Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Keys To The Success Of Your NFP


Creating a successful nonprofit takes more than the desire to lead positive change in your community. In addition to making a genuine impact, your organisation must be able to survive over the long term and grow at a sustainable level.

The following strategies can help you lay a strong foundation upon which to build and grow a focused, and resilient, organisation that moves its mission forward.

Clearly Define Your Purpose

It’s so much easier for organisations to make real progress when everyone shares the same values and focuses on the same goals. Nonprofit leaders should set the tone and pace of their organisation by clearly defining the reason why the NFP exists in their statement of purpose and include a list of activities that they will and will not pursue in the organisation’s formal bylaws.

Recruit and Retain Top Talent

Every organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. The people on your team are your most important asset, which means that whether you're searching for a director, support staff, or volunteers for your NFP, you need to take steps to ensure that you can attract and keep knowledgeable, skilled and gifted candidates for both paid, and unpaid, positions.

To help in your search for the best candidates, create a written description for every position within your NFP, whether it’s paid or unpaid. Not only will this help you to have a firmer grasp of the traits and qualities you need, clarifying roles, duties and responsibilities, it helps all parties get started on a better footing. Make sure that you conduct interviews, as well as background checks on all potential candidates before they begin work.

Activities like training, career guidance, peer-mentoring and job shadowing can help you ensure that each person that you bring on board will have the tools that they need to make a positive contribution to your team. Establish formal policies and protocols to increase open communication and quickly resolve any conflicts that arise to boost morale and workplace satisfaction.

Set Goals with Realistic Expectations

Creating goals that do not have a specific target, start and stop date, and are not easily measured, are usually unobtainable at the start. Whether it’s increasing the results of your fundraising efforts or the number and quality of services that you provide your beneficiaries, make sure that you are setting specific goals, with results that can be measured. This will make it easier to hit your target.

Keep All Your Stakeholders Updated and in the Loop

Do your volunteers know how important they are to achieving your goals? Do you show gratitude and fill them in on the results of their efforts? What about your donors? Do they know what’s truly at stake and understand how even very small, but consistent donations, can add up over time and help you achieve greater results? Do your service beneficiaries understand what you can do to help make their lives better?

Provide all stakeholders with frequent updates on the status of your projects and drives, and their results. Look for ways to get the word out about everyone’s hard work and other contributions across multiple media channels. Explain results in human “real world” terms to increase your stakeholder’s emotional connection to your organisation. And last, but certainly not least, never neglect an opportunity to express your gratitude for everyone’s contributions to your cause.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Admin Bandit – Making it Easy for Volunteer Treasurers


Many volunteer treasurers long for an easier way to keep up with all of their bookkeeping and reporting requirements, but dread the thought of installing a new software system, and learning how to use it. While any time of year is a great time to consider trying Admin Bandit’s bookkeeping suite, the end of year is an especially great time to give it a try.

Save Time at the End of the Year

Since its fully automated, it can help treasurers reclaim some of their valuable time. The holidays are full of frenzied, last minute activities, so anything that can help you save time is especially beneficial.

Fast and Easy Set Up

What does it take to get started using it? About two minutes. All you need to enter is your NPF’s banking information, unpaid invoices and member details. Once this data has been entered, log back in and you’re ready to go!

Increase Accuracy and Remain in Compliance

Important tasks, such as recording transactions and reconciling statements, are basically done for users using the software’s automated processes. The software also calculates GST and other payments automatically as well, and prompts users about when they need to file reports, and when they are required to be lodged. These features improve the accuracy of your records and helps your NFP to remain in compliance with various reporting rules and regulations.

Protect Your Financial Information and Other Data

Since everything is stored online, in the cloud, you no longer must worry about losing your information to the results of a disaster, such as a flood or fire. It also makes your data more secure and reduces the risk of loss due to physical theft or corruption of your data.

Automatic Updates

Users also never have to worry about their software going out of date, since its automatically updated any time there is a change in the programming. Just login online to ensure that you have the latest version of the software, which is updated any time there is a change in reporting or other requirements.

