Charity Therapy

Jess Birken, MNM, JD

What if you could hang out with experienced nonprofit professionals and ask them your burning questions about the day-to-day life of nonprofits? What if you could take their wisdom and bring it back to your organization, for free? That's what we do on Charity Therapy. Hosted by Jess Birken - owner and lawyer at Birken Law Office. Every episode is an in-depth look at how to run a nonprofit, from fundraising to IRS woes to people problems and more! Our goal is to empower nonprofits to achieve your mission by doing things right. read less
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Episodes

110: Don’t Do It, Emmanuel! | When NOT to Start a Public Charity Nonprofit
6d ago
110: Don’t Do It, Emmanuel! | When NOT to Start a Public Charity Nonprofit
Ever thought running a charity is all about helping people and feeling good? Strap in because Meghan and I are about to take you on a wild ride through the real ins and outs of starting and keeping a nonprofit afloat. Spoiler alert: it's not all sunshine and rainbows. There are hoops to jump through and some pretty sticky rules that can trip you up. But don't worry. We're here to help you through it without pulling your hair out. In this episode of Charity Therapy, we get super honest about how starting a nonprofit isn't as simple as just wanting to do good things. There's a bunch of rules and paperwork that can make your head spin. We talk about why it's tough and why sometimes the best thing to do might be to skip starting a nonprofit altogether. Yep, you heard that right. Sometimes, it's easier to help in your community without all the formal stuff. We're here to share our stories and tips and remind you that if you're feeling overwhelmed, you're totally not alone. Lastly, if you're already running a nonprofit and find yourself tangled in red tape, we've got your back. We dive into why there are so many rules and what you can do instead of getting stuck. We even tackle the big question: why is it all set up this way? Trust me, we feel your pain, and we might just have a few laughs along the way because sometimes you've just got to laugh to keep from crying, right? So come hang with us, bring your toughest questions, and let's navigate this nonprofit jungle together. In this episode, you will hear: Spilling the tea on how starting a nonprofit is like an obstacle course with the IRS and state laws ready to trip you upThe mountains of rules surrounding nonprofitsWhy doing good doesn't mean you gotta start a nonprofitWhen to skip the headache and do good in your community without the red tapeThe reasons behind the government’s tight leash on nonprofitsOther ways to make an impact without the paperwork painA listener's vent about nonprofit startup costs and Jess's hot takeSolutions for small missions with big hearts Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
109: SMART Goals & Cans of Worms
Apr 4 2024
109: SMART Goals & Cans of Worms
I've got a real treat for you in this episode of Charity Therapy. It's all about finding that sweet spot for your nonprofit's mission and vision without tripping over those pesky legal lines. Meghan and I dive into why your mission should feel like a finish line you can cross—not just some far-off dream you're chasing forever. We also get real about those missions that are so big and messy that they could keep you busy till the end of time. But don't worry—we're all about keeping it real and making sure you've got goals you can tick off your list. Then, we're chatting about sprucing up your mission to match all the cool new stuff your nonprofit is up to. Because let's face it, your group isn't the same as it was 20 years ago, and neither should your mission statement. I'll let you in on the secrets of keeping it fresh and legal so the IRS stays off your back while you're out there changing the world. Remember, it's like giving your nonprofit a new haircut—you want to look sharp but don't want to end up with a style that screams, “I lost a bet.” Lastly, we're giving high-fives to those forward-thinking nonprofits planning for the future like champs. Together, we're making the nonprofit journey less of a solo hike and more of a group road trip—complete with cheesy snacks and off-key singalongs. Let's hit the road and make some magic happen for your nonprofit! In this episode, you will hear: Diving into the confusion between nonprofit mission vs. vision Why mission vs. vision is like comparing your wildest dreams to the steps you need to take toward them The achievability of a nonprofit mission can be a can of worms Being too successful might put you out of business Updating your mission statement and keeping the tax folks happy Broadening your mission statement to help growth, but clarity is key! Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
