Attack on Democracy

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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

FIVE Reasons to Embrace Non-Profit News Media

by Susan Merrill O’Connor

Where do you get your news? Or should I ask, how do you avoid all the noise these days but still stay informed?

While we may not agree on the origin of the word newsNews

The one thing we can agree on is that when it comes to non-profit news outlets, we should all want them to stick around.

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Non-Profit Internship Programs Don’t Have to be Scary – Steps for Organizations and for Prospective Interns

Jamayrah Moore

By Jamayrah Moore

As non-profit leaders know, there are countless hats to be worn at most organizations, but only a few heads to wear them. With that in mind, a great way to keep your employees from becoming hat racks is investing in the time to create and implement an internship program.

Internships, especially academic internships, can be immeasurably beneficial to both the organization as well as the intern. Sure, with interns there can be a huge age gap between the staffers you currently have and the interns, as well as their lack of experience, and more. You also need to be mindful of  potential liability issues before you undertake a program.  And while the process may be tedious, with a little up-front planning, the return on your investment will be worth it. It’s an opportunity for non-profits to gain fresh perspectives, scope out future employees, and increase productivity.

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Looking for Collective Stories in Black History Month

by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

[As Black History Month draws to a close, we would like to share this thought-provoking piece from our 2017 conference morning speaker, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, co-director of Building Movement Project.  It originally ran in 2014 and is reprinted with permission.]

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

This past week, an article about Black History Month by Theodore Johnson in The Atlantic really moved me. Johnson writes that our focus on historical icons makes this month of celebration too disconnected from people’s everyday experience. I share his concern on a personal level but as someone with a particular focus on organizations, I also worry that our tendency to present Black history through the lens of “extraordinary human beings” obscures the importance of groups of regular people coming together, creating community and establishing the infrastructure needed to not just make change but defend and sustain it. There’s another way to tell our history and understand progress – through the lens of collective stories, shared leadership, and the slow, steady march toward justice.

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The New Federal Tax Law and New Jersey Non-Profits

by Linda M. Czipo

IRS Form 1040 2017The new tax law, the measure formerly known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” represents the most comprehensive overhaul of the federal tax system in decades. Although the full impact of the law is still unfolding, most of the law’s provisions are effective as of January 1, 2018, so non-profits need to take steps now to understand and adapt to the changes. Following is a discussion of some of the key elements of the law affecting 501(c)(3) organizations, as well as some elements that did not make it into the final statute.

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In the aftermath of Charlottesville

Like the rest of the country, we have been horrified at the events in Charlottesville, VA, and their aftermath, and we are alarmed at the emboldening, both explicit and subtle, of rhetoric and actions of hate that have no place in our society.

We join in the call for our elected leaders to voice their condemnation for hate and racism and to act boldly and swiftly in taking affirmative measures to combat it.

As non-profits, we all have a special responsibility to promote and live up to the ideals of a fair, just and equitable society, not only in our words and external actions, but also in our internal practices. This means not only calling out hatred and injustice, holding our leaders accountable, and engaging communities in honest dialogue, but also taking a frank look within our own organizations and sector and taking steps to identify and remove the barriers to opportunity, access, and leadership.

At the Center, we have been laying the groundwork for a number of initiatives that we will be sharing publicly in the near future. 

We stand in support of all who are striving to make the ideals of our society a reality for all, and we will redouble our efforts to advance those ideals.


Feeling Burned Out? 7 Steps to Get Back Your NGO Mojo

Yvette R. Murry
Yvette R. Murry

by Yvette R. Murry

You’re probably so busy that you don’t have time to read this post. But, please stop multi-tasking and resist the pull to check your phone.

I have an important question: Lately, when you walk into your non-profit job in the morning, what’s the first feeling that hits you?

If your answer was some variant of “stress,” you’re not alone. According to the World Health Organization, stress causes 300 billion dollars in lost productivity each year for US businesses due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and employee turnover. Over 75 percent consider it to be a major concern; half aren’t taking vacations; and half are looking for new jobs.

Non-profit employees are certainly no strangers to workplace stress. Whether your organization is large or small, your employees are likely to wear several hats. You may wear at least 10 yourself, from running board meetings to changing toilet paper rolls. But even big-hearted, tolerant, non-profit staff have a breaking point.

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2017 NJ Non-Profit Survey: Rising Demand, Resource Gaps, and Opportunities

by Linda M. Czipo

TNJ Non-Profits 2017: Trends and Outlook Cover Thumbnailhe Center for Non-Profits has been surveying the New Jersey non-profit community at least annually since 2001 to gauge the effects of the economy, funding and programmatic trends, and other issues in our field. This year’s report, New Jersey Non-Profits 2017: Trends and Outlook, based on the responses from 300 organizations, reveals familiar themes as well as some new concerns and opportunities.

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President’s “Free Speech and Religious Liberty” Executive Order is a Lose-Lose for Everyone

by Linda M Czipo

The White House - Photo © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons
Photo © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons

On May 4, President Trump signed an Executive Order declaring the executive branch’s goal to “vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” Of particular interest to the broad-based charitable community is a provision that purports to make it easier for religious institutions to engage in partisan political speech and electioneering – activities that are prohibited for 501(c)(3) organizations under the “Johnson Amendment.” (Another provision concerns whether insurance companies must cover contraception for individuals if their employers opt out for religious reasons.)

The Center for Non-Profits, the National Council of Nonprofits, hundreds of other national non-profit and faith leaders, and nearly 4500 organizations across the country (including 174 in New Jersey) have come out strongly and repeatedly against weakening the Johnson Amendment, which the President vowed on the campaign trail and in his first weeks in office to “totally destroy.”

The President’s Executive Order is likely to face legal challenges from a variety of organizations, some of which reportedly are already in the process of preparing their legal filings. But in the meantime, what does it actually say, and what does it mean for 501(c)(3) organizations? Arguably, it says and means both nothing and everything simultaneously.

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