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While many nonprofits almost exclusively focus on recruiting new members to their NFP, it cost much less in marketing costs, as well as time, to keep the ones that you already have. The following tips will help you quickly identify who is about to leave, and what you can do to keep them.

Do Your Benefits Offer Real Value?

Members join because they feel that your NFP has something worthwhile to offer them in exchange for their membership fees. Regularly evaluate your member benefits plans to make sure that you are giving members the services that they want and need. Consider tiered benefits packages that are priced accordingly, to be able to provide basic services, as well as options to those supporters that are willing to give a bit extra in exchange for additional value.

Communicate on a Regular Basis

Members typically join clubs and associations because the benefits and perks are very desirable. The reason they stay with an organisation is because of engagement. Don’t wait to say hello and build your relationship when you send the renewal notice. Communicate with your members on a regular basis. Send newsletters, and other emails that let your members know how their benefits help them and others with your organisation. Contact them to let them know about the ways your organisation is advocating on their behalf to advance their concerns and make a difference!

Use a Database to Track Your Memberships

Keeping up with members can be extra challenging if you don’t have an effective system that tracks their information and behaviour. For example, Admin Bandit’s software makes it easy to keep track of your members, whether they’ve paid their fees, and, will also keep up with any donations that they have also made to your organisation. Those who pay late, or, who have failed to renew their membership may be on the verge of leaving your NFP. Quality software will show you which members are up-to-date, and which may need a gentle reminder to send in their dues.

Make it Easy for Members to Pay Their Dues

Diversify the payment methods that you accept to make it as easy as possible for members to join. Don’t sit on renewals, but process payments promptly. Allow recurring payments for users with credit cards so that renewals process automatically once the initial subscription has been confirmed and paid.

Get Everyone to Pitch in for Recruitment Drives

Attracting new members can be a very costly process. Reduce your expenses, and, improve your chances of success by asking members of the board, existing subscribers and others connected with you NFP to reach out to their friends and family. Use software to track social mentions and interactions with your nonprofit, and track donors as well, to come up with a list of suitable candidates for recruitment.

Finally, don’t forget to show your appreciation to your members for joining your organisation. Promptly welcome them to your group and send regular reminders about additional ways that they can get involved to help advance your mission. The more involved your members are with your NFP, the more likely they are to continue their memberships!

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To be worthwhile, nonprofits need to take in a healthy margin of revenue that’s above and beyond their costs to host their fundraiser. To accomplish this, many NFPs focus solely on increasing the price of admission, and the number of tickets that they sell, to reach their fundraising goals. This strategy can be a bit shortsighted, however, since it leaves potential sources of revenue on the table. The following tips will help you maximise your NFP’s revenue streams during events.

Use Sponsorships to Lower Your Cost

Seek out external third parties to sponsor your events to help defray some or all the costs associated with hosting the event. This way more of the funds that you raise can go directly towards your nonprofit’s programs and capital funding projects! Another way to reduce your costs is to recruit volunteers to staff the event!

Offer Tiered Ticket Packages

Consider offering general admission tickets, alongside VIP tickets that provide an enhanced experience. The latter will give more benefits to attendees during the event who pay the higher entrance fees. The benefits will help you  to increase the amount of revenue your NFP earns from the event.

Sell Refreshments and Merchandise

Selling concessions or merchandise that commemorate the event, such as customised t-shirts or coffee mugs, are great add-ons that typically sell well during concerts, festivals and similar events.

Sell Advertising

Another way to increase your event revenue is to diversify your NFP’s online and offline advertising spaces. In addition to allowing advertisers to place display banners on your event page, sell ad space on the event’s actual invitations, along with your NFP’s physical and email newsletters. Allow third parties to sponsor individual sessions during your event, or even invite them to showcase their expertise by leading workshops or seminars. You can also charge advertisers to hand out their brochures, freebies and other promotional items in person, or send several shout outs for your sponsor on your NFPs social media for a fee!

