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Could Your Organization Fall Victim to Embezzlement?

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Embezzlement by employees can take many forms -- from the simple use of a company credit card to buy inexpensive personal items to complex check forging schemes that result in massive losses. Take a look at these court cases, which illustrate some of the ways not-for-profit organizations can be defrauded:

•A former chief financial officer of the Capital Area United Way in Michigan pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $2 million by writing checks to herself and forging the co-signatures of superiors. The financial executive's fraudulent activity was only discovered after she resigned her position and the new CFO discovered the trail of missing checks.

•A former employee of a West Virginia not-for-profit, chartered to assist senior citizens and the mentally ill, pleaded guilty to a theft scheme in which she embezzled nearly $800,000. Responsible for the organization's finances, she charged more than $200,000 to an American Express Account as well as made direct deposits into her personal bank accounts.

•A former program administrator of a Washington, DC, organization that supports science education pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $200,000 that was earmarked for public schools.

These are just a few of the countless cases that wind up in courtrooms nationwide. When a not-for-profit falls victim to embezzlement, the perpetrator is often an unlikely suspect. Fortunately, there are warning signs and ways to detect and prevent internal theft. Here are some steps your organization can take to help avoid becoming another embezzlement statistic:

Where there's Smoke, there May Be Fire

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, workplace fraud typically takes a year and a half to discover. One of the most important tools management has in uncovering potential embezzlement early is critical observation. Behavioral warning signs may suggest employee wrongdoing.

Some traits sometimes exhibited by those convicted of embezzlement include:

•Abrupt shifts in work schedules.

•Declining to take vacations.

•Sudden changes in lifestyle such as buying a larger home and driving a more expensive car.

•Problems with drug abuse, alcoholism or gambling.

On their own, these behavioral changes may be explainable. But take note if they arise in conjunction with financial abnormalities.

Listen to Employees. They May Know About Colleagues' Fraudulent Behavior

Embezzlement usually occurs when motive combines with opportunity. In the workplace, if an employee is disgruntled or has financial problems, fellow staff members are often the first to hear about it. Having a system in place for colleagues to report suspicious behavior often makes the difference between embezzlement going undetected and having the information reach the desks of upper management.

One of the most useful and cost-effective internal controls is a hotline where employees can immediately report concerns or suspicious activity with a degree of anonymity. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that workplaces with an employee hotline were able to detect fraud an average of nine months earlier than those that did not have a reporting system in place.

When a hotline is part of a system of internal controls, concerns can be investigated quietly and without necessarily confronting employees who may be innocent of wrongdoing. If circumstances are thoroughly investigated and suspicions found to be unwarranted, the employees involved may not have to know about them. Keep in mind that false accusations can lead to discrimination charges and other legal actions.

Consider Consulting a Forensic Accountant

When it comes to embezzlement, it is best to err on the side of caution because detecting crimes early can save your organization considerable further losses. Many times, a convoluted paper trail makes it difficult to determine whether embezzlement has occurred.

A forensic accountant can efficiently ascertain whether fraudulent activity is underfoot at your not-for-profit organization. Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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CRA Info for Community and Faith-Based Organizations

Posted By Debbie Lapeyrouse, Louisiana Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, Monday, October 23, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires a bank to help meet the credit needs of its community consistent with safe and sound banking practices.  Partnerships with community based organizations (CBOs) help banks to do this.

 

Please join the FDIC and the Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition for a presentation on the CRA that will include examples of qualifying bank/CBO partnerships as well as resources available to community and faith-based organizations.

 

Friday, December 1st, 2017

8:30 am to 11:00 am

at the Louisiana Bankers Association Training Center

5555 Bankers Avenue

Baton Rouge LA

 

Presenter -  Gloria Reynolds, Community Affairs Specialist, FDIC Dallas Regional Office  (214-808-0071)

 

The event is free.  A light breakfast will be served.

Please REGISTER at      https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eeqpgoft9d4a1d2d&oseq=&c=&ch=       by Monday, November 27th.  

 

We look forward to seeing you.

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Join the Giving Day Movement Today!

Posted By Emilie E. Bowman, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, October 23, 2017

#GivingTuesday is rapidly approaching and LANO invites all Greater Baton Rouge and Acadiana region nonprofits to join #GiveBR and #GiveAcadiana! 

 

On November 28th LANO will host the 2nd annual #GiveBR campaign for all 501(c)3 organizations in the Greater Baton Rouge region. This community campaign increases awareness of nonprofits in the Greater Baton Rouge area, as well as engages the community in building a strong philanthropic culture. Applications are still open to participate, if you are interested in participating please click here.

 

The #GiveAcadiana community campaign will host their inaugural campaign on November 28th of this year! LANO is excited to bring this community campaign to Acadiana area 501(c)3 organizations. This campaign seeks to engage millennial and 1st time donors to support the nonprofit organizations that make Acadiana such a wonderful region to live in! IF you are a 501(c)3 organization in the Acadiana region and would like to participate please apply here.

