Sunday, October 27, 2013

Comprehensive Information on D&O Liability for Small Nonprofits


Providing Small Nonprofits with BIG Insurance and Employee Benefits 
There are several programs which can protect your organization, are easy to implement, and may even save your organization money.

As a member of NYCON, organizations are eligible to obtain the endorsed Directors' & Officers' (D&O) Insurance.
 To become a member of NYCON click here.

For over 45 years NYCON has sponsored great insurance programs for itself and its members.  The Directors' & Officers' Liability Insurance offers LIMITS OF LIABILITY at $1 Million or $2 Million.  The endorsed program underwriter is The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
Annual Premium Rates for NYCON Members Starting At: 

$675 for $1 Million Limit of Liability* 

$1,075 for $2 Million Limit of Liability* 

 *Pending total number of employees

The features of the NYCON endorsed D&O policy include*:

  • Separate limits for both D&O and EPL coverage
  • Loss only deductible
  • Coverage outside Directorship - This extension affords coverage for an Insured Person serving in the capacity of a director of an Outside Entity.
  • Coverage for claims allegin Wrongful Act; including Employment Practices and Personl Injury not covered under General Liability and Professional Liability insurance policies
  • Coverage for all Directors, Officers and employees; including staff, volunteers and committee members
  • Entity Coverage - Claims may be made against the organization itself
  • Any expenses incurred to defend you are paid for in addition to the limits stated in your policy

Additional Benefit:

Access to a toll-free Employment Practices Hotline.  Participants can call in and speak with a qualified employment practices professional from a nationally recognized law firm.

Rates for NYCON Members Starting At:

$675 for $1 Million Limit of Liability* 

$1,075 for $2 Million Limit of Liability* 


Eligibility Highlights**:  
  • Under $5,000,000 annual revenue
  • Total 500 employees/volunteers or fewer
  • Positive fund balance and operating income
  • Must be an eligible class of business
  • No prior and/or pending claims
  • Operational for at least 12 months
**Must be a New York organization incorporated as a nonprofit with a 501(c) tax status, a member of NYCON and located in NY.

~Note: D&O insurance, which indemnifies an organization and its officers for alleged wrongful acts resulting from the "management and governance of the organization", should not be confused with General Liability insurance, which protects the nonprofit against liability for property damage, bodily injury, and/or personal injury that it allegedly caused.
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For more information, please contact one of our Licensed Account Representatives at (877) 501-4277 or 

Council Services Plus is the Insurance Brokerage Subsidiary of the New York Council of Nonprofits, and provides its members with insurance and employee benefits.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Update Your SEFA Information

Is Your Nonprofit Raising Money through SEFA?
Update Your Profile Online Today.
As you know, SEFA is the State Employees Federated Appeal. SEFA is a charitable solicitation of New York state employees conducted under the authority of State Finance Law § 201-1.

State employees may give to any of the charitable organizations that participate in SEFA and may at any time revoke or modify a contribution made through payroll deduction by providing a written request to the employee's payroll office.  Many of you already participate and raise funds through this campaign.

IMPORTANT: If your organization has recertified with SEFA this year you should review the online directory of charities as well to make sure your listing is there and correct.

Important: If it is not, please email  Suzanne Maloney, SEFA Director(  

You may also choose to email Joanne Macklin at Community Works as they are attempting to track the extent to which any nonprofit is having trouble getting their information updated.

Thank You. 

The College of Community & Public Affairs at Binghamton University Announces its Fall 2013 Seminar Series

Integrating Expressive Therapies – Paul Gould, PhD, LCSW
Friday, October 25, 2013 – 9:00am – 12:00 pm                                          

Expressive therapies – sometimes referred to as expressive or creative arts therapy – are used with populations of all ages to address a wide range of clinical issues, including trauma, abuse and family conflict. Forms of expressive therapy include the use of art, drama, music, poetry, and dance. This workshop will introduce participants to the basic tenets of expressive therapies, identify a range of expressive activities that may be used with clients, and how these may be integrated with other therapies in a range of clinical settings. Experiential exercises will be used during the workshop to demonstrate several therapeutic art techniques which may be adapted for work with individuals, groups and families. 

