A developed year-end strategy can result in new donations

Year-end giving is a rarely utilized tool used by charities to target new donors and raise new revenue. However, it can be an incredible strategy designed in a non-profit’s annual giving plan. Below are benefits associated with a well-developed and orchestrated year-end giving campaign.

Generate new revenue

  • Can be a little or a lot
  • Each non-profit is different – varying sizes, varying needs, varying degrees of public presence, varying depths of constituencies
  • Roughly 40% of all giving comes in during month of December

Expand wide exposure

  • Can be a lot of exposure
  • Local media can play a key role. In most communities, local newspapers, radio stations, and tv networks actively seek ‘feel good’ and ‘community inspiring’ stories
  • Social media creates increasing linkages, particularly through Facebook and Twitter
  • Email marketing is a great tool to engage your existing database of constituents

Add new supporters

  • In the form of new donors and volunteers, a public PR campaign can lure in new batch of supporters
  • Recruits people who were unfamiliar with the organization
  • Gives your development team a great source of new leads to prospect…and they’re not cold calls!
Developing a year-end giving campaign is a smart strategy used by charities seeking to raise new income from current and prospective donors.

 

Habits of highly effective giving

 

Like in business, charitable organizations require revenue to not only exist, but to provide support, growth, and opportunity to the beneficiaries they serve.

Billions of dollars are contributed to organizations each year. Some donors may question is this enough or is their contribution needed? However, the more appropriate questions might be “Am I giving to the right organization” and “How effective is my donation”? The answers lie within each donor’s personal path to philanthropy.

For the most part, when donors make a charitable donation, they want to know that they are giving to a good thing and that the money will be used the right way. But, how do donors know this? How can they be assured or satisfied that their donations will be well spent? In our opinion, effectiveness equals donor satisfaction combined with impact and utilization of each gift.

No matter the size of the donation or from whom it is being contributed (business, foundation or community resident), here are our habits of highly effective giving.

Identify the ideal organization

When looking for the right organization to support, start by taking a good look at your interests, connections, goals, and influences. These will help narrow the list of local, national, or global organizations from which to select the one(s) you’ll eventually support. If you need help, contact a nearby leader (such as NPcatalyst), who has access to multiple directories.

Understand the organization’s needs

When you have narrowed the search, take a good look at each organization’s reason for existence, mission, programs, and goals. As you do this, you’ll become more familiar with the organization and, more importantly, identify and understand their needs. If you’re having a difficult time identifying their need for donor and volunteer support, give them a phone call or send an email.

Assess the organization

A critical step of the process is analyzing each organization’s operations and performance. This is where you determine the soundness of their best practices. Be sure to assess the percentage of funds being allocated to programs or services; take a look at the strength of their leadership; and check to see if their policies, procedures, and management practices are up to par. If you would like assistance, contact companies like NPcatalyst, which analyze and rate charities on a regular basis.

Establish a relationship

There’s no finer way to understand an organization than by direct contact. This can be accomplished by sending an email or calling a staff or board member to ask questions, request a meeting, register for a special event, or offer to volunteer. As in business sales, the ideal “transactions” take place as a result of mutually-beneficial relationships. It is a great way to watch the effect of your donation.

Leverage the contribution

Once you have made the donation(s), the fun does not need to end there. No matter the size of the gift, sharing your goodwill should help compel others to duplicate your act of kindness, as well as create greater awareness of the organization. For businesses, it is a great way to illustrate a business’s role in community growth, not to mention its effect in generating new business. By simply updating your “status” via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or sending a press release to media or mailing a letter to friends, there is a good chance your gift will keep giving.

Measure the contribution

Similar to assessing the organization (Habit #3), be sure to confirm how the money was allocated within the organization. Whether the contribution was unrestricted or restricted (given for a specific purpose), it is vital that you recognize that the donation was distributed toward its intended purpose.

The significance of each charitable donation is escalated when a donor has a deep understanding of the cause, the organization, and the program(s) being supported. In a very similar approach to building personal relationships, the more familiar a donor is to the beneficiary of the contribution, the more significant and rewarding the gift.

If you have not applied these habits to past contributions, imagine how your giving could have been different. By applying these habits, your future donations will have far greater impact, making your community, country, and world a better place.

 

Things to consider when making donations

Making donations to charitable organizations can be a very strategic, methodical, and evaluative process. For many, the donations are more than mere “gifts”, they’re actually investments in causes, organizations, needs, and beneficiaries. A key component of the donor-decision process is quality information. When working with our clients on their giving strategies, we advise an analysis of organizations in five functional areas of charitable operations.

