Tag Archives: public information

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.

 

 

HealthCheck rating tool gathering attention

 

The charity rating and best practice tool, created by NPcatalyst this past January, is becoming increasingly popular with non-profit donors, volunteers, and job-seekers.

The tool was designed to address two distinct, yet critical needs. First, it’s designed to rate charities in five management and performance areas, giving organizations an objective instrument from which to guide their goals and strategies. Second, it’s used as a research mechanism, providing donors with “insider” information, which they can’t immediately or easily find online or through non-profit manuals.

“Launching a new product in a tough industry, especially a product which we created, has been both exciting and difficult,” says Pete Parker, NPcatalyst’s managing partner. It’s taken a considerable effort to educate non-profit organizations as well as business, community, and philanthropic leaders to adapt this innovative tool. “I wanted to create a tool which gives donors a true and in-depth view of non-profit organizations, enabling them to make thought out and well-researched donation decisions.”

The HealthCheck tool analyzes and applies a rating score to organizations in five different operational areas. NPcatalyst publicizes the scores on profile pages create for each charity. “To promote the HealthCheck tool, I’ve been screening the financial efficiencies for organizations located in the three locations where we’re seeing the heaviest traffic of donors and leaders,” says Parker. To date, 200 organizations have been screened and featured on the NPcatalyst website.

As a result of social media marketing, professional networking, and personal connections, visits to the NPcatalyst website have tripled in recent months. “What’s exciting is that our non-profit profile pages are seeing the greatest growth…and we put very little effort into marketing the pages”, according to Parker. The profile page of the first HealthCheck client, Sierra Nevada Journeys, has seen a 205% increase in views in the last month. “My hope, and the goal of this thing, is that Jonathan (SNJ’s executive director) tells me that they’re seeing an equally impressive spike in contributions.”

The HealthCheck tool is available to all non-profit organizations with an active 501(c)3 status. While the financial efficiencies of each may be screened due to public information found online, organizations seeking the full rating and tailored best practices guide will be charged a fee. “I wish we could offer HealthCheck at no cost, but we run a business to help strengthen our clients”, says Parker. “There’s a great deal we offer in benefits, plus we’re happy to work with businesses and foundations looking to underwrite the fees.”

For more information about NPcatalyst or its HealthCheck tool, log onto www.NPcatalyst.com, email info@NPcatalyst.com, or call 775-333-9444.