Tue, April 15 2014

Are nonprofits recovering with the economy? Survey says…

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey is out and the report has some sobering insight on how nonprofits have fared during the economic recovery. While 80% of respondents reported an increase in demand for services, 56% of those surveyed were unable to meet demand in 2013. Nearly half of these groups also reported a 5-year decline in government funding.

The good news is that as some funding sources change or dry up, many organizations are exploring new ways to support their programs. According to the survey, in the next 12 months:

  • 31% will change the main ways in which they raise and spend money
  • 26% will pursue an earned income model
  • 20% will seek funding other than grants & contracts

These organizations are also exploring new partnerships and investing in resources to help them survive:

  • 49% collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.
  • 48% invested money or time in professional development.
  • 40% upgraded hardware or software to improve organizational efficiency.

Still, with over a quarter of nonprofits surveyed reporting a deficit in 2013, there is still a lot of work to be done. Do these challenges sound familiar? Check out the full report to see how your experiences compare.

If you’re facing tough times, here are some critical steps to consider:

Perform a reality check.
Take a hard look at your situation and make sure everyone in your organization understands the issues you’re facing. Assess your existing revenue streams, your projected funding, and your true cost of operation.

Get creative.
Doing things the way you’ve always done them isn’t going to get you any further than where you are now. Explore new ways to diversify your income and collaborate with other organizations and businesses in your community.

Tap your champions.
Now is the time to reach out to your most ardent supporters. Not only are they likely your organization’s best advocates, they are a rich source of feedback. Work with them to expand your network and empower them to fundraise on your behalf.

Invest in your resources.
It may seem counterintuitive, but without well-trained staff and the right infrastructure, you’re putting your organization at further risk to lose talent. You’ll also miss opportunities to take advantage of new technology and gain efficiencies. Ensure your team has the right tools and training to get the job done.


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Thu, February 20 2014

How to Get Your Board on Board with Online Fundraising

Liz Ragland's avatar

Marketing Content Associate, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Nonprofit leadership •

If you’re a fundraiser who is struggling to get your executive director or board to understand why you should launch an online fundraising program or invest more in online giving tools, try these talking points to help plead your case.

Online giving boosts individual giving.

You might have experienced push back on launching online fundraising because your leaders want to focus more on grants and major gifts from foundations. Remind them that individual giving is the biggest slice of the fundraising pie, and online fundraising is a key way to help diversify your funding. Having an online presence (and a way to give online) will help you recruit and retain donors who are likely shifting away from writing checks.


Online giving allows you to interact with your donors where they are—online.

Are your board members questioning how many of your target donors are really online? Send them these statistics from Pew Research:

· 85% of American adults use the Internet

· 61% of Internet users bank online

· 73% of American adults use social media

When potential donors find your nonprofit on social media or through a Google search, you’ll miss out on gifts without an easy online donation option. If you don’t make it simple for donors to support your mission, they may think you don’t need help!

You don’t have to set up a merchant account.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to set up a merchant account, payment gateway, or other fancy money-processing component to accept online donations—and you don’t have to be a tech whiz, either. In 2001, Network for Good made it easy for donors to give to any registered 501(c)3 online. Thirteen years and $1 billion dollars later, we still make it easy! You can get up and running with a branded donation page over your lunch hour.

It’s not just a fad.

Every year online giving continues to grow. Organizations like Crowdrise and Causes have leveraged the power of social networks to help encourage peer-to-peer giving. National giving campaigns like Giving Tuesday and Give Local America are here to stay. Wonder how areas affected by natural disaster get the instant funds they need? The answer: through online giving disaster relief campaigns.

Consider these four conversation starters the next time you bring up online fundraising with your board. What other things do you want to teach your board about online fundraising? Do you have advice for those who are still trying to convince their leaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

This post was created as part of this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The roundup of February’s submissions will be featured on The Fundraising Coach blog later this month.


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Tue, December 03 2013

Mobilizing our holiday dollars for good

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

The following is a special #GivingTuesday guest post by Brian Sasscer, Vice President of Strategic Operations at the Case Foundation.

Giving Tuesday calendar imageToday, December 3, we will celebrate the second annual #GivingTuesday, a national movement that promotes charitable activities in support of nonprofit organizations. There are high hopes for this year’s campaign, which aims to spark the same enthusiasm to give back to nonprofits as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have done with individuals for shopping for the holidays.

Organized by the UN Foundation and 92nd Street Y, #GivingTuesday united more than 2,500 partners last year, including the Case Foundation, to set a new precedent in giving at the start of the annual holiday season. This year, more than 10,000 partners will unite in a collective effort to give back to their communities. Philanthropy is something that everyone can – and should be – a part of. The advent of micro-donation opportunities, along with new online and mobile platforms, has empowered donors to give how and where they want in real time. Online giving days like #GivingTuesday and Razoo’s Give to the Max Day have been successful mobilizing communities throughout the country and changing the way consumers think of giving.

