Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Issues Aplenty: How do nonprofits respond?

As the SCNY ED committees look to the new year, there are plenty of challenges facing nonprofits. But, how should nonprofits respond? A recent website, http://www.helpyourhospital.org, launched by the Healthcare Association of New York State offers an interesting model. 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 SCNY ED Group? Can you see the value in this resource as a response to proposed tax or service fees by the city of Binghamton or Broome or Tioga county government? Share your thoughts here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Steering Committee Update

The SCNY Steering Committee had a meeting on December 16th, which was hosted at ACCORD. The Committee discussed the December 9th program meeting and the follow up concerning the Press & Sun-Bulletin's Calvin Stovall. The Committee is following up with Calvin about press contacts for the paper, as well as arranging a meeting in late January or early February for any interested directors to meet the newspaper's editors. The Committee also wants to encourage nonprofits to pursue the paper's Angels Among Us opportunity Calvin highlighted.

In regards to 2009, the March 10th program has been confirmed for the Jewish Community Center, and the program will focus on how to better work with your board of directors. More information will be announced shortly.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paterson calls for sweeping cuts, more fees

In his 2009-10 budget proposal today, Gov. David Paterson called for massive cuts in aid to education and health care, an elimination of a property-tax rebate program for homeowners and 88 new taxes and fees. Read more in today's Press & Sun-Bulletin.

How does this announcement impact your nonprofit? Share your feedback here. How can the SCNY ED Group work to help nonprofits prepare or address the upcoming budget cut impact?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ED Meeting Program Summary

The South Central NY ED Group meeting was hosted at the Broome County Council of Churches and attended by 20 participants. The program speaker was Calvin Stovall, Executive Editor of the Press & Sun-Bulletin. He gave an overview of how nonprofit directors can better work with the newspaper and gave suggestions for attracting better media attention. For example, a group of nonprofits may have a better opportunity of getting press coverage than an individual organization. Calvin mentioned that stories relevant to the newspaper's target female market may be more appealing. He also mentioned that a relationship with the media helps with coverage.

The program discussion also focused on the economy and impact on local organizations, including the Press & Sun-Bulletin. This was especially true with the recent layoff of the paper’s features editor. Sharon Ball from the Broome County Arts Council asked about this issue and how nonprofits can help the newspaper address this resource gap. Calvin discussed setting up a meeting to discuss this offer and tapping the arts sector to provide more input. He also discussed how the newspaper is adapting and doing more with less. Technology, such as the newspaper’s website, has been a recent focus area. Overall, the economy may worsen, but the media is essential in the role that they play, and Calvin is optimistic that the Press & Sun-Bulletin will adapt and persevere.

Calvin discussed a number of ideas for the Group to follow up on, including:

  • Set up meeting with section editors/managers for nonprofit directors
  • Share nonprofit executive directors list with newspaper reporters and editors
  • Offer reporters the opportunity to send queries and info requests to the Group
  • Group could have info hosted on Press & Sun-Bulletin website
  • Publicize the Group and raise awareness among other EDs, community leaders, political leaders, etc. with an article in the viewpoint section of paper
  • Develop Doers profile, but instead feature nonprofits

The Program meeting included an opportunity for the host nonprofit to present about their programs and services. The featured speaker was Joe Sellepack from Broome County Council of Churches. He outlined his nonprofit’s programs. His organization is the 4th largest church council in the US, and delivers over 3 million pounds of food every year to the local region.

The meeting ended with Committee updates:
Programming Committee- 2009 program ideas include:

  • 990 revision
  • Work with board of directors
  • Funding panel
  • Personnel issues/human resources
  • Going green/energy savings

Next meeting to be confirmed

Special Projects Committee- discussed culture and social impact study that would answer questions like:
How do nonprofits make community better?
How much money do nonprofits contribute?
Next meeting is January 9th

Membership Committee- Still setting up a meeting for 2009
Family Enrichment Network staff will keep membership database updated

The Executive Committee will meet on December 16th. The next overall Group meeting will March 10th hosted by the Jewish Community Center in Binghamton.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wondering How Foundations Are Reacting to Tough Times?

The Minnesota Council of Foundations has created a resource area geared towards funders that has news and information that is very helpful to nonprofits. The resource page includes articles on: Outlook; What Are Specific Foundations Doing?; and Resources for Grantmakers. Explore articles about the impact of the downturn on foundation assets or learn about different perspectives offered on how to respond to the financial crisis.

The MCF plans on holding roundtables of member grantmakers to discuss the outlook and to publish the 2009 Outlook Report in January. A public meeting in February will follow for foundations and nonprofit organizations about the findings and their expectations for philanthropy next year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Program Committee Update 2009

The Program Committee met on Monday, November 24th at ACCORD. The meeting was productive, and the Committee outlined four possible program areas for next year as follows:
  1. How to improve executive skills in working with a board. Program date: March 10
  2. Finding unique employee motivators (other than money); how to develop a positive working environment. Program date: June 9
  3. Going Green-Being environmentally responsible-everything from recycling to energy efficiency. Program date: September 8
  4. Foundation forum- A panel of the leading foundations in the region to talk about grantsmanship and other issues. Program date: December 8

Share your feedback with the Committee co-chairs: Bob Hanye, AVRE and Dick Squire, ACCORD

Monday, November 24, 2008

Special Project Committee

Joe Slavik, Michelle Napolitano and Joe Sellepack met on Nov. 21 to discuss
a few questions that would help shape some of the projects that our
committee will consider. The questions that we wanted to discuss are "What
is the purpose or mission of our committee?" "What are some projects that
we want to consider?" "How do we want to complete these projects?" "How
often should we meet?" and "When should we meet next?"

