Avoid these traps in your fall fundraising

by Linda M. Czipo

September is here, and for many nonprofits, that can only mean one thing two things: the return of everything pumpkin spice, and the high-gear kickoff of fall and year-end fundraising campaigns. It’s also a great time to make sure that your fundraising strategies and appeals are in compliance with state, federal, and local laws and regulations.

Noncompliance can result in delays, lost funding, or even fines or criminal penalties. With a reminder to always consult knowledgeable legal counsel, here are a few common fundraising traps you’ll want to avoid.

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Today’s Strategies to Boost Employee Retention

by Jill Krumholz

Employee turnover is disruptive and expensive for organizations, in terms of both the dollars spent to recruit and train new hires and the institutional knowledge lost when a trusted employee leaves.

Even further, recent data suggests that there is an employee shortage in the nonprofit workforce overall nationwide — with over 40% of survey respondents reporting vacancies of over 20% of the total number of roles in their organizations— so filling vacated roles could present a challenge.

Jill Krumhoz, RealHR Solutions
Jill Krumholz

These statements suggest that a concentrated focus on retaining your current employees is a worthwhile investment of time and resources. This investment will involve examining and refining core values, identifying the culture you want to create, and building internal employee practices that will positively impact employee retention.

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Ten Website Design Trends for Nonprofits in 2022

by Lynn Gregorski

As with all things marketing, website design trends change over time. What works for the for-profit world in terms of website design may not be what gets users to click through for more information on a nonprofit website.

An effective nonprofit website design engages visitors with the mission, encourages donors, and invites volunteers to get involved, as outlined below.

Lynn Gregorski
Lynn Gregorski
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Reflections on 9/11

9/11 Tribute in Light, 2004. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Following is a reprint of my thoughts in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. As we reflect 20 years later, much has changed profoundly in our world, and yet we are still grappling with so many of the same issues. Through immense crises and relative calm, the non-profit community continues to serve as an essential force for help, healing, relief, inspiration, and positive change.

To everyone who works tirelessly for others, whether one-on-one or on a global scale, thank you. May we continue to work side by side for a better tomorrow for all. We are all in this together for the long haul.

October 1, 2001

The Long Haul

By Linda M. Czipo

In our collective struggle to recover from the devastating events of September 11, we find ourselves aching for some semblance of normalcy and a sense of control over our lives. We find ourselves with an intense desire to help.  We desperately search for some good to come from this unimaginable horror.

If there is a light within the darkness of this crisis, it shines in the incredible bravery, sense of community and indomitable human spirit that has been displayed in the wake of the disaster, and in the thousands of non-profit organizations and volunteers that have answered the call for help. Disaster relief organizations, volunteer fire companies, first aid squads, mental health organizations, crisis counselors, hospitals, religious groups, food banks, fund raising organizations, animal rescue groups and countless others have mobilized swiftly, working in partnership with government officials to address direct needs and channel the outpouring of generosity from a shaken world.

The human and financial toll of the September 11 tragedy could take years to become fully evident.  Non-profits will be there for the long haul, as they have time and time again. And they will need help for the long haul, to address not just the enormous issues that are still unfolding, but with the many others that preceded this catastrophe. New Jersey’s cost of living is still among the highest in the nation.  The gap between the richest and poorest among us is persistent and widening. Our natural resources continue to be endangered. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other health concerns take the lives of thousands of people every year. Our children need nurturing and education, our elderly special care. We need artistic and cultural outlets for our emotions and creativity. The need for dialogue, understanding and tolerance among people of differing backgrounds and appearances is more acute than ever.

With the disaster still fresh in our minds and hearts, it seems as if “normalcy” will never return to us. As so many have noted, when it does it may be markedly different from what we knew before.  But if we allow our lives and our future to be defined and guided solely by what we have lost, then we will have conceded to the enemy. Amidst the horror, we have gained a renewed sense of perspective about what is really important in our lives.  Our challenge is to work together to keep that shared purpose and vision high in our minds and hearts. 

As we try to resume our daily lives, let’s keep our eye on the big picture. Keep volunteering. Keep giving. Remember our neighbors, whether they are across the street, across the ocean, in lower Manhattan or Appalachia. Remember those causes that we supported before and which continue to depend on us. There are so many opportunities to make a difference. Together, we can sustain the spirit that has always helped us through our darkest hours. If we do, we will have won one of the biggest battles in the war on terrorism. 

Attack on Democracy

Photo by https://unsplash.com/@andrewruiz

In the wake of yesterday’s horrific events in our nation’s capital, we condemn the violent attacks on our democracy by those attempting to overturn a duly held election and to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.

We are also compelled to echo others’ observations regarding the deep-seated racial dynamics underlying these events. The violence and seditious behavior that took place was unacceptable. Yesterday’s events were the culmination of years of enforced inequality, suppression, and differing sets of expectations of behavior for different racial, ethnic, and religious groups. Hard work lies ahead to preserve and strengthen our democracy, to ensure accountability, to confront and dismantle the racial disparities and white supremacy that have culminated in this tragedy.

As we move ahead from this dark day, our thoughts are with our neighbors in Washington, D.C. and the representatives, staffers and all workers in the capitol, and with the media who are bearing witness every day. Together we can and must move closer to restoring civil society, upholding the principles of democracy and fulfilling the greatest aspirations of our country.

Linda Czipo
Debbie Duncan
Caitlin Giles-McCormick
Cathy Hawn
Susan Merrill O’Connor
Doug Schoenberger

Is your board ready to intentionally embrace DEI?

by Yvette R. Murry, MSW, LCSW

Yvette R. Murry
Yvette R. Murry

Conversations regarding diversity, equity and inclusion abound these days.  A few colleagues and I were bandying about what is essential to ensure not just diversity and equity, but actually an understanding of the big “I”: interconnectedness and interdependence.

