Nonprofit Newsletter



 Nonprofit Newsletter September 2016

Welcome to our inaugural newsletter prepared by the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee. It is my pleasure to serve as the editor for this inaugural issue. This quarterly e-newsletter is geared to bring you education, inspiration, and be a source of information for the 60 or more nonprofit members of the Camarillo Chamber. Our goal is to be a resource for you. Additionally we invite you to visit our website at so that you can subscribe for the newsletter, and also check out the nonprofit event calendar. We'll maintain an archive of all our articles so you can always go back and re-read an article that caught your fancy.
Most nonprofits are resource limited and it's not uncommon for the development staff to be wearing many hats. We do this because we're passionate about the work. However self-care and personal renewal is critical as it helps us be better professionals. Demystifying planned giving is important as it provides long term sustainability to a small nonprofit organization and gives individuals a way to be involved and give when they may not have the means to do so from current income. Leadership is a title that's earned not given and we can all learn tools and techniques to hone our skills. Each issue will be rounded out with information on how to maximize your Chamber membership. So sit back, and enjoy reading!  
Niki Chopra Richardson
Camarillo Ranch Foundation

Gloria Miele, Ph.D.
Training, Coaching and Professional Development

Everyone’s a Leader

Whether you’re the Executive Director of a nonprofit, CEO of a Fortune 500 or a brand new administrative assistant, you have the opportunity to lead every day. When you show up, do your best and set a positive example in whatever you’re doing, that’s leadership.
Of course you need to know your stuff, but you also need to know about people, starting with you. The more you understanding yourself, the more effective you’ll be at leading others. 

No matter what your role, here are 5 essentials to become a stronger leader.

1. Engage your team through strengths. Research shows that when people have the opportunity to work to their strengths every day, they are more engaged, productive, and successful. Organizations are more profitable; employees are happier and healthier. When you’re doing what you love and do best, you’re maximizing your potential. 

Imagine what happens when your entire team starts working from their strengths. When you start getting everyone on the same page and understanding one and other’s unique contribution, you can start using strengths more strategically. How does each individual contribute to make your organization stronger, more effective and more engaged?

2. Work your vision. Vision is essential to set priorities and guide your team where you want to go. What do you want for your organization? What do you want for your people? What amazing experience have you had in the past that can inform you moving forward? Where do you see yourself in 1, 5 or 10 years? The mission and values of your organization will guide you to create a vision that can inspire you and your team.

3. Be a clear, empathic communicator. One of the biggest complaints in organizations is poor communication and lack of transparency. Employees feel left out, which decreases trust, engagement and satisfaction. People start feeling suspicious, undermining morale. Clear and consistent communication with your team will build trust, increase buy-in and help you get your point across in a compelling, authentic way. Make sure to communicate that vision! 

Communication is a 2-way street, and listening is even more important than speaking. The more you can take a genuine interest in someone and understand their perspective, the more you will develop trust through empathic communication. Ask open-ended questions to find out more, then reflect back what you hear to confirm understanding. Listen intently while someone else is talking. Practice active and mindful listening skills. Try (and try again) not to interrupt. Embrace silence.

4. Practice self-care. As the saying goes, you can’t drink from an empty cup. Leaders are givers, so don’t forget to take care of the most important member of your team: YOU! Make sure to recharge and practice self-care. Whether that’s a walk on the beach or run around the block, a nap, a chat with a trusted friend, a cute cat video or a 15 minute break for a cup of tea, find the activities and people that keep you fueled. 

5. Keep learning. The most successful leaders are lifelong learners. Whether it’s continuing education to stay at the top of your career, a painting class to tap into your creativity, or a weekend meditation retreat to help you relax and be more fully present (that’s self-care too!), it’s never too late to learn. Plato said, “I do not know how I may seem to others, but to myself I am only a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to be contented with.” Look at things with a beginner’s mind. Find your pebble.

Which of these are you already doing as a leader? Where would you like to grow? 

Read more on the essentials of leadership at
Gloria Miele, Ph.D. helps bring out the best in leaders and their teams with coaching, training and staff development programs designed to create positive, strengths-based work cultures. She also provides nonprofit education through the Camarillo Chamber, where she is a board member, and is on the faculty of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at CLU. 