108: Clover the B | Navigating Tax Status and Exploring IRS Forms
Mar 21 2024
108: Clover the B | Navigating Tax Status and Exploring IRS Forms
Today on Charity Therapy, Meghan and I dive into the sometimes tricky and often murky waters of nonprofit tax exemption and financial compliance. Think of us as your guides on a thrilling trek through the IRS jungle, equipped with the know-how to tackle those intimidating forms 1023 and 1024. And yes, we'll even chat about my duck Clover's latest shenanigans – because why not mix a little quack with our quality advice? We're talking shop and celebrating a nonprofit that totally crushed its fundraising goals (high fives all around!). But, as they say, with great fundraising comes great paperwork responsibility. Transitioning from a simple 990N to the full 990 form can be daunting, but fear not! We're here to help you navigate the choppy seas of record-keeping, getting help from pros when you need it and bracing for those state audits that can pop up when you least expect them. It's all about keeping your nonprofit financially fit and compliant as it grows. Join us as we break down what it really means to apply for tax exemption (spoiler alert: it's not a walk in the park) and answer a listener's burning question about an unexpected cash windfall (hello, big bucks!). Remember, while the IRS isn't out to get you for being unexpectedly awesome at raising funds, they expect you to play by the rules. Buckle up, bring your questions, and let's make this nonprofit journey a little less bumpy and a lot more fun. And as for Clover? She's doing just fine, taking baths in dish pans and living her best duck life. In this episode, you will hear: A fun journey through the IRS maze, with duck tales and expert advice on nonprofit tax forms Learn the real scoop on the 1023 and 1024 forms Why the “EZ” in 1023-EZ might be misleading Get clued in on what to do when your nonprofit's cash flow goes from small change to big bucks The switch from 990N to the full 990 form Why meticulous records and a pro accountant are your nonprofit's new best friends Tips on staying financially healthy and compliant – even when you hit the jackpot with a huge grant Jess’s mud-splattered morning with her duck Clover proves that nonprofit work can be as unpredictable as a backyard barnyard A shoutout to the proactive nonprofit that remembered its financial limits Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
107: All Aboard the Struggle Bus!
Mar 7 2024
107: All Aboard the Struggle Bus!
Jess is coming at you with another episode that's gonna knock your grant-seeking socks off. In this episode of Charity Therapy, Jess is hanging out with the amazing Allison Welch, who's like a treasure hunter for grants, guiding us through the twists and turns of nonprofit funding. We're peeling back the curtain on that mysterious world of grant dollars, and it's not just about waving that 501(c)(3) magic wand and watching the money fall from the sky. We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of what you really need to snag those grants – a mission statement that sticks, a rock-solid program that's just begging for support, and the financial storytelling that proves you're the real deal. And for a bit of real-world spice, we tackle a listener's pickle with reimbursement grants. Yep, they're as tricky as they sound, but fear not! We're sharing how they navigated those choppy waters and came out with their pockets full. Now, don't go thinking this is your typical snooze-fest chat about funds and figures. Oh no, we're bringing the fun with our take on the funder-fundraiser dance, advocating for a buddy-buddy approach that could open doors to a goldmine of support. Plus, we're diving into the AI debate – can robots really help write grant proposals, or do they lack that human sparkle? Tune in and get armed with the insider knowledge that could make all the difference for your nonprofit's future. Grab a snack, hit play, and let's conquer the grant game together! In this episode, you will hear: Discover why 501(c)(3) status is just the start of your nonprofit's funding adventure Learn the must-haves for snagging grants: a sharp mission, a solid program, and financial docs that share your money story The lowdown on managing reimbursement grants Change your tune on fundraising: think partnership—for a dance with donors that could mean big bucks Chatting with funders and asking for advice to open doors to more moolah AI in grant writing and why human touch wins for connecting with funders' hearts and wallets Grants ain't fast food—they're a slow cook to success Resources from this Episode Allison Welch Consulting: www.allisonwelchconsulting.com Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: birkenlaw.com/signup Facebook page: www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
