Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Help Your Nonprofit Advocacy?

A co-worker recently sent me this website, http://www.helpyourhospital.org/. This advocacy website was started in response to Governor Paterson's proposed budget cuts. When you visit the site, you are prompted to enter your zip code. The website then relates how much your regional hospitals stand to lose in funding cuts. The website delivers an immediate and powerful message. What do you think about developing a website like this for the Oneida and Herkimer nonprofit sector? Can you see the value in this resource as a response to proposed tax or service fees by the city of Utica or the Oneida and Herkimer county governments? Share your thoughts here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Area charities see donations drop

The Observer-Dispatch featured an article on how area charities are finding themselves short of their fundraising goals this season, yet facing even more need than in years past. The article also relates how some past donors are now even seeking assistance from organizations. How is your nonprofit responding to these challenges?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Proposed Budget Impact on Your Nonprofit?

How are nonprofits responding to recent budget announcements and proposed cuts? What is the reaction in your local community? Advocacy is more important than ever for the nonprofit sector, especially when facing growing needs and significant cutbacks. Some are even criticizing the Governor for not making larger budget decreases, as this recent editorial in The NY Post relates. The author highlights funding areas, like the New York State Council on the Arts, as missed opportunities for savings. NYSCA is a statewide funder that supports arts and museums throughout NY. Interested in sharing your feedback? Post your comment here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NYS 2009 Budget Announced

Gov. Paterson released a $121 billion budget today that proposes $4 billion in new fees and taxes. Examples are:
  • An "iPod tax" that charges state and local sales tax for "digitally delivered entertainment services" - in other words, that new song you download.
  • State sales tax at movie theaters, sporting events, taxis, buses, limousines and cable and satellite TV and radio.
  • Costlier driving with the repeal of the 8-cents-per-gallon sales tax cap on motor and diesel motor fuel, plus and increase in the auto rental tax.
  • Tuition increases as SUNY and CUNY, $620 and $600 a year respectively.
  • A 50 cent tax on cigars. The current tax is equal to 37% of the wholesale price, or 34 cents a cigar.
  • No more sales tax break on clothes and shoes worth $110 or less, except during two weeks a year.
  • Higher taxes on wine, beer and flavored malt beverages. He would also impose an 18% tax on non-nutritional drinks like soda.
  • The rich would pay more for luxury items through an additional 5% tax imposed on cars costing more than $60,000, aircraft costing more than $500,000, yachts costing at least $200,000 and jewelry and furs costing in excess of $20,000.
  • In addition, a host of a fees, including those related to motor vehicle licensing and registration, parks and auto insurance, would go up, as would various state-imposed fines.

Read more about the budget in today's Observer-Dispatch.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Uticas Not Dead!

I recently received this e-mail below concerning the group Utica's Not Dead that met this evening. Is anyone aware of this effort or other groups like it? Social networks like this might be a good connection for nonprofits to connect to or approach. Any other thoughts?

Hey All,
Just a reminder the meeting for U.N.D. is today Tuesday December 9, 2008 at 5PM at The Tramontane Cafe. I have an agenda and will try to have a couple copies available today . Hope to see you there!
PS. After the meeting (which will not be as long as the first) if you are looking for some excitement UTICA COLLEGE HOCKEY at 7PM just might do the trick!
Katie Giacovelli
Utica's Not Dead

Monday, December 8, 2008

Succession Planning Survey

Hello Everyone,

I have recently been accepted as a Fellow in a Program call "Ladder to Leadership" - sponsored by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. This is a 16 month program and our group has chosen to work on Succession Planning. As we begin to formulate our project it is essential to see where our community is with succession planning in their organizations. Below please find a link to a survey to help us gather this information. The survey will take 10-15 minutes of your time and the information will be greatly appreciated.


Thank you for your time and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Cassandra Sheets, LMSW
Executive Director
Mohawk Valley Council on Alcoholism/Addictions, Inc.
502 Court Street
Utica, NY 13502

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 3rd ED Meeting Recap

The final meeting for 2008 was held on December 3rd at Mid-York Child Care Coordinating Council. Twelve participants joined in a discussion and overview of the ED skill inventory project the Group recently implemented. Participants each took an opportunity to go over their answers from the inventory and highlight additional information. Some of the input shared at the meeting included Rescue Mission's Bill Dodge and his overview of available staff training, such as workplace violence training. Other feedback was related by Brenda Episcopo from Peacemaker Program, who discussed their child advocacy and dispute resolution skill areas. Peacemaker Program staff also work in 4 areas of conflict resolution, which include: conflict in the workplace; family and generational conflict, kids and teens conflict; and conflict among younger children. Examples of other nonprofit skill areas discussed were: RCIL's Sylvia Bunce and strategic planning; Junior Junction, Inc.'s Debbie George and Mid-York Child Care Coordinating Council's Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen and time management and multi-tasking; Central NY Labor Agency's Debra Hagenbuch and general employee training and support; and Sonia Martinez and Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc. and community organizing and advocacy.

Interested in seeing the inventory results so far? Click here. The response to the inventory has been very positive, and the Group will continue to collect input and refine this working document. If you haven't completed the survey yet, do so here.

The ED meeting wrapped up with a discussion of possible 2009 program ideas. Ideas discussed were:
  • 990 revision
  • Personnel policy manual and employee issues
  • Strategic planning templates/strategic vision
  • Board recruitment and development
  • Team building

Have other suggestions for programs? Share them here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Virtual Golf Tournament Anyone?

As nonprofits make plans for 2009 fundraising events and activities, are organizations thinking about new approaches of raising money? A news announcement by MVPNetwork.com, a company that develops online multi-player games, brought this question to mind. The company has developed Golden Fairway, a video golf game simulator with real 18 hole online multiplayer game competition. The interesting idea is that charity fundraiser golf events are held at Golden Fairway on a regular basis. Could this be the future of golf tournaments and other special events? Would an event like this be feasible? If you are thinking about a new or different approach for 2009, share your feedback.