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Entries with Topic Nonprofit Management .

November 22, 2017

Misery on the Job

Just two decades ago, jobs were for life – even if you hated yours. Offices were often dark and dingy, promotions were rare, there was no such thing as ergonomic desks and even smoking was allowed indoors. Today, not only are office spaces bright and more cheerful but many companies are now offering the option to telecommute. There are also more efficient systems in place, better laws protecting employees and far better benefits than ever before. And let’s not forget the in-house gyms, team building excursions, methodical review processes, and the boundless opportunities to grow. So what gives? Why are so many U.S. workers unhappy at work?

Job misery can have a devastating impact on individuals, and their employers. Nowadays, there are countless studies surrounding the decline in employee engagement – Gallup, Randstad and Mercer, the list goes on. Gallup has been measuring employee engagement in the United States since 2000 and finds that a whopping 77% of workers say they hate their jobs.  Many report feeling no real connection to their work and state they are growing to resent their employers. Randstad has found that disengagement leads to some pretty bad habits - workers admitted that while on the job, they drank alcohol, took naps, checked or posted on social media, shopped online, played pranks on co-workers, and/or watched Netflix. The pressures modern day workers are clearly causing employees to feel burnout which is a natural reaction to stressful environments, or long workdays, but job dissatisfaction at this level usually occurs after long periods of unresolved issues.

One of the biggest problems seems to be having the wrong management in place. When the wrong person is hired or promoted to a management position, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits – nothing. When employees feel that their manager has little to no interest in them as human beings – their personal lives, their aspirations and their interests, especially at work – there is bound to be job misery. If you start typing “my boss is” into the Google search engine, you get options that include “crazy”, “lazy”, “bipolar”, “abusive” and “a tyrant”.

If you do the same Google search for “my job is”, it reveals a rather bleak outlook of life in the office by finishing your sentence with “killing me”, “stressing me out”, “ruining my mental health” or “draining my soul”. Those are some pretty strong comments and cause for concern. Most alarming of all – if you type “my job is stimulating”, Google assumes you have made a typo and suggest you must have meant “not stimulating”. Workers also feel they are expected to “do more with less” – blaming business owners who aren’t willing to expand their budgets to hire more people or provide better compensation to those already in place. Losing your best people because they’re stretched too thin can be costly so many employers are getting creative. Benefits can come in many different forms - ranging from flexible hours, stipends for commuting, increased vacation time or robust development programs.

It's important for employers to be aware of these situations, evaluate if they're a sign of a larger issue and identify what they can do to help. Workers crave development, advancement and purpose and when they don’t’ have it, they will move on.

November 03, 2017

Better Together – A Partner Spotlight on the Center for Nonprofit Advancement

CNA--small-for-web A UST partner since 1990, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement has been providing advocacy, education, networking, and group-buying power to nonprofit organizations throughout the Greater Washington region since 1979. By providing the tools and resources needed, they’ve been able to help those organizations focus on what truly matters – their mission.

“At the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, we believe strong nonprofits make stronger communities,” said Karen Brown, Vital Health Benefits Trust Director at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. “Our nonprofit members rely on us to help them advance their mission.”

Center members receive a vast variety of services and support from the Center which include:

  • Advocacy - A collective voice that speaks out on region-wide nonprofit issues so local governments understand that nonprofits provide core services that hold communities together.
  • Education - A robust program of courses that ensures leaders and staff at every level can increase performance and impact of their services which drives greater impact to their respective missions.
  • Networking - Opportunities for nonprofits to collaborate and connect with philanthropic, corporate, and government communities. Through these cross-sector connections, they provide the insights and solutions in real time to support them.
  • Group Buying - A one-stop solution for high-quality, administrative and management assistance services.  The VitalHealth Insurance program is the most utilized benefit that offers medical, dental, vision, life and FSA plans to over 1,800 employees of nonprofit members in the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dedicated to representing nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years, the Center is proud to strengthen, promote, and represent members of the nonprofit community by helping over 50,000 individuals advance the mission of more than 800 local organizations. They embody every sector of the nonprofit industry and provide services and support to more than 9 million children, adults, and families around the world. To learn more about the Center for Nonprofit Advancement visit https://www.nonprofitadvancement.org/.

November 01, 2017

Exercise Your Nonprofit's Tax Exemption for 2018

time is moneyWe all feel the rush of time around now, the holidays racing towards us followed by the ringing in of another new year. Before you know it, you’re wondering where the time went… for most 501(c)(3) organizations, November is the deadline month to exercise their state unemployment tax exemption for 2018. That means you need to act now.

Unlike for-profit organizations, 501(c)(3) nonprofits have the unique opportunity – as allowed by Federal law – to opt-out of the state unemployment tax system and instead only reimburse the state, dollar-for-dollar, if and when they have an actual unemployment claim. It can be a savings opportunity for many nonprofits who have lower claims than what they pay in state unemployment taxes—which are often driven up by for-profit organizations and other companies that go out of business, as well as state fund deficits and improper payments made in error.

The Unemployment Services Trust helps nonprofits to better manage their cash flow through proper claims administration and safety reserve building. With access to e-Filing capabilities, state-specific claims advice and a plethora of on-demand HR services, UST participants are able to streamline operations and reduce back-office paperwork burdens.

Last year alone, UST helped program participants save $27.8 million in unemployment claims costs. That’s millions of dollars more for the nonprofit sector and the communities they serve.

More than 2,200 of your nonprofit peers are already exercising their unique tax alternative with UST. Rather than overpay into the State unemployment fund – effectively subsidizing for-profit companies – wouldn’t it be more true to your mission to allocate that wasted overhead to your programs and services?