 

For more information on these campaigns please visit, www.givebr.org and www.giveacadiana.org

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Documents You Must Keep for Tax Purposes

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Monday, October 23, 2017

In one not-for-profit article, we described why your organization needs to keep accurate records and how a good recordkeeping system can help prove that you are complying with various laws.


However, there are probably stacks of documents that come through your organization and you don't want to file away every slip of paper. Fortunately, you don't have to. The IRS does require you to keep certain essential documents on file. These records back up accounting entries, reported taxable income, expenses and deductions. 


For example, you must keep documents that support:

 

Gross receipts or the total income that your organization receives during the year. Records should show the amounts and sources.
Purchases and expenses, that your organization needs to carry on its programs, including any items resold to customers or members. These records also help your organization determine year-end inventory value.
Assets, including investments, buildings and furniture that your organization owns and uses in its tax-exempt activities. You need records for tax purposes and other reasons listed in the right-hand box.
Employment tax records, including information about pension payments, wages paid, tax deposits paid, as well as employees' names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of employment. You also must keep copies of employees' and recipients' income tax withholding allowance certificates (Forms W-4, W-4P, W-4S, and W-4V).


The law generally does not require a special kind of recordkeeping system. You can choose any system suited to your organization's activities that clearly shows income and expenses. An easy way to organize documents is by year and type of income or expense. The documents that can be used as supporting evidence varies, but generally include:

 

•Cash register tapes,
•Bank deposit slips,
•Receipt books,
•Invoices,
• Credit card charge slips,
• Canceled checks,
•Account statements, and
•Petty cash slips for small cash payments

 

Once records are collected, organized and filed, how long should you keep them? For IRS purposes, the rule of thumb: You must keep records for as long as you are able to amend a tax return, claim a refund, or the IRS can assess additional tax. This statute of limitations is commonly three years after the date a return is due or filed, whichever is later.


However, there are some records that need to be kept longer. For example: 


Permanent records. These include your application for tax-exempt status, the letter granting the status and the organizing documents, such as articles of incorporation, by-laws and amendments.
Employment tax records. Retain these records for at least four years after the date the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
Records for non-tax purposes. Even when the IRS time frames run out, you should keep some records until they are no longer required for grantors, insurance companies, creditors, or state agencies.


For more information on recordkeeping, consult with your tax adviser.

 

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Basics of Fundraising Workshop

Posted By Christy Himel, AFP New Orleans Chapter, Monday, October 23, 2017

Are you new to the development field?  Are you a specialist who wants to learn more about the big picture of fundraising?  Are you "the boss" and need a refresher course so you can more efficiently manage your development staff?  Are you a board member who wants to be more effective in advancing your organization's mission?

 

Join the Greater New Orleans Association of Fundraising Professionals Chapter for an in-depth examination of all aspects of fundraising including the best practices in annual support, special events, major and planned gifts, as well as an overview of capital campaigns.  The interactive workshop will also address the case statement, why people give, and how to ask for a gift.  

 

Presenter:  Charles Heim, FAHP

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Jewish Family Services Offices - 3300 W Esplanade Suite 603, Metairie LA  

 

AFP Members:   $75.00 per person

Non-Members:  $85.00 per person

 

REGISTER HERE:  https://afpneworleans.wildapricot.org/event-2651819/Registration

 

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Tags:  fund raising  Fundraising  nonprofit  training  workshop 

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Intermediate Grantwriting

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017

Intermediate Grantwriting
Thursday, October 19, 9am - 12pm
Ashe Power House Theater
1731 Baronne St.
New Orleans, LA 70113

So you've written a few grants and feel like you've got the basics down.

Are you ready to take your grantwriting to the next level?

Intermediate Grantwriting will help you improve your grant proposals and raise more money for your nonprofit. Through this workshop, you'll learn specific ways to make your proposal more appealing to a funder, including how to make a compelling case to someone unfamiliar with your nonprofit's work and what kind of research and data to include.

 

REGISTER HERE

Registration $40 per person. Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members, and organizations registering two or more people.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.

For more on services offered by The Funding Seed, visit www.thefundingseed.com. To reserve your space and pay at the door, or for any questions, please email info@thefundingseed.com.

Tags:  development  donations  donors  events  Finance Fundamentals  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  grant  grant writing  grants  grantwriting  Member Event  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  training  workshop  workshop. grants 

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Keep Your Database Clean

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Tuesday, September 26, 2017
This is one of those Believe It or Not stories: Years ago, a charity generated solicitation letters from a computerized database. One letter addressed to a state Humane Society stated: "Dear Miss Society."

Whoops! On the surface, member or database management may seem like an impersonal clerical function, but how it's handled can have a profound impact on your relationship with donors.

You have probably not seen most of the people listed in your database. But these faceless members and potential donors deserve to be valued, respected and protected. You don't want to drive anyone away with sloppy database management.

