Nonprofit Tweets of the Week – 7/29/16

Silhouette of a superheroine on clouds

The past week was marked by the Democratic National Convention and Comic-Con! Have a listen to Alicia KeysSuperwoman while perusing our curated nonprofit tweets of the week:

  • Nonprofit Quarterly: Examining important trends under way in the regulation of nonprofits and philanthropy: NPQ
  • Bridgespan Group: Free tools for building a #nonprofit board:  make it work from the ground up
  • BoardSource: Address the Need for Nonprofit Succession Planning
  • Ford Foundation: We must question how #philanthropy and our economic system intertwine. – @darrenwalker Medium
  • Commonfund: Responsible Investing Study of Foundations Released by @COF_ and Commonfund Institute
  • For Purpose Law: No one wants to donate to pay for overhead, so we need to call it something sexier: FastCoExist by @bpaynter
  • Gene: Nonprofits’ tax penalties for political spending down sharply, says IRS Ind Sector $14,607 (2015); $643,776 (2014)
  • Stacy Palmer: NYT oped: How the Rich Are Hurting the Museums They Fund
  • Sandra Feinsmith: IRS Gives Opposite Rulings to Convention Committees BNA via @bloombergbna
  • Harvard Biz Review: Why you should involve a legal representative in new business initiatives from the beginning – Why Your Innovation Team Needs a Lawyer
  • Fast Co. Exist: A breakdown of all the business models in the sharing economy, from for-profit to co-op

Johnson Amendment: 501(c)(3) Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention


The Johnson Amendment refers to the law codified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibiting organizations exempt from taxes under 501(c)(3) from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Churches & Political Activity: The Call to Repeal the Johnson Amendment, an article written by our senior counsel Erin Bradrick, was published by The Nonprofit Quarterly yesterday.

The most significant call for repealing the Johnson Amendment is from the Republican Party in its official 2016 Platform:

We value the right of America’s churches, pastors, and religious leaders to preach and speak freely according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring the speech of America’s churches, pastors, and religious leaders. We support repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which restricted First Amendment freedoms of all nonprofit organizations by prohibiting political speech.

Additional Resources:

Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention (IRS)

The Rules of The Game: A Guide to Election-Related Activities for 501(c)(3) Organizations (Alliance for Justice)

Republican Platform Calls for Repeal of Ban on Political Organizing by Churches (TIME)


Nonprofit Tweets of the Week – 7/22/16


The past week was marked by the Republican National Convention and Melania Trump’s alleged plagiarism of a Michelle Obama speech from 2008. Have a listen to Robin Thicke’s (and Marvin Gaye’s) Blurred Lines while perusing our curated nonprofit tweets of the week:

  • Nonprofit Quarterly: In this new regulatory environment, can #nonprofits find a balance? NPQ
  • For Purpose Law: When the Revenue Agent Comes Calling: Organizational Control
  • Gene: The Future of #Philanthropy: Is a new gospel of giving on the rise? Eight philanthropic thinkers weigh in. The Nation
  • Bridgespan Group: 5 ways being flexible helps makes your #philanthropy more impactful:
  • Gene: 7 Steps #Philanthropy Can Take to Bring the #SDGs Home to America – @nataliejoross @cof
  • Stacy Palmer: Icebucket challenge lowered average age of donors to ALS charity from 50 to 35 & still prompting 25% rise in gifts The New Yorker
  • Gene: The Next Stage of Social Entrepreneurship: Benefit Corporations & the Companies Using This Innovative Corporate Form ABA
  • Jake Hayman: Is social investment a threat to #charity values? Forbes #socent #socinv #socialinvesting #philanthropy #Fundraising #CSR
  • Drew Lindsay: #BlackLivesMatter activism + #philanthropy? Foundations try to sort out their role. @Philanthropy [Ed. Behind Chronicle of Philanthropy paywall.]
  • Nonprofit VOTE: BREAKING: @google to offer state-specific voter reg. guide ahead of 2016 Elections!  YASS!

