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The reasons why individuals donate to charity, along with the ways that they give, is rapidly changing. A great deal of this change can be attributed to technological advances that are disrupting the very way that we work and live our daily lives. Other factors, such as government budget constraints, changing social views and recent, widespread global political upheaval have also impacted the lives of individual donors and affected the reasons why they feel compelled to support causes through gifts, volunteering and advocacy.

To secure the funding that they need to make a lasting, positive impact, nonprofits need to be aware of the following trends that are reshaping the very nature of philanthropy.

The Expectation of Increased Transparency and Accountability

Donors want to know where their money is going, and just how their support advances the mission of a specific NFP. To meet this need, nonprofits must increase transparency about the ways that they operate, how their boards reach the decisions that they do, and how and why funds from all sources are spent. Publicly releasing your NFP’s financial statements is a good start, but for real transparency to occur, NFPs should make additional information available to the public about their operations. Nonprofits should also take steps to ensure that their performance is communicated in ways that are easy to understand, such as providing results that are accurate but also make it easier for the public to interpret the results.

Drive for True Collaboration and Partnerships

In an atmosphere of increased scrutiny of public institutions, coupled with reduced government funding, nonprofits are being pushed to do more with less. One way that many nonprofits have found to successfully overcome these obstacles and create more significant impact is through partnerships with external third parties. In this type of relationship, each party shares resources with the other but focuses on providing the services that it does best.

Sponsorships are another way for nonprofits to collaborate with businesses to secure the funds that they need to host events and provide much-needed services to its members.

In the past, partnering with others was less about sharing resources and was more used to build the reputation and brand identity of each participating entity. While it’s still good PR to collaborate with others, the spotlight is now on building relationships with others that are long-lasting where each cooperates to solve complex, long-standing social ills, and that offers tangible benefits to everyone involved. These types of relationships work best when each party can share resources and help one another advance their core mission.

A Focus on Honest Conversations and Genuine Relationships

The advance of the Internet, and the creation of a multitude of social media channels makes it easy for people to stay in touch with their contacts. In an atmosphere of constant connection, successful nonprofits understand that they must use all their communication resources to connect with their members, donors, volunteers and other supporters in a way that encourages greater engagement.

Rather than merely counting the number of likes, shares and followers one has on social media, one growing trend that NFPs can’t neglect is the expectation that social media can be used to keep everyone “in the loop” while also using it to spark genuine dialogue between supporters and the cause.

Segment your supporters by their preferred method of communication. Create content that appeals to their tastes based on demographics and share content that speaks to their needs. Use MailChimp or another automated email service to periodically contact supporters based on their prior responses and interactions on social media.

Encourage supporters to sign up for your newsletters and to agree to receive Tweets or other alerts whenever you have urgent information or releases that impact your cause. Use your Facebook page to share what you are passionate about, and to tell your NFP’s stories through the eyes of its volunteers, board, advocates, donors and its members and other beneficiaries to make a human connection between your nonprofit and its stakeholders. The more that you seek to actively engage your supporters, the more connected to your cause that they will feel, and the more likely they are to act in its support!

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Need a fast, easy and fun way to quickly raise some cash for your nonprofit? Consider hosting a charity bake sale! This type of fundraiser not only increases the profile of your NFP in your community, but, it’s a great way to get more of your people directly involved in fundraising as you will need a host of volunteers to bake cakes, pies, cookies and other goodies, as well as sell them during your event! Consider using some of the following tips to ensure that your next bake sale is a success!

Enlist Help

Begin planning for your event early so that you have plenty of time to recruit several volunteers with culinary talent. Everything is more likely to go off without a hitch if you spread the workload out and have several people involved with the baking process.

Partner with local businesses or other third parties to increase the number and selection of baked goods that you offer for sale. Your partners may even be able to help with the actual selling process by providing space and manpower for displaying your baked goods and selling them on behalf of your organisation.

