Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Web site layout becoming commonplace

As the whole idea of technology-related nonprofit operation becomes commonplace, more thought is given to making the best use of what is available.

Nonprofit executives attending a recent national nonprofit conference learned that many organizations are finding a degree of success by employing certain strategies for the layout and presentation of their Web sites. They are shared by many of the organizations whose sites were rated in the Top 10 by either Forbes or The NonProfit Times.

Among the common characteristics:

  • Nine out of 10 positioned their logo in the upper left-hand corner. It is the expected location. Further, logo placement should be consistent and link back to the homepage.
  • Seven out of 10 use mastheads at the top of their homepage. This separates the core components to a site (Who, What, Where, Why).
  • 80 percent positioned their search in the upper right-hand corner.
  • 60 percent of the sites used a three-column grid format.
  • 70 percent of the sites used a sidebar for simple navigation.
  • 33 percent of the sites utilized Macromedia Flash.
  • 30 percent of the sites incorporated streaming video.
  • 40 percent of the sites used dropdown menus.
  • 10 percent of the sites used pop-ups.
  • 50 percent of the sites had a graph image that made eye contact with the viewer.
  • Almost all built their text from html rather than a graphic.
  • The best performers used multiple areas on the page for “Donate” or “Sponsor.”

Complex Executive Searches Take Different Directions

The complexities of an executive search sometimes reveal an unexpected direction that a nonprofit must take to effectively fill its leadership needs.

In its December issue of “Leadership Matters” Bridgestar features a case study of the search process for a chief operating officer (COO) at Fellowship Health Resources (FHR), a Rhode Island-based mental health services agency.

Here are five elements of the process:

  • Look at the search process strategically. Evaluate your organization’s growth and senior management needs. Consider the type of structure and the types of leaders you need.
  • Consider all candidates. Even if an organization has strong internal candidates, it’s important to open the search to a broader group. Vet internal candidates as carefully as you would external ones.
  • Have an open mind and be ready to shift your thinking. Many organizations mistakenly believe that the job requirements they determine at the beginning of the search are set in stone. As hiring managers meet candidates, they gain additional insight into the needs of the organization, the right fit for their culture and the important requirements for the position.
  • Have realistic expectations. The initial COO job description included a daunting list of required skills, as well as the expectation that the candidate would split time between the mid-Atlantic region and New England.
  • Reflect on the qualities of hires that worked and those that didn’t. The driving requirement for the search became finding a candidate who would thrive in FHR’s hands-on organizational culture and who really understood the nature of FHR’s business.

This article is from NPT Weekly, a publication of The NonProfit Times.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ideas for getting started on Web 2.0

If nonprofits are serious about reaching a newer and younger audience (read: donors), they should become familiar with a little thing called Web 2.0. The phrase is commonly used to describe the next generation of Web-based communities and services, such as social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as well as other programs that help users share content.
But what does this do for nonprofits? Nonprofits can use social networks to gain access to new donors and advocates, said Marc Sirkin, chief marking officer at the New York City-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), during a recent direct marketing conference.

Social networks can drive donations, petition signatures and increase newsletter subscribers. While it may be hard to get any type of data to measure success of some Web 2.0 efforts, he said, a nonprofit can track referral traffic, as well as specific conversions, whether it's through donations, petition signatures or newsletter sign-up.

For nonprofits just getting started in Web 2.0, Sirkin offered some best practices for beginners:
  • First, jump right in and get started, what are you waiting for? Feel free to learn on your own and set up your own profile.
  • Don't worry too much about tracking at first.
  • Start with re-posting some of your existing content on the Web to your social network page, such as images and video.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Are Your Automated Web Processes Working For You?

By Heather Fignar

Recently, I've been inundated with mail from a now defunct email box. In addition to all the email newsletters and feeds that I subscribe to, I have had my inbox cluttered with someone else's subscription choices.

In an ideal world, the former owner of the box would have changed all the subscription to a new email address. However, this exercise gave me an in-depth look into hundreds of subscription processes. It wasn't pretty. Here are some general observations on the good, bad and ugly -- not necessarily in that order.

  • In more than 90 percent of cases, the landing pages were so non-descript that the organizational affiliation was unclear.
  • In particular, Lyris applications displayed a page that says: "Your email address will be removed" and then asks, "Are you sure?" But the page, question, font and Yes button were so bland that I missed them the first couple times and had to repeat the process.
  • Some unsubscribe pages were also non-descript, non-personalized forms that required me to enter the email address. Lance Armstrong Foundation was one of the few organizations that had personalized the page with a header. Others had no identifying copy at all.
  • Several groups require an account login before allowing me to unsubscribe.
  • Some landed me on a page with the organizations header that simply said, "You have been unsubscribed. Thank you." Some provided a more in-depth customized form that allows the subscriber to differentiate between the topic and all organizational emails.
  • One of Howard Dean's emails had a sentence that read, "Click here to unsubscribe from this mailing list." But, it wasn't linked.
  • FeedBlitz was the only unsubscribe page that readily gave me an option to change my email address without unsubscribing and re-subscribing
The saddest finding was the lack of effort put in by more organizations to customize these crucial relational pages. Unfortunately, most signup processes are just as generic. We would recommend that organizations spend the time and energy to customize the process. If constituents want to leave the list, make sure it isn't hard, but also provide a compelling reason for them to stay. At the very least, identify yourself.


***Heather Fignar is a managing partner with NPAdvisors in Warrenton, Va. Her email is heather@npadvisors.com. The organization's Web site is www.npadvisors.com
This article is from NPT TechnoBuzz, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT TechnoBuzz or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

About Face at FaceBook Is A Good Thing

By Holly Ross
There was a lot of hoopla over the recent announcement by Facebook about its Social Ads program, called Beacon. And by hoopla, I mean near hysteria-level complaining.

The blogosphere was aghast at the idea of the opt-out based advertising scheme. Apparently, the fine folks at FaceBook have seen the error of their ways. Mark Zuckerberg posted to the FaceBook blog:

About a month ago, we released a new feature called Beacon to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web. We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it.

In response, they are implementing a couple of interesting changes:
  • First, you will have to opt-in to display any Beacon advertising in your news stream, etc., instead of having to opt-out. Additionally, if you fail to respond to the opt-in request that is generated when you interact with a Beacon site, the system does not display the advertising. This is a significant and good change.
  • Second, you can opt-out of the dang thing to begin with. Just go to your FaceBook privacy settings and click on the link for External Web sites.

***This item is from the blog of Holly Ross, executive director of NTEN, a technology support organization. It was edited slightly. Email her at holly@nptimes.com. The Web site is www.nten.org

This article is from NPT TechnoBuzz, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT TechnoBuzz or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Salvation Army Scammers To Serve Time

By Marla E. Nobles
The federal government sent another ringing message to charity scammers thinking about taking advantage of public goodwill during times of disaster: you scam, you serve.

Two Houston brothers each were sentenced last month to more than eight years for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft as a result of fraudulently operating a Web site that claimed to raise money on behalf of the Salvation Army for Hurricane Katrina victims. The fraudulent Web site, prosecutors said, collected more than $48,000 before anyone caught on.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner sentenced Steven Stephens, 24, to serve a total of 111 months. Bartholomew Stephens, 27, will serve a total of 105 months. A jury convicted the pair after a four-day trial in June.

