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Best Links: Heartbleed Tips for NPOs, Fundraising Math, Questioning Facebook Reach

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Linking ideas.

Nonprofit Blog Carnival

The Work behind Our Work: Your Methods & Wants for Nonprofit Blog Carnival. Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention! is in charge of the April Carnival. She wants your back story. Write about "productivity, planning, and/or getting great ideas out of your head and into action." Conversely, write about what is holding you or your organization back.

Fundraising, Marketing, and More

8 things donors expect from nonprofit communications - Ben Stroup for LinkedIn. Your donors are busy. Don't irritate them with too many messages or irrelevant ones. Great, succinct tips about what to do and not.

A Donor at Rest Tends to Stay at Rest: 6 Ways to Motivate Donors - Willis Turner at Fundraising Success. Maybe I've been watching too much of the new "Cosmos," but this physics-based post really spoke to me. How do you motivate donors to take action? Lots of ideas here. Follow up with Research reveals four simple ways your not-for-profit can motivate donors from Connecting Up.

What "We Can't Afford Fundraising Software" Really Costs You - Bloomerang. Oh the ultimate pain of "free." It includes frustration and a black hole of information about your donors. On the same theme, don't miss Pamela Grow's The Cult of Free Will Kill Your Fundraising.


How a Food Bank Keeps Volunteers Happy and Coming Back for More

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Happy volunteers at the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado.

If you stumble upon the Facebook Page for the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, you might be amazed that it is so active, with over 4,000 likes, 28 talking about, and 463 "were here."

I'd guess that it's because this food bank has a loyal cadre of volunteers that provided more than 30,000 hours of service last year. The food bank is proud of that number and has put it front and center of its FB Page and its website this month.

"The Chronicle of Philanthropy" was also impressed enough to use this organization as a case study recently as it trained its eye on effective volunteer management.

The Care and Share Food Bank is enjoying volunteer success for several reasons.

First, the issue is hot. Hunger has become a headliner in the press. Consequently, more people than ever want to help, either by donating or volunteering, or both.

The Care and Share Food Bank only has 40 employees, but an increasing number of people who want to volunteer. Coloradans are also very familiar with disasters such as wildfires and floods, where the work of organizations like the Food Bank are important.

In fact, this food bank went from a little over 4,000 volunteers in 2010 to 8,500 in 2013. Those volunteers helped the Food Bank deliver 18.6 million pounds of food in 2013, up from 11.5 million just a few years before. More than 100,000 people were helped last year by the Food Bank.

Second, the Care and Share Food Bank has embraced volunteers. It has an open arms policy and tries to place everyone who is willing to work. There are families with children who volunteer, students, people from civic groups and faith organization, as well as court-ordered volunteers. The Food Bank has also partnered with 67 corporations and their employee volunteer programs.

How do they do it? By placing volunteers at the center of the organization. For instance:


Best Links: Twitter Changes, Lessons from Letterman and Fallon, Data vs Relationships

Wednesday April 9, 2014
Jimmy Fallon writing one of his thank you notes.

Nonprofit Blog Carnival

The Work behind Our Work: Your Methods & Wants for Nonprofit Blog Carnival. We're all busier than ever! So how do we get so much done? Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention! is in charge of the April Carnival. She wants your back story. Write about "productivity, planning, and/or getting great ideas out of your head and into action."

Fundraising, Marketing, and More

Get More Out of Your Fundraising Donation Page by Acting Like an Online Store - Christine Schaefer of Salsa Labs for Fundraising Success. Branding and price points are things commercial sites do very well. Schaefer has examples of nonprofit donation pages that take their cues from online stores and turn those elements to doing good.

3 Smart Strategies to Boost Your Online Fundraising - Joe Garecht for GuideStar Blog. Joe simplifies the confusion around online fundraising. If your head is spinning from all the possibilities and demands, do these three things for some rapid improvements.

Dr. Adrian Sargeant's 7 Principles of Donor Loyalty - Tom Ahern for Bloomerang. Revisit the basics of donor retention. Tom expands on the brilliant ideas of Adrian Sargeant and includes several links to supplemental information. Find out about the "big third dot" and why your "boilerplate" could be killing your donations. Ahern is in fine form here, bringing these classic principles to life.


