NPQ’s Week in Review | August 15 – August 19, 2011

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NPQ’s Week in Review

Good Morning! At NPQ, what moves you is what moves us. This Week in Review highlights what our readers nominate as their favorite content and what they share with us and the community in the form of tweets, comments, contributed articles, and newswires.

But first, take a look at what you might have missed last week in some of the major news stories covered in NPQ.

BUFFETT WEIGHS IN: When Warren Buffett calls on rich people to stop whining and start recognizing their obligations to society, we think a lot of them stop and listen. And when he calls on members of Congress to stop “coddling” the super-rich, we hope that our nation’s lawmakers will listen as well. It’s clear from the readership numbers for this item that NPQ Newswire subscribers are listening!

UNITED WAY PROCESSING FEES: It was just a single isolated story, but it could have huge implications for the United Way’s national system. The United Way in Buffalo, New York recently jettisoned its 13-percent processing fee on contributions designated by donors for specific charities. Everyone knows that donor-designated contributions have been on the rise for years, which leaves the United Way with a smaller share of funds that it can use for discretionary grantmaking. The ever-increasing processing fees (Buffalo’s used to be 9 percent) were partially meant to discourage designations. If other United Ways follow Buffalo’s lead, this is big news.

STATES AND NONPROFITS INTERSECT: After weeks of focus on debates around the federal budget and the debt ceiling, the press remembered the role of state governments last week. In Massachusetts, legislators called for hearings on a couple of troubled state-funded nonprofits. In New Orleans and in North Carolina, politically connected nonprofits somehow evaded state regulations against self-dealing and personal enrichment. California has devised an odd—to say the least—patchwork of tests to determine whether nonprofits can qualify for tax-exempt treatment in the state. And in a mixed piece of news, it appears that state governments seem to have dodged the worst impacts of the federal debt-ceiling deal, with Medicaid and Medicare protected from most cuts but non-health-related human-services funding still vulnerable.

CONTINUING KHAZEI STORY: The cofounder of the nationally prominent charity City Year, Alan Khazei, has run for Senate in Massachusetts once before, losing in the 2009 Democratic special-election primary. Now he’s trying again, and this time Khazei may well be facing progressive superstar Elizabeth Warren in the primary to determine who will get to take on Republican Scott Brown in 2012. Last week he got some attention in the Boston press regarding the lucrative consulting fees he’s now taking from Be the Change, another of his nonprofit creations.

 Readers’ Pick: THE Hottest article OF THE WEEK

PeacockSocial Entrepreneurship as Fetish


First published on our website in late June, this thoughtful article by Frederick Andersson must have been picked up by an international outlet because not only did it have a massive resurgence of readers last week, it also garnered a number of new comments from overseas. If you did not catch it the first time around, you should now. We expect that this article will have “long legs.”



SimoneYour Board Is Not a Fundraising Squad


The always-provocative Simone Joyaux published a column on August 11 that had the temerity to suggest that fundraising was not the first responsibility of boards and that, in fact, it was more critical that board members focus on good corporate governance. Of course we know that this is a tender issue for many consultants and others, and the comments section heated up with a debate that was quite sharp at times! To the extent that a frank exchange of views can highlight important issues, we think this column has proved quite illuminating, and we hope you think so too.


 Trending Tweets of the week


Thanks to all you tweeters out there. You help us spread the word and we’re grateful for your engagement. Whether you let your Twitter followers know about four ways arts nonprofits weather tough times, or our inquiry into whether rioters spare buildings they know are occupied by nonprofits, or anything else that struck your fancy, your tweets helped to spread the news. Thanks for sharing! And if you don’t already, follow us on Twitter: @npquarterly.

CrazyKhazeiAug 17, 7:52pm via Web

Oh, oh, not good when NonProfit Quarterly is writing MT @npquarterly Alan Khazei and his nonprofit consultant fees #mapoli

cltnonprofitsAug 15, 11:29am via bitly

via @npquarterly | Four Ways Arts Nonprofits Weather Tough Times

YNPNChicagoAug 17, 5:00pm via HootSuite

A timely question: RT @npquarterly: Do rioters spare buildings & storefronts they know are occupied by #nonprofits?

eclawsonAug 17, 1:20pm via HootSuite

Great recap from @npquarterly – How Bad Was the Debt-Ceiling Deal for State Budgets—and Nonprofits?

RuralHomeAug 17, 1:04pm via Web

@npquarterly Housing is mentioned in the report but seems to have been overlooked at the Aug. 16 Rural Economic…


 NPQ’s Contributor of the week

David Renz


David Renz is one of NPQ’s most treasured partners. Author of the classic article “Reframing Governance” that we republished on Thursday, he is one of the leading researchers in the world on nonprofit governance and also easily one of the most daring thinkers. Dr. Renz was one of NPQ’s original champions and is a master of quiet, humble and enormously effective networking. He is dedicated to promoting conversations between researchers and practitioners and he brought the formidable Frederick Andersson (see above) our way along with a host of other out-of-the-box but solid thinkers. We are eternally grateful for his colleagueship.



Got a Tip for Us? We Need Your Voice Here

Did we miss something this week? What do you want to see us cover next week? Be our eyes and ears on the ground. Don’t hold back. Let us have it. And we’ll put it right here. Just let us know if you want it to be confidential.