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Winter 2020 Top of Mind Newsletter

Newsletter for Specialists in the Nonprofit Resource Directory

You are invited to the 9th Annual Directory Networking Party Hosted by Umpqua Bank!

Join us for an evening of networking and friendship. The 9th Annual Directory Networking Party Hosted by Umpqua Bank is a fun way to meet fellow nonprofit specialists while enjoying delicious food and drinks (door prizes, too!). Do not miss this opportunity to meet other consultants and providers, secure client referrals, and share the news of the good work you do to support the community.

Arrive early to enjoy the fantastic exhibits at the beautiful Frye Museum for free! The galleries close at 5:00 p.m.

9th Annual Directory Networking Party Hosted by Umpqua Bank
Tuesday, April 7 | 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Frye Art Museum on First Hill (new venue!)

This event is one of the ways we want to thank our Nonprofit Resource Directory partners for helping us amplify the strengths of nonprofits so people and communities flourish. Thank you for being our partner. We all rise when nonprofits thrive.

RSVP no later than Thursday, April 2, by 5:00 p.m.

Know a nonprofit specialist who may be interested in joining us? Please invite them to register and join in on the party!

We are grateful for the generosity of our sponsors who make the 9th annual Directory Networking Party Hosted by Umpqua Bank possible:

Meet Jen, 501 Commons’ new Nonprofit Resource Navigator

Please join us in welcoming Jen Gonyer, 501 Commons’ new Nonprofit Resource Navigator. Jen is the new point person for all matters relating to the Nonprofit Resource Directory, general Information and Referral inquiries, and other projects. Read more about Jen's background here.

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas regarding the Resource Directory, please feel free to reach out to her at jen@501commons.org or (206) 682-6704 ext. 105.

Tim Takechi (timt@501commons.org) is still the contact person for promoting workshops and events, while Kendra Demuth (kendra@501commons.org) is still the point person for Learning Connections.

Learning Connections

Remember to list your Spring and Summer trainings and professional development opportunities now. You can also put up “evergreen” listing for trainings or coaching that you are available to provide on-demand. As an approved partner, you get an added boost by being identified as a recommended provider.

Nonprofit assessment tool adds value to your consulting work

501 Commons’ Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit assessment can be an important first step for nonprofits to understand their organizational strengths and challenges.

Nonprofit leader Jeffrey Wilcox, President and CEO of Third Sector Company, recognizes the value of the assessment and is incorporating it in his organization’s interim executive director practice. According to Wilcox, an interim ED will experience the most success if they have more complete knowledge of the state of the organization they will be leading. Starting in 2020, Third Sector Company will employ the Five Elements assessment in each interim placement engagement, which will add great value for their clients and better prepare their interim executive directors for success. 501 Commons values this collaboration with Third Sector Company.

501 Commons has partnered with organizations around the country that are using the assessment.
The assessment is publicly available and free. We invite you, our Resource Directory specialists, to consider ways in which the assessment can be incorporated into your consulting practice.

Please contact Jan Burrell at jan@501commons.org for more information.

Thank you for your partnership in serving “the commons”

The 501 Commons staff and board members are inspired every day by the creativity and commitment we see in the people and organizations we serve and in our many organizational partners, including the 113 of you whom we are proud to call Resource Directory partners! Please read our message of gratitude.

We model our work on the belief that better communities, neighborhoods, and environments come from a shared responsibility to build the world we want to see. As we move into a new decade, we hope to strengthen these bonds and find creative solutions to issues facing us all.

Spread the word about GiveBIG Washington

Nonprofits all over the state of Washington have until April 1 to register for GiveBIG Washington, set for May 6, 2020. We would love to surpass the 1,542 organizations that participated last year, so please help us reach that goal.

Here are three things you can do to boost this effort, as well as your own brand:

  • Sponsor GiveBIG – Join nonprofit serving organizations like ORS Impact and Third Sector Company as a sponsor of GiveBIG. We can identify specific aspects of the campaign that you can sponsor. Through outreach to nonprofits and a $500,000 media and digital campaign, GiveBIG reaches thousands of nonprofits, 10,000+ board members and nonprofit leaders, and millions of people. You will receive year-round exposure on the 501 Commons and GiveBIG websites. In 2019 there were 860,000 visits to the GiveBIG website.
  • Posting on social media messages encouraging your clients to register. You can either blast out the link to the GiveBIG website or share the GiveBIG-related posts on the 501 Commons social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn).
  • Create a FUNdraising page starting on March 1. Similar to GoFundMe, these peer fundraising pages allow you to tap into your friends, family, and co-workers to give to a cause you care about. You choose a nonprofit to raise money on behalf of, then blast it out over email and social media until Gives Day ends.
  • Email us about your fundraising-related trainings. We thank Resource Directory partner, the Ostara Group, for providing our GiveBIG webinars and seminars and we would  love to promote any trainings/workshops/webinars you are hosting in the areas of fundraising, donor stewardship, marketing, online communications, visual design, etc. Email Tim at timt@501commons.org and he’ll put them on the GiveBIG website.

