Category Archives: Ernest Stambouly

Thoughts on the Impact of the Coronavirus on Nonprofits

Ernest Stambouly

At a recent Executive Directors forum, the most pressing topic for conversation was the effects on the Coronavirus on nonprofits, and what to do with their upcoming scheduled events and campaigns.

The following article was shared by one of our forum members, Carrie Buck, Executive Director at Homeless Intervention Shelter House. 

Why Nonprofits Must Be Included in a COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus Package

Nonprofits Are Significant Employers

Nonprofits employ 12.3 million people (the third largest workforce – tied with manufacturing), with payrolls exceeding those of most other U.S. industries, including construction, transportation, and finance. A substantial portion of the nearly $2 trillion nonprofits spend annually is the more than $826 billion they spend on salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes every year. Yet, in multiple disaster relief laws in the past, Congress has ignored this core economic fact and approved employment related tax credits that left nonprofit employers and employees out of the provisions.

Policy Solution: Any employment-focused relief or stimulus legislation must expressly apply to employment at tax-exempt organizations by making tax credits and deductions applicable not just to income taxes, but to the taxes nonprofit pay, such as unrelated business income taxes and payroll taxes.

Most Nonprofits Are Small Businesses

Most nonprofits are relatively small: 97 percent of nonprofits have budgets of less than $5 million annually, 92 percent operate with less than $1 million a year, and 88 percent spend less than $500,000 annually for their work. Thus, the “typical” nonprofit is community-based, serving local needs. Also, relatively few nonprofits have an endowment and most have limited reserves — about 50 percent have less than one month of cash reserves.

Policy Solution: Nonprofits must be expressly included in tax and other relief targeted to small businesses.

Nonprofits Are on the Frontlines of Coronavirus Response

No one doubts that hospitals, community health centers, and senior living communities will continue to be hit hard by the coronavirus. Most of those organizations are charitable nonprofits. And many other nonprofits are responding to the outbreak, such as local Meals on Wheels which are serving their normal community of elderly people and a growing number of individuals under quarantine. The list goes on to include nonprofit food banks, shelters, domestic violence services, houses of worship, early care and education centers, after-school facilities, and more that are being called on to feed, house, and care for people whose lives have been disrupted by closures, job loss, and sickness.

Policy Solution: Funds are needed to pay for the increased costs and demand for services arising because our economy and safety net was not built for a pandemic of this degree.

Nonprofits Are Experiencing Declining Economic Activities

Just as travel, restaurant business, and tourism have dropped off, so has the community engagement and related services of many nonprofits that promote and serve a vibrant economy. ASAE reports that meetings convened by all types of nonprofit associations in the United States annually attract more than 250 million attendees, contribute nearly half a trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product, and directly support 5.9 million jobs.v Many of those jobs will likely disappear in the coming weeks. As will the jobs and revenues lost as a result of closed productions at concert halls and theaters large and small, curtailed training sessions and other educational programming, cancelled fundraising events where many nonprofits earn significant mission dollars through attendance and sponsorships, and diminished attendance at cultural, religious, and community events. All of these activities are essential to a healthy economy and deserving of stimulus.

Policy Solution: Any economic stimulus proposals aimed at helping adversely affected industries and geographic areas must recognize the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofits Are in Every Community Ready to Serve

Everywhere in America, charitable nonprofits are already in place serving the needs of residents. Every dollar granted, donated, or earned goes back into the community immediately to address clear and present problems. Nonprofits are our economy’s shock absorber when crisis hits. Dollars devoted to nonprofits – whether through new appropriations or expanded charitable giving incentives – will be spent immediately on solutions and recirculated in local communities.

Policy Solution: Congress should ensure communities are able to support their local nonprofits during this crisis by enacting a targeted, temporary giving incentive that enables all residents, regardless of whether they claim itemize deductions, to receive a tax incentive for giving to the work of charitable nonprofits responding to, or suffering from, the coronavirus.

[ The original article can be found on the Council of Non-Profits website. ]

Author: Ernest Stambouly, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Modern Technologies Hold a Promising Outlook for the Nonprofit

Ernest Stambouly

 

Young entrepreneurs are exhibiting an affinity to businesses endowed with human qualities, the type that fuels the missions of non-profit organizations, qualities antithetical to cultures found in for-profit big business: sharing, cooperative, generous, transparent, ethical, open, collaborative, democratic, equitable and inclusive.

A growing sense of solidarity and consensus-forming amongst young entrepreneurs is giving rise to a worldwide wave of entrepreneurial drive to apply “radically advanced technologies” in the spirit of public obligation, the mainstay of the non-profit organization. What they’re doing is sort of weird to our common sense; it is almost as if they are automating these strictly human qualities to power their mission. The “radically advanced technologies” in question are completely foreign, or vaguely familiar, to most of us: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and distributed collaborative organizations.

Here is an example. To see what fundraising might look like in the near future, watch Dana Max’ brief presentation of his External Revenue Service online business: https://livestream.com/internetsociety/platformcoop/videos/104521598 (forward to time 01:02:30).