Survey Attendees and Sell the Research

Focus groups have long been a popular way for marketers to gather feedback from their target audience. Being able to assemble a large enough group of people for an official survey, however, is typically difficult, and costly to arrange. That’s why your nonprofit’s events are the perfect opportunity to poll attendees. The results offer valuable insight into a variety of potential topics that any number of marketers, advertisers or other researchers would be interested in obtaining in exchange for a fee.

Attend Free Training to Learn More

To improve your ability to raise additional funds at your events, consider attending this free online webinar offered by Charity How To on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018, at 3:00 PM (Local/EDT). The course is presented by event planner A. J. Steinberg, who will provide tips and insider secrets especially designed to help nonprofits increase their revenue streams.

Operating from a scarcity mindset often leads nonprofits to shortchange their future. It is true that there is a limit to nearly every resource imaginable, and it’s also true that nonprofit boards need to be wise stewards of the resources that they have. Your sole focus, however, shouldn’t only be on the resources that you have, and what it will cost to deploy them.

Adopt a Long-Term Outlook Rather than Focusing on Short-Term Gains

When this is your mindset, it becomes very tempting to justify your NFP’s expenditures by spending the bulk of your revenue on increasing the number of services and projects offered to the community. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, why not look for ways to increase your NFP’s efficiency and effectiveness, and enhance the quality of the core services that you already provide? It is time to invest at least some of your revenues in expanding your NFP’s ability to meet the needs of your community.

Ways to Invest in Your NFP Now

The following three strategies can help you invest in your NFP to encourage future strength and growth.

Training and Development

If you want your organisation to be powered by exceptional people that exceed expectations and deliver excellent results, then you must spend the time, money and effort necessary to train and develop them!

Leadership training and other professional development programs enable your staff to learn new skills so that your organisation has knowledgeable in-house experts to help your organisation overcome obstacles that might derail your NFP’s progress.

Update Your Technology and Actually Put it to Use!

Outdated technology hinders performance in a myriad of ways. From delays due to lost information because of computer crashes, to the inability to track and manage donor relationships, continuing to use old technology is typically more expensive than the price to upgrade when long-term costs are factored into the equation.

Upgrading your accounting software to one that’s specially designed for nonprofit use, such as Admin Bandit, and deploying newer technology, like optimising your blog for mobile users, simplifies and speeds up your processes. This one step also increases the accuracy and security of your information, making it easier to create records and reports. This will allow you to make more informed decisions and create more effective strategies.

Short on Funding? Increase Your Marketing Budget!

Building your brand, discovering what content is meaningful to your audience and learning your donor’s needs and preferences are just a few of the critical actions nonprofits must take to increase the results of their fundraising campaigns. Increasing your marketing budget makes fundraising easier and more effective. It’s also the first item in the budget that’s cut back on during difficult times. Instead of falling into this trap, look at ways to increase your funding so you have more to put back in your marketing budget!

The problems that you are trying to solve, and the work that your NFP does in your community, defines why your organisation exists. Your organisation’s values, what you stand for, believe in, and are passionate about, define who you are. When creating your NFP’s mission, you should take elements from both to create a statement that inspires you, your team, and your other supporters to make a positive difference.

The following suggestions can help you create a mission statement that motivates your stakeholders and community to work with your organisation for the good of everyone! Additional tips are included to help you use your new mission statement for the best effect.

Develop Your Mission

When creating your mission, you should think about both your values and your vision for your organisation. To do this, you need to first clearly define the problems or issues that your NFP wants to solve, along with the steps that you will take to achieve your mission.

Don’t just talk about what you want to do but think about the way that you want to accomplish your objectives. What actions are in keeping with your values, and which aren’t? How do you expect to treat your supporters and others in your community? Define the lines that you won’t cross.

Both Vision and Values Influence the Mission

Once you have your NFP’s value and vision clearly in focus, you can then begin to write your mission statement. If you are still having a hard time connecting with what it is that you do, and why your organisation and its work matters, consider surveying your service beneficiaries, along with your staff, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders. Find out from them what they think of when they hear your organisation’s name.

Start a Fire with Your Mission

Choose your words carefully when defining your mission. As you read over your statement, you should find that it stirs your emotions and makes you, and others, want to get to work addressing the issues that you want to solve. It should serve as a rallying point for everyone connected to your organisation.