Understanding the DSM 5 and Its Clinical Applications -- Cassandra Bransford, PhD
Friday, November 8, 2013 -- 9:00am – 12:00pm    
This workshop will provide an overview of the diagnostic changes contained within DSM 5, and provide participants with a hands-on opportunity to apply the new diagnostic procedures to clinical case examples. There will also be time for participants to ask questions pertaining to how the DSM 5 may be applied to their own cases, and its implications for practice.

Local Government Strategies for Economic and Environmental Sustainability – George Homsy, PhD
Friday, November 8, 2013 – 9:00am – 12:00pm                                                                 
Sustainability is not just about environmental protection. Sustainable communities are also economically efficient; these places have lower costs of government operations, improved quality of life and lower energy costs for residents, and an enhanced reputation. The goal of this workshop is to help local leaders develop a sustainability agenda that fits their particular economic and environmental circumstances. To do this we will delve into sustainability strategies used by small- to medium-sized local governments in New York State and around the nation. We will structure discussions around the specific needs of the participants. We will work together to outline components of a sustainability plan that participants can take back to their communities for further refinement. Finally, we will discuss the politics of sustainability, communicating plan goals to others, and implementation.

Engaging and Supervising an Undergraduate Intern -- Diane Crews, PhD
Wednesday, November 13, 2013-- 9:00am – 12:00 pm                             

Internships and practicums undertaken by undergraduates can have a profound influence on a young adult's career aspirations and future direction for graduate school and/or employment. If your department or agency provides valuable internships for undergraduate students (typically young adults in the 20-22 year old age range) or is thinking about becoming involved with CCPA as a placement site, this workshop is for you. The aim of the workshop is to share experiences among agency professionals who have provided or plan to provide direct supervision for undergraduate students and to learn more about what to expect during a semester. Topics include creating job descriptions with manageable and developmentally appropriate expectations, providing structure and guiding meaningful duties, communicating with faculty/staff on campus, understanding the students' requirements for receiving academic credit in the context of the site experience, reporting or other concerns you may have about mentoring a future young professional.

Enhancing Cognitive Stimulation in Persons with Dementia -- Paul Gould, PhD, LCSW
Friday, December 6, 2013 -- 9:00am – 12:00 pm                

Persons with dementia often experience increased incidence of depression and behavioral problems due to a lack of stimulation. This workshop will address the need for positive stimulation in persons living with dementia and identify a variety of activities that may be used to promote cognitive stimulation at varying levels of the disease. Several activities will be illustrated as part of the workshop. This workshop is appropriate for family members, caregivers, and professionals working with aging adults. 

Building a Sustainable Nonprofit Organization – David Campbell, PhD
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – 9:00am - 12:00 pm                      
How confident are you in your organization's long-term sustainability?  What steps can you take today to make sure your organization can advance its mission long into the future?  The goal of this workshop is to introduce you to a model of nonprofit sustainability planning that you can use in your organization.  The model is based on the book Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability. The model defines sustainability as a combination of boththe impact of an organization's activities ("business lines") and the financial performance of each of those activities. The model enables users to develop a simple "matrix map" that displays the financial and program performance of an organization's activities.  The map provides the basis for sustainability planning.  The workshop will provide hands-on opportunities for participants to apply aspects of the model to their organizations (such as the identification of business lines and impact criteria).

The Clinical Assessment Tool: Understand, Evaluate, Build & Document More Effectively Using a Team Approach – Kim Evanoski, MPA, LMSW
Monday, December 16, 9:00am – 12:00 pm                                                           

Want the opportunity to take a really good look at your assessment tool and change it to something that you have always thought it should be?  Now is your chance with this workshop! The assessment is one of the most important tools we can use to develop an accurate picture of the client's current life and needs.  We become more effective practitioners when we can structure our assessment tool in a way that captures all the information in one place, then allows us to use the information for obtaining team goals.   The assessment process should be efficient; it should not overburden the client with complicated questions that inhibit engagement from the genuine relationship of being part of the team.  What to bring to this workshop?  Your current assessment and any staff who wishes to roll up their sleeves with you to take a serious look at your assessment.  Together we will work at discussing and re-building the new and improved dream assessment tool!