The Stephens case is just one example of the more than 2,400 Katrina relief Web sites believed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to be fraudulent.

More recently, as Southern California burned this past October criminals began setting up bogus Web sites and soliciting donations. According to the FBI, in the days following the California wildfires fraudsters flooded the Internet with fake charity sites.

To Read Complete Article Click Here...

Friday, December 7, 2007

When in London...

When picturing an upscale dinner party, an underwater breathing apparatus doesn't usually come to mind.

That wasn't the case at a recent London Fundraiser, where celebrities, including British Actor Nigel Havers (Empire of the Sun) and rugby player Matt "Daws" Dawson, joined 500 others at a West London swimming pool to raise money for charity -- and to break the Guinness world record for the world's largest formal underwater dinner party.

In groups of 20, diners sat down to a NASA-style meal of smoked salmon, crap and hazelnut praline, all jellied so as to not disintegrate in the water. To eat the ice cube-sized portions, explained The Park Club in West London, "...remove the aqua lung from your mouth, pop in the space food from NASA, replace the aqua lung in your mouth and press the button on the aqua lung to purge away the water in your mouth and start breathing again: as simple as that!"

The record-breaking attempt -- the previous record was 100, set in 1991 -- raised more that $400,000 for six charities, including Save the Children, Wooden Spoon, and The Shooting Star Children's Hospice.

- Marla E. Nobles

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Finding a Cure: Fox works to find the cure for Parkinson's Disease

Actor Michael J. Fox - best known for his long-standing role as Alex P. Keaton on the hit sitcom "Family Ties" - kept his Parkinson's Disease a secret from the public for almost seven years. But after disclosing his condition in 1998, he knew he needed to take an active role in beating the disease.

"After I went public, people began to have conversation about Parkinson's," he said. "I started to go online and people were really talking about this. I realized I had become a student of this disease and truly had a responsibility to engage in this community."

Fox decided to form his own foundation to fund research of Parkinson's and educate others about what they can do to fight the disease. "With Parkinson's, the science is ahead of the money, and the idea of pursuing the science became very compelling to me."

But although Fox's foundation has made a huge impact on Parkinson's research (the foundation has given some $100 million to research), he still wonders why more isn't being done. "Who's in charge of finding a cure? There is $100 billion pt [into medical research]... you'd think there would be a Department of Cures or a Secretary of Cures."

In the meantime, Fox will continue his work in hopes of finding a cure. "We need to climb more mountains," he said. "My hope is that we find ways to link the academic world with the business world. That's what our foundation is doing and will continue to do."

Recommendations from New Orleans to you

Any nonprofit can face a difficult struggle when trying to bring relief to, or even cope with, a site of widespread devastation. The World Wide Web can be an extremely useful resource.

Rick Christ, managing partner of NPAdvisors.com, visited New Orleans. The city is still far from recovery, but Christ offered recommendations for utilizing the Web to stay operational that were presented to New Orleans nonprofits but that could have universal application.

The recommendations are:

  • Think cheap and quick. There are plenty of free Web tools, but don't use any that take too long to learn.
  • The Web was created for man, not man for the Web. A small nonprofit with no budget or tech staff that is literally digging itself out of the mud needs only to "do" online what produces real and immediate benefits. If there is no short-term gain online, don't do it.
  • Get the fundamentals right, forget the rest. Focus on usability, on value to the Web user and on fundraising. Integration is only a problem if you have a lot of data.
  • Web must follow mission. Only do online what furthers your mission (this week). If your mission is advocacy, the Web can help. If it is bringing people together, think chat rooms.
  • Everyone wants to help. Ask. This can be true primarily along the Gulf Coast, but to an extent it's true among all nonprofits.
This article was posted in The NonProfit Times, Instant Fundraising. If you would like to read more articles like this one, signup for our free weekly eNewsletter here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NPT/Mobile Cause -News on Your Cell Phone

The NonProfit Times has partnered with MobileCause to provide headlines and news when they happen directly on your cell phone.

You can now receive alerts every Tuesday, and when new breaks, on your cell phone by sending the word NPTIMES to 85944. Your normal text messages fee will apply.

MobileCause has been in the social sphere for more than 15 years. It is focused on cause and social marketing. It's in-house technology and developers connect to large, world-wide partners that insure everything is best in class.

The NonProfit Times has been a trusted news and comment provider for more than 20 years.

MobileCause utilizes servers in seven locations in the United states and two in Europe. Through this it has a large capacity to sustain large mobile initiatives o the scale of 64 million votes of American Idol. (Most mobile agencies are agency only and do not have in-house technology.) Also, the MobileCause team is filled with people who have Fortune 100 experience in all levels of interactive marketing and cause marketing experience.

When news breaks, you're just a ring tone away from being ahead of the game.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sex Scandal Clean-up Continues At American Red Cross

By Paul Clolery

The American Red Cross (ARC) is undertaking a forensic audit of money spent by deposed Chief Executive Officer Mark Everson to determine if any of the charity’s money was used inappropriately as he romanced a married female subordinate who is now reportedly pregnant.

Everson, whose salary was $500,000, will receive nothing from the organization in terms of termination pay, said Carrie Martin, an ARC spokesman. “There is no severance package. The board has offered Mr. Everson a contribution (under $10K) to assist with medical insurance costs,” Martin responded via email to questions from The NonProfit Times.

The organization just started the review, according to sources. “The board members are livid,” said one ARC staffer with direct knowledge of the situation. “If he spent a dime, or bought a dinner, they are going to want it back.”

According to Martin, “As a matter of due diligence, the Red Cross has been reviewing sources that may potentially unearth evidence of financial or other impropriety. No evidence to suggest this has been found. … Therefore, we cannot speculate as to what actions the organization would take if any were found.”

Everson, 53, married with two adopted children, resigned Nov. 27 during a conference call with the ARC board. He had been on the job just six months. A senior staff member brought the situation to the board nine days earlier. The investigation was not initiated because of a complaint from the female subordinate.

Click Here to Read Complete Article...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

5 reasons YOU should be on the "tube"

With the explosion of YouTube -- and everyone else and their uncle jumping on the video bandwagon -- the use of video can now be an inexpensive tool for nonprofits to promote their causes. Michael Hoffman, of See3 Communications, which creates media for nonprofits, offers the following advice for nonprofits looking to dip a toe into the world of online broadcast:

  1. Video is more important than ever and it's here to stay. As the Web and television come together, your Web site is becoming a channel and the need to have engaging video content is becoming an organizational imperative. Imagine being given television time and using it to put up a PDF.
  2. There are so many ways to use video these days, that the "Dinner Video" model no longer makes sense. Instead, document what your organization does on a regular basis, and make sure to check the calendar so you don't miss the most interesting moments. Create a library of content, which you can go back and reuse and repurpose over time. As this library grows, so do your story options.
  3. Not everything has to be done professionally. Depending on your organization, staffing and interest, a certain level of self-sufficiency can be brought in-house. The model now is that you still do the high-value post-production, but that organizations will be more nimble in both gathering new material and in getting certain pieces out the door quickly.
  4. YouTube is important. But counting views is not usually a nonprofit's goal. Lots of views on YouTube don't necessarily translate into clicks, emails or donations. In fact, they usually don't. That might change with YouTube's Nonprofit Program, but that's yet to be seen.
  5. It is very early in terms of direct response Internet video. There aren't good metrics yet on where/how this works well. So for now, the main focus is on video as engaging content that complements campaigns and works well in a social networking context.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keep Your Writing Readable On The Web

By Jamie Holaday
Considering people's ever-shortening attention spans and given the shocking lack of grammar taught in public schools, it's important to keep your writing straightforward to keep your readers on track. I didn't do such a great job in that first sentence. We'll have to see if I can reign in my verbose tendencies.