Submit your FREE Cost Analysis Formno later than November 15th in order to meet the state deadline for 2018 enrollment – which for most states is December 1st. Unfortunately, if a nonprofit misses the state deadline, they have to wait until the following year to exercise their tax exemption and join the UST program.

October 20, 2017

The Top Do’s and Don’ts for Nonprofit Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an impactful—and often, cost-effective—one-to-one relationship-building tool for businesses. While it may allow you to speak to many people at once, it also allows for more of a personalized interaction with your audience or customers. For nonprofits, social media marketing can be just as beneficial as it is for a for-profit business.  It’s a great way to build support for your organization, grow your number of volunteers, and increase donations. In order for your social media marketing to thrive, the commutation to your audience must be your top priority.

Engagement is the key element to a functional social platform. While it comes in many forms, communication with your audience is the leading form of engagement. This makes it crucial to respond to those who support you on social media in a timely manner, whether it’s a simple reply to comments or engaging in a particular thread—this is a feature that can be very effective when used on a consistent basis. In turn, anyone who manages the social accounts of your nonprofit must be well-versed and have a firm handle on some of the social media best practices, ensuring that your organization maintains a positive reputation.

As social media marketing evolves, new tools and platforms continue to emerge, along with new improvements to how you can better reach and interact with your audience. Best practices continue to be centered on the human experience.

Here are the top 5 social media DO’s for nonprofits:

  • DO target your market. When deciding which platforms will work best for your nonprofit or what type of content will result in the best conversion, you should make a conscious effort to know your audience.
  • DO focus on specific platforms. While it may be tempting to jump on board with the newest social platform craze, it’s important to focus on the platforms with the most potential benefit for your organization.
  • DO develop targeted campaigns. Develop content that speaks to specific groups and people. Also, it’s okay to have more than one type of audience member—that’s the benefit of running multiple targeting campaigns.
  • DO interact with your followers. Responding to comments and thanking your audience members for sharing your content can go a long way toward making them feel included.
  • DO use your analytics data to improve.  Studying the analytics behind each post is good habit to get into. You’ll be able to see how each piece of content performed and what kind of content to post in the future.

Here are the top 5 social media DON’Ts for nonprofits:

  • DON’T use generic messages. Social media works best when the content speaks to a specific audience. Refrain from filling your profile with messages that don’t resonate with anyone in particular.
  • DON’T forget to update. Not being active on your social media accounts can result in a loss of followers and engagement. The best way to measure growth is staying relevant.
  • DON’T solely request funds/commitment. If you only push out content that is asking for donations, this can be off putting to your audience. Be sure to offer content that provides value along with publicizing your charitable needs.
  • DON’T ignore comments. While it’s not necessary to respond to every comment, it’s a good rule of thumb to “thank” your audience as often as possible. Also, if someone leaves a complaint, make sure to respond in a timely manner.
October 05, 2017

Five Steps Closer to Racial Equity on Nonprofit Boards

In order for diversity to be a part of a nonprofit organization, it must start at the top.  To achieve real and sustainable change in terms of racial equity toward those we serve, we must reflect that standard. According to a survey done by The Nonprofit Quarterly, CEO’s are concerned with the composition of their boards.  BoardSource completed a study that compared racial diversity on nonprofit boards in 1993 and 2010. Results showed little to no change in Caucasian dominance. In 1993, 14% of members were persons of color; by 2010 there was a slight increase bringing it to 16%. With that in mind, nonprofit organizations need to take the necessary steps to ensure that their organization is an example of acceptance and diversity.

Here are the 5 steps your organization can take to achieve board diversity:

1) Leadership must lead or it won’t happen

The primary goal is that the CEO and Board Chair share a commitment to an appropriate racial makeup—they must hold one another accountable for actions toward the goal. They should be visible leaders and spokespersons for achieving diversity by educating the sector and lobbying for organizational change.

2) Be intentional — make your claim

An organization’s values and mission must be clearly articulated and visible on all outlets, including their website— providing a clear picture on where the organization stands.

3) Create a baseline

First, conduct an assessment of your board’s demographics. Then, based on the results, identify the vision going forward. With this assessment, you can establish a measurable goal to increase racial diversity within your board.

4) Give a grand welcome

When bringing on new board members, be sure to be welcoming and that the orientation is authentic and thorough. Ownership of these processes should involve all of the current board members.

5) Move beyond the numbers

An increase in percentages of racially diverse members is only the first step.  Guiding new members through the flow of communication and onto the leadership track is essential.  Simply waiting and hoping that the pipeline will move members forward is an insufficient strategy.

We need to think beyond a simple checklist to create and maintain diverse board representation—it’s a long-term strategy for creating change through collaboration.

July 07, 2017

Are Your Nonprofit Programs in Align With Your Mission?

There is not one nonprofit organization that wants to cut programs it believes furthers its mission. But too often, nonprofits keep programs long after they’ve stopped being effective and worth the cost. Sometimes it is necessary to scale back or even eliminate programs so that funds can be better spent launching new initiatives that help the organization meet its core mission.

Communities are constantly changing and your nonprofit must be prepared to change with them. Do your homework and research what is working and what is not – never assume the effectiveness of your programs.

  • Survey participants, members, donors, employees, volunteers and other stakeholders about which of your programs are the most—and the least—effective and why.
  • Review your community’s demographic data for changes relevant to your program offerings.
  • Ask the community what they know of unmet needs or new trends that should affect your programming decisions.

While you don’t want to eliminate anyone’s opinions, you do want to be careful about how the feedback is used to rid your organization of obsolete programs and create new ones. If one of your programs is clearly ineffective and another is wildly successful, the decision to redeploy funds to the successful program is obvious. And keep in mind that new programs can be variations of old ones, just re-vamped to better serve your nonprofits core mission, values and goals.