Each half-day workshop is $65/person and includes morning refreshments.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nonprofit Advocacy Matters | October 7, 2013

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Paying for Indirect Costs Essential to Success, New Report Finds
Investing for Impact coverPrevailing government policies and practices render many charitable nonprofits less efficient and effective, according to findings presented in a new report by the National Council of Nonprofits. Investing for Impact: Indirect Costs are Essential for Success details how a combination of inconsistent terminology by governments, arbitrary application of those terms, and unrealistic expectations impair the ability of nonprofits to deliver services that governments at all levels contract with them to provide and weakens the viability of the entire sector to provide services to the public on behalf of governments. Among other findings, the report challenges outdated thinking and demonstrates that actual indirect costs range from 20 percent to 40 percent at charitable nonprofits.

Investing for Impact offers practical solutions that governments at all levels can adopt to strengthen the government-nonprofit contracting relationship while ensuring higher-performing partners and cost savings for taxpayers. Charitable nonprofits are invited to help ongoing contracting reform efforts by sharing your experiences and problems with contracting with local and state governments. For more on the report and on the Council of Nonprofits’ government-nonprofit contracting reform initiative, go

Long Federal Shutdown Means Greater Demands, Impact on Nonprofits
When the federal government shut down on October 1 due to the failure of politicians to reach agreement on a bill to fund federal programs, many people presumed that the government would be closed for only a few days and the impact would be relatively light. However, the widening chasm between the political parties suggests that the shutdown could continue for weeks, perhaps even spilling over to and beyond the October 17 date when the federal government will hit the statutory debt limit. Every day of shutdown increases the tally of adverse effects for nonprofits and the people they serve. Many federally funded, community-based programs that provide food for infants, children, veterans, and seniors, such as Meals on Wheels and WIC (Women, Infant, and Children Supplemental Nutrition), report having only enough resources to continue operating for a few more days. At least 23 Head Start programs in 11 states have already run out of money, leaving children without access to vital educational programs and their parents scrambling for options. People who could be applying for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, or other essential programs -- all of which have been idled during the shutdown -- turn to charities for help. Members of the VISTA national service program continue to accrue their stipends during the shutdown, but they won’t be paid until government operations resume, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service; yet, VISTA participants reportedly are prohibited from taking second jobs to earn other income while they wait to be paid. 

Government shutdowns – just like arbitrary sequestration cuts – may stop funding, but they do not stop human needs. Indeed, they actually increase needs. When people are in need, they turn to charitable nonprofits for help – yet nonprofits have been stretched beyond capacity the last several years since the Great Recession due to higher demands for help and reduced revenues.

Dealing with the Federal Government Shutdown at the State Level
The National Governors Association has made clear that state governors oppose the federal government shutdown and are concerned about whether and how the states will backfill reduced federal support, especially if the political impasse goes on for long. “We will not be acting as the federal government's bank,” said Michigan Budget Director John Nixon, suggesting that individuals will have to turn elsewhere for help. Arizona took it a step further, cutting off welfare assistance to the very poor. To avert additional pressures on nonprofits and their communities, State Associations across the country are working to prepare nonprofits for the range of effects the government shutdown could have on their work and the people they serve:
Nonprofits Prepare for 2014 State Tax Reform Discussions
Tax reform discussions for the 2014 legislative sessions are already underway across the country. Last week New York Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a new tax reform committee tasked with reducing sales taxes for individuals and businesses. The new tax committee must submit its report to the Governor by December 6, 2013. The Nebraska Legislature’s Tax Modernization Committee kicked off a series of tax reform hearings in September that seek to gather input from the public on tax reform topics. The Committee has until December 15 to submit its recommendations to the Legislature. The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands is working to engage local nonprofits in the state tax reform dialogue to ensure the organizations have a seat at the table on tax changes that could negatively affect their work in communities. Vermont policymakers during their 2014 session are also expected to discuss a tax reform proposal that would cap all itemized deductions, including the charitable giving incentive, at 2.5 times the standard deduction. Common Good Vermont and several other nonprofits in the state have alreadyvoiced concerns about the proposed change.