This item post is really to provide some top tips for writing for the Web. There are a few quirks when writing for the Web that are important to keep in mind.
  • Consider your audience. You have people of all backgrounds and experiences surfing as equals. To accommodate this wide-spread audience, you're going to want to write at about a ninth grade reading level or less. Newspapers generally follow this principle. They want their work to be as accessible as possible and so should you.
  • Think about attention span. (again) As we continue on in our sound-byte driven, media overload world, people's attention spans seem to shrink at a rate equivalent to the speed with which new toys for them to play with are developed. Not to be cynical or anything. What I'm trying to say is that you need to get to your point quickly. If you don't capture attention quickly, your reader might surf on.
  • Think about the mechanics of reading on screen. Depending on the machine a person is using, the screen size and thus the amount of text seen can vary widely. This is one of the reasons that long Faulkner-esque paragraphs don't work well. Also, it's really hard to follow visually as you scroll. Keep paragraphs shorter with a decent amount of space in between them.

***

Jamie Holaday is the internal communications coordinator at Blackbaud. Her email is Jamie.holaday@blackbaud.com

***

This article is from NPT TechnoBuzz, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT TechnoBuzz or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's never too late to get started

There's never a perfect time to begin a planned giving program at your nonprofit, but you have to start somewhere.

Viken D. Mikaelian, president of VirtualGiving, Inc. in Valley Forge, Pa., suggests getting down to business: Go into the office on a Saturday and start planning. But don't make a dramatic announcement to your boss on Monday morning. Play it cool and don't make him/her nervous, just highlight the fact that "everybody else is grabbing these gifts, it's time we got in line too."

Start with thanking those donors who already have put your organization in their will.

Mikaelian, who led a session on marketing planned giving programs during this year's National Conference on Planned Giving conference in Grapevine, Texas, recommends drafting a letter about how important the endowment is to your organization -- "not bequests, not planned gifts, but the endowment." Here are elements of the letter:
  • Be sure to include specifics about dollar amounts, who's investing it, and how it helps your organization reach its goals every year. A board member or CEO should sign the letter and mail it to everyone who has given $100 or more for the past three years.
  • Create a tag line to every annual-fund acknowledgement, such as, "Make a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime."
  • During some down time, schedule a letter to consistent donors asking them if they have included your nonprofit in their wills, and including sample bequest language if they want to do so now.

This article is from NPT Weekly eNewsletter, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT Weekly or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Getting good at finding funds

Some boards are good at fundraising. Some could use a little extra help. Still others aren't at all comfortable with fundraising or don't consider it part of their job as board members.

At a fundraising conference earlier this year, Don Crocker, CEO of the Support Center for Nonprofit Management, suggested ways to help your board be more successful when it comes to fundraising. The New York City-based center offers consulting, transition management and training for nonprofits and philanthropic organizations.

Crocker presented a sample description of the duties of a nonprofit's Board Development Committee:
  • Ensure the board and staff create a vision of the organization's financial future and understand the financial implications for fundraising and financial development.
  • Codify the short- and long-term funding imperatives of the organization with the help of the full board and executive director.
  • Research approaches used by similar nonprofits to meet their goals and present them to the board.
  • Coordinate role-playing opportunities and training for board members on such approaches to fundraising as corporate solicitation, foundation giving, proposal development, etc., as appropriate to the situation.
  • Involve the entire board in fundraising and organize fundraising activities that take into consideration each board member's unique talents.
  • Review progress on fundraising goals and motivate board members in their fundraising efforts.
  • Make personal donations and ensure that fellow board members do as well.
  • Identify, cultivate and enlist community leaders to serve on the development committee.

This article is from NPT Weekly eNewsletter, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT Weekly or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nonprofits' Data Breached Yet Again In Software Attack

By Mark Hrywna
Salesforce.com is the second software vendor to nonprofits this week to announce a data breach. The firm alerted its clients of phishing attempts and the security breach. The most recent phishing attempts included malware, software that secretly installs viruses or key loggers.

Salesforce.com sent security alerts to customers regarding two recent phishing emails: one titled "FTC" on Oct. 29 and the other "We want to make a order with..." on Nov. 6. The San Francisco-based company refused comment, except for a letter to clients that indicated “a rise in phishing attempts directed at salesforce.com customers over the past few months. The firm has more than 30,000 clients, fewer than 10 percent of which are nonprofits. The firm offers small organizations licenses for up to 10 users at no cost.

The announcement came three days after Convio announced it had a security breach with at least 92 clients, as previously reported on http://www.nptimes.com/.

“When we first saw signs of this sudden rise, we conducted a thorough analysis,” according to the salesforce.com announcement....

Click Here to Read Complete Article...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

92 Convio Clients Hit In Security Breach

Firm says no financial data was accessed
By Mark Hrywna

Nearly 100 clients of nonprofit software provider Convio had their data breached after an unauthorized third party was able to access email addresses and in some cases passwords.

Only clients on the GetActive platform were affected -- none on Convio’s platform – with unauthorized downloads of email addresses and passwords against 92 clients, about 7 percent of the company’s 1,300 clients, almost half of which use GetActive. Convio acquired GetActive earlier this year.

Downloads were made against another 62 clients but were not executed and did not result in data loss. Email addresses and passwords could be used for phishing scams and if combinations match access information, possibly online service providers like PayPal.

Convio declined to identify the organizations breached. The NonProfit Times uses the system to deploy e-letters but was not breached.

The attack was discovered late in the day on Nov. 1 and occurred sometime after Oct. 23. “It was a very sophisticated attack. It took us longer than we would have liked to recognize,” said Convio CEO Gene Austin. Some of the tasks the intruder performed were routine, as if it was an administrator on the system, he said.

The intruder attempted to harm a donation page for a site “and that obviously is a nonstandard process very different from normal. Once that happened, we clearly knew something was wrong and caught them,” Austin said. The intruder began the attack by being routine, and now “we’re watching those standard routines much, much more closely,” he said.

Where fraud is occurring at nonprofits

It is a sad fact that fraud has taken place at nonprofit organizations, just as it has out in the for-profit and bureaucratic world.

At the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Not-For-Profit Industry Conference, Gerard M. Zack, president of Zack Accounting and Consulting and founder of the Nonprofit Resource Center Inc., outlined the recent trends that are showing up in nonprofit fraud.

According to Zack, a 2006 study showed that private companies had 36.9 percent of fraud cases, public companies 31.7 percent, government agencies 17.6 percent and nonprofits 13.9 percent. The median loss was $100,000.

