February 25, 2021
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,

I hope that you are all doing well. I am excited to share what I think are the first glimpses of Spring. The days getting longer, the light returning and the geese flying in their V-shaped formations are giving us all that serotonin boast we’ve been needing and missing these winter months. (On a run the other day I saw a crocus blooming in my neighbor’s yard!) The slow, but steady release of the COVID vaccine is also helping to give us a sense of some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. We all still need to be careful and observe safety precautions, but there’s a renewed sense of hope.

With the light of Spring also comes that sense of doing some Spring cleaning and refreshing. (For those of you that are already clearing out flower beds, planting peas or getting pullets at Wilco, you know what I mean.) We all get that drive to start the warm months of the year with a fresh start to make the things you’ll do in 2021 more effective and fun.

As you prepare your personal life, I also want to invite you to do some Spring cleaning at your nonprofit. Look through those board notes and make sure the Secretary signed all meeting minutes; Check to be sure you’ve updated board signatories at your bank; Be sure that you’re clearing out the “garage” of your documents that don’t need to be retained and properly storing those that do.
To help you in this cleaning, I want to invite you to NAO’s Guiding More Good Annual Virtual Conference on March 13th. (Yes, it is a Saturday, so more of your board can attend outside of work.) We’ve got a set of sessions built around three key tracks to do some maintenance work on your nonprofit – governance, finance and fundraising. The conference is designed to give your board, staff and volunteers practical skills and tools to be used immediately. Although it’ll be virtual, there will be plenty of opportunity for peer interaction through the virtual conference platform we’re using, a virtual exhibitor’s gallery and so much more.

Sessions include donor stewardship, fiscal vitality, revenue diversification, internal controls, leader engagement and courageous board dialogues - core elements to create a healthy and sustainable nonprofit. We’ll also reimagine our work with Keynote Speaker Shari Dunn. Attend as a staff team to leverage and apply learning more effectively at your nonprofit.

This event is especially applicable for smaller nonprofits, primarily those that are all-volunteer or with 1-2 staff members, but the fundamentals we’ll be applicable to everyone that attends.

Limited scholarships available, so if you need one, please let us know.

Thanks for all the important work that you do and hope you come and join us for a good Spring clean-up of your organization!  

Stay healthy and be safe,
Jim White
NAO Executive Director
NAO News

NAO’s 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey – LAST CALL! 

In response to a groundswell of requests from nonprofits across the state, we are pleased to announce that NAO’s Compensation & Benefits Survey is now open. After an unprecedented 2020, the use of this survey is key to evaluating your organization’s compensation and benefits strategy to help attract and retain the best talent. We invite all Oregon 501(c)(3) organizations to participate in this survey, which will be open until March 3, 2021. The more organizations that respond the better the data will be. Click here to participate.
At the Federal Level

COVID Relief Legislation

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to take up the American Rescue Plan Act on Friday (2/26) at 9:30 am. You can view the announcement and the page that provides links to bill text and proposed amendments as they become available.

Byrd Bath: The process through which the Senate Parliamentarian reviews budget reconciliation legislation to ensure that none of the components violate the “Byrd rule,” the requirement that each provision has a significant effect on the deficit. These are named for Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who was the chief sponsor of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the bill that established the standards. Legislative changes with no budgetary impact are not allowed in reconciliation bills. Items that have a nominal budget impact, but are mostly there for policy reasons, are also supposed to be struck, though that’s a more subjective standard.

Yesterday, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough heard arguments from Democrats and Republicans about why the $15/hour minimum wage hike should stay in or be removed. We haven’t seen any of her preliminary decisions, but those likely will leak out in the coming day or so. Senate Democrats make final pitch for including minimum wage hike in aid bill.

