5 Ways to Maintain a Professional Network, Virtually

As we continue to live virtually I like many others grapple with fears, concerns, and burdens during this uncertain time. I try to remind myself "this too shall pass" and thinking positively I wonder how our professional networks will be impacted by Covid19. I realize, maintaining and growing professional networks is not a primary concern right now but I believe it should be a consideration.  For many, networking is how deals are struck, interviews are scheduled, and funding is secured. Typically they involve attending conferences, happy hours, galas, or participate in other such networking activities in our communities - that's not an option now. How do we adapt to maintain our professional network now and in the post Covid world? Here are five ideas to maintain professional connections during our current, virtual landscape.


LinkedIn is built for virtual networking, so update your profile, find a professional picture, and utilize this platform. Keep in mind that profile descriptions and posts are professional – it shouldn’t be the same content you post on Facebook. Check out this article from Golden Key Society geared towards grads and young professionals to learn the basics.

A Telephone

This might seem obvious but we can communicate with one another outside of a Zoom meeting. Using a good old fashion phone call has the same if not better outcome in conversations. Why? Well, with all the controversies around Zoom and “Zoombombing” the platform has created anxiety/concern for many. Additionally, the overuse of video meetings has already created “Zoom Fatigue” with many dreading another video meeting in their day.

Texting (maybe)

If you have a professional’s personal phone number you may not want to text them out of the blue. Despite having their personal phone number, if you aren’t close with this connection it still may seem strange to text them. Establish a phone call or video chat first then ask at the end of the meeting if you can follow up via text.

Video Meeting

Yes, even though I just said that video meetings are overused (they are) it is still an effective way to meet with another professional. To not burden the other person, I would suggest offering a quick chat over a drink. Be it a morning coffee chat, a lunchtime snack, or an evening cocktail. Keeping it to a short drink (30 minutes or less) is a great way to make this more appealing to the professional you seek to e-meet.


Get yourself enrolled as a mentee or mentor in an e-mentoring program. Mentoring is not just a junior-senior relationship. Peer mentoring is shown to be effective through the act of listening, sharing experiences, challenging assumptions, being a sounding boarding, and more. Listen to one person’s view on the power of mentoring. Are you already an unintentional mentor?


Written by:

Carolyn Mazzella, MPA, CRA

YNPN PGH Board Member

CARES Act: A Nonprofit Summary

On March 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economics Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. We have summarized the CARES act below for items that most closely impact our members and the Organizations that they work with.

2020 Recovery Rebates

The CARES Act will be providing stimulus checks up to $1,200 per adult and $500 for a qualifying child. The rebates are subject to phase out limits if your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds $75,000 for single taxpayers, $115,000 for joint filers, and $112,500 for head of household. The rebate is completely phased out for single filers, head of household, and joint returns when the AGI exceeds $99,000, $136,500 and $198,000, respectively. The amount of the rebate check that will be provided is based on the 2019 return or the 2018 return, if the 2019 one has not yet been filed. If a 2018 or a 2019 return has not been filed, the individual(s) will not be eligible for the rebate. Once those returns have been filed, the individual(s) will be eligible for the rebate payment.

The rebate checks are expected to be disbursed in April 2020 through direct deposits and physical checks. If you have received your 2019 or 2018 tax return via EFT payment, the IRS will be sending the rebate check through the deposit detail on your most recent return. The IRS is currently in the process of building out a website for taxpayers to update or add their direct deposit information. We will provide a link once the website is up and running. If the IRS does not have your banking information, the rebate will be in the form of a physical check and will be mailed out. This process may add a significant amount of time for those rebate checks to be received. 

Retirement Plan Loans and Distributions

Previously participant loans were subject to the lesser of 50% of the participants balance or $50,000. The CARES act permits plan administrators to amend the plan to allow loans lesser than 100% of the qualified individual’s account balance or $100,000.  As of April 5, 2020, loans up to the new amounts mentioned above must be taken on or before September 23, 2020. 

Additionally, if the plan is amended, loan repayments can be deferred for up to one year for qualified individuals. It is important to note that if payments are not being made on the loan it will continue to accrue interest at the rate of the loan as defined by the plan. 

Early distributions taken prior to the CARES act were assessed a 10% tax penalty on funds withdrawn from the plan if the participant was younger than 59 ½ years old. The additional 10% penalty has been waived. Further, the CARES act allows the qualified individual to pro-rate the distribution and include it in their taxable income for the next three years and provides the option to the qualified individual the option of repaying the distribution over a three-year period. The distribution is up to $100,000 across all plans of the qualified individual. 

Qualified individuals are defined as a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19, has a spouse or dependent diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiences adverse financial consequences as a result from quarantining, being furloughed, laid off or having hours reduced.

Charitable Contributions

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act taxpayers who selected the standard deduction were not eligible to take a deduction for charitable contributions. Under the CARES Act taxpayers can take a charitable contribution deduction up to $300 against their AGI in 2020. 

For those taxpayers that itemize, the CARES Act increases the amount of the charitable contribution deduction from 60% of their AGI to 100% of their AGI. Any contributions in excess of 100% of their AGI is carried forward for the next for the next five years.

Corporations also received an increase in their charitable contribution deduction. The limit increased from 10% to 25% of taxable income. Additionally, the CARES Act increases the limitation for contributions of food inventory from 15% to 25%. Any contributions in excess can be carried forward.

This is big for non-profits and important for them to communicate these changes to donors and potential donors for them to consider in the donor’s charitable contribution plan.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Included in the CARES Act are two loan programs offered to businesses. The first one that we will go over is the PPP. 

From February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020 (covered period), the law allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide 100% federally-backed loans up to a maximum amount to eligible businesses to help pay operational costs like payroll, rent, health benefits, insurance premiums, utilities, etc. Subject to certain conditions, loan amounts are forgivable. The loans do not require a personal guarantee or include any collateral like the EIDLs. The interest rate is set at 1%. If a business entered into a loan on or before 1/31/2020 may be refinanced as part of a covered loan under the program. The funding is prioritized to small businesses, entities in underserved and rural markets, small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women owned companies and businesses in operations for less than two years. 

 The loan amounts are the calculated as the lesser of (A) 2.5 times average monthly payroll costs incurred in the one-year period before the loan is made, (B) 2.5 times the average total payroll payments from 1/1/2020 to 2/29/2020 or (C) $10,000,000. This excludes any compensation for employees earning over $100,000 and foreign employees. For example, if an employee earned $120,000 in 2019 the eligible wages that can be included in the calculation are limited to $100,000. The amounts that businesses should be using to calculate the amount of the PPP Loan they are eligible for is the gross wages reported in their quarterly 941’s. 

 These loans can be utilized to cover compensation, paid leave, severance payments, health insurance premiums, retirement benefits, state and local payroll taxes, group health care benefits, rent/lease payments, utilities, mortgage interest and interest on any other debt obligations incurred before the covered period.

 These loans may be forgiven and excluded from gross income in an amount equal to the costs incurred and payments made during the covered period for payroll, interest payments, rent and utilities. For the loans to be forgiven 75% of the forgiven amount must be for payroll related expenses. The amount subject to forgiveness will be reduced for any employee cuts or reductions in wages. To apply for the forgiveness the borrower must submit to the lender documentation verifying full time equivalent employees and their pay rates, documentation on covered costs, certification from a business representative that the documentation is true and correct and that forgiveness amounts requested were used to retain employees. 

Lastly, the PPP loans do not require payments for the first six months. Any amounts that are not forgiven then become due and payable beginning in the seventh month until maturity on the 24th month.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Unlike the PPP discussed above, the EIDL provides for an initial payment of $10,000 following the submission of the application. The $10,000 is forgiven and is excluded from taxable income. The EIDL amount is calculated based on the business’s application and can be up to $2,000,000. The interest rate on the loan is 3.75% on for-profit loans and 2.75% on private non-profit loans and can be repaid over the course of 30 years. Payments are deferred for the first 12 months of the loan. 

These loans can be used for fixed debts, payroll and related benefits, accounts payable and other expenses that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. They cannot be used for the refinancing of debt, payment of other SBA loans, tax penalties, civil fines, repairs of property or other physical damage or pay dividends or distributions to owners or partners. 


Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Paycheck Protection Program


  • Small businesses in the United States and territories, including sole proprietors, independent contractors and eligible self-employed individuals
  • Small businesses in the United States and territories, including sole proprietors, independent contractors and eligible self-employed individuals
  • Internationally owned organizations located in the United States.
  • Internationally owned organizations located in the United States.
  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations
  • Small agricultural cooperatives
  • 501(c) (19) veteran organizations
  • Tribal small business concerns
  • Fewer than 500 employees
  • Fewer than 500 employees in most cases, more if certain criteria are met.



Written by:

Frank Speicher

YNPN Pittsburgh Board Member

Shortlist: FREE Webinars (end of July - August 2019)

We all look for free opportunities to learn and grow as professionals. Webinars are one of those fast and low-cost methods to dive deeper into a specific field or area of interest. 

We have searched the internet for some upcoming free webinars happening July - August 2019 to share with our YNPN Pittsburgh community. Please note, this is not an all inclusive list of webinar available for nonprofit professionals - just some highlights to share with our community. 


July 29 - How Will You Develop Emerging Leaders?



July 30 - How to Build a Major Gift Qualification Plan



Aug 13 - 10 Fundraising Tips for a Successful #GivingTuesday 2019



Aug 15 - The Power of Blogging & Thought Leadership for Nonprofits

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5923360909547936781?source=Website Nonprofits


Aug 28Tips for Navigating in Today’s Data-Driven World



Honorable Mention 

Aug 8 - Forging Partnerships with Corporate Leaders to Drive Social Impact (Not Free - $75)



On-Demand - GrantSpace by Candid Library 




Written by:

Carolyn Mazzella, MPA, CRA

YNPN PGH Board Member







*None of the links or company's work with or are affiliated with YNPN Pittsburgh. We do not accept sponsorship or promotion of these sites or companies. All information was sourced via publicly available searches and shared with our community for the purpose of education / professional knowledge. 

Be A Guest Blogger



Do you want to support your fellow YNPN Pittsburgh members while flexing your creative muscle?  Join us as a guest blogger! 

Please review the following guidelines to make sure your blog post meets our criteria. We encourage current YNPN Pittsburgh members to apply.


YNPN Pittsburgh Blog Submission Guideline


Submissions should:

  • Be 100% original and not published anywhere else.
  • Be well-written, clear, interesting, and above all, helpful to nonprofit professionals.
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  • Include author’s name and job title.
  • Does not include images (YNPN will provide if necessary).
  • Be a maximum of 1,200 words.

4 Important Caveats:

  1. YNPN Pittsburgh reserves the right to reject contributions at its discretion.
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  3. Editors reserve the right to edit, adapt, update, and republish contributions at their discretion.
  4. In rare cases, contributed posts may be removed from the blog.

How to Submit:

Send your completed post to info@ynpnpgh.org with the subject line "YNPNPGH Blog pitch." Please note that while we strive to respond to each inquiry in a timely manner, we are not always able to do so.

Thank you for your interest in contributing to YNPN Pittsburgh’s Blog. We look forward to receiving your work.

Other Good Information

  • Although we would love to be able to compensate guest bloggers, we are a small nonprofit with an all-volunteer staff and are unable to do so.
  • We want to hear a variety of ideas from a variety of voices! Don’t be shy about sending your submissions.