Of course, you can support GiveBIG’s success by making donations to your favorite organizations on May 6. Early giving begins on April 22, which is a great way to build momentum for the Big Day.

Welcome new Resource Directory specialists!

Please welcome the following companies to the Nonprofit Resource Directory and take a minute to get to know your colleagues:

  • CCS Fundraising is a strategic fundraising consulting firm that partners with nonprofits to raise funds and strengthen organizations. As leading consulting experts in campaign and development strategy, they plan and implement fundraising initiatives to help nonprofit organizations make a bigger impact – locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Mark Smutny at Civic Reinventions, Inc. helps nonprofits uncover the wisdom hidden in their diversity, build organizational cohesion, and achieve strategic goals. He does this by facilitating whole systems change through group planning techniques that engage and energize all stakeholders, break down silos, and build commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Competent Assistance for Nonprofits, Linda Akey brings your nonprofit passion to life by assisting your new organization with completing Forms 1023 or 1024 for 501c tax exempt status and creating a strong, sustainable, 4-year strategic plan. Additionally, Linda assists existing nonprofit organizations with strategic planning in operations, programming, fundraising and budgeting and provides education in a variety of nonprofit areas.
  • Elizabeth Ralston Consulting helps organizations build their capacity to engage program participants, volunteers, donors, and community partners with her skill set in fund development, program delivery, and strategic communications. She has a Master of Public Health, a certificate in Nonprofit Management, and more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofits.
  • Harbor Compliance handles the government paperwork for fundraising registration, nonprofit formation, tax exemption, annual reports, and more. Their software lets you access records and oversee it all from a single interface.
  • Kelly Schactler at Project Management Rebooted was created by long-time Project Management navigation expert, Kelly Schactler, to bring straight-forward, simple Project Management tools and concepts directly to nonprofit staff. Many nonprofits struggle to deliver projects effectively and efficiently, getting bogged down by confusing project management terminology, complex approaches and misguided application of tools.
  • Swaim Strategies believes in the power of bringing people together to create movements and raise support for your mission. They are activists, fundraising consultants, strategists, event planners, storytellers, data experts, speakers, and trainers all with one focus: “How can we help you make the most of your event?”

Sector News: What’s on Our Radar?

Why promoting community philanthropy is urgent work for us all

Giving USA's 2019 report (looking back on data from 2018) shows a decline in donations from individuals giving smaller donations, while the mega-rich are increasing the size of their gifts. This, combined with the rise of donor-advised funds (such as Seattle Foundation, Fidelity Charitable, and Schwab Charitable) adds urgency to the nonprofit sector  building a culture of community philanthropy.

Read our blog article where we discuss why this urgent work is more essential than ever. As service providers, we all have a role to play in helping nonprofits build their own capacity to sustain their missions and raise the dollars they need to thrive.

Sale of .org domain to private equity firm sparks concern from nonprofit community

In a move that could have momentous consequences for the nonprofit sector, the “.org” domain could potentially be sold to Ethos Capital, a for-profit capital venture firm, for $1.1 billion.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), a nonprofit organization that currently manages all .org addresses, handles this top-level domain on behalf of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This sale was announced in November 2019, much to the chagrin of nonprofit internet advocates. They are afraid Ethos could possibly raise the prices of domain registration beyond levels smaller organizations could afford. There is a price cap in place right now, but this could rise depending on the result of this sale.

However, Ethos recently promised that they would not implement a steep price increase.

In late January the California Attorney General delayed the sale by a couple of months, so it may be until early April when we know whether or not Ethos will control .org domains for the foreseeable future. We will post an update to this story in the next issue of Top of Mind.

B&O tax increase for workforce education

Both for-profit and nonprofit companies providing professional services will be subject to revised taxation that will be used to support improved access to post-secondary education in Washington State. The Workforce Education Investment Surcharge approved in 2019 has been canceled due to the recent passage of ESSB 6492.

