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Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Heroes afar

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Regarding the Armed Forces Aid Campaign’s role in helping soldiers and veteran’s plight of sometimes being forgotten.

What defines a “hero”? People say the word casually, throw it out at someone who helps them out with a small favor—“Oh you’re my hero.” Often, there is no thinking behind the word, no thought of what the word might mean or whom it may address. Certainly, there is no picturing of a human face behind that word, that title. People who stride free and relaxed and unconcerned should know this: There are thousands of nameless heroes who die for every precious second of their freedom. Those true heroes are the soldiers who endure the horror of war in order to preserve their country, to protect the rights that many take for granted.

These heroes do not have “Superman” or “Batman” titles slapped onto them; they serve to serve, and to protect, and most of the time, without any thanks at all. There is, however, a foundation to aid the too often forgotten heroes. The Armed Forces Aid Campaign strives to aid the soldiers both fighting at the front lines of distant war, and the veterans recuperating in their homes.

Both active and wounded soldiers in various countries are helped by this non-profit organization, by receiving phone cards so that they can contact their homes and families—small petty comforts, one might argue, but significant  for someone who has not seen their loved ones for months, even years, or is suffering from the scars of war. Soldiers are provided with hope and sometimes neglected medical care.

In addition to the soldiers themselves, the Armed Forces Aid Campaign strives to cover costs for the families of suffering soldiers—covering travel fees when visiting the soldier or certain other medical costs that the military does not pay for. Many things, everything from trained dogs for the disabled, to support for families that have lost a loved one to war, are paid for by the organization. Many things, both simple and essential, are provided, thanks to the donations of the people who do care.

The organization exists to provide for the heroes to which many owe their safe, contented lives. Their sacrifices are what allow for others’ peace, and their pain contributes to others’ comfort. Fortunately, such heroes are not entirely forgotten. Organizations like the Armed Forces Aid Campaign strive to ensure that no hero afar is ever disregarded, no matter what.

hero, heroes, armed forces, aid, campaign, organization, soldier, soldiers, veteran, war, The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: The Center for Assocation Resources info

Non-profit Organizations

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

About Non profit organizations and their management

As the name suggests, a non-profit organization is an association or a group established with the objectives of serving the people rather than profit motive. Non-profit organizations can be individuals, like self-help groups or formal associations. Voluntary organizations, philanthropic societies, social service associations and charitable trusts are some of the examples of non-profit organizations. Although most governments and government agencies also come under non-profit organizations, in most countries they are considered a separate type of organization and not counted as NPOs. In many counties, NPOs are exempt from income and property taxes.

In the United States alone, there are over one million large non-profitable organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, there are numerous smaller associations with annual revenues of less than $50,000 that are not registered with the IRS. The total revenues of non-profit bodies in US are estimated to be a little over 6 percent of the country’s economy. This sector employs around 10.2 million persons. Most non-profit entities are registered into corporations under the Corporation Laws of a particular State. Corporations are, in general, required to pay federal income taxes on their net earnings. However, Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code details certain circumstances under which corporations or unincorporated non-profit organizations are exempt from these taxes. These include organizations established for charitable, religious, scientific or educational purposes, and those that do not distribute any part of their income among their members.

Tax exempt non-profit organizations operate like any other business units. They maintain bank accounts, own productive assets, receive donations, make investments and employ staff. The major difference is, however, in the nature of activities of NPOs. Non-profit organizations may be associations or trusts. The organization may be controlled by its members who elect the Board of Directors, Board of Governors or Board of trustees. Non-profit organizations or associations have excellent networking and organizing skills. These organizations render yeoman service to the society by providing material help and support in times of natural calamities, like floods, fire and earthquakes. In many countries, especially in developing countries, NPOs are the first ones to reach the affected areas. For example, when floods submerge several villages and people are marooned without food, drinking water and shelter, volunteers from NPOs drop the food packets and drinking water sachets from helicopters and wherever possible, they evacuate affected people to safer places. These non-profit organizations, in most cases supplement the work of Government agencies.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute are two of the wealthiest non-profit organizations in the United States. Outside the US, another large NPO is the British Wellcome Trust, a non-profit charitable trust. In addition, there are also millions of smaller NPOs that undertake social services and relief measures. Some non-profit organizations are particularly renowned for the charitable or social nature of their services carried out over a long period of time. These include, Amnesty International, Rotary International, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Red Cross, UNESCO and IEEE. Many NPOs often use the .org or .us or .edu top-level-domain (TLD), when choosing a name for the domain to distinguish themselves from commercial entities, which use the .com space.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, NPOs, The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Non-Profit

Community Development

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

From the trenches comes a tale of community development success

“Can’t.” “It won’t work.” “There’s nothing you can do.” Few critiques are more incapacitating than these to an organization looking to make a difference. And, when things haven’t gone as planned in the past, critiques will come flying from all directions when new ideas are ventured. Community development lore says that during a meeting, an elected official said, “We’ve tried, and nothing works. But keep trying, nothing can make that neighborhood any worse.”

