Friday, November 4, 2011

A Nonprofit For Miniature Horses

You've probably heard of people bringing dogs to visit senior citizens and hospital patients, but what about horses?  If you're wondering how they get these animals into the rooms to begin with, I have two words for you: Miniature horses.

Mini's Making Miracles, which is the subject of a story in The York Dispatch, is a nonprofit based in York Haven, PA, that brings young miniature horses to local nursing homes and hospitals to help patients.  For the founders, Kevin and Vickie Tyler, the organization represents a dream of theirs to turn their love of volunteerism and mini horses into a nonprofit that can improve the morale of patients.

According to the Dispatch, the Tylers spend between $3,000 and $5,000 every month on feed, transportation, vet bills, and insurance costs.  It's a hefty salary for a small organization, but Kevin Tyler says he is actively searching for sponsors and volunteers to help offset costs.  More information can be found about Mini's Making Miracles on their website.

Zurich/The NonProfit Times Webinar

UPDATE: Did you miss yesterday's webinar?  The recording is now available via our online library.  Check it out if you weren't able to attend, or just want to hear it again!

Risk comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be caused by an innocent accident or malicious intent. And, risk management plans often do not keep up with the times and technology. This webinar, hosted by The NonProfit Times and Zurich, will feature nationally-regarded expert speakers, and will focus on what risk entails, how to lessen an organization’s chances of being on the wrong end of a lawsuit and what to do if all of that doesn't work.

Speakers include:

  • Melanie L. Herman, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center
  • Woods Bowman, Ph.D., Professor of Public Service at DePaul University
  • Holly Ross, Executive Director of NTEN

Register today! The webinar begins tomorrow, Nov. 3rd.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Legislators Introduce Postal Reform Bill To Save USPS

Struggling to stay afloat in a down economy, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is receiving much needed life support from a bi-partisan group of legislators.

At a press conference held this morning, four members of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs backed The 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011: Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Scott Brown (R-Mass.).  It contains a number of provisions, including:

  • Preserving six-day delivery for another two years.  After that period, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will determine whether the Postal Service's financial situation is in good enough shape to support a six-day delivery.  The prospect of a five-day mail cycle was a huge concern for nonprofits and other businesses, so this will be a major relief for them should the bill pass.
  • Refunding $7 billion to USPS through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as overpayment to the Federal Employee Retirement Health System (FERS).  About a quarter of that money would be used as retirement incentive buyouts of up to $25,000 (or credit service years toward retirement annuity) to reduce staff by 100,000, and pay down USPS debt.
  • Giving USPS the authority by 2015 to deliver to curbside, sidewalk, or centralized mailboxes, rather than direct delivery.
These provisions, and the others included, are designed to help USPS and those that rely on it.  As Lieberman said at the press conference: “Too many people still rely on the Postal Service for us to sit back and allow it to collapse."  Tony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, has already announced that his organization will support the bill.

In this era of bank bailouts, the members of the committee were quick to emphasize this is not a bailout of USPS.  The senators emphasized the $7-billion in payments to the FERS that originally came from ratepayers.

The 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011 joins two other measures that are currently held up in Congress.  This one, however, seems to have a better chance of success since the four members who introduced it hold key committee assignments related to USPS.  Still, nothing is ever a given, so we will have to wait and see what happens with this bill.  Stay tuned for further updates as they occur.

Must-Have Skills For Fundraising Jobs

Cross-Posted From NPT Jobs

So you want to work in fundraising?  That's all well and good, but do you have the right qualifications?  Having a solid background in finance and numbers will help your cause, but nonprofits look for a wide variety of skills when choosing people for fundraising jobs.  Here are four skills that many organizations look for when going through potential fundraisers:
  • A strong background in technology: If you have a great understanding of computers, the Internet, and social media, it will greatly help your cause.  The Internet is an important frontier for fundraising, so using it to research new donors will be a great help to the organization.
  • Intellectual capacity beyond traditional book smarts: Being able to think outside the box to solve potential problems quickly is key.  The fundraising world will throw many different problems at you, so it's imperative to have great problem solving skills.
  • Communication: A great fundraiser will have excellent written and verbal skills.  You should be very comfortable selling the organization to potential donors.
  • Team Player: Fundraisers will often have to work independently, but they still need to be able to work efficiently with a team.  If you think that the donors you get are your property, fundraising probably isn't the right position for you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acquiring Hispanic Donors

