Altruism Today

The NFL Is Still Tax Exempt—but More Than 200,000 Petition Signers Don’t Agree

October 29th, 2013  |  Source: NPQ

The NFL-as-nonprofit controversy continues to reverberate throughout the nation—and among fans of the violent, body-crushing sport. The petition challenging the NFL’s tax-exempt status garners support from fans as well as people who couldn’t care two whits about the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints, or the New York Giants.

Annually, the National Football League receives $250 million in membership dues from the 32 teams in the League. It earns tons of money—$9 billion annually—from network TV contracts, jersey sales, and other sources. It pays its top guy, Roger Goodell, $29.4 million a year. But it is a tax exempt 501(c)(6) trade association promoting the interests of professional football—except that those interests are only in support of the 32 NFL franchised member teams, themselves taxable entities.

That’s the rub. The National Basketball Association has eschewed tax-exempt status. Major League Baseball, for example, dropped its (c)(6) status in 2007. The U.S. Tennis Association is a (c)(6) trade association, but it promotes the entire sport, ranging from the pros who play professional tournaments to the amateurs who sign up in their communities for leagues and matches. That’s what it means to be a trade association for an entire sport, beyond a limited number of predetermined beneficiaries.

The petition on started by Saints fan Lynda Woolard challenging the NFL’s tax exempt status has garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

At any age you need to know about Front Porch

October 23rd, 2013  |  Source: Front

Front Porch, a not-for-profit organization featuring innovative communities and programs that meet the changing needs of individuals as they age, embraces a leading-edge approach to wellness in aging. In keeping with its legacy of innovation, Front Porch has become the first non-profit to enroll its leadership team in the groundbreaking Innovator’s Accelerator program. Seventy of its leaders will take part in the training. Front Porch joins a prestigious roster of top Fortune 500 companies whose employees have participated in the trainings since it was first offered in Spring 2013. 

Developed by Apollo Lightspeed – a San Francisco-based company that brings innovative higher education products and services to life – Innovator’s Accelerator brings world-class content and a unique online competency-based learning model together with broadcast-quality production and design, to create the next step forward in online learning focused on innovation. Developed in part with global design and innovation firm IDEO, Innovator’s Accelerator is a breakthrough six-week intensive executive online training course co-developed by the top minds in innovation (Clayton Christensen at the Harvard Business School, Jeff Dyer at Brigham Young University and The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, and Hal Gregersen at INSEAD The Business School for the World), utilizing a mix of interactive content, real-world examples and team projects to increase the user’s innovation skills. 

Today, the number of people aged 60 and older has doubled since 1980, and the number of people aged 80 years will quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050.1 Today’s aging society, as proportions of people 60 and older are rapidly outnumbering those 15 and younger, is creating a global crisis and presenting real-world challenges that must be solved through innovation.  And time is of the essence. 

About Front Porch

Front Porch is a not-for-profit support system for a family of companies that serve individuals and families through full-service retirement, active adult communities, affordable housing communities through CARING Housing Ministries and related management and development services. Front Porch active adult and full-service retirement communities offer a full range of options from independent living to continuing care, including memory support. Specialized programs like the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, Front Porch Gallery and affiliated Centers for Spirituality and Aging support the Front Porch belief in understanding and meeting needs so that residents can live life their way. With innovative communities and programs that meet the changing needs of people as they age, Front Porch represents a leading-edge approach to wellness in aging. Front Porch is comprised of 10 full-service retirement communities in California and three adult living communities: one in Louisiana and one in Florida. Front Porch also serves individuals and families through more than 20 affordable housing communities managed by Front Porch’s affiliate, CARING Housing Ministries. Front Porch, based in Burbank, Calif. and founded in 1999, is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to its residents and the communities it serves. More information is available at

Spreadshirt builds e-commerce band wagon

September 24th, 2013  |  Source: Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt, the e-commerce platform for creating, selling, and buying of ideas on things that consumers love to share, use, and carry has been a key player in the rapid turn around of apparel and accessories for charities and causes that resonate with consumers. The 24 hour turn around capabilities allow individuals or groups to create apparel or accessories, share them with like minded audiences, spread support, and generate funds to assist with causes or charities that matter to them and continually change messaging as events unfold.

