My experience/advice

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.

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