A bi-weekly update from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.                                        

HEADLINES 

Collaborating for Impact: 

Report Looks at Successful Outcomes and Inevitable Disconnect of Nonprofit Collaborations  

Collaboration--the buzzword that elicits both hope and fear in the hearts of nonprofit professionals-- can help an organization achieve its goals 
and expand its reach- if done correctly.

 

To gain a better understanding of nonprofit collaborations, the Bridgespan Group joined forces with the Lodestar Foundation to survey hundreds of nonprofit CEOs and foundation officers and produce Making Sense of Nonprofit Collaborations, a look at the frequency and success across a range of formal nonprofit collaborations, including mergers.

 

"Survey participants in Massachusetts reflected the national findings on CEO-Grantmaker disconnects," explains Katie Smith Milway, a Partner at Bridgespan. 

 

"Even though we found high levels of collaboration across the spectrum that largely achieved set goals, there are some important conversations to be had between nonprofits and their funders around support for and barriers to collaboration as well as agreeing on what success looks like, particularly in joint programs." 


The survey asked about each organization's participation in four common types of formal collaboration: associations (including coalitions and community collaboratives), joint programs, shared support functions, and mergers (including subsidiary relationships). Survey results revealed interesting details about the successes and challenges that comprise the landscape of collaboration. 

 

New Job in the New Year?

Whether you're on the hunt for a new job or just keeping tabs on what's out there, be sure to visit MNN's online Career Center. The site includes hundreds of listings ranging from internships to senior-level positions at nonprofits and for-profit companies from across the state and in every subsector.

 

And if you're looking to fill a job, post it in MNN's online Career Center and receive thousands of views each month.

 

Anyone can access the Career Center but only MNN members are allowed to post jobs. MNN members: don't forget you can post an unlimited number of jobs for free! Not a member of MNN yet? Learn more. 

 

Looking Back, Moving Ahead

As you reflect on 2014, and look to the new year, keep these tidbits in mind...

 

In 2014, charitable giving was flat

According to the Blackbaud Index, charitable giving to nonprofits in 2014 was nearly flat. Blackbaud's numbers for giving in September through November 2014 indicate that overall charitable giving increased just 0.1 percent compared to this same period of time in 2013, with online giving increasing 4.4%. This indicates a flattening out compared with overall giving for the year, which increased 1.9% from 2013 with a 10.8% increase in online giving. Small nonprofits saw the greatest increase in overall giving at 4.9% for the year, while large nonprofits saw a decrease of -1.2%, and medium-sized organizations saw 0% growth. You can read a more in depth summary in the NonProfit Times or view the Blackbaud Index. 

 

Millennials transformed the sector, showy billionaires were a burden, and federal government took a backseat to local and state administrations. Oh, and we realized there's no diversity in our own organizations.

The Nonprofit Quarterly makes it easy for us and breaks down the biggest nonprofit stories of 2014. And as NPQ editor Ruth McCambridge deftly states in the article: "Many of the big nonprofit stories of 2014 are obvious and palpable-big chewy knots of things that require an 'all hands on deck' kind of attitude with lots of room for failure and success.  The cross-cutting theme is that these issues are all connected to one another, implying that this is a moment with real possibilities for change..." Read the full article.

 

Moving forward: fundraising predictions for 2015

In the NonProfit Times, Rich Dietz, senior product manager for digital fundraising at Abila Software shares his forecast for 2015 fundraising. He predicts a shift towards tactics that: convert website visitors to donors; engage the millennial generation (note article above); track donor engagement; harness social media and responsive online design; and make storytelling visual (see article below). We agree with Mr. Dietz and suggest you heed his advice.

Start 2015 Off Right
In addition to strengthening MNN's voice on behalf of the sector, membership to the network brings immediate and long-term benefits to your organization:
  • Exclusive invites and discounts to MNN trainings and events 
  • Discounts on trainings from MNN partners including Third Sector New England and Human Service Forum
  • An immediate network of 600+ other nonprofits, and the for-profits that support them, from across the state and in every subsector
  • Discounts on HR, IT, financial services, insurance, office supplies and select business publications
  • An experienced advocate working on behalf of MNN members at the state and national level
Click here to learn more and to join. And if you're already a member- make sure your entire staff take advantage of all the great benefits
PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE
New Rules Benefit Nonprofits Working With All Levels of Government
Just before the new year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) put into effect grantmaking rules which, according to the OMB, will "significantly overhaul and strengthen Federal grantmaking regulations to improve outcomes..." More specifically, the rules streamline, simplify, and clarify government grants and funding of nonprofits. This includes the reimbursement of direct and indirect costs to nonprofits. The National Council of Nonprofits has a great overview of the new rules and a breakdown of everything you need to know. Read more.

