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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tips for Nonprofits in Economic Uncertainty

By Ryan Heinrich

Nonprofit organizations should be prepared to scale back services and programs when times are financially uncertain. They can refer to the outlook and results of years prior for guidance in creating a new budget, and be prepared to adjust their programs and services as needed throughout the year. Even during times of undesirable economic conditions, such as increased tax rates and unemployment, nonprofits should continue to encourage both modest and larger donations.

The following are some tips to help nonprofits stay strong in difficult economic times:
  1. Make donors aware. The public should be aware of your nonprofit’s needs so they can make a donation. Nonprofits should use the many free online tools to promote their charity, including social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. If your community has a newspaper or newsletter, ask to be included in a column that showcases your programs and services. Looking to the local news channels is another good option, as they may have segments featuring local charities.  
  2. Reduce costs. One sure way to reduce costs is to transition your organization’s monthly newsletter from paper to email. This not only will save on mailing costs, but will help the environment too! Another way to reduce costs is to transition to an online donor management tool, called Software as a Service (SaaS). The SaaS technology will easily allow your organization to go paperless in tracking donations, further reducing costs in auditing and reporting.
  3. Facilitate volunteerism. Many individuals think that they if they cannot contribute monetarily to a nonprofit, then they cannot help out at all. Nonprofits should encourage individuals and groups that aren’t able to donate funds to become actively involved instead. Provide plenty of opportunities, like helping out with the day-to-day operations or running charity events and galas. Encourage families to volunteer as well, as this helps to instill a sense of charity to children.
When economic conditions are less than ideal, nonprofits will find that the need for monetary donations, and also of goods and services, is increased. The above tips can be useful in adjusting to the tough economic times. Your organization’s commitment to providing quality programs and services should remain strong in order to carry out the mission statement.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nonprofit Resolutions for 2014

by Nicole Cerezo
January 2, 2014

Another new year has finally arrived! An ideal time to discuss and begin implementing your nonprofit resolutions for the next twelve months is at your next Board meeting. The following are some suggestions to get you started for reviewing and prioritizing these goals:

NPO Synergy

  1. Outline a budget that is realistic. All organizations want to avoid adverse outcomes for the budget that has been set, so be sure to design one that is achievable. If your operational plan is not feasible then some of your special programs may need to be cut later on in the year. When drafting the budget, identify ways that your Board members can become more engaged with donors and involved in fundraising efforts.

  2. Identify new ways to increase funding. Review and evaluate any fundraising tools that have worked, or not worked, for your nonprofit in the past. A new giving program can be put into action by identifying untouched donors and fresh ideas for fundraising. Plan the steps that your organization will need to take, and mark the progress either monthly or quarterly.

  3. Work with social media. If your organization does not have a Facebook or Twitter account already, then now is a great time to get started. Create a blog that outlines your fundraising campaign to both current and new donors. Highlight activities that your organization sponsors. Be sure to include pictures of your staff and volunteers to promote the good work that you do.

  4. Thank your donors and volunteers personally. Whether it’s via a phone call or email, be sure to express to individuals the sincere gratitude of your organization. When donors feel appreciated and know that their donation is being put to good use, they will be more so inclined to donate again. If you have the means, a nice way to recognize both donors and volunteers is to hold an annual Thank You Dinner.

  5. Invest in training and professional development. Staff and Board members should be current in marketing techniques in order to enhance your organization’s fundraising efforts. Attending seminars and online webinars is a simple way to increase knowledge. Subscribe to a variety of professional nonprofit journals, and share relevant articles with workers and Board members. Also be sure to encourage participation in local networking activities.
The beginning of another new year helps to bring about an impression of purpose, hope and promise. The above ideas will ultimately help encourage bountiful donors, which in turn allow your organization to fund its mission. Now is the perfect time to evaluate and refocus the efforts of every individual involved in having a positive impact on your nonprofit!