GuideStar Newsletter, March 2007

From the President’s Office

Dear Friend:

Several recent news events have me thinking this month about the roles and responsibilities of foundations.

Take these separate but related items:

Joel Fleishman’s new book, The Foundation: The Great American Secret; How Private Wealth Is Changing the World, both applauds America’s foundations and asserts that they are not meeting their potential. Foundations, he maintains, have been driving forces behind civil society here and abroad. Yet they need to “create a climate of transparency, the lack of which both causes foundations to underperform their potential and creates growing public distrust.” … Read more

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Unlocking the Mysteries of an Internal Brand Audit

What it is and what to expect from it. Above all, know your brand—it’s the essence of your organization.

Question: I’ve heard of financial and communications audits, but what exactly is an internal brand audit? Answer: Like a financial or communications audit, an internal brand audit is an independent review of an organization’s brand, which, if done properly, provides the organization with a baseline for how clearly its brand is defined, how well it is promoted, and what policies or systems are in place to protect it. … Read more

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IRS Increases Enforcement Focus
on Nonprofit Executive Compensation

What you need to know so the IRS doesn’t need to know more about you.

The IRS is sending some pretty strong signals these days that it is going to be looking hard at compensation and benefit levels for nonprofit executives. And nonprofits that want to avoid unwanted scrutiny may need to be more familiar with such terms as “disqualified persons,” “excess benefit transactions,” and “rebuttable presumption of reasonableness.” … Read more

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Fundraising’s Four Magic Questions:
Answer These and the Gift Is Yours

You didn’t get the gift. Don’t give up quite yet—ask four fundamental questions first.

If I must say so myself, I thought I’d made quite a good presentation. Perhaps short of dazzling—but not bad at all. I had listened carefully, probed when necessary, searched for areas of interest, and maintained intent eye contact. We had come to that charged moment—frightening and awesome, when the air crackles with hope and expectation. The time had come … I was about to ask Dick for his gift. … Read more

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Sales and Use Tax Exemptions
for Nonprofit Organizations

Sales and use tax exemption: often overlooked, but they could be worth your while. Find out how your organization might benefit from these subtle savings.

While nonprofit organizations are acutely aware of their entitlement to federal and state income tax and real property tax exemptions, they may not fully appreciate their entitlement to state sales and use tax exemption. In certain states, where the combination of state and local taxes are beginning to approach 10 percent, obtaining sales and use tax exemption may be a very worthwhile exercise for a nonprofit organization making significant purchases. … Read more

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IRS Updates, March 2006: Telephone Tax Refund
and More Free Training for Exempt Organizations

Your organization may qualify for a refund from the IRS. You can also get free training on the Pension Protection Act’s impact on exempt nonprofits.

Uncle Sam wants you to know that your organization may be entitled to a refund of long-distance taxes paid between March 1, 2003, and July 31, 2006. More than 160 million individuals, businesses, and exempt organizations qualify for this one-time payment. To request the refund, complete Form 8913, Credit for Federal Telephone Excise Tax Paid, and attach it to your Form 990-T. Don’t worry if your organization normally does not file a 990-T. … Read more

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Where Newsletter Readers Seek (Web Site)
Help: February Question of the Month Results

What do Newsletter readers do when they can’t find what they want on a Web site? And what do they want in a site?

Ever find yourself at a digital dead end? Tangled up in the Web? Where you turn for assistance in these sticky situations was the focus of February’s Question of the Month. We asked, “When you need help using a Web site, which of the following are you most likely to do?” Here’s what you told us. … Read more

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