PPP Second Draw 25% Revenue Decline Requirement: There is a growing interest in pushing to repeal the PPP Second Draw requirement that nonprofits must demonstrate a 25% decline in gross revenues in any one quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019. Many nonprofits are finding that they don’t qualify for the PPP Second Draw loans despite incredible need because their fundraising didn’t decline “enough” even though their expenses grew as they addressed immense demand for their services. We recognize it is late in the process, but we encourage all to include in messaging to our Senators and Representatives the repeal or reduction of the 25% decline rule as applied to nonprofits. Here are the main talking points we encourage you to use: 

  • The primary reason for treating nonprofits differently is that charitable organizations have been keeping their missions going throughout the pandemic. Their revenues may have declined some, but their expenses have grown far beyond budget expectations. 

  • Many YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers, for instance, have closed for members but continued operations in other ways – often using their facilities as food-distribution facilities, childcare centers, and temporary shelters. 

  • Educational support organizations and cultural groups, similarly, have pivoted to online operations – incurring both costs for video programming while continuing to pay rent and maintenance on building spaces and while still having to maintain program, operations and security staff. 

  • Virtually all nonprofits have done everything possible to continue serving their communities, their costs have risen, and an arbitrary 25% loss rule punishes those that have refused to simply wait for a rescue.

  • While nonprofits are private corporations doing public good, we cannot be simply treated in the same way as private sector businesses or be expected to meet the same traditional measures. Although they do have "gross receipts" (as defined in Form 990 Schedule VIII), they can be primarily fundraising for some, ticket sales for others, and foundation grants from still others. As such, the concept of decline in gross receipts for businesses is not a parallel concept for nonprofits. 

  • Some nonprofits were able to generate “normal” levels of fundraising in each quarter of 2020, but not enough to meet increased expenses. For example, some nonprofits saw an increase in donations as the public saw the long lines of newly laid off people seeking their services. Yet the donations didn’t keep up with the exponential growth in demand and service costs. Add to those challenges the reality that the nonprofit lost its volunteers to COVID, forcing it to hire 120 workers. Under the PPP Second Draw calculation, only the increased donations would be considered despite the fact that this nonprofit and thousands of others face tremendous cost increases and are in need of relief. 

  • The Ask: We therefore suggest either repeal of the 25% decline requirement or changing the requirement to a lower threshold so that these critically important organizations can continue their work. 

Shuttered Venue Operators Program

For our colleagues that run performance arts and other types of nonprofits that have venue spaces that have been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is a reminder of the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG). The grants to shuttered venues that are available through this program allow for qualifying applicants to receive an initial grant equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to $10 million. No less than $2 billion in grant funding is reserved for eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees. Supplemental grants equal to 50% of an initial grant (subject to the $10 million total cap) are also available under specified circumstances. For more information on the process of applications visit the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant site.

White House Partnerships Office

The Biden Administration reconstituted the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships formerly the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives last week. (The Office is effectively the nonprofit sector’s direct link to the White House.) Their initial work will include collaborating with civil society organizations to: address the COVID-19 pandemic and boost economic recovery; combat systemic racism; increase opportunity and mobility for historically disadvantaged communities; and strengthen pluralism.
Upcoming Online Sessions

NAO offers practical, affordable programming in a variety of formats, including cohort-model series, and webinars. Don't miss out on these opportunities to participate in upcoming learning opportunities for your nonprofit.

The Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint Course: Your Step-by-Step Roadmap and Built-It-Yourself Toolkit for Crafting an A+ Grant Proposal, March 1 through May 3: If you are ready to invest in growing your grants success join GrantsMagic U for this self-paced on-demand course. Presenter, Maryn Boess, veteran grant writer, consultant, and grantmaker, will share strategies and insider tips to help you build solid, fundable proposals with planning tools, worksheets, roadmaps, and fillable templates that help you organize the details of your work in a way guaranteed to take you to the next level of grantseeking success no matter where you are starting out. NAO Members can access a discount on registration. More details and registration information here

Nonprofit Learning Cohort – Fundraising Through Uncertainty, five Monday weekly interactive sessions – March 1 through March 29, 12 – 1:15 p.m. PT: Join a group of your peers for this series with fundraising expert Laurel McCombs. Learn how to push forward through the ongoing uncertainty to not only achieve your fundraising goals for this year, but strengthen your development program for the future. This series is most appropriate for executive directors and development directors from small, rural-staffed organizations. More details and registration information here.