Historical Data

Once you’re used the software for a while, the system will begin to provide historical reports which makes it easier to identify changes that occur over time. This feature is helpful whether there have been changes to your members list, or in the actual performance of a specific department. Regardless of where change has occurred, you and your board will have a handle on it!

This makes it easier for boards to make more informed decisions that will affect the NFP’s finances, and increases transparency in the decision-making process. Having a bookkeeping system that basically does much of the work for you will also go a long way towards making it easier to recruit your NFP’s next volunteer treasurer!

If you would like to see just how easy the software is to use for yourself, why not sign-up today for a free 55-day trial? 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year


We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the festive break. We look forward to catching up with you in 2018 in what we hope will be a fantastic and prosperous new year.

Thanks always for your continued support.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Tips to Improve Your Funding Options


Does your fundraising strategy consist mainly of a vague idea to raise “more money than last year” and little else? Without financial clarity, and a strategy to optimise your organisation’s sources for funding, your nonprofit will find it difficult, and next to impossible to secure the monies that it needs to operate at a sustainable level and create actual impact for your cause.

The following strategies can help your organisation broaden its base of financial support by increasing the number of sources it has for funding.

Grants

Rather than relying solely on donations from individuals, consider searching for grants that are a good fit for your organisation. Grants can come from Federal or State governments as well as public and private entities such as foundations and corporations.

The applications process is typically quite lengthy, and complex, and there is usually stiff competition for these funds, so your NFP can benefit by bringing on board an experienced grant writer to help them with the proposal and applications process.

Sponsorships

Instead of trying to do everything on your own, consider reaching out to third parties for help in securing funding, and other resources, that will enable you to provide services and advance your cause.

Sponsorships and other collaborations can come from the commercial and government sectors, or might involving partnering with one more parties from the not-for-profit sector that will allow each to focus on performing the work that they do well. Groups can also cooperate and allow each to access resources that the other has to increase the amount of work that is performed by both groups.

Maximise Individual Contributions

Nonprofits can increase their funding simply by looking for opportunities to maximise the number and amount of individual donations that they receive.

To accomplish this goal, your fundraising approach should seek out ways to make it easy for supporters to give online, and give by their preferred means of payment.

Focus on encouraging repeat donors by developing a monthly giving program.

Approach board members and other key influencers that are connected with your organisation to reach out to potential big donors to support your NFP with a large contribution.

Crowdsourcing platforms can be a great way to raise awareness about your cause and encourage donations when they use storytelling to illustrate what is at stake if the issue your organisation is trying to tackle remains unsolved. Options to customise the message and share the campaign easily on social media will increase the number of folks that see your plea and follow through with a contribution.

Special Events

Standard fundraising events, such as charity auctions, galas and balls can be a good way to raise funds for your organisation, but only if they are cost-effective to host. If your NFP will not make a net profit from the event that’s worth the time and effort it takes to plan the event and hold it, you may want to limit the number and type of events that you throw as part of your fundraising efforts.

Consider Options that Increase Your Capacity for Self-Funding

While nonprofits are not designed to operate at a profit, since their main function is to serve the public good, this doesn’t mean that they should operate in an unsustainable manner. Your nonprofit can increase the soundness of its finances to look for ways to self-fund its growth. Does your nonprofit have assets that can be used to fund operations?

For example, would you be able to offer beneficiaries a higher level of service if you charged a fee for certain services? Would rents or activity fees allow you to do more good work, without compromising your core mission and goals? Is there a way to invest some of your funds that will enable your organisation to generate a passive income stream that could be used to fund operations and build capacity? Would selling some products and services allow your organisation to raise the funds that it needs while remaining in alignment with your organisations values?

While each NFP’s answer will be different to questions like these, if income generating activities don’t violate your nonprofit’s values or create another conflict, they can be a good way to raise the growth supporting funds that your organisation needs to survive and thrive.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

How to Keep Your Team Happy


High turnover extracts a heavy toll on all organisations, particularly those in the not-for-profit sector. Not only does it waste the time, money and other precious resources that your NFP uses to train its people, turnover increases inefficiency in your organisation as your nonprofit must now go to the effort of finding, training and retaining new personnel.

