Nonprofits in Marin

Since our client base consists of Marin-based public benefit organizations, grassroots programs, and county-wide initiatives we regularly scan for and collect information about these organizations. For our own operations, we also collect resources, tools, articles, and other bits of best practice information that, while not exactly focused on facilities and workspace, still might be of interest to our colleagues.

Rather than just store all of this information on our private hard-drive, we do our best to pick out the most interesting and useful items and make them available here.

Below you will find a few of our featured general nonprofit resources. For a comprehensive look at all of our nonprofit and social enterprise related resources click on the link above in the red horizontal menu bar or use the search tool in the upper right-hand corner.

Please feel free to give us a call at 415-492-9444 or send an email to if you have any questions about these resources.

Causes Count – CalNonprofit Study

The California Association of Nonprofits survey, “Causes Count, the Economic Power of California’s Nonprofit Sector” is now available.  Please take a few minutes to download and review this first-ever statewide study.

Causes Count.pdf

Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits

An overview of the process to obtain Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits that includes information for getting your Organizational Clearance Certificate from the Board of Equalization and then applying to the County for your Welfare Exemption Certificate.

Click HERE for the full .pdf document.

Compensation and Benefits Survey

The annual Compensation and Benefits survey, conducted by Nonprofit Compensation Associates, will be closing Friday February 14th. In 2013 434 agencies, reporting on over 21,000 jobs participated. We think it’s important that ALL Northern California nonprofit organization have a chance to participate.  Take a few moments to learn more:

Nonprofit Capacity Building 2013 – What has Changed?

As part of the nonprofit capacity building sector we do our best to stay up-to-date on trends and promising practices in the field. Here is a great webcast from the very informative Nonprofit Quarterly Folks.

Nonprofit Platform wins 2012 Innovation Showcase

The North Bay Business Journal reported in their June 11, 2012 edition that Nonprofit Easy, the Rohnert Park-based developer of a cloud-based software suite tailored for nonprofit companies, took home top honors at the 2012 Business Plan Competition at Sonoma State University, a part of the 2012 Innovation Showcase.

With the top audience vote, Lomesh Shah, co-founder of the company and its parent, IQR Consulting, won $2,500 in recognition of two years’ work to build the comprehensive platform that integrates staff management, volunteer data and other systems common to nonprofits.

NFF Releases Results of 2012 State of the Sector Survey

2012 State of the Sector Survey

In this year’s survey, more than 4,500 respondents at nonprofits across the country shared the details of how they are adapting their organizations and finances to economic conditions.  The survey, which was supported for the second year in a row by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, reveals that while 2011 was a year of significant organizational and programmatic changes, many nonprofits are still facing fundamental challenges that threaten the stability of the sector and the well-being of the people they serve.

Here are the facts:

  • 85% of nonprofits experienced an increase in the demand for services in 2011.
  • This is on top of years of increased demand: previous NFF surveys found that 77% of nonprofits experienced an increase in demand in 2010; 71% experienced an increase in 2009; and 73% experienced an increase in 2008.
  • 88% expect an increase in demand for services in 2012.
  • 57% have 3 months or less cash-on-hand.
  • 87% said their financial outlook won’t get any better in 2012.

But this is just a fraction of what the data show. This year, for the first time NFF is enabling you to explore the data yourself. The NFF Survey Analyzer at allows you to investigate questions that cut across sub-sectors, budget size, and geography. You are invited you to share what you discover via e-mail and social media on the NFF website

Making Collaboration Work – ED Round Table, Thu Feb 2nd, 9-10:30am

“Collaboration” encompasses a wide spectrum of collective actions – from one-time, ad-hoc events (flash mobs) and informal peer groups (like this one) to formal, ongoing, strategic and operational arrangements (chapters, alliances, coalitions, cooperative programs, mergers etc.). What are the similarities that differentiate “collaboration” from transactional exchanges such as sub-contracting, grant making, or service agreements? What are the key areas of consideration in forming a collaborative initiative (membership, accountability/authority, leadership roles etc)? What organizational models (fiscal sponsorship, separate 501(c)3, member/chapter association, etc.) work best for which types of collaboration? When does it make sense to have paid staff, what role do they play, and who do they report to? In addition to the important intangibles, such as trust, cultural fit, leadership etc., are there any best practice examples of concrete tools, communication processes, back-office systems etc. that are key to supporting successful collaborations?