Niki Chopra Richardson
Camarillo Ranch Foundation

Balance is Boring

We’ve all heard the phrase work-life balance. It’s meant to define a healthy combination of working and maintaining a standard of living where work isn’t all consuming. You know what that looks like right? All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Well, I submit that Balance is Boring. What if we considered work-life harmony instead? Where your work and life flow together, with the understanding that sometimes work takes precedence, like when you’re on a deadline or are planning for a special event. You give it your all and then once that deadline is past, you spend time resetting the equilibrium and allow your personal life to come back into focus. All too often we barely come up for air before we hit the ground running onto the next deadline and then the next and so on. This leads to complete fatigue, burn out, or worse an unexpected illness. I am no scientist and I don’t have data to support this, but in my own circle of influence, I know of many people who have been all consumed by their work only to experience complete adrenal fatigue or develop cancer or realize they have an autoimmune disease. 

The very first step to this work-life harmony is acknowledging that you’re out of harmony, and that balance was never the goal. Acknowledging that you work too much, for too long and that you would like that to be different is the single most important step in this process.  

The next step is to set an intention to achieve this harmony, which will always be a work in progress. The reality is that you’re not likely to leave work at work when the day is done. Usually work goes home with you. You may not be tied to a computer, but you’re certainly thinking about it. And that’s ok when you’re on a deadline, working on a one time project or planning a big event. Most of us can’t flick that switch as easily. However, once that deadline has passed, the event is done and cleaned up take a day, or two or three to recover. Here’s where you get to listen to your body and mind and allow yourself the grace to reset the equilibrium. Treat yourself (and perhaps your staff too) to a leisurely lunch, go for a midday yoga class or go for a walk; something to uplift your mind and body.

Many of us hold onto the old way of working; 8-12 hours a day and life cannot interfere. I believe that we would be a lot more productive at work if we took care of life when we needed to, instead of relegating it to after business hours. In the words of one of my very wise mentors; “your tombstone or eulogy is never going to talk about what a great employee you were, only about what a good parent, friend, child or sibling you were. So make the most of your life while you can.”
Originally from India, Niki Richardson has an MBA in International Marketing from Pepperdine University and has been a fundraiser in LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara County since 2001. She has been a yogi since age 12, was an AFAA certified personal trainer and has been studying nutrition for over 20 years. She is passionate about empowering people to make healthier choices about what they put in and on their body. She is a student of mindfulness and loves to help people put the oxygen mask on themselves first! 

Lisa Marie Higginbotham
Thrivent Financial

Charitable Giving

Charitable giving can play an important role in many estate plans. Philanthropy cannot only give you great personal satisfaction, it can also give you a current income tax deduction, let you avoid capital gains tax, and reduce the amount of taxes your estate may owe when you die.

There are many ways to give to charity. You can make gifts during your lifetime or at your death. You can make gifts outright or use a trust. You can name a charity as a beneficiary in your will, or designate a charity as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or life insurance policy. Or, if your gift is substantial, you can establish a private foundation, community foundation, or donor-advised fund.

Making outright gifts
An outright gift is one that benefits the charity immediately and exclusively. With an outright gift you get an immediate income and gift tax deduction.
Tip: Make sure the charity is a qualified charity according to the IRS. Get a written receipt or keep a bank record for any cash donations, and get a written receipt for any property other than money.

Will or trust bequests and beneficiary designations
These gifts are made by including a provision in your will or trust document, or by using a beneficiary designation form. The charity receives the gift at your death, at which time your estate can take the income and estate tax deductions.

Charitable trusts
Another way for you to make charitable gifts is to create a charitable trust. You can name the charity as the sole beneficiary, or you can name a non-charitable beneficiary as well, splitting the beneficial interest (this is referred to as making a partial charitable gift). The most common types of trusts used to make partial gifts to charity are the charitable lead trust and the charitable remainder trust.