It was realized by the three people who met that we did not represent enough
of our committee to do anything but offer recommendations. What is offered
here is merely our attempt at beginning a conversation that might be
continued at the next meeting: time, date and venue listed below.
To answer the first question, we want to propose that the purpose of the
special projects committee is to advocate for non-profits and to conduct
projects that would assist non-profits to better communicate what their role
is in the community.

Some possible projects we would like to consider are: 1) The social and
economic impact of non-profits on the community - it was determined that we
should tell the story of non-profits in the community - try to put a face on
what we do what we do... We also want to tell the story behind the numbers,
demonstrating how much it costs non-profits to do the work they do and how
much that saves the average tax payer, 2) Conduct a community needs
assessment and find gaps and overlaps in services among non-profits - part
of this study would be to talk to foundations and funding sources, 3) A
media impact study - to collaborate on ways that we might help communicate
the story of non-profits and the role various media play in helping shape
the message, and 4) Ways that non-profits can network with the University.
The breadth of these subjects suggests that they will not be studies that
are easily done. Rather it requires broad participation from member
non-profits and might benefit from students from BU to help shape and move
the project to completion. It was agreed that we would talk to Jennifer
Marshall of BU's school of Social Work about having interns do the initial
studies. We also talked about whether a Master's thesis from the BU school
of Public Admin. might be a better option. If it is a MA thesis, it might
help if we were to help fund a project or a scholarship for a student. This
will require further discussion.

We also agreed that initially we may need to meet more frequently than once
a quarter, but that ultimately quarterly meetings that mirror our larger
meetings would be optimal (unless it is determined by the group that more
are needed for a specific project).

The next meeting is scheduled for 8:30 Jan. 9 at the Broome County Council
of Churches. We are contacting Allison Alden and Jennifer Marshall to be at
the meeting. It was further recommended that we contact Andrew Marietta to
find out if there are similar long range projects (especially the economic
and social impact study) that we could peruse.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to hit

Joe Sellepack

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hard Times in NY: Press & Sun-Bulletin Opinion Letter

The following editorial piece, Hard Times: Lots of things have to change in New York, appeared on the Press & Sun-Bulletin's website recently. The article covers a broad range of ideas related to the economic challenges and proposed budget cuts NY faces. The article also mentions nonprofits. Like many media outlets and other groups, the Press & Sun-Bulletin is asking for your ideas. As they relate:

Send us a letter detailing your cuts or new sources of revenue. Mail them to
Letters, c/o Press & Sun-Bulletin, P.O. Box 1270, Binghamton, N.Y.
13902-1270 or use the e-mail form at www.pressconnects.com/letters.

Should a group of nonprofits consider responding with their idea or even to this article? What are your ideas? Feel free to post here or e-mail us to post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Employee Compensation Template

In response to the recent request for examples or templates on communicating overall employee compensation, AVRE has offered this example for consideration. If there are any other suggestions, please post them here or e-mail amarietta@ccsnys.org.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Study Released on Rural Economic Development

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire published Measures and Methods: Four Tenets for Rural Economic Development in the New Economy. The studies authors, Anita Brown-Graham and William Lambe, examine how rural communities are creating jobs, business and wealth in the face of economic challenges. As they relate:

In the past, much of rural economic development relied on exploiting natural
resources or recruiting industry, often marketing cheap land and labor as
community assets. In an era of global competition, those old approaches no
longer yield sustainable results. This article offers four tenets for rethinking
methods and measures that promote effective economic development in the
twenty-first century.
  • Innovation is key to driving growth and prosperity in today’s global economy
  • Significant capital investments are required to put innovations to use
  • Development efforts must seek to protect valuable natural assets
  • Development is a “contact sport,” best pursued through dense networks of personal contacts.

Read more here.

Grantmakers' Guide for Uncertain Times

The A to Z Grantmakers' Guide for Uncertain Times is a collection of existing foundation practices. The ideas offered in it are intended to spur further discussion.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Communicating Employee Compensation

We received a request recently from a Binghamton nonprofit asking if anyone would be willing to share examples of communicating to employees their overall compensation packages. Many nonprofit directors are focusing on demonstrating to their employees all the benefits they receive in addition to their salaries, especially with the budget cuts facing many organizations. If you are willing to share your examples or formats, please e-mail amarietta@ccsnys.org.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

IRS Offers New Online Mini-Courses on Redesigned Form 990

StayExempt.org, which provides online IRS educational resources for tax-exempt organizations, now features five new mini-courses on the redesigned Form 990. These mini-courses provide information on preparing to file the new Form 990 as well as a walk-through of the entire form and frequently used schedules.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Board Challenges Report

The Urban Institute published Boards of Midsize Nonprofits: Their Needs and Challenges earlier this year. The report focuses on governance among midsize nonprofits, while most other policy reports and best practice guidelines seem to have large organizations in mind. This document helps identify problem areas and suggests strategies that board members, staff, and supporters can use to strengthen nonprofit governance operations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lifecycles Forum Wrap-Up

On September 25th, the College of Community and Public Affairs hosted a forum on nonprofit orgnaization lifecycles, co-sponsored by the Southern Tier AIDS Program, The Community Foundation for South Central New York and the Hoyt Foundation. The forum was attended by approximately 75 local nonprofit leaders, University faculty and students and was covered by local media.

