403(b) Pre-Approved Retirement Plans

The IRS has recently updated its list of pre-approved retirement irs symbolplans that have received an IRS favorable opinion or advisory letter. This means that the IRS has determined that the plan satisfies the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b).Only certain tax-exempt employers are eligible to sponsor an Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b).  Among those employers which may sponsor such a plan are:

  • Tax-exempt organizations established under IRC 501(c)(3)
  • Public school systems
  • Certain ministers:
    • Employed by a 501(c)(3) organization
    • Self-employed
    • Ministers not employed by a 501(c)(3) organization. but functioning as a minister in their dai8ly responsibilities with their employer.

Choosing a pre-approved plan, may be beneficial to eligible employers over individually designed plans by costing less, knowing that it meets legal requirements and will make necessary updates for you.

Additional resources and information:

Nonprofit Fraud – from DWD Mission Minded Blog

Carrie Minnich earlier this month published a blog post about fraud in nonprofits. She points out that organizations can be targets of fraud due to limited staff and tight budgets. We often believe that it won’t happen to us; however, there have been 2,410 cases (foreign and domestic) in a 22 month period according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Carrie sites the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report which noted that on average a nonprofit loses 5% revenue in any given year from fraud. One key step to reduce fraud risks is to have strong internal financial controls, said Carrie.

To read Carrie’s posts on fraud, click here.



Governance Out Of The Box – April 20th, 2017

governance-out-of-the-box-april-12-2016Governance Out Of The Box

When: Thursday April 20, 2017 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Location: St. Francis Historic Women’s Club

What: Are you a board member with 3 years or less or seeking board service? Join us for a free dinner and networking event with other nonprofit professionals in a beautiful local space downtown. Conversations on governance topics will be facilitated throughout the catered meal. Stay for the after dinner presentation of an interactive mock board meeting with a focus on Robert’s Rules of Order starring Indiana actors and featuring an original and entertaining script. A success last year, this event is a mix of education, comedy, and socializing. We want you to learn, laugh, and engage!

How: Register HERE

Cost: FREE to you

*Get on Board is a project of the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center with grant support provided by Foellinger Foundation.


Planning for Strategic Planning

 “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” Winston Churchill

“…plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Plan to PlanInteresting quotes aren’t they?  Neither great man was referring to the strategic plan nonprofit organizations should have, but the principle is certainly apropos nonetheless.  Planning for Strategic Planning is essential to effective organizations and often required for applying for foundation funding.

Below is the information that was presented at the August 23@4 program.

Strategic Planning to Plan PowerPoint

All About Strategic Planning

Effective Strategic Planning


How Not To Do Strategic Planning

How To Start Strategic Planning

Matrix Map

Strategic Planning Toolkit

Strategic Planning Kit for Dummies


Is Your Strategy Sound? – Mike Stone, Impact Strategies

Mike Stone, of Impact Strategies with a plethora of experience in strategy work, has identified two key elements that make your strategy sound. The first is organizational core and the second is strategy driver.sound-strategy

Organizational core is defined by Mike as “your strongest competencies aimed at the highest priority needs of your targeted population, within your defined domain.” He uses the example about a nonprofit who’s mission it is to reduce recidivism of ex-offenders by giving them the tools necessary to gain and retain employment. So, their strongest competency would be educating, priority needs are the skills for gaining and retaining employment, and the domain would be the criminal justice system of the area.

The second piece, strategy driver, is the “nature of your business and consequently provides the lens through which program decisions and resource allocations are considered.” Now the ‘drivers’ can be three different options: client-driven (based on target population), service-driven (the nonprofit’s content expertise), or domain-driven (the nonprofit responding to the changing needs/preferences within their identified domain).

In utilizing Mike’s method of organizational core and strategy driver, your conversations about strategic development will be more focused and consistent.

To read Mike Stone’s full blog post about a sound strategy, click here.

Strategy – what is it?!

We’ve heard the word ‘strategy’ a lot lately at the PCNRC. Has the word been tossed around at your nonprofit? It’s definately a buzz word for the nonprofit sector.

strategyMike Stone, founder of Impact Strategies (a company “helping nonprofits make a difference”), is a guru when it comes to talking about strategy. On the Impact Strategies website, Mike has a blog with a treasure trove of strategy information. Over the next few months, we will be sharing some of his posts. The first one – you guessed it – is about the word ‘strategy.’

I agree with Mike – one needs to understand the word before moving into core conversations about another buzz term ‘strategic planning.’ He mentions that the basic of ‘strategy’ is organizational effectiveness. It encompasses the organization’s position, trade-offs, and fit.

To read Mike’s full post, click here.

A Fundraiser’s Journey – Deep Thinking

A Fundraiser’s Journey Kelly Updike

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

The great ladies at the Paul Clark Nonprofit Resource Center suggested a blog about entering a new nonprofit life cycle. Wow. Deep!

Wait, what?! Not exactly sure what they meant, so I Googled it.

Well, the first links that came up were about older leaders heading to retirement and how to handle that new life cycle. Oops, delete, delete! Don’t want to give anyone ideas.

Looked at many white papers about nonprofit life cycles. Frankly, kinda boring with a tinge of scary: Start-up, growth, maturity, decline, defunct.

Read sage advice about staying in the “sweet spot” between growth and maturity. Ah, to be the perpetual teenager. Hmmm. Need to rethink that one.

Due to my extremely competitive nature, I am quite concerned with the “decline” part of the life cycle. Seriously? No way. I am slightly comfortable with a plateau here and there but decline? Who can afford that? Who wants that? Who is satisfied with that?

We need a new nonprofit life cycle. How about: Start-up, Growth, Maturity, Reflection, More Growth, Evaluation, More Growth, et cetera, et cetera.

Do you take the time to think about where you are and where you want to go? Well, me, neither, not with the new air conditioning needing some sort of fix already and the signage not quite completed, that copier keeps beeping and where the heck is the IT lady today, jeepers!

Hey, let’s be trendsetters and make June our Deep Thinking time. What’s going on that’s cool? Keep doing that. What’s not working? X-nay it. What’s the competition doing? Steal those and do them better. And give equal time to not thinking about anything at all. Meet up with friends to debate and solve the world’s problems. Go to yoga or Turbo Kick. Raise your face to the sun. Rub the dog’s belly until his leg kicks. Sing in the car with the windows down. Then, seemingly out of the blue, that great idea to a nagging work problem will hit you: Solved.

Ha. You caught me. All this is really strategic planning, just without the drama. Enjoy.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.