Diversify Your Offerings

The most successful bake sales offer a wide variety of tasty treats for sale. Think of multiple sizes and flavours of cookies, cakes, and cupcakes as well as pies, turnovers and similar fare. Be aware that some ingredients may put allergy sufferers at risk, so take the time to clearly label all of your baked goods that contain specific nuts and other allergens. Include some items that are gluten-free or that don’t contain eggs and dairy to give folks options if they are vegans or otherwise avoiding these ingredients.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to just offer the finished product at a bake sale. Jars of pre-made, speciality mixes for cakes, cookies and breads are popular choices at these types of events.  You could also offer tea, coffee and other refreshments to go along with the baked item. If you have a large space, consider offering to seat individuals who want to enjoy their purchase on-site.

Price Your Items

Offer items for sale at a scale that will encourage the items to move quickly. Clearly label each piece with its price before your event begins. Offer discounts to those who buy multiple items to promote greater sales.

Publicise Your Event

Make sure that you take advantage of all your social media channels to get the word out about your bake sale. Make and distribute flyers and handouts well in advance of the event, and consider advertising on local tv, radio and newspapers to publicise the event. You can also consider holding your sale in conjunction with another event that typically garners a lot of in-person foot traffic, such as a popular local festival or similar event.

Offer Additional Opportunities to Donate

Set up a mobile payments kiosk to make it easy for your supporters to tap, donate and go at your sale. Setting up a good old-fashioned collection jar is another way to encourage others to make a contribution to your organisation that’s above and beyond simply buying your baked goods.

Donate Any Leftovers

Rather than taking unsold items home, consider donating them to a local food bank so that nothing goes to waste.

Share Your Success!

Don’t forget to take pictures and videos of your event. Once you’ve tallied your proceeds, share the images of your sale, along with the results, on your website and social media to show everyone how much fun everyone had, and how their participation will be used to further your cause!

A nonprofit’s ability to thrive and grow can be directly tied to how well its board of directors performs their governance and oversight role. It requires a plethora of information from multiple sources to meet this fiduciary duty. Recording, tracking, organising and presenting your organisation’s data in a form that is accurate, easy to understand, relevant and actionable as well as secure and available at a moment’s notice is critical to fulfilling this role and is one of your volunteer treasurer’s most important duties.

If you want your NFP to grow, then your organisation must enable your treasurer to be able to perform these necessary functions. The easiest, most cost-effective way to do this is to back them up with robust, fully-functional software that’s specially designed to meet their needs.

More than the Sum of its Features

There are many brands of accountancy software on the market that enables users to complete a host of bookkeeping tasks; but, most of them are filled with generic forms and processes that can be customised for the for-profit or non-profit sector. Admin Bandit breaks the mould because it has been designed to be used by volunteer treasurers. It is a powerful suite of tools that enables you to manage the NFP’s finances and makes it easier to monitor the health of the nonprofit. Thanks to Admin Bandit, you can give your board actionable information, that informs their decisions and helps them take the steps that are necessary to strengthen their organisation so that it can flourish and grow in a sustainable manner.

Software that Benefits You!

Admin Bandit is easy to set up. In fact, in less than 2 minutes you can be up and running, tracking your bank account transactions, issuing receipts and invoices, and monitoring your expenditures. Creating the annual budget has also never been easier, as it allows you to import last year’s data. All your records are kept in the cloud, so that it stays up-to-date, secure, and accessible, around the clock, every day of every year.

While its ability to record and track information, and produce a host of reports is great, one of the best benefits it provides is that it makes it easy to keep track of your NFP memberships and donations. This way, you can keep up with who has paid their dues, and take action to increase engagement, and prevent lapses in membership. By tracking donations, you can keep an eye on who has made a gift to your nonprofit, when it was made, and its size, along with other key demographic information for your donors. Not only does this allow you to measure the effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns, but it also enables you to segment your donors and conduct further research. You can then adjust your messages accordingly to encourage your existing donors to increase their support by signing up for recurrent monthly giving, or take it a step further and become major donors and key supporters of your cause.

All these benefits are available to you and your nonprofit when you make the decision to empower your volunteer treasurer and give them this tool that will increase their productivity and improve your ability to guide your nonprofit into greater opportunities for growth!

Check out this list of features, to learn more about how Admin Bandit software can improve your nonprofit’s efficiency and effectiveness and sign up for the free 55-day trial to see for yourself how easy it easy to stay on top of your nonprofit’s financial health and well-being!

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!

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.