Leading from the Ground Up: Establishing Ethics and Social Responsibility in USF’s Nonprofit Student Council

By: Brandon Jones, Greg Justice, and Elizabeth Silva,

2017-18 Full-Time Cohort 

The study of ethics – historically known as “Moral Philosophy” – traces its roots to the time of early Greece, having been discussed significantly by Socrates and Plato (01), and mainly, in the pursuit of “justice.”  (No relation.)

Fast forward over two millennia – give or take a few hundred years, and we find ourselves studying ethics in a new capacity.  That is, how do we build an ethical and socially responsible student government from the ground up, paying tribute today’s standards, yet leaving an ethical structure for future cohorts?

The University of San Francisco’s Master of Nonprofit Administration (“MNA”) has within the program a fully autonomous student government – the Nonprofit Student Council (“NSC”).  NSC serves the needs, ideas, and professional development of the MNA student body.  In our official affairs, governing documents, and the spirit of our governance, NSC is building an ethical foundation, providing a respectful and dignified environment for current and future students.

NSC’s Core Values

From the very beginning of NSC’s deliberations, the executive board – the collective six officers pictured right –  has stressed the need for engagement, collaboration, and representation; access and inclusion; oversight and accountability; and, most importantly, diversity, as our guiding principles.  As the governing council for MNA students, we benefit greatly with these values, making sure we do our best to represent every student in a thoughtful and equitable manner.

NSC’s Mission Statement

Our guiding principles are best embodied in the NSC mission statement, memorializing our official commitment to these values.  The purpose of NSC is to, “provide a unified voice for students with a focus on promoting and improving the MNA program at The University of San Francisco. The NSC provides a vehicle for student perspectives, ideas, and a means of promoting events on behalf of the student body. The NSC club will promote co-curricular activities pertinent to the nonprofit field as well as support and encourage collaboration with other nonprofit professionals…”  Again, embedded in NSC’s mission statement is collaboration, representation, and inclusion, all being values allowing for ‘better’ and inclusive governance.

Code of Ethics

NSC has recently initiated the process for designing a Conflict-of-Interest policy, catered to our specific affairs and operations, and will be considering this at the next officer’s meeting.  Besides implementing this best practice, the executive board values an orderly governance system, equally available and protective of all parties.  Despite having a Treasurer and Vice-President for Communications, all financial records and official communications are shared with officers, program and university officials, and most importantly, MNA students. (We have even established a program-wide email listserv, guaranteeing all MNA students – part- and full-time – are well-informed, and have a timely accounting of their officer’s.)

Ethics Officer

Unlike other student governments and organizations, NSC has taken the step to permanently secure the implementation of oversight, access, accountability, and other related practices, with a new officer position.  Appointed just last week, Greg Finkelstein serves as the Director of Standards and Practices, ensuring organizational compliance with governing and ethical protocol.  Finkelstein also chairs the newly formed Standards and Practices Committee, bringing in independent and impartial students overseeing NSC’s compliance.

Structure

When considering any program, service, or obligation, NSC creates an “Officer’s Report,” providing assessments for risk, finance, governance, and overall compliance.  These reports provide an extra layer of administrative and ethical analysis, making sure our values and guiding principles are effectively considered in all matters before the executive board.

The board also recently adopted a 72-hour deadline for introducing and disseminating all agenda items and reports, guaranteeing equal access and consideration to all parties and stakeholders in official affairs.  Further, although our meetings regularly take place physically on our campus, all meetings are also broadcast via Zoom – a webinar platform, allowing all who desire to participate to do so.

Conclusion

Further ethical drivers – such as, risk assessment and governance analyses, leadership and ethics trainings, as well as, organizational socialization – will be the path NSC takes in our ongoing ethics quest.   Despite implementing these best practices and guiding principles, NSC cannot rest on any laurels, as we recognize maintaining an ethical and socially responsible organization requires continuous development, organizational reflection, and ongoing assessment and refinement of the overall governing structure.  

For more information about NSC, please contact NSC@usfca.edu, or visit our website at www.usfnsc.org, or Twitter @usfnsc.

Silva serves as Secretary, Justice as President, and Jones is a contributor to NSC’s development.

Nonprofit Student Council Appoints New Officer Positions

 

New Council Officers will help maintain institutional knowledge, better represent part-time students, and provide greater oversight and inclusion for all NSC affairs.

SAN FRANCISCO – With its mission to, “provide a unified voice for students with a focus on promoting and improving the MNA program at the University of San Francisco,” the Nonprofit Student Council (NSC) has appointed three new officer positions, better serving the Nonprofit Administration (MNA) student body, and advancing NSC’s mission.