Please bring at least one collaboration related resource or case study example to share with the group. Here’s one on Collective Impact to to get us started:

555 Northgate Drive, San Rafael
RSVP by reply email or call Christina at 415-448-0322

Facilitating this month’s discussion is Shelley Hamilton, Executive Director of MarinSpace.

Guest Blog Post – Social Enterprise & Civil Society

Here are some excerpts from a recent guest Blog Post on Social Enterprise and its impact on Civil Society that I wrote last month for Capacity for Change . . .

“… The Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership asked me to write a guest Blog post on Social Enterprise as part of the lead in to the Marin Consultant Network’s Brown Bag lunch conversation, …

… “Social Enterprise” just seemed too small a term to encompass the breadth and complexity of … [the topic]

… a tectonic shift in the social contract underpinning our Civil Society…

…we now have a blurry, shifting landscape of entities blending multiple purposes within one organizing structure…

… But will a society, shifting around under a new beanbag support system still be civil? Or, … will we lose our common framework to such an extent that we lose our shared vision of, and commitment to, the common good?

… What is the new social contract …

So I say…  “I think you’re looking too narrowly at the problem.” …  “I think you’re looking too narrowly at the solution.” …  “Please be careful, think deeply, look widely, and consider the 7th generation impact of your actions. What’s at stake is nothing less than the future of our Civil (or not) Society.”

Interested in the whole conversation? Contact us to learn more.

Who Decides? Property Tax Exemptions in a Changing Environment

Here is a very interesting article from the Nonprofit Quarterly on Nonprofit Property Tax issues.

August 17, 2011; Source: The Virginian-Pilot | Roger Chesley, a columnist for the Virginian-Pilot out of Norfolk, Virginia, approvingly writes that communities in the Tidewater region of Virginia have “begun taking a closer look at agencies seeking government goodies that—frankly—don’t need them.” Chesley calls for other Tidewater cities to “review their policies, especially at a time when the economy has remained stagnant and it’s been tougher for localities to pay for core services.”

For example, Chesley describes the plan of Suffolk City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn to initiate a review of policies regarding tax-exempt property owners. The review was prompted by a request from the Obici Healthcare Foundation to exempt its $1.7-million downtown headquarters from property taxes. Chesley describes the Foundation’s services and assets, including a $93 million investment portfolio, and concludes, “The proposed tax bite . . . would hardly make a dent in the foundation’s bottom line.”

Chesley then looks at the local YMCA as an example of “organizations [that] have altered their missions so radically that it’s surprising they still receive special tax treatment.” He characterizes the YMCA of South Hampton Roads as having “morphed into a lucrative fitness juggernaut with more than 100,000 members . . . [and a] chief executive [who] earns nearly $300,000 a year.” He says for-profit exercise clubs “grumble that the Y has an unfair, built-in advantage,” though he suggests that the state would have to decide if whether the YMCA should continue to be tax-exempt.

The City of Suffolk isn’t waiting for the state to make tax exemption determinations, announcing that for now it “doesn’t plan to revoke the exemptions of organizations that already have them”—as if it had the legal authority to do so. And that’s the problem. It may be that some individual nonprofits have drifted so far from their original mission that their nonprofit status is truly in question. And it may be that some classes of nonprofits, such as hospitals, have done little to distinguish them from their for-profit competitors.