106: Down With the Golf Tournament
Feb 22 2024
106: Down With the Golf Tournament
You're about to dive into a podcast episode that's gonna change the game for your nonprofit's events.  On this episode of Charity Therapy, Alicia Baraga joins Jess, and she's the superstar behind Ripple Event Marketing. We're unpacking all the tips and tricks to create fundraising events that are as unique as your mission – and it's not just about throwing another boring gala. Jess and Alicia kick things off by chatting about the wildest events they’ve seen, from a beanbag tournament on a baseball field to a dueling piano showdown in an airplane hangar (yep, you heard that right!). We'll help you figure out who your crowd is and how to plan something they'll actually want to show up for, all without breaking the bank. Alicia dishes out the real talk on why it's super important to set clear goals so you can high-five yourself when your event is a smash hit. We know money can be tight, especially when you're just starting out. That's why we talk about where you can be smart with your budget, like maybe picking up some know-how from a course like Event Brand Boot Camp instead of hiring a full-blown event planner right off the bat. By the end, you'll have a bunch of resources and enough confidence to plan an event that might just be the talk of the town. Tune in, take notes, and get ready to throw an event that will have everyone buzzing with excitement! In this episode, you will hear: Alicia Baraga spills the beans on rocking nonprofit events with limited cash and space Pinpoint where you really need help and consider taking a class like Event Brand Boot Camp Unique venues can turn a blah event into the talk of the town Sponsorship is about making friends with local businesses who dig what you do Find sponsors early in the planning stage Talk to your boss about funding your event Resources from this Episode Alicia’s Brand Bootcamp: https://rippleevent.teachable.com/p/event-brand-bootcamp/ Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
105: A Rose By Any Other Name…
Feb 8 2024
105: A Rose By Any Other Name…
Have you ever thought about what your nonprofit looks like to the rest of the world? Well, buckle up because we're diving headfirst into the wild world of branding with Justin Bieganek. We're not just talking logos and colors; we're getting into the nitty-gritty of what makes your nonprofit tick and how to connect with people's hearts—not just their wallets. Picture this: You run a cat rescue, right? You've been all about giving older and disabled kitties a cozy place to land for years. But now you're doing so much more, from helping with vet bills to teaching pets fancy tricks. And your board's like, “Should we change our name?” You're freaking out because, let's be honest, that sounds like a ton of work. Justin's here to help us figure out if a name change is the cat's meow or if it will just cause a fur-ocious headache. We're keeping it real and talking about the scary stuff, too, like what if your supporters don't dig the new name? Justin's got some wizard-level advice for navigating those choppy waters. We're all about making sure your nonprofit is dressed to impress and ready to attract new folks who are just as passionate about your cause as you are. And hey, if you're feeling a bit like a scaredy-cat about all this change, that's okay! Change is tough, but we've got your back. Come join us for some laughs, a few “aha!” moments, and maybe even a lightbulb or two going off as we tackle the big, bold world of nonprofit branding. In this episode, you will hear: The heart of nonprofit branding—it's more than just a logo! A cat rescue's branding pickle: Should their name change after expanding their mission? Why it's crucial for names to mirror your identity The courage to evolve and the strategy to keep your mission, vision, and values intact Rebranding as a means to energize your team, draw new talent, and strengthen community ties How envisioning success can turn those scary feels into rebranding thrills Justin’s thoughts on tackling stakeholder resistance Connecting and turning your brand into a community's heartbeat Resources from this Episode Learn more about Justin & Mercury Creative Group: https://mercurycreativegroup.com/ Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
104: To Be or Not 2B?
Jan 25 2024
104: To Be or Not 2B?