  • Preserving NSC’s institutional knowledge, and harnessing prior leadership experiences, Bea Duncan has been appointed as Immediate Past-President – having served as President in 2016-17, now providing insight and best practices to NSC.
  • Increasing the Council’s directive for greater part-time student engagement and representation,

Katriellle Risa Veslenio (right)  has been appointed Part-Time Ambassador.

  • Lastly, providing greater oversight, increased access, and overall compliance with program and university protocol, Greg Finkelstein (below) has been appointed as Director of Standards and Practices, also chairing the same named committee.

“I am excited by these positions and our new officers, as they memorialize our significant efforts to increase engagement and representation, making sure all MNA students have access to having their voice heard,” stated NSC 17-18 President, Greg Justice.

Moving forward, the Council also hopes to appoint Part-Time class representatives.

For general NSC information, please feel free to contact NSC@usfca.edu, or contact Lense Eshete – leshete@dons.usfca.edu– for release-related inquiries.

Founded in August 2015, the Nonprofit Student Council is the official student association for the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, providing a unified voice for MNA students, engagement in professional activities and opportunities, and practicing the transformational leadership needed to enhance the missions of University of San Francisco, USF’s School of Management, and the overall MNA program.  Follow NSC on Twitter @usfnsc, or visit us online at: www.usfnsc.org.

Servant Leadership In Nonprofit Culture

A flipped pyramid showing the structure of servant leadership (Haaff, 2015)

By: Greg Finkelstein, Kia Harris, and Jenny Shen, MNA ’18

In nonprofit entities, leadership is the cornerstone of success. Without good leadership, regardless of how impressive the individual components may be, productivity is far from maximized, and employees themselves may become marginalized. There are a plethora of leadership techniques which can be enacted at many levels, but their effectiveness varies depending on the environment in which they are employed. However, given the nature of nonprofits, servant leadership is the universal perfect match.

Servant leadership is a concept that many leaders will never be able to follow. They may feel that being a servant leader means that power is being yielded from them to other employees. This has nothing to do with servant leadership. A good leader can lead from the front, from behind, or from the side. Beyond that, a good servant leader is still clearly in charge. This concept does not mean that final authority shifts away from management and into the hands of the other employees.

To become a servant leader, one must have the mentality that their role is to support and address the needs of those who work under them (Johnson, 2017). Thinking from the employee’s perspective, checking in with them, and being receptive to feedback all give servant leaders insight on how to better facilitate the work being done. There are constantly new models or seminars on how to be a better leader, but what will always make sense is directly asking those who are being led how they want their situations improved.

The concept of servant leadership fits nonprofits perfectly because of both their virtues and shortcomings. Nonprofits usually have employees who truly want to be there and work towards the cause. Often, these employees are initially attracted to the organization because they align with the mission statement and the values emphasized. In this light, engaging in servant leadership is a very logical approach. Truly supporting those who have a high level of motivation to accomplish the organization’s mission and affinity for the cause at hand makes the most sense. If employees already want to work hard and efficiently, pushing and prodding them doesn’t help, but will instead wear people down over time. Supporting them, addressing their specific needs, and making the work environment as easy to maneuver as possible are the best ways to increase productivity when motivation is already high.

In addition to virtues, the shortcomings of nonprofits are another great reason to engage in servant leadership. Nonprofits may address a wide range of social issues, but they share many common challenges: being low on funds, having too few staff, and not having enough resources. Even large, multi-million dollar nonprofits have a limited ability to pay market rate wages. New nonprofits face these challenges and more, as their novelty and presumably small size makes them greatly vulnerable (Bielefeld, 2014). This gives the impression that nonprofits are at a disadvantage. Indeed, being at a disadvantage is far from anything new to nonprofits, but, rather, closer to the norm. Interestingly, there are significant drawbacks to relying on monetary reward as an incentive, as many for-profits do. Most importantly, it breeds fickle employees. Just like there is always a bigger fish, someone elsewhere will always be able to offer a bigger paycheck.

Clearly, nonprofits must rely on something more substantial than monetary reward. If an employee must accept that their work will not garner as many financial gains as compared to a similar position in the for-profit world, the last thing they want is to be led around by a totalitarian who doesn’t seem to respect their input and views them as replaceable commodities. Indeed, that would not be an easy environment to be in regardless of the sector. Additionally, nonprofit workers may be asked to go above and beyond their duties with no increase in tangible incentives. When this happens, knowing there is a leader who will do their best to address their employees’ needs is a great source of security and makes accepting the new obligations less daunting. The vanguard to overcoming these challenges can only be leadership, and servant leadership addresses these issues particularly well.

