenny’s a huge baseball fan, the San Francisco Giants are her team of choice and she loves the fun rivalry sparred in a city of Dodger fans that just happen to include her boyfriend – that can make for some interesting dinner conversation. She also enjoys cooking and hitting the farmers market. She even worked as a baker/chef in a delicatessen for some time.

She’s a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and her enthusiasm for adventure has led her on some pretty impressive journeys. Just to name a few, she’s gone skydiving in Australia from 16,000 feet, repelled down mountains, did a 90-mile cattle drive on horseback mustering 200 head of cattle in Australia for two weeks straight, and rode Horseback through the Loire Valley in France that led to her and her family being in an Absolut Vodka ad – we have a celebrity in house. Not surprisingly, she has an extensive list of places she’d like to visit that include Greece, New Zealand and Italy. She’s already been to Australia three times and actually hopes to one day live there.

Jenny seems like an extremely busy person but she finds her Zen on the beach listening to the waves while reflecting on the things going on in her life. Something we should all get in the habit of doing.

Are you an adventurous soul?  Share your stories with Jenny @USTTrust with the hashtag #MeetUSTMondays!