Here are some tips to prevent problems:

1. Review the role of your database manager. Is the person an integral part of your organization - or consulted only when a donor calls to complain about a triplicate mailing? How do you communicate complaints that come via phone, e-mail or regular mail?

If your method is to hand the manager a message in the break room, or stick notes on the person's chair, it's time to develop a more systematic approach and communicate to everyone who needs to know.

2. Update mailing lists. Regularly have a licensee of the National Change of Address (a department of the U.S. Post Office) process your lists to find the names of people who have moved or passed away. It is estimated that at least eight percent of all U.S. mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses. This means lost donations and wasted money.

Moreover, when someone receives a letter from you addressed to a person who hasn't lived there for years or one that contains misspellings, your reputation may start to suffer. The recipients may start to think your organization is careless and wonder if that lack of attention spills into the way you handle your finances. You can see how easy it is for sloppy database management to erode relationships.

3. Turn complaints to your advantage. When a member makes a request or complaint, follow up with a phone call or personal e-mail message. If a donor complains about mailings in triplicate, wait a month or so, then call to find out if the problem has been corrected.

4. Respect their wishes. If donors ask to be removed from your mailing list, inactivate the file but don't purge their names and addresses. Perhaps they'll start supporting you again in the future. You certainly don't want to send them the letters that go to current members. But by leaving the history of their past donations in your database, you'll have a record of their past support.

Relationship building is one of the most important functions of member database management.

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Change Fund Grant Opportunity

Posted By Emilie E. Bowman, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, September 25, 2017

One week to go before Change Fund Grant Applications are due for LANO Change Fund.  This is an easy opportunity for nonprofits in the Shreveport/Bossier and Greater Baton Rouge areas to apply for a $10,000 grant to be awarded in the Spring of 2018. 

 

The Change Fund is an element of LANO's Community Leader  nonprofit board training program that teaches participants board roles and responsibilities in  fund development. Each participant is challenged with the task of giving and raising money for a nonprofit program (selected by the class) in the Greater Baton Rouge and Shreveport area.

 

The intent of this  fund is to make a monetary donation to a local nonprofit organization. The exact amount of the donation is never finalized until the money is raised; however, the goal is to make an award of approximately $10,000.

 

To qualify, you must be a 501c3 organization in the Greater Baton Rouge or Shreveport/Bossier area.

 

To help us in our selection we are asking that you provide:

·        a brief written description of your organization and its programs and mission

·        a brief description of the program you want to fund and how the donation will be used

·        a project budget for the $10,000 donation

 

For more information on the Change Fund and to Apply please click here. If you have any questions please contact Kay Irby, kayirby@lano.org

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Oktoberfest

Posted By David Wellmeyer, Deutsches Haus, Friday, September 15, 2017

Hi all

 

I'm David Wellmeyer, on the Board at Deutsches Haus and we are excited to

return to New Orleans for Oktoberfest this year. It's been six years since we

had to move to Metairie for our base and move to Kenner for Oktoberfest.

The city of Kenner was very supportive and we thank them for their hospitality.

But it's time to move back to New Orleans and we have begun construction

on our permanent home at 1700 Moss Street.

Oktoberfest will take place on the first 3 weekends in October and we are 

anticipating large crowds. So we are looking for friends who are interested

in volunteering to help us. Our  mission is to preserve and foster Germanic

heritage and culture in the Gulf South.

Please see below links for Oktoberfest and volunteer sing up.

Thanks, looking forward to seeing you at the fest either as a volunteer

or a visitor to our future home.

Thanks

David

 

http://deutscheshaus.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/OF-FLYER.pdf

 

https://deutscheshaus.salsalabs.org/of2017volunteer/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=cecc627e-de4d-483d-a278-afb8d0132cc8

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Tags:  Volunteers 

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Grant Writing Workshop. All Levels! October 10th and 11th. LSU and kiisa's Successful Grant Writing Workshop

Posted By David Kiviaho, kiisa Corporation, Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Successful Grant Writing, only offered by LSU and kiisa, has served Louisiana's organizations for over seven years. Information presented is updated every quarter, is interactive, and is fun. Donor leads, funding relationships, and the how to's on writing the narrative, formulating the budget and many other pertinent  areas of grantwriting are explored. This workshop is for every level, beginning grant writer to expert. This phenomenal course wastes no time in providing relevant, critical data on every aspect of a foundation grant or a federal bid response. No funding opportunity is left 'unturned.'

 

The instructors, Sharon Sandifer, M.Ed and David Kiviaho are also successful grant writers. They have a client base of clients that have benefitted from their grant writing efforts. 

 

Register today, our graduates actually succeed in grant writing efforts, and attaining funding awards.  We look forward to seeing you on October 10th and 11th! 

 

CLICK THIS LINK to REGISTER:

http://reg.outreach.lsu.edu/modules/shop/index.html?action=section&OfferingID=1058&SectionID=1898334

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