Today on Charity Therapy, Jess shares some real talk about the wild world of nonprofit tax forms. Yeah, we know taxes can be a snooze fest, but stick with us! In this episode, we’re bringing on the legendary Eve Borenstein, who's basically the superhero of IRS Form 990. Together, we're tackling the crazy challenges you face with these forms and helping keep your nonprofit from getting lost in the IRS maze. Have you ever felt like pulling your hair out when dealing with the IRS? You're not alone! Eve and Jess chat about why the IRS seems stuck in the dark ages and how it's messing with nonprofits big time. We're dishing out the juicy details and even some nonprofit gossip that you can actually find on these forms. Yeah, gossip – who knew tax forms could be so telling? We also get into the nitty-gritty of the public support test. It sounds like a big deal because it is – it's the thing that keeps your nonprofit in the clear for tax-exempt status. Plus, we're sharing some horror stories from nonprofits just like yours that have been through the wringer with the IRS. And guess what? We've got some handy tips and tricks to help you come out on top. Grab your life vest, and let's navigate these choppy nonprofit tax waters together! In this episode, you will hear: “Queen of the 990” Eve Borenstein spills the tea on keeping your nonprofit from sinking in IRS drama Learn how to avoid the automatic "you're outta here" from the IRS What to do if the IRS messes up your 990 forms The scary public support test and showing you've got a bunch of different people backing you up – not just one big spender The short-staffed IRS causing major headaches for nonprofits Stories of IRS chaos and tips on dealing with it Weird penalty letters from the IRS and keeping your cool How filing your 990 is like your nonprofit's yearbook – it tells your story Straight talk from Eve on how the IRS's old-school tech and understaffing are making life tough for nonprofits Resources from this Episode Contact the IRS about an erroneous revocation: www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/automatic-exemption-revocation-for-non-filing-action-required-by-organization-with-documentation-that-it-filed Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
103: Buddy Systems & Sitcom Jingles
Jan 11 2024
103: Buddy Systems & Sitcom Jingles
Today, we're diving headfirst into the exciting world of nonprofit boards of directors - and specifically, how to bring in new board members! We know - it sounds like something only a paperwork-loving lawyer could adore, but stick with us. It's going to be fun! On this episode of Charity Therapy, we're peeling back the curtain to reveal how to get those new board members feeling like part of the family in no time. Trust us, it's a game-changer for your nonprofit's success! We've all seen it – that fresh-faced board member shows up eager to help, only to be left bewildered by acronyms and inside jokes from meetings long past. Not on our watch! We're sharing tips on how to avoid those "deer in the headlights" moments with a warm welcome and some super practical steps. Think of it as setting up a board member playdate where everyone ends up besties, complete with secret handshakes (okay, maybe not that far). But seriously, we're making sure you have the know-how to guide those newbies from clueless to clued-in, ensuring they're ready to make those big, important decisions confidently. We're not just chatting about the best practices; we're serving up real-life "I can actually use this" advice. From crafting a welcoming packet that doesn't bore people to tears to pairing up your new board member with a seasoned pro who can show them the ropes – we've got you covered. Plus, we're tackling how to mix in a little bit of that special sauce – your organization's culture – so that everyone's singing from the same song sheet. So, grab your headphones and a comfy chair, and let's turn the sometimes bumpy road of board onboarding into a smooth ride to success! In this episode, you will hear: The overlooked part of nonprofit life: onboarding new board members Why onboarding board members is just as important as hiring new employees How to make new board members feel ready to tackle their roles What is a "board buddy" and why you should use them How the nonprofit's core values will help you identify and integrate new members  What processes for recruitment and onboarding you need  How to get new board members up to speed so they can make informed decisions right from the start Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
102: Jiminy Cricket Reporting for Duty
Dec 28 2023
102: Jiminy Cricket Reporting for Duty
