Archive for February, 2016

Working Remotely and Working Well

Nonprofit organizations are increasingly using contract and remote workforce arrangements to accomplish specific goals or seasonal tasks. If you frequently work offsite, make sure to check out these 8 tech tools to fuel communication with your boss. Author Kadi McDonald, writing for Third Sector Today, offers these three tips for employees, temps and contract team members who aren’t required to be in the office everyday. Working Remotely and Working Well Schedule real interactions. If video conferencing is a possibility, either by FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, etc., it’s definitely good to do. If video isn’t doable, or it’s just not something you’re interested in, schedule weekly phone discussions to touch base. These discussions should focus only on expectation level setting and project updates. Obviously you’ll be communicating about other things throughout the week, but it’s always a great idea to make sure expectations are met on both ends. Over communicate. While this may seem a little annoying, it’s always best to keep in touch. This will eliminate any doubts about what someone is actually doing with their time. You should also end every day with a brief recap of what’s been accomplished that day and where things will be tomorrow. Make…

Does LinkedIn Have a Role in Nonprofit Fundraising?

Your donor’s gift may arrive at an event, on the phone, over lunch, or online, but there’s a lot of strategic planning behind “The Ask”. Social media is most likely part of that strategy—especially mainstream staples such as Facebook and Twitter. But what about LinkedIn? Most of your donors—as well as volunteers, employees and prospective hires—are already there. Does your nonprofit have an effective LinkedIn presence? LinkedIn can be one of the most effective channels to drive engagement with your organization. Keeping your fundraising pump primed means more that than having a LinkedIn company page. An integrated LinkedIn strategy includes your company page, professionally branded profiles for your staff, the consistent creation of original blog content, and content sharing by public facing staff members. Individual Profiles Your organization has multiple employees who have public and often, donor facing roles. Each one of them should have a well-crafted LinkedIn profile. Their profile should consist of a professional picture, a headline that is skill-based, a profile URL that has been customized for sharing, a summary section that thoroughly communicates their background and passion, and a current experience section that describes their role inside your organization. Why is all this necessary? Employees should…

Your Donors Have Gone Mobile

Over at DonorDrive, we’ve done a deep dive into our fundraising data and have come up with some stunning numbers about the swift adoption of giving by smartphone in peer-to-peer fundraising. Before we present the stats, let’s put mobile fundraising growth into perspective: Online sales grew 28% between 2012 and 2015 according to Forrester. Mobile sales grew 327%. Mobile giving grew 942%. So, for every mobile dollar given through DonorDrive in 2012, $10.42 is being given this year. And this trend promises to grow even more dramatically: In 2012 20% of first visits to DonorDrive fundraising pages were by smartphone. Today 60% of first-time visits are by smartphone. Not only have mobile visits increased dramatically, but we’re at the point where most of your future supporters arrive at your fundraising pages by smartphone. Mobile is how they’re meeting you. Organizations with fundraising pages that aren’t mobile friendly are obviously losing dollars. Research from Copter Labs shows that 1 in 4 mobile visitors leave a site that’s not mobile friendly, while only 1 in 11 will leave a mobile-optimized site.  These numbers hold true for fundraising pages too: When DonorDrive adopted responsive design two years ago our nonprofit clients saw a 21%…

Tips to Get More Traction–and Dollars–Out of Your Next Event

Like most nonprofit professionals, you probably can’t remember a time when events—especially fundraising events—were not a mainstay of development programs. Yet surprisingly, this ritual still leaves many directors unable to answer a fundamental question: How much does it actually cost to raise a dollar at every event? The answer might surprise you (generally, it takes about 50 cents to raise $1-$1.50). Some nonprofit consultants such as Neil Edgington advocate ditching events. Or, at least, scaling back to just one, as Gail Perry suggests. Events, however, serve dual purposes—not only do they raise money but they raise awareness of your mission—thus cultivating new stakeholders. Instead of ditching events, let’s make them better. Don’t let administrative tasks take away from time that could be better spent cultivating donor relationships. Events provide an increasingly rare opportunity to spend time with the people who feel closely connected to your cause and are vital in making programs possible. If you are busy attending to the details, you miss out on the socializing. Use your event time, and that of your staff, to strengthen bonds with attendees through quality time spent together. Many organizations use nonprofit temp staffing for planning & execution day-of so that your…

Why Volunteering at a NonProfit is Good for Your Heart and Your Career

A few days ago, a colleague who’s in between jobs emailed me. She had viewed my profile on LinkedIn and requested an introduction to one of my connections. We’ve all learned by now that if you are looking for the next career opportunity, a virtual connection can potentially turn into a relationship—or at least a cup of coffee. So how do you get to that next level? Skip the Small Talk As with dating, the search for a perfect career match can be helped by taking a chance on love. Ok, that may seem to be a bit of a stretch, but think about it. What if you start from what you love–your passion? In both work and personal settings, it’s the emotional connections that sustain. So where can you readily find these in the professional world? Nonprofit organizations are where people put their passion to work. Ask a volunteer why they’re involved in the mission of the nonprofit, and you will assuredly get an answer in some form of love story. Meeting other professionals who share your passion for a cause gives you a head start on forming valuable connections. Step one: select a nonprofit that you interests you….

