Get Ready, Here It Comes… Increasing the Minimum Wage

On September 1, 2014, Michigan’s Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, Public Act 138 of 2014, will go into effect. The new Act will increase the minimum wage for workers in the state from $7.40 to $8.15 per hour.

In Michigan, one out of 11 workers are employed by nonprofit organizations. Many employees of Michigan Nonprofit Association member organizations are paid at the minimum wage. We also know that nonprofit organizations in Michigan and across the country provide many valuable services and support to Americans who are living in poverty, including the “working poor.”

Nonprofits in the state directly employed 438,000 individuals in 2013. Together the nonprofits in Michigan pay their employees over $4.9 billion per quarter. Our members have weighed in on both sides of the debate around raising the minimum wage.

The minimum wage increase is a policy that will have significant impact for our member agencies and for the state. While our nonprofits provide valuable services, many operate as lean small businesses. And just like small businesses across the country are grappling with the impacts of a minimum wage increase, so will our nonprofits in the coming weeks and months. The key thing to remember is that the debate is over.  Starting in September, nonprofits, along with small businesses and large corporations will be expected to raise the minimum wage payments for their hourly workers.

Wherever you personally weigh in on the issue of an increased minimum wage, as a nonprofit with employees, this increase will initially impact your bottom line. And it will require lots of planning and reviewing as a part of the sustainability for many of your organizations.

Many of you have already begun your strategic planning to address the financial implications that this increase may have on your budgets, staffing and reimbursement levels for direct services. There is no question that the increase in wages will require an increase in revenues and donations, much in the same way that small businesses will have to think strategically about creating more revenue to support the wage increase. We will continue to revisit this subject and share with you some of the strategies that your colleagues are implementing in the field to make this a seamless win-win.

For information and questions on compliance, contact Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) at http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-61256_11407_32352-140972–,00.html. Organizations seeking professional assistance can search MNA’s Consultant & Resource Directory for companies that specialize in accounting & auditing or human resources for nonprofits. The Consultant & Resource Directory is available at http://mnaonline.org/consultantsearch.aspx.

 Submitted by Donna Murray-Brown, President & CEO, Michigan Nonprofit Association

MNA Job Center

Back in 2008 I graduated from college and took a position as an AmeriCorps*VISTA in Lansing, Michigan. In my grand five-year plan (which somehow never turns out the way I expect…), I would stay in my VISTA position for a year and then find a job working with a nonprofit. I was so tired of using websites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com to find work – the results were never the types of jobs for which I was searching! No matter how many times I refined my search, I couldn’t seem to get the listings I wanted.

A friend happened to pass along a fax she had gotten at her office – a nonprofit job center. WHAT?!?! This was exactly what I wanted! I quickly followed the link on the page to Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Job Center, and proceeded to check the listings every few days.

As luck would have it, I ended up working with the U.S. Census for six months and then spending some time abroad. However, I returned in November of 2010 to begin the job search yet again, and headed straight for the MNA Job Center. While many of the positions were for executive directors (something that I aspire to, but for which I am not quite ready), I also found quite a few that were right up my alley and with nonprofits in my dear ol’ hand state.

Now to the part where my story takes a crazy turn – hold onto your hats! After checking everyday for new posts and applying for everything that I felt half-qualified for, I received a call…from MNA. I had applied for a job with them, went through two rounds of interviews and now…I’m the one updating the Job Center! I’ve since learned that you can actually receive Job Center updates to your email so you don’t have to check every day. I myself am no longer looking for positions, as I am now happily employed at updating the job page I once so regularly checked. If you are out there searching for work, or if you are an employer looking to hire individuals passionate about the nonprofit sector, check out MNA’s Job Center. You won’t be disappointed.

Submitted by Jessica Swisher, Administrative Assistant, Membership and Advocacy for the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Rising Health Insurance Premiums

If you are a MNA member taking advantage of insurance options through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Priority Health, you’ll want to pay attention to this blog. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBS) and Priority Health have both introduced new products to help employers deal with rising health insurance premiums. If BCBS is your provider, you may have recently received a renewal rate notice with premium increased of 20 – 37%. Now is a good time for your organization to take a look at the new products that are being offered.

Simply Blue is the new platform for BCBS. They have PPO, HRA and HSA options. All options have a variety of copays and deductibles.

Priority Health recently updated their Rx copays to deal with costly specialty drugs. Their platform offers PPO, POS and HMO products along with HSA qualified plans and an option for HRAs.

With all the changes to health insurance, it is important to make sure you are investigating the latest products and cost saving strategies. If you are a MNA member interested in our Healthy Nonprofits benefit, please contact me at bgesaman@mnaonline.org.

Submitted by Bill Gesaman, Membership Manager for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Top Ten Questions to Ask a Potential Contractor, Consultant or Fundraiser

We all face this scenario: too many ideas and not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. Should you utilize a consultant or contractor? Here are the top ten questions to be answered before you begin working with them.

