Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tax Credit For Michigan Nonprofits Set To Expire

Michigan nonprofits are urging donors to take advantage of a soon-to-expire tax credit, according to an article in The Detroit News.

The tax deduction, called the Credit for Charitable Gifts, raised $100 million last year for Michigan charities, and gave taxpayers over $40 million in write-offs on their state returns.  It has been law since 1967, but Governor Rick Snyder and the state Legislature decided that to end it starting Jan. 1.  The primary reason for this was because it cost the state $43 million for nearly $100 million in donations.  Groups that opposed the repeal of the credit attempted to defend it by saying that it provided a lot of government support for community and cultural groups.  Those protests were not enough to save the credit, though there have been rumors that the Snyder administration will add an appropriation for a tax credit in the annual budget.

Charitable deduction has been a big subject in the national news lately.  The Obama administration has repeatedly tried to cap deductions at 28 percent for those earning more than $200,000.  The most recent attempt at this was in the White House's proposed American Jobs Act, but the provision was removed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Product Reviews For The Online Store

Have you purchased a product from on our online store? Let us know what you thought of it! You can now submit a review for any of the products available in our online store. We greatly value your feedback and would love to hear from you.

Google+ Now Open For Business For Nonprofits

When Google+, the search engine giant's venture into the social networking world, launched earlier this Summer, nonprofits might have had two reactions:

"Oh great, another social networking site.  Just what we needed."

OR

"Another social networking site?  Great!  That's just what we needed!"
There was only one problem: Google+ only allowed users to make pages for themselves, not for businesses.  So if a nonprofit was hoping to use it to further promote their services, it seemed they were out of luck.

That all changed on Monday when Google announced it would allow users to make pages for their business or organization.  Known as Google+ Pages, it will allow nonprofits to have yet another presence in the growing world of social media.  Yet for all those that are excited about this, there are those that might be more skeptical.  Does your nonprofit really need another social networking page?

The NonProfit Times doesn't have a Google+ page, so we can't say with certainty whether it's necessary.  But from reading Google's blog post on the subject, it does seem to have some handy features.  For example, people interested in your organization can add a "+" before the name of your nonprofit in a Google search.  This will instantly connect them to your Google+ page. 

Interactivity is another selling point.  There's a feature called Google+ Hangouts, which allows users to interact with you via video.  I can see this as a great way for a nonprofit to have a discussions with supporters.  If you are interested in seeing how this feature works, you can check out a recent hangout that happened on the Google+ page for The Muppets Movie.  It should give you a good idea of what you can do with it (and it's kind of funny to watch).

So should your nonprofit create a Google+ page?  That's up to you ultimately, but it does seem like it offers some features that at least make it worthwhile to try.  Besides, there's no harm in having more of a presence online.

National Christian Foundation Hits Grant Milestone

The National Christian Foundation (NCF), a grant-making network based in Atlanta, Ga., announced today that it awarded its 3 billionth dollar since the founding in 1982.  The organization announced the news in a press release, and have also released a short video to thank their supporters.  NCF National President David Wills had this to say about the news:

"We’re grateful to be able to offer givers a foundation which helps simplify giving and multiply the impact. This is just the latest milestone in the modern-day Christian generosity movement, and we're excited to play a part in this historic time of giving."
CityTeam Ministries, a Christian nonprofit in San Jose, Calif., was the lucky recipient of the historic grant.  They got it after being recommended for a $300,000 grant by Hugh Maclellan of the Maclellan Foundation in Chattanooga, TN. 

This is not the first major news that recently has come out of NCF.  Earlier this year, they announced a nationwide expansion with their 25 affiliates.  They also developed a new brand and updated their website.  Visitors to the site can follow a nationwide giving blog, which gives them the opportunity to connect with givers and other experts from across the country.  Make sure to visit their site to find out more about the organization.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All About Fundraising

Fundraising is the engine that runs any successful nonprofit. While nonprofits generally raise funds through the donation of cash, there are many other ways to engage in fundraising. Some organizations will sell products to generate income, while others will set up elaborate events, such as special events. While direct response fundraising remains a popular way to contact donors, nonprofits are increasingly turning to the Internet as a source. This is known as online fundraising and it is not simply limited to email campaigns. There are a variety of online fundraising tools, such as pay per click links or donation widgets.