Keynote speaker Susan Chambré , who has studied the emergence and development of AIDS organizations in New York City, shared case studies of two organizations. She highlighted several factors that contributed to the survival of new organizations she studied, including the ability to make the transition from temporary start-up funds (often from foundations) to more reliable ongoing sources of funding, such as government support. She noted that organizations need to be clear about the distinct challenges they face at start-up if they are to be successful and that new organizations have a short "honeymoon" period during which initial funders are likely to provide support to organizations. Successful organizations need to plan for what happens after that honeymoon period ends.

Karen Wright, Executive Director of Stillwater RTF shared the story of her organization, which has been in operation for about ten years. She discussed a variety of challenges her organization has faced and overcome, including establishing a unique identity, and manging through leadership transitions. She described the opportunities that were created by the separation of Stillwater from the organization that created it, the Children's Home of the Wyoming Conference.

The session ended with a funder's panel, in which participants emphasized funders' obligations to organizations at different phases of their lifecycle. Each funder discussed his/her organization's willingness to support technical or consultation assistance to create capacity at different stages in the lifecycle. They noted that support was not open-ended and that funders' unique priorities determine the extent to which they are able to provide support to any organization. All acknowledged that understanding an organization's stage of development was critical to effective grantmaking.

We at the College of Community and Public Affairs were delighted to be able to host the forum and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with researchers and practitioners to present knowledge we can use to improve our organizations and community life in South Cental New York.

Video from the forum and the slides used by our keynote presenter will be provided on the website of the Center for Applied Community Research and Development shortly (http:\\cacrd.binghamton.edu).

David Campbell

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

990 Update

The recent program meeting featured a discussion about a program focused on the 990. The Form 990 instructions are now finalized. On August 19, 2008, the IRS issued its Release of Instructions for the new Form 990, so there is clearer direction for nonprofits to begin to review their accounting and recordkeeping procedures and their governance practices to make next year's filing go well. For more information, visit the National Council for Nonprofit Association's website.

September 23 Group Meeting Minutes

South Central New York Nonprofit
Executive Directors Group
24 Cherry Street
Johnson City, New York 13790
Full Group Meting
September 23, 2008
1. Introductions: The meeting started about 8:30 am and was attended by 20 directors. Each member introduced themselves.
2. What we have done so far: Andrew discussed what we have accomplished over the past several months and the challenges ahead. He invited everyone to get more information and updates on this and other ED groups by logging onto www.nyned.org.
3. Lists: Darrell distributes the current Steering Committee and full group lists. These lists will be updated and distributed as needed. Anyone wanting a new list can contact Darrell.
4. The Future: We discussed at length what the plans are for the future the group. We discussed the possibility of a list serve. We also discussed ideas for program and special projects.
In addition to the Executive Committee there are three subcommittees. A member ship committee chaired by Keith Leahy, a program committee chair by Dick Squires and Bob Hanye and a special projects committee chaired by Joe Sellepack. These committees will be meeting periodically as needed.
Suggested future program ideas are training for board members, marketing and promotion of the group, tax and audit compliance, personnel issues, fundraising, energy conservation at facilities, agency presentations and training executives on how to work with boards.
A survey will be distributed to the membership for input for program topics for upcoming meetings.
5. Setting Meeting Schedule for the year: The executive committee will meet as needed, primarily before full group meetings. The full group meetings will be scheduled quarterly beginning December 9th. The next full group meeting will be hosted by the Brome County Council of Churches.
The full group meetings are tentatively scheduled as follows:
12.9.08 – at Broome County Council of Churches
3.10.09 – site to be determined
6.9.08 – site to be determined
9.8.09 – site to be determined
12.8.09 – site to be determined
Meetings will last approximately 1.5 hours and start at 8:30 AM. The first half will be the outside presenter. The second half will be a short agency presentation, networking and a regular business meeting.
The meeting adjourned at about10:00 AM.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Membership Meeting - September 16

Membership Committee Meeting

September 16, 2008

Members Present: Keith W. Leahey, MHAST, Chair; Joe Slavik, Catholic Charities of Broome County; John Barry, STAP; Mario Salati, Boy's & Girl's Club of Western BC and Jennifer Lesko, BC Urban League.

The meeting started at 8:00am with introductions and a brief discussion on the progress of the Steering Committee. The mission statement was reviewed.

Handouts of the current membership were provided to the committee to be used as a reference tool for further membership development.

The criteria for membership were discussed. Also, several ideas were shared about finding common, but important, topics of interest that pertain to most not for profit agencies (i.e.: fee for service, mandatory board training, addressing/sharing limited community resources and capital campaigns).

New membership applications can be sent to Diane Kunzman, Family Enrichment Network, by using the address or contact information at the top of the application form. Darrell Newvine, Ex. Dir., FEN has offered to the membership committee the services of Diane to maintain and update the membership list.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45am

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Broome Area Networking in Disaster (BAND) Receives Governor’s Award for Excellence in Emergency Management

The Broome Area Networking in Disaster (BAND) was recently awarded the Governor’s 2008 Excellence in Emergency Management Award. BAND formed in July 2006 following the devastating flooding that occurred in Broome County. The group drew together organizations to better assist those in need in the community. BAND is comprised of the following community organizations: Broome County Departments of Social Services and Mental Health; Broome County Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, American Red Cross (both Southern Tier and national), United Way of Broome County and its First Call for Help program, The Salvation Army, the Susquehanna Presbytery, The Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, Opportunities for Chenango and many other County, State and non-profit agencies. Read more here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

December Meeting Announced

A program meeting has been announced for December 9th at 8:30 am and will be hosted by the Broome County Council on Churches. The program topic and agenda will be announced shortly.