On this episode of Charity Therapy, we’re digging deep into fundraising - specifically, how to do it ethically. If we’re going to be asking people for their hard-earned dollars, it’s important that we do it right, right?! Check out this episode to help make sure you're on the right side of the law, focusing on your mission, and keeping donor info private.  We're dissecting the Association of Fundraising Professionals' code of ethics and tackling a sticky real-life situation from a listener about a board member wanting member emails. Talk about needing a solid privacy policy! But we're not just chatting about ethics. We're going right to the heart of the culture of nonprofit organizations. Documents like your conflict of interest policy and donor privacy policies aren't just boring paperwork. They're really important tools that can shape your organization, especially when the going gets tough. We also discuss how overwork and burnout can impact decision-making and the need for a healthy, values-driven work culture to stop any unethical practices.  Whether you're a seasoned pro in the nonprofit world or just starting, this episode is packed with pearls of wisdom. In this episode, you will hear: What ethical fundraising even is About the Association of Fundraising Professionals'  and their code of ethics Whether it’s okay to share your donor’s private info with others (hint - NOPE!) The need for robust privacy and conflict of interest policies How the nonprofit’s culture can make or break your fundraising practices How clear policies and a positive work culture can prevent unethical messes The harmful effects of overwork and burnout on decision-making How to foster a positive, values-driven work culture Resources from this Episode Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics: https://afpglobal.org/ethicsmain/code-ethical-standards Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
101: The Tough Love Episode
Dec 14 2023
101: The Tough Love Episode
We’re back again with another episode and spilling the beans on a tricky, often overlooked concept - private benefit. You'll want to tune in as we break down what private benefit even IS, plus why it plays such a crucial role in nonprofit organizations.  In this episode of Charity Therapy, we answer a listener's question about setting up a dog rescue on their personal property. It's a unique situation that opens up a can of worms about private benefit. We go in-depth about the potential challenges and pitfalls this could bring. We're big believers in tough love, so prepare yourself for some brutally honest feedback and advice. Whether you're a nonprofit veteran or just starting, don't miss this chance to learn, laugh, and possibly even cringe a little. We're always here to listen, advise, and support you on your nonprofit journey. Send us your questions, share your experiences, and don't forget - a little humor goes a long way in this sector. In this episode, you will hear: What is private benefit in nonprofits Why it's a bad idea to set up a charity that will benefit YOU A listener's question about starting a dog rescue at home The possible legal trouble and damage to your rep if you try to gain from your nonprofit personally Who really owns a nonprofit (Hint: it’s not the founder!) Why a nonprofit organization's resources should be used for the public good - not to fill the founders' pockets “Tough love” and honesty to avoid future problems, even when the truth hurts Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
100: A Twinkie for Your Brain
Nov 30 2023
100: A Twinkie for Your Brain
On this episode of Charity Therapy, Meghan and I dig deep into Founderitis, also known as Founder's Syndrome, in the world of nonprofits. As we answer a listener's question about balancing founder power and decision-making, we explore planning for a future that extends beyond a founder's tenure. Trust us - it's not about having absolute control but about sustaining your nonprofit's mission for the long haul! Navigating the nonprofit world can feel like crossing a minefield blindfolded, especially when dealing with Founderitis. How are you supposed to grow when you’ve got someone clutching the reins of the org with a vice-like grip?! But fear not! Meghan and I are here to guide you through the rocky terrain. We'll be sharing some nuggets of wisdom on how to sidestep the pitfalls of Founderitis behavior. We've got you covered, from building an effective board to fostering relationships with potential new members. Another important point in preventing (or treating) a case of Founderitis? Your bylaws and governance practices. Remember, being a charismatic leader isn't about keeping complete control; it's about ensuring your nonprofit's mission continues to thrive, even when you're no longer at the helm. Sit back, grab a cup of your favorite brew, and let's dive into Founderitis and nonprofit governance! In this episode, you will hear: What is Founderitis or Founder's Syndrome Why it's a bad idea to write rules that give the founder too much power The nonprofit's mission should be bigger than the founder The problems with Founderitis in the nonprofit world and how to avoid it Building a kick-ass board and getting to know possible new members When to get help when writing rules that prevent Founderitis Being a great leader means making sure the nonprofit's mission keeps going strong How to engage new potential board members in your organization How the nonprofit’s culture can make-or-break Founderitis problems Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
099: Pump It Up!
Nov 16 2023
099: Pump It Up!