Undoubtedly, you already have goals in place that measure each of your programs progress. If you don’t, now is the time to set them up. Being able to easily identify what is working and what is not, is pivotal to your nonprofit’s success.

Before deciding whether to cut a program or start a new one, be strategic and realistic about your expectations. Being able to recognize when it’s time for a change and how to best use what funding is available will help ensure successful programs.

May 03, 2017

UST Nonprofit Members Utilized Over $1.1 Million in ThinkHR Resources Last Year

The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), the nation’s largest and lowest cost unemployment Trust provider, today announced that last year alone it helped 2,200+ nonprofits save more than $1.1 million dollars in human resources services through its value-added HR Workplace add-on.

The UST HR Workplace powered by ThinkHR empowers nonprofit HR professionals with the guidance they need to be more effective and efficient in their jobs. By providing expert HR advice, thousands of HR templates, hundreds of training courses and an award-winning online library for all workplace concerns, the UST HR Workplace gives nonprofits the knowledge they need to avoid costly risks and liability issues.

“Maintaining risks in the workplace is crucial to any organization but specifically for the nonprofit sector where one unexpected risk can put the organization in a situation they’re unprepared for,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST, “ThinkHR helps nonprofit HR professionals avoid costly litigation with the tools available to them through use of ThinkHR Live, Comply and Learn.”

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 alone, UST members took nearly 5,000 online training courses and submitted close to 1,500 HR questions. The most popular resources utilized included Workplace Safety and Harassment Prevention training, Compliance and compensation inquiries, the Employee Handbook Builder and downloadable HR forms.

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

Nonprofits can get a free 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace powered by ThinkHR by visiting http://www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/.

About UST http://www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ Founded in 1983, the Unemployment Services Trust UST provides 501c3s with a cost-effective alternative to paying state unemployment taxes. UST participants save millions annually through claims management, hearing representation, claim audits, outplacement services and HR support. Join more than 2,200 nonprofits nationwide and request an Unemployment Cost Analysis at www.ChooseUST.org.
May 03, 2017

Free Webinar: HR Compliance Impact with Washington’s First Moves

Are you keeping up with the Trump administration’s quick moves to change laws, enforcement actions and regulations to support business and our economy?

Presented by ThinkHR, this on-demand webinar explores President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The presentation will address issues and questions about rescinded Executive Orders, regulatory enforcement agenda changes and legislative moves that could impact your nonprofit’s business operations.

Discover what you need to know and should be doing relating to:
 
  • Wage and hour changes
  • Benefits and time off programs
  • Immigration
  • OSHA and safety
  • Other work-related rules


Watch the webinar recording today: http://links.thinkhr.com/Q0FW0oT0Kj1Rn0Wf900v9S0

Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.
May 03, 2017

On-Demand Training: Introduction to COA Accreditation

Don’t miss out on this NEW self-paced training to introduce you and your nonprofit team to COA Accreditation.

Presented by The Council on Accreditation COA, a nonprofit accreditor of human services organizations, this on-demand training is designed for people with little or no knowledge about COA.

The webinar will provide participants with a better understanding of:
 
  • The key concepts that define COA
  • The elements of COA’s accreditation process and standards
  • And more!


Watch the webinar recording today: bit.ly/2kDwGhh

This webinar series is part of UST’s efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. For more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for ourmonthly e-News today!
May 02, 2017

Delivering Your Mission Beyond the Web

The web emerged, in the 1990s and provided endless possibilities of engaging potential customers through communication and interaction – a pivotal moment for the nonprofit community.

Since its inception, audiences have come to expect a different kind of experience of being fully embedded in the life of an organization through the worldwide web.  Organizations quickly came face-to-face with not only technical and operational issues but content barriers as well, all of which were far more difficult to overcome than expected. Organizations were also dealing with trying to figure out how to remain relevant to audiences looking to the web for their information and quickly learned that their standard marketing materials did not translate to the web. This required organizations not just to repackage what they were producing but also create new ways to transform how audiences receive, process, and interact with content.

The growth of social media over the last several decades has been boundless and continues to grow by staggering leaps. How we communicate with our audience changes on a constant basis and we are forced to adapt quickly. Just pushing a message won’t create a relationship but you are uniquely qualified to provide the perspective and guidance that your potential clients are looking for by creating public value and promoting an intuitive understanding of what your organization is about.

Building a mission-delivery engine requires a thoughtful process and the ability to create dynamic content to meet the needs of your audience. Organizations that know its greatest resource is its understanding of what its audience wants is the stepping stone to successful engagement.

Some helpful tips:
 
  1. Rethink your nonprofits programming strategy and enhance the relevancy of the organization
  2. Create partnerships within your network to help build content and potential audience members
  3. Reach out to stakeholders to solidify partnerships and secure long-term engagement and support
  4. Engage all facets of your organization to create an engine that delivers and communicates value
  5. Utilize the web’s ability to encourage interaction and dialogue, creating ways to tear down the boundaries between your nonprofit and the nonprofit audience
  6. Enrich the conversation by offering opportunities to participate and share ideas

The web is central to how we enable, activate, and resource our mission. With multiple points of views and supporters, we’re enabling results that form something new. Get back to the possibilities that originally inspired us about the web and be intentional by providing a space on the web in which your audience’s needs are met.
May 02, 2017

Making the Most of Your Staff’s Diversity

Have you ever critiqued a coworker because of their overbearing tendencies or their abrasive personality? Don’t worry… you’re not alone in your frustrations. However, learning to dissect and identify your own and others’ personality traits can actually increase work ethic and strengthen internal relationships—paving the way for a stronger organization overall.

For nonprofits, employees’ collaborative efforts are often the key element to mission advancement.  But clashing personalities working toward the same goal can lead to resentment and impatience in the work place.

