Tag Archives: efficiency

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.

Areas to consider when considering funding, community collaborations

As a company, NPcatalyst strives to enhance the impact and visibility of philanthropy. We work with donors (primarily businesses) to create greater connections with their communities, where they contribute time and voluntary leadership. We introduce them to opportunities and community-benefit organizations (and their leaders), thus guiding them to successful community giving initiatives. We also work with community organizations to help create greater awareness, donor relations, development (fundraising) strategies, and recruit new donors and leaders. It’s an innovative approach to building community leadership, pride, and growth.

In daily conversations with donor and non-profit organizations, we frequently receive two questions. First, donors ask how and where the should contribute their money. At the same time, charities ask how they can raise more money from existing and new donors. The answers to both questions have commonalities, such understanding community needs and how donors and charities work together to meet them.

The strategies NPcatalyst creates for both donors and charities involve transparency and greater knowledge of funding and the organizations which receive them. It’s important, for many reasons, to have a keen understanding of how the organization is meeting community needs, how the organization is managing and performing, and precisely how the funds are allocated.

Providing this type of information to donors and, at the same time, leveraging it for greater public awareness, is why NPcatalyst created its HealthCheck system. Through an review of the Form 990 and answers from a 60-question survey, organizations receive a ratings analysis and a best practices tool in five areas. Beyond its ability to promote an organization’s strength and raise funds by ensuring their proper usage, it’s a great way to build upon the weak areas by implementing the recommended best practices. Here’s a close look at the five areas being analyzed.

Data & Efficiency

HealthCheck utilizes the IRS Forms 990 to analyze a non-profit organization’s financial performance in key performance categories. Upon analyzing performance categories, we assign a score as it relates to the organization’s efficiency, capacity, and overall financial health.

Finance & Fund Development

Non-profits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. They must comply with all legal financial requirements and adhere to sound accounting principles that produce reliable financial information, ensure fiscal responsibility and build public trust. In addition, non-profits act as the intermediary between donors and beneficiaries and have an ethical obligation to ensure proper handling of funds to carry out their missions. Questions include:

  • The percentage of board members who make personal contributions.
  • The organization complies with all federal, state and local laws concerning fundraising practices.
  • The percentage of $250+ donors who received a written acknowledgement in the previous calendar year.

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. Each non-profit board should: ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission and provide direction for the executive director and key staff; and evaluate its own effectiveness as a governing body and as representatives of the community in upholding the public interest served by the organization. Questions include:

  • The average percentage of board attendance at board meetings.
  • The organization pursues or is open to new strategic alliances (or collaborative partnerships) to achieve organizational goals.
  • The percentage of board members who have participated in an official board orientation process.

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.

Non-profit organizations should place a high priority on exercising fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified volunteers and employees. Nonprofits have an obligation to adhere to all applicable employment laws and to provide a safe and productive work environment. Questions include:

  • Employees receive formal performance evaluations.
  • The organization complies with all federal, state and local employment laws when hiring and employing personnel, including withholding and payment of payroll taxes.
  • The percentage of the organization’s employment positions which utilize a clear, current and written job description.

Public Information

Non-profits that provide information to prospective donors and other constituents promote informed and responsible philanthropy. 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. Questions include:

  • The organization conducts a financial audit.
  • The organization conducts a constituent satisfaction survey.
  • The organization provides board meeting minutes and financials to those who request them.

The more satisfaction donors feel about the contributions they make to community-benefit organizations, the more likely the community’s needs will be met. At the same time, the charities which address those needs will be strengthened, so that others may engage as donors and volunteers. NPcatalyst’s HealthCheck is an outstanding resource  used when building collaborative partnerships between donors and charities.

For more information about philanthropy, collaborative partnerships, and charity research, contact NPcatalyst at http://www.npcatalyst.com/, info@npcatalyst.com or 775-333-9444.

Research and transparency can increase charitable support

Over the last five years, we’ve witnessed an interesting progression with donors and volunteers. As a result of charitable competition, economic forces, and electronic capacities, today’s donors are increasingly curious, analyze before acting, and desire greater connectivity. When donors consider non-profit organizations for their contributions, a number of factors come into play, including the donor’s relationship, belief in the mission, and geographical location. Many times, this isn’t enough information for a prospective donor to render a decision.

In an article, written by Forbes magazine columnist Matt Brady, last September, he wrote, “Since wealthy donors want greater impact and demonstrable results from their giving, the onus is increasingly on charities to provide greater transparency in how they are spending their money and more evidence of the effect of their efforts. Smaller, nimbler and more accountable charities are becoming increasingly attractive to donors vs. large, traditional ones.”

In our many conversations with donors and volunteers, they gain the most satisfaction when supporting efficient, well-operated organizations. When asked what they look for when determining their charitable support, the answers have fallen within the following five predominant categories:

Data & Efficiency

A review of financial information, such as figures found on IRS Forms, enables the donor to analyze a non-profit organization’s financial information. The donor can then determine organization’s efficiency, capacity, and overall financial health.

Finance & Fund Development

Non-profits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. They must comply with all legal financial requirements and adhere to sound accounting principles that produce reliable financial information, ensure fiscal responsibility and build public trust. In addition, non-profits act as the intermediary between donors and beneficiaries and 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. Each non-profit board should: ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission and provide direction for the executive director and key staff; and evaluate its own effectiveness as a governing body and as representatives of the community in upholding the public interest served by the organization.

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. Non-profit organizations should place a high priority on exercising fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified volunteers and employees. 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. 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.

We’re excited by this movement, as I believe we’ll see increases in financial and voluntary support as well as stronger organizations which receive the support. In fact, NPcatalyst has created a tool designed to drive support to non-profit organizations while, at the same time, rating each organization according to the various performance indicators. It’s called NPHealthCheck and can be found at www.npcatalyst.com.

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