On this episode of Charity Therapy, Meghan and I break down nonprofit bylaws and everyyyyything you didn’t even know you needed to know. Trust me - by the end of this episode, you'll be a nonprofit legal eagle! From the implications of not following bylaws to debunking common misconceptions, we're laying it all out there - and throwing in a good dose of humor along the way. We tackle a question from a listener who's a little unsure about the legal and ethical aspects of a decision made in their organization. The president of their nonprofit unfortunately passed away, and the vice president stepped in - but now he's postponing elections until 2025! Sounds complicated, right? But don't worry. We're diving deep into this and breaking it all down. If you're confused about nonprofit bylaws or have ever wondered about the rights and expectations of voting members in your organization, this is the episode for you. We're all about bringing clarity to complex matters and reminding you that you're not alone on your nonprofit journey. In this episode, you will hear: Debunking misconceptions about nonprofit bylaws The importance of an organization's constitution A listener's question about a president postponing elections after a sudden death The legal and ethical issues surrounding a postponed election Adhering to bylaws even when non-compliance may not have severe consequences A potential 501(c)(3) violation by an "assumed president" Holding a special election to maintain proper procedures Avoiding legal issues in nonprofits and getting professional advice when questions come up Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
098: Politics Are Weird
Nov 2 2023
098: Politics Are Weird
In this episode of Charity Therapy, Meghan and I are diving into the nitty-gritty of politics within the nonprofit world. Have you ever wondered if your nonprofit can hire someone running for local office? Well, a listener recently asked us that very question, and we’re ready to tackle it head-on. We're going to peel back the layers of rules and regulations and discuss the potential hurdles and solutions around this tricky subject. We're not stopping there, though. We'll also dive deep into the larger landscape of politics and nonprofits. From offering tips on navigating through the maze of regulations to discussing nonprofits' role in the political arena, we've got you covered. Plus, we'll be sharing stories from other listeners navigating similar challenges. Trust us, this is one heck of a conversation! Whether you're a seasoned nonprofit pro or just starting your journey in this sector, we're here to guide you through these complex waters. Our goal is to make this episode both informative and enjoyable. And hey, who knows? You might even walk away with a couple of laughs! Get ready for some charity therapy, pumpkin spice latte style (it's fall, after all!). Join us as we decode the fascinating world of politics within nonprofits. In this episode, you will hear: A deep-dive into whether nonprofits can hire someone running for local office Pulling back the curtain on the maze of regulations around politics and nonprofits The roles nonprofits can and can NOT play in the political arena Insider tips to navigate these regulations with the nonprofit know-how Real-life stories from listeners navigating similar challenges Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
097: Girl Scouts & Vocabulary Lessons
Oct 19 2023
097: Girl Scouts & Vocabulary Lessons
In this episode of Charity Therapy, we’re diving deep into the mysterious realm of nonprofit chapters and affiliates. If you've ever been perplexed by the nonprofit world's labyrinth of structures and systems, we've got your back! Meghan and I will explain the crucial differences between chapters and affiliates (who knew they were different?!) and how they can intertwine in an intricate organizational matrix. In this journey through the nonprofit universe, we're going to tackle the question that keeps many of us up at night: To start a nonprofit or not to start a nonprofit? For a group that’s a small chapter of a larger national org, that question can be really tricky! We'll discuss the importance of understanding the support (if any) a national organization gives its chapters or affiliates and all the implications of going out on your own. Spoiler alert - sometimes it’s better not to start a new organization at all! Strap in for a ride through the intricacies of nonprofit structures, full of laughs, a-ha moments, and practical advice. Whether you're a seasoned veteran in the nonprofit sector, contemplating starting your own organization, or just fascinated by this world, this episode is for you. As we say in the biz, there's never a dull moment in the nonprofit sector - let's dive in and enjoy the ride! In this episode, you will hear: The differences between chapters and affiliates (and why it matters!) How organizational structures can easily get super complex The big question: Do you take a chapter and spin it off to be its own nonprofit entity? What kinds of support an organization may give its chapters and affiliates Why sometimes your group doesn’t need to be a nonprofit at all! Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
096: This Ain’t the Hobbit!
Oct 5 2023
096: This Ain’t the Hobbit!