Register here.

Group Meeting Sets Course for Future

The SCNY ED Group meeting today was attended by 20 directors who joined in a discussion about the goals for the Group and its newly formed committees. The Group discussed the possibility of a list serve and a planning calendar for fundraisers in the region. The Group also discussed program meeting ideas and potential special projects. Economic impact will clearly be a focus for the Special Projects Committee, chaired by Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches. This Committee will put together position papers and explore securing interns and other support. Watch Dick Squire from ACCORD discuss the Group's need to have consensus and be upfront about the feasability of future projects and goals. Suggested program topics for the Group included the following:
    • Training for Board members
    • Marketing and promoting my organization/social
    • Tax, audit and compliance issues-new and pending legislative,
      regulatory changes
    • Personnel issues including retention, satisfaction,
      records etc
    • Fundraising, development,grantwriting
    • Energy conservation
      (in facilities) and going green
    • Training Executives on working with a board
    • Agency presentations

The Program Committee is co-chaired by Dick Squire, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc. and Bob Hanye, Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc. A survey will be distributed to the Group to gather input on the program topic for the next meeting.

The Group also confirmed that they will meet on a quarterly basis. The meetings will take place on the second Tuesday of the select month at 8:30 am. Meetings will be set at 1.5 hours, and will include a program presentation and networking opportunities. The next meeting is set for December 9th, and will be hosted at Broome County Council of Churches.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last Chance for BU Lifecycles Forum

I've posted a couple of times about the Nonprofit Organization Lifecycles Forum at Binghamton University next Thursday, September 25th, from 11:00-3:00 at the University Downtown Center. I thought I'd send one last announcement out about it. If you are planning to attend and you haven't registered yet, please e-mail me (dcamp@binghamton.edu) or Steve Jackson (sjackson@binghamton.edu) so that we can register you and reserve your space. There is a limitation on the total number of attendees, so reservations, so I encourage you to register prior to the event.

The forum is sponsored by the Community Foundation for South Central New York, Hoyt Foundation and the Southern Tier AIDS Program. It will be a wonderful opportunity to hear from researchers, funders and practitioners about the challenges organizations face at different stages in their lifecycle and how they address them.

You can access the brochure and registration material here.

I hope to see you next Thursday,

David Campbell

Friday, September 12, 2008

Meeting Format

The following question was posed by Sharon Chesna, Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network:
How many times/year are we planning to meet? It would be great if we could set a regular time -EX: 4x/yr - last Friday, last month of quarter, 8:00 am etc. It would be great to set the meetings for all of 2009 - that way we can block out the time.

If anyone would like to share feedback, you can post here or share your input at the September 23 Group Meeting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Binghamton University one of 10 institutions nationwide selected for student-run philanthropy program

Binghamton University has been selected to develop a student-run philanthropy incubator aimed at recommending grants for nonprofit organizations serving the Greater Binghamton community. The program, known as “Students4Giving,” is sponsored by The Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund and Campus Compact and is aimed at encouraging community-based learning and partnerships between colleges and universities and local non-profit organizations. Read more here. This program will be run by David Campbell. Congrats David!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Membership Committee Meeting Sept 16

Good Morning,

The first Membership Committee meeting of the SCNYN Executive Director's Group will be held at Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP) 122 Baldwin Street, Johnson City, on September 16th at 8:30. The meeting will take no longer than 30-40 minutes. I will bring materials to distribute.

I look forward to seeing you then.

Have a great weekend.

Keith W. Leahey, MSW
153 Court Street
Binghamton, NY 13901

Binghamton University Nonprofits Forum

Hi everyone,

There is still time to register for the forum on nonprofit organization lifecycles at Binghamton University on September 25th.

The goal of the forum is to introduce local nonprofit leaders to recent research on the stages of organizational development and discuss how to address capacity challenges at different stages of development. The forum will include researchers, funders and practitioners. The forum will run from 11:00-3:00 and will be held at the University's new Downtown Center, across from the arena, on Washington Street in Downtown Binghamton. The program will include Susan Chambré, a prominent national researcher who has studied the growth and development of HIV/AIDS organizations over the past 20 years and three funders (Joanne Florino, Triad Foundation; Dan O'Connell, NYS AIDS Institute; Richard Iannello, Albany Guardian Society). Karen Wright, Executive Director of Stillwater RTF will also present, about how her organizational has addressed critical developmental challenges during the first ten years of its existence. The forum is a great opportunity to learn about new research and its practical application to management and leadership opportunities. The fee is a modest $25, which includes lunch. I hope you'll consider attending. You can access the forum brochure and registration form at the following link: http://ccpa.binghamton.edu/community/cacrd.html. Please look for it at the bottom of the page.

If you have questions about the forum, please feel free to e-mail me (dcamp@binghamton.edu) or Steve Jackson (sjackson@binghamton.edu).

I hope to see you there.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hi everyone,

Thanks to Andrew for beating me to the punch about the upcoming Binghamton University forum on nonprofit lifecycles. It will be a great opportunity to learn about research on lifecycles and get some practical ideas about how to manage organizational challenges at different phases of organizational development.

Here's the link to the registration form on the BU website (please scroll to the bottom of the page): http://ccpa.binghamton.edu/community/cacrd.html

The forum's participants will include a noted researcher (Susan Chambre from Baruch College), a local executive director (Karen Wright, from Stillwater) and three funders (Joanne Florino, Triad Foundation; Richard Iannello, Albany Guardian Society; and Dan O'Connell, New York State AIDS Institute). Again, the date is September 25th, from 11:00-3:00, at the University Downtown Center, 67 Washington Street in Binghamton.