Learning to recognize and understand others’ personality strengths and weaknesses can help you appreciate the diverse environment you work in.  Specifically, nonprofits can take advantage of their diversity when it comes to improving their employment procedures and ensuring ongoing structural soundness.

Basic working styles can often be separated into 4 general categories:
 
  1. Learning—Learners are the researchers.  Unable to quench their thirst for knowledge, learners are constantly looking for the root of current and potential problems.  For instance, with regard to your organization’s employment practices, learners can help analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce, analyze how better documentation and standardized hiring practices can lead to a stronger, more long-term labor force.
  2. Loving—These individuals are known for their relationship building abilities. They tend to show empathy and kindness towards others and understand how to approach difficult situations with grace. Spreading optimism throughout the office can help your nonprofit maintain a “glass-half-full” outlook on everyday work problems. Internal positivity and support alleviates stress during unanticipated budget or employee loss—providing you with a sense of security and consistency.
  3. Doing—Doers are known to execute and accomplish set goals. They thrive on lists, deadlines, and projects. For example, by utilizing this focus and attention to detail, nonprofits can analyze and restructure their training and continued education opportunities—leading to greater time efficiency and overall HR effectiveness.
  4. Leading—Leaders create and persuade by providing your employees with the tools to succeed.  Able to paint a picture of their visions, using innovation and passion, leaders are able to easily rally support behind their ideas. Great leaders inspire employees to constantly push themselves and take calculated chances to further your nonprofits’ mission. With each leader setting the bar even higher for the next, your nonprofit will be on track for upward mobility and constant procedural refinement.


Whichever working style team members possess doesn’t really matter by itself.  What most affects a nonprofit’s success is the compilation of strengths your team brings to the table and your team’s ability to successfully work together as a cohesive unit. As long as you understand and utilize everyone’s unique abilities, pertinent to your team’s progress, your nonprofit will continue to flourish.
May 02, 2017

[Podcast] Board Recruitment

Through the Noise recently spoke with Jeff De Cagna, Executive Advisor at Foresight First LLC, to discuss the way you think about board recruitment, management, and collaboration. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts here.

Podcast Description: This podcast discusses how nonprofit organizations might be missing a crucial opportunity for growth and relevance by underutilizing their boards. Jeff De Cagna is an author, speaker and advisor for associations and non-profit organizations across North America and around the world with decades of experience under his belt.

Foresight First LLC is a governing orientation that provides actionable insights on plausible futures by challenging association and non-profit boards to deal productively with the past so they can focus their attention on the future and pursue the generative work of transformation. To learn more about Foresight First LLC, visit their website at www.foresightfirst.io.

Listen to Podcast button- RGB

To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST’s monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/
February 10, 2017

5 Enviable Traits of Top Nonprofit Employer

You may think that a decent wage and working for a mission matters most to nonprofit workers, but there are key things that the best nonprofit employers do to give their staff that extra boost – helping retain them longer and providing a more satisfactory workplace.
Here are our top 5 organizational traits that make a nonprofit the best place to work:

1. Give them room to grow. Employees need to know their duties and their responsibilities are recognized, and that there is a clear path to growth. Recognizing those employees that are eager to take on more can help you craft an upward moving path for them. And remember it’s okay to ask! What do they see themselves doing? What can they offer? Letting them feel involved in their own future gives them confidence in themselves and their leaders.

2. Have mentors. The next leaders are already in our midst. Giving them the tools they need – direct from the experts – is pertinent to maintaining a strong nonprofit sector. Who’s better than leaders within your own organization to provide this? Sometimes assigning a formal mentor to an employee is necessary to build this type of relationship. Consulting with your executives and even executives at other organizations as to who they can stand by and provide career direction, might just open some doors to some true talent development.

3. Ensure a fair workplace. Limited HR staff often means nonprofits are “winging it” when it comes to applying workplace rules. But are the rules fair, and more importantly, do they follow the law? You might think closing the office for a week during Christmas is okay if you require employees to work Saturdays leading up to the holiday (this is a true story), but that would be classified as overtime and not paying them appropriately could cause a damaging lawsuit for your organization. Wrongful terminations are another big source of costly legal exposure.

4. Train your managers to be the best. Employee satisfaction often starts with having the right guidance. Training your managers to be great managers helps provide the framework for the entire organization. People often leave managers, not companies… and because good leaders aren't born (they're created), providing leadership education and management-skill training is vital to helping build the leadership an organization needs to retain employees. UST offers 200+ free online training courses for managers and employees when you join the UST Program, which is exclusive to nonprofit organizations.

5. Acknowledge they have lives outside of work. As an employer you might think your role starts and stops during the 9-5 job. But recognizing that life-work balance is important, and giving employees options like flexible hours, working from home occasionally, discounted gym memberships or sponsorship of activities like registration in a race or creating a softball team, can help foster more happiness and productivity at work. With many for-profit companies making these types of moves, it’s important to recognize how the nonprofit sector can provide equally satisfactory jobs for workers. There are all kinds of ways nonprofits make a difference for their employees. Tell us some of your ways on facebook!
January 30, 2017

[Podcast] How Digital Strategy Enables Nonprofit Growth

Through the Noise interviewed Kiki L’Italien, CEO & Founder of Amplified Growth , to provide nonprofit employers the latest digital marketing tips they need to reach and engage current and potential members. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts .

Podcast Description: This podcast discusses why it’s important to understand and utilize SEO and SEM—search engine optimization and search engine marketing—when looking to amplify your nonprofit’s voice. Kiki L’Italien explains how to get to know who you are trying to reach, where they spend their time, and how to meet them where they are.