Servant leadership does not need to be the only management mechanism employed. Other models, ideas, and practices can blend well with servant leadership. For example, the 7 virtues of effective leaders, courage, integrity, humility, reverence, optimism, compassion, and justice, all fit perfectly under the frame of servant leadership (Johnson, 2017). If a leader views putting the needs of her or his staff as primary importance, they are then free to continue instilling motivation in a variety of ways. It is clear that embracing the unique traits and challenges of nonprofits is crucial to implementing good leadership. Servant leadership highlights these features, while empowering individuals to contribute as much as they can to something they believe in. It is no surprise, then, that this technique is rising in popularity.

Eudaimonia in the Third Sector

By: Kyle Pate

What is eudaimonia, and what does it mean for leaders in the social sector? Eudaimonia is the satisfaction in living a virtuous life (Britannica).  Leaders in the third sector can better serve their organizations by achieving eudaimonia through practicing the ethical virtues outlined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Unlike other exhausting processes of performing ethical evaluations (Johnson, 2013), Aristotle’s philosophy offers a way to become an ethical leader as a lifelong practice.

Being a Virtuous Person

In Aristotle’s view, the way to develop ethical thinking is to emanate another virtuous person. One should find a moral exemplar, and follow their lead. This person could be someone President Obama or Oprah. According to Aristotle, the ability to be ethical is part of our human nature, and to pursue being a virtuous person is the life-long function of being a human. One’s moral exemplar does not need to be perfect, but there are certain virtues they should habitually practice (Rayner, 2011):

  1. Courage
    Act with bravery and valor. We are seeking the perfect center between cowardice and recklessness.
  2. Temperance
    Seek to offer what is appropriate for the situation, but do not censor ourselves into silence.
  3. Liberality
    This shouldn’t be hard for those in the third sector! Share generously, giving what can be offered freely.
  4. Magnificence
    Aristotle believed a virtuous person could be found through simple observation. Be radiant and charismatic in one’s affairs.
  5. Pride
    Not to be confused with one of the seven sins, the virtue of pride is taking satisfaction in one’s work. Like a craftsman who finished a magnificent piece, one should feel pride in their mastery.
  6. Honor
    Aristotle glorified fraternal love and respect. Virtuous honor is not only about one’s character, but creating a culture of honor through reverence for others.
  7. Good Temper
    As a leader, remain level headed and considerate.
  8. Friendliness
    Despite the situation, it is virtuous to maintain a friendly manner. Imagine a courteous southern politician gracefully ignoring a reporter’s pointed question.
  9. Truthfulness
    Be frank with others.
  10. Wit
    Like a gracious host or charismatic speaker, a smart sense of humor will earn a person favor and illumine their virtue .
  11. Camaraderie
    Aristotle believed in brotherly love, extending a hand to fellow man. Revel in camaraderie with others.
  12. Justice
    Judge with impartiality and fairness.

Achieving Eudaimonia

Leaders who follow Aristotle’s philosophy become ethical through practicing the virtues in all their affairs. The ethical focus is shifted from a situational response, to pattern of behavior. Psychologists posit that moral principles are often a matter of instinct rather than rationality (Johnson, 2013). Aristotle’s philosophy of virtue supports this view, recommending individuals develop their instinctual response through habitual practice of virtuous behavior.

Ethical leaders are to avoid “vices” in search of the golden mean (Nicomachean Ethics). Every virtue has the potential to become destructive, or simply distasteful (either in violation of virtuosity.) Eudaimonia is achieved through the moderation of behavior towards the golden mean, and away from extremes. Join in camaraderie, but do not fall to tribalism. Practice impartiality, but do not become disassociated. Be jovial, but not inattentive.

Aristotle’s is an advantageous moral framework in the third sector. A leader’s decision-making is dominated by perspective of a spectator. Virtue ethics are intentionally ambiguous, requiring an actor to view themselves in third person to assess their own behavior. The “right” thing to do is defined by following what a perfectly virtuous person would do in any given situation. Such conduct will ingratiate leaders with donors, foster strategic partnership, and shine in service to the organization’s constituents.

 

What MNA Students Should Know about Donor Advised Funds

 

Image Courtesy of The San Francisco Foundation

By: Jackie Downing & Alexa Davidson

September 15, 2017

The MNA curriculum is rich with information on foundations, but how much do you know about donor advised funds? Did you know that from 2014 to 2015, according to the National Philanthropic Trusts 2016 Donor-Advised Fund Report, the total number of donor advised funds grew by 11.1%, compared to private foundations which grew by 2.6%. Additionally, Donor Advised Fund grants to qualified charities reached an all time high of $14.2 billion, which is a 16.9% increase from 2014 (National Philanthropic Trust, 2016). As greater numbers of donors – individuals, families and companies – choose this low-cost, convenient giving vehicle over the traditional foundation, it is essential that nonprofits leaders understand donor advised funds.