But if every locality and every state is going to make its own nonprofit and tax-exemption determinations on their own, prompted by periods of fiscal difficulty rather than legal principle, and based on inconsistent, subjective criteria, the result is a free-for-all. Can you imagine every municipal and county government in the country determining for themselves the public-benefit and nonprofit status of the tax-exempt entities within their jurisdictions?—Rick Cohen

2011 Nonprofit Trends from May 2011 ED Roundtable

Executive Directors Roundtable -Thursday May 5, 2011

Nonprofit colleagues joined together in a roundtable discussion to explore shifts and trends in the local, regional and national nonprofit sector.  They painted a picture of the collective nonprofit landscape to help guide their Boards and staff in planning for the future. The facilitator, Shelley Hamilton, kicked off the conversation by reviewing trend data that she gathered for her Board’s 2010 annual strategic planning process (click here for 2010 reference materials) and then helped in creating an updated Trend Map for 2011.

The May Executive Directors’ meeting was facilitated by Shelley Hamilton, CEO of MarinSpace.  After spending more than 10 years as a consultant in both the Nonprofit and Information Technology sectors, Shelley Hamilton joined MarinSpace in 2003 as its first Executive Director. Prior to joining MarinSpace, Ms. Hamilton was founder and principal of NetCentric Designs, a business strategy, team facilitation, and organizational design firm.

Nonprofit Trends – ED Roundtable May 5th 9am

Executive Directors Roundtable –Thursday May 5th: 9am to 10:30am in the Main Conference Room of the Marin Nonprofit Resource Center at 555 Northgate Dr.

Join your colleagues in a roundtable discussion to explore shifts and trends in our local, regional and national nonprofit sector. Together we will paint a picture of our collective landscape that will help us guide our Boards and Staff in planning for the future. This month’s facilitator, Shelley Hamilton, will kick off the conversation by reviewing trend data that she gathered for her Board’s annual strategic planning process (click here for 2010 reference materials) and then lead us in creating an updated Trend Map for ourselves.

This month’s meeting will be facilitated by Shelley Hamilton, CEO of MarinSpace.  After spending more than 10 years as a consultant in both the Nonprofit and Information Technology sectors, Shelley Hamilton joined MarinSpace in 2003 as its first Executive Director. Prior to joining MarinSpace, Ms. Hamilton was founder and principal of NetCentric Designs, a business strategy, team facilitation, and organizational design firm

Nonprofits In Marin – Google Map

Under construction

As part of our research for the 2009 Nonprofit Workspace Study we collected information on about 2000 tax exempt entities, fiscally sponsored programs, and regional offices of national organizations operating in Marin county. We are continuing to work with this information to make it publicly available in a useful, search-able format. In the mean time, we have developed a Google map showing all of the organizations for which we found street addresses.

The map so far only contains data for southern Marin and the pop-up balloon information is rough. We are in process on this project and would welcome the assistance of anyone with knowledge of html and/or Google Map API to help us improve this information resource.

You can also click HERE to view this map in its own larger window.

Trends in the Nonprofit Sector – Jul 14, 2010

Discussion Topic for the July 14th Nonprofit Consultants Network Brown Bag Lunch Conversation

What trends are you seeing with your clients these days? Come join in a roundtable discussion with your colleagues to explore and discuss shifts and trends in the sector as a whole, and how these are being played out (or not) in our local area. Shelley Hamilton of MarinSpace will facilitate the conversation and has offered to share with the group the research she recently conducted as background material for her Board’s annual retreat. During the conversation we will be challenging, updating, and adding to her graphic summary of findings.

Information for this graphic was synthesized from a number of difference sources including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Foundation Center, and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (also see attached file with links to the original research articles). These documents have been included in a blog post on the group’s LinkedIn page. Please add any additional resource information you have to share with the group prior to the meeting by commenting on this blog post.

2009 Nonprofit Workspace Study Resources

Here is list of links to the materials we developed as part of our 2009 Nonprofit Workspace Study project.