NewsBits: Around the Nonprofit World

from The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Dwindling Reserves: Declines in new gifts serve as bleak omens for donor-advised funds in 2009

In 2008, donors made grants to charities that comprised a median 23 percent of the assets held by the funds at the end of the year. That’s a higher median share than donor-advised funds distributed from 2004 to 2007, when median annual distributions in The Chronicle’s survey ranged from 18 to 21 percent of assets.

Among the 91 organizations that provided two years of data, total grants to charities increased from $4.8-billion in 2007 to $5.4-billion in 2008, a jump of 12.5 percent. But the funds saw declines in new gifts, due to sharp stock-market declines, which hurt the tax advantages of giving to donor-advised funds. The total value of gifts to the organizations dropped from $7.4-billion in 2007 to $6.8-billion in 2008, a decline of 8 percent.

from The NonProfit Times:

Learning The Triple P (by Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University)

It can be challenging for nonprofit professionals to rise above grim news reports, struggles their organizations might be facing, and for many, concerns about the growing needs of their clients. Often it seems that there are more questions than answers.

Yet in these difficult times, many nonprofit professionals are looking and working for the positive. They are seeking messages of hope and constructive steps they can take right now. Nonprofits, fundamentally, are about hope, fresh starts, new beginnings and finding new ways to meet the needs of society.

This is a time to be positive, pragmatic and proactive. And although it might feel like a luxury, it is a critical time for reflection. It’s a time for stepping back, rethinking what your organization is and what it wants to be going forward, and figuring out how to get there. Ingenuity and being open to taking risks that could result in big rewards down the road.

The financial crisis is an opportunity for nonprofits to look at things with a fresh perspective and identify long-term opportunities. Tough economic times might force organizations to do what they should be doing regularly anyway. Many families today are re-evaluating what is most important and meaningful to them and so should nonprofits. This is the time to search our hearts, missions and strategic plans, not just budgets and financial statements.