November 7, 2013
Nonprofit organizations large and small have been the victims of fraud that duped the organizations out of hundreds of millions of dollars, according to The Washington Post. The paper reviewed tax filings from 2008 to 2012 and found that more than 1,000 nonprofits reported a significant diversion of assets.
The diversions were related to fraud, scams, misappropriations by employees and embezzlement. The discovery further highlights the staggering losses that a lack of due diligence can lead to. Nonprofits are inherently targets for fraud and theft and in many cases do not have the resources and employees to prevent loss.
Instances of fraud hurt organizations both by the direct loss of assets as a result of the scam and by decreases in future contributions from donors that lose confidence in the nonprofit. The diversion question was added to tax filings in 2008. It is an addition to a form filed by larger nonprofits that details certain aspects of the organization's mission and finances for the federal government, according to The Post.
All employees should be on lookout for fraud
The National Council of Nonprofits recommends nonprofits raise awareness about fraud among all staff and board members. Citing a 2012 report by The Association of Certified Examiners, fraud is most often uncovered by tips from other employees. The NCN recommends instituting a whistleblower policy, communicating zero tolerance for fraud and identifying an employee who investigates claims of financial mismanagement, among other suggestions.
Professional financial help
For organizations that have experienced fraud in the past or feel overwhelmed by current financial issues, professional help is available. First Nonprofit Companies can provide organizations with services that specifically help manage loss from potential fraud, as well as organize and manage other aspects of a nonprofits financials.
Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, a leading provider of financial consulting services for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.
The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.
Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.
NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.
It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios. We are impressed with the accuracy of their employment decisions, integrity of their employees and efficiency of their claim handling. We greatly respect and value the consistent, impressive cost savings from the utilization of their outstanding services.
Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.
Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.