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Of Nonprofits and Copyrights Part II

In our last post, we examined the hypothetical example of Jane Doe, Executive Director of Money University, a 501(c)(3) organization that teaches lower income people the principles of money management.  To recap, Jane is a founder, board member and primary instructor.  Jane is also an author who has written a number of books that Money U. would like to sell (see Part I for a full discussion).

Part II of our discussion will focus on a different scenario.  As part of Money U.’s future program plans, the board has expressed a desire for Jane to create curriculum to be used in its classes.  What are some of the possibilities?

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Of Nonprofits and Copyrights Part I

The Foundation Group works with up to 1,000 nonprofit startups each year, so we get the opportunity to deal with many complex issues.  Few are as complicated and confusing as copyright and royalty questions.  My goal with this post is to give you some ideas of how best to deal with your intellectual property concerns.

It is probably best to begin with a fictitious (but typical) example:  Jane Doe is Executive Director of Money University, a 501(c)(3) organization that teaches lower income people the principles of money management.  Jane is not only Executive Director, she is a founder, board member, and the primary instructor.  Jane is also an author who has written two books about personal finance.  The board believes her books, which were authored prior to the formation of the nonprofit, are a good fit to be sold by the organization to support its teaching program.  There are also plans to have Jane create curriculum.

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Questions Other Nonprofits Are Asking

If you are operating a nonprofit organization, chances are good that you have questions…lots of questions.  And, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that your contemporaries in other nonprofits have lots of questions, too.

Here at The Foundation Group, we get questions everyday.  Many come from current or prospective clients who call or write.  Others are posted as comments to our blog articles.  As I was going through some of the most recent comments and questions on the blog this morning, it occurred to me that if someone is asking, others may be wondering about something similar.  So, in today’s post, I’m going to show you some of the questions being asked by readers and the answers we provided.  This is just a random sample of what has come in over the last couple of weeks, but the topics range widely.  The ones below were chosen because they represent themes we see repeated quite often.

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The Efficiency Trap

Ok, it’s confession time.  As a lot of preachers do with their sermons, this article rises of out some self-evaluation I’ve been engaging in since I picked up Timothy Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek.  While my goals are certainly different from Tim’s (I’m not shooting for a 4-hour week…not yet anyway!), the theme running through his book really brought back into focus for me the battle of efficiency vs. effectiveness.  I could instantly see how so many small business owners and nonprofit leaders are daily losing this battle without even realizing they are engaged in it…including me!  Understanding the difference truly separates the winners from the losers.

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Is Your Nonprofit Repelling Donors?

Every nonprofit in existence needs money.  Your ability to pay the bills depends upon it, not to speak of your ability to accomplish your mission.  But do you really understand what it takes to be attractive to donors?  Is your organization truly fundable?  Or, have you inadvertently created an atmosphere that repels givers?

In this week’s article, we are going to explore key elements of fundability by looking at three areas of concern:  mission, structure and behavior.

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Common Myths Concerning Nonprofits

Just yesterday, I was interviewing a new student intern candidate in my office.  During the course of our wide ranging discussion, the conversation turned to some of the interesting misconceptions we encounter with clients.  I made the comment that we often feel like the crew of the Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters.  There is a never-ending supply of well-entrenched myths and misconceptions in the nonprofit world…and dispelling them is part of our job!  In this article, let’s take a look at a few of the more common ones.

MYTH: Build it and the grants will come.

FACT: Uh, good luck with that.

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The True Cost of Noncompliance

Noncompliance.  As the word suggests, noncompliance is the opposite of compliance.  But what does noncompliance mean as it relates to your nonprofit?  More important still, what is the true cost of noncompliance?

If you have been a client or follower of Foundation Group for any length of time, you have heard us hounding you to get your organization in compliance.  In other words, do everything you need to do comply with local, state and federal law regarding your nonprofit.  A complete list of compliance items looks rather daunting.  It typically includes everything from filing your corporate annual report to properly keeping your books and records to registering with your state’s Solicitations Department.  We tend to talk about these things so often, it can come across more as a series of dos and don’ts and, in the process, the true cost of noncompliance can get lost.  Let me share with you some real life examples that will help you see what I mean.  Each case discussed is an FG client that we have helped to clean up the mess:

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Don’t Avoid Your Nonprofit’s Problems

Imagine this scenario:  You are catching up on Facebook one night when you see a post from a friend.  Someone you both know has been diagnosed with a horrible disease and given little hope for recovery.  You find out later that this person had experienced all the warning signs…pain, fatigue, other clues…for months before they finally summoned up the courage to see their doctor.  If only they had gone when they first realized something was wrong, maybe they could have been helped.

Sound familiar?  Sure it does.  We have all heard those stories.  But what about your nonprofit?  Is it possible that this very ostrich-like tendency can also plague a nonprofit?  I’m here to answer that question with a resounding, “YES”!  We see it everyday, and the results are just as deadly.  What you don’t know absolutely CAN hurt you!

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