In its “Trends and Outlook 2022” (I am a little behind on my reading!), the NJ Center for Nonprofits conducted a survey of approximately 225 respondents. They reported funders often do not:
Like to make unrestricted grants;
Understand overhead costs and capacity building to give the NFP greater impact;
Fund overhead costs and capacity building;
Understand the full cost of of projects; and
Allow overhead costs in grant applications.
The reluctance of funders to support overhead costs often puts the NFP in an untenable position as these expenditures must be covered if the organization is to stay in business. The same survey also reported many of the NFPs tried to do this by:
Initiating new fundraising appeals;
Seeking funds from alternative sources; and
Introducing and/or increasing fees for service.
Their success in accomplishing these efforts can be gauged by the following:
46% of the respondents reported financial uncertainty was the major challenge to viability and effectiveness, and
55% of respondents reported infrastructure/capacity building was the most important issue NFPs face in 2022.
How should NFPs deal with this problem? Perhaps one way is to speak the same language the financial managers of their funders use: accounting. Specifically, NFPs can:
Think about using activity based costing (ABC). This process does not allocate overhead but traces these costs, in essence converting them to direct costs. It will more effectively tie the indirect costs to each of the programs, making funders much more willing to include them in grants. ABC also is very useful when supporting capacity planning, one of the main concerns of the respondents. ABC has the reputation of being difficult to implement, but the number of cost drivers in an NFP organization is generally small, and the system can be built over time.
Do capital expenditure analyses using the traditional tools businesses use. However, make sure to include a discussion of the total welfare gain for the expenditure. In such situations the qualitative data can outweigh the financial assessment.
Use CVP analysis. Of course, there is no “P” (profit) in an NFP, so I like to say NFPs should do CVC analysis: Cost, Volume, and Cash. This type of analysis is particularly important when the NFP is attempting to obtain financing for increased volumes or changes to the budget.
Understand the concept of joint costs and their impact on the organization. As we have seen, funders like to see their donations go to programs rather than overhead. Perhaps proper accounting for joint costs could result in more costs being allocated to programs.
Use responsibility accounting. The most common type of business unit accounting in NFP organizations is the cost center. If there are different programs and managers, keep the accounting records in such a way that managers can be held accountable for the costs of their program. Also, the use of responsibility accounting will also provide the record-keeping to determine the actual cost of each program.
Forty-three percent of the respondents said they had to draw against their credit line in 2021. This is alarming, but it also demonstrates a critical point. NFPs should try to establish a credit line with their local banks. Not only is it a source of funding to smooth over the rough patches in the cash flow year, but local banking personnel are great sources of board members and volunteers. When approaching the bank, good managerial accounting as described above and good budgeting practices are critical.
Where do you get the talent to do all of this? It is a lot to do. I suggest you contact your local CPA firm. I am sure they will be able to help you on either a volunteer basis or at a reduced price. Remember, to secure funding, you need to speak the language of business: accounting!
This week I wanted to spotlight a small NFP organization that provides a wonderful service to young mothers. There are many organizations providing essential services out of the good of the volunteers heart. My hat goes of to Zair Burris, the driving force behind Moms Offering Mom’s support. Please generously support this organization with your time, treasure, and talent! Here is the transcript of the interview:
Tell my readers about you. You have an interesting background.
I’m from the Oregon coast- I have a master’s in marine biology and a PhD in oceanography. All of that training was actually really helpful for starting and running a nonprofit- from writing grant applications to developing databases to track our donations to data analysis to get an idea of the impact we have in the community (number of people we help, for how long, etc.).
How did you become involved with this organization? Why did you start this organization? How has it grown or changed?
I started thinking about starting this nonprofit (Moms Offering Moms Support) about 6 months after I had my first baby. I read an article about “diaper need”- how in the US, 1 in 3 families can’t afford to buy enough diapers for their baby. Having a baby is so stressful and exhausting on its own, I couldn’t imagine having to worry about having enough diapers to get through the night.