If your statement doesn’t move you and  compel you to act, it’s missing something. This something is likely connected to your vision and values, so think of ways to let this shine through more clearly when you rewrite your statement.

Revise, Review and Ask for Feedback

Before you release your new mission statement to the world, review it for any mistakes or contradictions. Go back and talk with some of the stakeholders that you initially surveyed and ask them if it captures the heart and soul of what your NFP is all about. Be open to suggestions and make revisions as necessary.

Align Your Team with Your Mission

Once you have written an inspiring mission statement, it’s time to put it to good use. You will want to publish your mission statement in your “about” section of your blog, and, include it in the appropriate, designated sections of your essential publications, documents, and grant applications.

It’s also important to take steps to get your staff, volunteers and other supporters to align with your mission. When others are in alignment with your NFP’s mission, it means that everyone is focusing their efforts and working together towards a common objective.

Failing to align your team with your mission leads to a lot of wasted time, effort and other resources, making it much harder to achieve any of your goals.

Alignment is the Result of Effective Leadership

Aligning your team with your mission comes down to how effective your organisation’s leadership is, at every level. Just like culture, the mission statement is defined by leadership. It is up to your leaders to model your NFP’s vision and values, making sure that their talk matches their actions and is true to the mission statement. Leaders then can speak to others from a position of authenticity and honesty, which is especially important when they hold others accountable to achieving the mission.

Communication is the Key to Alignment

Leadership should communicate your mission to the rest of the team, so that your staff, volunteers and other stakeholders know what’s at stake, and how their work specifically contributes to advancing the mission forward.

Conduct periodic surveys with your staff, volunteers and other stakeholders to see what they think about the mission statement and whether it is an accurate reflection of how they experience their connection with your organisation. If there’s a disconnect there, it’s a good idea to ask questions to learn what areas your NFP needs to address to bring the organisation, and its culture, in closer alignment with the mission.

Keep Your Core Mission Top of Mind

As time goes on and the number and types of services that you offer grows, it’s easy for leadership and other stakeholders to become distracted. Take steps to help everyone keep the mission at the forefront of their thoughts and actions.

Make Your Mission Measurable, and Meaningful on a Personal Level

Hold periodic meetings to remind your team of the mission. Tie in goals and the evaluation of your team’s group and individual performance to advancing the mission. Show how important your mission is by tying compensation, bonuses, recognition and perks to how well your team members advance the mission.

Distractions from Your Core Mission Weaken Performance

Reduce distractions by using your mission as the yardstick by which you measure proposals. If a program or service isn’t really advancing your purpose, it’s probably something that you want to at least think about reducing, eliminating, or perhaps partnering with a third party to provide. Keep the spotlight on your core mission and increase your efficiency and effectiveness in the process.

Do you have what it takes to be a good fit for the role of treasurer in your organisation? Before you say “yes” or “no” to the position, look at our list of the top traits shared by successful treasurers.

Integrity

Integrity means various things to different people, but at its heart, to have integrity means that you are honest, dependable and trustworthy. It is the number one trait that treasurers, as well as the other board members, should have. When someone has integrity, it means that others can count on them to look at situations objectively, and, to do the right thing.

For nonprofits, this means that others are safe putting their trust in you to look out for the best interests of all your stakeholders, and the public at large.

Patience

Another trait that is critical for nonprofit treasurers is patience. As treasurer, you will be called on to simplify complex financial information and translate it for others that don’t have extensive backgrounds and experience with accounting and finance. Treasurers need to have their fingers on the pulse of their organisations, and to be able to answer questions and provide their input on matters that may only be tangentially connected to your NFP’s financial health.

Persistence

To fulfil their oversight role, treasurers must be ready to follow the trail of their NFPs past financial moves. They need to be able to look through the records of former treasurers and be prepared to deal with the unexpected, including changes in accounting practices that have affected the way that specific valuations are determined and accounted for. They need to be prepared to see that effective and transparent practices and policies are put into place that lowers the risk of loss for the nonprofit. Each of these tasks can be both time consuming, and, stressful over time, but a good volunteer treasurer has the determination and responsibility to stay on top of these and other tasks.

