Friday, April 19, 2013

9 Ways To Measure Nonprofit Data

We live in a society where it's easy to be overwhelmed by data. It seems as if there are statistics about virtually everything, making it hard to figure out which numbers are actually important. Nonprofits are among the groups that are gathering more data  than ever, but not all of them are using the information they gather, or are not using it as well as they can.

Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine wrote in their book, "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit," that it is more important to evaluate impact than to gather and store numbers. They offered nine suggestions on how organizations can get the most out of the statistics they gather:
  • “Likes” on Facebook is not a victory. Social change is a victory. Proper measurement keeps organizations focused on results rather than the tools they use.
  • Measurement helps nonprofits understand and improve their social networks. It helps them listen to and engage with constituents.
  • Measurement means data for decisions, not for data’s sake. It isn’t numbers to dump on the board’s desk.
  • Measurement makes an organization plan for success. Measurement leads to smarter investments and smarter use of those investments.
  • Good measurement is good governance. Credible evaluation reports and demonstrations of impact are crucial.
  • Data without insight is just trivia.
  • Measuring failure is part of the path to success. If an experiment bombs or a great idea isn’t really so great, learn from it, and learn why it happened.
  • Incremental success is no failure. Victories often come in baby steps.
  • Measurement is valuable at every level of functioning.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Charity Raises $7 Million In Aftermath Of Boston Marathon Bombings

A fund created to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings has already received nearly $7 million in donations from corporate partners and individual donors.

One Fund Boston was launched on Tuesday by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to give philanthropists and other individuals a way to support the more than 180 individuals who were injured during the attacks on Monday. The $7 million raised so far includes a $1 million commitment from John Hancock Financial Services, which was one of the lead sponsors of the marathon.

Taking aside the donations from businesses and corporations, One Fund Boston has received $500,000 from 8,500 individual donors.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support by the business community and individuals who are united in their desire to help,” Patrick said. “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.”

Mayor Menino said via a statement that he received calls from businesses and individuals who wanted to pledge money “within the hour” that the fund was established. “We are one Boston. We are one community. As always, we will come together to help those most in need. And in the end, we will all be better for it,” Mayor Menino said.

One Fund Boston will be headed by attorney Ken Feinberg, who was appointed in 2001 by the Attorney General of the United States to head the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. In 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to administer the fund for those affected by the BP oil spill, and he also helped administer donations for the victims of the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and at Virginia Tech.

“I am honored to serve at the request of both Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino,” Feinberg said in a press release. “I will do my best to justify their confidence in me as we move forward to design and administer an effective program following the terrible tragedy in Boston.”

Feinberg, who is himself a native of Boston, will head the fun entirely pro bono.

The Fund is currently in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. A statement on the organization's website said that if the IRS makes the determination that it is worthy of being tax-exempt, that decision will be made retroactive to the date of the Fund's formation.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Scams Abound After Boston Marathon Bombings

In the aftermath of the deadly bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon, a number of web sites claiming to offer funds for victims appear to be scams.

According to the Internet news site TheDomains, more than 20 of the 125 domains that were registered after the bombings appear to be illegitimate. Michael Berkens, editor of TheDomains, wrote in his piece that many of these sites, such as Bostonmarathonrelief.com, have been registered by individuals rather than legitimate charities.

“While we don’t know every registrants' intention, we do know historically that many of the domain names registered immediately after were done to get traffic and make money parking domains or worse,” wrote Berkens.

Bostonmarathonrelief.com claims to be raising $25,000 benefiting the American Red Cross (ARC). As of this writing, $20 has been donated. A spokeswoman for ARC told The NonProfit Times that the site is in no way affiliated with the organization. The site is registered to a man in Fort Worth, Tex.

Scams also appeared on social networking platforms. Shortly after the bombings, a Twitter handle  masquerading as an official account of the Boston Marathon sent out a tweet claiming it would donate $1 to victims for every retweet. The account, @_BostonMarathon, was suspended by Twitter, according to The Huffington Post.