Amplified Growth is a DC-based digital marketing consultancy specializing in SEO, social media, and content strategy for associations and commercial clients. To learn more about Amplified Growth, visit their website at http://www.amplifiedgrowth.net.

Listen to Podcast button- RGB

To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews
December 22, 2016

[Free Webinar] New Year, New President, New HR Challenges

President-elect Trump’s agenda for employment law is still being formulated, but one thing is certain: change is coming. Business managers and HR practitioners need to be ready, and we can help.

Presented by ThinkHR, this webinar will explore the practical impacts employers need to know now in the following areas:
  • Affordable Care Act regulations and reporting
  • Immigration status verification and reporting
  • Wage and hour changes EEOC enforcement and reporting activity
  • Paid family leave
  • And more!

When: Two dates available (Thursday, January 5th or Tuesday, January 10th at 8:30 am PDT)

Register: http://pages.thinkhr.com/HR-in-2017-Webinar.html

Register Now

This webinar offers 1 HRCI and 1 SHRM professional development credit. Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ and sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

November 23, 2016

[Podcast] Mergers & Acquisitions for Nonprofits

Through the Noise interviewed Melissa Panagides, Senior Manager of Management Advisory Services at BDO USA , to discuss mergers and acquisitions within the nonprofit sector. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts here .

Podcast Description: This podcast breaks down the difficult questions that surround a company acquisition and provides expert information on how to plan ahead, manage expectations, and how to support the people within organization during this difficult time.

BDO USA, LLP is known primarily as an accounting firm. The Management Advisory team supports organizations that are going through or considering change and focus on helping organizations identify the right technology for their needs by transforming their business. In addition, they help to plan and implement mergers and acquisitions for organizations across the globe.  To learn more about BDO USA, visit their website at www.bdo.com.

Listen to Podcast button- RGB

To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews
November 08, 2016

Important Information about Affordable Care Act Reporting for 2016

The final forms and instructions that employers will use for 2016 reporting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Employers that provided basic healthcare coverage on a self-funded basis in 2016 are required to report the names and social security numbers (SSNs) of all covered individuals. While this is the second year of reporting for most employers, many still struggle with the process of how to effectively report SSN’s for all covered individuals and their dependents.

If you are an applicable large employer (ALE) that employed 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees during the current reporting year, you must report to the IRS whether or not you did or didn’t offer healthcare coverage by completing Form 1095-C and 1094-C.

The requirement to report enrollment information on each covered individual, including dependent names and SSNs, only applies to employers that self-fund a minimum essential coverage health plan (e.g., major medical, PPO, HDHP). For an ALE, the self-funded plan enrollment information is reported in Part III of Form 1095-C while a “small” (non-ALE) employer reports the information in Part IV of Form 1095-B.

You can review a copy of the IRS proposed regulation on TIN solicitationhere.

This article was adapted from ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace provided to UST members at no additional cost. Get answers to your HR questions and sign your nonprofit up for a free30-day trial. 

November 04, 2016

5 Ways to Get Involved in Nonprofit Awareness Month

Did you know that nonprofits comprise more than 10% of all private sector employment in the country, accounting for 11.4 million employees according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? In fact, if the nonprofit sector were a country, it would have the seventh largest economy in the world.

UST wants to honor all the nonprofits that make a difference every day, all year long—and the amazing individuals that lead them.

We know it’s not easy running a nonprofit and here at UST our sole purpose is to “help nonprofits save money in order to advance their missions.” We’re especially proud to support the efforts of our 2,000 nonprofit members and 80 national and state nonprofit association affinity partners.

For Nonprofit Awareness Month, we wanted to share some ways individuals and nonprofits can boost their passions and causes, and gain awareness of all that nonprofits do, too:
 
  1. Share. Your state nonprofit association may have ideas on how you can support nonprofit awareness via social media. For example, the Delaware Alliance of Nonprofit Advancement’s campaign asks you to print out a flyer, take a picture of yourself holding it, and post it to social media with the hashtag #npawareDE. You can even simply share stories and images about a nonprofit you work for or volunteer with using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other platforms.
  2. Volunteer. You can get directly involved in the success of local nonprofits and share your experiences with others. Go to www.volunteermatch.org to find the type of volunteering project that works for you.
  3. Give. Find a charity you care about, make a donation and encourage others to give. And don’t forget, your donation is typically tax deductible! The Association of Fundraising Professionals provides these 5 P’s of Wise Giving.
  4. Learn. Find out 7 myths about nonprofits that you may not have known. And we’ll add one more myth: “the word nonprofit needs a hyphen…” Nope, get rid of that pesky dash!
  5. Advocate. You can find your elected officials online and make your cause known. Write them a letter, email or call them and take your messages and concerns to them. If you work for a nonprofit, here are some conversation guidelines courtesy of DANA:


- I am [Your Name] and I work for [Organization]. Our nonprofit employs [x] people and mobilize [y] volunteers in your district.

- Our missionj is to [Your Mission].

- We can be a resource for you on[Topics]. Please call on us if we can be of assistance.

- We would also like for you to be our guest at [Your Organization] when you are in the district. Please contact me or I am happy to follow up with you to see if we can schedule something.

Do you have a favorite nonprofit? Tell us on Facebook
  Note: UST does not receive compensation for any links in this article, nor is it responsible for the content on any of the sites to which it links. This is purely educational folks!
October 29, 2016

So Your Nonprofit has Strong Leaders…Now What?

Nonprofits tend to attract strong leaders with high aspirations and an unparalleled focus. But without step-by-step workflow procedures, consistent communication or designated responsibilities, even the strongest of leaders won’t be able to improve upon their organization’s effectiveness.