Please contact Steve Jackson (sjackson@binghamton.edu) or me (dcamp@binghamton.edu) with any questions.

Hope to see you there,

David Campbell

Reminder Organizational Lifecycles and Nonprofit Strategy: A University-Community Forum

Just a reminder about the Organizational Lifecycles and Nonprofit Strategy: A University-Community Forum event set for Thursday, September 25th from 11:00am –3:00pm at Binghamton University Downtown Center. Read about this event in a prior post.

Sponsored by:
The College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University
The Center for Applied Community Research and Development
The Community Foundation for South Central New York
Southern Tier AIDS Program
Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation

Questions about registration or the event may be directed to:
Steve Jackson, sjackson@binghamton.edu or David Campbell, dcamp@binghamton.edu.

Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition

The Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition is planning a meeting to discuss gas drilling and local food systems. Read more about it here. BRSC developed from Broome County’s Plan for Sustainable Economic Development with subsequent public input from the Binghamton Neighborhood Assemblies process. It has been formally meeting since earlier this year. Over 100 stakeholders have aided the formation of the Coalition which has representation from public, private and non-profit entities. It strives to make economic development planning a broad-based, democratic process, with civic engagement as its centerpiece.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planning Capital Campaigns

As you plan capital campaigns, what do you think of using the ED Group as a place to touch base with area organizations to see if there are other large campaigns planned for the same time? We were thinking that a point of connection might decrease the amount of overlap that sometimes occurs. Do you see the need for this kind of communication and planning? Do you think the ED Group is a good place for this? We were thinking that this might be a case where the blog calendar could be useful. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Group Updates!

The Steering Committee met yesterday, 7/22/08, to establish additional committees and plan for the upcoming group-wide meeting. In attendance were: Darrell Newvine, Family Enrichment Network; Bob Hanye, AVRE; Joseph Sellepeck, Broome Council of Churches; Keith Leahy, Mental Health Association; Deborah Fitzgerald, Recess Resources and Andrew Marietta, CCSNYS.

The Committee:
  • Discussed membership and talked about creating a group directory that would be available to all members as a resource
  • Created 3 new committees and appointed committee chairs: Membership- Keith Leahy, Programming- Dick Squire and Bob Hanye, Special Projects- Joseph Sellepeck. The committee chairs will be contacting people who have previously expressed interest in specific committees. (If you would like to learn more about being a committee member, please email Andrew Marietta at amarietta@ccsnys.org and he will pass along your info.)
  • Reviewed results from the initial Economic Impact Survey. Talked about how to use information like this in the future and the need to include social impact as well.
  • Planned for the group-wide meeting that will take place on Tuesday, September 23rd @ 8:30am. The meeting will be held at the Family Enrichment Network in Johnson City. There will be an introduction to the group, discussion of focus areas, and time for the committees to meet and talk about their plans of action.

Make sure to mark your calendar for the September 23rd meeting; committees have been formed and now the group is ready to start taking action. You can confirm your attendance here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Binghamton University Event

Please watch your e-mail and this blog for information about an upcoming forum about nonprofit lifecycles at the College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University. The College, along with the Community Foundation for South Central New York, the Hoyt Foundation and the Southern Tier AIDS Program are co-sponsoring a half day forum on September 25th that will run from 11:00 to 3:00 at the new University Downtown Center on Washington Street, across from the arena in Dowtown Binghamton.

The forum will focus on the challenges nonprofit organizations face early in their development. Susan Chambre, a prominent researcher from Baruch College at the City University of New York will keynote the event and discuss her work on the development of AIDS organizations in New York City over the past 25 years (detailed in a recent book and several scholarly publications). At lunch, Karen Wright, Executive Director of Stillwater, will discuss her organization's development over the past ten years, including the challenges she has faced and how she has addressed them. Finally, the afternoon will conclude with a funder's panel, at which funders will discuss how they look at lifecycle and capacity building issues. Dan O'Connell of the AIDS Institute and Joanne Florino, Executive Director of the Triad Foundation are already confirmed for the event, a third invitation is still outstanding.

The event will provide a great opportunity for professional development. Participants will learn about new research in organizational development and hear practical approaches to addressing the real challenges organizations face early in their development. There will be a $25 registration fee which covers lunch. Registration materials will be sent out in early August. You can e-mail me any inquiries about the event at dcamp@binghamton.edu. I'll post follow up information later in the summer, including a link to registration materials.

Hold the date now!

I will not be able to attend the Steering Committee meeting on July 22nd due to a prior commitment at Cornell; however I'll follow up with additional posts about this and related Binghamton University projects in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Economic Impact Survey Results

The fourteen organizations that responded to our SCNY Economic Impact survey reported a total of $20,476,863 spent in the region during the last fiscal year. These organizations also employ a total of 1,184 people and generate close to two million dollars in payroll taxes. Powerful numbers considering that they only represent 14 out of the 286 nonprofits in Broome and Tioga Counties. Although the positive social impact of the nonprofit community is often more visible, area organizations clearly benefit the local economy as well. As a group, we'll continue to explore the combined economic impact of our organizations and how to best share that information with the larger community.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Media Survey Results

Thanks to everyone that has completed our Nonprofit Public Relations/Media Survey! We have gathered some great feedback that we are using to plan our September program on Nonprofits and Media which will be hosted by the Leatherstocking Area Executives Association in Oneonta. The Leatherstocking AEA would like to invite all South Central NY group members to attend the program from 12-2pm on Wednesday September 17th (location TBD).

