Tag Archives: Fundraising

Fundraising Strategies: How to Reach Millennials

MP900439424Millennials are now the largest age group, and soon will surpass baby boomers in having the largest buying power by 2017. There is a lot of incentive and opportunity for organizations, including non-profits, to engage with this generation. But millennials have changed the face of communication, particularly with those wishing to advertise to them, and the old ways of fundraising have been become less effective. So how can a non-profit organization best engage with millennials, and earn a loyal following among them? See below for a few tips on how to engage millennials better in your organization.

  • Millennials, like most people, like to feel that they are making a real difference with their donation. They care about the mission, not the organization. When communicating your message, emphasize the mission and how it relates to what an ordinary person can provide to help the mission succeed. Use specific facts and numbers to show the impact of a single donation, or better yet, a monthly donation. Be specific and clear about how the money they donate is used – this builds trust in your organization and that you are the organization most suited for the mission.
  • Make it as easy as possible for them to contribute – even just sharing the news about your mission can make a big impact and lead to more donors. The more options you give them, the more likely they are to donate something: money, time, awareness. All are valuable.
  • You can accomplish this is through your website: make your website simple, easy to understand and navigate, and mobile compatible. I cannot stress that enough. If someone is inspired to donate when they are not near a computer – don’t stand in their way! By the time they get home, they may have forgotten or become too busy to log into your computer-only website to donate.
  • Another way to reach mobile donors – team up with mobile payment options like Venmo, Apple pay, Google wallet, Paypal, etc. Don’t make your donors fish out their credit cards and carefully type in the number. A difficult transaction is a lost donor.
  • Don’t talk about the organization, talk about people who have been helped by your mission. People connect with people, not organizations. Start a blog or website, and post plenty of shareable pictures and direct quotes from the people who are helped. Keep people updated frequently on your mission accomplishments – but don’t spam. People want to know how their donation has impacted the people in need they read about on your blog. The more updated your blog is, the bigger the perceived impact of your mission.




What Is a Joint Activity?

checklistA joint activity is the combination of fundraising and another function incorporated into a single activity. When accounting for joint activities, the criteria of purpose, audience, and content must be met to allow for the fundraising and other program to be accounted for separately. If these three criteria are not met, the entire joint activity must be accounted for as a fundraising activity.

To achieve the purpose criteria, the joint activity must accomplish either program or management and general functions. Program functions are those that call for a specific action by the audience that will help accomplish the organization’s mission. Comparatively, management and general functions are those that support the continued operation of the not-for-profit organization, apart from fundraising.

The audience of a joint activity must have a reasonable potential for the use of the specific action established by the joint activity or can assist the organization in achieving the goals of the joint activity. Provided that the audience is not targeted exclusively based on its fundraising potential, the audience criteria should be met.

A joint activity’s content may also be fulfilled through either program or management and general functions. To fulfill the organization’s program function, joint activity must call for specific action that will help accomplish the organization’s mission. Similarly, the fulfill management and general functions may be fulfilled through the joint activity to accomplish the content criteria.

The following is an example of a joint activity to meets all three criteria:

The Clean Street Foundation’s (CSF) mission is to limit the abuse of alcohol within the city of Thornville. CSF’s annual report states that one of its objectives in fulfilling that mission is to assist parents in preventing their children from abusing alcohol. As such, CSF mails brochures to the parents of all high school students in Thornville that explain the dangers associated with alcohol abuse. The brochures encourage parents to speak with their children about the dangers of alcohol abuse but also include a request for contributions.

In this example, asking parents to speak with their children about alcohol abuse is a call to action that satisfies the purpose criteria. Additionally, the parents of high school students are a reasonable audience for CSF. Finally, the content of the brochure helps to accomplish the organization’s specific mission through a specific call for action. CSF is able to classify the brochure program as a joint activity because it fulfills the criteria of purpose, audience, and content, while also soliciting contributions.

Is Your Nonprofit’s Communication and Marketing Effective?

00439613Most of us agree that nonprofits generally have a positive social impact for society. Just like for profit organizations though, nonprofits still need to operate efficiently as a business in order to carry out its mission and one of the key attributes a nonprofit must have in order to be successful in carrying out its mission is having a strong ability for communication and marketing.

A sizable amount of nonprofits rely on contributions, grants, fundraising, etc. as their source of revenue in order to continue to carry out its missions and a vital part of doing that is the nonprofit organization’s ability to communicate and market to their target audience about its primary cause and raise awareness of their missions. When effectively communicating a nonprofit organization’s mission, the nonprofit organization must understand what is important to their target audience and how their goals are supporting their target audience’s ideals.

Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication researched contemporary, effective trends for communication and marketing in today’s dynamic business environment. Below are the five trends that John Trybus, Center for Social Impact Communication Deputy Director, has identified as contemporary, effective trends for communication and marketing towards each nonprofit’s target audience.

