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Fall 2019 Top of Mind Newsletter

Newsletter for Specialists in the Nonprofit Resource Directory

GiveBIG Washington returns on May 6, 2020

GiveBIG is back and will take place on May 6, 2020. We’ve renamed it GiveBIG Washington to reflect our reach across the entire state.

Last year’s campaign raised $11.4 million from online donations, company matching funds, donor matching gifts, sponsors, and in-kind donations. Nearly 700 people created personal fundraising campaigns. More than 21,000 people invested in the 1,500+ nonprofits that participated across the state.

You can support GiveBIG Washington’s success in 2020. Encourage your clients to register when it opens on January 6, 2020. GiveBIG is a highly cost-effective way to gain new supporters. Last year 20% of donations came from first time givers.

Become a GiveBIG sponsor: Sponsor levels range from $100,000 (title sponsorship) to $1,000. Sponsorship broadcasts your support of the nonprofit sector. You can support the overall campaign, our fundraising education programs, or a prize.

Prizes can go to the most successful personal fundraising campaign, a nonprofit new to GiveBIG that raises the most, or to recognize some other fundraising victory. Email Nancy Long at nancy@501commons.org to learn more.

Want to stay in the loop about GiveBIG? Sign up to receive our GiveBIG newsletters.

Save the date for the “party of the year”

Is that being boastful about our annual networking event for consultants and other nonprofit specialists? Maybe. But the photos and feedback paint a confirming picture that, for those serving the sector, this complimentary affair is a lot of fun to attend. 501 Commons is proud to support nonprofit specialists by creating this opportunity for you to make powerful, in-person connections with others in the field.

We are excited to have the next party at the Frye Art Museum. Arrive early, so you can enjoy all the museum has to offer for free! There’s no cost for admission to the Frye and exhibits are open until 5 p.m.

So, mark your calendar now!

9th Annual Directory Networking Party
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Frye Art Museum

Lastly, we’re seeking sponsors to help underwrite this well-attended, celebratory event and support 501 Commons' free Information & Referral service. Last year’s sponsors included Columbia Bank; Beneficial State Bank; Greenwood, Ohlund & Company, LLP; Hagel & Company; First Financial Northwest Bank; Non Profit Insurance Program; and Peterson Sullivan.

If you're interested in sponsorship, please contact Nancy Long at nancy@501commons.org to learn how your company can benefit from being a sponsor.

Thank you Matt!

After nine years managing our Information & Referral (I&R) Program, 501 Commons regrets to announce that Matt Fikejs has decided to leave the organization to explore new professional opportunities. Matt began his role four months before the launch of the online Nonprofit Resource Directory in 2010, and his quick-yet-careful evaluations of interested service providers allowed us to kick off the Resource Directory with 40 vetted providers. Since then, he has grown the Directory nearly three times to 115 nonprofit specialists, handling all aspects, from recruitment to recertification.

During that time, Matt also served more than 1,000 nonprofits who contacted 501 Commons for general nonprofit management help. Many of these “cases” included referrals to vetted specialists. Yet all involved – by phone and often email – guidance to tailored resources. Not only is he skilled in doing quick assessments of nonprofits’ needs, his assistance helped many nonprofits identify their priorities. Matt’s responsibilities have also included organizing the annual Directory Networking Party, representing us at conferences, writing newsletter stories, moderating our nonprofit listserv, and more.

Matt’s last day is Wednesday, December 11.  During the transition to a new staff person, please contact Kerry Kozuki at kerry@501commons.org for Resource Directory-related matters.

Welcome new Resource Directory specialists!

Please welcome the following companies to our popular referral network and take a minute to get to know your Resource Directory colleagues:

  • AssetLab Marketing – From website design to strategies that deliver visitors to sites, like online advertising and SEO, AssetLab Marketing helps nonprofits reach their online marketing goals. The company’s tools and processes not only drive visitors to virtual locations, they can also get people to actual events. If online marketing and advertising is of interest, be sure to check out the company’s blog, too, for ideas and insights.
  • Breakthrough Fundraising Group – The two-person team at Breakthrough Fundraising Group consults large and small organizations on nearly every aspect of fundraising. Their knowledge comes from careers working at and for over 75 nonprofits, so they understand both the big picture and realities on the ground. Included in those past development roles is the service of interim development officer, which they offer to nonprofits today.
  • Greater Giving – For fundraising events, like dinners and auctions, Greater Giving provides event management software, online registration and donation services, online bidding, on-site payment collection, and credit card processing. These cloud-based technologies simplify event management, train volunteers quickly, and streamline check-in and check-out. Customer support and fundraising education resources are also available.
  • Martha C. Bean – You don’t have to be “visual person” to appreciate the power of images to convey sometimes complex or technical ideas and even bring people together. Now picture (no pun intended) a consultant who can both facilitate a meeting or mediate a group and, as needed, draw the important discoveries and conclusions that surface. Martha Bean can do that while offering trainings on collaborative practices as well.
  • ThunderHorse Productions – Through words, images, and video, ThunderHorse Productions tells nonprofits’ stories by communicating their vision, mission, and impact. Work products range from promotional and fundraising videos – parts of which are perfect for social media – to event and marketing photography to newsletter and other copywriting. Regardless of the medium, the end product reflects the organization’s “voice.”
  • Steven Byers – Helping Human Systems – Steven “works with individuals, teams, organizations, and communities – human systems – to help them gain a deeper understanding of the complex issue facing them.” He does so by collaboratively “designing ways of thinking, learning, and working together – better.” For those seeking these things, Steven offers a variety of approaches that lead to meaningful conversations and, ultimately, change.