One of the main concerns expressed in the survey was a lack of time. Many responses cited the lack of time that nonprofit staff have to focus on their media coverage and the time-crunch that reporters face as well. Hopefully our panel participants (representatives from local media outlets) will be able to engage in discussion with us about how we can all get the most out of the limited time investments that we can make.

Organizations seemed particularly interested in learning how to create situations where both the media and nonprofits could benefit. Many respondents had creative ideas about how to cultivate these win-win relationships, and even more expressed interest in discovering how to do so. One response summed up the sentiment expressed by many, saying that the organization could provide "Great stories, great visuals, great sources and great style. When they find us, they'll love us-- but we're out of their regular radar range... I'm workin' on it!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"The Power of Measuring Social Benefits"

Social spending has always been a controversial topic. There have been countless debates at the federal and state level on the allocation of funding to social programs. Recent controversy over the tax-exempt status of nonprofits and the backlash on state funding here in NY are just two more examples of the troubled politics of social spending. We vote for government officials based on their stance on social programs; it's clearly a pervasive issue. That's where "The Power of Measuring Social Benefits" comes in.

The MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, Illinois has launched a $35 million dollar grant project which will fund research initiatives that are engaging in social cost-benefit analyses of domestic social policy. During the first 18 months of the project, the Foundation has already awarded $12 million to these analyses. The Foundation's hope is that policymakers and politicians will base their creation and support of social programs on the evidence that sound research has produced rather than on personal and party politics. Good social policy benefits not just the recipients of assistance, but society as a whole as well.

The Perry Preschool study inspired this focus on cost-benefit analysis. The Perry study, which began in 1962, was an analysis of the costs and benefits of early childhood education which showed that for each dollar invested by the government into a "carefully designed preschool experience" $16 was paid back through taxes and an individual's contributions to society. The MacArthur Foundation's goal is to saturate the policy arena with cost-benefit analyses in order to create the best social policy possible.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Beyond Charity": The Nonprofit Impact

Here is an interesting report on the D.C. nonprofit community that focuses on measuring return on investment in order to show how valuable nonprofits are. Not only does the report talk about the economic impact of the organizations, it also focuses on the way nonprofits encourage civic engagement and generate social capital. The report uses programs to illustrate how the organizations save society money by focusing on prevention, finding untapped potential, and by utilizing volunteers and in-kind donations.

It’s no surprise to those of us working with nonprofits that the return on investment is significant and strengthens communities. However, many people have never considered thinking about, or evaluating, nonprofits in terms of their return on investment. Next time someone asks what your organization does for the region, you can provide a reply that goes deeper than your programming; remind them of the social capital generated, the way you maximize resources, and the money your nonprofit is saving them!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Massachusetts Creates New Position to Support the Arts

Of recent interest to arts organizations, with implications for all nonprofits, is the unique position that Massachusetts has created as part of its efforts to strengthen the arts sector. The new “creative economy” director will work to connect arts and cultural organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit groups, to the resources that they need in order to help them grow and develop.

Massachusetts sees that the arts sector is a valuable part of the state’s economy and is willing to invest the money needed to support it by creating this new position. Over 100,000 people are employed by arts and cultural organizations in Massachusetts and the sector creates billions of dollars of economic activity within the state.

This is exciting news for all nonprofits, especially those involved with the arts. Massachusetts has realized how vital it is for state and local government to pay attention to, and support, these organizations. The economic impact of nonprofits is not going unrealized; hopefully the growing awareness of the creative economy’s impact will lead to more state support here in New York as well. For more on the role of the state, check out the report titled, “States and the Creative Economy” put together by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

Friday, May 30, 2008

AVRE Receives $1M Contract

The Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment Inc. has recently received a contract worth an annual amount of $1 million to supply the federal government with copy paper. This is a great opportunity for AVRE and an exciting development for NY South Central nonprofits.
Click here to learn more about AVRE's contract.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Steering Committee Appoints Chair and Vice-Chair

The South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group Steering Committee has appointed a Chair and Vice-Chair. Thank you to Darrell and Dick in volunteering their time to serve in these roles.

Chair: Darrell R. Newvine, Family Enrichment Network
Vice-Chair: Dick Squire, ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.

Inviting All Nonprofits

6 members of the Steering Committee met on Monday the 12th to discuss the following: a Group invitation to be mailed to nonprofits in the region; committees for the Group; and program topic areas. The committee discussed a letter of invitation that will be sent out shortly. The letter will invite all nonprofit executive directors in the region to join the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group, and collect their contact information. The letter will also ask directors to select their top choice of 3-5 topic areas for a fall program meeting. Finally, the letter will announce the development of four committees for the Group (Steering, Membership, Program, and Special Projects) and invite directors to join. While this letter is being finalized, the Committee will continue to move forward on beginning to collect initial economic impact data from nonprofits in the region. An e-mail will be sent out to the Group asking for the following information:
  1. Name of nonprofit
  2. Name of Executive Director
  3. Type of organization (Arts and Culture, Museum, Social and Human Service, Education, Religious or faith based, etc)
  4. Total number of people who were employed on your payroll during the fiscal year
  5. Business dollars your organization spent in this region. This information should be available from your accounts payable or check register. Every dollar you spent to purchase goods or services has a compounded positive impact on the local economy.
  6. Total payroll taxes generated (State and Federal)
  7. Other taxes collected (Sales tax as an example)
Annette J. Schweiger, Tioga County Council on the Arts
Darrell R. Newvine, Family Enrichment Network
Deborah Fitzgerald, Recess Resources, Inc.
Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches
Keith W. Leahey, MSW, Mental Health Association
Robert K. Hanye, A.V.R.E.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Steering Committee Update

A South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Steering Committee conference call was held on the 22nd. Six directors joined in the discussion about the next steps for the Group. The Committee discussed the possible issue of a payment in lieu of taxes in Binghamton. The Committee also discussed addressing the structural issues for the Group. A Committee meeting will be held on May 12th at 8am hosted by the Mental Health Association to set these organizational elements. The meeting will include identifying areas for the Group to focus on for the next 6 to 8 months and recommending committees to be formed. A Chair and Vice Chair for the Group will also be selected. After this Committee meeting, a mailing will be sent out to officially announce the Group and set the next Group meeting.

