Study: Major flaws impair fundraising
Many nonprofits are caught in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise funds, according to UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising.
The recent study, a joint project of service provider CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, surveyed 2,700 executive directors and development directors. It found that fundraising weaknesses include a lack of qualified candidates for the development director position as well as high levels of turnover and lengthy vacancies in that job. The study also reveals deeper problems at many nonprofits, including the lack of basic fundraising systems and inadequate attention paid to fund development by key board and staff leaders.
Suggested “calls to action” that might break the cycle include embracing fund development across the nonprofit sector and elevating the field of fundraising — that is, turning it into a “respected and rewarding career.” For more information on the study, see CompassPoint.org.
UBI tax reporting violations
The Exempt Organization (EO) arm of the IRS is examining a “statistically valid sample” of nonprofits this year to see if those reporting substantial gross unrelated business income (UBI) for the last three years also are reporting income tax due for those years.
Last year the EO completed compliance checks of 400 organizations that had reported taxable UBI activities on their Forms 990 but hadn’t filed Form 990-T, “Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return.” The investigation resulted in the EO securing about 140 delinquent returns and more than $260,000 in tax payments. The agency says it’s concerned again this year about whether nonprofits are accurately reporting their sources of UBI and correctly allocating and deducting the expenses associated with it.
Giving Library expands video collection
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s (LJAF’s) Giving Library plans to increase its collection of online videos to as many as 850 charities this year. The Giving Library, a research tool for matching foundation grantmakers and individual donors with organizations, hopes to add up to 600 nonprofits by year end.
Each organization’s profile includes two videos: a short overview that provides an understanding of its mission and programs, and a Q&A video interview designed to model an in-depth, face-to-face meeting between a donor and the nonprofit. The LJAF covers all participant expenses, including transportation to a Houston production studio and, if necessary, overnight lodging.