Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join LANO!
Member News & Events Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
Sharing the news, tips, press releases, special offers and upcoming events posted by LANO members. Share your good news here! Feel free to cross post the blog links to your Facebook or other media pages, or to email them directly to friends.Please allow 1-2 business days for your blog to appear on the network.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Fundraising  nonprofit  non-profits  CausePlanet  New Orleans  fund development  louisiana  grants  training  fund raising  Page to Practice  workshop  funding  nonprofit sector  donations  donors  development  grantwriting  fund  Execute Now!  funds  grant writing  Member Event  sustainability  grant  boards  Finance Fundamentals  volunteers  workshop. grants  online fundraising 

New webinar: Create and maintain mobile content for fundraising success

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Wednesday, January 4, 2017



Any doubts you may have that social networks aren’t powerful or don’t need to be a priority in your communication and fundraising efforts can now be put to rest, according to Mobile for Good author Heather Mansfield.


Making mobile work for you

Every piece of advice in Mobile for Good is a result of Mansfield’s own personal use of and experimentation with mobile and social media. Mansfield asserts that thriving in this realm is both an art and a science. This book will help you excel at both. Your staff must create and think like an artist while implementing online communications and use research about donor behavior in this realm.


Webinar with Heather Mansfield


Join CausePlanet founder Denise McMahan and Heather Mansfield Friday, January 27, at 11:00 Central Time for a webinar at your desk.


Mansfield will touch on the following topics:


   What are the benefits of adding social and mobile media to your fundraising plan? 

   How do you create and implement a social fundraising strategy?

   What are some ways to determine a social content strategy?

   How do you use mobile and social networks to distribute content?




Register now for this FREE interview for all LANO members. (The link requires LANO network sign-in to register.)


See more


See more with the Page to Practice™ summary of Manfield’s book:


·      Simply log in at CausePlanet’s home page ( and fill in your registered email with LANO and “Password1”.

·      Click on “Summary Library” to see Mobile for Good and more titles.



Tags:  fundraising  mobile media  social media  webinar 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Fifth Circuit Grants DOL’S Request for Expedited Briefing of Preliminary Injunction Ruling

Posted By Tasha Cooper. By Jackson Lewis P.C., The National Law Review, Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016 In a December 8, 2016 Order, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the DOL’s request for expedited briefing of its appeal of the preliminary injunction issued by a district court judge that had enjoined the DOL from implementing its regulation raising the salary level for the white collar exemptions.

The Court even set a quicker briefing schedule than DOL had requested in its Motion.


The briefing schedule is as follows:

  • DOL’s opening brief is due by December 16, 2016.
  • Amicus briefs in support of the DOL are due on or before December 23, 2016.
  • Appellees’ response brief us due by January 17, 2017.
  • Amicus briefs in support of Appellees are due on or before January 24, 2017.
  • The DOL’s reply brief is due on or before January 31, 2017. The Court further ordered that oral argument would be set for the first available sitting after the close of briefing on January 31, 2017.


Based on this schedule, the DOL’s Reply Brief is not due until after President-Elect Trump’s inauguration. This means that in advance of this reply deadline, the DOL could withdraw its appeal. This schedule also guarantees that the new Trump Administration and/or the new Congress will at least have the opportunity to determine the fate of the salary basis increases before the Fifth Circuit issues a decision, though the timing will be tight.



Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2016


Source URL: mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTVRCbU1tWmtaak13TWpBeSIsInQiOiJyTG52S28zN0ZOM0VYQ1NNTlwvN3lPQndyQkxCck5VQ0hqRURVenZENFBsZmxjbW5CUCt2RDdWN0lXMXh3aU13TmVOMHBcL3c2SmdEVlg5SmJJV3I5XC85VEl

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Chicago Booth School of Business Accepting Scholarship Applications for Weekend MBA Program

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Civic Scholars Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business offers eight full-tuition scholarships each year to the Weekend MBA Program for exceptional professionals who work for nonprofit organizations or the government. Chicago Booth’s MBA programs teach the leadership skills and analytical frameworks that fuel data-driven problem solving and unlock innovative solutions for creating change in the world.  Neubauer Civic Scholars will also have specialized programming and mentoring. This is an exceptional opportunity for nonprofit and government professionals to earn their MBA from a top-tier school while continuing to work in their organizations. 


For more information or to apply for this scholarship, click here.


Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

AFP of Greater New Orleans seeking RFPs for June Conference

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Do you have unique talents and experience that would benefit your colleagues?  Are you an excellent speaker and presenter on topics related to fundraising?  If so, we’re looking for you!


The AFP GNO June Conference will take place on June 15, 2017.  We know that we have fellow professionals out there with expertise and presentation skills that would help the rest of us in doing our jobs better, but if you haven’t presented with us before (or haven’t in a long time), we may not know who you are!


If you would be interested in showcasing your talent and helping others to benefit from your knowledge, please apply to present at our June Conference.  Presentations are one hour.


Applications are due on January 30, 2017 and should be submitted via email to Jenny Bigelow at


Please briefly address the following questions:


1.      What topic(s) would you like to present?


2.      What would the style of your presentation be (i.e., lecture, interactive, small group, etc.)?


3.      Do you have special experience or aptitude as a speaker that you would like to share with us?  If you have done other presentations, please share with us what those were.  Even better, if you can provide a reference who would speak to your talent as a presenter, we’d love to know that!


4.       What is your fundraising experience and career history?  How have you become an expert in the topic you propose to present?


5.       What group size and presentation format (room size, A/V, etc.) would you prefer?


6.      Will you require assistance with travel costs?


Please note: While we are unable to offer honoraria, speakers receive complimentary registration to the conference.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

From the AICPA--7 Must Reads for Non-Profit Leaders

Posted By Don Engler, Wegmann Dazet & Company, Friday, December 16, 2016


Jennifer Brenner, Controller, World Vision recommends

Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (2013)


This is a must-read for financial professionals to better understand different leadership styles and become an effective leader. The leadership teams at most not-for-profits are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds. For example, board chairs and executive teams may come from academia, scientific research, public policy or the medical field, and may not necessarily have a corporate or business background. This book affirms the importance of emotionally intelligent leadership and illustrates leadership that is self-aware, motivating and collaborative.


Ashley Britton, Technical Manager, AICPA Not-for-Profit Content Development recommends

The Best of Boards: Sound Governance and Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations by Kimberly Strom-Gottfried and Marci Thomas (2011)


Strom-Gottfried and Thomas provide advice for both novice and seasoned board members, share valuable fiduciary and ethical guidance and offer tips for not-for-profit managers dealing with governance challenges. I highly recommend this book for not-for-profit board members and finance managers in particular.


Jennifer Dorff, AICPA Marketing Manager—Not-for-Profit and Tax Section recommends

Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (2007)


Strength Finder 2.0 helps individuals find their talents and change the way we think about ourselves. We are constantly receiving performance reviews where there is a focus on weaknesses, but what if we focused on our strengths and natural talents? Our department took the test, and charted our talents to help us understand our abilities as individuals and as a team. A truly enlightening read!


Sandi Matthews, Technical Manager, AICPA Not-for-Profit Section recommends

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam (2000)


Putnam draws on a vast array of facts, figures and surveys to chart behavioral patterns and analyze trends charting a steep decline in Americans’ engagement in their communities. Putnam’s research provides insights essential for community organizers, civic leaders and individuals to build trust and strengthen communities. I also recommend Putnam’s sequel Better Together: Restoring the American Community (2004), for its inspiring stories of activists who are bringing people together to make a difference.


Agnes McIntosh, Director, ARC Services recommends

The Non Nonprofit: For-Profit Thinking for Nonprofit Success by Steve Rothschild (2012)


Not-for-profit leaders who are new at their leadership role (or even those who are simply seeking a change) will find valuable, practical information in this book. It outlines seven best practices for creating a financially sustainable and socially responsible organization.


Heather O’Connor, AICPA Senior Manager—Communications recommends

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander (2002)


Running a not-for-profit requires vision, purpose and optimism. This book helps readers break through the mental mind blocks that hold us back and instead focus on opportunities and the steps to achieve them. Co-author Ben Zander draws on his own experience at not-for-profits such as the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra to help readers realize that tapping into possibility can transform individuals, organizations and constituents. I was truly inspired by the stories shared in this book and with the authors’ encouragement to be open to possibility.

Tags:  community leaders must-reads 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

A Checklist of Duties with Tax and Governance Implications

Posted By Denise Hebert, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Thursday, December 15, 2016

Documentation and accountability are always important in business, but even more so for a not-for-profit agency. The sheer number of duties can be daunting. That's why it's crucial to have tools which allow you to stay on top of the details.

