NYSAE Finance & Management Institute

By Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE

NYSAE's Finance & Management Institute focused on alternative money resources, better investment of those funds, and changes coming down the pike as a result of the recently passed New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act. The October 16 program, put together by NYSAE's Education Committee, was held at the offices of the New York Society of Security Analysts.

Amish Mehta, CPA.Venable Attorneys Susan E. Golden (seated left), Lisa M. Hix (seated center), and Kristalyn J. Loson (seated right), spoke about New York’s Non-Profit Revitalization Act during the Opening Plenary Session at NYSAE’s Finance and Management Institute. Also pictured are: David Murphy, CPA, (standing right) senior vice president/investments, UBS Financial Services, Inc.; and Amish Mehta, CPA, and chair of NYSAE’s Education Committee, and Amish Mehta, CPA, partner and director, Not-for-Profit Services, Friedman, LLP.

Attorneys from Venable LLP discussed the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act, a bill that makes comprehensive updates to the New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, as well as several other statutes related to nonprofits. The Act, which unanimously passed both houses of New York's legislature and is awaiting delivery to the Governor's office, would be the first major revision to New York's nonprofit laws in over 40 years. Its provisions apply to nonprofits that are incorporated in New York. Susan E. Golden, Esq., Lisa M. Hix, Esq., and Kristalyn J. Loson, Esq. presented a comprehensive overview of the Act, which if signed into law, many nonprofits would find that they need to amend their governance documents, policies, and procedures—and, in some cases, significantly overhaul their governance structure—to comply with some of the detailed requirements of the Act. click here for the PowerPoint presentation they presented; and Click here for an article they authored, which summarizes the major aspects of the anticipated law.

Amish Mehta, CPA.Larry Sinsimer (left), senior vice president/investments, Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, spoke why it is difficult to be a successful investor and how to overcome investment mistakes by following some simple guidelines during his session on Fear in the Headlines: An Equity Market Perspective. Also pictured is David Murphy, CPA, chair of NYSAE’s Education Committee.

Is the market stuck? Or are you? Larry Sinsimer, senior vice president/investments, Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, suggests that many organizations are missing investment opportunities that appear crystal clear when looked at in hindsight. Why? Because people are "frozen in the headlines." Who can blame them, says Sinsimer. "We are most affected by our most recent memory, and world headlines can be frightening. We are impaired by our most recent experience." But, he adds, headlines are sometimes disconnected to what is going on. "The news has become entertainment with emotion. But one thing I've learned in the investment business is to keep emotion out of it," he says. "Successful investing is a logical disciplined process, but today, fear and greed drive investments. Successful investing requires a long-term outlook, but today's investors tend to be short-term oriented. Click here for the PowerPoint of Sinsimer's presentation.

Finding alternative sources of income is always a challenge for associations and nonprofits. Few associations and charitable organizations these days can continue to fulfill their mission exclusively based on income from membership dues and donations. Brian Saber, president and cofounder of Asking Matters, moderated a session on Innovative Solutions for Building Revenue Streams. Panelists included: Marsha S. Block, CAE, CAE, CFRE, chief executive officer, American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA); Lisa Klein, senior vice president, Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW); and Dean D'Ambrosi, vice president of member services, National Association of Print Leadership (NAPL).

Amish Mehta, CPA.Brian Saber (second from left), president and co-founder, Asking Matters, moderated a panel on Innovative Solutions for Building Revenue Streams. Panelists included: Marsha Block, CAE, CFRE, (third from left), chief executive officer, American Group Psychotherapy Association; Dean D’Ambrosi, vice president of member services, National Association of Print Leadership; and Lisa Klein, senior vice president, Cosmetic Executive Women. Also pictured (far left) is Education Committee member Holly Koenig, vice president, Kellen Company.

Over half the revenue CEW brings in each year is generated through sponsorship and awards. Sponsorships are offered at each of the 17 events it holds each year (two awards programs and 15 speaker events). "Our program speakers are our carrots," says Klein. In addition to having their name before program attendees, sponsorship allows access to the speakers or award honorees, either through private dinners or receptions. "We serve as matchmakers, sitting people next to others they want to meet. We don't guarantee business, just access," says Klein. CEW also offers incentives to sponsors to spend more. Once they reach a certain monetary level, Klein and the sponsor prepare a board presentation, which Klein presents. "We have four board meetings a year, and two new sponsors are presented at each. I keep the presentations to less than five minutes. The presentation tells about the sponsor company and why they might be important to board members," she adds. "Raising revenue must always tie in to your mission."

AGPA's fundraising is around specific, mission-focused initiatives. "We have a separate foundation to make clear to our membership that donations are different than dues," says Block. One of AGPA's most successful fundraising initiatives has been its scholarship program, which supports attendance to its annual meeting. "Last year, 15 percent—more than 175 people—were on some form of scholarship to our convention," she adds. "The result has been a revitalized meeting, introducing the next generation of leaders to the organization and bringing a diversity of attendance." AGPA has also raised funds for community outreach activities. As a result of 9/11, the association has developed trauma protocols for helping communities affected by manmade or natural disasters. "In addition to providing support after the tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina, Irene, and Sandy, and the Oklahoma bombings and the Sandy Hook shootings, AGPA has been working in the Boston area following last year's Marathon attacks. We will be holding a distance learning program this fall for clinicians in the Boston area, providing an opportunity to present AGPA to the community before we arrive there for our annual meeting in March," explains Block. Another specific fundraising initiative is AGPA's Treasures for Technology raffle, which has helped raise money over the last three years to support a website revamp. "AGPA doesn't have unlimited resources and members do not constantly want their dues raised," says Block. "We have found, however, that asking for money for specific projects has been very successful."

NAPL is proud of its affinity programs, where members get a discount (negotiated by the association) with particular vendors. "It's very important that our affinity program is unique to our association—that members cannot get the same discounts somewhere else," says D'Ambrosi. The affinity program has to have three benefits: It has to be of use to the membership; it has to provide a royalty back to the association; and it has to be marketed by the vendor and the association. "To ensure that our affinity programs are self-funding," says D'Ambrosi, "a percentage of the royalties are put into marketing the program. It shows our partners that we are committed to the program." NAPL uses its affinity program as a retention tool. "We track how much each member saves through participation in the affinity program and provide that amount to the member with the dues statement. Often the amount saved more than covers the dues. It's been a very effective retention tool."

Ultimately, it's the association's leadership team that must bring in the monies needed to fulfill the organization's mission, invest it wisely, and make sure it's all legal…and that's what NYSAE's Finance & Management Institute was all about!

NYSAE will hold a Membership Institute on January 15.

Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE, is president of Millman-Falk Communications, LLC, and managing editor for NYSAE's InView. She is also chair of the Awards Committee. She can be reached at 201-652-1687; mfc32@optonline.net; or millmanfalk@nysaenet.org.