Long before they leave, unhappy staff and volunteers impact your organisation in terms of the quality of service it provides all stakeholders. If you want to keep your team, and ensure that they are fully engaged in their work for your service community, your NFP’s leadership must make some effort to keep them happy.

The following are a few tips to help your nonprofit better meet the needs of its volunteers and staff members.

Empowerment and Flexibility

Regardless of anyone’s job title and duties, at least some of the tasks that are performed each day seem redundant and unnecessary. Each of us is also an individual with our own tastes and preferences, so wherever it is possible, try to grant your team as much autonomy and authority as possible. Empower your people to make decisions and to take responsibility in the areas that they work in.

Allow staff and volunteers to switch things up during their workday by allowing them to cross train and do similar work, but in different departments. Not only does this help to prevent monotony and boredom, your nonprofit benefits from new insight and perspective brought by members from other areas of your NFP’s operations. It also improves your organisation’s flexibility during times when you might be understaffed in some departments but overstaffed in others.

Keep Everyone Up-to-Date

Have you ever had the experience of having people close to you keep a secret from you? How did it make you feel?

When we respect others, we bring them into our circle of confidence. Everyone wants to know what is going on, and what they need to do as a team to advance the mission forward.

Be accessible to your teams, and make yourself available to them. Have an open-door policy that works both ways. Hold regular meetings with your team members so that you can keep them updated as to your organisation’s goals, policies, and breaking news.

If your team is scattered across multiple locations, assemble them together in one central location with as many members of your team as possible. Next, bring the others in via live video conferencing on Skype or another online platform. Make an effort to give everyone a voice during your meetings so that everyone’s concerns or questions are heard and addressed.

When you openly communicate with your team, you build trust, respect and rapport. Your staff and volunteers learn that they can count on you to provide them with the information that they need to perform their tasks well. Your team also learns that you have their best interests at heart and are looking out for them.

Acknowledgement

When we work hard, it’s only natural to want our efforts to be recognised and appreciated. Make sure that you are taking concrete steps to show your team that you truly value them as people. Let them know you are grateful for all the hard work that they put into advancing the mission and meeting the needs of others.

Awards ceremonies, perks, rewards and letters of appreciation can all go a long way to show your team just how important they are to you and your organisation. While many nonprofits run on the proverbial shoestring budget, it’s important to avoid the tendency to substitute perks and recognition for comparable compensation.

For your paid staff and volunteers, offer a living wage that’s in line with what others in comparable fields and positions pay. Whether other members of your team are paid or unpaid, make sure that they have all the resources that they need to do their jobs well. Invest in replacing outdated systems and upgrading critical infrastructure. Offer updated training and use innovative technologies to reduce the strain and workload on your teams.

Truly honoring your team’s contribution to your organisation is about more than offering a token acknowledgement; it’s about being realistic about the demands that are placed on them. Give them everything they need to perform well including public recognition, realistic wages, current information and equipment.  

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Importance of Social Media for NFPs

If nonprofits wish to survive and thrive, they must have support. This support can come in many forms such as advocacy, donations, and volunteering.

Increasing Support Doesn’t Have to Be Costly

At its heart, social media marketing allows nonprofits to use one of the most successful, and oldest, forms of advertising to increase its base of support: social influence, or, word-of-mouth marketing. Social media campaigns are effective for increasing an NFP’s reach because their cost can be easily controlled by scaling campaigns up or down.

Once the initial content is created, connections within various networks spread the message on their own, creating organic support and traffic without incurring additional cost. Using social media to find and recruit supporters, however, isn’t just about controlling costs. The following is a brief overview of two additional reasons why nonprofits need to be using social media in their marketing campaigns and communications.

To Stay Competitive

Competition is a key factor that affects the impact and growth of every nonprofit, despite the increase in collaborations and partnerships between third parties.