We opened 4 months before the covid pandemic hit, working out of my house, with no volunteers other than myself and occasionally my husband (he had a full-time job). We had to work out the kinks pretty quickly- we went from providing 5 babies a month with baby supplies to over 40 in a matter of months! We started with no money in the bank, so it really increased our impact when we started partnering with the Lehigh Valley Diaper Bank. They give us diapers every other month. I cried when we got our first shipment- it was such a relief to not have to worry about how I would come up with money to purchase diapers for our babies. Diapers are still the number one item requested by our families.
Surprisingly, the nonprofit runs almost exactly the same as when we started 3 years ago- we provide the same things, but just more of them and to more families. Because we get more people wanting to donate than we can handle, we are able to be pick and choose what we accept. We used to have to take everything, no matter the condition, because something was better than nothing. Now we only accept things in great condition. This saves us a lot of time cleaning and reduces the number of things that get thrown away.
We’ve also started partnering with hospitals and social workers to get those families most in need referred to our program (young moms, homeless families, women who have escaped domestic violence, and undocumented moms). We have started a number of “Programs”, for instance our Car Seat Program provides families with car seats donated to us by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Our Full Bellies Program is mainly funded by local grocery stores (especially Giant Food Stores) and provides baby food, highchairs, formula, and breast-feeding supplies to families. Our Safe Seep Program is mainly supported by local grants (Leona Gruber Trust, Caroline JS Sanders Trust, John & Margaret Post Foundation, etc.) and allows us to provide bassinets and portable cribs.
Can you tell me about the work your organization does and the wonderful program you run? As a follow up, what differentiates you from other organizations?
Right now, because of the formula shortage that started in February, we are helping a much broader segment of the population get infant formula. Normally, we provide low-income and homeless families with baby supplies once a month until their baby turns 1-year old. While we focus on infants, we also provide maternity clothing and toddler clothing (many of the babies we serve have older siblings). We provide anywhere from 45-85 infants/toddlers with supplies each month. We are a donation-based organization, so what we have available each week changes constantly, but we normally provide: diapers, formula, wipes, toys, clothes, shoes, shampoo, car seats, bassinets, etc. We are different from other organizations because we deliver the baby supplies directly to the family’s door. This was very important to me when I was developing the nonprofit- it is a lot of work to go anywhere with a newborn baby, especially if you don’t have a car and rely on public transportation (as many of our families do). We didn’t want moms having to bring their babies out during winter to get their supplies. Similarly, we make it easy to donate by doing no-contact porch pickups from donors. We started this as a covid precaution and it stuck because it makes it easy for everyone – families can leave their items out for us and we collect everything during a scheduled pickup window. We are also all volunteers, including me!
What do you think your constituents would say is the best thing about your organization?
I think the thing that our families appreciate the most (in addition to the wide range of items we supply) is how easy it is for them to get their stuff each month. To become registered with us, they have to show proof of need just at the first delivery (most show us their WIC or snap card) and a note from their doctor if pregnant or discharge paperwork for their newborn. After that, all they have to do is fill out our online request form each month and select what they need from a list. Then we deliver it right to them, typically within 3 days of their request.
What results does your organization achieve? How has your program improved over time?
Last year, we provided over 49,000 diapers to more than 230 infants, 101 pack-n-plays, and 46 car seats. These supplies keep babies safe and help parents keep their jobs. Most daycares require parents to provide diapers for their babies. If a family runs out of diapers, the baby can’t go to daycare, and the parent has to take off work to stay home with them. This obviously makes it harder for the family to afford diapers. In addition, babies with clean diapers have fewer rashes and other health problems, which has been shown to reduce parental stress.
Similarly, during the first year of life babies are prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS has been linked to unsafe sleeping habits, where babies are put to sleep in unsafe environments like on a couch, floor or chair, or who co-sleeping with parents. By providing a place for babies to sleep (i.e. pack-n-plays and bassinets), we are keeping them safe during their vulnerable first year!