“Tragedies inspire people to give,” H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of Better Business Bureaus Wise Giving Alliance, said in a press release, “but, tragedies –- whether natural disasters or manmade catastrophes –- also inspire scammers to take advantage of that generosity. Social media, in particular, makes it very easy to reach a lot of people quickly, when emotions are running high and people feel the need to take action, any action, to help.”

Charity scams after national tragedies are not exactly a new phenomenon. After the Newtown, Conn., shootings resulted in the death of six-year old Noah Ponzer, an e-mail was sent to individuals asking for donations that would be sent to Ponzer's family. Upon learning of the bogus solicitations, Ponzer's uncle alerted authorities who put an end to the scam.

Nonprofit Jobs: Executive Director

Need a new executive-level nonprofit job? The newest featured position from the NPT Jobs Career Center offers that opportunity. Read on for more details.

The International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tenn., is looking to hire an Executive Director to provide leadership and direction to ensure the organization’s sustainability and relevance. The successful candidate will provide effective fundraising, community collaboration, program development and attentive oversight to the operation of the International Storytelling Center.

The Executive Director will also be expected to:
  • Advocate for the art of storytelling;
  • Provide leadership by which the organization can achieve its vision;
  • Increase, strengthen and diversify the organization’s funding sources;
  • Broaden and refine all aspects of communications including web and social media presence;
  • Provide fiscally sound financial management;
  • Hire, develop and retain quality staff;
  • Improve and expand programmatic offerings; and,
  • Work effectively with the Board of Governors
Since this is an executive level job, applicants will be expected to have at least several years of upper management experience at a nonprofit or business. A Master's Degree in a related field is greatly preferred, though not required. 

Interested? Head to our career center for more information, including instructions on how to apply.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

7 Dos And Don'ts For Nonprofit Technology

Nonprofits have embraced technology, but that doesn't mean they have all done so with open arms. It's this factor that will determine whether or not your organization will have success with the various new devices and software available.

Holly Ross, former executive director of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) in Portland, Ore., and now head of the Drupal Association, set out a list of Dos and Don’ts to make dealing with technology much easier:

Do:

  • Let mission and strategy be the guides when making technology decisions.
  • Establish strong systems. Staff can’t get mission-critical work done if they have to reboot the system every half-hour.
  • Plan. A crystal ball isn’t necessary to plan for technology needs.
  • Evaluate continuously. Learning from experience isn’t possible without stopping to reflect from time to time.
Don't:
  • Make technology decisions based solely on cost. It is only one factor in determining the value and expense of technology.
  • Forget to include staff in technology decisions. Allies will be needed while new systems are being implemented.
  • Select mission-critical software such as a donor database without first documenting key business processes.

Coverage Of The Boston Marathon Bombings

No doubt you have already heard about the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday that claimed three lives and left hundreds others injured. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

If you are looking for additional coverage of the incident, you can read our latest story here. You can also see our initial article hours after the bombings here. Stay tuned to NPT for additional coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Idaho Nonprofits Getting Online Giving Day

Nonprofits in Idaho are being invited to participate in a one-day online giving day campaign next month. The event hopes to bring new donors and increased outreach to local organizations.

Idaho Gives Day, created by the Idaho Nonprofit Center, is set to begin on May 2. Much like the online giving days in other states, this campaign will let individuals search for nonprofits in their area to which they wish to contribute. According to a report in The Twin Falls Times-News, there will be additional incentives for organizations that choose to participate, including tracking of the number of donors and how much money each nonprofit receives.

In addition, the Idaho Nonprofit Center will randomly draw a donor's name throughout the day and give $1,000 to a charity of their choosing. The five nonprofits at the end of the day that have the largest number of donors will also receive a grant from the Center.

Those individuals who wish to participate in Idaho Gives Day should visit the event's website on May 2. You can read the full story in The Twin Falls Times-News.