1. What is the individual’s experience in this area?
2. Can they provide references from other clients?
3. Do they understand and have a passion for the mission of the organization?
4. If a professional fundraiser, are they licensed with the Attorney General and are the people that work for them registered as professional solicitors? You can view the list of licensed professional fundraisers at www.michigan.gov/ag
5. Are they able to complete the work on your schedule?
6. What services will they provide and how? If possible, ask for a written proposal
7. Are there any conflicts of interest in working with your organization? It is good practice for nonprofits to have a conflict of interest policy for board members, staff, volunteers and contractors. The IRS has developed a sample conflict of interest statement available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1023.pdf
8. If fundraising, how will they handle the flow of the money?
9. If fundraising, how will they protect the privacy of donors? Check out the American Association of Fundraising Professionals Donor Bill of Rights: http://www.afpnet.org/Ethics/EnforcementDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=3359
10. How will they maintain confidentiality and are they willing to sign a confidentiality agreement?

Want more? We have developed a quick reference called the Do’s and Don’ts of Working with Independent Contractors, Consultants, and Fundraisers. It’s packed with helpful information including warning signs, tips for written contracts and breaking down the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.

Did you know that MNA has an online Consultant and Resource Directory that you can use to connect with our consultant and business members? Need help with strategic planning? A new auditor? A grant writer? You can find them all here. Select a category of services and a region and we’ll match you up!

Submitted by Allison Treppa, director of marketing and communications for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Resource Friday: Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual

New MNA Nonprofit Management Manual Now Available

The 5th edition of the Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual builds on the informative chapters found in previous editions, with many new features and updates, including: a new chapter on Risk Management, alignment with MNA’s Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence in Michigan, updates on laws, regulations and filing requirements, expanded chapters on the use of technology, connections to other resources with many website references and a revised format to help locate information quickly. MNA members can take advantage of the reduced member price of $75.00. The non-member price is $95.00. Order your copy today at MNA’s online bookstore: www.mnaonline.org/bookstore.asp.

Submitted by Kelley Kuhn, Director of Management Support and Capacity Building Services for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Resource Friday: New benefit to save MNA members money

I am excited to announce the availability of a new benefit for MNA members in the area of Workers Compensation Insurance.

Michigan nonprofit employers are required to cover workers with workers’ compensation insurance if they regularly employ three or more workers at one time; or during the preceding 52 weeks, they have regularly employed at least one worker for 35 hours or more per week for 13 weeks or longer. MNA members can now save money on their workers’ compensation insurance through our newly endorsed workers comp program.

Members looking to receive a quote, and begin saving can do so quickly by filling out an online form available HERE.

To assist our members in accessing affordable workers’ compensation insurance, MNA has developed this program through a partnership with two of our members, the Michigan Retailers Association and Lyman and Sheets Agency.

For additional information about MNA’s member benefit programs, visit www.MNAonline.org/benefits.asp. For more about state requirements for workers’ compensation insurance, see the online Workers’ Compensation Guide, a publication of Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Submitted by Brandon Seng, Director of Member Services for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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Diversity and Inclusion – What’s Now and What’s Next

Examining the current state of diversity and inclusion among Michigan nonprofits is a first step in strengthening our organizations through diverse ideas and people (including board members, donors, staff and volunteers). The report from MNA’s latest quarterly survey, Nonprofit Diversity and Inclusion, is now available on our Web site at www.MNAonline.org/mnrp.asp. 230 nonprofits participated in the study and highlights include: 59% of responding nonprofits have a formal policy regarding diversity and/or inclusion; 95% of responding organizations believed that being more diverse and inclusive would benefit their organization; and nearly half of nonprofits reported needing help recruiting and retaining diverse board members. This study was conducted in partnership with the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University.

Not only is it important to examine our current commitment to diversity, but to be prepared for the future. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published a report called The Future Starts Now. Ian Wilhelm predicts that five major trends will reshape philanthropy in the next ten years:
-A Grayer America, an increasing number of Americans over 65;
-Technology advances, a new way to raise funds and serve people in need;
-Growing influence of Hispanic Americans, challenging our recruitment of Hispanic volunteers and donors;
-Global philanthropy, increasing international donors and “citizens of the world”;
-Charitable business, increasing business as an engine for social change.

Each of these shifts will dramatically alter the existing state of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, bringing not only new challenges but new opportunities to adapt to the changing needs of our environment. Agile and flexible organizations are needed, are you ready? Does your organization need an iPhone app? Are you ready for multiple-generation issues? Is there a need for bi-lingual advertisements and materials? It’s best to begin preparations now.

Submitted by Allison Treppa, director of marketing and communications for Michigan Nonprofit Association.

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