Cross-Posted From Our Squidoo Page

Hispanics have accounted for 50 percent of the nation's growth since 2000. In addition, they have increased their population in the US by 37 percent between 2001 and 2009 and, according to the 2010 US Census, they make up 16.3 percent of the population. These numbers make it clear that nonprofits should do all they can to tap into this growing group. What are the best ways to go about acquiring Hispanic donors? The NonProfit Times recently wrote a piece on this topic:

*Spanish/Bi-Lingual Language Generates Lists -- When looking at this information, do not take "Spanish Language" in a title of Datacard as fact. It can be deceiving. In addition, research the list source, rely on usage information and understand the mailing cycle.

*Hispanic Affinity Lists -- These are lists from companies with Hispanic audiences and Hispanic influence, but include Hispanics as a subset or larger group they prospect. Look at the non-Spanish speaking/Hispanic names if a Spanish acquired list exists. Also, cross reference terms or words closely related to Hispanic culture.

*Enhanced DM-Sourced Lists -- When using these lists mail and evaluate multi-buyers generated from these sources differently. Also, be savvy about how the names were identified and ask questions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Nov. 1 Issue Of The NonProfit Times Is Out!

It's the day you've all been waiting for: The Nov. 1 issue of The NonProfit Times has been released!  This issue contains NPT's annual Top 100 Nonprofits Report, as well as stories on topics ranging from special events to workplace giving.  Let's take a look at the articles in the new issue:


  • 'Crop Circles & Sleeping Late'-This article takes a look at two different special events: A corn maze developed by Life Adventure Center (LAC), and a video game marathon called "Extra Life," created by Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to benefit patients.
  • 'Workplace Still Is Productive'-Workplace giving is alive and well despite the economic downturn.  Learn about some recent campaigns, and how to apply their work to your nonprofit.
  • 'Rural Nonprofits Lag On Revenue, Access'-A new study published by the Bridgespan Group shows some of the difficulties that rural nonprofits are facing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

4 Ways To Maximize The Reach Of Direct Mail

We live in a society of instant gratification.  That's why e-mail and other digital means of communication have become so popular.  This has led to the perception that direct mail is yesterday's news.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Although it may be seen as a relic of the past, direct mail still performs as one of the most cost-effective and wide-reaching fundraising method.

How can you make this very much alive method of communication work for your nonprofit?  The NonProfit Times recently posted a management tip on this very subject.  Here's a sample of the tips:
  • Plain Packaging -- Testing shows that the most effective direct mail package for health care consists of four components, a carrier (outer) envelope, letter on foundation or hospital letterhead, reply slip and reply envelope.
  • Avoid “Fancy” Packages -- A large package with brochures or other enclosures won’t work well. It will cost more and perform worse. Keep consistent branding a hallmark of the packaging.
  • Writing Style -- Remember to keep the language personal, informal and conversational. The copy should be fast-paced, easy to read and concrete.
Make sure to read the full article on our website.

NPT'S Career Center Gets A Redesign

If you have been to the Nonprofit Jobseeker recently, you may have noticed some changes.  That's because the career center home of The NonProfit Times has undergone a complete redesign.  All of the same features that were on the site before are still there, but now it's in the same style as the NPT home page, giving the site a much more familiar feel.

At the top of the redesigned site, you will see the sections for both employers and job seekers, which include links to pages of interest for each party.  For example, the job seeker section links to our current list of nonprofit jobs, while the employer section links to the area where they can post their open positions.  The new site also makes it much easier to locate all relevant career resources.  These include job advice articles, hiring tips, links to relevant NPT offers and products, and more.  Here are some other key sections of the site:
We hope that you like the re-design of the Nonprofit Jobseeker.  Feel free to leave any feedback you have.