In essence, Spreadshirt is the original innovator in helping thousands of nonprofits and charitable organizations connect with people and spread their message to help raise awareness and funds. Spreadshirt's history with charities and nonprofits around the globe include:

•   A key account partner since inception is doctors without borders (

•   The effort is truly global: European examples:,

•   US examples:

"The Spreadshirt model might not be the one that generates the most financial profit from t-shirt sales, because we are not limiting it to the simplest product available. However, the Spreadshirt model gives a lot of additional value to the charity organization. People who can purchase a shirt or product they like in terms of color, size and of course the message are going to wear it. They are going to wear it and will show that they've given money to this cause. They feel good about what they've done and what they are wearing. Besides sharing with their friends and pals, they are a walking advertisement for the organization. They are entering spaces the message of the charity might not have been able to enter before. The people bond with the shirt, the organization and continue to give. So, the organization / partner gets cash from the t-shirt sales, bonds with the donator and receives extra promotion!

Competition yes, but:

"No doubt that the services CustomInk, Cafepress and as well Teespring are offering are easy to use and quick to set up. But cheap shirts and hardly any choice is not good for any side - neither the non-profit nor the giver. From a charity point of view the most effective way for raising money is still the subscription model (most people simply forget to unsubscribe and keep giving money month over month or even year over year ;-)). But of course in our days, fundraising has changed. There's also crowd funding where people are given 'presents' for certain amounts they are contributing. Sometimes it's shirts but again with no real choice." Phil Rooke, CEO, Spreadshirt.

Go to:


August 21st, 2013  |  Source:

A New Platform for Raising Funds & Awareness Through Sale of Custom T-Shirts

CustomInk, the “design online” custom t-shirt company, announced today the launch of a new platform, Booster (, designed to help people raise money and rally support for their causes, loved ones, groups and projects through the online sale of custom t-shirts. CustomInk expects Booster to attract veteran fundraisers looking for better tools; and empower newcomers with an easy way to launch their first campaigns.

“At CustomInk, ‘T-shirts Unite!’ is our rallying cry,” said CustomInk’s co-founder & president, Marc Katz. “We know that uniting around a common purpose is important to our customers, and it’s important to us too.  We’re extremely excited to introduce this new platform and can already see that a Booster campaign is so much more than a fundraiser.  T-shirts raise awareness, boost spirits and create a lasting connection like nothing else. This is all deeply part of our company character, so it’s really a privilege to help people come together and make a positive difference with Booster.”


Booster is simple, fast and free.  Campaign organizers design a t-shirt using the design lab, set a selling price and sales goal and then spread the word about their campaign using Booster’s simple tools and social media integration.  The t-shirt pros at CustomInk handle the rest – proofing artwork, creating high-quality shirts and delivering them to supporters.  After the campaign has concluded, Booster sends payment to the organizer or his/her designated cause for the full amount of funds raised.

About Booster (

Booster is an online platform for raising funds and rallying support through the sale of custom t-shirts.  Booster allows users to design a custom t-shirt and create a personalized page to share their motivation and fundraising goals. Simple online tools make it easy to promote the sale of the shirt to friends, family and the community.  Booster is the free, easy and fun way to raise money and rally support through custom tees.  Booster was created by CustomInk (, the leader in custom t-shirts.  Since its founding in 2000, CustomInk has delivered approximately 50 million custom shirts to customers nationwide.

Peter Buffett on The Charitable-Industrial Complex

July 27th, 2013  |  Source:

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms.

Often the results of our decisions had unintended consequences; distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS in a brothel area ended up creating a higher price for unprotected sex.

But now I think something even more damaging is going on.

Read the whole NYT Op-Ed here:

IKEA develops flat pack REFUGEE CAMPS designed to replace tented cities in disaster zones

July 8th, 2013  |  Source: Daily Mail

·       Innovative flat pack refugee shelters from IKEA will be headed for war zones

·       They come equipped with solar panels, good insulation and high ceilings

·       Shelters will be tested by Somali, Iraqi and Lebanese refugees

Swedish furniture giant IKEA is now expanding its reach into a new frontier - warzones.

With its innovative flat pack shelters, now even refugees will be experiencing IKEA's self-assembly living.

Through its charitable arm, the IKEA foundation, it has developed an alternative to the basic refugee tent.

It is hoped they will make desperate conditions for refugees around the world more bearable.