Beginning April 1, 2020, this new legislation eliminates the surcharge for most taxpayers, except for certain advanced computing businesses. Instead, the new legislation increases the service business and occupation (B&O) tax from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent, for companies with at least $1 million in combined gross taxable income. You can learn more from the Department of Revenue.

Refer these 501 Commons trainings to your clients:

To prepare for a successful GiveBIG Washington campaign, participating nonprofits can attend these in-person and online trainings led by Rebecca Zanatta of The Ostara Group.

The Essentials of GiveBIG Success

Webinar: Feb. 25, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Seminar: Mar. 4, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Creating Your Next Level GiveBIG Campaign
Webinar: Feb. 26, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Seminar: Mar. 24, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Other 501 Commons workshops:

Executive Director Forum
Friday, Mar. 6
8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Pacific Tower – Suite #810

The Executive Director Forum is a fun and informative gathering where attendees gain a sense of energy and renewal from being with their peers. We are excited to welcome Sofia Aragon, Line Sandsmark, and Susan Adams as discussion leaders! Is your organization's budget under $1 million? Email Kendra Demuth at kendra@501commons.org for a discount code to receive free admission.

Help! I’m Invisible – Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace
Presented by Nancy Kasmar (Compensation Connections LLC)
Tuesday, Mar. 17
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower – Smart Buildings Center (1st floor)


The word “disability” is often used to describe an ongoing physical challenge. While some disabilities may seem obvious, many are unseen – or “invisible.” This workshop will provide you with knowledge and guidance on the impact of invisible disabilities in the workplace and challenge the way you think about disabilities. Discuss the prevalence and cost of invisible disabilities, disability etiquette, and techniques to support and encourage your staff who self-disclose their invisible disabilities to the organization.

Fostering Positive Board/Staff Relations
Presented by Westby Associates, Inc.
Tuesday, Apr. 7
9:00 a.m. to noon
Pacific Tower – Smart Buildings Center (1st floor)

The relationships between the board and executive or staff can make or break an organization. Thankfully there are best practices, strategies, and approaches to help you embrace “productive friction” and ensure everyone can thrive. Presenter Mike Westby helps you understand the difference between governance and support roles, how to develop a toolkit to improve and refine relationships, and ways to “stay in your lane” so that your work culture remains productive.

Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully
Presented by Susan Howlett
Tuesday, Apr. 21
9:00 a.m. to noon
Pacific Tower – Panoramic Center (8th floor)

If your board members struggle with fundraising, this interactive session will change that! You’ll discover how you can remove barriers that hold them back. Learn how to focus the attention of busy board members so they can raise the most money with the least effort, using activities they can embrace with joy and ease.

After attending this workshop taught by
Susan Howlett, you will be able to identify prospects board members should prioritize as they raise money, articulate the three things that board members should do to retain donors, and list at least three things board members can do to connect donors to the mission.

Governance Matters: A More Powerful Board Through Policy Governance
Presented by Nancy Long
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
9:00 a.m. to noon
Pacific Tower – Panoramic Center (8th floor)

Policy Governance® uses policies laid out in advance to help the board clarify its role and to define the relationship between the board and the executive. Since the board’s expectations of themselves and the executive are clear, written down, and stable, their oversight and governance role can be accomplished in less time but with greater understanding and consistency. This frees up time to focus on longer-term strategic issues, deepening community connections, and fundraising.

The Life Cycle of Effective Volunteer Management
Presented by Stephanie Heffner
March 10 or May 12
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower – Panoramic Center (8th floor)

This all-day training guides you to ensuring your volunteer program is set for success. Learn how to write great volunteer position descriptions, recruit fantastic volunteer candidates, match them with the right projects, orient/train volunteers to succeed, and build your supervisory skills, evaluation techniques, and more.

This training is designed for volunteer managers and coordinators with less than two years of experience in the field or those who are looking for a refresher of the basics.

Effectively Engaging Skills-Based Volunteers
Presented by Stephanie Heffner
Tuesday, April 21
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Pacific Tower – Panoramic Center (8th floor)

All volunteers have skills. What distinguishes skills-based volunteerism is that they are engaged in roles that use their specific abilities, credentials, and experience. Nonprofits can benefit greatly from engaging skills-based volunteers, but they often lack the knowledge and tools required to do so effectively. This session will guide you through the basics of successfully engaging skills-based volunteers at your nonprofit.

You will have an opportunity to explore topics such as factors leading to strong matches with skills-based volunteers, and how to effectively structure projects with them once they're onboard.