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Is Your Nonprofit Compliant?

There are plenty of factors to consider when evaluating the the effectiveness of your charity. Regardless of your charity’s mission, compliance should be on the top of the list. If your organization isn’t compliant with local and federal laws, the likelihood of success drops dramatically.

First Things First

When establishing a non-profit, proper registration, certification and the development of compliant processes must be completed. It’s a good idea for existing charities to continually check and ensure these things have been taken care of and for new ones to ensure they are before they begin working toward their goals. While some of the requirements may seem cumbersome, take a step back and understood they were created to protect the pubic and ensure non-profits don’t abuse the financial advantages offered to them.

Get Registered!

A non-profit organization MUST be registered BEFORE doing any sort of solicitation even if a single dime is never received. Registration requirements vary by state, but in each of them, fines and/or penalties can be assessed for those that fail to do so. Board of Directors can be subject to legal and financial liability for failing to do so. Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York have the strongest requirements . . . and penalties.

A Unified Registration Statement is accepted in 32 states, however 13 require supplemental documentation. In addition to the correct paperwork, new nonprofits must remit registration fees. These fees also vary in state and range from $0 to more than $400 with the average being $35.

Money Matters

Great, your organization is now registered and it’s time to get focused on achieving your mission! Whatever your goal is, you will need money. This money will likely come in as a donation and you want to be sure you collect it safely and properly. The top priority for any and all nonprofits should be to protect their donors private information and financial transactions, especially when credit cards are involved.

Enter PCI Compliance

Payment Card Industry, or PCI for short, has standards that need to be followed whether an organization handles these transactions or are outsourced to a third party provider. PCI Compliance needs to be an ongoing effort and not just a one time event. Processes need to be developed, then followed and constantly reviewed and updated to remain compliant. While PCI compliance begins with the use of common sense, specific security measures, reporting and testing are required.

What’s all the fuss for?

Nobody wants their personal information compromised. When it does happen, fingers are pointed and that is not good for the business where it originated. A data breach can cost an organization, whether they are for profit or nonprofit, a lot. Fines are just the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately, it could mean a loss of customers, clients or donors.

Often organizations think they are compliant because they have an SSL certification or use a third party vendor. These are both myths. SSL Certification is not the same and will not protect your donors. Third Party’s need to be certified and it is the job of the organization to ensure the one they choose to partner with is up to date.

Insider Tips to Avoid a Breach

We’ve got 3 tips to share that can help your organization keep your donors private information and financial transactions safe.

  1. Destroy your donor’s sensitive authentication data once the donation has been processed. There is no reason for you to hold on to their card number, pin, cvv or other information obtained from its mag strip. At WIB, we black out all but the last four numbers of the card and store them in a secure room for six months before safely destroying them.
  2. Openly discuss PCI compliance with any POS partner you work with. Ensure their payment applications are PCI validated and there are processes in place to routinely verify them.
  3. Annually, conduct a PCI standards review. Compare your processes to the PCI guidelines and be prepared and open to make changes as needed.

Got Questions?

WIB takes the security of your donors seriously which is why we are PCI compliant. We take measures to ensure the personal and financial information of you and your donors is safeguarded. Our caging team is ready to answer any questions you have regarding these processes.

5 Reasons Nonprofits Should Outsource Fundraising

All non-profit organizations have a common goal: raise as much money as they can to support their cause. Whether they are looking to raise awareness, solve a problem, support those in need…all nonprofits need money to achieve it. So aside from working toward their mission, which takes time and manpower, they need to dedicate time to raising the funds to achieve it.

Not many nonprofits have the spare manpower nor time and are outsourcing this necessity. Is your non-profit considering using a professional fundraiser? Here are 5 reasons we think it is a good idea!

  1. Focus on YOUR mission. Chances are your staff and volunteers are passionate about the organizations mission, which is why they are a part if it. They are likely willing to do whatever it takes to help achieve that..including fundraising. However, the reality is their time is best spent on the actual mission and not making fundraising calls, writing thank you letters or processing donations. Harness the passion of your manpower and involve them in work where their efforts will have a positive impact on the overall mission.
  2. Shared Technology. Technology is ever-changing in any industry, including fundraising. New software is constantly being introduced to improve fundraising. To stay current, it takes cash and expertise most nonprofits don’t have to spare. By partnering with a professional fundraiser, you get the benefit of using the technology they have already invested in.
  3. Proven Results. Effective processes take years of trial and error to perfect. Who’s got time for that? Professional fundraisers have the expertise and proven methods nonprofits can take advantage of. While there is still some learning curve depending on factors including the target demographic, it is greatly reduced when partnering with an established outsourcing provider.  As a result, nonprofits are likely to achieve their fundraising goals in a shorter amount of time with far less effort.
  4. Cost Reduction. There is an inherent cost involved with fundraising for nonprofits. Capital and operating expenses, such as training, technology, staffing and not to mention the multitude of soft costs associated with fundraising, can quickly add up. As a result, the amount raised is lessened to cover these necessary costs. Partnering with a professional fundraiser comes with cost, too. However, typically the elimination of operating costs and the time and manpower saved from handling fundraising management in house far outweighs the cost of hiring a 3rd party organization.
  5. Increased Customer Satisfaction. Donors are an organization’s customers and deserve to be treated with care. They should feel special from the first piece of marketing material to the thank you note and beyond. If they aren’t they are likely to be one-time donors. If they are, they could likely donate multiple times and increase their gifts over time. Though your organization may have the best of intentions, the manpower required to provide gold standard customer service is often unavailable leaving important tasks undone.  A professional fundraiser has the necessary manpower to reduce the turnaround time to respond to prospective donors inquiries and getting thank you’s to donors after a gift is received. These acts may seem small, but appear more personal to the donors and thereby improves their overall experience with your organization. Happy donors tend to be more generous!

 

Whether your organization opts to handle fundraising in house or partner with an expert, there is the business of handling the donations to contend with as well. Efficiently processing receivables and ensuring they are accounted for properly is a job in of itself that requires time, technology, efficiency and of course, manpower. There are lots of advantages to outsourcing this piece of the fundraising process, too. We’ve shared the top ones in a previous blog post.


Does your organization outsource any part if the fundraising process? We’d love to hear how it’s affected your campaigns. Share your thoughts below of leave us a comment on our Facebook page.