Skimpy audits can be red flags for possible fraudulent activities, according to the head of the New York attorney general’s Charities Bureau. In a recent interview, James Sheehan said an annual audit that includes a look at the organization’s control weaknesses can help deter fraud, as can “fraud brainstorming,” in which the audit team imagines how the charity could be exploited.
In his state’s experience, overly lengthy board terms can be another red flag that examiners should look into, according to the bureau chief. While long-term service doesn’t necessarily breed fraud, conflicts of interest and problems with “related party transactions” have been linked to long-serving board members in his state, he added. Strong conflict of interest and “related party” policies can deter such missteps.
Heads-up on overtime costs
The Department of Labor is currently proposing to raise the salary threshold for the executive, administrative and professional workers exemption from overtime from $455 a week (the equivalent of $23,660 a year) to an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 for a full-year worker). And the threshold amount would be adjusted annually. The exact amount is estimated in the proposed rule because it relies on Bureau of Labor Statistics compensation data that may need to be updated by the time the rule change would take effect in 2016 or later.
As a proactive move, you should estimate what the proposed threshold hike would cost your not-for-profit in overtime pay, should the proposal become regulation.
Tweet clearly for funds
If you plan to use social media — in particular, Twitter — for quick year-end solicitations for donations, keep this in mind: Even though tweets by their nature are brief, the recipients need ample information about your plea, including where they can find out more details. Another tip: Post your solicitations frequently, as these ultra-brief messages tend to be pushed down your followers’ feeds quickly.
Churches lag behind other sectors in allowing online giving
Less than half of U.S. churches (42%) allow congregants to give online, according to a recent study by consultants Dunham+Company and market researchers Campbell Rinker. That compares to 70% of nonchurch nonprofits that facilitate online donations, according to a March 2015 joint study.
Smaller churches, with fewer than 200 people attending each week, on average, typically use their bulletins or newsletters to promote giving through their websites, according to the study. Larger churches promote online donations through a mix of email messages, print communication and references during services.