He noted that while traditional check tampering and disbursements continue to be prevalent, certain varieties within those areas have become apparent.

They are:

  • A significant increase in cases involving corruption, including kickbacks, bribes and undisclosed conflicts of interest;
  • An increase in cases involving electronic access to or theft of data, sometimes while employees are working off site, hacking into networks, etc.;
  • An increase in external attempts at check tampering and electronictransfers from NPO accounts;
  • An increase in cases in which a nonprofit is held liable for fraudsperpetrated by its employees or agents against others; for example, an employee steals credit card information of a member of the organization; and,
  • An increase in the use of sham or impersonator charities.

This article is from NPT Weekly eNewsletter, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT Weekly or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Protecting your domain name and identity

The likelihood of someone grabbing an expired domain name and testing it for profitability has increased so much that experts advise several precautions to prevent the crime or actions to take if it has happened.
One option is to not let the domain expire at all. If it is done, however, you can take steps to rescue it. Here are some things to think about:

  • There are more than 200 registrars to choose from, so do your homework. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) must accredit all registrants.
  • Verify that you or an authorized representative of your organization has been selected as the registrant. Go to WHOIS database at the Web site of Public Interest Registry (PIR) and view the name of the registrar, administrative contact and technical contact for your .org domain(s).
  • Check that email contact is valid.
  • Consolidate .org domains.
  • For a national organization, centralize your portfolio of affiliate domain names by giving it to national.
  • Register your domain names for the maximum amount of time.

For organizations that unintentionally let their domains expire.

  • The redemption grace period that ICANN has put in place provides actual and constructive notice that something's wrong.
  • Look up the new owner's information on WHOIS and send a demand letter. Seek the advice of knowledgeable counsel.
  • Contact your ISP and alert it of fraud.
  • File a proceeding under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.
  • File an action in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Act, which is part of the Lanham Act.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

EXEMPT MAGAZINE IS EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF ITS REDESIGNED WEBSITE!

Exempt Magazine, the premier source for financial information in the nonprofit world, is pleased to annouce the launch of its redesigned website, www.exemptmagazine.com; upgraded to serve as a primary information portal for financial executives within the nonprofit world.

So, what's new at www.exemptmagazine.com?
  • Ease of navigation. You will be able to get the latest news, view our media kit, subscribe to the magazine, and more. All this and more is easily accessible on our new site.
  • Exempt e-newsletter – receive the latest financial news affecting the nonprofit world, delivered right to your e-doorstep! (InBox, actually). The first issue will be sent out the week of December 9. Click here to make sure you are on the list to receive this inaugural issue!
  • Exempt Job Board. Are you looking for a financial job in the nonprofit industry, or searching for a few good candidates? The Exempt Job Board will launch in January, but we are taking inquiries now. Click here for more information.

Click here to visit the new Exempt website now!

New Face. New Content. Still the Premier Source For Financial Information In The Nonprofit World

This new website is just another step in the launching of the new Exempt. As mentioned previously, Exempt magazine is getting a complete makeover – new website, new magazine, new e-newsletter, and more!

The next issue of Exempt magazine you receive will have a facelift. Beginning with our December 2007/January 2008 issue, Exempt will have an improved look and feel, but still contain information vital to financial executives in the nonprofit world. If you are unfamiliar with us, now is a great time to learn how you can take advantage of some great advertising opportunities. If you have worked with us in the past, we can’t wait to talk to you about the changes at Exempt and the new opportunities we have to offer. Using a combination of print, electronic, and events, we are on track to quickly becoming the only source you need for reaching your marketing goals.

To learn more about the opportunities Exempt has to offer, click here to download our 2008 Media Kit. For additional questions or to get started, contact Harry Dolan, Publisher at 973-401-0202 x212, harry@exemptmagazine.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Workaholics inebriate everyone in the office

There's being committed to the job, and then there's being a workaholic. It might sound like a polite euphemism for someone who puts maybe a little too much time into work or seems a little too dedicated.

But according to Bryan Robinson, a retired psychology professor, workaholism is an addiction, a serious one that harms not only the addict but also everyone around the person. In fact, it also does a disservice to the group, company or organization to which the workaholic belongs.
Being a workaholic has been linked to sleep disorders, heart attacks and strokes.

In his book "Chained to the Desk," Robinson identifies 12 symptoms that are signs of being a workaholic. While none of these signs alone points to pathology, taken together they indicate a serious problem.
The 12 signs are:

  • Rarely delegating or asking for help;
  • Showing impatience with others' work;
  • Often doing two, three or more tasks at one time;
  • Committing to work; biting off more than one can chew;
  • Feeling guilty and/or lost when not at work;
  • Focusing on results, not the task;
  • Focusing on planning, ignoring the here and now;
  • Continuing to work after others quit;
  • Imposing pressure-filled deadlines;
  • Seldom relaxing;
  • Attending more to work than to relationships; and,
  • Lacking hobbies and social interests.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

$1 Billion In Storm Relief From Foundations, Business

Foundations and corporations in the United States committed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind giving for relief, recovery and rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to a report by the Foundation Center.

Contributions by corporate giving programs and corporate foundations accounted for the majority of institutional giving, according to the report, at nearly $520 million or 57 percent of total giving. Moreover, corporate giving focused more on immediate relief, while foundations focused more on recovery and rebuilding.

The report, Giving in the Aftermath of Gulf Coast Hurricanes, is based on an analysis of interviews with 10 of the top 25 independent foundations that responded to the disaster. They include David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Calif.), Ford Foundation (N.Y.), Robert W. Woodruff Foundation (Ga.), Open Society Institute (N.Y.), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Wash.), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (N.J.), Lilly Endowment (Ind.), Rockefeller Foundation (N.Y.), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Mich.), and Walton Family Foundation (Arkansas). Additionally, the report provides a comprehensive record of the resources institutional donors provided.

The overwhelming destruction wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the failure of the levee system in New Orleans, and the widely criticized government response all served to engage foundations across the country, according to the report.
In fact, of the estimated $6.5 billion (GivingUSA) for the relief effort through June 2007, giving from institutional donors accounted for more than $900 million in cash donations, and more than $100 million in-kind.

Click here to read the complete article...

Nonprofits Getting A Lease In Second Life

By Marla E. Nobles

America's Second Harvest (A2H) added another location to its coalition of more than 200 food banks and food-rescue organizations. But unlike the other operations, this one won't be stateside. In fact, donors will have to log on to enter its doors.

The Chicago-based food bank is the latest in a growing number of nonprofits joining the cyberspace community known as Second Life (SL). Some of the third sector neighbors include Fund for Animal Welfare (situated on Progressive Island), Reporters Without Borders (Hangflame), Save the Children (Midnight City), World Vision (Kiwa Northwest), and the Southern California chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which launched the virtual "MS Fly" fundraising event this past June.

Another 32 nonprofits are housed on SL's new Nonprofit Commons space, which TechSoup officially launched this past August. There were two simultaneous grand opening celebrations, one in SL and the second "in-world" event in San Francisco. The nonprofits-only space was donated by the world's first virtual millionaire, Anshe Chung, and managed by TechSoup.

