Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cultural Blueprints Explores Regional Priorities

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) convened a Cultural Blueprint session in Utica this week. Hosted by the newly renovated Stanley Center for the Arts, this session, like others already implemented throughout NY, was held to gather input from the Mohawk Valley on arts and culture and economic development. The info from these public forums will help create strategies and opportunities for the arts to serve as a "catalyst for cultural, economic and community development."

On the surface this meeting may have focused on the arts, but the topics were applicable to all nonprofits. Brainstorming discussions were held on: infrastructure; intellectual capital and workforce development; international; investment and financial models; and image/identity. Partnerships and collaborations were a clear theme, and NYSCA will be posting the other outcomes and suggested action ideas on the Cultural Blueprint blog. This information will be invaluable to the Oneida and Herkimer ED Group in their future efforts.

Take a look at this resource and share any thoughts on ideas that the Group may want to explore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nonprofit Executive Director Skill Inventory

The Steering Committee meeting conversation today focused on what the upcoming Dec 3rd meeting should focus on and what 2009 priorities should be. A suggestion was made to revisit previous program ideas and discussion from the MVCC program. The Committee discussed a need to get more info from each other in order to better coordinate efforts and programs. Such efforts will help the Group meet around emerging nonprofit and community needs, such as the current food shortage, economic issues, or possible funding cutbacks. The Committee also discussed outreach efforts and the need to need a basic promotional piece for the ED Group.

December 3 Program Focus:
In advance of the upcoming meeting, the Committee plans to implement a survey of executive directors' skills and expertise in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. This survey will also include relevant staff skills. This inventory will aid directors in the ED Group to be aware of possible resources for their organizations and their staff.

The Dec 3rd meeting will feature the results of this survey, which will be distributed. The meeting will also focus on setting the program dates and focus for 2009. The meeting is set for 8:30 am and will be hosted by Mid-York Child Care Coordinating Council located at 121 Second St in Oriskany.


Monday, October 20, 2008

40 Below summit draws 550 people

40 Below had their summit on over the week end. Here is a link to press coverage. This Group of 40 and younger professionals from the Syracuse region continues to evolve in focus and activities. More importantly, there is a tremendous value in such a Group for the nonprofit community. Such groups can offer nonprofits access to potential board members, volunteers, or even donations. Locally, the Genesis Young Professionals are active, and have an upcoming event, Strive Conference: Why We Call the Mohawk Valley Home!, taking place on October 23rd. Stay tuned for more updates.

Nonprofits Fear Lean Times

Here is a NY Times article relating how museums are contemplating the impact of the economy. The article discusses the sense of worry among museums, but not much in detail on how they are preparing. It would be fair to say that all nonprofits are contemplating the same issues. In fact, a recent survey of Connecticut nonprofits shows active cutbacks and hiring freezes. Facing budget cuts and a possible decrease in donations, how are you proactively addressing these issues? How do organizations replace decreasing funding sources?

How about some ideas to prime the pump? Not one to reinvent the wheel, read John Haydon's blog post about this topic. And one more suggestion: Network for Good's Katya Andresen offers Six Ways to Survive the Economic Storm. Or Joanne Fritz's article, The Nonprofit Hard Times Survival Guide. Take a look at and search the tag tougheconomy for other articles that we've began tagging. Join us in tagging or post your suggestions here.

On a side note about funding, in recent years Peer-to-Peer Lending companies have become a growing trend. Basically, these sites build on the idea of social networking. At the very foundation, these online companies allow individuals to solicit loans and on the other side, individuals to make loans. Have any nonprofits investigated these sources for lending or financing? Here is recent post about Peer-to-Peer Lending companies from Brad Stone, author of the Bits Blog (Business Innovation Technology Society) with the NY Times.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Economic troubles affect non-profits

The Evening Telegram featured an article recently about the economy's impact on local nonprofits. As nonprofits in Oneida and Herkimer Counties prepare for budget impacts, what are ways that organizations can work together to address these challenges? Should this be a topic for discussion at the next program meeting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Report on Outlook for Foundation Giving

With the economic downturn causing belt tightening across the US, many nonprofit executive directors are worried about the impact on their organizations. One of the main issues of concern is funding. A recent report issued by the Foundation Center gives some hope that there won't necessarily be a big decline in grants from foundations. You can read The Chronicle of Philanthropy's perspective on this report here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bailout Bill and Tax Extenders Become Law: IRA Charitable Rollover Extended

Posted from NCNA policy update:

On October 3, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (HR 1424), the highly controversial $700 billion bailout bill that also became the vehicle for resolving the long-standing Senate and House stalemate on paying for the tax extenders. The Senate tacked the $150 billion tax extenders package on to the bailout bill, which the House then passed with - among other things - the critical one year patch for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to prevent taxes from increasing on many higher income families never intended to be covered by the AMT.

The tax extenders package included the IRA Charitable Rollover which allows taxpayers to make tax-free contributions from their IRA plans to qualified charitable organizations. Other charitable giving incentives extended include a charitable deduction for business contributions of food inventories; and enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of book inventories and qualified computer contributions. The bill extends these provisions through 2009, effective for distributions after December 31, 2007.

Midwest flood disaster relief included temporary tax relief provisions ending on December 31, 2008, that mirrored the Katrina relief: providing for enhanced corporate and individual charitable contribution deductions, an enhanced charitable mileage rate at 70% of the standard mileage rate, and an income tax exclusion for volunteer mileage reimbursements - but the latter two are limited exclusively to volunteers providing relief in ten Midwestern states due to floods, tornadoes, or severe storms that occurred between May 20 and August 1, 2008.

Friday, October 3, 2008

HR Advice: Internal Candidates

Human resources and employee retention have been topics of discussion amongst the Group this year. We are always looking for advice and resources that can help in the hiring employees. When a position opens, do you look internally first? This recent article from Bridgestar discusses the associated issues when considering an internal candidate for a management level position in your nonprofit. Do you have any advice or feedback about looking at internal candidates? Share your feedback here.

Nonprofits Listed on

Would The Observer-Dispatch consider a venue on their website for nonprofits to share information and resources with their readers? A recent article relates how this very thing has happened with the Houston Chronicle. This newspaper, by utilizing technology from good2gether, has launched the Do Good Channel on good2gether is a CCSNYS partner, and Founder/CEO Greg McHale was the keynote speaker at our annual Money for Mission conference. The development of this resource is a huge success for nonprofits. It validates nonprofits as essential resources and sources of information for everyday readers. A win-win for everybody, nonprofits gain tremendous exposure and the Houston Chronicle has more content and resources to provide their readers.

Our recent media panel program has opened a new door between nonprofits and our regional media. Does our future have the possibility of a Do Good Channel in The Observer-Dispatch? Or how about a video channel for nonprofits with WKTV? Let's bring this idea to the attention of our media, and show how we can make this a win-win for everyone.