Let’s start with the basics. A donor advised fund, as defined by the IRS, is a fund or account which is separately identified, owned and controlled by the sponsoring organization, and over which the donor(s) (or person(s) appointed by them) have advisory privileges. Like a bank account, the fund bears the donors’ names, unless they choose to name it something else. The account is housed at a large nonprofit, such as a community foundation, university, or the philanthropic arm of a financial firm, such as Schwab Charitable. The donors may recommend grants from the fund to eligible nonprofits. Unlike a private foundation where the “owners” (the trustees) have the authority to make grants from the fund, an advisor to a donor advised fund recommends grants from the fund and these recommendations must be reviewed and approved by the entity that houses the donor advised fund.

If donors establishing donor advised funds are forced to give up some control over the assets in the fund, why then are they so popular? Because donor advised funds offer many advantages over private foundations. For starters, donors contributing highly appreciated property to a donor advised fund can deduct up to 50% of their adjusted gross income for these gifts, compared to 30% for private foundations. Donor advised funds, with fees ranging from about .25% to 1.25% of the fund balance, are generally far less expensive than hiring staff to run your private foundation, especially if it is small. Unlike a private foundation, which must file and publish a 990 annually, disclosing all monies spent on staffing, operations and grants, a donor advised fund offers complete privacy. A donor can give anonymously to any eligible organization. In many instances, particularly at community foundations, donor advised fund donors have the opportunity to consult grantmaking professionals, utilize their services and expertise to learn about grantees, become more informed philanthropists, involve their family in philanthropy, and plan for a charitable legacy after their lifetime.

In addition to these advantages, donor advised funds have a few other positive traits. They are far more flexible than private foundations. They require only one advisor, though most providers will allow a donor to appoint other friends and family to advise on the fund if desired. They do not require a board, board meetings, or any formal decision making process, other than submitting the grant recommendations to the sponsor for approval, which in most instances, donors can do online anytime, day or night. This allows donors to be responsive and generous in their giving, responding to the needs of the community and getting funds to the causes they care about, anytime of the year. Grants are quickly reviewed, approved and paid, generally in one or two weeks’ time. The sponsoring organization conducts appropriate due diligence to ensure that the funds will be used by an eligible nonprofit organization for charitable purposes. Donor advised funds are not designed to live in perpetuity, though most sponsors offer the option of creating a permanent fund after the donor’s lifetime. Instead, donor advised funds typically spend down their assets in one or two generations, with remaining funds going to the sponsoring institution (in the case of community foundations and universities) or directly to nonprofit causes when the donors are no longer living. While private foundations typically spend 5% of their corpus per year and are designed to exist in perpetuity, donor advised funds generally spend well above this, which in a world of great need, is a very important distinction.

When soliciting or accepting a donation from a donor advised fund, keep in mind the following:

Donor advised funds may make grants to eligible causes, including:

  • Domestic 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and 509(a)(1) and 509(a)(2) public c charities, including houses of worship, hospitals, schools, museums, symphonies, zoos
  • Governmental units (if for public purpose)
  • Private operating foundations
  • Some supporting organizations – 509(a)(3) public charities that are not considered disqualified to donor advised funds
  • Foreign charities, using expenditure responsibility (tracking all expenses) or equivalency determination (demonstrating that the organization is the equivalent of a US charity.

Donor advised funds may not:

  • Make grants to individuals selected by or affiliated with donor
  • Make grants which result in benefits for or payments to the donor or related parties
  • Make grants to private non-operating foundations
  • Be used to fulfill pledges or sponsor events
  • Be used pay the portion of a gift that is tax deductible
  • Be given for anything other than charitable purposes

Make the experience positive for donor advised fund donors:

  • Grantees should exercise care when thanking a donor for making a request from a donor advised fund. The thank you letter should not thank the individual donor for the donation, but instead should thank the donor for recommending the contribution.
  • Neither the DAF sponsor nor the individual donor require a tax receipt from your organization.  Any letters are for acknowledgement purposes only.
  • Do not provide tickets, sponsorships, gifts, or any other benefits beyond incidentals (like a coffee mug) to donors. Do not allow donors to split (bifurcate) their gifts, paying for benefits portion personally and the tax-deductible portion with the fund. This is called bifurcation and it is not permissible by the IRS.
  • Do not ask or allow your donors to make pledges. Donors may express their intent to recommend a grant from their donor advised fund to your organization, but they may not commit formally or in writing to a gift without approval from the sponsoring organization.
  • Secure a DAF grant as you would any other gift: Cultivate the donor relationship; Craft a compelling case; Make the ask; Confirm the gift source; Thank and steward the donor. For anonymous donors, ask the sponsoring organization to pass along a thank you letter.
  • For anonymous donors, ask the sponsoring organization to pass along a thank you letter or email to the donor and take great care to treat the donor’s gift with confidentiality.