Annette J. Schweiger, Tioga County Council on the Arts
Darrell R. Newvine, Family Enrichment Network
Robert K. Hanye, Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc. (A.V.R.E.)
Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches
Keith W. Leahey, MSW, Mental Health Association
Deborah Fitzgerald, Recess Resources, Inc.

Monday, April 14, 2008

For Your Consideration: Economic Impact and PILOT Resurgance

Allison Alden, Asst. Professor, Department of Public Administration, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University, recently sent the following suggestion and information to the Group for consideration.
I just wanted to toss in another idea. It the group is going to conduct
another survey on economic impact, I suggest that they also include something
that asks about the value of services that are provided to the community NOT on
the local govt. dime. The reason I suggest this is that there has been a recent
resurgence of the view that there should be a push to force nonprofits to
pay for public services provided. Normally the costs of these are covered
through property taxes, but since they are exempt there is talk about the need
to have them pay a service fee. (below is a link to a letter to the editor
printed this morning from a former mayoral candidate). This does not take into
account the value of the services that nonprofit organizations provide to
the community (at no local cost). For example, the fact that the city does not
pay to take inebriated citizens who are causing trouble to the crisis
center alleviates them from having the expense and responsibility of providing
such a service. I think the organizations should be prepared to counter such a
movement if it gains steam.

Best wishes for continued success.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Group Mission, Vision, and Structure

The mission of the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group is to individually and collectively strengthen and empower nonprofit organizations; and to foster a highly valued recognition of the economic and social benefits of the nonprofit sector.

-Group will be a place where nonprofit directors look for professional support
-Group will be the place where the community goes to seek answers to questions about the impact of or the impact on nonprofits
◦This is the goal and with time, the potential will become better defined
◦Need further clarification about what the group’s role would be as a Chamber of Commerce

-Changed the Group’s name from Southern Tier to South Central NY to better clarify region served
-Clarified that the group membership would consist of 501(C)3s and organizations with similar missions and philosophies
◦Other types of nonprofits can attend meetings
◦Group would have a disclaimer in organizational principles that clarifies that membership does not mean endorsement of a specific position of other members

-Group will use a steering committee model made up of 6 to 8 members selected by the group
◦Steering Committee members will serve 2 years
◦Steering Committee will select chair and vice chair
-Group will have governing principles that will guide the Committee, membership, and meetings
-Group will not have dues now, but charge program fees to cover expenses

Monday, March 31, 2008

What's the Group's Next Step?

An idea developed for the next program meeting during the Group discussion of the 6 questions and the answers that were generated. The idea is to capture the economic impact of the nonprofit community in the region and communicate this impact to other organizations and government agencies. This idea was the result of discussion focused on question 3, which asked:
Do we want this Group be similar to a chamber of commerce, and if so, in
what ways?

The discussion developed around the idea of the return on value from Chamber membership, and how this value could be improved. From this discussion, the Group proposed focusing on articulating the impact of nonprofits on the region, including economic and quality of life. The Group would like to calculate the economic impact of nonprofits by aggregating salaries, number of employees, and how much money is spent in the community (and possibly other factors, like numbers of people served). The Group also discussed including quality of life factors, but this area is hard to measure or quantify, so the Group will explore this further by looking at other studies and examples (such as American Express arts study and the "Weed and Seed" Program in Binghamton).

The Group would like to take this information and present it in a report form at a special program meeting possibly attended by all the heads of the area Chambers (and maybe local government officials). A conversation could begin between Chambers and nonprofits about who nonprofits are, their impact on the community, and how the two can better understand each other and work together. The Steering Committee will be discussing this idea as the topic for the next program meeting. Details will be announced shortly.

Interested in hearing this discussion? A digital recording (mp3) is available here. Please share your feedback about this conversation and these ideas for the Group's next steps.

Executive Directors Group Meets for First Time!

The first meeting of the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group met on March 26th. The meeting was hosted by A.V.R.E (Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment). Participants included:
Robert K. Hanye, A.V.R.E.
Dick Squire, ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.
Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches
Rick Peterson, Broome County YMCA
Bill Lelbach, Chenango River Theatre
Michele Napolitano, Fairview Recovery Services
Darrell R. Newvine, Family Enrichment Network
David Karre, Four County Library System
Ralph E. Hall, KNOW Theatre
Sharon Chesna, Mothers & Babies Perinatal Network
Annette Schweiger, Tioga County Council on The Arts
Martha C. Brennan, Tioga County REAP
Carole Coppens, YWCA of Binghamton & Broome County
Keith Leahey, MHAST
Pat Erickson, SOS Shelter
Raini Baudendistel, Crime Victims Assistance Center
Deborah Fitzgerald, Recess Resources, Inc.

