Ann Curry Recognized for Leadership in Nonprofit Development Efforts
Dec 19,2016
Smith & Howard extends warm congratulations to our good friend Ann Curry of Coxe Curry & Associates. Ann has been selected as an honoree for the upcoming Heroes, Saints & Legends gala, which is being held in March. Ann will be recognized by the Foundation of Wesley Woods as one of four Georgians who have made significant ongoing contributions to the community through their dedication to leadership, service and philanthropy.For more than four decades, Ann has been a leader in helping nonprofits in their development efforts. Examples include the Grady Health Foundation, Spelman College’s annual campaign, the Trust for Public Land’s Chattahoochee land protection, and many more.A graduate of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia, Ann’s past community service includes serving as president of the Atlanta-Fulton League of Women Voters, and as a member of League’s national board where she was development chair. She was also the founding president of the...
New Deferred Compensation Regulations: What Nonprofits Need to Know
Dec 18,2016
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released proposed regulations that provide guidance for the nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements of tax-exempt organizations in June. The regulations, which have been anticipated by the industry since 2007, address the interplay between Internal Revenue Code Section 457 and Section 409A, which govern the nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements of all employers, including tax-exempt organizations. The newly proposed Section 457 regulations provide plan design opportunities specifically for tax-exempt employers, which could aid in the recruitment and retention of key executives.The proposed regulations provide comprehensive guidance for nonprofit employers and offer several options for employers structuring deferred compensation plans. Section 457(f) requires the immediate taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation upon vesting. Its newly proposed regulations contain plan design features that effectively delay the vesting event, thereby avoiding immediate taxation and providing much-needed clarity to when compensation is subject to or exempt from Section 457(f).The proposed regulations become effective upon finalization,...
How Nonprofits Can Use Form 990 as a Marketing Advantage
Jun 14,2016
To many nonprofit organizations the Form 990 is simply a requirement, a must do. However, this public form can serve as a tool to help your organization increase brand awareness throughout the community. There are many sections in the Form 990 that can help your marketing team and organization generate positive perceptions, which could ultimately lead to more donations.Are You Optimizing Your Form 990?Whether you have asked for an extension for filing your 2015 Form 990 or are looking ahead to next year, make sure you are completing the form to your nonprofit’s best advantage. Most organizations do not view tax forms as a marketing tool. But when it comes to Form 990, take full advantage of an opportunity to put your nonprofit in the best possible light in front of the audiences you wish to attract.Here is why Form 990 is different—in addition to the financial data you are...
State of the Arts – Economic Impact and Expanding Participation in Georgia Arts and Culture
Sep 24,2015
In early 2015, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released new findings from a survey about public participation in the arts. The report reveals some surprising findings about the impact of arts and cultural industries on GDP, as well as the attitudes, motivations and barriers for attending the arts at different life stages—the first time the NEA has published a report on this type of data. The following article by Smith & Howard's nonprofit team, discusses the NEA's report and highlights some of the ways Georgia's arts & culture organizations are working hard to engage the public. According to NEA’s report, the leading barriers for attendance the arts include:Lack of time: 47%Cost: 38 %Access: 37%No one to go with: 22%More specifically, 60 percent of those with children under age six said lack of time is the greatest single barrier to attendance. The NEA noted, “This finding could inspire arts providers...
Nonprofit Newsbits
Sep 24,2015
This issue’s “Newsbits” contains items on community foundations that embrace impact investing; the IRS’s reported pattern of rarely auditing nonprofits for political activity; congressional activity that could make permanent charitable “tax extenders”; and social media as a tool to identify likely donors.Community foundations embrace impact investingA report from the Democracy Collaborative concludes that community foundations, which traditionally have focused on a passive approach to making grants, are now experimenting with impact investing — making investments that seek both financial return and social impact.The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, for example, has found wide donor interest in the approach. It made its first impact investment (a $1 million loan) in 2001 and, to date, has committed $10 million to impact investing. Notably, the foundation has found that impact investing is attractive to a wide spectrum of donors, including corporate, individual and donor-advised funds.IRS rarely audits nonprofits for political activityInformation obtained by the Center...