We have witnessed the momentum of online platforms, including Network for Good, Causes, Crowdrise, and newer organizations like Indiegogo, and their mobilizing power for microdonations. Over the years, the Case Foundation has touted and supported several of these organizations and their collective efforts to make a financial impact for nonprofits. We first began exploring the power of small donations in 2007 through America’s Giving Challenge, a campaign to encourage, empower, and incentivize giving online. Nearly 200,000 people donated online and we raised nearly $4 million for thousands of causes across the United States through our campaign. 

#GivingTuesday has capitalized on the power of social media and smaller online donations to nonprofits. It is our hope that giving back is not only amplified on this national day of giving, but continued throughout the holidays and throughout the new year. That’s why the Case Foundation expanded our own #GivingTuesday campaign this year to include ways people can give back all season long. Donations are an important place to start, but we can all make an impact in our communities online and through other ways – from volunteering, to giving gifts that give back, donating warm clothes, and even pledging a resolution to do good.

So this year we encourage everyone to make a list of causes to support and acts of good to share. Together, we can inspire more active and engaged donors all year round – from today moving forward.

Brian Sasscer serves on the Board of Directors for Network for Good. As Vice President of Strategic Operations at the Case Foundation he leads the interactive strategies team as they leverage new technologies in support of the foundation’s core mission – “to invest in people and ideas that can change the world”.

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Tue, October 22 2013

Creating new partnerships for your cause

Melissa Raimondi's avatar

Content Producer, Network for Good

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials • Nonprofit leadership • Partnerships •

We’ve all heard it before, “Give me your Rolodex, give me 20 names that I can contact.” It can be overwhelming to produce a big list of people who are eager to raise money for your cause. But what if 20 names is 19 too many? What if all you need is just one? This is the idea proposed by philanthropist Jeffrey Walker and fundraising expert Jennifer McCrea in their recent book, The Generosity Network.

Reach out.

Asking your nonprofit board members for just one person who might be interested in joining your cause will seem more manageable to them and is more likely to generate a thoughtful response. That way, you can meet with someone who is open to starting a relationship with you and—ultimately—your organization.

Meet in an intimate setting.

Invite your new contact to meet, but beware of asking them to your office! Conference rooms can be beautiful spaces: great for viewing PowerPoints, but actually hosting an intimate first meeting? Forget it! Go to coffee or breakfast so that you can be in a space that is made for conversation. In a coffee shop, sharing your story won’t come across as rehearsed the way it automatically would in a conference room or at someone’s desk. Context is everything.

Form a connection.

Remember, this first meeting isn’t a sales call; it’s a chance to authentically connect. Be ready to ask what your new contact truly values and consider saying, “For the record, I’m not going to ask you for money today.” If people think you’re just there to extract something from them, they might be   worrying about your potential ask. If they’re only half listening, it will be hard to build a relationship of trust and explore a potential partnership. But don’t wait too long to ask for a commitment! It’s important to share what your organization is doing and what you could achieve together.

For more ideas on developing a relationship with your donors and how to turn them from one-time customers into lifelong partners, access the archived webinar presentation of Nonprofit 911: Build Your Generosity Network with Jennifer McCrea and Jeff Walker.

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Mon, October 14 2013

An opportunity to achieve more: The Change Academy

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

Change Academy

What is the one problem you’d like to solve in 2014? What would happen if your organization could effectively tackle its biggest challenge? How much good would come from your organization reaching its most ambitious goal?

This probably sounds very exciting and a little terrifying, but a few lucky nonprofits will have an amazing opportunity to achieve more with help from one of the best champions for social good: Dan Heath. Heath is the co-author of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive, and is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. Dan is looking for motivated teams from nonprofits and for-profit social ventures to apply for The Duke CASE Change Academy, an amazing program that will run from January to July 2014.

The Change Academy program is a one-of-a-kind coaching experience tailored to help you conquer one of your biggest goals. Your organization’s team will learn how to identify the best strategies for tackling your challenge, how to lead change, how to communicate your plan, and how to create a framework for solving even the toughest problems. The program combines in-person training sessions with real-world organizational challenges that attendees will work on back at home. Like most worthwhile efforts, the Change Academy will involve a lot of hard work and passion—two things readers of this blog have in abundance.

I urge you to find out more about the Duke CASE Change Academy and apply by the November 1, 2013 deadline to be considered for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Only six organizations will be accepted to this inaugural Change Academy session. We can’t wait to hear the results!

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