Here's a chart which may help you stay organized and make tracking easier. Consult with your tax and accounting advisers for more information in your situation.

Take Care of Donors with Documentation

Contributions of cash or property of $250 or more require the donor to obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment of the donation from the donee Section 501(c)(3) organization. At a minimum, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment must indicate the donee organization's name and address, contribution date, amount of cash contributed, and a description of any property contributed (a good-faith estimate of the value of any goods or services contributed must be provided by the donor).

Most importantly, the contemporaneous written acknowledgment must include a statement as to whether any goods or services were provided (and their estimated value) in consideration for the contribution.

A written acknowledgment is contemporaneous only if it is obtained by the donor on or before the earlier of:

1. The date the donor's tax return (for the year the contribution was made) is filed; or

2. The due date (including extensions) of this return.

Goods or Services Statement

Many charities, especially new ones, have deficient donor acknowledgments. Often, there is a failure to include a statement regarding any goods or services provided. The "no goods or services" required statement is being strictly enforced by both the IRS and the courts, which has resulted in deductions not being allowed if the statement is omitted.

Donations to private foundations are also subject to the strict donor acknowledgment rules. Unfortunately, foundation managers are often unaware of the rule and fail to provide an acknowledgment at all.

Actions to Consider:

  • Check for adequate content in your donor acknowledgments.
  • Confirm that your records adequately identify the name, address, and contributions of donors who should receive an acknowledgment.
  • Furnish the acknowledgment as soon as possible to avoid the possibility that a donor files his or her tax return before receiving the acknowledgment. A tardy acknowledgment is legally no better than none at all.

Maintain Who's Who Lists

It is essential for an exempt organization to maintain complete lists of relationships for persons connected with it. Such lists can be critical for either tax or governance reasons.

Disqualified Persons

Disqualified persons who receive economic benefits from a Section 501(c)(3) public charity, (c)(4), or (c)(29) organization in excess of the value of the consideration for such benefits are subject to an excise tax of 25 percent of the excess benefit received. Under certain circumstances, organization managers are subject to a 10 percent tax.

A disqualified person is anyone who was, at any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the excess benefit transaction, in a position to exercise substantial influence over the organization's affairs (whether or not there is actual exercise). Also included are members of that person's family and any entity (corporation, partnership, LLC, trust, or estate) in which the disqualified persons and family members have more than a 35 percent ownership interest.

Family members are a person's spouse, siblings (by whole or half-blood) and their spouses, ancestors, direct descendants through great-grandchildren, and spouses of these descendants. Ownership of an entity includes constructive ownership (in other words, the indirect holdings of family members are considered).

The list of disqualified persons for an organization that sponsors donor advised funds also includes anyone who provides investment advice regarding fund assets. In addition, if the organization is a supported organization under IRC Sec. 509(a)(3), the disqualified persons of the supporting organization are also disqualified persons for the supported organization.

Note: The previous discussion is not a complete definition of disqualified persons but is intended to indicate the complexity of identifying them.

Conflict of Interest Persons

Persons who should be identified for conflict of interest purposes are basically the same as those who are disqualified persons, as described previously, except that family members include both adopted and natural children.

Related Organizations

Individuals are not the only persons of concern to an exempt organization. Transactions with related organizations require risk management to identify excess benefit transactions, and also to recognize potential unrelated business income and nonexempt activities. Therefore, an organization must identify all related organizations to ensure that all applicable transactions are properly documented and all required disclosures are made on Form 990.

Related organizations (in addition to a parent or subsidiary) include:

  • A Brother/Sister organization is controlled by the same person or persons who control the filing organization.
  • A Supporting/Supported organization is (or claims to be), at any time during the organization's tax year, (a) a supporting organization of the filing organization, or (b) a supported organization.

Control can be established either through influencing the governing board or through ownership. Control may be either direct or indirect (for example, the filing organization controls Entity A, which in turn controls Entity B; therefore, the filing organization is deemed to control Entity B).

Donor Advised Funds

A distribution from a donor advised fund that results in "more than an incidental benefit" to certain persons can trigger an excise tax on the recipient and, in certain instances, the fund manager. Persons who cannot benefit include a donor or any person designated by the donor who has advisory privileges, family members of these persons, and entities in which the preceding persons have more than a 35 percent interest. In this instance, the definition of family members is the same as the definition for disqualified person purposes.