Charitable lead trust
A charitable lead trust pays income to a charity for a certain period of years, and then the trust principal passes back to you, your family members, or other heirs. The trust is known as a charitable lead trust because the charity gets the first, or lead, interest. A charitable lead trust can be an excellent estate planning vehicle if you own assets that you expect will substantially appreciate in value. If created properly, a charitable lead trust allows you to keep an asset in the family and still enjoy some tax benefits.

How a Charitable Lead Trust Works
Example: John, who often donates to charity, creates and funds a $2 million charitable lead trust. The trust provides for fixed annual payments of $100,000 (or 5% of the initial $2 million value) to ABC Charity for 20 years. At the end of the 20-year period, the entire trust principal will go outright to John's children. Using IRS tables and assuming a 2.0% Section 7520 rate, the charity's lead interest is valued at $1,635,140, and the remainder interest is valued at $364,860. Assuming the trust assets appreciate in value, John's children will receive any amount in excess of the remainder interest ($364,860) unreduced by estate taxes.

Charitable remainder trust
A charitable remainder trust is the mirror image of the charitable lead trust. Trust income is payable to you, your family members, or other heirs for a period of years, then the principal goes to your favorite charity. A charitable remainder trust can be beneficial because it provides you with a stream of current income--a desirable feature if there won't be enough income from other sources.

How a Charitable Remainder Trust Works
Example: Jane, an 80-year-old widow, creates and funds a charitable remainder trust with real estate currently valued at $1 million, and with a cost basis of $250,000. The trust provides that fixed quarterly payments be paid to her for 20 years. At the end of that period, the entire trust principal will go outright to her husband's alma mater. Using IRS tables and assuming a 2.0% Section 7520 rate, Jane receives $50,000 each year, avoids capital gains tax on
$750,000, and receives an immediate income tax charitable deduction of $176,298, which can be carried forward for five years. Further, Jane has removed $1 million, plus any future appreciation, from her gross estate.

Private family foundation
A private family foundation is a separate legal entity that can endure for many generations after your death. You create the foundation, then transfer assets to the foundation, which in turn makes grants to public charities. You and your descendants have complete control over which charities receive grants. But, unless you can contribute enough capital to generate funds for grants, the costs and complexities of a private foundation may not be worth it.
Tip: One rule of thumb is that you should be able to donate enough assets to generate at least $25,000 a year for grants.

Community foundation
If you want your dollars to be spent on improving the quality of life in a particular community, consider giving to a community foundation. Similar to a private foundation, a community foundation accepts donations from many sources, and is overseen by individuals familiar with the community's particular needs, and professionals skilled at running a charitable organization.

Donor-advised fund
Similar in some respects to a private foundation, a donor-advised fund offers an easier way for you to make a significant gift to charity over a long period of time. A donor-advised fund actually refers to an account that is held within a charitable organization. The charitable organization is a separate legal entity, but your account is not--it is merely a component of the charitable organization that holds the account. Once you transfer assets to the account, the charitable organization becomes the legal owner of the assets and has ultimate control over them. You can only advise--not direct--the charitable organization on how your contributions will be distributed to other charities.

Christy Coe
Camarillo Chamber

Chamber Benefits for Nonprofit Organizations

The Camarillo Chamber has more than 60 nonprofit organizations as members of the Chamber, and the number keeps growing. Whether you work for a nonprofit organization or volunteer for one, the Camarillo Chamber offers resources to help you be successful and obtain your professional goals. I’m personally excited about our new Nonprofit Newsletter because it allows me to highlight one or two benefits you may want to take advantage of, such as:
  • Nonprofit Education Workshops - Earlier this year the Chamber launched its Nonprofit Education Workshop Series. Topics covered have been centered on nonprofit needs such as board development, financial matters, volunteerism, fundraising, and grant writing. Mark your calendar; our next workshop is Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. The topic is Best Practices for Year-End Appeal. Click here to learn more.
  • Nonprofit Calendar – Nonprofit Chamber members now have a dedicated Calendar of Events located on the Chamber website. Do you have an upcoming event? Login to and post your event. Just be sure to click “nonprofit community.”
Are you a non-member interested in learning how to become a member of the Camarillo Chamber? Please contact me at (805) 484-4383 or

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