Nonprofits compete to recruit skilled, talented people to serve on boards, and as staff members and volunteers. Funds are also a scarce resource, as there are not enough grants, endowments and individual contributions to fund every need.

Research shows that if you want your nonprofit to be able to recruit enough staff, volunteers, advocates and donors, then your nonprofit must have an online presence, and be using social media to spread the word about your cause and how others can help.

According to statistics provided in the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report, most not for profits worldwide are actively online using multiple social media channels to connect with supporters, accept donations and spread awareness about their NFP’s mission. A full 92% of NFPs have a website and 46% blog regularly, making it easy for online users to discover information about their mission and projects.

75% email their supporters’ donation requests and other news, and 75% accept donations online. 95% have a Facebook page, 83% have a profile on Twitter, and nearly 40% use Instagram to keep their supporters up-to-date and motivated about the good work that their organisation is accomplishing.
To be effective, nonprofits must use social media to stand out from all of their competitors in both the for-profit and not-for-profit world. They should use it to firmly establish their brand, and link their brand to their cause, their vision and the work that can be accomplished with the support of others.

To Remain Relevant

It’s not just other NFPs that are online. According to data on social media trends provided by Track Maven, nearly one third of the entire world’s population will be online by next year. Global Web Index statistics reveal that most online users have about 6 social media profiles and regularly use nearly half of them.

This data clearly illustrates why it’s so important for your nonprofit to enter this space! A growing number of us no longer get our news from traditional network broadcasts and media outlets. Instead, we are leveraging our social media networks to stay up-to-date on the latest news and events. We then share those stories that personally connect with us and then like or otherwise express an opinion about these posts with our connections.

To become a part of these crucial conversations and exchanges of ideas, you must be online, and using the social media channels where these conversations are taking place. To engage with potential supporters, you must be online where your supporters are likely to be. Otherwise your cause will go unnoticed and your projects will go unsupported. To stay relevant, nonprofits need to include social media in their marketing strategies, and engage their supporters on the social media channels of their choice.  

If your nonprofit is struggling to build its base of support, this is likely a sign that your social media strategy may need some fine-tuning to return the results that your nonprofit wants and needs. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

3 Essential Qualities Every Good Treasurer Must Have


A volunteer treasurer needs to be organised and good with figures. They must ensure they are on top of the situation from the very first day of the job. They should be passionate and motivated. They need to be trustworthy and available when the charity or nonprofit has a query or requires a report. The list is seemingly endless!

On top of these traits, and the many others we could name off the top of our head, there are three other qualities which a treasurer must have in order to make their job easier.

Professionalism

Regardless of how relaxed the organisation is, as a Volunteer Treasurer, it is your job to represent the NFP in a professional manner. Having a solid base of professionalism will make the job simpler, and you never know who may be watching. Remember your volunteer role may lead to other opportunities in the future. Conduct yourself professionally in all situations and show the NFP that you have a solid work ethic regardless of whether it is a paid or volunteer position.

Strength

A Volunteer Treasurer needs to be tough and strong. You should always stick to your guns and follow the rules and policies set in place. If there are no rules, then create them. Establishing solid business practices from the start will hold you in good stead. Financial control policies are there for an excellent reason. They prevent bookkeeping errors and fraud. Don’t let the team walk all over you or ask you to bend their rules just because they don’t like them. Stick to the rules and your colleagues will soon understand that you mean business.

Creativity

If your nonprofit has not embraced modern technology or made any changes in the last ten years, then you may have to put your creative hat on. Just because it has always been done that way, doesn’t mean it has to stay like that. A Volunteer Treasurer’s position involves a lot of responsibility, and often there are systems you can utilise to cut down your hours or improve your overall effectiveness. Look at software options such as Admin Bandit or endeavour to fine-tune those reports so they are more efficient. There are always alternative methods - you just need to find the ones which will assist you to streamline the procedures and save the NFP time and money. Do your research to understand what will fit the needs of the NFP and, of course, yourself.

Good luck!