If Volunteers Were Paid What They're Worth, We Couldn't Afford Them

Monday April 7, 2014
National Volunteer Week 2014 Logo Americorps volunteers on MLK Day, 2014

April is all about volunteers. It is not only National Volunteer Month, but this week is National Volunteer Week.

It seems that when the weather warms up, and the flowers start blooming, volunteers start moving.

Here are some facts about volunteers that you might not know:

There are an estimated 64.5 million volunteers in the US. That's more than a quarter of us adults. We gave 7.9 billion hours of service in 2012, worth about $175 billion. A recent report provides a break down of who does what and where.

The Independent Sector has reported that the value of volunteer time in 2013 reached $22.55 an hour. That's an average across the states. But still, it's a very impressive figure. In fact, if we had to pay volunteers, we couldn't afford them.

Where are the highs and lows of those estimates? Washington D.C. has the highest per hour volunteers at an eye-popping $38.69, while Arkansas has the lowest at $18.93.

But what is really interesting is how that per hour estimated volunteer wage has gone up over the years. In 1980, it was $7.46.

Independent Sector explains how these figures are calculated, and how a nonprofit might use them in financial statements, grant proposals and annual reports.

Given just how valuable, indeed, indispensable to your nonprofit volunteers are, and the economic value they bring, make sure you keep them happy, say thank you often, and make a special effort to get young people involved. They are the future of volunteering after all.

Image 1 - National Volunteer Week Logo courtesy of Points of Light. Image 2 - AmeriCorps members with Rebuilding Together in Pittsburgh, PA on MLK Day 2014. Photo by Henry Scott, courtesy of Corporation for National and Community Service.

It's a Deal! Your Unused Airline Miles for 10,000 Wishes

Wednesday April 2, 2014
A Make-a-Wish kid surfing.

It's a great bargain.

You've got unused frequent flier miles. Make-A-Wish has children with dreams.

You can donate your frequent flier miles to Make-A-Wish all year long, of course, but April is special. It's when kids with life-threatening medical conditions have dreamed their dreams and are making their summer travel plans.

That's why the beloved charity that fulfills more than 10,000 wishes a year with 2.5 billion donated air miles is pushing hard to get everyone "onboard" with their miles this month.

The Wishes in Flight program makes it easy to donate your unused or expiring frequent flier miles. An estimated 16 trillion frequent flier miles go unused each year. Plus, as many as 25 percent of us just let our miles lapse, or use them for magazine subscriptions or a one-time better seat on our next flight.

We can do so much better.

A Make-a-Wish kid on her way to NYC.

Make-A-Wish would like us all to equate frequent flier miles to wishes instead. To think about a child visiting Disney World, surfing in Hawaii, or making her first visit to New York City.


New to Fundraising? Return On Time Spent (ROTS) Is Your Best Friend

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Arrows that represent the confusion fundraisers feel when trying to choose strategies.

The nonprofit part of our economy is growing faster than the business side. The sheer number of nonprofits has grown, and 10 percent of the US workforce is employed by them.

As with business, there are big organizations that include large nonprofits like the American Red Cross, your state university, and probably the hospital down the street.

But just as there are many small businesses, there are many, many small nonprofits that really make up the bulk of our nonprofit organizations. Of the 1.1 million public charities in the US, three-quarters are small, with budgets less than $500,000.

The biggest challenge facing the founders of a new nonprofit, or a newly hired fundraiser for a small charity, is how to raise money. There are so many ways to do it, it's no wonder you are overwhelmed and confused.

That's why Mazarine Treyz, a fundraising expert, has cut through the noise for you in her guest article, Creating Your First Fundraising Plan? What Works and What Doesn't.

All fundraising strategies have a ROI (return on investment) and, maybe even more important, a return on the time that you spend, or ROTS. Small nonprofits often have one person devoted to fundraising. Sometimes, it's just the founder that is doing it. So time spent for the biggest result is the most important consideration when selecting fundraising methods.

Don't waste any more time. Ditch the things that don't work and double down on those that do.

Read more:

Photo: Getty Images

About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs Newsletter
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Best Links: Social Media for Grownups, the Missing Middle, B Corps

Monday March 31, 2014
Linking ideas.

