Frequently Asked Questions and Contact Information
We hope the Independent Sector website is providing you with helpful information about IS and the ways the nonprofit community is working to improve lives. Some of our visitors contact us for clarification of information on the site or with questions that may not be answered here. Below is a compilation of some of the most frequently asked questions of this type, along with answers to them.
You can also contact Independent Sector with your questions. Because of the volume of queries we receive, we are normally able to respond only to those that come from our members or that address areas on which IS focuses.
Where can I find information about the Annual Conference?
Independent Sector's Annual Conference is the premier meeting ground for leaders from charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs to address key issues facing the nonprofit community. Information about the upcoming Annual Conference, as well as highlights from last year’s conference, is available in the conference section of this site. For future Annual Conference dates and locations, visit the Events calendar.
Prospective exhibitors, sponsors, and advertisers should contact our Conference office to find out more about those opportunities.
How do I nominate a leader for the John W. Gardner Leadership Award?
Anyone may nominate an individual for the Gardner Award, which goes to an individual working in or with the charitable community who has advanced the common good by mobilizing and unifying people, institutions, or causes. Nominations normally close at the end of January. More on the award, including the exact deadline and nomination materials, are available in the awards section. The recipient is announced each summer and is honored at the Independent Sector Annual Conference in the fall.
How do I nominate an organization for the Leadership IS Award?
Anyone may nominate an organization to receive the Leadership IS Award, which honors an organization that demonstrates a culture of investing in the people of the independent sector. More on the award, including the exact deadline and nomination materials, is available in the Awards section. The recipient is announced just prior to and is presented with the award at the Independent Sector Annual Conference in the fall.
How do I change the email and regular mail I receive from Independent Sector?
To add or remove yourself from IS’s email or mailing list, call 202-467-6161 or email us with your request. Only staff at Independent Sector member organizations are eligible to receive certain messages, such as Memo to Members (IS’s monthly email newsletter), Daily Media Digest, and Daily Policy Digest.
If you already receive messages from IS and would like to change your subscription preferences, use the link at the bottom of an email you've recently received or send a message to email@example.com.
Does Independent Sector offer funding or grants?
IS is not a grantmaking organization, so we are unable to assist you financially. We recommend that you contact the Foundation Center, which maintains an online database on foundation and corporate grantmaking and publishes directories, research reports, and other resources. Foundation Center also offers materials on foundations and nonprofits at five of its own libraries and over 200 cooperating collections around the country.
How can I get involved with Independent Sector?
Independent Sector is the only national opportunity for staff from charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs to collaborate to address key issues facing the nonprofit community. We invite organizations of all sizes, missions, and locations to become join our growing coalition. For more information about the benefits of and process for becoming a member, see our Member Area, email the membership department, or call 202-467-6161.
Individuals interested in becoming part of IS are invited to join the Independent Sector Associates Program.
How do I obtain permission to reprint all or part of an IS publication?
Independent Sector often permits nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and others to reprint its publications. If you are interested in reprinting an IS publication, download our reprint permission request form (PDF) and fax it back to 202-467-6101 attn: Communications Department.
How do I order an IS publication?
On this site is a full list of publications available for purchase or download. To order, call 202-467-6110 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (ET) weekdays or email our publications center . IS will follow up with you to process payment. We accept payment by credit card only.
Research on giving and volunteering
Does IS do research on giving and volunteering rates in the U.S.?
In the 1980s, Independent Sector conducted some of the earliest research on giving and volunteering in the United States and helped to encourage the interest of other researchers in these subjects. Because of the growth in university-based research on the nonprofit community, the last national survey IS conducted was the Giving and Volunteering in the United States survey in 2001; a series of reports based on its findings were published between 2002 and 2003 and remain available. While we no longer conduct primary research, we do continue to disseminate other parts of our past work and link to research done by others. One of the most popular resources on charitable contributions is the Giving USA study by the Giving USA Foundation, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics produces an annual report on volunteering rates in the United States. For a comprehensive list of resources, including regional and state data, visit IS’s giving and volunteering resources page.
Resources on Starting a Nonprofit
How do I start a nonprofit organization?
IS member Foundation Center offers excellent resources for anyone wishing to start a nonprofit organization. The IRS offers more specific information on how to apply for recognition for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Value of Volunteer Time
What is the estimated value of volunteer time? How can this be used?
IS provides an extensive chart covering the estimated dollar value of volunteer time. This figure is based on the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, increased by 12 percent increase to account for fringe benefits. Although it is only a tool, it does help show the immense value volunteers provide to an organization.
Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time for recognition events or in their communications to show how much support an organization receives from its volunteers.
The figure for the value of volunteer time is released each spring, after the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its study of wages of non-management, non-agricultural workers over the previous year. Thus, the value for 2006 will be released in the spring of 2007. The most current value is always available on the value of volunteer time page.
Can volunteer time be deducted from a volunteer’s income taxes?
No, time spent performing services for a charitable organization is not tax-deductible. However, mileage for vehicle use incurred while volunteering may be deductible as long as the purpose of the trip was not recreational and other criteria are met. IS offers tips on claiming tax deductions for charitable contributions.
Can I intern at Independent Sector?
While we do not have a formal internship program, occasionally IS does offer internship opportunities, which will be posted on the JobLink section of our website. You can also send a resume to send us a resume and include a cover letter explaining what type of opportunity you are seeking.
IS member Idealist.org features internship and job opportunities in the nonprofit field.
Where can I found out about volunteer opportunities with Independent Sector or other nonprofit organizations?
Independent Sector works with volunteers at our Annual Conference each fall. We recruit them in conjunction with local organizations in the host city, and offer a form to sign-up on our website. Please check the Annual Conference section in the late summer to learn about volunteering opportunities at the conference.
Many nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers. There are many local organizations that compile these opportunities, and at least three IS members provide online methods for finding volunteer openings:
What do I do if I encounter a problem with the IS website?
If you are having trouble downloading a PDF document, first check to see if you have the most up-to-date version of Adobe Reader. If you encounter a broken link or an error on our website, please contact our webmaster.
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