Data & Efficiency

Be sure to look at the organization’s finances to determine such things as proper allocation of funds between administration, programs, fundraising, etc. We recommend using Guidestar to review the organization’s 990 provide sufficient data for an initial screening, enabling donors with a good look at financial performance.

Finance & Fund Development

Non-profits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. This includes compliance with financial requirements, sound accounting principles, and fiscal responsibilities. Since non-profits act as the intermediary between donors and beneficiaries, they have an ethical obligation to ensure proper handling of funds to carry out their missions.

Governance

A non-profit’s leadership, represented by its staff and board of directors is responsible for defining the organization’s mission and for providing overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization. Strong boards strive to ensure that their organizations have adequate resources, provide direction for the executive director and key staff and, evaluate their own effectiveness as governing bodies.

Human Resources

The ability of an organization to make effective use of the energy, time and talents of its employees and volunteers is essential to accomplish the organization’s mission. Exercising fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified volunteers and employees is just one best practice. Nonprofits have an obligation to adhere to all applicable employment laws and to provide a safe and productive work environment.

Public Information

Non-profits that provide information to prospective donors and other constituents promote informed and responsible philanthropy. This works to their advantage as donors are better able to make decisions when they can learn a nonprofit’s purpose, who governs it, how it manages its financial resources, whom the nonprofit serves, and what progress it has made toward achieving its mission.

Ideally, donors placing their “investments” with organizations are doing so through strong existing relationships. However, whether donors are already engaged with these organizations or have yet to meet their leaders, taking an in-depth look at these five areas will help solidify the receipt, usage, distribution, and recognition of financial contributions.

 

 

Seven tips for fundraising success

 

Raising funds for charitable organizations can be difficult; certainly time-consuming. It’s a patient process, requiring considerable research, planning, and organization. The word “development” is a perfect fit to the process an organization goes through to generate a meaningful contribution.

When it comes to raising funds for your organizations, here’s a handful of tips to consider adding to your overall fund development strategy. They have represented the centerpiece of our success. They’re not listed in any specific order, but you’ll quickly recognize where and how they fit in your strategy.
   
Identify strengths and weaknesses

Understand the organization – from operations to personnel to policies to financial management. Recognize the causes and implement solutions to each. Be sure to dot every “I” and cross every “t”.

Offer innovative giving

The one constant between most non-profit organizations is the ability to accept cash contributions. Every donor knows this. However, savvy donors (charitable investors) seek greater information, transparency, accountability, and results from their contributions. A strong percentage of them seek unique and innovative giving methods.

Create solicitation strategies

Know your constituents. An engaged leader is a gem and, as nonprofit leaders, it’s our obligation to strive for their full potential. One great way to really get to know supporters is to design solicitation (or engagement) strategies for each. Start by creating a Prospect/Donor Profile for each, used to document their interest, involvement, willingness, and capability. Mapping a solicitation strategy will force you to be strategic about cultivating each constituent’s involvement. This one act involves and is influenced by the other six tips offered here.

Engage constituents

From prospect identification to board leadership to donor stewardship, your benefactors are your organization’s greatest vehicles of success. Engage them through key steps of the fund development process. You’ll be amazed at their ideas, insight, and perseverance.

Generate active awareness

Tell your story to the world. Shout it regularly through local media and through your social media avenues. Be sure you focus on strengths and opportunities and that any weaknesses are addressed. Distribute clear messages and keep your messaging timely. Encourage staff, volunteers, and donors to share the messages through personal, personable, and electronic means.

Network

It’s a seven-letter word that, for many non-profit leaders, is more like a four-letter word – work. There’s no better way to prospect new supporters, whether they’re future volunteer or donor leaders. It involves stepping out of your routine, forces you to fine-tune your 30-second elevator speech, and smile even if you’re having a difficult day. Ask any business leader, networking produces results. Get out there and make friends and share your organization’s story, needs, and opportunities.

Steward donors

Perhaps the most detrimental cause of recent organizational failure might not have been solely the economic crash. Is your organization at fault for not properly recognizing donations and, more importantly, developing strong relationships with its donors? Stewarding donors strengthens the lifeblood of non-profit organizations. Pick up the phone, send an email, direct a tweet, say hello in the store, high-five at a ballgame, and send a card. These are the little ways that magnify the “engage constituents” tip into truly rewarding alliances. Make each donor feel as if he/she is in the middle of the game.

