Friday, September 30, 2011

The NonProfit Times October 1st Issue

The October 1st issue of The NonProfit Times has just been posted online.  This issue features a special focus on healthcare and nonprofits.  Here are some of the articles you can expect to see in this edition of NPT:

  • Take This Job: The charitable sector must lead the way if the economy is to recover.
  • Developing Your Board: To unlock your board’s true potential, boards need to constantly re-examine their own performance and make the necessary improvements that have been identified through their assessment process.
Check out this exclusive online preview of the new issue today, before it hits your mailbox!

Giving Day In Texas (UPDATE: 9/30/2011)

UPDATE II: North Texas Gving Day turned out to be a huge success, raking in $10.7 million for 600 nonprofits.  This far exceeded the amount expected, and set a new record for the event. 

UPDATE: As was posted in the comments, the matching funds pool is now $1 million thanks to a donation from Hunt Consolidated.  Thanks to Jake Cigainero from SparkFarm for posting the update.

Many states around the country have "giving days," when a percentage of donations to nonprofits are matched.  This gives people high incentives to donate, which was clearly seen during this year's Erie Gives DayThe NonProfit Times wrote about Colorado Giving Day in its February 2011 issue.  With the amount of money that can be raised from these events, it's no wonder that more states are having giving days of their own.

According to The Star-Telegram, Texas is planning to host a giving day of its own.  It's called the North Texas Giving Day, and it will run between 7 AM and 7 PM on Thursday.  Donors will be able to choose between 500 nonprofits in the region, with donations at $25 or higher receiving a matching donation.  Those funds will come from a pool of $700,000 that was raised by the Community Foundation of North Texas.

This will be the third year of the North Texas Giving Day.  Previous incarnations had raised a total of 9 million dollars.  This year will be slightly different, as more Tarrant County nonprofits will be represented.  Previously, the giving days had mostly benefited Dallas nonprofits.

Read more about North Texas Giving Day at their website, and make sure to read the full Star-Telegram article here.

Nonprofits Fight To Keep Charitable Deductions

When Congress was discussing ways to decrease the nation's deficit this summer, one proposal that came out of the White House was to cap itemized deductions at 28 percent for individuals in the highest two tax rates.  This proposal was met with heavy resistance from nonprofit organizations, and the proposal was eventually excluded from the final bill that passed Congress.  The rejoicing by nonprofits didn't last long, however, as the proposal has re-emerged in President Obama's American Jobs Act.

The NonProfit Times posted an article yesterday about how 19 major nonprofits wrote a letter to the members of the so-called "Super Committee," the group tasked with finding ways to further reduce the deficit.  The letter urged the committee to protect charitable deduction from the proposed cap.  Nonprofits fear that any major changes would seriously impact giving.  Most studies confirm this, but an interesting tidbit from the article seems to indicate there is some doubt on that front:

The challenge as Denton [senior vice president, government relations and strategic partnerships for American Red Cross] sees it is the uncertainty about what effect a change to deductions would have on donations. “Any tinkering on this just alarms folks,” he said, adding that for every study that indicates a large impact on giving, there are others that say the opposite.
The proposed change could lead to the damaging results they predict, it could have no affect at all, or it could be somewhere in the middle.  Not knowing for sure what the actual affect might be is probably more unsettling than if there was 100 percent certainty.  This uncertainty, combined with concern about the long-term whittling away of the deduction, has spurred nonprofits to take action.

Stay tuned to The NonProfit Times for more updates on this topic.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dreaded "Ask"

Cross-Posted From Our Squidoo Page

Nobody likes "the ask." The fear of rejection or hostility is a very human trait, and it's something that fundraisers have to deal with almost every day. The best fundraisers know they have to have thick skin, but it doesn't mean the ask is any easier. Is there anything nonprofit employees can do to get over these fears? Thankfully, the answer is yes.

-Know what you want to ask and how you want to ask it. Sounds simple, but it doesn't always happen.

-Know what the needs of the prospect are. How can the gift meet or exceed their expectations?

-Time your ask based for the benefit of the prospect and/or for a critical project.

-Create a great solicitation team.

-Make sure you have multiple asks happening weekly. The more you ask, the more you will receive.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nonprofit Management Tip: Direct Mail And The Recession

Mailing during the recession was not easy for nonprofits, but there are lessons to be learned from its aftermath.  During a recent DMA Nonprofit Federation conference, Craig Finstad of the American Lung Association shared some of these lessons:

* If your piece is not in their mailbox, someone else's is. The strategy is to stay in front of renewal donors. The organization resisted pressure to cut the number of appeals without testing.

* If you mail it, they will come.

* Dance with the girl who brought you. Pressure from management and complaints from donors will make you want to cut back on the number or cost of mailings or on winning packages. Resist the temptation of making changes without testing.

Want to read more?  Head on over to our website to get the full scoop on this important subject.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finding Volunteers For Special Events

Nonprofits can raise funds through a variety of different methods. While a large amount of these funds come from direct donations, special events play a large part as well. These events can be concerts, galas, special speaking events, or other large gatherings. These can take a great deal of effort, but that effort is repaid well if it's done properly.

The backbone of a great special event lies in the strength of its volunteers. You are going to want to find individuals who are totally committed to the cause for which the event is raising money. If a volunteer is not enthusiastic about it, they will likely not put as much effort into making sure things go smoothly. That's why it's important to have a solid screening process when picking volunteers. One great suggestion is to create a questionnaire for potential candidates that might include questions like: "How many people are you comfortable working with?" or "What skills are you proficient in?"

All potential volunteers should also receive a document explaining, in detail, the goals of the event, and what you expect them to do. This last point is especially key. People don't like getting surprised with work they weren't prepared for, so make sure you list everything you want your volunteers to do.

These simple tips will help you pick out quality volunteers for your big special events. Feel free to leave more ideas in the comments section.