Observations: The greatest challenge in maintaining current lists of relationships is identifying changes in the identity of family members and their businesses and investments. Ideally, an organization should communicate at regular intervals (no less frequently than annually) with key persons to update the appropriate lists.

Action to Consider:

Maintaining accurate lists is the best way to minimize the likelihood of undesirable tax consequences. Therefore, an organization that has not updated its lists in the last six months should do so.

Engage in Conflict of Interest Oversight

Business transactions of exempt organizations pose potential conflicts of interest when persons responsible for protecting the organization's financial interest stand to benefit personally from dealing with it. Some conflicts of interest are not automatically illegal or unethical. However, independent members of the organization's governing body should be made aware of a potential conflict of interest and evaluate the benefits and risks of conducting business with the related party.

Although there is no statutory requirement that an organization adopt a written conflict of interest policy, the IRS believes that such a policy is required for prudent governance.

Observations. Form 990, Part VI, requests information about an organization's conflict of interest policy. Information requested includes whether the organization has a conflict of interest policy and, if so, how it is monitored and enforced if a conflict arises. A policy must be adopted before the end of the filing year in order for the organization to affirmatively state that it has a conflict of interest policy. If a policy is adopted after the close of the year but before Form 990 is filed, answer "No" to the question in Part VI regarding the existence of a conflict of interest policy, but disclose the post-year-end policy adoption in Schedule O of Form 990.

Actions to Consider:
  • An organization that has not adopted a conflict of interest policy should strongly consider doing so. The larger the organization, the greater the potential benefit from having a written policy.
  • Those organizations that have a conflict of interest policy should monitor compliance by all persons who are covered by it. Monitoring procedures can vary, but typically would include having each person affirm in writing that he/she is unaware of having engaged in an impermissible transaction other than those, if any, disclosed previously for prospective transactions. The IRS may view having an unmonitored or unenforced conflict of interest policy as worse than having no policy.

Conduct a Compensation Review

The compensation paid by an exempt organization to its trustees, directors, officers, and key employees and highly compensated employees is generally scrutinized during an IRS audit. The recipients of compensation [from Section 501(c)(3) public charities, (c)(4), and (c)(29) organizations] deemed excessive can be assessed an excise tax on the excess amount. Under certain circumstances, the organization's managers may also be assessed an excise tax.

The organization typically bears the burden of demonstrating that compensation is reasonable. However, an organization can shift the burden of proving that compensation is unreasonable to the IRS if it satisfies certain safe harbor requirements. One of these requirements is that the governing body (or committee) that approves compensation arrangements do so while relying on appropriate data from comparable organizations.

Consequently, compensation will generally be deemed reasonable if the amount is no more than what is ordinarily paid for similar services by comparable enterprises under like circumstances. Comparable data includes compensation paid by similarly situated organizations (both tax-exempt and taxable), the availability of similar services in the geographic area, independent compensation surveys, and actual written offers from similar institutions seeking the services of the disqualified person.

Observations: Satisfying the comparable data portion of the safe harbor rules can be difficult. For example, the IRS's final report on the College and University Project included a portion dealing with the reasonableness of compensation paid by the private schools examined. Although most of them attempted to meet the safe harbor standard, the IRS concluded that about 20 percent did not because their data was not comparable.

Examples of the problems noted included:

  • Relying on data from schools that were not similarly situated because of at least one of the following factors: location, endowment size, revenues, total net assets, number of students, or selectivity;
  • Using compensation studies that did not document the selection criteria for the other schools, nor explain why they were deemed comparable; and
  • Using compensation surveys that did not specify whether amounts reported included salary only or also included other types of required compensation.

The IRS report is a reminder that relying on compensation data that is somewhat generic rather than specific will not satisfy the safe harbor test.

Actions to Consider:

An organization that plans to rely on the safe harbor rules in connection with salary reviews should identify specific criteria for data comparability and possible sources of comparable data.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Save the Date - 2017 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign Charity Applications will be available 1/6/17!

Posted By Robin Taylor, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Monday, December 12, 2016

Save the Date: 2017 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC) Charity Applications will be available Friday, January 6,2017.