In this episode, we're tackling a BIG topic in the nonprofit world - how much should you do yourself vs hiring a professional? The nonprofit sector is FULL of DIYers, and sometimes that can get people into trouble.  We've all had those moments where we've rolled up our sleeves and thought, "Sure, I can handle this!" But, when it comes to nonprofit work, sometimes that scrappy DIY spirit can lead to more harm than good. Don't worry. We’ve got plenty of stories to share (some funny, some a bit painful) about the balance between doing it yourself and calling in the professionals. A perfect example of when to call in the pros? Nonprofit bylaws. If you've ever thought that a standard one-size-fits-all solution is the best way to go, let us tell you - it's not that simple. Each state, type of nonprofit, and governance structure has unique requirements. Ignore these, and you could find yourself in a sticky situation, especially with board members. We’ll share expert advice on how to navigate this complex area and trust us, you don't want to miss it! Tune in for some laughs, some learning, and a lot of practical advice. Whether you're a seasoned nonprofit professional or just strapping on your nonprofit boots, there's something here for you. Let's dive in, explore the balance of DIY projects versus professional assistance, and unlock the mysteries of customizing nonprofit bylaws. In this episode, you will hear: The eternal question for nonprofits - to DIY or not to DIY?  Weighing the pros and cons of doing a project yourself versus hiring a professional The crucial world of customizing nonprofit bylaws - it's not a one-size-fits-all situation How each state's nonprofit corporate statute, the type of nonprofit, and the organization's governance structure play crucial roles in drafting the bylaws The common mistakes nonprofits make when they underestimate the importance of bylaws Understanding the law, best practices, and organization theory and development when drafting bylaws Resources from this Episode Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
095: Meeting Skeletons
Sep 21 2023
095: Meeting Skeletons
Hey there, nonprofit party people! In this episode of Charity Therapy, we're back again, diving headfirst into a topic that sounds about as thrilling as watching paint dry: meeting minutes.  But stick with us! This episode isn’t going to put you asleep, I promise! We will shine some much-needed light on the hidden power of these underrated documents in your nonprofit board governance.  We start by addressing a listener's burning question: can technology-assisted recordings replace traditional written meeting minutes? Spoiler alert: they can't! We've got a whole heap of reasons why. In the second half of the episode, we venture into the murky relationship between meeting minutes and technology solutions. You'd think with all our AI gadgets and gizmos, there'd be an easy fix, right? Well, sort of. We talk about how using AI tools can help make minute-taking less of a chore and more of a breeze. But don't get too excited - we also stress why it's essential not to record every single detail during meetings. To round it all off, we explain the importance of training new board members on the art of minute-taking. If you're in nonprofit management and find yourself grappling with board governance, this episode is packed with candid discussions and practical solutions to help you out. Let's turn those meeting minutes from mundane to magical! In this episode, you will hear: Meeting minutes’ significance in nonprofit board governance Why you shouldn’t replace your written minutes with meeting recordings The relationship between meeting minutes and technology Why you don’t want to document every minute detail during board meetings Some AI tools that can make the minute-taking process more manageable The importance of training new board members on meeting minute protocols How to address board members struggling with understanding their roles Resources from this Episode: Sign up for the Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
094: The Anxiety Conga Line
Sep 7 2023
094: The Anxiety Conga Line
In this episode of Charity Therapy, Meghan and I bravely step into the IRS maze.  Don't worry - we've got a flashlight and a sense of humor to guide us through!  We talk about the unexpected humanity we found within the walls of this bureaucratic behemoth. We also unravel the often confusing and frustrating world of the IRS's automated systems, swapping anxiety for some much-needed clarity.  In the second half, we take a deep dive into the world of nonprofit tax filing compliance. From the importance of filing your 990 with the IRS to the potentially disastrous consequences of neglecting it - we cover it all.  But it's not all doom and gloom!  Meghan and I underline the benefits of electronic filing and emphasize the importance of getting proof of filing from a trusted CPA. And yes, we also talk about the dire implications of a three-year filing lapse - buckle up, it's a wild ride! Finally, we discuss having the right professionals guiding your nonprofit's finances. Why? Because the stakes are high, and a wrong move with the IRS can be catastrophic. We also share why you need a CPA who specializes in nonprofit accounting and how these professionals can help your nonprofit grow.  Remember, Meghan and I are here to help you navigate these choppy IRS waters! In this episode, you will hear: The bureaucratic complexities of the IRS The difficulties in dealing with the IRS's automated systems and some common frustrations Nonprofit management and tax filing compliance  The serious consequences of neglecting to file a 990 form with the IRS The implications of a two-year filing lapse Why not filing taxes for two years can cause a loss of C3 status How electronic filing can save you hassle The critical role of professional guidance in nonprofit management Hiring a CPA specializing in nonprofit accounting How a CPA can help guide a nonprofit's growth Resources from this Episode Sign up for Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
093: Buses and Boats and RVs, Oh My!