  1. The need for more strategic storytelling – John notes that because people are more influenced when emotions are in play, stories should be utilized when sending the organization’s message to their target audience because stories create emotional connections with their target audience.
  2. The power of smart imagery – Visually seeing images of what the organization is trying to achieve and/or eliminate to create a positive social impact has a strong emotional connection with their target audience that words can’t create alone.
  3. The currency of influence – John asserts that embedding in the current and potential supporters’ perspective of the nonprofit organization that the supporters only bring value because of their monetary contributions is the wrong route to take, whether it was by intentional of unintentional. Instead, communicate to their target audience asserting that their target audience is a supporter for their nonprofit because they’re bringing value by raising awareness.
  4. The synergy of purpose and profit – A large amount of supporters today are more influenced by organizations that incorporate corporate social responsibility in their activities and operations. Displaying to the supporters that their organization’s activities are making strong and positive social impacts are more likely to receive support and continued support.
  5. The rise of the social strategist – The four trends mentioned don’t originate from the organization itself, but actually originate from the individual with the innovative ideas driving those trends. These individuals combine “head and heart” together to create a social impact that will obtain and retain supporters.

To read more about these trends visit: http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/45/master-of-professional-studies-in-integrated-marketing-communications/news/5405/nonprofit-marketing-trends

Beating the Odds with a Long Term Development Director

please giveI have had the honor of being associated with Bread for the City (Bread) for more than 20 years, the last six or seven as a Board Member and Treasurer.

One key element of Bread’s success has been the longevity of Kristin Foti, their development director. For many clients, Development Directors turn over frequently in line with survey data showing most organizations have a Development Director for about 3.5 years. Although still only in her early thirties, Kristin has been at Bread for more than 10 years, the last six as Chief Development Officer. I spoke to her and George Jones (the CEO of Bread for the last 20 years) on the reasons for their success.

While many factors influence a person’s decision to stay at a job, Kristin noted the stability of the organization as the strongest reason: the programs are well run, the finances are well managed, the Board Members are enthusiastic givers, and the senior executive team have long tenures. She also thrives in her partnership with George, who puts leadership above micromanagement. And she also commented on how it’s fun to work with an organization that continues to innovate and grow, keeping her job interesting and offering opportunities for professional growth.

Bread for the City engages in a fairly wide swath of fundraising activities including private foundation proposals, direct mail annual fund and capital campaign solicitations, annual events and personal solicitation by Kristin and/or George to major donors. The fundraising environment is very strong as George the CEO is actively involved with cultivating and stewarding larger donors, and the Board Members are generous givers who also solicit additional contributions. Kristin also works with a dynamic team, who she considers to be the best in their fields.

Bread’s active donor file is about 11,000 donors. Online donations and gifts solicited by email are the fastest growing source of donations, which has been a strong positive for the organization. Bread also continues to work to grow its major gifts and planned giving programs. (They have several times over the years received substantial testamentary bequests from donors who were not active with the organization while alive.)

There are many social service organizations in the DC area doing great work. The differentiating factor for Bread is the diversity of services they provide, including medical and dental care, food, clothing, social services, and civil legal assistance. All of these programs are fully operational and most have been around for 20 years or more. Vision care is the newest offering, which was launched in December.

While I suppose this is a bit of an advertisement for Bread, an organization I really care about, I hope this blog entry highlights the types of factors that go into a development director having a lengthy stay and the position not being a revolving door.

Learn more about our nonprofit group here: http://www.aronsonllc.com/industries/nonprofit-accounting

Planning a Fundraising Event? The Devil is in the Details!

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailAs if planning for a fundraising event, such as a silent auction or an annual dinner, wasn’t already one of the busiest times on the calendar for a charity organization, there is the required records and correspondence that needs to be addressed to keep your organization on the up and up with IRS rules. IRS rules?  I didn’t know the IRS had rules regarding my fundraising event! What do I do now? How do I comply?

Here is a short summary of some of the records and bookkeeping that fundraising generates:

  • Sponsorship donations should be evaluated to determine the components of donation vs goods and services received
  • Donated goods for an auction have to be valued at FMV as of the date of donation
  • Auction donations “sold” at the event are recorded as donations; unsold items are returned and not booked
  • Acknowledgment letters are sent to donors for items over $250
  • Ticket sales are required to disclose the donative deductible portion
  • Donations of property valued more than $5,000 has special reporting requirements

It’s fairly common knowledge that a nonprofit has to provide a written acknowledgment letter to a donor for any single contribution of $250 or more before the donor can deduct the gift. Lessor known is the responsibility of a charity to provide the value of goods and services provided in exchange for contributions of $75 or more, which is usually the case for fundraising ticket sales. A token exception exists for items of low cost given to entice donors to donate. There are more complicated rules for donation of a car, boat or airplane. And donations of items valued by a donor at more than $5,000 may trigger a requirement for the donor to obtain a qualified appraisal and complete of Form 8283, of which the charitable organization will be asked to complete Part IV.

Many of the required correspondence are for information that needs to be determined before the event occurs, such as the donative portion of a ticket sale or sponsorship contribution. Coordination between those with this knowledge and those who are organizing the fundraising event or contributions in general are vital to a smooth outcome.

For more information contact Kathy Cuddapah at 301-231-6200.

Learn more about us here: http://www.aronsonllc.com/industries/nonprofit-accounting



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