Please visit for more information.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |

Telling the not-for-profit story through Form 990

Posted By Don Engler, Wegmann Dazet & Company, Monday, December 12, 2016

Telling the not-for-profit story through Form 990

Reporting requirement provides an opportunity to educate potential donors, grantors, and board members on the organization’s merits.

By Maureen Butler, CPA, Ph.D., and Brian Butler 

December 1, 2016

Sec. 6033 of the Internal Revenue Code requires most tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return containing income, receipts, disbursements, and other information. This seems to be a straightforward requirement—not-for-profit organizations complete and submit a Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, to the IRS for filing. Charitable organizations, however, can capitalize on this compliance requirement by using it to educate donors and market their organizations and programs. Consider these scenarios:

  • Scenario No. 1: Students in Science Inc. has a new funding organization that requires a financial audit. The executive director contacts S & Co. CPAs to inquire about obtaining the audit and the associated fees. Before agreeing to meet with Students in Science, S & Co. looks up the organization's Form 990 to learn more about its operations and viability.
  • Scenario No. 2: Protecting Pets Charities has applied for a grant from Sunshine Bank Foundation. Part of the award selection process involves reviewing Form 990 to determine whether the mission and accomplishments of Protecting Pets' programs are aligned with the purposes of the foundation grants.
  • Scenario No. 3: JT, CPA, has been asked to serve on the board of Best Bet Family Solutions. Before accepting the offer, she examines the organization's Form 990 to determine whether the mission and programs of Best Bet are aligned with her values and priorities, and if the governance structure has been established in a way that will protect her as a board member.

While the names have been changed, these scenarios illustrate how individuals use Form 990 to perform due diligence in considering whether to commit time or resources to a not-for-profit, whether as a service provider, a grantor, or a board member. In fact, the 2015 instructions for Form 990 state, "Some members of the public rely on Form 990 or Form 990-EZ as their primary or sole source of information about a particular organization. How the public perceives an organization in such cases can be determined by information presented on its return."


With an increased number of not-for-profits competing for the same pool of donors, each not-for-profit needs to be strategic in communicating its mission, marketing, and fundraising. Brochures and websites should not be the extent of a not-for-profit'sexternal communications. Although it is an information tax return, Form 990 is a key component of an overall communications plan designed to enhance a not-for-profit's fundraising and marketing efforts.

Debra Faulk, vice president of Community Affairs at Wells Fargo, reviews current- and prior-year Forms 990 in her evaluation of not-for-profit grant applications to get a more comprehensive picture of the organization. "The [Form] 990 gives me a snapshot of the financial health, governance, and operations of our applicants in one document," she said. "I can't emphasize enough how important it is for nonprofits to sell themselves in the mission and program descriptions required on the Form 990."


While CPAs prepare Forms 990 because of the financial reporting requirements, they can add value to their preparation services by ensuring that the form's narrative sections tell the not-for-profit's story of how it is fulfilling its mission. Paul Horowitz, CPA, a partner with FRSCPA PLLC, recognizes the value-added services he provides by considering the nonfinancial sections of Form 990. "By paying closer attention to the narrative sections, I am able to help my clients market their services and their organizations to potential donors," he said. "The Form 990 is not just a tax return."


Simply inserting information from the not-for-profit's website or other marketing materials does not ensure the mission and program descriptions reported on Form 990 are current, accurate, and compelling. This article provides tools to assist CPAs with ensuring this important aspect of Form 990 is used to benefit the not-for-profit organization.



Not-for-profit organizations and CPAs are mistaken if they think no one is actually reading the information on Form 990. The scenarios presented at the beginning of this article illustrate some of the reasons people read Form 990 and how the information is used. A number of organizations provide information online about Form 990 and the not-for-profit's financial statement, which many donors use before donating. In addition, in June, the IRS announced that it would make Forms 990 available electronically.


Sec. 6104(b) requires not-for-profits to make their Form 990 available to the public, unlike their financial statements. Consequently, savvy not-for-profit evaluators take advantage of this resource. Rather than shrinking back from this requirement and minimizing the amount of information provided on Form 990, organizations can make the most of the requirement by telling their story and selling their organization. The chart, "What Readers Look for on Form 990," lists different users' nonfinancial objectives in examining a Form 990.


What is a common thread among these readers? They all use Form 990 to make decisions that affect the organization's ability to obtain funding, provide services, maintain proper governance, and, ultimately, achieve the goals for which it exists. Clearly and compellingly explaining the mission and program accomplishments communicates the organization's value for these and other stakeholders.



