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."...

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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?...

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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.