Nonprofit Blog Carnival

Best Ideas and Strategies to Disrupt the Nonprofit Sector. Allyson Kapin of The Rad Campaign brought together 19 experts and their ideas about how to change the work that we do. They tackled everything from boards to mobile to disgruntled employees. Don't miss this 101 of disruption!

The Work behind Our Work: Your Methods & Wants for Nonprofit Blog Carnival. Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention! is in charge of the April Carnival. She wants your back story. How do you get things done? There is a plethora of ways to answer Nancy's call for submissions, such as "productivity, planning, and/or getting great ideas out of your head and into action."

Fundraising and More

Postcard Annual Report - Great Example of How It Can Work - Nonprofit Marketing Guide. No longer a myth, the postcard annual report is a success. Guest poster Tim Smith of the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor says his org not only produced one, it got rave reviews. Tim tells about the process, and you can actually see what it looks like! I love this idea. I'd read one of these in a heartbeat.

5 Lessons You Should Adopt from Wendy's New Cause Promotion - Joe Waters writing at ForMomentum. Wendy's has more than a cheeseburger. It has a great cause. Joe Waters, Cause Marketing expert, likes the campaign which promotes adoption. And he has some good reasons to applaud it, from its authentic and emotional back story, to the way Wendy's is all in on this one, to how it incentivizes customers.


4 Trends in Grant Making as Foundations Focus on Impact

Wednesday March 26, 2014
Grant money.

The "Chronicle of Philanthropy" reported recently on the state of foundation grant making from the conference of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations .

The story is one of still lagging assets and the push to achieve more impact with smarter giving.

Recovering from the recession has been slow with the 10 richest foundations in the US worth $110-billion, which is still $20-billion short of their value in 2007. Consequently, less money has been going to nonprofits over recent years. The only exception to that trend is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which increased giving by 46 percent from 2007 to 2013.

What are foundations doing to make more efficient use of their grant making? The Chronicle mentions four trends in current grant making that charities should be aware of:


Crowdfunding for Nonprofits: Infographic Reveals Stats, Tips

Monday March 24, 2014
Infographic showing growth of peer-to-peer crowdfunding.

Craig Newmark's craigconnects has released a dynamite infographic about crowdfunding for nonprofits.

The graphic is called "Cracking the Crowdfunding Code." I've included a snippet here, but you really need to take a look at the full infographic and save it for future use. Especially when people at your charity seem to be doubtful about how crowdfunding might help them.

Crowdfunding is a confusing term, because it can cover so much ground. But for the purposes of this infographic, Newmark and the agency that created the graphic, the RAD Campaign, stuck to crowdfunding for nonprofits.

There are two flavors of this kind of crowdfunding:

  1. When nonprofits accept donations through a "crowdfunding" site such as Razoo, StayClassy, FirstGiving, Causes, CauseVox, and many others. Those sites typically allow nonprofits to set up a page to collect donations. Charities then publicize the link to their supporters. Sometimes those pages are general fundraising tools, and sometimes they are for a specific campaign, which is then promoted vigorously for a certain time period. Nonprofits often have both kinds of pages running simultaneously.

  2. When individuals or groups of supporters set up personal fundraising pages to accept donations to support a favorite cause. This is peer-to-peer fundraising where individuals urge their friends and colleagues to support a particular cause or charitable fundraising campaign. Crowdfunding sites make both kinds of fundraising possible, the nonprofit centered and the peer-to-peer. Often they are intimately linked.

There are lots of stats in this infographic that paint a pretty rosy picture of where crowdfunding for nonprofits stands and with hints about its future. Here are just a few:


Surprising Ways Your Nonprofit Can Fundraise With a Business

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Have you ever heard of a trade show fundraiser? How about a movie theater fundraiser or an office pool fundraiser? These were new to me, but now I actually know all about 40 different ways to raise funds with a business partner, thanks to a new book by Joe Waters.

See my review, and then check out Joe's Pinterest Boards that showcase a multitude of examples of business/charity partnerships.

Joe has been a guest author for this site several times. Here are some of his articles:

Image courtesy of Wiley Publishing

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