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Corporate Partnerships: A How-To Guide for Non-Profit Organizations

Most non-profit organizations can not solely rely on individual donors to met their fundraising goals. While the local business community is an excellent source of support, many NPO’s don’t know how to target them and often leave them out of their overall fundraising strategy.

Targeting a business is easier than you may think. We’ll break down our 5 step tried-and-true process to help your NPO or charity organization target and connect with local businesses.

Let’s get started!

  • Identify. Determining what businesses you want to connect with is the first step. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to get an up-to-date listing of local businesses and do a bit of research on each. Find out if they have a history of charitable giving or sponsoring events hosted by non-profit groups.

    Businesses that employ your volunteers and vendors, both those that provide goods and services, should also be on the target list.

  • Connect. Once you have identified the businesses you’d like to develop a partnership with, you need to let them know you exist. After all, if they don’t know you exist, there is zero chance of a partnership happening.

    Give businesses an opportunity to get to know you before going in for the ask. To start with, send them an information packet about your organization and the good you are doing in the greater community. Next, consider inviting local businesses in to an open house and introduce them to the programs your organization offers. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your work and let them know you are a legitimate organization. Another option is to visit them and get to know the products and services they offer.

  • Strategize. Now that you know a little about the businesses in your community and they know about you, it’s time to determine how you ideally see a partnership working. Do you want to use their name for branding power? Are there goods or services your organization needs from that business? Would a monetary contribution be most helpful?

    Figuring this out before initiating the “ask” is key. You can always negotiate and see what they counter with, but doing the legwork and strategizing ahead of time is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only will it help to shape your conversation, but will also show your potential partner you are serious when you do go in for the ask.

    As part of the ask, show them what you will do for them. Whether it be mentions on your social media and website or their name and logo on event banners and other swag. No matter how philanthropic an organization is, they want to know the partnership will benefit both parties so the more lucrative you can make the deal, the better!

  • Ask. Once you have an established relationship and developed a partnership strategy, it is time to ask. In addition to being specific about what you are asking for, you’ll want to address your request to a specific person. Ideally, the person you have developed a relationship with or the person they have directed you do.

    Include visuals, pictures and videos, showing how their contribution would help your organization meet its goals. Information about specific programs and projects their donations will be used for is also great to include.

    Keep a record of who you asked, how you made the request and what specifically you were looking for. This should be the start of a long term process and this information will be handy as time marches on and the relationship evolves.

  • Thank you! These two little words hold so much value, yet are often overlooked. Whether you get the support you were looking for or not, it is important to send a thank you. You never know what the future holds and those two words could make the difference of furthering your partnership or ending it.

Not sure how to say thank you? No worries! We have you covered. Check out our blog post “The Art of the Thank You” and find out!

Ready to grow your corporate partnerships? We’d love you to share any tips or tricks you have found when building relationships with local businesses. Pay it forward and share them in the comments!

Fundraising – There’s an App for That!

It seems that these days there is an app for just about everything so it should come as no surprise that there are a plethora of apps available to aid non-profit organizations in encouraging donors to give more. There are even a number of apps that allow donors to contribute funds to their charity of choice without spending a penny of their own money.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at several mobile apps that play a dominant role in successful fundraising campaigns.

Google One Today – A single dollar donated can have a great impact. Donors can donate a dollar or more to the registered US non-profit of their choice with this app. Powered by Google, this platform doesn’t collect transaction fees, so 100% of the donation is sent to the intended non-profit.  Privacy is another benefit that comes with the use of this app. Some donors may wish to not share their private information with the organization they are supporting for one reason or another. By donating via One Today, their information is not shared at all. Donations are completely tax deductible as well.

Non-profits organizations can easily share this app with their users via their social media, newsletters and even have a link to the app from their own website to encourage potential donors to contribute to their cause.

The Google One Today app is free to download on Google Play as well as in the Apple App Store.

 

Donate a Photo – Just about everyone has a smartphone…and use it multiple times a day to snap a photo. Thanks to Johnson & Johnson, those photos can help raise funds for the photographer’s cause of choice.  It takes just 3 simple steps after downloading the app to positively impact a cause financially. First, the user selects a cause from a list of curated non-profits. Next, they snap a photo of whatever they so choose – a selfie, a pet, a landscape, you get the idea. Lastly, they share it via the app and Johnson & Johnson donates $1.

Currently Johnson & Johnson has causes in 8 categories, including Environmental, education and women’s health, to choose from. Since launching the program in 2013, more than 185 causes have been helped. Non-profits not on their list can reach out via the app to get additional information about being added to their list.

Both Google Play and the Apple App Store have the Donate a Photo app available as a free download.

 

Give 2 Charity – Earn money for your favorite cause simply by going about your day? Yes, please! When a user downloads this free app and agrees to let it run in the background of their smartphone, they earn points. Users can then turn those points into cash donations to their favorite cause. This program does track your location but does respect your privacy. Though the user’s data is collected it is limited to aggregates of multiple users.

Give 2 Charity launched in 2012. Since, they have directed funds from users to charitable organizations including Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society and Habitat Against Humanity among others. While smaller non-profits don’t reap benefits from this program, they can champion the larger organizations representing the same cause.