Utilize these 4 methods to create a more balanced and productive workplace:
 
  1. Identify both short and long-term priorities. Creating measurable goals will help your nonprofit measure progress on an annual basis, allowing you to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Prioritizing these goals will keep everyone on the same page and help accomplish objectives at a more efficient pace.
  2. Break down communication barriers. Share your organization’s priorities with all employees whilst ensuring that their current roles contribute to each goal. Don’t forget to encourage cross-department communication to achieve faster, consistent results.
  3. Assign responsibilities so employees maintain ownership. Because employees spend more time and energy devoted to tasks that they’re solely responsible for, give your team members individual responsibilities that directly impact your nonprofit’s goals. This will help alleviate any confusion when employees are determining who’s in charge of what.
  4. Clearly define the work processes. Taking the time to carefully articulate the work procedures will improve consistency and time management. Because your employees will be fully versed in the new processes, they will make less mistakes and develop a greater confidence in their work ethic.


As a nonprofit leader, you have the power to portray change as a necessary evil or an ongoing opportunity. By setting a positive example and carefully managing both your nonprofit’s goals and employees, you can encourage your staff to constantly challenge themselves and broaden their skill sets—increasing overall organizational effectiveness.

Learn more about how to improve leadership and management practices here.
October 25, 2016

How to Distinguish Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Performing small business payroll can be both difficult and critical to effectively avoiding the all-too-tricky claim type, “independent contractor vs employee.”

Nonprofit employers must take the time to learn the distinguishing characteristics of an employee of an organization and an independent contractor, who are self-employed individuals. If and when you make a mistake when classifying these two worker categories, not only will this mix-up lead to high penalties, but you may have to outsource for payroll assistance—costing your organization both valuable time and money.

In general, here’s how you differentiate the two workers:

  • Employee – anyone who performs services and the company can control what is done
  • Independent Contractor – anyone who performs services and the company only has the right to control the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result

To avoid overpayments, rework for the employer and state, and potential investigations from the IRS, employers should use either the ABC Test or the Common Law Test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Both tests are designed to readily identify the worker-employer relationship, focusing on how much control the organization has over a worker and the work accomplished. Check out both the ABC Test and Common Law Test here to ensure your nonprofit’s compliance.

This article was adapted from Equifax Workforce Solutions, UST’s dedicated unemployment claims administrator.

UST members receive exclusive access to an online claims dashboard, e-filing capabilities, a state-specific claims representative and 100% representation at unemployment claims hearings. To find out if your nonprofit qualifies for the UST program, fill out a free Savings Evaluation today or call us at 888-249-4788.

October 17, 2016

[Podcast] Building Capacity and Strengthening Culture

Through the Noise interviewed Elizabeth Scott, CEO of Brighter Strategies, to help nonprofit employers improve their overall effectiveness by building their internal capacity. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts.

Podcast Description: This podcast emphasizes the importance of harnessing the emotional intelligence of staff members so that organization can do the most with what they have. Dr. Elizabeth Scott aims to provide thought leadership and high value organizational development consulting in an effort to strengthen the nonprofit sector.

Brighter Strategies is a non-profit consulting firm that works with non-profit organizations as a “thought partner” to help build capacity and make the most of their greatest asset—their human capital. To learn more about Brighter Strategies, visit their website at www.brighterstrategies.com.

Listen to Podcast button- RGB

To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews

October 13, 2016

Webinar: New Accounting Standards Nonprofits Need to Know

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued the Accounting Standards Update 2016-14, which contains significant changes to not-for-profit accounting standards, focusing on improving, enhancing and simplifying financial statement reporting requirements.

In this 60-minute webinar, Jay Azar, Director of Not-for-Profit Practice Services at Lindquist, LLP, talks about how your organization can begin to prepare your accounting and financial reporting systems for these important changes.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Displaying the current three fund categories of Unrestricted, Temporarily Restricted and Permanently Restricted funds has changed to two fund categories of “Funds Without Donor Restrictions” and “Funds With Donor Restrictions.”
  • Requiring the use of a classified balance sheet and allowing for display of assets with limited use.
  • Requiring that information provided about expenses for the period will be presented both by functional and natural classifications for all not-for-profits.

After watching the presentation, you'll feel more confident and prepared for handling the accounting and financial reporting processes at your nonprofit.

Watch the webinar on-demand now.

This webinar series is part of UST's efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. Sign up to receive UST's monthly eNews for more free learning opportunities just for nonprofits like you!

September 14, 2016

HR Question: Employee Engagement Surveys

Question: What are some tips for developing and conducting an employee engagement survey?

Answer: An employee engagement survey can be a great tool to check the temperature of your culture. When done right, the survey can help you understand the needs of your employees, which in turn benefits productivity, job satisfaction and supports employee retention. It is also an excellent tool to help you calibrate the quality of your leadership as well as your employee relations and talent management programs.

Before you start, however, ensure that the management team is ready to act on the critical feedback you’ll get. Then decide what it is you need to know. Do you want to better understand how your employees view their relationship with management, understand and support the company’s strategic direction, or learn what aspects of their work environment, compensation and benefits, work assignments, and opportunities for learning and advancement are working (or not working)?

Next, determine how you will create, disseminate, tabulate, and communicate the survey process and results. If you’re creating your own survey, consider gathering employees from different areas of the company to formulate the survey questions and include them in the employee communications process to encourage participation. This team can also be instrumental in reviewing the survey results and providing feedback about how those results should be communicated and acted upon.

Another option is to use one of the many online engagement survey tools available in the marketplace. While the questions may not be as personalized to your company issues, you can get the surveys, along with the tabulated results, done quickly.