Availability

While automated bookkeeping software has simplified many of the most basic, time-consuming and monotonous accounting tasks for treasurers, there are still many duties that require the treasurer to be available. NFP meetings, preparing reports, and getting the NFP ready for independent audit can all lead to treasurers needing to be available outside of the hours of a “traditional” 9 to 5 position.

Good treasurers are available on an as-needed basis and are always ready to weigh in with their other board members to answer questions and make sure that everyone has the information that they need to make good decisions for the benefit of the nonprofit.

Comfortable Dealing with Numbers and Handling Cash

While it’s not necessary to have a specialised degree in accounting or bookkeeping, or have direct experience in the financial sector, it can definitely help. Regardless of their previous experience, a good treasurer will be comfortable with figures, as well as handling large amounts of cash. They are prepared to enter transactions, especially those that affect nonprofit monies, as soon as possible. They “play by the rule,” and are responsible and do not disburse funds without board approval and require proper documentation before making disbursements.

A good treasurer also recognises the benefits from continuing education. They are open to taking classes and attending training courses to help them strengthen the skills and knowledge basis that they need to perform their tasks and fulfil their duties well.

An Analytical Mind with an Eye for Details

A good treasurer is also someone who tends to be very practical. They can analyse problems, zero in on the fine details, and perform tasks in a very planned, methodical manner. Being able to think, plan and act logically helps them to spot discrepancies and trace them back to the source, whether the source is a simple human or computer error or a deliberate act, such as an instance of internal theft or another form of fraud.

Ability to Act Decisively and Impartially

The best treasurers are always able to separate their personal feelings about a person or proposal, from their professional, legal duties. They can thoroughly analyse the facts around a situation and make impartial decisions that are based on what is best for the nonprofit and the population it serves.

If you possess these seven traits, then you are well on your way to having what it takes to make a great volunteer treasurer. Like other forms of volunteer service, it is a great way to give back to your community and help others! If you have the time and ability to do so, you should consider serving in this capacity!

One way that nonprofits are very similar to traditional for-profit companies is that both types of organisations need creative approaches and new solutions to old problems. This might be an even more pressing need for NFPs since many already operate on very lean budgets. Encouraging open communications, and, hosting brainstorming sessions with staff members and other stakeholders are two ways for your nonprofit to come up with the innovations and advances that it must have to make real progress on your mission and goals.

The following tips will help your brainstorming sessions be more productive.

Select an Issue or Goal that’s Open Ended

Not every problem can be solved by brainstorming. Sometimes the nature of an issue requires immediate, and decisive action, even if that action might not be the most optimal solution. Before you call a meeting and solicit suggestions, make sure that the subject is one that needs a unique, “out-of-the-box” solution and keep in mind that the best sessions and ideas will come forward when you can have a no limits, no holds barred type of discussion.

Forewarn Your Participants

Once you’ve decided on an issue to tackle, come up with a list of participants. Let them know the topic well in advance of the day and time it will be discussed. This allows your group to begin thinking of potential solutions even before you gather, and in effect, “primes the pump” of inspiration, making it more likely that you will receive one or more great ideas. Ask each participant to think about the problem and to bring at least 3 or 4 good ideas to the meeting. Choose a quiet room free of distractions and one that offers privacy so that everyone will feel free to talk out loud and say what’s on their mind. Make sure the room is a cozy temperature, has comfortable seats arranged around a sturdy table so it will be easier for your members to contribute in a meaningful way.

Getting Started

Once you and your participants have assembled for the session, appoint a facilitator to lead the group if you will not be doing so. It’s also a good idea to select a second person to write down everyone’s ideas, preferably using a computer and projector, or on a simple “whiteboard” with dry erase markers. Whatever visual tool that you decide to use for your list of ideas, make sure each member can easily see all of the ideas as they are suggested. Provide your members with their own writing and list making tools.

Ask and You Will Receive

You could ask for members to get things rolling by volunteering their suggestions, or, you could go round-robin around the room asking each person to contribute one or more ideas. Whatever you do, don’t critique any one idea at the point. Just encourage everyone to make suggestions even if it seems a little “out there” – try not to overthink it! Often, ideas that are first aired are impractical, but they spark a conversation that leads to an approach that can really work wonders and solve the issue.