The meeting opened with an introduction of the Steering Committee, the nonprofit directors in attendance, and two representatives from NBT Bank (Robin Ellis and David Cahill), a new supporter of the Group. The program continued with a presentation of the Steering Committee's recommendations for the mission, vision and structure of the Group. There was consensus around the presentation, which is available here. If you would like to share you feedback, please post your comments here. The next step will be sending an official invite by e-mail to nonprofits in the region to join the ED Group. Once members have opted in, they will be listed on this website as members.

The remaining portion of the meeting involved the discussion of 6 questions about the Group and its activities. The questions and discussion answers are posted here:

1) How often are you willing or expect for the group to meet; and would you prefer to keep meetings in one or a few designated locations with a small fee or have the opportunity to host a meeting and rotate to other facilities?
  • First year: six times/year with goal of getting to 4 times a year
  • Rotate to other member facilities (including other counties) with opportunity to spend 5 minutes learning about that organization
  • If some smaller facilities do not have space they can be rotated in to present their info
  • Fee per event- you can choose to come or not
  • 6 times/year is ok, but 4 times per year might not be enough
  • 90 minute meetings max
  • Start meetings at 8am

2) What are you looking for from the Group that will bring you back?

  • Networking- sharing and learning
  • Resource development (ie HR questions- who is willing to be called/help
  • Empowerment/recognition
  • Educational value
  • Visibility
  • Outreach- elected officials – does this mean educating elected officials about the value and impact of nonprofits in our area?
  • Definite purpose for each meeting or program
  • Teamwork
  • How are we the same and how we are different

3) Do we want this Group be similar to a chamber of commerce, and if so, in what ways?

  • Yes, for quality of life issues- we’re not a business but we have value
  • No, there are benefits- economic benefits- in chamber membership networking
  • Yes, a formal group who represents us in public policy
  • Networking/sharing resources
  • Reach out to support new nonprofits
  • We are a business- same issues
  • There is a value in numbers (organizations)
  • Create a liaison with each area chamber where we are some form of committee to each chamber. We serve as a resource to the chambers, they come to us when they need assistance.
  • May evolve over time

4) What should the agenda be for our next program meeting?

  • Who’s joined
  • What were the answers to the 6 questions
  • Next step
  • Presentation on topic area
  • Discussion on topics for meetings
  • Clear up questions and ambiguities that exist in today’s presentation
  • Time line and action plan
  • Election of steering committee
  • What type of trainings/presentations does the group want?

5) What is a big idea for us (Group) to do together?

  • Reception for nonprofit community to invite others to join
  • Training for new ED’s and succession planning specific to the area
  • Semi-structure mixer
  • Annual conference
  • NPO Impact report- Steering Committee should survey total budget and numbers of clients served by the group’s membership. And number of staff/payrolls and volunteer hours
  • Multi-topic 1 day training conference
  • Board development

6) How can we get info to the community on who we are and what our plans are?

  • Press releases
  • We will need an up-to-date list- CRT has one (40-50 current media outlets) Valerie Zehl
  • Letters to other nonprofits
  • Reach out to community foundations
  • Expand and promote website and include links to members websites
  • Who is responsible for publicity?
  • Each member agrees to personally invite 10 people to reception

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Employee Car Use Policy: Feedback Please!

Dear Colleagues,
I am trying to find out if anyone has a policy on damage reimbursement for an employee who has an accident in their personal car while on agency business. Specifically, this agency does not own any vehicles. The employee was sent out using her own car to pick up needed supplies for the agency. She slid into an intersection on icy pavement and her car was damaged ($3,000). She was not ticketed. She would like the agency to cover her entire repair bill, or her deductible and her increased rate of insurance. Any feedback would be appreciated (post in response to my comment below). Thank You

Richard E. Squire
Executive Director
ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.
30 West State Street
Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: 607-724-5153

SCNY Group Applauds AVRE on National Award

AVRE has received a national award. Read more about it here:
Please join us in congratulating them.

Friday, February 29, 2008

March 26th Agenda and Location

The first meeting of the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group is set for the Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc. (A.V.R.E.) at 174 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901. The Steering Committee has set the following meeting agenda:

  • Steering Committee Introduction
  • Survey and Group Mission, Vision, and Structure
  • Group Graffiti Activity

The group activity will address the following questions:

  1. How often are you willing or expect for the group to meet; and would you prefer to keep meetings in one or a few designated locations with a small fee or have the opportunity to host a meeting and rotate to other facilities?
  2. What are you looking for from the Group that will bring you back?
  3. Do we want this Group be similar to a chamber of commerce, and if so, in what ways?
  4. What should the agenda be for our next program meeting?
  5. What is a big idea for us (Group) to do together?
  6. How can we get info to the community on who we are and what our plans are?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Name Announced: South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group

At a recent meeting of the Steering Committee, a decision was made to change the group name from Southern Tier Nonprofit Executive Directors Group to South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group. This name better defines the region from which the group's nonprofit directors represent.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Southern Tier Nonprofit Executive Directors Group Meeting Set for March 26th

The first meeting of the Southern Tier Nonprofit Executive Directors Group for 2008 has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 26th. The program will begin at 8:00am with breakfast. The program agenda will start with a networking activity. The program will continue with a presentation of the Group's mission statement; survey report; and steering committee action points for 2008. More information will be announced shortly.
Date: March 26, 2008
Time: 8:00am - 10:30am
Location: TBD
Cost: TBD
Register Now!

2008 Survey

The Steering Committee has met and developed a survey concerning a draft mission and organizational ideas and questions for you to consider. The first meeting has been proposed for March. Please complete the survey (click here) and share your feedback.