 

Perhaps one that should be listed is “have fun”…development and non-profit leadership should be exciting, rewarding, meaningful, challenging, and fun. Make the most of it!

 

Donors have much to consider when supporting charities

As the calendar year nears its close, well-organized charities will be orchestrating year-end fundraising campaigns. These initiatives are used to fulfill wish lists, meet annual goals, and fund special projects. As these organizations launch these campaigns, it’s important that they understand donor thinking and strategies during this time of year.

During the holidays, typical donors…

  • Respond to public, promotional, emotional appeals
  • Prefer easy access to make a contribution
  • Make donation amounts of their choice
  • Seek well-managed organizations
  • Wish to not be the only donor
  • Want to know how the money will be used
  • Choose to support a well-regarded and/or well-managed organization
  • Expect proper acknowledgement

Saavy donors make informed donation decisions.

Appropriately stated by Charity Navigator, “Smart givers generally don’t give reactively in a knee-jerk fashion. They don’t respond to the first organization that appeals for help. They take the time to identify which causes are most important to their families and they are specific about the change they want to affect.”

Nearly two years ago, NPcatalyst launched a program called HealthCheck, which analyzes charities in five distinct areas of non-profit management and effectiveness. The five areas are:

  • Institutional Data
  • Governance
  • Human Resources
  • Public Information
  • Finance & Fund Development

As the holidays are upon us, non-profit directors should consider what drives donors.

Donors say appeals that put a face to the donation (either human or animal) and remind them to help those who are less fortunate at this time of year, are most persuasive. A few thoughts to consider…

  • Holiday giving is emotional.
  • Donors are thankful for what they have and give to those who need it.
  • Donors tend to give more when the online experience is intimate and emotionally coherent.

Stats to consider about major donors…

  • One-third of donors with $100,000 or more in annual income, indicate all or most of their charitable giving for this year has not  been planned ahead of time.
  • 42 percent of households with over $100,000 in income, said receiving a tax deduction was a significant influence on their giving.

Year-end fundraising campaigns are smart strategies used by well-organized charitable organizations.

 

Click here for a guide designed to help charities orchestrate year-end giving campaigns.

Donors – if you’re looking to create a strategy for giving, contact us.
Charities – if you’re looking to make strong connections with donors, contact us.

Complimentary year-end giving guide

Year-end giving is a rarely utilized weapon used by charities to target new donors and raise new revenue. However, it can be an incredible strategy designed in a non-profit’s annual giving plan.

Click on the graphic below to view a slideshow designed to help charities orchestrate effective year-end funding campaigns.

Featured in the presentation is a list of resources available to each charity. The list includes:

NPcatalyst

  • Works with non-profit organizations to analyze past giving practices and develop fundraising gameplans.
  • Works with donors to develop giving strategies.

HealthCheck

  • Analyzes charities in five distinct areas of operations. Results in a “best practices” guide for improvement. Typically benefits the organization through refreshed marketing and fundraising success.
  • Provides donors with donor-based research information, enabling them to make wise (strategic) donation decisions.

GiftingWishes

  • Provides non-profit organizations with an effective and innovative online giving tool.
  • Gives donors a safe, secure, and trustworthy website to make their online donations.
  • Designing year-end giving campaigns for each charity using GiftingWishes to help raise funds.
  • Completely free of charge.

Proud moment for our firm

We take great pleasure in working with charitable organizations and businesses to acheive philanthropic goals on daily basis. It’s incredibly rewarding to play a major role in taking a dream and turning it into something far bigger than ever imagined. This is entirely the case with a special project we guided for Sierra Vista Elementary School.

Our managing director, Pete Parker, received a call from a local education leader who asked for advice on what it would take to make a community garden for the school happen. Pete asked for one hour to find a solution for the elementary school, based in a predominantly low income neighborhood in Reno, Nevada. Not only did we find the solution, a team of community leaders were quickly recruited and put to action. The rest is history…and the beginning.

Click here to see how this big idea become an amazing opportunity, just by creating strong community collaboration.

100 most influential leaders recognized this Friday

We’re excited to attend an event this Friday at the Atlantis Resort Casino, where 100 of the most influential people in Reno/Sparks will be recognized by Plum Influence Magazine.

Celebrate the courage and character of Reno with the 100 most influential people of our region.

