Standing Beside Alaska's Non-Profits

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As the economy continues to sputter, many charities expect that grants they had been getting from United Ways, corporate donors, and foundations will decline or disappear altogether in coming months.

But instead of complaining or wringing their hands about it, fund raisers should take a different tack, says Carol Weisman, a St. Louis consultant who advises charity boards on fund raising.

Read More ...

Listen to a speech by Seth Godin talking about how marketers for nonprofits need to change how they are doing things by using new media to "spread your ideas farther and wider with more impact than ever before."

Click to Listen.

Veteran Silicon Alley news guy and publisher of , Tom Watson has come out with one of the first books about social media for nonprofit organizations. CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World takes a look at the impact of social networks, blogs, podcasts and Web video on society.

As more and more organizations are looking toward new and more affordable ways of reaching constituents, understanding how to best use social media tools can be a barrier. While CaseWired is not a basic "how-to" book for the absolute beginner, it does outline examples of nonprofit organizations who have used social media tools to promote a cause and encourage activism.

Consider this book more of an overview of the thinking behind social media used for social causes, an introduction to some of the innovators, and commentary on what has transpired to date and what we might anticipate in the future. Also remember that any book about the Internet becomes outdated even before it hits the presses, however, Watson continues to blog and write about the topics he has brought up in the book including a blog on his book's page.


The combination of what the next generation expects and what it has access to will change the nature of philanthropy and giving and causes. It is often observed by fundraisers that the Baby Boomers heading toward retirement and asked to make contributions to causes expect two things: personal involvement and results. You can see that both in the explosion of 501(c)3-registered organizations and in foundations. The trend-watchers tell us that writing a check isn't good enough for many of today's major donors.

This is driving innovation in information sharing and communications. Sites promoting acts of generosity and kindness, such as Kiva , DonorsChoose , ChangingthePresent , Global Giving , Razoo , Social Actions, DoSomething , Karmadu,, FirstGiving , and , and the philanthropic efforts of social networks like Facebook , LinkedIn , Friendster , MySpace , and many others, are making the public adoption of causes part of the social-networking experience.

Buy the Book: CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World , Wiley (November 10, 2008)

Oct 24, 2008


By Philip Rucker

The Washington region's network of nonprofit groups is ill-prepared to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack, with a capacity to deal with just 5 percent of the likely need for food and shelter and with no comprehensive communication system to coordinate efforts, according to an emergency preparedness plan released yesterday.

Considered by its authors to be one of the first regional efforts to spell out a role for nonprofit organizations, the plan is a broad blueprint to fill gaps in the disaster readiness of the area's 4,000 human service groups. It calls on relief organizations to expand their mass care capacities, develop methods to care for pets, better manage volunteers and strengthen mental health services.

It also says relief organizations -- food pantries, health clinics, shelters, volunteer centers and others -- need to create a regional communications system, improve capacity for long-term recovery efforts and strengthen partnerships with other agencies, governments and businesses. The region's agencies have little capacity to meet the target of sheltering 300,000 people and feeding 715,000 set by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the plan.



(note: you have to sign up for a free account to read the article in its entirety)

The Alaska Department of Revenue has certified 333 nonprofit organizations and all the campuses of the University of Alaska as eligible for the first contributions campaign offered as part of the PFD Charitable Contributions Program.  The list was released today by the Alaska Giving Coalition.

The United Way of Anchorage worked with the Department of Revenue to assure that organizations requesting to be listed met all legal requirements.  Each year of the three-year program, organizations will go through an application program to be included.

The list of qualifying organizations is available on The Foraker Group website.  Go to

he Foraker Group is pleased to help facilitate the Rasmuson Foundation 2008 Sabbatical Program.

Anchorage – This year executives from tribes and all nonprofit sectors will be eligible to apply for the 2009 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program that is designed to provide time away from the office for rest, personal renewal and professional growth. The postmark deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2008. 

Those who hold the positions of CEO, president, executive director or tribal administrator can apply by downloading application materials from the Rasmuson Foundation website. In addition, anyone knowing a nonprofit or tribal leader that would benefit from a Sabbatical can nominate that person online at the website, and an application package will be mailed to their nominee.


The Foraker Certificate in Nonprofit Management program began this week.

It is a statewide program offered in partnership with the University of Alaska. This is a non-degree program offering 10.4 Continuing Education Units (CEU's).

The program is designed for Alaska nonprofit professionals in leadership positions who want to enhance their management skills and explore a full range of issues and best practices to use in their organizations.

To find out more, visit The Foraker Group web site. Information about the next session will be announced later in the year.

The Foraker Group Benefit Plan
The Foraker Group in cooperation with Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska (PBCBS) will provide an update on The Foraker Group Benefit Plan. This will be an excellent opportunity for Q and A. 

This is a free session but please sign up today.

Upcoming briefings:

Sept 5
10:00am - 11:00am
Anchorage, Camp Fire

Sept 8
11:00am - 12:00pm
Palmer, AT&T Sports Center

Sept 11
3:00pm - 4:00 pm
Anchorage, Camp Fire

Sept 12
9:00am - 10:00am
Fairbanks, Food Bank




High gasoline costs have put a crimp into volunteer activity at charities across the country.

Organizations, including the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities, have complained that the current tax deduction for use of a personal car while performing volunteer services for charities was too low at 14 cents a mile. That is compared with 58.5 cents a mile for corporate employees who use their cars for business purposes.

More than 100 charitable groups have signed a letter asking Congress to address the problem. And on Wednesday, four senators plan to announce a proposal to reset the charitable mileage deduction to 70 percent of the corporate deduction.  

Read More of the article on the New York Times web site ...

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rates for the final six months of 2008. Taxpayers may use the optional standard rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

The rate will increase to 58.5 cents a mile for all business miles driven from July 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. This is an increase of eight (8) cents from the 50.5 cent rate in effect for the first six months of 2008, as set forth in Rev. Proc. 2007-70.

Read More of the IRS press release ...

Mileage Rate Changes:


Rates 1/1 through 6/30/08

Rates 7/1 through 12/31/08










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