Bringing in the Funds

Fundraising is the lifeblood of nonprofits. And while fundraising as a strategy isn’t new, there is a continuing flow of new (and renewed) tools and ideas being cultivated as our cultural trends shift and as technology advances. Day of Giving With some advance planning, your organization can capitalize on the excitement and free publicity surrounding these days. Lisa Goddard, Online Marketing Director of Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, participated in an area event called Amplify Austin which raised more than $7.7 Million in just 24 hours. Lisa shared advice on how to make programs like hers work in ThirdSectorToday. Leverage Visuals: Images Move People Social Proof: Start building “buzz” in advance and motivate potential donors. Try a video like this one featuring the organization’s president making a contribution. It’s like priming the tip jar! On Point Messaging: Email segmentation—content should be specific to the day. For example, a local Day of Giving should include images and content associated with the community. A/B Testing: Track the performance of your social media posts to see what people actually react to, versus what you think they will react to. Two big Days of Giving to consider are Give Local America and Giving…

Are You a Good Team Player? It Could Be Your Greatest Asset.

The single most untapped asset for any well-functioning nonprofit is teamwork. Team members that can learn to work together more efficiently and effectively will become a more cohesive team, be more productive, higher-functioning, and be able to achieve the collective results that have been set. It will also make going to work a lot more enjoyable. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model can help you understand how teams behave as a unit and how to work, individually and collectively, more effectively. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team ™ is based on the work of Patrick Lencioni. You may have read his 2002 best-selling book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. Lencioni’s model is built around five interdependent constructs: Trust One Another – Trust is the foundation of the model. When team members are genuinely transparent and honest with one another, they are able to build vulnerability-based trust. Engage in Conflict Around Ideas – When there is trust, team members are able to engage in unfiltered, constructive debate of ideas. Healthy conflict means team members have had the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts, and be heard. Commit to Decisions – Team members can have health conflict and disagree,…

Outsourcing Human Resources: Is It the Right Move for Your NonProfit?

When you decide whether you should buy or lease your new car, there isn’t a definitive right or wrong, or good or bad. Rather, there are advantages and disadvantages to either scenario. The most practical way to go about such a decision is to honestly evaluate your needs, operations, and expectations. The same goes for deciding whether outsourcing human resource functions is right for your organization. When you consider all of the responsibilities that human resources perform, it can be a bit overwhelming. The HR department really touches everyone in your organization, from the first hello to the final goodbye. Many Executive Directors think they can handle HR along with their other responsibilities—a huge mistake for organizations dependent on revenue-enhancing opportunities and donor relations. Forbes, in an article penned by Meghan Biro, reported the top 5 reasons for turning HR over to outsourced experts: It frees the organization to concentrate on core competencies. It saves money. It improves compliance. It improves recruitment. It provides access to the latest tools and technology. Why wouldn’t you want to consider outsourcing HR responsibilities? Four reasons frequently rise to the top: privacy leaks, failure to represent an organization’s true culture, dependency/loss of control, and…

You’re the Boss. But are You an Effective Leader?

Nonprofit professionals often ask me about the difference between leadership and management. By mid-career, executives tend to be good managers, but not necessarily good leaders. But to move up the ladder, good leadership skills are mandatory. There are many great leadership models, but one has particularly resonated with me: The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. James Kouzes and Barry Posner have been studying what characteristics make an effective leader for over 30 years. The researchers collected thousands of “Personal Best” stories — the experiences people recalled when asked to think of a peak leadership experience. Despite differences in people’s individual stories, their personal-best leadership experiences revealed similar patterns of behavior. The study found that when leaders are at their personal best, they: Model the Way. Leaders clarify values by finding their voice and affirming shared ideals; they set the example by aligning their actions with shared values. Inspire a Shared Vision. Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities; they enlist others by appealing to shared aspirations. Challenge the Process. Leaders search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve; they experiment and take risks by…

Those Awkward Conversations about Salary

There are few conversations in life as awkward as those about money. It’s an instant deep-dive into your most inner self—an awkward flapping of insecurities, culture, gender, and all that is good and not-so-good about oneself. It doesn’t have to be this way. “Our money taboo stems from the British, who, traditionally, deemed it terribly gauche to talk about finances,” says Jodi R. R. Smith, of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, in an article written by Laura Shin for Forbes. You would think that, as a society, we would have moved on from aristocratic concepts of earned and inherited wealth. But how much we make and the ability to negotiate those earnings is akin to being the smallest fish in the shark tank. It takes some skill to survive. So how do you talk about salary and compensation? You prepare. Check salary ranges by job type and region. The 2015—2016 NonProfit Salaries & Staffing Report is a good place to start. The PNP Staffing Group report covers hiring considerations, salaries, trends and considerations that are important for nonprofit employers and employees. “Do your research to understand how in-demand your skills are and what the typical compensation package looks like,” writes Melissa Llarnea…