IKEA, along with other refugee aid organisations, believe the flat pack camps could be the solution for the world's shifting refugee populations.

The new structure comes equipped with solar panels, insulation and a ceiling high enough for people to stand up in.

Many of the current refugee camps have a life span of as little as six months before the impact of sun, rain and wind means they need to be replaced. 

However, refugees usually stay in camps for several years.

The foundation has teamed up with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Refugee Housing Unit to design and build a better home for refugee families.

Once assembled, they look like a canvas shed.

Read more:

The promising nonprofit quarterly, Boom

June 26th, 2013  |  Source: Columbia Journalism Review

A Journal of California, aims to bridge academia and journalism, reach beyond California—and stay afloat.

Nonprofit journalism is now central to the American national news ecosystem; ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Center For Public Integrity, among others, regularly make distribution agreements with major media organizations that give them enormous reach.

For example, when CNN recently lambasted a cancer charity that raised millions of dollars, most of which went to fundraising and administrative costs rather than cancer patients, it was doing so in partnership with and largely on the strength of reporting by the Tampa Bay Times and CIR, both of which are nonprofits. And this is not to mention the burgeoning ranks of serious local and regional nonprofit news enterprises, from theTexas Tribune (see CJR’s recent piece on the Trib) to the Voice of San Diego to Minnpost and beyond.

New Features to Boost Nonprofit Financial Management

June 19th, 2013  |  Source: Wallace Foundation – a free collection of tools, how-tos, articles and other features to help nonprofits become "fiscally fit" – is adding videos to the mix.

Check out these new features: In a series of video shorts, two executives explain why financial management matters to nonprofits and what financial management steps are particularly important to take. A brief video report shows how two nonprofits looked for – and found – new ways to raise revenue.

The series of videos can be viewed here:

To make the most of StrongNonprofits, please consider joining a free webinarintroduction to the site on Tuesday June 25, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM E.D.T.

For the webinar sign-up:

StrongNonprofits was created by The Wallace Foundation and consultant Fiscal Management Associates.

Their videos – and all their knowledge products – are free of charge.

Let them know what you think of them at:










Tap the power of travel to drive donations

June 15th, 2013  |  Source: Mitch-Stuart

Looking for new and creative non profit fundraising ideas that build loyalty among current donors, attract new ones, and generate a steady stream of incremental revenue? All without spending a cent? Or using up valuable staff time? Then consider Perfect Places—innovative non profit fundraising ideas that make it simple for businesses to offer attractive travel packages to employees and customers for the benefit of non profit organizations like yours. • It's a proven way to raise funds. Your organization receives a portion of the proceeds from every trip purchased through Mitch-Stuart, Inc. • It's a valued employee benefit. Your corporate partners can offer employees and customers the chance to buy or bid on hundreds of dream vacation packages at special charity rates. • It's a money-saving travel program. Your partners' employees get preferred rates on fabulous travel packages at the same time they give back to a worthy cause—yours. Why Perfect Places? • Build donor loyalty • Expand your donor base • Establish stronger relationships • Create a nonstop revenue stream • Gain free publicity • Increase your visibility • Reduce administrative burdens Download more Perfect Places information Download the Perfect Places PowerPoint Presentation

The Affordable Care Act Meets IRS in Climate of Scandal

June 9th, 2013  |  Source: NPQ

The unfortunate IRS controversy has given new life to critics of the Affordable Care Act due to the IRS’s role in the implementation of healthcare reform.

Almost overnight, diehard critics of “Obamacare” have begun to fret publicly about the ability of the Service to meet its obligations to carry out the program, giving Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) more Republican plaudits for his prediction that the implementation of the ACA could be a “train wreck“ than he has heard from his friends across the aisle since he became the Democratic negotiator for tax cuts during the Bush Administration.

With the focus on four or five supposed scandals diverting the attention of the press and the public—and, not least, the nonprofit sector—from the Affordable Care Act, it is no surprise that apprehensions are increasing and reliable information decreasing about the emerging contours of national healthcare reform.

Two specific elements of the Affordable Care Act have been enveloped in the Washington climate of controversy and scandal, both with components significant to the nonprofit sector. But these ACA-related scandals are only so much smoke, being stoked by critics of national healthcare reform, without much kindling to ignite a broader fire.

The Role of the IRS in the ACA: Assigned or Usurped? Rick Cohen’s article asks, read his take here:

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