Nonprofit Fundraising Masters Conference Series


Last year, we were a Publication Partner of Darian Rodriguez Heyman‘s Nonprofit Fundraising 101. This year we’re happy to promote Darian’s Nonprofit Fundraising Masters Conference Series in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, July 27, and San Francisco on Wednesday, October 19. Tickets are just $95 – $175 depending on your budget, and registration includes access to the full-day program, breakfast, lunch, all-day coffee and tea, a cocktail reception following the program, and a copy of the new best seller, Nonprofit Fundraising 101. And you can even save $20 when you use the “NEO” promo code. Sign up now at and hope to see you there!

You can find information for the Silicon Valley conference here. I’d love to meet any readers of our blog at the conference – please say “hi” if you spot me.

Among the distinguished group of interviewees:

  • Beth Kanter, author of The Networked Nonprofit and social media guru
  • Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money
  • Kay Sprinkel Grace, major gifts consultant Beyond Fundraising author
  • Story of Stuff developer and Greenpeace US E.D. Annie Leonard
  • Sierra Club E.D. Mike Brune
  • Planned & legacy giving guru Greg Lassonde

Fundraisers are understandably most focused on relationships and mission. But they also have to be aware of the laws and risks to manage when building and implementing great fundraising programs.

Fundraising Legal Issues – 10 Resources

Top 5 Fundraising Legal Tips

6 More Fundraising Legal Tips

Fundraising (National Council of Nonprofits)

Giving Tuesday: 10 Legal Tips for Nonprofits

Major Gifts – Part II: Considerations for Legal Compliance and Avoiding Lawsuits

Understanding Crowdfunding after a Tragedy (Nonprofit Quarterly)

Fundraising Issues for Nonprofit Organizations (Public Counsel)

Legal Implications of Fundraising via Social Media (Columbia Law School)

Legal Issues Involved in Charitable Fundraising (Adler & Colvin)

Developing Fundraising Policies and Procedures (Association of Fundraising Professionals)

Darian’s Request for Interview Questions

You can literally ask them anything… so what would you ask? Your goal is to unearth their secrets to success, most valuable tips and tools, and sources of inspiration.


I’m hoping to develop a set framework that I can use with all interviewees at both these events and others coming up around the country, sharing the insights generated with both a live audience and book readers down the road. I’d love your help balancing the need for inspiring stories with concrete, useful tactics and tools.

So far, here are a few questions I’ve been toying with:


  • If there is one thing that you believe most enabled you to succeed in fundraising where others have not, what would it be?
  • Can you share one specific document, template, or practice that’s facilitated your work engaging donors and supporters?
  • Tell us a story of a prospect who initially declined to contribute, but who ultimately decided to provide support.
  • Please share the story of the single largest gift you ever raised.
  • In today’s attention economy, how do you ensure that your cause is able to cut through the clutter and appeal to donors?
  • What keeps you inspired when things get stressful and hard?
  • How did you first come to realize that you were a fundraiser?

Hopefully that’s enough to get your creative juices flowing, or at least give you an idea of what we’re thinking. So let me know what you think: which of these questions would you be most excited to hear experts answer; which aren’t that compelling; and which killer questions am I missing? Bear in mind each interview is only 45 minutes, so we won’t have all day, but we hope to cover a lot of ground in these dynamic fireside chats.


Thanks and can’t wait to hear your ideas!


Nonprofit Tweets of the Week – 7/15/16

Pikachu lemon cupcakes

The past week was marked by continuing commentary about the resolution of issues between police and communities (including at President Obama’s participation in a Disney Media Networks town hall titled “The President and the People: A National Conversation“), another horrific terrorist attack in France, and … Pokemon Go. Have a listen to the Pokemon theme song while perusing our curated nonprofit tweets of the week:

  • Steve Zimmerman: Love this use: Pokémon Go – to the Opera? How Nonprofits Have Made the Game Their Own NPQ [Ed. See also Pokémon Go isn’t a fad. It’s a beginning. – Vox.]
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review: Risk management is an emerging #nonprofit best practice, says @TBilich, but what strategies work?
  • BoardSource: Generative Governance: Making Sense of Problems through Critical Inquiry
  • Nonprofit Quarterly: TRENDING – Exit Agreements for Nonprofit CEOs: A Guide for Boards and Executives [Ed. Ask an attorney if considering severance payments for past services not previously bargained for.]
  • BDO Nonprofit: New #IRS regulations address deferred compensation plans for #nonprofit employees. @NonProfitTimes
  • Theresa Fay-Bustillos: Growth of youth sport leagues has a dark-side–embezzlement by trusted adults. #nonprofit #youth #sports
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review: Pay-what-it-takes #philanthropy could be the solution to breaking the #nonprofit starvation cycle
  • Ray Madoff: The Undermining of American Charity … via @nybooks [Ed. Provocative article critical of donor-advised funds prompting an article in The Washington Post – Wall Street is sitting on billions meant for American charities.]
  • Philantopic: [Op-Ed] Why Should Rich Universities Get Huge Property Tax Exemptions? @washingtonpost #nonprofits #taxpolicy
  • Brookings Governance: New paper on the B Corporation Movement and how businesses can make positive social impacts

New IRS Notification Requirement for 501(c)(4) Organizations – Form 8976


On July 8, 2016, the IRS issued final and temporary regulations and published Revenue Procedure 2016-41 relating to the immediately effective requirement that organizations notify the IRS of their intent to operate under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”).

Form 8976, “Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4),” is the electronic notification required to be submitted to the IRS no later than 60 days after the date the organization is organized (e.g., its date of incorporation). Form 8976 is available for completion and submission here. A draft of the Form is available download here.

The new rules are the result of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (“PATH”) Act of 2015, which added section 506 to the Internal Revenue Code, requiring an organization to notify the IRS that it is operating as a section 501(c)(4) organization. The PATH Act also amended IRC section 6652(c) to impose penalties for failure to submit Form 8976 by the date and in the manner prescribed. The penalty is equal to $20 per day for each day such failure continues, up to a maximum of $5,000.

The notification requirement generally applied to organizations formed after December 18, 2015, but there were transition relief provisions to reflect the absence of regulations until July 8. According to Journal of Accountancy:

Organizations that were established between Dec. 18, 2015, and July 8, 2016, that either applied for a determination of tax-exempt status or filed at least one required annual return or notice (Form 990 series) are relieved from the notification requirement. Organizations formed during that interim period that do not qualify for that relief have until Sept. 6 to submit the notification.


Nonprofit Tweets of the Week – 7/8/16

Independence Day

This past week was marked by Independence Day, Kevin Durant‘s signing with the Golden State Warriors, the killings of Alton Sterling and Philander Castile by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the killings of police officers in Dallas. Have a listen to Bruce Springsteen‘s Born in the U.S.A. while perusing our curated nonprofit tweets of the week:

  • CompassPoint: What’s in your toolbox? 15+ places to learn more about challenging racism:
  • Greenlining: What do the Oscars, the Fed, and philanthropy all have in common? #PhilanthropySoWhite:
  • Gene: ICYMI: On July 1, 2016, the Form 1023-EZ filing fee was lowered from $400 to $275 KPMG
  • CalNonprofits: National Council of Nonprofits: Overtime Rules Require Government Overhaul of Contracts Nonprofit Quarterly
  • La Piana Associates: The perennial question: too many nonprofits? But the case for merger is not quite so simple.
  • Philantopic: Social Impact Bonds Expanding Global Reach, Study Finds @SocialFinanceUS #SIBs
  • Fast Co. Exist: Pulling back the curtain to show the real people, and feelings, behind the work of doing good Fast Co. Exist
  • For Purpose Law: The Political Ban on 501(c)(3)s: Its Odd History
  • Minority Rights: Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities are on the verge of disappearing, says report Newsweek
  • Stanford Social Innovation Review: Impact investing needs a simple, widely accepted “impact classification” system, say @cathyhc & @ImpactInSight
  • Darren Walker: My latest oped in @nytimes why we must make #internships more accessible to increase opportunity for all NY Times