Hit a Pause? Use Prompts to Restart

At some point, you will notice that the flow of ideas and conversations will start to die off. Have the leader restart the session by using prompts to encourage additional creativity. Some ideas for prompts include using a single keyword as a trigger. Then have everyone suggest an idea that somehow relates to the trigger word. You could also ask for one more idea from someone in the group, and then go around the room having each member contribute their take on this suggestion, such as how it could be improved and made even better. A third type of prompt is to add a little role playing to the mix to get participants to look at the problem from a different perspective. This will enable them to consider how they might approach the issue if they had a different background or job.

Narrow Your List

Once you’ve got a lengthy list of possible solutions, have your participants to vote on their favourite ones. Discuss the ideas that they selected in more depth, coming up with a list of pros and cons for each along with suggestions that will make the solutions better and more practical to implement. Take a final vote to discover the top two or three ideas and go back through the process to further refine each one until you come up with workable solutions for the task.

Wrap it Up

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a brainstorming session and allow it to go on too long. Extended sessions are tiresome for most folks, so be sure to bring your discussion to a close within an hour or so. If you’ve come up with too many suggestions and it will take longer than the original hour to narrow your list down, simply split your session and host a second one to be able to give plenty of time to shortening your list and improving your ideas without exhausting your participants.

The role of treasurer in a nonprofit is one that carries a weighty responsibility. Like any other board member, treasurers have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interests of the public and to ensure that any funds that are received are put to use to advance that nonprofit’s mission and goals.

As the primary watchdog of an NFP’s finances, they “wear many hats” as they oversee transactions and record keeping and manage assets and cash flows. The best volunteer treasurers take steps to anticipate losses and minimise risk and keep the board and other key stakeholders informed of the nonprofit’s financial status.

Since it is a role that is filled with so much responsibility, it can be difficult to recruit good candidates for the position. If you’ve been reluctant to take on this challenge, consider some of the following advantages that serving in this capacity has to offer.

Strengthen and Diversify Your Skill Set

As a volunteer, even if you are using your existing skills, the chances are great that you will be using them in different ways to solve the unique challenges that tend to crop up in the nonprofit sector. Serving as a volunteer treasurer is a great way to put your bookkeeping and financial management skills to use building your community and brush up on your people skills as well as you cooperate and collaborate with others to advance your NFP’s mission.

Hone Those Communication Skills

Many professionals in the accounting and financial sphere can go days or weeks without speaking to a live person. As a volunteer treasurer, however, you will be the point person on your NFP’s finances.

When board members and others don’t understand a term or line item in your NFP’s financials, you will be the one that they turn to when they need help comprehending your nonprofit’s true financial state, and what the long, and short-term ramifications will be if your NFP takes a specific course of action.

Excellent communication skills is the key to being able to simplify complex financial issues so that everyone can understand what’s going on, and it’s a skill that you will be able to practice and sharpen as volunteer treasurer.

Expand Your Network

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people from all walks of life, which expands your network of connections and opens the door to new opportunities. Your next employment opportunity might just come from a tip that you receive from a contact that you make during your volunteer service!

Become a More Attractive Job Candidate

Volunteering doesn’t just help your job prospects by improving your network, the practical experience that you gain in the role will make you a more attractive recruit for headhunters seeking prospects with hands-on experience filling a role in accounting, finance and leadership.

Boost Your Confidence

Helping others provides a lift to our spirits, and increases our feelings of self-esteem, value and self-worth. When you feel good about yourself, it shows in the way that you carry yourself, and, in the energy that you bring other areas of your life.

The Purpose of Life is Not All About You

The urge to look back and reflect on our lives as we grow older is a normal, expected one. Volunteering to serve your community and give back is a great way to know that you’ve done something in your life to make a difference in the lives of others and help your community.

It’s Fun!

Serving as volunteer treasurer isn’t all about work and responsibility, it can also be a lot of fun! Many organisations offer their volunteers special recognition and invite them to attend members-only events such as awards ceremonies, galas, and other exciting celebrations and action-packed activities!