Since opening to the public in 2003, SL, created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, has experienced explosive growth. In April 2004, SL had around 6,000 residents. Just over three years later, that number surpassed 9 million (as of August 21), growing by nearly 3 million this past summer alone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cyber money is just as green

It used to be that only sex generated money on the Web. Well, some nonprofits gone wild have sultry success stories to tell.

The World Wildlife Fund’s ClickReward program, “Miles for the Wild,” raised $23,000 its first year, 1999. Donors received two “ClickMiles” per dollar. The next year, the program was swinging from the trees: $465,000 in online contributions. Sure, there was a one-to-one match for donations of $200 or more that raised $400,000. But, the progress was worth a Tarzan yell.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation launched a campaign online that raised more than $200,000. Donors got frequent flyer miles by clicking through to donate. Its first year also was 1999, generating $70,000. The following year the organization doubled donations -- soliciting the 400 donors from the previous year as well as a new list of 5 million names.

Need more evidence of the value of online campaigns?

  • World Vision put its gift catalog online. A coordinated program for telephone and online. Orders of medicines and dairy goats for needy people around the world raised $1.6 million during the Christmas 2000 season.
  • Cabrini Mission Foundation generated $160,000 to thwart the spread of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland, Africa. Another online campaign raised $50,000 for Cabrini without a single email solicitation. Donors were attracted to the site through educational information.
  • Emails worked for nonprofit radio station WBEZ in Chicago to raise $135,000. It held an online pledge drive through an email sent by radio personality Ira Glass, host of “This American Life.”
  • The National Arbor Day Foundation’s 2001 online campaign brought out the vote -- to name the national tree. The campaign logged $20,230 in gifts as well.

Monday, October 22, 2007

National Good Governance Practices Pushed In Report

By Mark Hrywna

Governance practices at nonprofits are at the core of a new report from Independent Sector (IS) that suggests, but does not mandate, some 33 principles that nonprofits can follow to develop principles of ethics, accountability and transparency.

The report, the result of 18 months of expert opinion and public comment, is called "Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice: A Guide for Charities and Foundation." Released last week by IS and its Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, it is organized into four categories: legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, strong financial oversight and responsible fundraising.

Among the suggested items are:

  • A charitable organization should have a formally-adopted, written code of ethics with which all trustees, staff and volunteers are familiar and to which they adhere.
  • The board should review organizational and governing instruments no less frequently than every five years.
  • A charitable organization should neither pay for nor reimburse travel expenditures for spouses, dependents or others who are accompanying someone conducting business for the organization unless they, too, are conducting such business.
  • Contributions must be used for purposes consistent with the donor's intent, whether as described in relevant solicitation materials or as specifically directed by the donor.
  • An organization should spend a significant percentage of its annual budget on programs that pursue its mission. The budget should also provide sufficient resources for effective administration of the organization, and, if it solicits contributions, for appropriate fundraising activities.

Read More...

Don't get comfortable: Get a new job

Staying ahead of the game is essential for maximizing one’s potential for success in any career. There are a number of methods those in the nonprofit sector should keep in mind to achieve a successful and rewarding career.

  • Change jobs once in a while. You’ll keep yourself fresh, as well as change your perspective.
  • Network. Don’t rule out contacts that are not involved directly with your current duties.
  • Care about your cause.
  • Join a professional association and get involved. It’s a good way to make contacts and get name recognition.
  • Keep your resume up to date. Have different versions of your resume available so you are prepared for various opportunities.
  • Dress well. Fernando Lamas said, “It’s better to look good than to feel good,” but if you look good, you’ll feel good, too.
  • Keep your skills current. Read up on current affairs, attend conferences and be on the lookout for new trends and technologies.
  • Never burn a bridge.
  • Develop professional relationships with volunteers. They can be a great source for references and referrals.
  • Formulate a career game plan. You can’t get what you want until you know what you want.
  • Don’t resist the right lateral move. Moving sideways can often lead to moving ahead.
  • Find a mentor. It helps develop partnerships and friendships.
  • Develop your one-to-one solicitation skills.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pet Lover Gives, Toasts Philanthropy

In a "tail" unlike any other, when philanthropist and dog lover Ileen Kaufman wanted a one-of-a-kind way to celebrate the "woman's best friend" in her life and benefit charity, the Boca Raton, Fla., resident led with her palate.

Kaufman contacted to Dog Lovers Wine Club, a program born through the partnership of california-based boutique winery Carivintas Winery and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and set forth to create "Molly Merlot," the bottles customized with images of the Kaufman family's 9-yesr-old Boxer.

"It's a win, win situation for everybody," said Kaufman. "We get to celebrate Molly, who is a great fourth member of our family... we get to help the Human Society of the United States, and we get to enjoy wine woth friends." HSUS' Pets for Life program gets tossed a bone of 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Molly Merlot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Annual Giving ... Make sure you target correctly

Annual giving is a series of small, targeted, focused campaigns that run throughout the year. Or, as consultant Jill A. Pranger told attendees at an international conference on nonprofits, annual giving is about doing it well over and over and over again.

Annual giving is important, but Pranger emphasized that there are important considerations that will be significant factors for any organization.

  • The plan. What are you already doing? What would like to do. What can you do. Have volunteers and staff bought in?
  • Looking back. How well did we do last year and how did we do it? Focus on the organization.
  • Looking forward. Think of the philanthropic climate, nationally and locally, laws and regulations and breaking developments. Think of the economic climate nationally, locally and organizationally. Think of the organizational climate: How are we doing? What are we doing? What does our donor base look like? Have we had success raising money in the past?
  • Goal setting. Goals are not based on budgetary needs. They are based on a thorough review of expected gifts plus an honest evaluation of what the organization's inputs to get those goals will be.
  • When it is over, report the results. This gives the organization and the program credibility, can solicit help and gives the organization answers.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Volunteer management in cyberspace

In addition to its other advantages, the online environment provides many possibilities for volunteer recruitment and management. In her chapter "Volunteer Recruitment and Management" in the book Nonprofit Internet Strategies, Alison Li presents some of the online options that have become available to nonprofits regarding their volunteers:

  • Online volunteer matching. Online volunteer matching services allow organizations to reach new prospective supporters beyond geographic borders. Would-be volunteers can search for opportunities by name of organization, location, mission or other criteria that matter to them. Volunteers can learn more about organizations with they are familiar and discover new organizations they were not aware of.
  • Expanding the boundaries of volunteering. Internet resources can help managers rethink the way volunteers are recruited and managed, primarily by reaching those who do not fit traditional molds by virtue of age, disability, race, ethnicity or availability.
  • Virtual volunteering. Opportunities are now open to people who find it difficult to volunteer in person because of disabilities or work or family responsibilities that prevent them from coming to an office during regular working hours.
  • Managing and retaining volunteers. Online tools can allow volunteers to schedule their work and log their hours via email or an online scheduling system.
  • Recognizing volunteer efforts. The Web is an excellent place to recognize the accomplishments of volunteers.
  • Corporate linkup. Many corporations are searching for ways to help their employees volunteer and to serve their communities, and the Net helps them do this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Help Wanted: 640,000 Open Positions

By Don McNamara

The future is here.That's a good thing, isn't it?

It is not good if the future is the projected gap, possibly a chasm, between the number of senior-level managers at nonprofit organizations and the numbers of lower-level employees who would be in line to replace them.