If you do create the survey in-house, consider these best practice tips:

  • First, determine whether the survey identifies the respondents. Confidential surveys typically yield higher response rates and include more candid feedback. With these surveys, be sure to include department or other group data to assist you later in analyzing feedback and specific action items that may be tied to one group. The decision to include identifying information is generally tied to the level of openness and trust in an organization’s culture.
  • Ask relevant questions. Ask questions that employees can — and want to — answer about their employment relationship with the company.
  • Make it simple and easy to complete. Keep the survey short. Employees may not take the time to complete a lengthy survey with in-depth questions. Save those types of questions for the follow-up action planning.
  • Provide an open comment area. Give employees an opportunity to comment at the end of the survey and add any additional information not covered by the questions.
  • Make the results actionable. Follow up on survey results so employees know they are heard and appreciated.

Encourage participation by using incentives or contests. With more feedback, you’ll have a better picture of your employees’ engagement level. Train your leaders so that they are prepared to use the survey feedback as a gift to improve performance and have productive feedback and performance improvement planning sessions.

Most importantly, don’t ask for employee feedback unless you are willing to do something with the results. Your employees will expect you to implement changes and take action. Let them know how much you value and respect them by listening and acting on their opinions and ideas.

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.

October 02, 2014

Develop a Plan Before Developing Your Nonprofit’s Future Leaders

Your nonprofit may have the time, mentors and training courses needed to mold up-and-coming leaders, but do you have a plan of action that takes full advantage of this developmental support system?

Setting measurable goals and creating systematic procedures for leadership development programs will enable you to address leadership skill gaps at a more efficient pace. Follow these 4 steps to implement an effective leadership development plan, while gaining support from your current management team:
 
  1. Get your Board and other Decision-Makers involved. Have your executive staff participate in the brainstorming process when creating leadership development procedures. If your Board members make leadership strategy a priority, and clearly communicate their expectations, your team can better identify and work toward future leadership objectives.
  2. Identify your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Having a firm understanding of your nonprofit’s mission and organizational priorities is crucial when identifying skill gaps. Once you decide what future leadership capabilities are required, you can begin training internally and/or seeking new leadership candidates.
  3. Continuously raise the bar and increase task ownership. Prospective leaders will accrue most of their knowledge and skills through hands-on learning, rather than formal training. Therefore, you must provide consistent assignments that test their leadership competency by taking them out of their comfort zone and creating a greater sense of accountability. Don’t forget to provide ongoing feedback and recognize their successes.
  4. Review and improve procedures when necessary. Like your leadership candidates, development procedures must be carefully monitored and evaluated. Leadership development plans are often intricate—continue to tweak them so they meet your nonprofit’s specific needs. Taking the time to measure your procedures’ effectiveness, and edit when necessary, will help you build prospective pool of future leaders.


Discover more methods on how to create future leaders here.
September 24, 2014

Emergency Succession Planning: Is your nonprofit ready to stop, drop and roll?

If your Executive Director/CEO, CFO or COO suddenly couldn’t show up to work, would your organization be prepared?

Sometimes it’s sudden, like an accident or health crisis, and other times it’s simply a short term window to prepare for a leader leaving—but it is always important to have a backup plan when it comes to a leader’s absence.

It’s called emergency succession planning, and it’s critical to your organization’s survival.

Like any good emergency plan (think of those fire drills as a kid in school) – there should be clearly laid out steps to your emergency succession plan.  Ready to stop, drop, and roll?  Here are some basic elements to any good leader succession plan:
 
  1. Identify the key responsibilities and functions of the position that would need to be taken over in an emergency loss of a leader.
  2. Who are the people/titles internally who would take over these functions in the interim? Is it one person or multiple?
  3. Create a training and orientation plan for these backups.
  4. Who will the Acting CEO be? Consider whether an Interim CEO would be best for the coming 6-18 months and how you would recruit that role. Best practice states that the Interim CEO should not be an internal employee, so they can be a voice of neutrality for other employees and provide an outside perspective to identify opportunities for improvement.
  5. Determine what the Board’s role in the process will be. How will they be involved in selecting a new CEO, and how will they support the new CEO and the onboarding process?
  6. Have the emergency succession plan reviewed and adopted by your Board.


Learn more about emergency succession planning in this report.
September 19, 2014

The Harsh Yet Necessary Step Toward Nonprofit Growth

Bad habits can be contagious

Even your strongest staff members can be negatively influenced when working with bad employees. Pairing others with someone who is unmotivated and performing inadequately can cause a domino effect of poor performance—making the overall business suffer.

Poor employees could chase away top performers

Top tier employees want to work with others who are just as driven and focused as they are. When talented workers see poor behavior or lack of contribution go unnoticed, they will begin looking for alternative job opportunities—ones where they can work with other high performers and feel more appreciated.

Low performers take up valuable space

By keeping low performing employees, you could be missing out on a new crop of talent. But how can you hire these rockstar candidates if there are no available roles at your organization? Making room for strong individuals who are willing to take initiative and contribute to the team is imperative when building a strong organizational foundation.

Because nonprofits often work with limited budgets and resources, developing and retaining a top-notch staff is key to successfully attaining mission objectives. And while it’s never an easy task to fire a bad employee, you’re doing what’s necessary as a leader to keep your organization moving forward.

Learn more about talent development strategies here.
August 14, 2014

How an Effective Hiring Team can Recruit Top-Notch Employees

The hiring process can be daunting, time-consuming, and burdensome. For nonprofits especially, hiring the best-fit employee the first time around is vital. Often working with a limited budget and smaller staff size, nonprofit organizations must find a candidate that can quickly adapt and effectively work towards mission advancement objectives.

But how do you find the right employee? Simple. Recruit a hiring team internally before recruiting any potential staff.

