End of Summer News and Updates   
September 2016 
A Message from Our President
Giving USA Report Reaches 1,000 Leaders in Southwest
Dear Colleagues and Friends-

It was a privilege for the past three months to share the national perspective and serve as the voice of the Giving USA 2016 Report with more than 1,000 nonprofit and civic leaders. Thanks to support from our community partners, we have disseminated the much-anticipated, comprehensive data by providing presentations in Denver, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego, and Tucson.

The overall message from the annual measure of philanthropy in 2015 was strongly positive - donations hit a record of generosity for the second year in a row. By source, giving increased in all four sectors - Individual (3.8%), Foundation (6.5%), Charitable Bequests (2.1%) and Corporate (3.9%). The extensive research provides in-depth analysis of giving in nine categories from religion and education to arts and the environment. All but one category - donations to foundations - experienced increases in 2015.
The report inspires organization leaders to think differently and holistically; to expand strategies and customize approaches for future growth opportunities.

As one of only 49 members worldwide of The Giving Institute, and the only full-service nonprofit/philanthropic consulting firm based in the Southwestern United States, The Phoenix Philanthropy Group is proud and uniquely qualified to be an exclusive presenter of the annual report.

If you were unable to attend one of our presentations, you can still obtain your own report by going to www.givingusa.org/. The executive summary and report highlights are free. Equipping yourself with the latest information and trends is one way to ensure that your organization is able to remain on the forefront of fundraising strategies and tactics.


Richard Tollefson, Founder and President  
The Phoenix Philanthropy Group
Richard Tollefson Takes The Stage
Packed House at Giving USA- Phoenix
Giving USA- Orange County
Richard Tollefson taking questions with John Kobara and Virgil Roberts at Giving USA- Los Angeles
Economic Vitality Study Impact
From left: Dr. Anthony Evans, Seidman Research Institute; Nicole Almond Anderson, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation; and Richard Tollefson, The Phoenix Philanthropy Group  
Nonprofit Study Investment Pays Off with Empowerment and Perspective
The story of the economic impact of Arizona nonprofits has been told well and told often since the first-ever Economic Vitality Study results were revealed nearly seven months ago (March 2016). The ground-breaking report provided a wealth of evidence that the nonprofit sector, in addition to its contributions to the social fabric of Arizona, is a major economic engine in the state.
The study, titled "Arizona Nonprofits: Economic Power, Positive Impact," has received exceptional media coverage and has been the topic of 19 community meetings. (See related article regarding outreach.) The research was patterned on a California study of nonprofits. Nonprofit leaders in California and other states can capitalize on their comparable results.

How have the study results influenced and benefited Arizona's nonprofit leaders?  

From left: Richard Tollefson; Katherine Zuga; Askia Stewart; Ellen Alexander; and Michael McDonald

Nonprofit Report Attracts Extensive Media Coverage, Meeting Attendance
The partners who produced the study, "Arizona Nonprofits: Economic Power, Positive Impact," were propelled by a collective commitment that the research be of value, be widely distributed, and be presented in a fashion that leaders would put it into action for change.

"We have all seen reports that, at best, end up on shelves where they die a peaceful death," recalled Richard Tollefson of The Phoenix Philanthropy Group. "From the onset, our partners insisted it would get into the hands of not only the nonprofit community, but the business and government sectors as well. And, we wanted to give our leaders insights and tools to put the data to work."

The communications outreach started the first week of March 2016 with the publication of a comprehensive article in The Arizona Republic business section and the first public presentation hosted by the Arizona Community Foundation for more than 100 leaders.

The report has received broad coverage and distribution. Here is the public relations scorecard...
Featured Article - The Nonprofit Board
   The Nonprofit Board: Financial and Legal Best Practices  
by Marc Kellenberger 
Although the Sarbanes-Oxley Act took effect more than a decade ago, nonprofit board members may be feeling its financial and legal impacts now more than ever...
REMEMBER ENRON? FALLOUT from the company's corporate abuse and accounting fraud can still be felt in corporate America more than a decade later - namely through the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) by Congress, which aimed to rebuild public trust in the corporate sector.

While SOX is almost exclusively aimed at corporations, a number of the law's provisions have trickled down into the nonprofit boardroom. "SOX law has essentially led nonprofit boards, grant makers, state regulators and, ultimately, the Internal Revenue Service to re-examine the role of good governance and strong policies and procedures for nonprofits," says Ellis Carter, principal of the Carter Law Group, PC. Today, those governance issues play an even greater role at tax time for the nonprofit. According to Colette Kamps, a certified public accountant and partner with Henry & Horne, LLP specializing in nonprofit services, the IRS Form 990 for nonprofits was completely revamped in 2008 in an effort to increase transparency. It now includes a series of board governance policy questions that both Kamps and Carter say nonprofits should pay close attention to. Answering, "No, we have no policy in place," not only illustrates a lack of best industry practice but, as Carter points out, "An unfavorable response on all those governance questions can make your nonprofit look like low-hanging fruit."