The rapid growth of donor advised funds in recent years illustrates their widespread appeal. Thousands of everyday Americans who want to be strategic and flexible in their giving, use donor advised funds to support the causes they care about. Donor advised funds should help donors experience the greatest level of satisfaction and joy from the generous support of their favorite causes and charities. Whether at a single-issue charity, a community foundation, or a commercial provider, donor advised funds serve a common purpose:  raising the profile of philanthropy and bringing more resources to worthwhile organizations making positive change.

The authors wish to thank Pamela Doherty, Director of Business Development at The San Francisco Foundation, for contributing her expertise to these recommendations.

Leadership for Social Value Organizations

valuebased
Image Source: http://pt.slideshare.net/TikiWen/value-based-leadership-50056805/31

Leadership for Social Value Organizations

By Julie Brown, MNA ’17

With the rise of corporate responsibility among for-profit corporations and the creation of benefit corporations and low-profit limited liability companies (Cooney, Koushyar, Lee, & Murray, 2014), the nonprofit sector is expanding and in the midst of being redefined. The leaders of these socially minded organizations are finding innovative ways to address social issues, redefining ways to measure social impact, creating new funding models, and are putting pressure on the nonprofit sector to professionalize. Today’s nonprofit leaders are being challenged to compete with these social enterprises while also being held to a higher set of ethical standards    (Bowman, 2012). The ethical standards are substantially higher in the nonprofit sector because their mission is to provide a social benefit with income generated through donations and grants.

In order to keep up with the sector changes and its high ethical standards, it is difficult to find a nonprofit leader who possesses the experience and the skillsets needed to manage through changes such as these (Callanan, Gardner, Mendonca & Scott, 2014). According to Harry Jansen Kraemer, Jr. (2011).” Today, there is a widespread lack of confidence in leadership, in business, government, education and elsewhere. Every leader needs to regain and maintain trust. Value based leadership may not be a cure for everything that ails us, but it’s definitely a good place to start.” A value-based leader makes decisions and actions rooted in the leader’s ethical and moral foundation (Copeland, 2014). A leader’s values may include, but are not limited to honesty, open communication, humility, integrity, hard work, and compassion (Rao, 2015). By employing their values, a nonprofit leader not only makes decisions based on what’s right for the organization, but they also encourage others to act in a similar manner (Ethical Leadership, 2013). Even though they are leading their organization through difficult times and may not possess all the skillsets needed, a value based leader is able to instill a culture of ethical behavior among employees and volunteers, seek new revenues sources that align with their organization’s mission and the sector, and help create a sustainable organization.

Regardless of an organization’s size or mission, employees and volunteers alike respond to the moral cues of their leaders. The tone a nonprofit leader sets is critical in an organization’s culture of integrity (Ethical Leadership, 2013). Since no two people have the same set of values or moral judgment, a value based leader adopts and enforces a code of conduct and ethical policies to help clarify what is expected, to try and deter misconduct, promote trust, and minimize conflicts of interests (Rhode and Packel, 2009). Employees and volunteers look to the leader to determine what behavior is acceptable and what is not and will emulate those behaviors. The value-based leader encourages and sometimes demands others in their organization act in a similar fashion.

The leader’s values not only influence employees and volunteers, but also impact donors and the organization’s ability to fundraise. The values of the nonprofit’s leader play a critical part when it comes to earning and maintaining the trust of donors and managing their donations in an effective and transparent manner. With the value based leadership approach, the leader values doing what is right for the organization over the dollars (Rao, 2015). This isn’t to say value based leaders do not care about money; instead, the values of the leader and the organization make sure the revenue sources align with the values of the organization and are used effectively.

In addition, while developing new revenue streams, the value-based leader considers how clients and donors might view these new streams. The leader also considers which revenue generating activities are appropriate for the sector (Bowman, 2012)According to M.S. Rao (2015).” When leaders put profits before values and elevate their interests above others, their businesses are bound to collapse.”

A nonprofit leader has an important role in how an organization fulfills its mission. They also play an integral part in setting and enforcing the values and culture of the organization. Employees and volunteers reflect the values and ethics modeled by their leader. Donors look to the values of a nonprofit organization to determine whether they will invest their dollars or not. The values a leader exhibits in a nonprofit organization often outlive their tenure and can help or hinder the organization in the future. With the entrance of new social impact models, the call for increased transparency, the need to diversify revenue streams and report on the organization’s social impact, nonprofit leaders are faced with a diverse and complex set of challenges. In today’s environment, it is unlikely that a nonprofit leader will possess the experience or all the skillsets needed to lead through these changes. Despite all the challenges a nonprofit leader may face and the high expectation placed on them, a value based leader approach can help navigate through these complexities. By staying true to their values and doing what is right for the nonprofit organization, a value-based leader is able to effectively lead their organization through difficult situations and uncertain times. Not only will the strong ethics of the leader shine through, the strong ethics and values will live on within the organization for years to come.