Some not-for-profit executives think that since Form 990 is submitted to the government, less information is better. Although the IRS and some states use the form for compliance and monitoring purposes, not-for-profits should be eager to take advantage of the opportunity to tell their story through Form 990's narrative sections. According to Faulk, "The 990 tells a story; a story of the nonprofit organization's mission, partnership, and client/constituent support." The sections that organizations can use to convey this information include:

  • Part I, "Summary," line 1 (mission or most significant activities).
  • Part III, "Statement of Program Service ­Accomplishments," line 1 (mission).
  • Part III, "Statement of Program Service ­Accomplishments," line 4 (description of individual program service accomplishments).
  • Schedule O, Supplemental Information to Form 990 or 990-EZ (continuation of the narrative sections as well as explanations of answers in other sections).


CPA preparers may find it efficient to lift content from the organization's website or other marketing materials and place it on Form 990 (see the sidebar, "Examples of Ineffective and Effective Narratives"). However, this may not be the best way to communicate the organization's mission, programs, and values—to tell the organization's story. Effective Form 990 narrative descriptions that tell the organization's story will begin with two communications fundamentals.

  • Consider the audience. Who is likely to read the Form 990? Donors, third-party evaluators, potential board members, etc.?
  • Develop focused messages. What are the main points that will resonate with the audience? The efficiency of the organization, the effectiveness of the programs, information about the clients and staff, etc.?

After these two issues are determined, messages can be crafted that focus on communicating with particular audiences. The content should be centered on the organization's unique qualities, programs, and clients; the method of accomplishing its mission; the results of its programs (quantitative and qualitative); its value to the community; and its effectiveness and efficiency in using resources and responding to challenges. As an example, for an educational program, describe the type and number of classes offered, the number of pupils participating and completing the program, and how successful the participants were (perhaps using employment statistics) compared with a similar population not receiving the same services.


The style of writing used in the Form 990 narrative sections is just as important as the content. These sections should be clear and convincing. Not-for-profits tend to use terminology or jargon that may be unique to the sector or to the particular field of work. Donors and other Form 990 audiences may not understand terms such as "mission-driven," "capacity," or "development." Using terms that lay people understand ensures the messages are clear. For potential donor audiences, these messages should convince readers that the organization is worthy of their contributions. Assuming that the audience has the same affinity or commitment to a cause or the organization as the staff or board may hinder the message’s effectiveness.


CPA preparers are encouraged to ask their clients to put careful thought into writing these narratives, and they should ensure the financial and nonfinancial information communicates a cohesive story about the organization. Preparers should work with the organization to craft these sections and then insert them in the form. This is how the Nonprofit Leadership Center in Tampa, Fla., completes its Form 990. "While our CPA firm prepares the form, we write the mission and program descriptions in a way that communicates the value our organization offers to the community and the quality with which we carry out our work," said Emily Benham, the organization's CEO.



CPAs generally prefer working with quantitative and precise information, an attribute not usually associated with storytelling. However, CPAs preparing Forms 990 are uniquely situated to partner with not-for-profit clients in telling their story through both the financial and nonfinancial narrative sections of Form 990. With a competitive market for donors, organizations need to be strategic in their external communications. A well-crafted Form 990 can work in addition to websites, brochures, and other marketing materials to meet not-for-profit communication objectives.

Examples of ineffective and effective narratives

What do actual narratives look like? They can be brief or extensive. They can be clear or confusing. They can spur the reader to seek more information, or they can miss an opportunity to inform the reader. Here are examples of actual Form 990 content.

  • Part I, “Summary,” line 1: Briefly describe the organization’s mission or most significant activities.

Nonprofit A

Answer: See Schedule O.

Ineffective: Misses an opportunity to provide the mission at the top of the form; no information is provided that will encourage readers to go to Schedule O.


Nonprofit B

Answer: Financial support to cancer patients.

Effective: States what the organization does and for whom.


Nonprofit C

Answer: Care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

Effective: States what the organization does and for whom.

  • Part III, “Statement of Program Service Accomplishments,” line 1: Briefly describe the organization’s mission.

Nonprofit A

Answer: See Part I

Ineffective: Does not provide new information; refers to Part I, which refers to Schedule O; no information is provided regarding the mission in Part I or Part II.


Nonprofit B

Answer: Financial support for cancer patients.