For those serving nonprofit arts organizations, ArtsPool might peek your interest. It’s a cooperative organization providing radically affordable financial management, workforce administration, and compliance.

Additional examples: GiveTrack from BitGive, and Helperbit.

We are looking at new ways to solve social problems, aided by radical technologies, and relying the power the “network effect”, which has already given rise to unprecedented breakthroughs, such as, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, Safecast, and Wikipedia.

This post is an invitation to support this type of socially groundbreaking efforts, and leapfrog into the 21st Century, because the marketplace is already looking very, very different than the way most of us are still administering our organizations and thinking about innovation.

We need to see these fresh social movements thrive, so we must grant them our attention and spread the word, because they represent higher possibilities for you, me, and for the non-profit sector in the upcoming years.

I’ve been in high technology and innovation all my career. There is a sprouting trend, I noticed, to utilize advanced technologies for serving public good. And it will lead to a global transformation that is predicted to mature by year 2020. Now is the time to participate, invest, and jump in.

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Ernest Stambouly is a Transition Coach, author, small-business owner, and member of the Executive Coaches of Orange County, bringing high technology to social enterprise. Email ernest@erneststambouly.com

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/erneststambouly/

Google is Watching! Proof of Popularity is True Relationships

Ernest Stambouly

Ernest Stambouly

 

Your organization’s Website is your uber-means to power your mission with a valued identity and expanded social recognition. For that, your Website needs “ranking”, which is based on popularity and traffic. Organizations go to a great extent contriving their popularity on the Web by technical means. But this is precisely where most get it wrong! (non-profits as well as for-profit businesses).

They get it wrong because of how they relate to technology. So let us work with a different philosophy of relatedness to technology.

Technology extends our human capacities.

What does this mean? We use a telephone to extend our ability to converse over distances, and we use binoculars to see over far distances. We use weapons to increase military power beyond the reach of our arms and the strength of our muscles, and we use computers to coordinate and generate business transactions in the global marketplace in unprecedented volumes.

With that understanding, how can you truly use your Website to power your mission?

Stop looking at your website as a collection of technical parts, and start relating to it as the extension of your capacities and abilities to fulfill your mission.

Your Website extends your spread: your identity, the statement of your mission and your capacity to offer value. It also extends your clients’ ability to reach out to you, and facilitates donors to spread their love.

For Website ranking, it turns out that Google watches specifically according to that philosophy. Google wants to help you and your clients connect with relevance, meaning and purpose – and prevent the contrivers or rankings who offer no true value from getting popular on Google searches – and consequently pushing your important cyber presence to the obscurity of the second search page. It is a competitive cyberspace and you are in it whether you thrive on competition or not.

#1 – Think of technology as extended human capacity

Say your customary activity for sustained fundraising is to first nurture a trust relationship with potential donors, keep showing up, and establish meaning before you make requests for donations. Think about having your Website do exactly that; it expands your spread by orders of magnitude and lowers the cost of engaging for both parties.

#2 – Help Google and other search engines establish your credibility, trustworthiness and value

Introducing yourself, your spouse and your two lovely children to a wealthy philanthropist at a gala inevitably creates a social relatedness of care and trust. That would be a fruitful beginning of a well-nurtured donor relationship. On the other hand – to use an extremity example – if another person walked to that same philanthropist and introduced himself along with the posse of lovely escorts accompanying him, it would be the beginning of a different relationship, but not likely the nurture of ethics that leads to a caring donation.

The World Wide Web is full of pretenders with a large posse of fake escorts implemented as meaningless links between Websites. To increase your Website ranking, popularity and traffic, you must build your Website links precisely as you build true relationships with people who are influential, ethical and have high social recognition themselves. You want to be part of a large network of Websites related by relevance and meaning. And remember, a relationship is one-way, not two-way. Therefore, you need to establish one solid relationship in each direction – outgoing and incoming Website links.

Where to start? Of course, engage a Web whiz who understand the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to take care of all the meta-tags and all that good techno mojo. This is necessary, but it is not where business and social value is.

Your value is in your “inventory of true relationships”. Build an inventory of all the organizations, foundations, associations, and businesses that serve a similar cause and community. Add to that inventory all Web directories, partners, helpers, providers, clients, donors, resources sites, relevant blog sites, and family and friends who expressly care about your mission. When you stage public events, make sure you list them on event websites – Eventbrite.com, meetup.com, Facebook has an events feature, and especially event sites relevant to your sector, if any.

To figure out its ranking, Google is looking for proof of your popularity by your true relationships. Reach out to every relationship in your inventory of true relationships, offer to link to them, and request they create a link to your Website in return. And remember that this is only half of the equation. The second half is generating traffic along those links. Traffic is the equivalent to having recurrent conversations with people you relate to. Figure out what that means to your organization for the Website links.

Switching to that technology philosophy will grow you popularity, which will help your mission flourish.

Author:  Ernest Stambouly, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org