Social Media Tips for Small Nonprofits
Jun 29,2015
Social Media Tips for Small NonprofitsThe Chronicle of Philanthropy offered five tips to help small nonprofits manage their social media programs. Communicating with your current and future donors is essential. These social media tips can help your organization develop a strong social media presence that can boost online giving. The following tips from the Chronicle of Philanthropy include:1. Make sure your website is “Mobile Friendly.” 2. Make sure your online, off-line and in-person messaging is consistent in appearance and theme.3. Organize to make online involvement and giving a core competency.4. Craft messages to appeal to all ages. Keep messages crisp, simple and uncluttered. 5. If using social media, be sociable with followers. Not only send out messages, but comment on their posts. Let them know you care about and “like” their posts.In our experience with nonprofits, organizations must set measurable goals. Nonprofits and small organizations can use free tracking platforms such as Google Analytics, which...
Choosing the Right Independent School for Your Child
Jan 26,2015
The recession contributed to declines in many areas within our economy, with the independent (private) school industry particularly hard hit. According to First Industry Research, “Enrollment at US private schools in fall 2014 was the lowest in nearly 60 years, and the decline is expected to continue for at least five more years.” All is not gloom and doom, however. The Georgia independent school sector appears to be doing very well. In an article recently published by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, current enrollment levels for independent school students were shown at 74,767, which is less than a 2% decrease from enrollment levels prior to the recession. As economic conditions continue to improve and individuals seek out alternatives to the public school system, demand for independent schools will increase. If you have a school age child, you may find yourself wondering what you should be looking for within an independent school. Although...
Board Composition in Independent Schools and the Importance of Head of School Tenure
Jan 26,2015
We recently attended the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Annual Conference in Atlanta and had the distinct pleasure of hearing educational consultant, John Littleford, speak about board composition in independent schools and the importance of head of school tenure.We were particularly struck by Littleford’s points that today, the longevity of the head of school’s tenure is often too short to allow the individual to leave a lasting legacy.  Interestingly, the average tenure of an international school head is three and a half years and that of a US independent school head is less than six years.  According to Littleford, in order to leave a lasting legacy, one must serve as the head of school for upwards of seven years. He presented the question to the audience, why do many heads fail to survive the first five or so years?  Loss of Institutional MemoryOne reason for this is the loss of...
Do Your Part for Donors
Jan 15,2015
Your donors will be gearing up for tax-filing season soon. It’s not too late to make sure that your organization is following the IRS donation “substantiation rules” so that your benefactors have the proof they need to deduct financial gifts. Proper documentation is also crucial so that your donors don’t have any future problems with the IRS.Legal precedents existCase law generally supports the IRS. In the court ruling Durden v. Commissioner, a church had received $25,171 in contributions from a married couple. The taxpayers had canceled checks documenting these 2007 donations, and the church sent them a written acknowledgment of receipt. But the acknowledgment didn’t note whether the taxpayers had received any goods or services in exchange for their contributions. The IRS requires such a statement, so it disallowed the taxpayers’ deduction.The taxpayers then obtained a second receipt from their church, stating that they hadn’t received any goods or services...
Newsbits
Dec 15,2014
Charity Navigator evaluates major philanthropic markets (and we put our two cents worth into the evaluation!) Charity Navigator has published a report on the performance of the 30 largest U.S. philanthropic marketplaces. The watchdog group considered the financial health, accountability and transparency of these charities. According to its report, regional factors — such as the cost of living, a market’s maturity and a city’s tendency to support one or two specialized causes — greatly influence the ability of charities to raise money, manage costs and adhere to good governance policies and procedures. St. Louis’s nonprofit sector ranked as the top performer overall. Portland charities had the greatest commitment to ethical best practices, and Miami charities were the most efficient fundraisers. Boston nonprofits proportionately received the most donations. Outside of the Charity Navigator evaluation, we believe we would be remiss if we didn't note that in late 2014, the Chronicle of...

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