 

Volunteer Tourism and Third Sector

Increasing Numbers Of US Students Choosing To Embark On Volunteer Tourism Gap Years http://bit.se/ityVZb

Increasing Numbers Of US Students Choosing To Embark On Volunteer Tourism Gap Years http://bit.se/ityVZb

Volunteer Tourism and Third Sector

by Siana Amos, MNA ’17

The rapid growth of the volunteer tourism industry has sparked diverse debates among participants, researchers, and professionals. While some see international volunteering as invaluable, others question the impact and motives of participants and volunteer sending organizations. Critics have raised concerns over the role of sending organizations and the effect that commercialization has had on the nonprofit sector. These disputes have caused stakeholders and spectators alike to analyze the impact and potential ethical risks of these service opportunities. However, in spite of this controversial position, research suggests that the use of ethical learning frameworks could allow the volunteer tourism sector to use its recent popularity to enact change and do good.

The $173 billion volunteer industry attracts more than 1.6 million volunteer tourists each year and is one of the fastest growing trends in travel today (Kahn, 2014). While commercialization has significantly contributed to the growth of the industry, these business-like models and the rise of for-profit agencies are widely controversial within the social sector. Volunteer sending organizations serve to develop volunteer opportunities, arrange pertinent logistics, and facilitate relationships between volunteers and host communities. Those that hold 501(c)(3) statuses work to enhance social and environmental good, and maintain a commitment to invest all profits in organizational activities and programs. WorldTeach, a leading nonprofit sending organization, promotes itself as a key proponent of universal education and responsible global citizenship. Their two-fold organizational mission demonstrates their commitment to the students and host communities, as well as their sizable volunteer population. Global Volunteers seeks to organize international volunteer opportunities that embody their philosophy of sustainable development. This organization believes that adequately managed and supervised short-term programs have means to enact social change. In contrast, for-profit companies like Projects Abroad and Global Crossroad work to alleviate systemic injustices but do so in a manner that generates profits for stakeholders. This diversification has resulted in increased attention and contrasting reviews for the volunteer tourism sector.

The recent adoption of commercial methods has enabled and constrained international volunteer efforts. Although business-like models regularly increase financial success, these strategies often redirect efforts away from philanthropic goals and towards profitable advances. Commercial orientations force sending organizations to manage multiple stakeholder relationships and balance opposing dynamics that may arise if the needs and interests of consumers (i.e. volunteer tourists) fail to align with those of the receivers (i.e. local communities). Opponents of volunteer tourism argue that gaps in culture, background, and privilege create a lack of intercultural competence and sensitivity among Western volunteers. Critics have also questioned volunteers’ seemingly selfless motives given that several use the experience as means to build their resumes or college applications. Despite these various concerns, studies reveal that international volunteers thoroughly enhance organizational practices. Supporters argue that international volunteers continuously address labor shortage needs, provide resources, philanthropy, and social capital, increase the intercultural competence of local staff and clients, and introduce new skills and abilities to host communities (Lough, McBride, Sherraden, and O’Hara, 2011). However, while efforts clearly yield some valuable outcomes, the potential dangers of volunteer tourism demonstrate a need for improvement across the industry.

The use of ethical frameworks that prioritize empathy and respect in partnerships would be highly beneficial in intercultural contexts. The Fair Trade Learning Model is a global educational exchange that achieves reciprocity “through cooperative, cross-cultural participation in learning, service and civil society efforts” (Hartman, Paris, and Blache-Cohen, 2014). This model argues that equal partnership and transparency are essential to foster a just, equitable, and sustainable world. This framework believes that community-driven outcomes and volunteer learning are of equal importance, and argues that efforts are most effective when attention is given to community voice and direction. This approach envisions volunteer programs as mutual learning experiences and maintains that programs should implement reflection processes to complement volunteer experiences. The Fair Trade Learning Model believes that sustainability is possible if volunteers and partners are aware of how funds are used and if all contributions are aligned with the economic and social dynamics of local communities. As such, this comprehensive framework suggests that preparation, awareness, and reflection would produce ethically engaged programs and participants.

