For Microstrategy training, visit for more details.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Call for Nonprofit Year-End Giving!

By Nicole Cerezo
December 27, 2013

If your organization has not yet made a year-end request to donors, there’s still some time left to send out a letter! Use this golden opportunity to ask for donations, promote achievements and say thank you to your supporters. Other nonprofits are making their own year-end appeals, so your letter should stand out from the crowd. Here are some ideas to help you out: 

  1. Ask for monetary donations. Encourage contributors to make a donation to show support of their favorite charity. If your organization has multiple funds that donations can be distributed to, then let the donor choose where he or she contributes. It’s also helpful to remind donors that their contributions are tax-deductible.

  2. Ask for volunteers. Your appeal letter can also be used to ask volunteers to help out. Help may be needed for the programs which your organization supports, or with day-to-day activities of your nonprofit. If the individual has any special skills or talents, then be sure to make good use of their volunteer time.

  3. Detail the year's achievements. Donors may sometimes wonder where their previous contributions have ended up, so use this letter to describe how your mission was achieved throughout the year. Use personal stories and photos of individuals or families which your organization has supported. It’s also a nice idea to use photos to showcase how volunteer time was used.

  4. Remember to say thank you. It’s important to always give a big thank you to those who support your nonprofit. Words of thanks which are written from the heart are the best way to acknowledge the goodness and philanthropy of your donors and volunteers. When people feel that their kindness is appreciated, they are more likely to continue their support.

Take advantage of the continued holiday giving spirit and provide opportunities to further the mission of your nonprofit. Donors are very willing to open their hearts (and their wallets) at this special time of year. Whether or not you have a giving campaign already in progress, your letter is the perfect way to tell donors how their contributions will make a difference in the lives of others.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting Kids Involved in Charitable Giving

By Nicole Cerezo
December 12, 2013

The holiday season is the perfect time to show children the true meaning of giving. Parents and caregivers can demonstrate how to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Children learn by example and can be taught both compassion and empathy. Here are five ways to get kids involved in charitable activities:

  1. Adopt a child or family. Local churches and charities will have Angel or Giving Trees at this time of year, or lists of families that need some help. Toys, clothing, food or other household items can be donated. The sponsoring families are often times encouraged to deliver these items themselves, so children can experience firsthand the impact of helping others.
  2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Volunteering is a way for children to interact with individuals whose circumstances are quite different than their own. Adults and children can work together to help prepare and serve meals to those needing food. Kids can also bring their toys or outgrown clothes to donate to shelters where children may be living.
  3. Donate money. Children can learn about budgeting by dividing their allowance into save, spend and donate categories. It’s a good idea to let children help choose the charity that they would like to donate to. Kids will feel a strong sense of pride and happiness knowing that they helped others in need.
  4. Help out a neighbor. Children can make time to help with household chores or yard work that elderly or homebound persons cannot do on their own. Washing dishes, folding clothes, vacuuming, shoveling snow and carrying grocery bags are some good ways to lend a helping hand. These activities can continue throughout the entire year.
  5. Collect items for a local food bank. Communities and churches ask for donations of non-perishable food items, and some food pantries may also ask for fresh produce. Children can look in their own cupboards at home, and also ask neighbors to help out with these donations. A great hands-on activity is to take kids to the grocery store to shop for the requested items.

Kids may not always understand the meaning behind acts of giving. But as they get older and observe adults participating in charitable activities, they will continue to catch on and grasp the idea of doing good deeds and helping others. When children learn about acts of kindness at an early age, it will develop into a lifetime of making a difference!