Aug 24 2023
093: Buses and Boats and RVs, Oh My!
Hi there, fellow nonprofit champions! In this episode of Charity Therapy, we’re diving deep into the tangled world of strategic planning and how to lead a nonprofit team without losing your sanity.  Our guest is Avi Olitzky, a rabbi-turned-nonprofit consultant, who’s an expert at guiding nonprofits through the process of creating a strategic plan that’s fresh, innovative, and tailored to your nonprofit. He breaks the process down into four key stages - discovery, synthesis, ideation, and outcomes - and focuses on empathic listening and innovation every step of the way. But that's not all! We also explore the challenges of leading a creative team and the frustrations of having a vision without follow-through. I promise we're going to help you out here. We'll explore effective leadership strategies, including Jim Collins' concept of having the “right people on the bus.” And we’ll touch on a little tool called the Kolbe A index that might just be the key to understanding your team better.  Join us for a hearty conversation brimming with insights, strategies, and practical tips for all you wonderful nonprofit leaders out there. Remember, even in the most serious of discussions, there's always room for a good laugh! In this episode, you will hear: Avi Olitzky’s approach to the often intimidating process of strategic planning. The four key phases of strategic planning: discovery, synthesis, ideation, and outcomes What happens when you don’t have the “right people on the bus”  The power of understanding your team better through tools like the Kolbe A index Why having the right people on the team is just the beginning How you can create an environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated The power of empathic listening and innovation.  Resources from this Episode Good to Great by Jim Collins: www.amazon.com/Good-Great-Some-Companies-Others/dp/0066620996 Traction by Gino Wickman: www.amazon.com/Traction-Get-Grip-Your-Business/dp/1936661837 Kolbe A Index: www.kolbe.com/kolbe-a-index Link to Avi’s website: www.olitzkyconsulting.com Sign up for Birken Law Email list: birkenlaw.com/signup Facebook page: www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.
092: Red Flags & Lemonade Stands
Aug 10 2023
092: Red Flags & Lemonade Stands
Hey there! Welcome back to another exciting episode of Charity Therapy! We’re diving into the complexities of moving a nonprofit organization this time. Yes, you heard that right - relocating an entire nonprofit. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? Well, not exactly. Even for the smallest nonprofits, it’s not as simple as finding a new address.  In this episode, we tackle a listener's question about moving to a different state, and trying to take “their” nonprofit along with them (and whether they should in the first place!). If you think that's as simple as packing up and moving your home, you're in for a surprise! We'll guide you through the complications - from board member requirements to tax exemptions and employment laws.  But that's not all. We also take a deep dive into the situations where you’d want to “relocate” an organization in the first place. Is there only one person involved in the nonprofit? What about the board of directors and community they’re leaving behind?  Will the operations even be necessary in your new community? We ponder these questions and much more. Sit back, get comfortable, and join us! Remember, we're all in this crazy nonprofit world together! In this episode, you will hear: How even the smallest nonprofits deal with complex regulations, similar to Fortune 500 companiesWhat it means to “move” a nonprofit (hint - it’s not what you think!)The trouble with having a nonprofit of one The legal requirements to register a nonprofit in a new state vs. creating a new entityA listener's question about relocating a nonprofit and dissecting potential complicationsWhy passionate people may need to consider volunteering at an existing organization instead of starting their own nonprofit  Resources from this Episode Nonprofit Financials 101 with Megan Tarnow: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJhdDWJL-yvzs3eaDaAHbQnPsbF8D-VTV Sign up for Birken Law Email list: https://birkenlaw.com/signup/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/birkenlaw Follow and Review: We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast. Episode Credits If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.