Share your technology expertise

501 Commons is looking for presenters for our popular 501 Talks Tech series! In partnership with Seattle Tech4Good, we provide free monthly technology-focused trainings to nonprofits. We’ve been fortunate to work with a number of Nonprofit Resource Directory partners like Hand Crank Films, 6162 Productions, MRW Web Design, Fuse IQ, and others!

These classes cover a wide range of topics such as website design and accessibility, video production, design thinking, project management, Google Analytics, and collaboration tools. We are currently planning our schedule for 2020 and need presenters to lead trainings! Three topics we’d like to cover are fundraising, CRM utilization, and cybersecurity. Being a presenter is a great way to gain new client leads and provide a valuable service to our nonprofit network.

If you have ideas of other topics you are passionate about, we welcome the opportunity to work with you! To get involved, please contact Bryan Lam at bryan@501commons.org.

Overtime pay changes at the state and federal levels

Starting on January 1, 2020, 1.3 million U.S. workers will be eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The U.S. Department of Labor updated the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees (EAP) from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The updated rules also allow employers to count a portion of certain bonuses (and commissions) towards meeting the salary level. Starting in 2020:

  • The "standard salary level" raises from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker).
  • The total annual compensation level for "highly compensated employees (HCE)" rises from the currently-enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year.
  • Employers can use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices.

In Washington State, overtime rules are also changing for EAP workers as well as outside salespeople and computer professionals. As a result, some employers will have to provide overtime, minimum wage, and paid sick leave to employees who were previously categorized as exempt. In other cases, employers may need to increase salaries for exempt employees.

As of now, here is what the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is proposing:

  • For organizations with fewer than 50 employees, employees paid up to $675/week must be paid overtime.
  • For organizations with more than 50 employees, employees paid up to $945/week must be paid overtime.

The proposed overtime pay threshold will rise to 2.5 times the minimum wage by 2026 and will stay indexed to the minimum wage as it increases. Changes will be implemented gradually. Employers with 50 employees or fewer will have more time to comply.

L&I expects to announce a final decision in December, so these numbers could change.

Refer these 501 Commons trainings to your clients:

Ask. Thank. Report. Repeat.
Presented by Jim Shapiro (The Better Fundraising Co.)
Wednesday, Dec. 11
9:00 a.m. to noon
Pacific Tower, Seattle


“Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat” is the answer to better fundraising. Come learn the secrets behind these four simple, yet powerful, words. Popular trainer Jim Shapiro will help you understand your board’s role in fundraising and how to build an annual fundraising plan that is measurable, repeatable, and successful.

Mindfulness & Self-Compassion for Stress Management and Burnout Prevention
Presented by Mindfulness Northwest
Monday, Dec. 16
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower, Seattle

When work gets stressful, it becomes difficult to properly serve clients, focus on important tasks, and prioritize key duties. This is where "mindfulness training" comes in handy, which supports a present-centered, open-minded orientation that makes you more resilient, engaged, and creative. This can help you respond with kindness, emotional self-awareness, compassion, and a sense of connection with others – even when situations are challenging.

This staff development workshop teaches what mindfulness and self-compassion are and how they are practiced. Leave with access to online and recorded resources, and a toolkit of simple, practical practices that you can apply both at work and at home.

What You Need to Know About Board Governance
Presented by Beth McCaw (Washington Women’s Foundation)
Tuesday, Dec. 17
9:00 a.m. to noon
Pacific Tower, Seattle


Are you a new board member or a seasoned board member who needs to help your newer board colleagues understand their role? This session gives insight into effectively performing the roles and responsibilities of a board member. We will discuss basics of nonprofits, legal obligations, personal risk, and the concepts of governance.

Hiring the Best Avoiding the Rest
Presented by Claudia Malone
Wednesday, Jan. 15
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower, Seattle

Hiring problematic employees comes at a substantial cost to any organization, especially when there are issues that you cannot easily glean from an interview, such as with bad work habits or interpersonal interaction.

The best way to ensure you don’t have issues with staff performance or behavior is to avoid hiring new employees who come to you with such qualities. But hiring effectively is an art and a skill that can be taught, but then needs to be continuously practiced to improve. This workshop concentrates on the art of interviewing to determine a candidate’s fit for the job and the organization, using both motivational and behavioral interview questions and evaluating candidates’ answers to those questions.

We can help you get the word out

Want to offer a class or networking opportunity but concerned about the time spent marketing? List your offering in Learning Connections!

You can also list trainings you can provide to organizations on demand.

It is easy to create an account and listing.

A shout out to the “recertified”

Thank you to the nonprofit specialists below that have been recertified after being in the Resource Directory for more than 5 years. During this process, we conduct new reference checks and encourage specialists to update their listings. The review allows us to recommend listed providers with confidence and ensures that everyone is “in good company.”

Recertified specialists include: