April 16, 2014

Increase your Nonprofit’s Donations

Posted in Fundraising tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:56 pm by Brian Barrick

Most nonprofits rely heavily on donations to make up the majority of their income and yours is probably no different. Any expansion of the role or aims of your nonprofit will come with a financial cost – and one of the first ways you should look to meet this cost is by increasing the amount of donations you get.

There are no easy ways to simply create new donors and streams of income out of thin air but there are tried and tested methods that will help you improve your campaigns and reach more people.

Three Way to Increase Donations for Your Nonprofit:

  • Make it Easy – You want to make it as easy as possible for people to give, especially online. Have a button to donate online visible on all the pages of your website and don’t force them to read through loads of text if all they want to do is give. Keep your phone number prominent as well incase they’d rather call you up over the phone. Many nonprofits actually lose donations because they make it too hard to give.
  • Ask for Regular Donations – One of the best ways to increase the amount of finance you’ve got coming in is to start asking people to sign up to give regularly rather than by one-off gifts. $10 a month regular giving is twice as good as a $60 one-off gift as long as they don’t cancel in the first year. It is also easier for people to justify – most people can find $10 a month for a cause they believe in. You won’t get regular donations unless you ask for them and offer people the opportunity to make them though.
  • Thank People – Prompt phone calls thanking donors can significantly increase the chance that those people will donate more next time according to research by Penelope Burk, a specialist in fundraising. These phone calls are most effective if they come from board members and research shows they can increase the amount the thanked donors gave next time by as much as 37%!

These are just a few ways you can increase your income from people donating. As a nonprofit it is important that you engage with your donors and continue to look for ways to make giving not only easy for them, but enjoyable too. Keep looking for more new and easier ways to help people to give to your cause.

April 15, 2014

Free Online Nonprofit Resources

Posted in Handy Tips tagged , , , , , at 6:53 pm by Brian Barrick

Many non-profit organizations are established to make a positive change to the society in some way. For this reason, you will find that there are many supporters such as governmental agencies, corporations, groups, and individuals willing to provide free non-profit resources. Here are a few of these sources you might find spot-on to suit your non-profit organization.

  • Free Google Apps to improve Information Technology Efficiencies

You can get Google’s free email, calendar, and a cloud drive. Thirty GB of storage space is provided for Gmail and your Google Drive. Google Hangouts is another effective way to have online collaboration with teams. Google for Non-profits is one source of free services that can increase efficiencies and reduce your IT costs. In addition, they provide you with 24/7 support.

  • Office 365 for Non-profits

Non-profit organizations qualifying for free non-profit resources such as a Microsoft software donation can have access to Office 365 for a period of two years.  When the time ends the organization will need to be re-validated as a qualifying charitable concern. Office 365 allows access to the Internet enabled Office applications. To be eligible for the software donation, you must be able to show that your company’s mission meets Microsoft’s criterion, which is explained in their Corporate Citizenship Eligibility page.

  • Free Fundraising Resources online

You can achieve your fundraising goals easily with the plethora of resources provided by fundraising123. A storehouse of literature giving professional advice, marketing resources, webinars, and free e-books are available at no cost to charitable organizations.

Free non-profit resources are in abundant supply and easily accessible. As you seek to make a positive difference in the world through your charitable organization, remember that there are many others working to support your goals.

April 14, 2014

Summertime Fundraising Ideas

Posted in Fundraising tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:52 pm by Brian Barrick

Summer is an excellent time for fundraising because students are out of school, are looking for things to do, and are available to take part, along with adult volunteers, in whatever event is decided upon.

There are many summertime activities that lend themselves to fundraising. Let your creativity have a field day and come up with something that is inexpensive to put on and yet should be popular enough to get the attention of those who will be happy to donate to the cause your organization has chosen.

Lemonade Stand

In the never-ending heat of summer, hardly anyone could resist buying a cup of cool, refreshing lemonade. Pick a busy corner or outside a shopping center or in the parking lot of a cooperating business.  Add some homemade cookies or fresh fruit or perhaps ice cream bars kept in a cooler with dry ice to create extra sales. Set up a sign to let people know what the money raised is going to be used for.

Pie Eating Contest

Have volunteers bake a large variety of pies and have a contest with each entrant paying a fee, which will be a donation.  If you want to, you can have a separate table with the best pies that can be sold instead of thrown!

Dog Contest and a Dog Wash

Get local press coverage for an upcoming ugly dog competition or perhaps  a contest where owners dress up their dogs.  Also offer a low-cost dog wash on the same premises so that you will have two different ways to make money for your good cause.

Car Wash

These are always popular and are not expensive to arrange because they just demand  running water, sponges, lots of soap, and volunteers to do the washing.  A school or public parking lot is a good choice as well as one at a religious institution.  Of course, get any necessary permissions ahead of time.

Water Balloon Fight

You can charge for each water balloon in a free-for-all or for each team that is set up for a limited time of throwing or for each throw at a volunteer who is willing to be the target. Make extra money by selling popcorn, drinks and other goodies

 

For more information on successful fundraisers, visit our nonprofit fundraising center.

February 27, 2014

Should Nonprofits Drug Screen Voluteers?

Posted in Best Practices tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:05 pm by Brian Barrick

Nonprofit organizations are the backbone of a modern society often picking up where the state leaves off. Every year countries, communities and millions of people receive the services of a non profit and volunteer organizations. It is hard to imagine the kind of world we would live in without the enthusiasm of so many individuals who give their time, talents, and money for the benefit others.

Should nonprofits drug screen their volunteers?

Should nonprofits drug screen and do background checks on their volunteers who give up their time and resources freely. Is it asking too much to screen volunteers?

Is drug screening is morally correct?

Non-profit organizations need to be diligent when it comes to drug screening and background checks. Unfortunately, we cease to live in a world where a gut feeling about a volunteer’s integrity will be enough.  The truth is your organization survives on the good will and funds from others. Therefore the nonprofit has a duty to ensure that each volunteer is drug free and of good character. Each volunteer needs to possess the character to safeguard the organization and people it serves.

Why test a volunteer for drugs

Drug screening is essential in an environment where one incident could both put your organization at risk of losing hard won reputation and possible legal action. Workplace safety is one reason for volunteer drug testing. Organizations that require volunteers to drive, or work with vulnerable people and children often require drug testing for the safety of everyone involved. Random drug testing is administered to protect volunteers and the general public.

Conclusion

Drugs and substance is a major problem that can have devastating effects on a nonprofit organization. Research shows volunteers with a drug habit have higher accident rates and tend to be unreliable. Drug checks are quick and effective can help to ensure each volunteer is drug and alcohol free.

February 26, 2014

How to Protect Your Nonprofit’s Information

Posted in Best Practices tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:04 pm by Brian Barrick

Incidences of Nonprofit Identity Theft has been on the rise all over the world in recent times. Identity theft, just as the term suggests refers to the malicious use of another person’s identity with the view of accessing sensitive data about them or the people that they communicate with. This problem has been very persistent especially in the world of online communications. Apparently, many internet users today are not very tech-savvy to understand that identity theft actually happens or even how it does suffice in the first case.

If you are handling any form of data, you have to make sure it is as secure as possible. Most identity thieves are always scanning the internet to access data that has not been secured in the right manner so that they can use it for dubious deals and purposes. Much as non-profit data might not really mean much for many, identity thieves are still spying on this type of data. So, how do you prevent Nonprofit Identity Theft?

  • Be proactive- When dealing with information, whether it’s sensitive or not, it’s always advisable to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s important to understand that Nonprofit Identity Theft is a reality and as such you ought to live with it. The manner in which you share data on a network or send it through the internet will determine whether you will be a victim of identity theft or not. Make sure your data is protected at all times.
  • Ensure effective data access controls- The use of data access controls when it comes to computer security also counts a lot.  If you are managing information in your business, you need to make sure all users have specific passwords and usernames for them to access the primary system. Again, the privileges assigned to these users should be varied so that not all gain access to the entire database set.
  • If sending data through a network make sure it’s encrypted- if you want to send data via an unsecure network you ought to ensure that it’s protected. This is perhaps the most effective way to beat Nonprofit Identity Theft in the modern day. Encryption sends data in a coded manner such that the person who has the private key can know what information is contained in there. Even if a third party happens to tap into the channel, they’ll not make any use of the information.

February 25, 2014

Tips on Saving Money On Your Nonprofit Electric Bill

Posted in Handy Tips tagged , , , , , , , at 9:02 pm by Brian Barrick

Electric bills can cut into finance of many businesses and when you run a nonprofit you don’t want to waste cash. There are some ways you can save money on the electric bill, as follows:

Install a Solar Generating System

One way nonprofits can save money on the electric bill is to band together with a group of other nonprofit organizations and install a solar system. In Washington DC the nonprofit Beyond Pesticides got together with other DC nonprofits and installed a 6KW solar panel on the rooftop. Over the lifetime of this installation Beyond Pesticides expect to save at least $15,000 and their investment had no upfront costs.

Upgrade to Energy Efficient Equipment

Upgrading to energy efficient equipment can not only reduce expenses but also save money as your organization becomes more energy efficient. Check out the rebates, discounts and energy efficiency plans available from local electricity suppliers to source the best program to suit your business needs and begin saving on your electricity immediately and for the months and years ahead.

Being ahead of the game in any business means sourcing the best and most cost effective supplies. Nonprofits need to become even more savvy about costs than profit making businesses to ensure that all available income is distributed wisely and targeted in the best possible manner.

February 24, 2014

Where to Look for Nonprofit Grants

Posted in Fundraising tagged , , , , , , at 10:20 pm by Brian Barrick

We all know mission driven organizations need nonprofit grants to fund their projects. Many of us are also aware grant making concerns have a lot of requirements before they give nonprofit grants. So, we’ve come up with 5 ways to find nonprofit funding:
Individuals
Individuals play an important in nonprofit grant funding. Individual support is vital. Some individual give as much to charities of their choice as big grant givers. It is important to build a steady, reliable source of supporters who will help fund your nonprofit and this will lessen the organization’s dependency on big grant givers.
Social media
Once mustn’t over look the power of social media in the nonprofit grant making process. Money raised through social media is estimated to be around $60 per donation. Try crowd funding, this where you receive funding from a large group of people through an online platform. You can pitch your project on Kick starter, Fundable, and other crowd funding sites.
Impact assessment
If your organization can’t afford an impact assessment, you will need to have data that proves that what your nonprofit is doing is making a difference. The Council of Nonprofits provides resources on outcome measurement here. There is good value of getting feedback from beneficiaries, either through surveys, interviews. Not only will this help you assess whether you’re being effective but it will also provide testimonials that you can use to make your case stronger.
Be selective
Don’t waste time with the scatter gun method of looking for nonprofit grants. It is better to be focused and look for grant givers who will be specifically interested in what your organization offers. This way you write your application geared to what the grant giver is looking for and be in a better position to receive a grant. All grant applications should be sent in good time especially if a time limit is in force.
Family Foundations
Family Foundations are frequently less demanding than the large established grant givers. The Segal Family Foundation’s approach to giving funds is a good example.
Don’t be discouraged keep trying to secure grants. Grants aren’t easy come by but with good preparation and persistence your organization will win through and get the funds they need to fulfill their projects.

February 20, 2014

What Should Be Included In Nonprofit Safety Inspections

Posted in Best Practices tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:19 pm by Brian Barrick

A Nonprofit organization’s objective is to to ensure the safety and health of their volunteers, children, clients, employees and company property. What should be included in a nonprofit safety inspections?
Primary Goal
A primary goal of any non profit safety inspection should be to ensure a safe and healthy working conditions for all employees and volunteers.
Written safety rules
All organizations should have written safety rules in prominent locations to ensure good working practices to limit accidents and injuries. These rules should be included in any nonprofit safety inspection to determine if they are up to date and are available to be read to all employees and volunteers.
Floors
Floors and working areas should be clear of debris, worn carpets and flooring materials. Floors should not be oily, wet or slippery.
Stairways
Stairways and aisles should be well lit, clear and unblocked. All emergency exits should also be clear and unblocked. Handrails should be secure.
Safety equipment
A safety inspection should include the inspection of all safety equipment to ensure it is in good order. Fire extinguishers should be checked annually, labelled and signed. First aid centers should be fully equipped to meet a minimum standard. Emergency lighting and alarms should be tested for satisfactory operation.
Machinery
All machinery should be inspected to make sure they meet current safety rules and if they fall short should be impounded until made safe.  Are guards, screens and sound-dampening devices in place and effective?
Fixtures and fitting
All electrical equipment should be inspected for safety. Frayed wires should be replaced along with loose fitting light bulbs. All heater and fires should have adequate guards especially if children are present. Checks should be made for poor ergonomics, chair adjustment and keyboard elevation etc. Furniture should also be inspected for safety.
Premises
Do the premises conform to standards with respect to occupancy and use? The following structures should be checked for safety: guardrails, ladders, ramps, wall openings, windows and the operation of swinging doors. Air conditioning should be checked for safe operation. Humidity should be checked to ensure it is in an acceptable range.
Storage
In all non profit safety inspections dangerous substances should be stored correctly. All dangerous substances should be labelled correctly.
Sanitation
Nonprofit Safety Inspections should include all wash rooms and food preparation areas for cleanliness? This should include an inspection of lunch rooms, toilets and showers.

February 19, 2014

Why are Safety Inspections Important For Nonprofits

Posted in Best Practices tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:17 pm by Brian Barrick

Why are nonprofit safety inspections important? Safety should be the primary concern of any organization. The safety officer should take every precaution to ensure a safe workplace for employees and volunteers. Non profit’s are as vulnerable to being sued by a member of staff or public, as a business concern, and should take similar precautions.
Regular safety checks
The safety officer makes regular inspections and holds regular safety meetings with staff and volunteers. If all precautions are taken, it will limit the possibility of any claims against the nonprofit for negligence. It is also very important also to ensure all liability insurances are in place.
Cooperation of staff
Safety in the work place is a matter of common sense. Nonprofit safety inspections should have the cooperation of every staff member to make this entity a safe place in which to work. All unsafe conditions should be immediately reported to a member of the safety committee.
Accident reporting
Any injuries no matter how small should be reported immediately to the  supervisor and receive first-aid attention. Ideally such incidences should be recorded in an injuries book for the purpose. It is up to the Nonprofit safety inspections to ensure a book is available in the first aid center.
Safety rules and guidelines
It is the nonprofit safety inspections duties to ensure the safety of workers and volunteers. All rules and guidelines should be followed and made available to the general populaces.
Keep areas clean.
Nonprofit safety inspections duties should include keeping work areas clean and tidy.
Safety check-list

Nonprofit safety inspectors duties are to ensure safety devices are operating properly, warning signs are in place, repair roof leaks, unblocked fire doors, inspect fire extinguishers, inspect hose sprinkler heads, unlock doors and gates, removal of dangerously piled supplies or equipment, inspect for slippery floors and walkways, inspect for missing (or inoperative) entrance and exit signs and lighting, and inspect for loose handrails or guard rails and open, loose or broken windows
All volunteer and paid members of staff must use safety belts when they operate a vehicle on organization business. The driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers in front and back have their seat belts on.
Regular safety inspections will limited to organization’s vulnerability to legal claims and ensure all who work for them are in a safe and happy environment.

February 18, 2014

How to Work With Other Nonprofits

Posted in Handy Tips tagged , , , , , at 10:17 pm by Brian Barrick

Collaboration refers to the process whereby two or more organizations or people work together for the attainment of shared goals. Many people tend to think that nonprofit organization collaboration is an aspect that cannot hold water in the modern day. If your thoughts are inclined towards that direction, you are definitely being misguided. There is a possibility of nonprofit organizations being able to work together for the achievement of a common purpose. In cases where these organizations want to boost awareness and increase the donations they get, a collaborative approach might be the best one.

Many non-profit organizations are known for their characteristic of being active promoters of change. They are generally outspoken, often pushy, observant and very critical. Due to media hype, these same organizations are known for being violent but that is not always the case.  These same organizations are good at developing and researching a range of ideas, experimenting and having volunteers who are actually interested in the betterment of the organization as a whole.

How can non profit collaboration work?

In order for two nonprofit organizations to work together, there ought to be some degree of willingness on the part of each entity. They have to come together and pull their resources for the achievement of a common goal rather than being antagonists. They also have to learn to trust the other party’s goodwill.

Why should non profit organizations collaborate?

In most instances, these organizations collaborate for those projects which are directly linked to their overall mission. When community and voluntary organizations work together in joint projects, they are able to make frontline activities even more effective and efficient.

The issues to consider

Much as a collaborative approach is required when two nonprofit organizations prefer to work together, there are some challenges that might come in the way. Therefore, all parties ought to be aware of these complications. Issues such as management structure, funding of the projects, staffing during the joint project, conflict and communication and public relations have to be taken care of before taking the plunge.

The future of nonprofit collaboration

There is no doubt that the future looks bright for those organizations which choose to collaborate.  Many organizations are now able to separate critical operations from those ones that are formality in nature. Since this is more of an agreement, every party has to ensure that work is effectively managed at all times.

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