Adequate: Restates the mission in Part I but misses an opportunity to provide additional information.


Nonprofit C

Answer: To care for the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity, and instill self-sufficiency . . . (See Sch O)

Schedule O information: 10,500 volunteers . . . Support from private donations, businesses and corporations, private and corporate foundations, and government grants . . . $5,000 in-kind services and $10,000 in-kind food and material donations above financial donations . . . Volunteer time valued at more than $3 million . . .

Effective: States the mission and provides additional information about how the organization fulfills its mission in Part III, then expounds in Schedule O with more qualitative and quantitative information describing how the mission is accomplished.

  • Part III, "Statement of Program Service Accomplishments," line 4: Describe the organization's program service accomplishments.

Nonprofit A

Answer: Provides funding for basic needs of our clients and training for our volunteers.

Ineffective: Does not describe program or provide quantitative and qualitative information about the program's effectiveness.


Nonprofit B

Answer: Worked with over 90 participating community charities to provide funds for their charitable activities through a matching program based on pledges obtained by charity volunteers.

Adequate: Briefly describes the program and how it works; provides some quantitative information indicating the magnitude of the program.


Nonprofit C

Answer: Provided meals to 50 partner organizations located throughout the local area where anyone who is hungry is fed . . . 3,000,000 meals, helped 50,000 people with clothing . . . 6,000 at-risk children received new backpacks . . . See Schedule O.

Effective: Describes the activities and results of the program using quantitative information to explain the program's magnitude and effectiveness.

About the authors

Maureen Butler ( is an associate professor of accounting at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., who specializes in teaching management and not-for-profit accounting. Brian Butler ( is the president and CEO of Vistra Communications, a public relations and marketing agency in Tampa.

To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Sally P. Schreiber, senior editor, at or 919-402-4828.


Tags:  Form 990 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Texas Court Halts Implementation of New Overtime Regulations

Posted By Unemployment Services Trust (UST), Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued updated regulations regarding the white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime requirements. The updated regulations, which were originally scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, would more than double the minimum salary requirement from $23,660 to $47,476 for certain executive, administrative, and professional employees in order to be exempt from overtime.

This past September a group of 21 states, led by Texas and Nevada, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas challenging the updated regulations, arguing that the DOL did not have the authority to require that employers offer overtime to workers who earn below a certain amount. This suit was consolidated with another suit brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups also challenging the regulations.

On November 22, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction, which had been filed by the plaintiff states. The preliminary injunction blocks the DOL from implementing and enforcing the new regulations. Employers should note that this is only a temporary injunction, not a permanent one. The injunction applies nationwide and simply prevents the regulations from going into effect on December 1.

Once again, as this is a preliminary injunction, Judge Mazzant will be making a final decision on the actual merits of the case in the near future. If the decision goes against the DOL, we expect them to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, so it’s likely that employers and regulators will be revisiting the regulations in the future.

Impact on Employers

For many employers, this is a welcome, albeit temporary reprieve. As a result, employers that have not made the necessary changes to their compensation plans have more time to plan for the changes in the event the regulations are upheld. Employers should not assume that the overtime rule is permanently cancelled.

  • Those employers that have already made changes to their compensation plans and have communicated those changes to their employees will most likely choose to leave those changes in place.
  • Employers that were struggling with making changes by either reclassifying employees to nonexempt overtime-eligible status or raising compensation to the proposed threshold in order to maintain exemption should consider to weigh their options pending future legal developments.
  • Employers that are considering rolling back any changes previously communicated should carefully review the potential employee relations issues that the change in direction may cause.

These decisions should be made in accordance with any applicable state or local laws. Employers should consult their employment attorney to determine what course of action is best for them.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Cajun Santa Christmas Wants to Help You This Holiday Season!

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cajun Santa Christmas is a collective of campaigns put on by local nonprofits designed to aid flood victims over the holidays.  If any of the nonprofits within LANO are driving a campaign through the holiday season that benefits flood victims in some way, from sheet rock to electric blankets to gifts for children, we invite them to add their campaign to our page. Please visit the link below for additional information.


Please contact Melissa Adair with the Cajun Relief Foundation at

 Attached Thumbnails:

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 7 of 94
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  >   >>   >| 
more Calendar

Executive Directors' Roundtable - Baton Rouge

Executive Directors' Roundtable - New Orleans

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal