Over One Fourth of Millennials Avoid Social Media

usmailJust when your nonprofit was starting to get comfortable with posting regular communications on social media, for the presumed sake of reaching all those tech-savvy millennials (age 20 to 35), we get this little reality check:

An estimated 27% of millennials are looking the other way. If they even have a Facebook account (Facebook being the most popular social media tool used by this group), they check it only once a week. This is according to research that Battery Ventures, a global, technology-focused investment firm, commissioned from Ipsos, an independent market-research company.

What’s more, this survey (of 1,000 people within the target age range) found that a majority (54%) said they don’t have a Snapchat account, around 41% don’t have accounts with Pinterest, 39% aren’t on Twitter, and 39% abstain from Instagram.

This doesn’t undermine the basic importance of social media. It may still reach a majority of your prospective millennial supporters, and they may share it with their online friends, and so on. Still, your nonprofit may not want to abandon those seemingly old-fashioned snail mail appeals and printed newsletters just yet.

Dear New York Times: Now You’re Covering Immigrants’ “Deportment?”

tablewareI know immigration law is complicated, but this should be a pretty easy concept to get straight: Deporting an immigrant is called “deportation.”

So when the New York Times said, in an article called “Los Angeles Rethinks Deportation of Inmates,” that the Secure Communities Program was “an Obama administration initiative that relied on local law enforcement to help with deportment efforts,” it was apparently saying that L.A. cops or prison guards are teaching etiquette to its non-citizen inmates.

I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that one. Shall we start with which side of the plastic tray one’s plastic dinner fork goes on?


California Updates Forms for Challenging Traffic Tickets by Video

Police Officer Writing TicketOn September 1, 2015, the California Judicial Council updated forms for people who’ve received traffic tickets and want to show their faces in court without schlepping to the courthouse. As the relevant instruction sheet tells, “remote video proceedings” (RVP) are available in (1) those courts that choose to allow them and (2) “cases involving Vehicle Code infractions or local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code.” (Defendants are ineligible if their alleged traffic offenses involve drugs or alcohol or their cases are in Informal Juvenile and Traffic Court.)

It looks like ticket fighters might not be able to get their face time from the convenience of the home sofa, however. In a court that allows RVP and a case in which the judge has approved video appearance, the defendant must appear “at a remote location designated by the court.”

Of the forms—accessible at the Judicial Council page for traffic infraction forms—one (TR-505) is for those requesting arraignment and trial on the same day; the other (TR-510) is for people who want RVP for arraignment or trial on separate days.

To learn about the procedure for challenging a ticket through “two-way audiovisual communication” and the rights you give up with RVP, see TR-500-INFO (the aforementioned instruction sheet).

Looking for Development Director Job? Don’t Expect to Earn Over $40K!

Sheep dog covering her eyes with her paw

The 2015 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report is out, and the results are, shall we say, depressing.

In organizations with a budget of $250,000 or less, the average salary for the top development position is $37,993. In the bigger-budget organizations, it goes up by a measly $10K or so, to $48,775.

Worse yet, there’s a significant gender gap. The female development directors earn less than the males, and there are fewer of them to begin with.

To put the typical development director’s income level into perspective, let’s consider whether this person can buy a home in the United States. The median home price right now is, according to Zillow, $180,800. As a general rule, a person can buy a home worth three times his or her income (using a mortgage loan). So your typical development director could buy a home worth $113,979. Good luck saving the extra $66,000-plus on an income that’s unlikely to exceed $50,000 per year! And that’s not even taking into account that in many urban areas of the U.S., a halfway decent home will cost you over a million dollars.

Or, let’s have a look at the U.S. poverty guidelines. For a family of four, the poverty line is $24,250. And not all development directors at small to mid-size organizations are actually making the average $37,993. In fact, the report shows, 10% of them are making around $18,512, and 25% of them are making  $25,150. That’s called poverty.

We all knew already that nonprofit fundraising was a serious labor of love, especially since it’s a job that often goes unappreciated by peers and the public. It involves, after all, that dirty word, “money.” And there never seems to be enough money to support every nonprofit in the United States.

However, every donor or foundation staffer who ever complained that nonprofits should be plowing almost every cent of their (oops, sorry, gotta use that word again) money into direct services to clients or their cause should consider that the development director’s salary is, technically, “overhead.” Yet pathetic salary is being paid to the person largely responsible for ensuring that the organization can keep its doors open.

Four Percent of U.S. Homes Being Sold to Foreign Buyers

home on lifeboatYou don’t have to live in the U.S., much less possess a green card or U.S. citizenship, in order to buy a home here — a fact that’s not lost on foreign investors.

In raw numbers, this 4% of purchases isn’t huge: it’s approximately 209,000 U.S. homes going to buyers who either reside outside the U.S. or have been living in the U.S. for less than two years‘ time. (These figures come from the National Association of Realtors, covering the year ending March, 2015, as reported in “As their economy slips, the Chinese are buying U.S. homes,” Associated Press, Omaha.com, September 19, 2015.)

Nevertheless, because the purchases are concentrated in certain areas of the U.S. (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Irvine, California, Chicago, and parts of Arizona, Texas, Florida), the impact is catching the attention of real estate industry insiders and the media.

What might this buying trend mean for people buying or selling homes in the United States?

On the buying front, the news isn’t good: You’ve got increased competition in some already tight markets. What’s more, it’s coming from buyers who may be paying all cash: The very reason some of them are investing in U.S. real estate is because they’ve accumulated enough to need to park it somewhere. Investments in their own country (as in the case of China) may be going sour.

The only bright spot for home buyers is that, under current immigration law, buying a house doesn’t come with any right to actually settle in the U.S. permanently. So the competition isn’t likely to go too crazy, being limited to people who either already have a U.S. visa or who are willing to care for a house from afar, most likely by hiring a management company.

If you’re planning to sell your home, the news is better. More potential buyers! All-cash offers, likely with no financing contingencies! But before you lose your head and start heavily advertising your property in foreign-language newspapers, realize that selling to non-U.S. buyers comes with risks, too. Some of them face major government restrictions on transferring their funds from to the U.S. – and neither they nor you may know until your other prospective purchasers have moved on whether the deal is really going to go through.

As Patricia Wangsness, a Bellevue, Washington-based Realtor told me when I was preparing the book Selling Your House: Nolo’s Essential Guide, “We’ve had to develop a policy of not going into contract with an overseas buyer unless the earnest money deposit has cleared.” 

What about the significance of this purchasing trend for homeowners whose new neighbors may be from another country? It depends. In the case of those who will actually be living in the homes, you may have some interesting new neighbors. But in the case of those buying investment properties, you may have some homes sitting empty nearby – either because the owner plans to use it for a few months out of the year (six months is the maximum they could spend on the standard B-2 tourist visa) or because they don’t feel any urgency to bring in tenants.