Download this free app from either the Google Play and Apple App Store

 

Woof Trax – Dog Powered Fundraising! Thanks to this free app, users can support their favorite animal organization simply by taking their dog for the walk. The more frequently you walk, the greater the donation you can earn for your favorite shelter or rescue. No dog? No problem! You can still download the app and take it with you on your solo walks. Iphone users can even earn without stepping foot outdoors! Points can be earned while riding your stationary bike or getting your steps in on the treadmill!

Since its inception, more than 10 million walks have been taken to benefit 7000 shelters in ALL 50 states! This app creates a fundraising platform for shelters and rescues of any size all while encouraging dogs and their humans to exercise on a regular basis.

Users can find Woof Trax on both Google Play and in the Apple App Store.

 

Tinbox – In just 20 seconds with the click of a button, users can make the world a better place. And the best part? This program allows users to direct corporate funds to projects having a direct impact on their local community. Unlike most fundraising campaigns, contributions are made directly to a specific project and not the charity as a whole.

Using Tinbox allows non-profits to leverage their following to raise corporate dollars.

Since March of 2016, users have been and continue to be able to download this free app from both the Google Place and Apple App Store.

 

Has your non-profit embraced the use of technology for raising funds? We’d love to hear what apps you have tried and had success with!

Go Public: A Non-Profit Guide to Publicizing Events

You can plan a perfect event or develop a great fundraising campaign but without participants and donors, there is zero chance of it being successful. The key to success? Promotion!  That’s right, promotion can not, and should not, be overlooked. Best part is, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get it done right.

Here are 8 promotion strategies your non-profit organization can implement to increase awareness about and drive participants and donors to your next event:

  1. Invite! Invite! Invite! Seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised how often organizations forget to send invitations. This may be due in part to the cost associated with it. Between the design and printing of the physical invitations and the labor to get them addressed, it can be a costly undertaking. However, that is no reason to skip this important step! Save a stamp (and a tree) and consider one of the many electronic invitation services, many of which are free or low cost. We like Paperless Post, Punchbowl, and Evite but there are so many to choose from. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to ask for RSVPs so you can plan accordingly and consider offering an Early Bird incentive so potential attendees don’t procrastinate in responding.
  2. Get Graphic! We’ve all heard it before, and that’s because it is completely true….A picture is worth a thousand words. Create eye-catching posters and flyers that pop with color then get them out. Does your building have high traffic? If so, post them at each entrance and in the elevators. How about your neighborhood? Post them all over there, too. Coffee shops, the library, even the grocery store. Anywhere your target demographic may frequent is a great place to hang them. PRO TIP: Don’t skimp on color printing! The extra few pennies spent will make your marketing collateral get noticed.
  3. Sandwiches! We’re not talking lunch, we’re talking big signs. Sandwich Boards are double sided on an A-frame making them perfect for placing in outdoor settings. Parking lots, outside of schools, parks, really, any outdoor venue is simply perfect. Best part? They are temporary. You can put it out at one location today and a completely different one tomorrow. To save money, consider having your non-profit invest in a sturdy one and replace the announcements for each event.
  4. Promote yourself. Do you send out a newsletter or other regular electronic communication? Tout your event or fundraising campaign in the next edition. Get creative with fun colors and write a killer subject line so recipients don’t overlook it. Need help creating a stand out subject line? Relax, we’ve got you covered. Our top tips can be found here.
  5. Go Social! Social media posts are a surefire way to create a buzz about your upcoming event. Consider creating a fun hashtag and encourage followers to engage with it. Video posts get 45% more views than standard posts and can be created with a smartphone and posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget about SnapChat. Develop a geofilter for attendees to use while at your event. It’s a great way to increase awareness about your organization and could lead to new supporters.
  6. The Power of the Internet! In addition to the traditional social media sites, there are website dedicated to event promotion. Some are free, some charge a small fee and others take a percentage of a ticket price. Depending on your need, there is one sure to match. Regardless of which one(s) you choose, you’ll get your name out in front of people who may otherwise never heard of your organization or cause. Our three top-picks are Goldstar, Meetup, and Eventbrite.
  7. Wear it! Sometimes you don’t need to say anything to let those around you know about your upcoming event or to promote your latest fundraising campaign. Design a shirt, hat and car magnets! You can even offer one as an incentive for an early RSVP or donation. This way your supporter gets a gift and your non-profit organization gets additional exposure. Talk about a WIN-WIN! Chances are the shirt and hat will be worn long after the event and campaign have ended, but your cause will stay fresh in their mind and that of those around them. We’ll call that a WIN-WIN-WIN!
  8. (Don’t) Stop the Presses! Local newspapers are always looking for a good story. Reach out to the editor of your local papers and invite a reporter to learn more about your organization and offer them tickets to attend the event, too. Many of the local newspapers not only have print editions, but online ones as well. Share the links to the article on your social media or even include them in upcoming newsletters. You are likely to discover these newspapers as well as local radio stations and TV networks also have online calendars you can list your event for free. It takes mere minute to submit an event to them and you never know who will see it.

Try one or more of these strategies after you complete planning your next event or fundraising campaign and watch your numbers, rise!

We want to hear which ones you try and have success with so be sure to comment below or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

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.