We also try to support breast-feeding moms by supplying pumps, and nursing bras and shirts. Breast-feeding has long term health benefits for both the mom and baby, so this is important to us.
What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? What barriers are in your way?
We would love to be able to move out of my house and into a physical storefront where families can have the option of physically picking out the items they need from the donated goods. This would also allow us to shift from picking up donations to having people bring their donations to us. This would allow us take in more donations and help more families. In order to do this we would need to secure funding to rent a space and be able to pay for utilities. Right now we don’t have any funding for that!
What is the hardest decision the organization has had to make recently, and how did you evaluate the tradeoffs involved?
Recently, I had to make the tough decision to stop providing monthly deliveries to families in Bethlehem. They still get one big delivery, but I don’t have the time or volunteers to do it anymore. The need in Easton alone is more than I can handle since having my second baby (I do the nonprofit work when she naps, or early in the morning or late at night). I may have to reduce the work load again next year when I have to go back to work. I am trying to get grant funding to be paid at least part-time for the work I do with the nonprofit, but I haven’t been successful. If I do get funding, I would be able to increase our aid in Bethlehem again.
What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
Right now I only have 1 volunteer, so I do about 99% of the work myself. Most of my time is spent delivering supplies to families. After that, it’s sorting donations, putting together deliveries, data entry, and grant writing. I don’t spend enough time updating our facebook page or website!
If people want to contact you to help out, what is your website and how do they reach you?
In a previous blog, I wrote about optimism and its importance in both the business and the NFP world. Today, I would like to discuss altruism. What makes someone donate to a charity? If only NFP fundraisers knew the answer to this question… Neuroscientists and behavioral economists are trying to provide an answer. Donors and volunteers have a sense of altruism, gained from acts reducing their own well-being in order to help others. These acts include donating or volunteering. The reductions in savings and free time to help out arguably reduces the donors’ well being. Or, do they? Economists use the term “other regarding preferences” to describe altruistic acts. Giving time and treasure to a charity comes from internal motivation and a sense of identity. Donors and volunteers get a “warm glow” feeling or additional utility (to use another economic term) from these actions and neuroscience has developed evidence of this. Dopamine levels rise when altruistic acts are performed.
Are altruistic acts completely altruistic? Sometimes a seemingly altruistic act isn’t so altruistic. Donating and expecting returns is not really altruistic. For example, political donors may expect they will receive an appointment or their companies may receive additional business from the government. Donating significant amounts of money to a charity can send a signal to others of great wealth and conspicuous consumption. These would not be altruistic acts. To a lesser extent, don’t we expect some return for our donations? We might get tax deductions for our donations and some recognition for our volunteer efforts. The economist James Andreoni coined the term “impure altruism” in 1990 to describe how even the warm glow feeling we get from donating makes our motivation somehow tainted with self-interest.
While this discussion is intellectually stimulating, don’t look too deeply into the motivation of donors and volunteers. They are objectively doing a good thing so I suggest just leave well enough alone. There are philosophical treatises on mixed motives that are well beyond the scope of this article, but I would suggest human beings are complex creatures who may not be able to articulate their motivations to themselves let alone to anyone else. As a practical matter judging motivations of a donor or volunteer is at best a very, very tricky endeavor, not worth the time and effort of the NFP management. There is no moral, ethical, or legal requirement to do so. Running an NFP is difficult enough. Why take on the burden of figuring out the motives of donors?
Behavioral economics and finance have become all the rage in academic circles over the last several decades. All you have to do to confirm this is look at the list of behavioral economists who have won the Nobel prize since 2000. They include Daniel Kahneman (2002), Robert Shiller (2013), and Richard Thaler (2018), all of whom have been connected with this school of thought.