The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit management support organization in New York, Boston and San Francisco, has published a report, "The Nonprofit Sector's Leadership Deficit," that presents a gloomy forecast for nonprofit leadership down the road.

The report projects that the number of new senior managers needed would increase from 56,000 to 78,000 between 2006 to 2016. Worse, it projects a cumulative total of 640,000 senior positions that will need to be filled.

Thomas Tierney, founder of the Bridgespan Group and chief author of the report, said he saw the trend more than five years ago, when he worked at the for-profit consultant Bain and Company in Massachusetts. "It became clear in 2000-2001 that many of the organizations we were serving were finding it difficult to build their own organizations. And, most of our clients were trying to do more, serve 5,000 children instead of 1,000, for example," Tierney said. "When they're growing, they need more bench depth. Clients were having a hard time finding CFOs and CEOs, and they were having succession problems."

Money is an ongoing problem for nonprofits. Tierney said he understands that issue, but he didn't see that as the chief problem. "The three ingredients are money, talent (that is, people) and a plan or strategy," he said. "The biggest problem was talent."...


Read to complete article at http://www.nptimes.com/07Oct/npt-071015-1.html

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Hey Geek Guy! What do I need to run Vista?

By Bob Finley

Geek Guy has lived in Chicago for a long time. When you stop him on the corner of Wacker & State and ask him the apparently simple question "Excuse me - which way is 100 Wacker Drive?" you might be surprised to find he needs more information. Do you mean North Wacker, South Wacker, East Wacker or West Wacker?"

Microsoft's new Vista operating system has a number of versions -- too many in the opinion of many reviewers. So to clarify an answer to your question about running Vista Geek Guy says:

  • Vista Business at a minimum -- stay away from the Home versions - Enterprise & Ultimate are ok, too (Vista versions are like addresses on Wacker Drive. You need more information).
  • 2 gigabytes of RAM.
  • Graphics card capable of supporting Directx 9 and 128 MB of graphics memory. A tip from Geek Guy -- The Vista upgrade advisor tool available for download at Microsoft is probably the quickest way to test your current graphics card. You might also discover a favorite software package or two that won't run in Vista without an upgrade.

One more word on graphics cards and Vista - unless you're a heavy duty gamer or a graphic designer there's a strong probability you'll need a new graphics card to fully support Vista on your existing machine.

Hey Geek Guy - my computer is just a year and a half old and it runs XP Pro just fine. So I can figure it'll run the flavor of Vista you're recommending fine right?...

Read the complete article at http://www.nptimes.com/technobuzz/tb20070814_1.html

This article is from NPT TechnoBuzz, a publication of The NonProfit Times. Subscribe to NPT TechnoBuzz or any of our other enewsletters and get the latest nonprofit news and stories delivered to your inbox.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A dozen Web Site Ideas

Careful design of an organization's Web site is an important consideration.
In his chapter "Inspiring Donors Online" in the book Nonprofit Internet Strategies, Todd Baker offers his Baker's Dozen of ideas:
  • Establish an overarching goal for your organization's Web site. Usually it's raising money.
  • Make an impression. People will remember how you made them feel.
  • Write to connect on an emotional level. Embrace clarity, engage the reader and encounter the heart.
  • Select the most interesting perspective from which to tell your story.
  • Find your organization's voice: a unique blend of charisma, courage, and concern.
  • Be persuasive by first making clear the specific action you want the reader to take.
  • Be human; don't be an organization. Show the donor that you're people who support a worthy cause and you're looking for folks just like you.
  • Illustrate your mission through images and pictures.
  • Present a virtual tour of your mission.
  • Write in an active and conversational style.
  • Stop spending 90 percent of your organization's resources on technology and only 10 percent on the message.
  • Give your headlines soul. Headlines that work seize the reader's attention, affect the reader on an emotional level and spark curiosity.
  • Understand online human behavior. People who are online read differently than they would with a printed text. Make a good first impression, do not think of a book-reading atmosphere and make each page of the site have an objective with the reader in mind.

5 Ways to Get Your Opinions Printed

Op-Eds, the opinion pieces that appear on the editorial pages of newspapers, can be effective communication tools for nonprofits. Sandra L. Beckwith, in her book Publicity for Nonprofits, advises anyone considering submitting an op-ed piece to have a clear topic in mind, as well as a clear goal. It is also a good idea to contact the publication to assess its interest in the piece beforehand.

Once all that has been done, take the following steps.

  • Begin by illustrating how the topic or issue affects readers. One good way is by putting a face on the issue, starting with a story of someone who has been affected by it. If this is not possible, lead with an attention-getting statement.
  • Follow that illustration with a statement explaining the broader scope of the issue. Use statistics to put the situation in context.
  • Describe the problem and why it exists. This is often an opportunity to offer your solution to the problem. Explain why it is the best option.
  • Conclude on a strong note. Repeat your message or state a call to action.
  • Make sure to put a note at the end describing your credentials as they relate to the topic.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Canning SPAM Right Now

Although much of the recent legislation regarding email concerns for-profit businesses, nonprofits would do well to be aware of these regulations, as well as of other considerations.

Senny Boone, executive director of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation, offers a checklist to follow for email communication:
  • If you send a commercial email make sure to communicate that the email is an "offer" to the recipient.
  • Provide a valid postal address.
  • Provide an honest subject line.
  • Provide an Internet-based removal system that is easy to use.
  • If you are using a service provider, have a written procedure and a contract.
  • If a recipient removes him/herself from a marketing list via an email service provider, that address does not have to be removed from all future campaigns.
  • There should be no surreptitious acquisition of email addresses via automated mechanism without the consumer's awareness.
  • The FROM line should not be ambiguous and should be a valid email return address.
  • "Remove" means remove.
  • Lists must not be sold or provided to unrelated third parties unless the owner of the list has provided notice and the ability to be removed.
  • A commercial email should contain the sender's privacy policy, either within the email or via a link.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A strategy for adding a vital revenue stream

The Ronald McDonald House of New York, Inc. has a monthly giving program, the Get Well Club. The operation of the Get Well Club was outlined during a recent direct response fundraising conference.

The plan has eight basic elements:

  • Strategy: Upgrade donors who give less than $100 and offer monthly contributions.
  • Goal: Demonstrate that gifts are vital to the organization's mission.
  • Package Format: A closed face 6 x 9 package; a personalized letter; a reply envelope; a personalized 8.5 x 11 form; a photo card of the family.
  • The Offer: Connect with the cost to house a family for one night. The ask is to facilitate them in joining. The typical monthly giving offer starts in the $10-$15 range.
  • Thank-you Gift: A successful technique is to offer a gift to new monthly donors. Recommended gifts include a Club pin and a personalized certificate of membership.
  • Pledge Payment Options: Offer electronic funds transfer or credit card. Do not offer a choice of having their debit take place on the first or 15th of the month. McDonald House contracts with an outside firm to set up a monthly electronic transaction.
  • Donor Segmentation: Divide the effort by new donors who have given a contribution of less than $100 and multi-giver donors who have given two or more gifts less than $100 during the past 18 months.
  • Additional Communications: Quarterly communications, newsletters, a small premium product, and a yearly tax statement in January or February.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Planning Staff Retirements

Any organization wants to think of what its employees will do while they are on the job, but the fact is that all organizations, nonprofit as well as for-profit, must look ahead to the time when employees retire. With that in mind, retirement programs that will offer employees a nest egg when their working days have ended are essential both to attracting good employees and to retaining them once they are hired.
With new tax laws being passed on a routine basis, there are always changes of which an organization must be aware, but there are several standard programs that help employees provide for retirement security.