State Campaign Task Force Wants Nonprofits to Disclose Campaign Donors

As reported in the Eagle Tribune, a state campaign finance task force is pushing for new rules that would force nonprofits involved in elections to disclose where they get money to pay for mailed flyers and billboard advertising. As cited in the Tribune article, "the task force was created by the Legislature as part of a package of campaign finance regulations approved last year" and has other recommendations for how to increase transparency between nonprofit and political groups.

Nonprofit 411: 
New Year's Resolution: Enhance Your Storytelling to Raise More Money
By Mechthild von Knobelsdorff, Story Connect

If there is one resolution that you want to make for 2015, it's to enhance your storytelling. Why storytelling? Unlike working out, it isn't much effort. Unlike dieting, it will make you happier. Unlike saving the world, it is actually achievable. So it has none of the classic hallmarks of a New Year's Resolution. But it may help you to transmit your message. Wouldn't that be something? Reach your audience. Enhance team-building. Increase fund-raising.

 

Numbers are Anonymous

The reason is that stories are personal and identifiable, whereas numbers are anonymous. Stories tell us about the intensity of the joy or pain involved. Imagine the following: "The unemployment rate has gone up by 3%." or "100,000 people lost their jobs in December." What is your reaction. Is 3% a lot? What does the unemployment rate mean? And no one has 100,000 friends, even in the age of Facebook. It is impossible to relate to this. This is equally true of donors, foundations and other decision makers. Read more...

Executive Director, Camp Harborview

Executive Director, Friendship Home

Foundation and Corporate Relations Manager, More Than Words

Communications Associate, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Executive Director, Massachusetts, Citizen Schools

Senior Developer/ Architect, WGBH Educational Foundation

Executive Director, FOUR PAWS International

Public Policy Director, Rosie's Place

Executive Director, Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp.

Development Director, Brookline Community Foundation

Development Associate, Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps

Graphic Designer, Boston Architectural College

Executive Director, Raising A Reader MA

Executive Director, Hospitality Homes

Membership & Events Associate, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

 

Grant & Award Opportunities

The Mockingbird Foundation, rolling application, next cycle opens January 1
CEC Arts Link, Due January 15
Purpose Prize, Due January 15
Russell Sage Foundation, Due January 16
Department of Education, Due January 20
Carter Manny Award, Due March 15
Fields Pond Foundation, rolling application
The Vision Fund
, rolling application
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, rolling application 
ASPCA, rolling application

Trainings & Events 
*Discounts for MNN members

Resources 

DUE TODAY! The Massachusetts Service Alliance is accepting proposals for National Volunteer Week 2015 project initiatives. MSA seeks to award mini-grants up to $4,500 to organizations performing projects for National Volunteer Week. 

 

Nominations for the Human Service Forum Awards are now being accepted! Nominate a nonprofit employee, volunteers or local business that supports the community by February 12. 

 

If your staff is looking for opportunities to volunteer OR your nonprofit wants to connect with thousands of volunteers in Greater Boston, contact Building Impact. Building Impact will come to your office and engage your employees in meaningful projects to benefit a local nonprofit. And the support is free to the benefiting nonprofit. Contact Nonprofit Program Coordinator, Robert Kordenbrock at Robert@BuildingImpact.org to learn more.

 

From the Nonprofit Times: Onboarding board members gets everyone involved

 

Contact Robert Leger and ask how you can get Pro-bono professional photography/videography for your next nonprofit event. 


Check out MNN's online Professional Directory for companies throughout MA. 




New & Returning Affiliates
*Discounts for MNN members

ANNKISSAM

A consulting organization that helps nonprofits and social enterprises manage their operations and technology using open source software to implement solutions to improve internal workflows and increase efficiency. A discounted hourly rate offered to nonprofits.

 

NEW KENSINGTON GROUP

Provides development, governance and training consulting assistance to leadership in the nonprofit sector throughout Massachusetts and New England.

 

TANGO (THE ALLIANCE FOR NONPROFIT GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY)

A community of nonprofits that receives best-in-class services and educational opportunities from a partnership of top-tier professional service firms. Partners provide a wide range of services from retirement planning to marketing to IT. Membership is free.

MNN's work is made possible by The Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation & State Street Foundation.
If you'd like to share a story or have a job, grant or other information that is important to Massachusetts nonprofits, contact llynch@massnonprofitnet.org .