How can behavioral economics help the NFP manager? Well, here are five specific suggestions:
In their book Nudge, Thaler and Cass Sunstein suggest donations to charities can be increased with a Give More Tomorrow program. Donors are asked to give a small amount to their favorite charity beginning in two months and to commit to increasing the amount every year. A study by Anne Breman in 2006 found this simple nudge increased donations by 32 percent. Thaler and Sunstein also suggested the use of a charity debit card, but that proposal doesn’t seem to have gathered a lot of traction.
We are all familiar with charities that have donation tiers. For instance, if you donate $x you will be a Friend of the Charity. If you donate $y you will be a Patron of the Charity and so forth. Strategically set the tiers, as donors will calibrate their contributions to achieve their desired level of recognition. This is an example of impure altruism, but more on that in a future blog.
Use a silent phase for capital campaigns. Suppose there are two charities that wish to raise $100,000. One simply announces the goal and asks for contributions. Another raises seed money of say $50,000 before announcing the capital campaign. The second charity will receive greater donations than the first. People want to donate toward an achievable goal. They can readily see how their contribution will help get the charity to that goal
Put a face on your fundraising drive. People are more willing to donate when there is someone like them in need. Donors can identify and empathize with a real person. They can see how their donation will help this one person and will be more likely to donate.. Put another way, the bigger the problem you are trying to solve the less people will donate. For example, suppose you start a fund drive to end global warming. This will be rough sledding as donors simply can’t connect or comprehend the enormity of the issue. They can’t see how their small donation will help end such a huge crisis.
Try to build a sense of community with donors, making them “one of us”. Donors want to belong to something good. It gives them a “warm glow effect”. More on that in a future blog as well.
Certain phrases originally having innocuous meanings sometimes take on bad connotations. Many times it is not entirely clear how or why this happens, but you use these phrases at your own peril. Here are some recent examples you might run across:
Data Mining is the process of extracting and discovering patterns in “Big Data”. Recently, while taking a continuing education course I was a little astonished to hear the instructor tell us not to use the phrase “data mining”. It has picked up some nasty connotations. He advised using such terms such as data analytics and prescriptive analytics instead. Last week I came across an article on Fox News with the headline “Utah parents heated after discovering DOJ ‘mining’ racial data, names of their children: ‘absolute overreach’. It seems data mining has become synonymous with invasion of privacy, marketing manipulation, security risks and a plethora of other nasty activities.
Neuromarketing is the measurement of neurological and physiological reactions to determine customer motivations. It developed out of neuroscience and neuroeconomics and is now tinged with the stain of manipulation. Many people feel that marketing itself is a form of manipulation, but now tailoring marketing campaigns to produce dopamine and provoke involuntary reactions to stimuli seems to be an even worse form of manipulation to many.
Nudging was described by Richard Thaler, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2017, and Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor who is brilliant in his own right, in their 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. The book was amazingly well written and accessible by almost anyone, but the premise was controversial. Thaler and Sunstein believed in “liberal paternalism” where people could be guided into “right” decisions through a process of nudging people in the direction of the “correct” answers. Examples in the book include how this process would work in picking retirement savings and health insurance plans. Nudging has many advocates, but it has many detractors too. Some critics have called this theory yet another type of manipulation by the government.
What do these all have in common? It seems to me the issue with each of these is a perceived restriction on freedom and some form of perceived manipulation. I say perceived in both cases because I personally believe the jury is still out on whether this is the case or not. Thaler and Sunstein state the careful application of nudge theory is not really manipulation but rather a simple use of techniques and/or technology to lead people to the right decision about critical life decisions. Yet people feel uneasy about giving up their right to be, well….wrong. People obviously do not want to be manipulated, nor do they want to surrender their privacy. In fact, people have now become less trusting and are becoming leery of anything that could even potentially be used to violate their own personal space. They fear data mining, neuromarketing and nudging (whether by the government or by big corporations) could be the beginning of this path. Only time will tell, but for now, I would suggest staying away from using these terms. You may only be looking for trouble if you do.