Among these:
  • Tax-deferred retirement savings programs. These are IRA accounts, with contributions paid by the employee while working. With traditional IRA programs, employers are not allowed to match employee contributions.
  • Defined benefit pension programs. These traditional pension plans are becoming more and more rare because they guarantee a set payout upon retirement.
  • Defined contribution pension plans. These are set up by employers and funded by employees. Employers may provide matching amounts. These are the standard 401 accounts.
  • Cash balance pension plans. Employers establish an account containing a percentage of a worker’s salary plus interest each year. Upon separation from the organization, employees receive either lump-sum or annuity payments.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

4 Tips For Considering New Technology

"I'm in finance, so why do I have to worry about technology, too? Technology, software, and even phone systems -- what do these have to do with accounting?"

Everyone knows that nonprofit professionals -- especially finance staff -- wear many hats. The executive director must spend a majority of time "facing out" from the organization, typically working closely with the board, donors, and program officers.

Therefore, management of daily operations usually falls to the finance/accounting folks, whether they like it or not. They are left to wrestle with accounting and investing, as well as running day-to-day operations, which often includes making technology decisions.

According to Liz Marenakos, product line manager, Financial and Business Solutions at Blackbaud, Inc. in Charleston, S.C., the big questions -- what to buy, how much to buy, which providers to work with -- need thoughtful, careful answers. It's easy to recall technology mistakes because they leave a lasting impression. For a nonprofit chief financial officer, one of the most difficult decisions is whether to make a significant investment in technology. But the reality is that an organization cannot achieve long-term financial growth without investing in technology, she said.

Here are four things Marenakos suggests:

  1. If new technology for your organization requires more staff time than it saves, don't use it.
  2. Training is critical to using technology effectively. Many nonprofits have powerful tools they can't use because of insufficient training.
  3. Don't forget to evaluate the vendor's customer service and technical support services, which can set one vendor above the rest. Seek out the top experts -- not the "discounted" service. (Nobody talks about finding "the hospital's cheapest surgeon.")
  4. Investigate how long the technology vendor has been in business. Many software suppliers don't stay in business for long. The longer the company has been in business, the better the odds it will still be around in 10 years.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Make sure your database is secure

Database security becomes more complicated and more necessary each day.

Tom Gaffny, executive vice president of fundraising and database firm Epsilon in Wakefield, Mass., suggests eight database security questions that those responsible for security in an organization should ask themselves.

They are:
  • Are we only storing the data we need for our business use? Storing unnecessary data is both expensive and just one more potential security breach
  • Do we have an ultimate data owner for each system we support? Having two or more people who share ownership for a database system invites chaos.
  • Do we have documented audit trails surrounding our data access? Such a trail should specify who granted access to whom, for what data and at what level. It should also clearly specify who is allowed to do what with data.
  • Have we developed a data classification scheme, and why? Classifying data helped in determining how long different types of data should be retained on backup tapes.
  • Do we encrypt everything that leaves the secure data center? The most secure organizations encrypt everything, even laptops.
  • Have we recently undergone a security audit by an independent authority. An independent party can help identify weaknesses that are overlooked.
  • Do we back up our data often enough, and are encrypted files or tapes stored at a remote location? It's common sense.
  • Have we kept our employees completely informed about policies and procedures they need to follow to protect our assets?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Burning Calories To End Hunger

Americans need more exercise. CARE needs more money to combat global poverty. An obvious match, right? OK, maybe not so obvious, but professional triathlete and author Eric Harr hopes to serve those two purposes with the "I Am Powerful Workout with Eric Harr." It's not exactly Hans and Franz, though.

The fitness expert at CBS network affiliate KPIX-TV near San Francisco has put up the initial $50,000 to match gifts to CARE through the workout, committing $1 million over the next five years.

People can raise money for CARE just by exercising. For each hour you work out, Harr will donate $5 to CARE (up to $50,000), donors also can raise money theough a personal Web page, and win prizes. For every $1 raised on a personal Web page, Harr will match it with $5 (up to $50,000). Those who log 100 hours of exercise get an "I Am Powerful" T-shirt. Those who tell their story online get a "Music to Empower Women" CD. Through the Web page, http://www.care.org/features/workout/index.asp, users also can log their workout hours and download Harr's customized training programs. - Mark Hrywna

Calendar

October

3-7 The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy will hold its annual conference in Philadelphia. Info: www.ahp.org

10-13 The National Committee on Planned Giving will hold its annual conference at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. Info: www.ncpg.org

12-13 The 2007 BoardSource Leadership Forum will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Info: www.boardsource.org

13-18 The Direct Marketing Association will hold its annual conference and exposition in Chicago. Info: www.the-dma.org

21-23 Independant Sector will hold its annual conference in Los Angeles. Info: www.independentsector.org

24-26 The 2007 Risk Management & Finance Summit for Nonprofits, formerly known as the Nonprofit Risk Management Institutes, will be held in collaboration with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. Info: www.nonprofitrisk.org

November

2-5 The National Arts Marketing Project Conference 2007 will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Miami, Fla. Info: www.artsmarketingconference.org

7-10 The American Association of Grant Professionals will hold its annual conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va. Info: www.grantprofessionals.org

15-17 The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) will hold its 36th annual conference at the Omni Hotel CNN Center in Atlanta. Info: www.arnova.org

January 2008

24-25 The Direct Marketing Association's Nonprofit Federation will hold its annual Washington, D.C., conference, "Stand & Deliver: Fundraising in a Changing World," at the JW Marriott Hotel. Info: www.nonprofitfederation.org

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Web fundraising on a shoestring budget

A marketing or fundraising campaign can only get started with a big chunk of money to support it, right? Money doesn't hurt, but at a recent national conference on nonprofit marketing, Dina Lewis, Allyson Kapin and Donna Wilkins offered suggestions on six ways to help a campaign, titled "Internet Marketing on a Shoestring Budget."

The six ways they suggested are:

  • Submit to article marketing sites. These include EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com, ArticleDashboard.com, SearchWarp.com and ArticlesBase.com
  • Create memorable URLs. URL names should be short, catchy and memorable. Beware of names that are too long or wonky sounding.
  • Build your online media list. Build an online/media blog list consisting of media outlets related to your field (e.g. public health, environment, politics). A site such as www.Technorati.com has a search function offering lists of blogs that cover your issue. Also, track media and blog hits for free by setting up a Google email alert.
  • Integrate off-line promotions. Include your Web site's URL in offline communications, such as press releases, direct mail, telemarketing, print advertising and radio advertising.
  • Use viral marketing. Make it easy for visitors to sign a petition or pass a message along to a friend.
  • Take advantage of social networking. Consider the following: www.myspace.com, www.facebook.com, www.digg.com, www.Twitter.com.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Marketing...Tips for your making your PSAs sing

One way a nonprofit organization can get free, although haphazard, publicity is the good, old public service announcement, or PSA, that appears on radio or television. This announcement can be written by the organization and submitted to the nearest media outlet for public distribution.