During the conversation, I shared with my colleagues from a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds one of my experiences of intention.  I had been a university administrator and faculty member for many years and actively engaged in university-community partnerships.  I served on a number of local and statewide boards that addressed and supported these partnerships.  

One day, I was approached by a close respected colleague from across the country to join the prestigious national board that set policy for university-community engagements.  I was thrilled!  I knew that I was likely to be one of the only faces of color in the room, but that is what was often the case in many of the rooms I inhabited.

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Shared Space and the Future of the Non-Profit Office

By Sean Jackson and Jacquelin Giacobbe

As New Jersey enters Phase II of our COVID-19 re-opening plan, non-profit leaders are beginning to plan for what their “new normal” will look like, both in the short-term COVID environment and beyond. What can the past three months tell us about the future of non-profit work?

In many ways, the COVID pandemic has showcased the resilience of non-profits. We prepared for remote work with a few days’ notice, adapting to use google docs, virtual meetings, and new online systems with relative ease. Even our self-proclaimed “tech illiterate” staff learned how to use video conferencing software and set up new processes for (frankly, outdated) paper requisitions, timesheets, and other systems. If you had asked non-profit leaders on February 1st how quickly we could jump into the 21st century, this would have been unimaginable for most.

For Most, the Hybrid Office is Here to Stay

For advocates of “untethering” yourself to an office from 9-5, the shift to remote work and flexibility has been a welcome change. Some organizations may look at the experiment of the past three months and decide that their office can stay remote permanently. We’ve seen that trend with internet companies, such as Square and Twitter. In addition, remote work has been correlated with increased productivity and improved job satisfaction.

However, for most non-profits, a fully remote office is impractical, if not impossible. We meet with service recipients in person, provide after school services to at-risk youth, offer case management and life skills, plant gardens together, provide emergency housing and more. Online services may work for some programs, but there are certain elements of human interaction that can’t be captured through a screen.  And much of the “magic” of collaboration between colleagues and departments happen informally – a chat in the breakroom, an impromptu meeting.

A hybrid office will be the solution for most non-profits.  We’ll want to balance short-term social distancing and safety needs and the benefits of working remotely with mission critical work and a culture of connectedness. For your office, that may mean some departments stay home permanently, a rotating schedule of employees in the office, or something in the middle. 

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Taking Action Against Racism: A Non-Profit Imperative

“If my life doesn’t matter, then my voice certainly doesn’t.”

That gut-wrenching statement came from a non-profit executive, a woman of color who is a titan in her field and one of the most effective leaders I know. We were on a call with colleagues, discussing the widespread outrage against systemic racism, and the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, another senseless killing of an unarmed Black person.  Urging us all to speak up and take stronger action in this fight, she noted that her voice is being dismissed by some as suspect or “self-serving.”

As non-profits, our entire reason for being is to make society better by our missions and deeds. As part of that promise, we have a responsibility to advance an equitable society, to shine a bright light on the harsh reality of systemic racism and injustice and to actively work against it. If we are avoiding or sidestepping those realities, we are not living up to that promise.

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Condemning Racism: A Statement from the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

Logos of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and the Center for Non-Profits

As the leaders of the major philanthropic and non-profit membership organizations in New Jersey, representing both the wide range of non-profit groups and the multi-faceted funders of those groups, we feel compelled to speak out against the hateful responses we and our members have witnessed in reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Our country has seen countless examples of selfless sacrifice and good works over the past month, both on individual and institutional levels. We are proud that our members have been leaders in responding to the needs of our community.

But, to our distress, some individuals have used the pandemic to put forward their bias and hatred toward their fellow human beings. 

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Coronavirus, Non-Profits, and General Health

Last reviewed/updated 4/24/2020

For the latest Coronavirus information from the State of New Jersey, visit covid19.nj.gov.

For more information and resources for non-profits, visit the Center’s COVID-19 resource page.

Our deep thanks to all who responded to our surveys with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers about how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting your organization.
March survey results April survey results
Our message to Governor Murphy, legislative leaders:
Include non-profits in your
COVID-19 relief
Read our statement

NJ Non-Profit Community Letter to Congress:
non-profit relief in the next CARES Act
Read the letter
March 25: Governor Murphy has issued an executive order directing all child care centers that are not serving essential workers to close down by April 1, 2020.
March 21: Governor Murphy has ordered the physical closure of all non-essential retail businesses, and has directed all New Jerseyans to stay at home wherever possible. The order further directs that employers, including non-profits, must, wherever practicable, accommodate tele-work or work from home arrangements. “To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.” Read more here: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/general-public/governor-murphy-announces-statewide-stay-at-home-order-closure-of-all-non-essential-retail-businesses

With the news changing rapidly and the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey growing, non-profits may have questions about the potential impact and what actions can be taken.

Photograph of hand washing. Hands are covered with soapy lather.
Frequent, thorough handwashing is still one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of contagious disease.

The virus is being watched closely around the globe, but depending on how the outbreak spreads, non-profits may potentially face a wide range of impacts, such as:

  • increased and sustained staff and volunteer absences,
  • disruption of services to your clients and communities,
  • disruption of supplies or services provided by your partners,
  • cancellation of programs or events (and corresponding reduced revenue),
  • increased demand for services/support from your clients and communities,
  • budgetary implications related to strains on the economy or possible changes in funders’ priorities or financial portfolios.

As is the case with so many situations, accurate information, preparedness, good planning, prevention, and communications are paramount.  Bearing in mind that we are not health professionals and that information can change rapidly, following are general suggestions for your consideration.

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