Well, I have a different tale to tell. Our neighborhood development project had entered its third year, and very little headway had been made toward our goals. Determined to find a way to improve the neighborhood, I canvassed residents in the area through personal visits. Every interview was much alike, and went something like this:

“Hi, I’m from United Way and we’re trying to become familiar with the neighborhood. Can I ask you some questions?” Yes, come in. “Do you feel safe in your neighborhood?”  No. “Do you know your neighbors?” No. “How long do you plan on living here?” Until I can afford to move out.

It was time to change tactics and develop a community asset database instead of a list of complaints. My line of questioning turned to such topics as “What do you like to do with your free time?” The answers flowed, each household revealing a depth of talent and interests:  gardening, bird watching, knitting, reading, drawing, soccer.

Next, it was time to get the neighborhood engaged in thinking about ways to be involved.

“Soccer, huh, can you coach? Do your kids play?” “If we started an art class, could you teach?” “Have you been to the community garden?” “Would you come to a neighborhood movie night?” The enthusiastic responses surprised me. A form was filled out for each house; the stack eventually comprised hundreds of sheets.

Finally, it was time to act on all the information and enthusiasm that had been created through the neighborhood canvass. Our secret to success was to find what’s simple to accomplish and brings about the greatest good, and then doing it. In our case, creating legitimacy meant a community garden, summer day camp, sports nights, community BBQ’s, and murals painted over graffiti-filled walls.

Bad news may seem to spread like wildfire while good news always seems to lag behind, but it does always spread and creates positive steam. In our case, we took the positives from the neighborhood and the success of some programs and approached local businesses. We also networked with local clubs and schools. School metal shops built soccer posts, and local business donated white paint for lines, as well as flags, jerseys, balls, and whistles.

Good news turned into more good news: I received a call from an apartment manager; the owners liked what was happening and offered use of an apartment as a community center. We then contacted the community members we had interviewed and soon staffed the community center with classes taught by neighbors, to neighbors. Neighbors invited neighbors and each success brought new opportunities. Our community blog and Facebook page reached a broad audience, and the stories attracted local media interested in meeting the faces behind the stories.

These stories brought additional credibility to our project, and volunteers excelled because they were using their talents and passion. Additionally, their work was hands-on, which allowed them to readily see success as it happened.

What we accomplished can be replicated in your neighborhood or organization; simply start with the positive and move on from there. You just might be amazed by the results.

community center, volunteering, asset-based development, The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Non-Profit

Increase Productivity and Reduce Turnover

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Reduce turnover and increase productivity by instilling a sense of importance in employees.

More so than in the private sector, non-profit organizations need to keep employees (or volunteers) satisfied. Non-profit workers usually work long hours for low pay, often at thankless tasks. To increase productivity and lower the turnover rate, non-profits should institute an employee-recognition program and ask for employee input for most decisions.

First, one must examine any existing reward system already in place. What parts of the system work, and what parts do not? Immediately abandon any non-effective aspects, but retain the ones that work.

Then, examine why any effective aspects are working. Usually, effective rewards single out an employee for a job well-done, making the employee feel special. The savvy recognition-program planner will keep in mind any knowledge from the existing program while planning a more comprehensive employee recognition system.

Using what already works as a foundation, the new program will integrate old ideas with new ones. For example, if the employee of the month currently receives a balloon and a gift certificate, keep handing out the balloon and certificate. Then, make a bigger scene when handing out the award.

In addition, single out other employees who do a good job each month, but who aren’t quite ready for employee of the month (or whatever award exists). These employees could receive gift cards for a smaller amount, or maybe a simple gift such as a candy bar. The point of the program is to be sure the employees feel valuable.

On top of a recognition program, asking employees for input on big decisions will give them a sense of autonomy. This lets them know that their opinions are valued. When employees feel as if they have some input, they are less likely to jump ship for a higher-paying job.

By letting employees know they are important, non-profit organizations can reduce the rate of turnover and increase satisfaction. Happy employees will perform better and stay with the organization longer. Employee recognition programs and asking employees for their opinions will foster a feeling of teamwork and mutual respect.

non-profit, productivity, turnover, employee recognition,,The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Strategic Planning

Nonprofit Organizations

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Nonprofit Organizations get tax breaks, may raise funds, have inexpensive marketing available to them, and through partnerships with organizations can raise money for needy organizations, clubs, or people.

Nonprofit organizations, also known as NPO’s, are generally organizations that raise money for charitable needs or are government agencies. These organizations are run as a corporation, and are overseen by the district attorney and the Secretary of State. To qualify to be a nonprofit organization, it must be either a charitable organization, raise money for a charitable organization, a trade union or association, and public arts associations. Government agencies are also considered nonprofit organizations, but are included in a different category.

To form a nonprofit organization, decide what type of business is desired, who the charitable organization is that will be benefiting (if it’s not the same organization), and who will be leading the business. If the charitable organization is a separate business, check with your state to see how much needs to go to the charity. Next, decide on the board of directors and establish by-laws. Finally, incorporate your business with the Secretary of State. Your state should have information for nonprofit filing provided on the internet.