In his book The Public Relations Handbook for Nonprofits, Art Feinglass suggests PSAs as handy ways of maintaining visibility because radio and TV stations are required to provide a certain amount of airtime at no cost to serve the public interest.

With that in mind, Feinglass offers a few tips for getting maximum mileage out of PSAs:

  • Usually, PSAs are 10- or 30- or 60-second spots. Know the time frame, and write a script for that time. Sometimes stations will specify the number of words they will accept, and they may rewrite your PSA.
  • Prepare the PSA on a single sheet of paper, and be sure to include contact information. Organization letterhead can be good for this.
  • Make the PSA warm, lively and conversational in tone and content.
  • Keep the sentences short and easy to read. Try reading it aloud yourself. If you find yourself gasping for breath, the sentences are too long.
  • Avoid words that are hard to pronounce or easily misunderstood.
  • Grab the audience's attention right from the outset.
  • If a station does run your PSA, send a thank-you letter.

Key Words For Donors To Find You On The Web

By Beth Kantor

The Pew Internet and American Life project Research studies in 2005 found that more than 60% of Internet users turned to search engines to find information on a daily basis. That number continues to increase and recent studies confirm the growth.

Internet users are heavily exploiting search engine functions to better navigate their way in finding their desired information. And, a majority of Internet users begin their search at Google.

In addition to the search results, Google runs short text ads on Google.com called Google Ad Words. When someone enters keywords (short phrases specifying a particular search query) into Google.com ads targeted to those keywords appear alongside the search results.

Click Here for Complete Article...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New and Improved, NPT Jobs Is Ready To Work For You

There are many new and exciting things happening at NPT Jobs, the source for nonprofit employment services (job postings, job seekers, resume postings, email blasts, etc.). Effective immediately, you now have three ways to advertise your nonprofit job opening:

NPT Jobs eNewsletter – This bi-monthly publication is sent to over 100,000 executives within the nonprofit sector. You can post a single opening or if you have multiple positions available, you can sponsor the entire issue giving you both impact and exclusivity. To view a previous e-newsletter, click here.

NPTJobs.com – Our online job board attracts over 3,000 weekly visitors. This is THE place where talent comes to find great openings in the nonprofit world. To visit NPTJobs.com, click here.

The NonProfit Times – Our flagship publication includes a jobs marketplace in every issue. NPT is read by over 85,000 executives in the nonprofit sector 22 times a year. Choose between lineage or display advertising to get your message across most effectively. Click here to view the jobs marketplace. There are also a number of bulk rate and nonprofit discount packages available – contact us for specific pricing. We look forward to working with you to successfully fill all your employment needs with the best talent available. Feel free to contact Joyce@nptimes.com if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding NPT Jobs.

Virtual Land Rush - Nonprofits, Stake Your Claim


The International Conservation Association formerly known as World Wildlife Fund, now WWF, launched the new Conservation Island in the virtual space Second Life (SL) this past August. With its size and notoriety, WWf in Washington, D.C., has the resources to stand on its own in the SL Meta-verse. But what about smaller nonprofits with less money, branding and support?

Offering an answer to the technological divide suffered by many in the third sector, nonprofit technology service provider TechSoup embarked on its own Second Life Venture - a nonprofits-only space called the Nonprofit Commons (NC).

"Larger organizations...don't need our help, because they have a huge staff and they've been in-world for a long time," said Susan Tenby, online community manager at San Francisco-based TechSoup. "Our goal... is to create a lower barrier of entry... into Second Life, and to create a kind of community for nonprofits." The NC, currently at capacity with 32 resident nonprofits, provides space free to qualifying organization.

According to Tenby, known in SL as the avatar "Glitteractica Cookie," the space provides a virtual venue for nonprofits to meet and collaborate, and foster outreach, education and fundraising. "This is more to help organizations get a foot in the door, figure out what they can do in Second Life, and have an already-existing community to step into and to get help."

Despite being situated on its own island, the American Cancer Society and other big-name nonprofits frequently partner with Techsoup, maintain satellite offices on the NC, and attend the weekly Friday meetings to discuss nonprofit-focused topics. Tenby said she wxpects the space to house 300 organizations within a couple of years.

The NC has a management team of seven people, and requires residents to sign an agreement committing at least three hours each week to SL.

"It's not only a great way to increase awareness for your organization, but also to enlist volunteers," said Tenby. "A lot of these (younger) people are so steeped in Myspace and social networking applications, that expecting them to read a newspaper to find a volunteer center, or even go (online) to volunteer match, those kind of days... they're getting fewer and farther between." - Marla E. Nobles

Hello? 'iPhoned' In A Donation - A Large Donation

Would you pay $100,000 for an iPhone? Would you give $100,000 to help get life-saving AIDS medicine to Africa? How about both for the same price?

Keep a Child Alive (KCA) marshaled its forces to "hijack the line" at Apple's SoHo store in New York City. Working in shifts, almost 60 volunteers stood first in line for more than 80 hours -- from 7 a.m., Tuesday, June 26 until the iPhone went on sale that Friday, June 29, at 6 p.m. The organiztion then turned around and put the item, which retails for $500, on sale on eBay. The $100,000 winning bid beat out 21 others.

Sure, the six-figure contribution isn't bad for a fledgling nonprofit that raised $3 million last year. But the exposure for the three-year-old Brooklyn charity is like those credit card commercials: priceless.

The media coverage of the KCA's iPhone campaign was estimated to be worth millions of dollars, said Senior Vice President Elizabeth Santiso, who's collected every piece, with more than 300 pages of press worldwide from as far away as Thailand.

"We try to keep things lighthearted because it's a serious issue," Santiso said. KCA aims to work directly with clinics in Africa, cutting through bureaucracy to get life-saving treatments to children and families with HIV/AIDS. "This type of guerilla marketing is essential for nonprofits that are working with something as timely as AIDS."

The iPhone will be awarded to the winning bidder at KCA's annual gala in October to honor U2 lead singer Bono. The event raises funds ($1.5 million last year) to cover operating costs so donations can go directly to programs.

KCA also gained attention with its "I Am African" ad campaign, which featured celebrities intraditional African paint or beads. Santiso said the organization doesn't shy from controversy "because it stirs conversation." - Mark Hrywna

Re-Gifting Goes From Tacky to Charitable

Social prudence says you can't trade in that hideous sweater Aunt Sally knitted for you last Christmas, but now donors can swap those unwanted gift cards that have been nesting in their "junk" drawer for months.

The National Prostate Cancer Center Coalition (NPCC) is among a growing number of nonprofit organizations tapping into a new program that allows donors to trade in or donate unwanted gift cards. "This program provides nonprofits a way to tap into the $5 to 10 billion in unused gift cards that accrue each year," says Michael A. Kelly, CEO of Swapagift.com, "turning them into cash for these organizations." With the recent launch of its Cards That Care program, the Internet company is attempting to put a philanthropic spin on the universal faux pas that is re-gifting.

And, okay, maybe you can swap the sweater or donate it to a charity, but do you really want that on your conscience?