Volunteer tourism can also be applied through a transformative learning lens. Transformational learning sees dialogue and reflection as essential aspects of volunteer tourism and believes that both allow insights to be integrated into everyday life. This approach identifies self-actualization as an outcome of transformational learning and promotes critical thinking in the practice of volunteer tourism (Coghlan and Gooch, 2011). While volunteer tourism presents various challenges, the valuable and beneficial outcomes should not be overlooked. Thorough application of these learning frameworks would enable international volunteerism to move beyond the simple act of giving back and develop into an experience that is equally beneficial for volunteers, host communities, and society at large.

AGI-ROME STUDENTS KNOW ALEPPO

agi-2017

The University of San Francisco (USF) students who participate in the Academic Global Immersion (AGI-Rome) on Refugee Service Management know about Aleppo. They know about the crisis in Syria, the refugees coming through the Mediterranean to Europe and the current global humanitarian crises. Unlike some of the US presidential candidates, our students get to know refugee crisis and humanitarian solutions up close. Our Programs expose students to important knowledge in the field of refugee service, refugee international law, and policy issues related to forced migration.

Since 2015, our students from the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) have been participating in a program of the School of Management (SOM) in an international immersion and study of refugees, humanitarian emergency and international organizations. The program involves expert speakers from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) along with testimonies of refugees and visits  to refugee welcoming centers such as the Centro Astalli.

Our USF students participating in the AGI-Rome develop their knowledge, sensitivity and cultural competence to better respond to the current global refugee crisis. They learn about Aleppo, Syria and other conflicts and human insecurity situations forcing people to leave their homes. They learn about European policies and international laws in relation to the refugee crisis. They learn first hand about the best responses from NGOs and IGOs engaged in the services, hospitality, regulations and security related issues with asylum seekers and forced migrants. They compare the EU situations with the US policies for refugee resettlement and the Brexit syndrome with the US nationalist and anti-immigrant rhetorics. They  conduct applied research projects useful to the partnering organizations and helpful for their career trajectories. They present their funding in the annual conference on Refugees with San Francisco Bay Area refugee agencies and scholars and experts in forced migrations, human trafficking and human security USF4freedom.

Participants are able to earn a Graduate Professional Certificate in Humanitarian Emergency Management (HEM) for their own professional development and earn credit towards their graduate degree. Participants earn a certificate of participation in the Academic Global Immersion Program in Rome, Italy.

Nonprofit Labor Force

Yeswecan-Nonprofits

Too many people still don’t know or underestimate the labor and economic force of the nonprofit sector.  The reality is that nonprofits provides 11.4 million jobs, accounting for 10.3% of the United States total workforce in 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). Between 2000 and 2010 the nonprofit employment grew at about 18%, a faster rate than the overall U.S. economy (The Independent Sector – The Urban Institute, 2012). The nonprofit workforce is the third largest of all U.S. industries behind retail trade and manufacturing (Center for Civil Society Study, 2012).

The University of San Francisco’s MNA Program is located A few minutes away from Rosie the Riveter Museum, a National landmark commemorating the power of women in the workforce during WWII (Rosie Visitor Center). The museum, with the weekly presence of the few still living ‘Rosies’ is a  powerful reminder of what is possible during difficult times and with the determination of workers (mostly women) serving the country for a better future for all. The missions of our nonprofit organizations with its ambitious objectives mobilize many women and men to make the world a better place through health, education, advocacy, and many other necessary human services (Top NP Missions).

As we celebrate Labor Day in the Unites States (AKA May Day in the rest of the world), we recall the importance of integrating hard work with justice and dignity in the workplace. This is why nonprofits generally do not just strive to work efficiently and effectively for their services but also advocate for adequate policies and recognition of human rights, labour rights, environmental rights and other specific rights like disability, children, indigenous, etc. Integrating production with justice has been at the root of labor struggle and continues to be a priority in the nonprofit sector along social movements and unions seeking worker’s justice and dignity. This integration is inherently true in our social missions and it is gradually much better integrated in our own nonprofit workplaces (Overtime Regulations 2016).

The nonprofit sector, also known as the voluntary sector, is also rapidly professionalizing and requiring appropriate normative, comparative standards and specialized educational programs (see NACC). Of course the main drive for nonprofit workforce remains its dedication to the cause and ‘transformational leadership.’ But the value-based and mission-driven characteristics of ‘transformational leadership’ cannot be sustainable unless based on a relation of justice, dignity and fairness. In other words, the transformational spirit and dedication of the nonprofit workforce is and must be based on clear standards of transactional (contractual) leadership that aims at promoting fairness by avoiding exploitation while stimulating creativity and social innovation (Tavanti, 2008).

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

NPO growth
http://onlinempa.usfca.edu/resources/webinars-infographics/the-rise-of-the-nonprofit-sector/

How many nonprofit organizations are out there?

