CalNonprofits convention photo
CalNonprofits is...
...a statewide alliance of over 10,000 organizations that brings nonprofits together to advocate for the communities we serve.
Photo at annual convention 2015
Be a member...
…to increase our collective voice in Sacramento and benefit from exclusive and discounted goods and services, including insurance just for nonprofits.

Latest News for Nonprofits

Take our surveyDonor-advised funds (DAFs) have been the subject of much discussion lately in the mainstream press as well as in the nonprofit community. CalNonprofits has been meeting with community foundations, DAF donors, and nonprofit researchers to learn about how nonprofits interact with DAFs and what role CalNonprofits should play in emerging public policy aspects of DAFs. Help us understand your experiences with DAFs, and your opinions on what kinds of regulations — if any — would be useful.

Click here to take the short 5-minute survey on Donor Advised Funds.

Hand holding a phoneIf Congress and the White House don’t reach an agreement by February 15, 2019, the federal government will shut down again, inflicting more and lasting harm on our communities and nonprofits. We know how much the recent shutdown hurt because nonprofits across the state shared their stories and worries, and we sent those compelling stories to all the California members of Congress. 

Now our representatives in Washington D.C. need to hear from all of us directly. Our members of the House of Representatives and our Senators need to hear the local impact of the recent shutdown, and we nonprofits can do that best. Tell them about the people in your community losing their housing or jobs, or the loan your organization needed to cover payroll, furloughed federal workers coming to food banks, and what happens if they shut down the government again.

Even if you know your representatives are committed to ending the shutdown, it's important to let them know that their community is watching and supporting their efforts. Increasing the pressure on federal officials is the best way to prevent another senseless shutdown.

How to make phone calls, send email, or post on social media

Three ways to contact your members of Congress: by phone, email or social media (or all 3!)

Phone Calls

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office: (202) 224-3841
  • Senator Kamala Harris’ office: (202) 224 - 3553
  • Call your U.S. Representative. Simply call the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected with your Representative. Not sure who that is? Click here to find your representative.

Sample: Hi, this is ___________ and I work at ____________, a nonprofit in (city) in your district. I'm calling to remind you of the hardships suffered here in (city) by the last federal shutdown. A government shutdown hurts so many people so disastrously. Shutdowns should never be an option. Don't be afraid to give them specific examples of how the shutdown hurt your community. 

Send an email making the same points to each member of Congress:

Social Media

Sample tweet:

.[@Representative/Senator’s Twitter Handle] The #government-shutdown hurt our families and community. Another one will cause deep and lasting harm. Shutdowns are completely unacceptable and should never be an option. @CalNonprofits

Dianne Feinstein’s Twitter handle is @SenFeinstein

Kamala Harris’ Twitter handle is @SenKamalaHarris

Click here to see the Twitter handles for all California members of Congress.

And if you have time, let us know what response (if any) you get to your calls, emails, and tweets. If we can stop another shutdown, we will have helped our communities immensely. 

NASA ShutdownThe recent shutdown of the federal government was the longest in U.S. history, and while nonprofits make up 15% of California’s Gross State Product, we didn't hear much about how nonprofits are impacted. So we asked you, the organizations on the ground, what you’re experiencing, and here’s what we heard:

The unexpected -- and troubling -- message is that the shutdown affected nonprofits and communities in surprisingly large ways. From food banks and housing groups to education and arts organizations, people are reporting hardships across the state. And while it’s still early for some communities to feel the pain, nonprofits are nonetheless concerned and preparing for problems in the future, particularly if the government shuts down again in a few weeks.

Despite the media focus on national parks and services, California nonprofits are affected directly, and their communities feel the pinch as well:
  • Nonprofits that have federal funding have been unable to receive reimbursements for work done in the 4th quarter of last year: "We can't invoice the National Endowment for the Arts for the last [portion] of our grant funds."
  • Others can't complete applications for new funds. For example, housing organizations can't tell if USDA 502 home loan applications for their clients have been approved. "It is impossible to learn anything about . . . applications for infrastructure, fire disaster response, and economic development . . . from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The total impact exceeds $15 million for two rural northern California counties."
  • Low income people cannot get help filing their taxes: with most of the IRS shuttered, nonprofits that train volunteers and staff to complete tax returns cannot access the necessary software from the IRS. "We cannot get the software for our Tax Preparation Assistance program . . . we are ready to launch the program in every way but cannot move forward.
  • Cash flow -- often problematic due to reimbursement-based policies -- has gotten so bad that some nonprofits are considering layoffs: “Our federal grant funds will be held for 2019 until the shutdown resolves. This could result in staff furloughs until the cash flow resumes.”
In addition to issues with late payments from the government, others reported that they are lowering their fundraising expectations. “We participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, where federal employees can donate to charities through payroll. We are in the middle of the campaign which runs from the fall until January 11 for the year. So if they are not working they are not pledging to donate.” That, in turn, has an impact on the people they serve: “Our funding goes directly to financial aid for cancer patient copays and deductibles, so we will be able to help fewer patients than we might have otherwise.”

And more broadly, the shutdown created problems for the clients and constituents of nonprofits. Groups are concerned about federal housing subsidies for low-income renters, food stamps for struggling families and other public benefits that could be delayed. Nonprofits serving communities with high numbers of federal employees are especially hard-hit.

For instance, a nonprofit in San Diego notes that they are receiving increased food and that there is increased stress among government employees impacted and their families. And a group in Humboldt that is home to many employed by the Coast Guard reports, “Now that they are not getting paid it is certainly painful for their families and for our local economy.”

Some who responded to our survey replied that they haven’t seen any impacts and aren’t expecting any, while others harbor more general anxiety: “We haven't heard of direct impact yet, but there's a lot of fear and uncertainty…” With another possible shutdown on the horizon, this worry is likely to grow.

What happens in Washington affects the whole country, and California nonprofits and communities are among those facing more and more urgent difficulties. As we keep monitoring the situation, let us know how the shutdown affected your nonprofit and your community.
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our upcoming events
Public Lands Alliance 2019 Convention and Trade Show
Jan Masaoka will keynote this national conference of nonprofits, land management agencies and companies to learn, network and engage on public lands issues.
February 24-28, 2019 in Denver, CO
Click here for more information.
Mayor's Nonprofit Summit
Jan Masaoka will keynote the Summit.
March 8, 2019 in Glendale, CA
Key State Tax and Regulatory Issues for Charitable Organizations session at Georgetown Law School
Jan Masaoka will discuss issues related to nonprofit organizations and the current tax and regulatory environment.
April 24, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Click here for more information.