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.