The phrase “over the horizon” has taken on a whole new and ominous meaning recently. Many associate it with current military doctrine and the deadly drone attacks conducted in the war on terrorism. Not for Profit (NFP) directors and managers think it might be safe to come out of their bunkers after the COVID pandemic, but they need to be aware of the ominous and scary threats lurking over the horizon. None of these should cause NFP management to hit the panic button yet, but smart managers will always scan the horizon for threats. Some of those looming menaces are:
A shaky economy. Inflation is running over 8% and as of the date this is being written we are waiting for the Second Quarter GDP announcement. Some economists predict a mild increase to some predicting a mild decrease in GDP. A decrease in GDP over two quarters is the technical definition of a recession. It remains to be seen if charitable giving will continue in these circumstances as some families will tighten their belts.
Higher interest rates. It also remains to be seen how high the Federal Reserve Board will hike interest rates to combat inflation. Rising interest rates could further erode the balance sheets of many NFP organizations with outstanding debt and stress cash flows of these entities.
The weak condition of the stock market. NFP organizations lucky enough to have endowments will also suffer further budgetary stress. The stock market has fallen (it doesn’t matter what index you use. All the major indexes have fallen) this year. Financial planners will tell you proper financial management will permit the use of only a small percentage of the endowment in any year. As the endowment shrinks because of stock market losses, so does the available funds for operations or projects.
Recent Supreme Court decisions could impact certain NFP organizations. Without being political in any way, it is safe to say that a decrease in the abortion rate may stress NFP organizations in those states that move to restrict abortion. Absent an increase in government assistance to new mothers, families and NFP groups will be required to step up to the plate and help out. On the even more distant horizon, the impact of the West Virginia vs. EPA decision could have some long range and unpredictable consequences. In this case, the Supreme Court used the “major questions” doctrine to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new regulations that could have closed coal fired power plants. The details of this case are irrelevant here except to say the exact limits of the major questions doctrine have not been explored. Can this doctrine be used to prevent additional regulation issued by, say, the Department of Health and Human Services? Only time will tell how this plays out. The only sure thing is there is now some new uncertainty in the regulatory world.
The FASB is looking at new standards for cryptocurrency and Non-fungible tokens. While most NFPs are not big enough to actively deal in such markets, these assets are becoming more and more prevalent. NFP owners will need to keep an eye out for new accounting pronouncements that could result in a swing in asset valuations.
It is impossible to say which of these possibilities will pan out, if any. How can NFP entities deal with this type of uncertainty? My suggestion is to use scenario planning. While it is beyond the scope of this little article, scenario planning assumes managers are not able to provide valid estimates of the likelihood of discrete future events. A scenario is not a forecast of the future but of only one possible future. Scenario planning considers a range of plausible contingencies. In essence good scenario planning will provide the basis for a plan if any one or more of the contingencies discussed come true. For instance if the economy slows down more, scenario planning might call for a reduction in discretionary spending until the economic situation is clarified. As an added benefit, scenario planning also aids in fighting groupthink, a problem in decision-making that all hierarchical organizations must deal with. If you are interested in learning more about scenario planning, please contact me for additional information.
As Independence Day draws near, I recall an election night years ago. My younger daughter and I were watching the national election returns. When things turned out in a way she didn’t expect, my daughter began to storm off in a huff. I asked where she was going. Her response was: “I am going to write an apology to the Queen of England. Maybe she will take us back.”
Yes, the Founders of this country got a lot wrong. The three-fifths compromise and the prohibition on stopping the slave trade until 1808 are just two examples. However, they did get a lot right. I have been pondering one that many people miss: the ability to fail.
Daniel Kahneman in his phenomenal book Thinking, Fast and Slow writes optimism is the engine of capitalism. He claims optimists are the “ inventors, the entrepreneurs, the political and military leaders”. Kahneman notes that small businesses have a 65% chance of failing within five years. Optimists have the confidence to begin the business knowing those odds and persistence to outlast hard times. At the same time, Kahneman notes optimism can be a mixed blessing. Someone can have too much optimism, resulting in failed businesses.