Ambassador Training: Better Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Tuesday, March 2, 10 – 11:30 a.m. PT: Even in the era of social media, the most effective marketing strategy is word of mouth. Regardless of your role – board, staff or volunteer – you can represent your organization more effectively and encourage positive buzz. Join Andy Robinson, Principal of Andy Robinson Consulting, to learn how to engage potential supporters, develop compelling messages, and deliver them effectively. More details and registration information here.

Bigger Impact Together - What Your Organization Can Do to Forge Stronger Collaboration Through Creative Partnerships and Mergers, Wednesday, March 3, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonprofit leaders often question how to maximize effectiveness and find greater efficiency in support of their missions. Based on their recent experience merging the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship into NAO, Jim White, NAO’s Executive Director, and Jenn Clemo, now NAO’s Director of Nonprofit Leadership and Resources, will discuss principles of deep collaboration and partnerships that can lead two organizations to unify. More details and registration information here

Merger: A Strategy for Nonprofit Sustainability, Thursday, March 4, 10 – Noon PT: Merger and other forms of organizational alignment are time-tested strategies for nonprofits to increase mission impact, improve financial health and enhance long-term sustainability. During the current public health and economic crisis, merger is a timely and viable option for many organizations to consider. Merger: A Strategy for Nonprofit Sustainability unpacks what nonprofit leaders needs to know about a range of options to restructure organizations. More details and registration information here. (NAO Members visit the Members Only Area for a discount code).

Nonprofit Financial Strategy in Response to Crisis, Thursday, March 11, 10 – Noon PT: The current public health crisis has disrupted nonprofits’ operations and funding sources, with longer-term impacts that remain unknown. Organizations face immediate budget impacts and potentially serious threats to sustainability. Organizational leaders need help to navigate through this situation and bring board and funders along to a place of greater sustainability. More details and registration information here. (NAO Members visit the Members Only Area for a discount code).

NAO’s 2021 Guiding More Good Virtual Conference, Saturday morning, March 13, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Carrying on the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship’s tradition, this conference will bring you exciting expert speakers, practical resources, and virtual networking opportunities. Session topics include fundraising, finance, and governance. This event will be especially applicable for smaller nonprofits, primarily those that are all-volunteer or with 1-2 staff members. More details and registration here.

Nonprofit Learning Cohort – Effective Board Management for Small Nonprofits, five Thursday weekly interactive sessions – March 18 through April 15, 11 – 12:15 p.m. PT: This five-part series builds on the lessons from the Becoming a Great Board Member webinar to include tools for effective board management. Join a cohort of nonprofit leaders to learn about board management best practices while gaining insight from each other’s challenges and solutions, and problem solving together. This cohort is for new and potential board members who want to understand the fundamentals of board service, seasoned board members looking to increase their board’s effectiveness, and staff and volunteers who support the board. More details and registration information here.

Nonprofit Leader as Coach: How to Build and Support Strong Teams, five Monday weekly interactive sessions – April 9 through May 7, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. PT: This five-session interactive series will provide you with coaching tools and frameworks, while allowing you practice these with your peers, using real-life challenges that you are facing, working with an experienced executive and leadership coach. Presented by Anna Young, Principal, Anna Young Leadership Coaching, this cohort is designed to be applicable within the remote working environment as well as translate to a return to the workplace context. More details and registration information here.

Nonprofit Learning Cohort – Creating a Strong Volunteer Program for Small, Rural Nonprofits, five Monday weekly interactive sessions – April 12 through May 10, Noon 1:15 p.m. PT: Are you a small, rural nonprofit that utilizes volunteers but doesn’t have a robust system for recruitment and retention? Are you struggling to adapt your volunteer program to meet the challenges of the virtual world we’re living in? Join a group of your peers for this five-session interactive series that will help you create a strong volunteer program that provides a framework for organizational success and benchmarks for volunteer engagement and satisfaction. More details and registration information here.

If you have any questions or difficulties registering, contact NAO's Training Program Coordinator at training@nonprofitoregon.org.
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.