After filing, the state will provide you with an employment identification number. This number shows that the organization is a NPO and can be used in fundraising. It’s important at this time to register with the Office of the Attorney General. This will allow the NPO to receive tax exemptions. File with the IRS as well as state and local tax boards to get the tax exemptions due to NPO’s.

Managing your Nonprofit Organization entails keeping detailed information and records. These include fundraisers that must be reported to the DA’s office and Attorney General’s office, volunteer records, income reports, tax and exemption reports, by-laws, board meeting notes, etc. For more information on managing NPO’s, check with USA.gov or your state government organizations.

There are several fundraising types available to nonprofits. Direct fundraisers are those fundraisers that the NPO’s run directly from their business. Examples are fundraising events, bake sales, and rummage sales. NPO’s also have good chances of getting grants. Most NPO’s survive on grants from contributors. Finally, the organization may get sponsored by other businesses and get direct donations from social networking sites, foundations, and people interested in the cause or charity.

Although it may be strenuous to get the NPO started, the results and rewards that it brings to many are very worth it. Many times volunteers can make up for the lack of employees, donations can be given to organizations that really need it, and a need can be met. Even small business NPO’s can be very rewarding to many.

non-profit, NPO, organization, business, association, small business, grants, donations, fundraising, charity, volunteers,The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Non-Profit

Non-profits: Where Did Things Go Wrong?

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

How lack of management skills and experience are hurting the non-profit organizations.

Non-profit organizations or NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) as they are often known internationally are truly feel good places to work. They attract dedicated staff and address serious issues in society that often impact the lives of the neediest populations. Sounds great! So where is the problem? The highly technical and extremely caring personnel in non-profits are often missing professional management skills at the top levels. This leads to the lack of efficient use of resources and an inability to quickly and decisively take action. There is a frequent need for total consensus on decisions. This, along with the strong personal feelings towards the program beneficiaries, often leads to slow and inappropriate management decisions. Technical experts and community program managers are not often trained or experienced in operational management. This leads to a host of internal problems which in turn leads to less program success notwithstanding the great staff.

These non-profit staff often become the eventual managers and heads of the organizations. They sometimes are unable to let go of their technical biases or their love of the communities and activities. This can in turn lead to management and resource choices which are not based on clear management principles and which are not best for the long term goals and success of the organization. Working from the heart is wonderful but in the end someone at the top needs to look at the total operation and make wise decisions even when some programs are hurt or when some services are modified or cut. The current global state of resource availability is not optimal so the organization must now prove to the donors that their funds are used to the maximum effectiveness. Management professionals can help to ensure this happens and can present the cases more clearly for potential donors who now are much more careful before giving.

This is also a time when less available funding pushes towards a stronger need to increase collaboration with other non-profits as well as government offices and the private sector. Again the management professional is more able to make the compromises that have to occur in order to truly build lasting partnerships. This carries over to developing partnership contracts and maintaining them over time. A non-profit does not have to lose its identity or its core values to do this but it has to make some tough decisions along the way. Most non-profit staff are not good at hard decisions or at organizational management. They are excellent at what they do in terms of technical activities and community mobilization. They are willing to work untold hours. However, this is no longer enough in the new more competitive world that the non-profits now inhabit. Putting professional management at the top is one solution that can enable the non-profit to optimize staff and funds to the greatest benefit of the beneficiaries.

management, staff, donors, fundraising, partnerships,operations,The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Planning

Regarding the Importance of Non Profitable Organizations

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Regarding the importance of nonprofitable organizations

Non-profitable organizations are organizations that do not distribute their surplus fund to owners or shareholders. Its essential purpose is to serve the public other than for the accumulation of profit for investors. They are also called as independent, voluntary, charitable, social sector, etc.

Non-profitable organizations are usually classified into either member serving or public serving. The non-profitable organizations may be organized as a non-profit corporation or as a trust or they may be purely informal; they also may be an association of members. Non-profitable organizations may be controlled by its members who elect the Board of Directors. Alternatively they may be a non-membership organization and the Board of Directors may elect its own successors. The two major types of non-profitable organizations are Membership and Board only. Membership organizations select the board and will have regular meetings and act as a power to amend the by-laws. But a board only organization has a self selected board, and the membership whose powers are limited to those delegated to it by the board itself.

Almost all non-profitable organizations are exempted from income tax, sales tax and also state and local properties taxes. It’s an important fact that non-profitable organization are not prohibited from making a profit, but almost all the profit must go back to the operation of the organization and so the profit cannot be distributed among the owners or investors. It can also work in different categories like education, human services, health, public-social benefit, environmental animals, art-culture, foreign affairs, religion related; etc.

Non-profitable organizations have received their present status because they relieve the government of its burden which is beneficial to the society. Non-profitable organizations receive their main source of income generated from fees for services, sales of products etc; The non-profitable organizations also receive a high source of income from governmental grants and contracts.

Thus I conclude by saying that voluntarism is a key component for non-profitable organization. And also the non-profitable organizations extend their supporting hand to the government at the time of national crisis.

The Center for Association Resources

Filed under: Center for Association Resources

June 2011
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