I want to stretch Kahneman’s thesis in two directions. First, the same general principles of optimism apply to the not-for-profit (NFP) sector as well. We all know even the most optimistic people do not go into the NFP world for a profit motive. They enter this arena for a different purpose: an eleemosynary one. They often believe the world will rally around their good intentions and they can make a real difference in the world. We are all thankful for their enthusiasm and optimism. They make the world a better place. Unfortunately, they may also believe they can actually run an organization better than or at least as well as other people.
Secondly, NFP organizations can and do fail. Those entering the NFP world often quickly realize the lack of financing and funding can often be crushing. And by crushing I mean not only to the continued existence of the organization, but to the very vision and mission of the organization. I remember being Board Chair of a long-running NFP organization and worrying not only about meeting the next payroll but also not having the funding to fulfill our mission. I often thought about what I would do with a spare $100,000 in funding. The Executive Director was probably tired of me worrying and talking about money. When I was the CFO of a Catholic Diocese I would often remind the other clergy that “it takes money to do God’s Work.” I am pretty sure they didn’t appreciate that very much either. As a CPA I knew the consequences of running out of money. And this doesn’t even take into account Black Swan events such as the recent pandemic that can be devastating to an organization.
This is where the ability to fail comes into play. Kahneman and Tversky were the fathers of prospect theory. This fundamental insight into behavioral economics states individuals feel a loss more than twice as much as they feel an equivalent amount of gain. Consequently, the pain of failure is bad enough such that entrepreneurs or founders of NFP organizations can be dissuaded from their endeavors. How much more difficult would it be to start a business or an NFP organization and risk failure under the debtor prison regime that was in vogue at the time of the American Revolution? The U. S. Constitution provided for the humane way of dealing with organizational failure through its bankruptcy provisions. Congress has the ability (and has) set up uniform bankruptcy provisions throughout the entire country. This is an emotionally charged subject but I would propose that removing the fear of debtors’ prison has also primed the pump of capitalism–and of the NFP world as well. I understand the equity issue many raise to bankruptcy but there is no question it is a humane policy and in the main has been beneficial to capitalism and the NFP world as well. This is one (among many) the Founders were definitely right about.
I first met Basil about twenty years ago. We attended deacon training together for the Byzantine Catholic Church. Basil was already almost sixty years old at the time, past the age limit for acceptance into the program. It can take up to five years or more for someone to complete the course of studies and be ordained and the Church felt the ministry of such an older fellow would be too short. Fortunately, the Church wisely waived the age requirement. Basil completed the training and he was subsequently ordained. I was proud to serve at that ceremony with the rest of our classmates.
During our training, I marveled at Basil’s energy and willingness to continue to serve his community. This training was the beginning of a “second career” for him. Basil served as a Byzantine Catholic deacon for many years and was in good standing with the Church until his untimely passing earlier this year at the age of 79. The feature picture of this post shows him incensing during a church service.
Events such as this are often times for introspection. To be sure, Basil lived a flourishing life of service to his community. He was married for over 58 years and was a county employee. Basil was active in the Knights of Columbus, and of course as a deacon in his church. He lived his calling as a deacon by volunteering his time to causes he felt strongly about. It is this aspect of his life I would like to discuss.
In 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies noted one out of 10 jobs in the United States was with non-profit organizations. This by itself is a staggering statistic. It becomes all the more impressive when one considers the amount of volunteer hours NOT included in that number. Candid Learning reports that in 2017 over 25% of all adult Americans volunteered 8.8 billion hours of their time. Given a full time work year is about 2,000 hours give or take, that is about 4.4 million full time work years, or about 3.3% of the number of full time employees in the U.S. economy. Not only don’t these volunteers get paid for their time, they don’t get a tax deduction for it either. It is truly a sacrifice. When you consider volunteering is part of the not-for-profit triad of “Time, Talent, and Treasure”, the impact this has on the economy and our society is considerable. All the volunteer time and donations shows Americans truly are a generous people.