Taxes, Fees, PILOTs
  • Property Tax Exemptions: The New Jersey Supreme Court ended a decade-long battle over property taxes, ruling that nonprofit organizations that provide housing and other services to mentally ill and disabled persons do not owe property taxes on their residential facilities. The Court’s unanimous decision stressed the importance of protecting nonprofits’ tax-exempt status because it decreases the demands on government. The case represents a crucial precedent in New Jersey, where the state and local governments have tried on several other occasions in recent years to levy taxes, fees, or PILOTs on charitable nonprofits.
  • Property Tax Exemptions: The Ohio Tax Commissionruled that a hospital must be reimbursed for more than $1 million in property taxes assessed by a local school district. The nonprofit hospital had been paying property taxes for five years despite having applied for tax-exempt status in 2008. The Commission ruled that the hospital is classified as a nonprofit organization and, therefore, should have been exempt from property taxes during this period.
  • Business Taxes: A New Hampshire State Representative is considering submitting a bill that would apply the state’s Business Enterprise Tax to nonprofit colleges and hospitals. The tax currently charges businesses above a certain size a 0.75 percent fee on interest, dividends, and compensation, but exempts charitable nonprofits. Some nonprofits in New Hampshire are pushing back against the idea: “They provide a public good, which is why they’re exempt from the Business Enterprise Tax and generally exempt from taxes,” a nonprofit representative said. “It would be a direct challenge to their tax-exempt status.”
Government-Nonprofit Contracting News
Illinois Implements Reforms that Benefit Nonprofits and Taxpayers

Illinois taxpayers, individuals receiving vital services, and nonprofit service providers are the beneficiaries of ongoing contracting reform efforts. Key areas of progress include creation of an electronic document repository, reduction of nonprofit monitoring from annual reviews to once every three-to-five years, and adoption of a common contract agreement template that five separate state agencies can use, according to a report to the Illinois General Assembly from the Management Improvement Initiative Committee (MIIC). The Centralized Repository Vault (CRV) is generating savings by allowing nonprofits to electronically upload standard documents like an organization’s articles of incorporation and IRS Form 990 only once, when previously they were required to submit as hard copies to each state agency multiple times – thus saving taxpayers the costs of storage and retrieval. The MIIC is also working on a process for accepting deemed status of service providers to reduce regulatory burdens on nonprofits and a new standardized billing system and reporting format. MIIC was created in 2011 by the General Assembly to improve government-nonprofit contracting practices and procedures across Illinois’ five human services agencies.

Denver Strengthens Partnership with Nonprofit Contractors
Nonprofits in Denver are seeing positive results from the City’s efforts to improve contracting and partnerships. The Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships (DOSP), which serves as a liaison between the City and local charitable nonprofit service providers, last week began posting a listing of funding opportunities on DOSP’s website and expanding its newsletter to highlight City funding opportunities for their nonprofit partners. The Office also released a guide for City agencies on the selection process for nonprofit funding streams to support efforts to structure a clear and transparent selection process, and is providing training to City employees on working effectively with nonprofits. Denver’s commitment to streamlining contracting processes is demonstrated by DOSP Executive Director, Dace West: “As a City, we elect to work with the nonprofit community to complement and support services already provided by City agencies or to meet needs that the City does not have the capacity, resources or expertise to address. As a result, the City is able to more effectively and efficiently execute its vision of creating a world-class city where everyone matters.”

