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Nonprofit Office Space Searching Tips

A few years ago when I had the task of finding a new office space for my previous organization, I jumped into that process I wondering what steps do I take?  I forged ahead and learned as I went along. However, I am now going through that process again with my current organization and wanted to provide a few tips to make it easier for nonprofits who are also currently looking for office space.

1. I signed up for the Northern California Community Loan Fund's (NCCLF) www.ncclf.org Space Matching service. NCCLF sends out a monthly Space Matching e-mail that lists office space specifically for nonprofits and also nonprofits looking for office space in the Bay Area. Mary McNamara administers this list.  I have been very happy with this service and "found" two offices through the list that have come to fruition.

2. I contacted my commercial real estate broker.  A couple of years ago I found Dave Berry from GVA Whitney Cressman http://www.gvawhitneycressman.com/x379.xml through Craigslist.org.  He frequently works with nonprofits and he helped Compumentor to find their current space.

Great Nonprofit Communications Toolkit

I recently revised Aspiration's communications plan.  During this process I found Cause Communication's "Communications Toolkit: A guide to navigating communications for the nonprofit world" to be a very helpful resource. I ordered my free copy of the book/binder on Cause Communication's website. www.causecommunications.org

I enjoy working with attorneys at my nonprofit

Being an Operations Manager I have come to appreciate working with lawyers.

I personally have benefited greatly from my lawyers' advice and council which has potentially prevented organizations I work for from expensive law suits or having to pay unnecessary fees if I tried to do certain legal things myself. Ultimately, I feel that I am saving my organization money by working with these attorneys.

I found my first lawyer, Linda Gulledge www.workinglaw.com (an employment law attorney) through the San Francisco Bar Association's www.sfbar.org Volunteer Legal Services Program. Linda helped my organization on a volunteer basis revise our personnel manual and keep it up to date with California employment law. I learned so much through this process, that I decided to retain Linda on a monthly basis to provide advice to my organization on employment related issues or situations.  She is so helpful, especially in stressful situations when I am trying to deal with disgruntled employees!

A few tips to know when looking for a Bank Account for your nonprofit

Recently one of the organizations that Aspiration fiscally sponsors asked me questions about finding a bank account. Here are a few tips, I told her.

You can get a Wells Fargo business credit card with just your nonprofit tax-id number. You don't even have to have a bank account there.  You do have to have positive net income on your 990 form from the previous two years, which may be challenging for some nonprofits who receive multi-year grants so one year net income is positive and another year it is negative.

Each Citibank branch gives money to local nonprofits so it is good to establish a relationship with your local Citibank branch manager.  In addition, Citibank has a great benefit and gives employees of any small business free financial planning and seminars through Citipro.

Bank fees are the killer, all banks have a minimum balance for Business Checking and Savings Accounts. Choose one bank and stick with it. I have hesitations about choosing small local banks, they may say they work with nonprofits in reality they are just saying that in hopes to get your business.

A couple Nonprofit Leadership links

Here are a couple of helpful leadership links I saw this week through the various listservs I subscribe to.

  • The Young and Restless in a Knowledge Economy
    A recent release from CEOs for Cities examines the importance of attracting college-educated workers between the ages of 25 and 35, whose unprecedented mobility enables them to relocate to cities which have the precise assets, ethos and opportunities that they seek. “In understanding these young, educated workers, cities have their best chance of succeeding in the most competitive economic environment in history.”  Download the full report at http://www.ceosforcities.org/ResearchandResources.htm.

(originally posted on AFTAEL-L@culturemail.org http://tinyurl.com/j9bm9 then forwarded to dcinfo@lists.ynpn.org http://lists.ynpn.org/lists/info/dcinfo)

A couple Nonprofit legal links

Here are a couple of nonprofit legal links that I found on some of the listservs that I subscribe to.

  • New: Grassroots.org Legal Resources Directory: Grassroots.org has launched a new legal resource directory for nonprofit organizations. This interactive directory features a wide array of online resources geared toward helping existing and new nonprofits tackle a multitude of legal issues. (http://apps.grassroots.org/legal_links/

(Originally posted on sfba_members@lists.ynpn.org http://www.ynpn.org/JoinList.asp)

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