income

Ask a Nonprofit Specialist: Should we charge fees for our services?

posted by
Anne Byrne,
Professional-in-Residence,
ASU Lodestar Center


Question: We provide our services free to our program participants, but we are feeling the strain of limited resources. Some have suggested we charge a fee for our services, but I am reluctant to go down this road. What should we consider about charging fees for our services? Will we be required to pay taxes on fees collected?

The traditional charity model is based on the expectation that organizations raise funds from institutions and individuals in order to provide services to those in need, primarily free of charge. Charitable giving continues to flourish in this country; according to the Giving USA report, charitable giving totaled $298 billion in 2011,with 73% of funds donated by individuals. Americans continue to be very generous, but unfortunately, the demand for services outstrips our ability to fund services with charitable gifts alone.

Boosting Arizona's Philanthropic Resources

posted by
Marissa Theisen,
President & CEO
Arizona Grantmakers Forum

In my last post, I highlighted the current status of Arizona's philanthropic sector, based on a research report released by Arizona Grantmakers Forum in January 2011. The report was based on 2008 tax data for both institutions and individuals. While the markets have rebounded somewhat since 2008 and thus individual and foundation assets have grown, it's unlikely that Arizona's relative position compared with other states has changed.

It seems clear that Arizona's philanthropic sector is underdeveloped relative to most other parts of the country. In addition, our low rankings on many social sector indicators suggest that some of the challenges we face are more severe than what other states deal with. Given the recent substantial cutbacks in state government support for many nonprofits, I believe the sector needs to get very creative about expanding revenue sources.

Research Friday: Current Status of Arizona's Philanthropic Resources

posted by
Marissa Theisen,
President & CEO
Arizona Grantmakers Forum

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. Today, we welcome Marissa Theisen of Arizona Grantmakers Forum to discuss findings from the 2010 Arizona Giving Report.

One never-ending concern for nonprofits is funding. Organizations must continually evaluate which programs get priority, and at times, make tough decisions as to which ones get cut. As a state-wide sector, it can help us to understand what funding looks like across Arizona. Arizona Grantmakers Forum (AGF) released a 2010 Arizona Giving Report earlier this year. It provides an overview of the size and scope of philanthropic activities in our state, based on 2008 IRS data. The findings reveal some interesting facts and raise serious questions about the funding of Arizona's nonprofit sector:

First, Arizona's institutional philanthropic sector is smaller than most states. Total foundation assets were just under $6 billion. Arizona ranked 40th among states in terms of private foundation assets per capita. Given Arizona's severe economic challenges, we don't anticipate any significant increase in the total size of our philanthropic assets over the next several years.

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