Gene Takagi Awarded 2016 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award from ABA


The American Bar Association Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the Business Law Section has announced the 2016 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award recipients.  NEO Law Group is very proud to share that Gene was awarded the Outstanding Lawyer Award for distinguished service as outside counsel to nonprofit organizations.  In announcing the award, the ABA stated:

After several decades of successful career ventures in various fields, Gene Takagi founded NEO Law Group, based in San Francisco, ten years ago to serve the legal needs of the nonprofit sector. NEO Law Group provides general corporate, charitable-trust, governance, and income-tax counsel exclusively to nonprofits and exempt organizations.

He has provided expert legal counsel and thoughtful advice to hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout California and the country. Gene repeatedly exhibits professionalism, dedication, and thoughtfulness in his approach to each and every client, regardless of the scope of the matter or the size of the organization. He has intentionally structured his practice to make his services available to even the smallest of organizations, which may otherwise be unable to afford or access legal counsel, while simultaneously serving organizations with annual revenues in the tens of millions of dollars.

Gene approaches his role as legal counsel from the perspective of an educator and uses every opportunity to empower his clients by providing information and useful tools. He is particularly well known in the sector as the contributing publisher of the Nonprofit Law Blog and as a regular contributor to Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio.


The other 2016 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award recipients included:

  • Thomas A. Troyer, Vanguard Award
  • Judith Andrews, Outstanding Lawyer Award
  • Sherry Hibbert, Outstanding In-House Counsel Award
  • Brandon Dickerson, Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Congratulations to each of the recipients of this prestigious award!


Kevin Durant to the Warriors: 7 Lessons for Nonprofits

Scoring the winning points at a basketball game

Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors after nine years with the Oklahoma Thunder. Weeks ago, the Warriors beat the Thunder 4-3 in the NBA Western Conference Finals after trailing 3-1. But the Warriors could not repeat as two-time NBA champions after falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. As disheartening as the loss was for Bay Area fans, it may have been pivotal in allowing the Warriors to land Durant as the superstar who could take the team back to the championship. Had the Warriors won a second championship, Durant might have faced overwhelming criticism, discouraging him from jumping on the back of a championship team.

So, how does this relate to nonprofits? Glad you asked. Here are 7 lessons for nonprofits to be learned from the Kevin Durant saga:

  1. A loss is sometimes a win; look for opportunities whenever hit with a setback.
  2. Playing it safe is often a risk of slow decline and obsolescence – be bold even if you think you’re at the top of your game.
  3. Consolidation within a competitive industry is a market force to understand – be knowledgable and adaptable to be competitive; there will be a limited number of successful organizations in a particular space.
  4. Your key employees won’t always stay with your organization – make sure you have contingency (succession) plans.
  5. Recruitment is not a one-time event – make it a deliberate, planned, and continuous process.
  6. A team that values every player, no matter their role, will attract the best players for their system – create a pervasive tone of mutual appreciation and respect throughout the organization (starting from the top).
  7. Impact that can be created with the support of a prospective partner is the critical selling point – sell impact when recruiting, fundraising, managing, collaborating, and building movements.



Understanding Crowdfunding After A Tragedy – Nonprofit Quarterly

burning memorial candles

NEO attorneys Michele Berger and Gene Takagi wrote this article on crowdfunding published in The Nonprofit Quarterly on June 28, 2016.

As was evident after the horrific shooting in Orlando on June 12th, crowdfunding has become the most visible, and arguably the most effective, way to quickly raise money and awareness for a charitable cause triggered by an event. The Nonprofit Quarterly previously reported that a single crowdfunding campaign to support the Orlando victims raised $4 million from more than 87,000 people within a day after the attack. And five days later, reportedly, more than 300 crowdfunding campaigns raising $6.2 million for victims of the shooting were set up on GoFundMe, which is just one of more than 2,000 crowdfunding websites.

However, while the magnitude and reach of crowdfunding are substantial, there remain many misperceptions and issues to be understood and managed by nonprofits, donors, and regulators.

Read the full article here.