The hiring team you assemble should be your recruitment backbone—helping you create the hiring timeline, outline specific role responsibilities, and conduct interviews.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when creating and working with your recruitment team:
  1. Select relevant team members—Pick people who have past experience with the incoming employee’s job role, as well as those who will be working with them directly. In general, the larger the organization, the more hiring team members you’ll need.
  2. Assign individual responsibilities—Decide which members are in charge of drafting the job description, advertising the job opening, organizing resumes, interviewing, making the final decision, etc.
  3. Identify current strengths and weaknesses—As a team, identify what your organization’s strategic goals are. What are your employees doing right? Where is there room for improvement?
  4. Decide what skills will address knowledge gaps—Once your hiring team decides what skill gaps exist within your nonprofit, list the specific tasks the new hire will be responsible for. Being honest about your nonprofit’s needs will make it easier when it’s time to write the job description/requirements.
  5. Create a timeline—Create a detailed schedule that maps out your entire hiring process. This should give deadlines for the job description, job promotional efforts, candidate interviews, and the final decision.
  6. Encourage open communication—Maintaining an open dialogue with your recruiting staff will not only build trust, but also lower the risk of making the wrong hiring decision. Listening to both positive and negative feedback can only strengthen future hiring endeavors.


Having the support of a dedicated hiring team can help speed up the hiring process, while increasing efficiency. Knowing when and how to engage your hiring staff can help you identify the best possible candidate for any potential position—giving your nonprofit the edge it needs accomplish mission objectives.

Learn more about how to select and utilize your recruitment team here.
August 08, 2014

Congratulations to the Nonprofits Honored as a Part of The Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50

The 17th annual catalog of The Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 shows an increased emphasis on the effective implementation of a more civil society. Those elected for the honor “illustrates the power of people pushing society for equal access and opportunity…[as] recently it seems that the insistence for inclusion has need ratcheting up and sector leaders have responded.”

Everyone at UST wou

 

ld like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to those included. We’d also like to thank all of the organizations that we work with for continuing to fight the good fight and make a difference for those around them.

See the full list of innovators being recognized by this years’ Power & Influence Top 50 here.

 

August 05, 2014

How to Get Your Employees on Board with Organizational Change

Discomfort; insecurity; apprehension; fear. These are just a handful of emotions people experience when plans for organizational change surface in the workplace. The idea of change tends to scare people because they will be forced to step outside of their comfort zones and embrace the unknown.


Altering such negative perceptions surrounding change requires a heavy emphasis on internal solidarity. And since the only way to effectively maintain change is through widespread support from your staff, learning how to acknowledge and address employee feedback is key. Specifically for nonprofits, internal collaboration is vital when it comes finding new ways to advance one’s mission.

Follow these 5 easy steps to create sustainable changes within your nonprofit:
 
  1. Provide the facts and research—Explain what changes you are looking to achieve, and why. Providing the reasons behind your decisions will help your employees view each change as a necessity. In addition, offering the chance to provide feedback will also give your employees a greater sense of control.
  2. Spend extra time educating the leadership team—Because your staff leaders are in charge of teaching and supporting their employees, it’s important to make sure they understand the logic behind every change that is being implemented.
  3. Move from generalizations to specifics—The ease that comes with everyday tasks can make it difficult to alter employees’ common behaviors. Identifying your employees’ shared behaviors and habits will help you focus on what needs to change within the company culture as a whole.
  4. Embrace the “slow but steady” mentality—In order to create lasting change, recognize that your employees are experiencing a great deal of uncertainty. Allowing your employees to slowly modify their behaviors can help them more readily adjust to ongoing changes.
  5. Share the positive results with everyone—Positive reinforcement is always a great way to preserve change. When they see immediate wins and profit as a direct result of their changes, your employees are likely to stay committed to their changed behaviors.


Change is what keeps nonprofits moving forward. Taking the time to foster cooperation amongst your employees is the easiest way to create lasting change—which provides ongoing opportunity for organizational growth within the nonprofit sector.

Learn more about how to gain employee support for organizational change here.
July 17, 2014

Do Teams Trump Individuals?

A few years ago a social researcher invited a group of 50 or so participants to enter a room full of balloons, find the balloon with their name written on it, and sit down before 5 minutes passed. The scene was chaotic. Not surprisingly, none of the participants were sitting down at the 5 minute mark.

The speaker then asked the participants to perform the search again as a collaborative group. He suggested they each pick up one balloon and find the owner of that balloon.

If you haven’t already heard about the study findings, which recently began to go viral, all of the participants were sitting down, with their unique balloon, well before the 5 minute mark.

For the past couple of decades, researchers have been performing live social experiments like this one to illustrate the power of teamwork and collaborative effort. Out of this body of work has come some pretty powerful information that can improve your organization—and it’s collaborative results—if used well.

Not least among the information sets that have been discovered, is the fact that companies that have the best collaborative teams are 10 times more likely to reach high financial goals as those who don’t. So what is it that makes the best teams?

According to MIT researchers, the best teams:
 
  • Are socially responsive to one another and pick up on one another’s cues and body language,
  • Collaborate and contribute more or less equally,
  • Operate in a climate of safety that encourages creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and
  • Provide candid feedback to one another.


If you’re team is not performing as well as you would like them to, or if your team is fairly homogenous—which researchers have repeatedly found discourages a healthy level of creativity— this article from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) suggests appointing someone within your team to play devil’s advocate.

Other suggestions to improve the collaborative working environment within your team include:
 
  • Anticipate conflicts and set down guidelines for how your team will handle them
  • Encourage your team to socialize outside of work—it’s a shortcut to improving collaboration and allowing teams to become more socially responsive to one another
  • Recognize, reward, and celebrate collaborative behavior
  • Think systematically, but make innovation of the utmost concern
  • Let those who benefit from your organization weigh in from time to time
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