Additional State and Local Issues

Nonprofits Take to Advocacy to Avoid Another Round of Sequestration
Nonprofits nationwide are actively engaging with policymakers in efforts to prevent a second round of sequestration cuts from taking effect in January of 2014. The Maine Association of Nonprofits is hosting a discussion with Senator Angus King to end sequestration and demonstrate how the arbitrary and across-the-board cuts are limiting the ability of nonprofits to serve their communities. Similarly, the National Head Start Association held a rally on October 2nd at the US Capitol to demonstrate the adverse effects of current and future sequester cuts. Those cuts have already forced Head Start programs nationally to drop 57,000 children from their early education programs in addition to firing teachers, cutting schedules and reducing transportation for low-income families. The advocacy efforts of nonprofits like these are essential for ensuring that policymakers and the public see the true cost of these arbitrary cuts and recognize the impact they have on charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Readers can share stories about how sequestration has affected their communities and read others, from every state,

Best of the Web: October 2013

Idealware: Helping Nonprofits Make Smart Software Decisions

Best of the Web: October 2013

The Idealware “Best of the Web” is a monthly roundup of the top nonprofit resources from the Idealware blog, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed to help you make the right technology decisions. 

The Best Times to Post on Social Media: Introducing the Burrito Principal (Beth’s Blog)It’s a question that is often asked, "when is the best time to post on social media?" While the same solution won’t work for everyone, Beth Kanter provides a simple, but often overlooked, insight: post when your fans have downtime online. Whether they’re just clocking in for the morning, grabbing a bite at lunch, or checking in after a long day, contemplating your audience’s social media viewing habits can increase your chances of getting important messages heard.

Don’t Fall Into This Trap That Could Destroy Your Blog (ProBlogger)Comparing yourself to other nonprofit blogs, websites, and social media pages can be a great way to get ideas and get started, but it’s important to go your own way. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but as this blog post points out, it’s easy to get wrapped up in how your blog performs against your one-time online communications idols.

13 Ethical Ways to Increase Your Site’s Search Traffic (Mashable)When you’re first starting out with a website, it can be all too tempting to use trickery to boost your search engine ranking. The fact is that providing great content (the kind people want to find when they search) is the key to getting your rank up and keeping it there. These lessons from the for-profit sector are good things to keep in mind for any nonprofit website goals.

Three Tips for Managing Your Interns & Skilled Volunteers (Idealware)Interns and volunteers can save you an incredible amount of money, help to make your organization run smoother, and become valued members of your team. That is, of course, provided they are well managed, and welcomed to an environment that nurtures good work. This guest blog post, written by an intern at VolunteerMatch, will give you some ideas as to how you can get the best performance out of your part time staff.

One Page Scrolling Web Sites: A Great New Way to Tell a Story (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)When dealing with large campaigns, it is important to tell a compelling story, and translate it clearly and concisely. While you wouldn’t want to use it on every page of your site, or in every campaign, a single vertical page full of engaging multimedia can be a great way to walk your reader from the beginning to the end of your story.

New Study Shows Millennials Want To Make A Global Difference (Frogloop)Looking to connect with a younger, global audience? The good news is that they want to help; you just have to know how to reach them. This study, performed by Telefonica and The Financial Times, looked at the optimism of young people around the world, and their adoption of technology, to give you insight into how you can make the connection.

Nonprofit Storytelling for Crowdfunding & Online Fundraising (CauseVox)In storytelling, it’s not always what your organization does that tugs at your donor’s heartstrings, but the people you help, and the difference it makes. This blog post gives examples of how you can break away from the “laundry list of programs your nonprofit provides” and make a unique, impactful statement in your fundraising appeals.

Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line: A Complete Accounting Guide (blue avocado)Your volunteers work hard, are they receiving due credit? Tracking your volunteers’ time can give you a unique perspective on the amount of work your organization is doing, and the return on investment your donors enjoy. This guide will give you everything you need to get started, including a sample tracking form.
Idealware’s Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide: Three Perspectives (TechSoup)You like us! You really like us! This blog post, written by our friends at TechSoup, shows how jam packed our Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide really is, as three writers offer three unique takeaways from the report.

Using SROI to Show Your Nonprofit’s Impact ( Nonprofit Charitable Orgs)We all know about ROI, or return on investment, but what about SROI: social return on investment? You can determine the impact of your nonprofit by looking at what would happen if your nonprofit never existed, thereby determining your value to your community, and comparing it with the cost to run your programs and how many people you are helping. This unique approach to outcomes measurement isn’t for everyone, but the right organizations can make compelling arguments for their value to donors and foundations.