Can we do more? Of course we can. Some do more. Some do less. Life circumstances can often dictate the amount of volunteer work we do and the amount we contribute. Volunteering is the lifeblood of many not-for-profit organizations and churches. Please do what you can when you can. Basil touched the lives of many people during his time on this Vale of Tears. Perhaps his example can be an inspiration for all of us.
The April 29, 2022 issue of the Warren Reporter, a newspaper affiliated with NJ.com, contained a very balanced article written by Ted Sherman about the investigation of clergy abuse of minors in the State of New Jersey. State officials created a task force in September 2018 to investigate the allegations against clergy dating back decades. We need not go into the details of the allegations here as they are well known already. Suffice it to say there have been only three prosecutions as a result of this task force and the promised final report on the matter has not materialized. As a result of such a small number of indictments, many have doubted a special grand jury to investigate this matter was even empaneled. We can only hope and pray the absence of prosecutions was the abuse was not as widespread as has been suspected or reported. We also hope church officials have taken their duty to protect minors make appropriate disclosures as seriously as they should.
As heinous as these crimes may be, I want to focus on another insidious aspect of this situation: the financial devastation such mismanagement has caused. NPR reported that by 2018 this scandal has already Catholic Church $3 billion. That total has continued to grow in the last four years. Recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden, like many other Catholic dioceses, was forced to declare bankruptcy because of the projected cost of litigation surrounding the abuse of minors by its clergy. The diocese recently announced the settlement of such lawsuits and the creation of an $87.5 million dollar fund to come into existence over the next four years to pay out survivors of such abuse. The source of these funds was not reported and the settlement must still be approved by the bankruptcy court.
With such vast sums of money being thrown around, the question arises: Is this why donors contribute to religious organizations? To fund such horrible management by its leaders? It is high time large religious organizations are required to file a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. All charitable organizations except for religious organizations must file the Form 990 every year. Religious organizations are specifically exempted from this filing. While no one wants the federal government mucking around in Church affairs, the Form 990 contains information any contributor and/or member of the congregation would generally be interested in. This, form requires not only financial disclosures but also information about the adequacy of internal controls. As of right now, many religious organizations do not release financial information. Perhaps some sunshine on the matter would make those who run religious organizations a little more cautious when it comes to spending the hard earned donations of its members. For example, do members of the Diocese of Camden know a substantial amount of their donations over the next four years will probably be directed to this fund? Will the Diocese of Camden disclose where the funds will be coming from? We shall certainly see.
While there has been a lot of attention aimed at the abuse issue, financial frauds and scandals often “fly under the radar”. Again, we need not go into the details of such events as they are documented elsewhere, but my sense is these are but the tip of the iceberg, an opinion I formed being connected to the financial management of several religious and Not-For-Profit organizations. The lack of internal controls and the weak control environment can often be frightening. I hate to recommend this, but it is time for the government to compel financial disclosure from the larger religious organizations. As for the objection that this will be expensive, let me counter this by saying somewhat tongue in cheek that Rome wasn’t built in one day. Perhaps the reporting would only be required for any organization with gross receipts in excess of $1 million (or some other appropriate number). At the end of the day the cost incurred for preparing such a report will be more than made up for by the tighter financial controls religious organizations will have to put into place to make the proper reporting.
I am very proud to join the Vibrant Publishers Advisory Board. Vibrant is a growing publisher with a varied content! Here is the text of the press release:
This board is made up of industry leaders and subject-matter experts with a combined experience of more than 75 years working in academia and industry. The Board will assist Vibrant Publishers in developing rich academic material and educational resources.
Vibrant Publishers is focused on presenting the best texts about technology and business and books for standardized test preparation.