According to the The National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) there are currently over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. More than 188,000 organizations are tax-exempt and charity organizations registered in the State of California. It is difficult to quantify the number of nonprofits in the world as they diversify in the classification due to the financial, governance, and legal national specifications. Generally, we estimate there are about 10M nonprofits – social sector organizations in 196 countries. The largest number of registered nonprofit is in India (2M), followed by US (1.5M) and France (1.3M).

How do I form my own nonprofit organization?

The large number of registered non profits around the world demonstrates the significant impact of entrepreneurship and organizational activism in the social sector. It is also a personal expression of how people want to make a difference in the world and in our communities through innovative and new nonprofit organizations. The MNA program often receives requests for assistance in establishing new nonprofits and tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations. To support these efforts and to promote sustainable and effective  social sector organizations,  we have created a list of resources to help you establish nonprofit and tax exempt organizations in the United States and the State of California.

Nonprofit Foundation Brainstorming

Begin the process by asking these important questions:

  1. What is the social benefit and charitable purpose of the organization?
  2. What kind of programming or core activities are you planning to do?
  3. Who are the intended beneficiaries?
  4. Are there existing nonprofits with a similar mission, and, if so, have you discussed your ideas with them?
  5. Can your mission be furthered more effectively and efficiently by partnering with an existing nonprofit?
  6. Can you attract sufficient resources to start and operate a new nonprofit?
  7. What is your revenue plan and business plan (including a three-year projected budget)?
  8. Are you familiar with the steps you need to take to start and run a nonprofit in compliance with the state laws and best practices?
  9. Have you considered alternatives to forming a new nonprofit, such as fiscal sponsorship and donor advised funds, or business-social enterprises?
  10. Will you need a an attorney and/or CFO to form the nonprofit and get it running? Read more here.

Establish a Nonprofit in 10 Steps 

Step 1: PRELIMINARIES: Do we really need another organization? Preliminary market analysis and need assessment of other organizations and programs. Nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid? Check nonprofit organizations here.

Step 2: BASICS: What do you want to do? Determine the name, mission and anticipated programming and revenue sources of the organization. Check corporate name availability here. 

Step 3: INCORPORATION: What state will you incorporate? Prepare the documents and forms necessary for the incorporation. Think about the entity type. Follow the application procedure of your state.  Check California tips and resources here. 

Step 4: BOARD: Who should be in your board? People should be invited to serve based on their qualifications and contributions in treasure, time or talent. Generally, boards have a minimum of a president (chair), a treasurer and a secretary. Hold your first board meeting appropriately (RONR) and document it with minutes. Check IRS exceptions here. 

Step 5: BYLAWS: What are the essential documents of the organizations? A corporation’s bylaws includes the fundamental provisions related to the management of the activities and affairs of the corporation. Bylaws should also provide guidance to the board and reassurance of sound governance. You should also prepare other important documents such as the corporation’s policies and conflict of interest (COIs). The bylaws need to be approved by the board. Check the essential text of bylaws here.

Step 6: EIN: How do you obtain an employer identification number? An officer or authorized third party designee (e.g. attorney) may apply to obtain an EIN number for the organization. Check this to apply for an EIN online.

Step 7: REGISTER: What other registrations are required? In California an annual registration is required for nonprofit public benefit corporations to be filed within 30 days after receipt of assets (Form CT-1). It is also required to file a Statement of Information with the State Department (Form SI-100). Check here for the online forms.

Step 8: TAX-EXEMPTION: How do I obtain a tax-exemption status?  Completing the Form 1023 application for exempt status under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) is a challenging process. Once you complete the federal tax exemption (IRS application) you will need to apply for state exemption (California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and receive an affirmation of exemption letter from the FTB. Check here the IRS tools and instructions.

Step 9: FINANCIALS: Does the nonprofit need a bank account? Open a bank account and establish check signing procedures. To maintain tax-exempt status and establish a good governance practice in your organization is important to establish a prudent system of checks and balances when dealing with the finances of an organization. Check here for best practices and financial tools. 

Step 10: COMMUNICATION: How do I make a good web presence? A professional website and active social media presence are a must for a serious nonprofit organization. There are a number of free web management tools such as WordPress.com that can be helpful with templates. Integrated contacts, fundraising and analytics are also becoming essential practices for successful, sustainable and effective nonprofits. Check for integrated solutions here.

Beyond these steps: There are other important elements that will be necessary to make your nonprofit effective with its mission. Please look at the additional competencies and resources in various areas of nonprofit management and leadership listed on the INNOVATION page and emphasized in MNA curricula.

Resources & Learn more

Click on the Logos of the Foundation Center and CalNonprofit for more information and resources:

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– Educating Social Sector Leaders Since 1983 –

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