Are you interested in learning more about fundraising?  We have a ton of articles related to the topic on our website.  Why not check them out and see what you can find?

CDS Global/The NonProfit Times Webinar

UPDATE: Did you miss this webinar, or just want to hear it again/show it to a friend or colleague?  You can listen to the full recording of the webinar on our online library.

October 13th @ 10:00 AM CDT, join The NonProfit Times and CDS Global for a new webinar: "What's Keeping You Up At Night?  Creating Systems to Deal With Nonprofit Challenges."  Nonprofit organizations face many challenges today, whether it's scrutiny from donors and boards, donor acquisition and cultivation, operational efficiency issues, or the ever-increasing need to focus on technology.  This webinar will help your organization put systems into place that will tackle these issues and more. 

This webinar will feature Brett Ridge, Senior Solutions Manager for Nonprofits at CDS Global and Barry Spear, Vice President of Growth and Development at Madonna Reahabilitation HospitalRegister for this exciting webinar today, and help get your nonprofit prepared for current and future obstacles!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Virtual Walking And Other Creative Nonprofit Ideas

What if someone told you that they participated in a charity walk while reclining on their couch?  You'd say they were crazy, right?  Think again.  Thanks to a concept called virtual walking, which was created last year by Fannie Mae for their annual Help the Homeless Walk, participants can help their favorite charity without ever leaving their home.  It's one of many creative ideas that nonprofits are coming up with to survive, as reported on by The Washington Post.

The economic slowdown has made life tough for all Americans, and nonprofits have been especially hard hit.  As a result, they have had to develop new, creative strategies to stay afloat.  The Post article gives the example of Columbia, Md.-based Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The organization narrowed its operation from national to local to take advantage of the growing number of corporations that are giving locally rather than nationally. 

As successful as the concept of the virtual walk has been for Help the Homeless Walk--it raised $6.5 million for 118 nonprofits in the D.C. area last year--there has been talk that Fannie Mae is planning to pull out of it in the future.  As a result, a D.C. nonprofit called N Street Village is planning to run its own version of the event next year.  Part of the preparation for this included using YouTube to recruit new participants.  Stuart Allen, the organization's associate director of development, was quoted in the Post piece as saying that they wanted to start reaching out as early as possible so it won't feel as "shocking" for people who have already supported them using virtual walking.

These are just some of the creative ways nonprofits are adjusting to life in the 21st century economy.  It's a rough job, but somebody has to do it.  We recommend reading the whole article from The Washington Post on their website.

Tips For A Successful Annual Giving Program

We all know that annual giving programs are an integral part of most successful nonprofits.  But what are the best ways to tell how well it's performing?  Looking at the numbers that come in is only half the battle.  The key to a successful fundraising program goes a lot deeper than the amount of money you generate.  The following tips, which come from a recent Association for Healthcare Philanthropy international conference, can increase the chance that your annual giving will remain strong throughout the years:

  • Your program should work toward and achieve revenue goals while investing enough for long-term return. 
  • You might consider including personal solicitations or creating "donor clubs" to enhance your revenue.
  • Donor base development should be an important part of your annual giving program.  You can always use more donors.  You never know when your seemingly reliable donors will fall through the cracks.
  • Show your donors you love them rather than need them.  You can do this with strategic communication and stewardship.
  • Annual giving doesn't need to be separate from the rest of your fundraising activities.  Find ways to have it work with your planned giving and major gift programs.
  • Get your volunteers involved.  They can end up being your best advocates and help you reach higher levels of performance.  The worst mistake you can make is thinking they won't be able to help your cause.
You may think your annual giving plan is going great, but there's always room for improvement.  Try implementing some of these tips to get your fundraising to the next level.