The event recognizes leaders in the following categories:

  • Super Heroes
  • Business Owners & Industry Experts
  • Community Leaders
  • Foodies
  • Extraordinary neighbors
  • Charity Drivers
  • Artists and Icons
  • Scientists
  • Savvy Techs
  • Risk Takers and Visionaries

There are ten people within the ten different categories which make up the full list of 100 and only one of them will be awarded as the top influencer within their category.

We’ll be there to support our own Pete Parker and network with his fellow “most influential” leaders in our area. We encourage other to also buy a table and attend what expects to be an incredible networking opportunity, but also a showcase of everything positive in northern Nevada.
 

Here’s a link to see the Full Plum100 Listhttp://issuu.com/pluminfluencemagazine_reno/docs/plum100

Nevada Matters featured Plum 100 and their event on a recent radio show. Click here to listen to the 30-minute show.
 
 
Event Details
  • Plum100, The100 Most Influential People of Reno/Tahoe
  • Plum Influence Magazine
  • Friday, September 28, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PDT)
  • Atlantis Resort Casino, Reno, NV

See you there!

 

Article in Generation Boomer magazine

Community volunteerism is a cornerstone of philanthropy. At NPcatalyst, we allocate a considerable amount of resources toward making volunteerism accessible, meaningful, and impactful. We create opportunities and connections for both non-profit organizations and the aspiring leaders who wish to donate their time.

Recently, we were asked to inspire the boomer generation to “give back” to their community. The end result was an article co-authored with Scott Trevithick, who is the executive director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at the University of Nevada’s Sanford Center on Aging. The article, entitled “Using your skills to enhance the community”, appears in Generation Boomer magazine.

Here is an excerpt describing the benefits of volunteerism…

There are countless benefits associated with volunteerism. From improving one’s health to helping organizations accomplish goals, the value of “giving back” or “making a difference” felt by the volunteer, as well as the charitable organization, can be significant.

For boomers, there’s one big question – how does someone start volunteering and where does he or she go for direction?

For many, taking the first step is very difficult. Determining which organization to select, how to approach it, how much time to offer and in what capacity, and when to make the initial contact can be stressful, uneasy, intimidating and, to a degree, frightening.

We also offered a little advice…

As you begin your search for the ideal volunteer situation, here are a few tips to consider or questions to ask yourself.

  • Is there an age group with which you’d particularly like to work, such as children, students, young professionals, or seniors?
  • Is there a cause which connects to you, perhaps animals, environment, arts, recreation, or education?
  • Do you have a special talent or skill? Is there a good place to teach or share that ability?
  • How often would you like to volunteer – one-time for a special event, now and then, or regularly? Is flexibility important to you?
  • Do you have neighbors or friends who volunteer or could you join others from work, a club or church or other group you’re a part of?

Tapping into the interest and expertise of boomers and seniors makes sense.

One thing is certain, nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to grow and meet community needs. They’re continually looking for leaders, particularly boomers and seniors, who bring experience and skills which can be applied right away.

Click here to read the entire article.

Each credit card swipe earns money for charities

Local merchant solutions provider, MerchantsXL, has launched an innovative credit card processing program to save businesses money and, at the same time, generate new income for local non-profit organizations.

The new program, called Give Back to Reno, was launched as a unique program blending charitable needs with smart business strategies to leverage a win-win solution for the Northern Nevada region. Designed by NPcatalyst, a Reno-based philanthropic solutions firm, the program works with local businesses to lower the fees associated with credit card transactions. MerchantsXL then directs funds to local charities.

“When we created MerchantsXL in 2010, our primary goal was to turn our entrepreneurial spirit into community leadership, says Cole Bevel, the company’s Managing Partner. “We created a program that does not force anyone to come out of pocket to generate outstanding financial support for the organizations which strive to make our community stronger every day.”

The way it works is relatively simple. Customer uses a credit card to make a purchase; merchant then swipes the card to process a payment; and, a portion of the payment goes to a select non-profit organization. “the concept is innovative and works seamlessly for everyone involved. We’re delighted by the results”, claims Jeff Lenardson, who is also managing partner of MerchantsXL.

To learn more about the “Give Back to Reno” program, business and non-profit leaders are encouraged to visit www.GiveBacktoReno.com. In mere minutes, businesses can realize the savings and non-profits can begin generating new dollars. MerchantsXL executives can also be contacted directly at 775-636-6529 and cbevel@merchantsxl.com.