The New Board Will Provide Strategic Insights to Co-Create an Array of Practical, Actionable, and Affordable Learning Tools
Formation of the board is a direct reflection of our commitment to making a wider range of top-quality books available for our customers.”
— Deep Udeshi, CEO of Vibrant Publishers
BROOMFIELD, CO, UNITED STATES, February 9, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Vibrant Publishers, a publishing company with a focus on educational books, is excited to announce the formation of a strategic Advisory Board. This board is made up of industry leaders and subject-matter experts with a combined experience of more than 75 years working in academia and industry. The Board will assist Vibrant Publishers in developing rich academic material and educational resources for current and future generations of learners.
Vibrant Publishers’ Advisory Board is made up of the following respected leaders, who each bring a wealth of knowledge and decades of real-world experience to the company: Mark Koscinski, Carrie Picardi, and Dr. Denean Robinson.
Mark Koscinski is a certified public accountant with over forty years of experience in the corporate and not-for-profit worlds. An assistant professor of accounting practice at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mark teaches undergraduate courses in accounting and decision analysis on a graduate level. He served as chief financial officer and corporate controller of companies in the toy, banking/investment banking and defense-contracting industries. Mark earned a doctorate from Drew University.
Carrie A. Picardi, Ph.D. is an Industrial/ Organizational Psychologist with over 25 years of experience including human resource management positions within the manufacturing and education sectors, as an organizational research analyst and consultant, and as a professor of management. She has designed and led initiatives in the areas of talent acquisition and retention, job analysis and design, training and development, compensation strategy, performance management, employee engagement, leadership development, and technology/systems assessment. In addition to several peer-reviewed research publications, Carrie is the author of three textbooks: Research Methods-Designing and Conducting Research with Real-World Focus (Sage, 2013); Recruitment and Selection: Strategies for Workforce Planning and Assessment (Sage, 2019); and Leadership Essentials (Vibrant Publishers, 2021). She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and a certificate in Human Resource Management from Cornell University.
Dr. Deanean Robinson has been teaching Management, Marketing, Business and Education classes at various colleges and universities across the Washington D.C metropolitan area over the last 17 years. In addition, Dr. Robinson has developed corporate and educational training programs for various government and private agencies. Her training has been implemented in the areas of career development, personal management, strategic planning, and organizational development.
Vibrant’s Advisory Board aims to unite the best of academia and industry expertise to create accessible and affordable educational material for learners from all walks of life. As Carrie Picardi states, “As an Advisory Board member, I am looking forward to collaborating on relevant and forward-thinking educational resources for current and future learner needs. I am honored and excited to share my expertise with Vibrant Publishers and fellow board members as we work to co-create an array of learning tools that are practical and actionable as well as rigorous, with ease of use for both learners and educators.”
“I am honored to welcome these industry experts to our advisory board,” said Vibrant Publishers’ CEO Deep Udeshi. “Formation of the board is a direct reflection of our commitment to making a wider range of top-quality books available for our customers. Right from the start, we have focused on reducing students’ debt by introducing low-cost, concise top-quality management textbooks. With this Board, we plan to introduce books for community colleges & university courses, thereby reducing a lot of debt for students. Vibrant’s eBooks sell as low as $9.99, & Paperbacks are sold at around $25-$30, in comparison to the $200+ textbooks published by other publishers.” Board member Dr. Denean Robinson’s statement reflects her commitment to this cause. She says, “I joined the Board of Directors for Vibrant to be a change agent and voice for the underserved student population.”
We are excited to have this trio onboard to assist us in improving our brand legacy. Here’s to a new era of collaboration, learning, and positive impact in the world of educational book publishing!
About Vibrant Publishers Vibrant Publishers, Colorado, is a publishing house with a focus on high-quality books for entrepreneurs, professionals, and students. Vibrant Publishers has redefined how rich content is made available to today’s fast-paced generation. We have three academic book series, dedicated to Self-Learning Management, Job Interview Questions, and Test Prep.
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