ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Terri Wogan
Executive Director
Social Venture
Partners Arizona

Imagine you have just stepped onto the stage before some of the Valley's most influential leaders. A passionate social entrepreneur, you have built an innovative approach to tackling one of our toughest social issues. Your organization is on the verge of a breakthrough. The audience is bursting with other investors capable of bringing significant additional resources to fuel your expansion.

You step to the mic with three minutes to prove you are what today's donors most want nonprofits to be: focused, innovative, self-sustaining, and, above all, effective. ...It's SHOW TIME!

This is the exact scenario that eight finalists of the "Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo" will face on March 2, but many nonprofit organizations face a similar situation all of the time. Phoenix is considered one of the most entrepreneurial communities in North America for business innovation and performance, and Valley nonprofits also are doing innovative and impactful work, creating significant social wealth. We aim to expand the network of individuals and organizations that value innovation, accountability and operational stability in top-performing nonprofits.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stephanie La Loggia, M.A.

Manager of Knowledge Resources
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Oh, the high-wire balancing act of nonprofit CEO compensation. Pay your CEO too little, and you won’t attract a skilled leader. Pay too much, and you’ll raise the eyebrows (or ire) of donors, clients, volunteers, and anyone else who looks up your 990 in one keystroke. And should a nonprofit really go over the top with CEO pay, the IRS will come knocking at the door.

What’s an impact-driven nonprofit organization to do? Two things come to mind. First, consult the research and data available on nonprofit CEO compensation. Comparable compensation data helps recruitment and hiring, and protects against excessive compensation claims. For nonprofits in Maricopa and Pima counties, the latest issue of Nonprofit Research Abridged details CEO compensation across budget size and type.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Travis Manzione
Director — Assessment Tools
The Center for
Effective Philanthropy

In almost every facet of our lives, the types of relationships we form and maintain not only define how we perceive others, but also how we are perceived by others. Our interactions and communications should characterize the expectations we have for others and the expectations they have for us. When thinking about important relationships in my own life, the ability or failure to acknowledge and accept that we each have a unique and differing perspective determined the relative success of each relationship.

So why should relationships between funders and their grantees be any different? The relationships grantees have with their funders – the quality of interactions and the clarity and consistency of communications – are the key predictor of not only grantee satisfaction, but also grantees’ views of a foundation’s impact.

For grantees, it is about relationships with individual program officers. Program officers play a key role in grantees’ experiences and are the main interface between foundations and their grantees. Therefore, the right program officer can make or break grantees’ experiences with a foundation. However, program officers perform with varying levels of quality. This is true not only among program staff across foundations, but among program staff within foundations.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

posted by
Kayla L. McKinney
Project Specialist
ASU Lodestar Center

As a Project Specialist at the ASU Lodestar Center, I get to put my social media skills (and many hours spent facebooking…) to good use. With the explosion of micro-blogging, the nonprofit world has a fantastic new tool to connect with the public in exciting and creative ways. But what happens when bad tweets happen to good nonprofits?

A few days ago, as part of ASU Lodestar Center's promotion for our upcoming 13th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness, we posed this scenario to our social media followers:

A nonprofit has a public scandal. How does it go about restoring credibility with existing funders and position itself with possible new funders to help "bring them back" and make the organization stronger than before?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

posted by Jill Watts,
Director of Capacity
Building Initiatives
ASU Lodestar Center

Today the Lodestar Foundation announced the eight Finalists for the 2011 Collaboration Prize. The Collaboration Prize was created and is funded by The Lodestar Foundation in collaboration with the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan (AIM) Alliance, of which the ASU Lodestar Center is an integral part. These model collaborations were selected from a pool of over 800 applications from around the country.

The winner of the $250,000 prize will be announced in April, and is chosen by a Final Selection Panel of national experts chaired by Sterling Speirn, CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Finalists are:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

posted by Pat Lewis,
Senior Professional
in Residence
ASU Lodestar Center

The IRS has begun to revoke the tax-exempt status for those nonprofit organizations that have not filed some form of a 990 (information report) for three years. Guidestar estimates that 350,000 to 400,000 nonprofits are in danger of losing their exemptions. A large number of these organizations are smaller nonprofits that previously were not required to file an annual return because their gross revenues were $25,000 or less.[1] If your organization has not filed any of the 990 forms for three years it is likely you will soon receive a revocation notice.

How will I know if my organization has lost its tax-exempt status?
You will receive a notice from the IRS in the form of a letter, Notice CP120A.[2] A copy of this notice is posted on the IRS website and a list of organizations that have had their nonprofit status revoked.[3]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

posted by
Travis Butterfield

Project Coordinator,

ASU Lodestar Center



In preparation for the upcoming 13th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness that the Lodestar Center will be hosting in a few weeks, I have been working with the center's Director of Professional Development Education, Cristina Archibeque, to create postcards, e-blasts, and other promotional materials.  In the process of doing so, I happened to stumble across the following short video about one of our forum's keynote speakers, Charles Best.  It was produced by the USA cable network, as part of their "Character Approved" series.


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