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Posts Tagged ‘networking’

linkedin-400850_640The fifth edition of ‘Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting’ has been released over at CharteredAccountants.com.au.

This is a valuable resource for NFPs, covering best practice guidance in their reporting and recent regulatory changes, including information for ACNC registered charities.

The guide incorporates the current requirements of the ACNC and other state-based regulators. It also places a focus on transparent reporting, which is a big issue with stakeholders and supporters.  As you know, the Admin Bandit software has been designed to encourage and support transparency of accounts.

Over the last three to four years, the sector has seen some significant regulatory changes that impact the nature and extent of NFP financial reporting. The changes in this edition include:

  • the introduction of the Australian Charities and Notfor-profits Commission (ACNC) from 3 December 2012, impacting reporting obligations for charities from 1 July 2013
  • changes to the financial reporting and audit requirements of incorporated associations legislation and regulations in some states and territories, including the anticipated introduction of the new Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (WA) from 1 July 2016
  • the introduction of the new-format audit report for financial years ending on or after 15 December 2016.

These events have been reflected in the guidance provided in this publication to the extent possible.

The guide is free and can be downloaded here.

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linkedin-911794_640Keeping a steady online presence is important for keeping your organisation in the front of supporters’ minds, and LinkedIn is one of the most useful social media sites to be a part of. It is not only a great way to keep donors up to date about what your organisation is up to, but also a efficient way to network with other organisations with similar causes. Look at the following tips to make sure you are using LinkedIn effectively.

Let Loose Your Brand

Set up a non-profit company page, and build it to contain all the relevant information people need to know about your organisation. Make sure it is easy to identify as the official representation of your group, by using official logos and letterheads. Add photos and vital details to demonstrate the dimensions of your organisation, and give viewers as full a picture as you can of your real-world operations.

Network with the Unknown

As well as adding groups and individuals you already liase with to your profile, seek out other organisations that share your mission, or who have shared clientele with you. LinkedIn is used the world over to make new connections or the advancement of many causes, so don’t be shy about sharing your message.

Be There Often

Keep to a regular schedule for updating so supporters always know what projects are underway or what fundraising activities are currently going on. Avoid inundating contacts with information, but do frequently remind them you are there. Depending on the size and scope of your organisation, consider updating once daily or weekly to get the balance right.

Let Your Message Shine

As well as a regular LinkedIn page, NFPs should also look into becoming involved in the Linkedin Answers community. This is a simple way to keep your finger on the pulse and in touch with what questions are arising in and about your industry. By asking and getting new information, knowledge bases of all parties can grow. Being the one to answer others queries can help develop a reputation for expertise.

Overall, LinkedIn is an affordable way to reach a lot of people, and generate valuable business contacts. It is effective when used well, and can drive traffic to your organisation’s main page and message. For further information straight from the source, have a look at LinkedIn’s special page just for not-for-profits. The training program provided is a true course to getting your feet wet.

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0 QnVzaW5lc3NfMTQ3LmpwZw==It can be a precarious balancing act, the idea of fun at work. While all workers, volunteer or otherwise, will be more productive when they are doing things they enjoy, the idea of trying to inject more fun into an organisation’s operations can be quite a tricky one. When implemented properly, there are several major benefits of fun at work, but there are notable pitfalls too, so spending time to get things ‘just right’ is worth the extra thought it entails.

Improved Communication

Staff or board members who have opportunities to get to know one another find their communication is more seamless and fewer workplace misunderstandings take place. Getting to know each other can be a long process, but is accelerated by work-related extracurricular activities.

Increased Productivity

Better, more efficient performance is the natural consequence of hard work being interspersed with fun. Silicon Valley companies are famous for having places for employees to play computer games at their own discretion throughout their workday, or even flop on a beanbag and have a beer. Each organisation will have their own ideas for what is appropriate for their culture, but letting workers have fun can give them the mental break they need for the next burst of innovative thinking.

Improved Worker Retention

People tend to stick around when they feel they belong and are appreciated. Festivals that rely on volunteers have the same people back year after year, often because they are looking forward to the “volunteer appreciation concert”. Making sure people are having fun is a great way to encourage them to stick around and enjoy a long-term association with any organisation.

Staff Implemented Fun

Many organisations report the best results from work-related fun occur when it is the employees themselves who decide what they would like to do. Giving workers the first and final say in their work-related fun activities increases feelings of being appreciated and ensures the activities chosen will be well received. As one individual pointed out, work-related obligations that are not chosen by those supposed to enjoy them, can end up feeling like more work.

Formation of “Second Family”

When workers have the chance to have fun and get to know one another well, colleagues can start to build relationships that can feel, particularly for younger people, like a “second family”. They are people one can feel comfortable with, trust implicitly, and enjoy sharing milestones and successes with. When this happens, spontaneous fun emerges throughout the calendar, as people are keen to mark occasions, such as birthdays, at work.

Ensuring a good balance of fun exists alongside the operations of any organisation is good encouragement for the people involved to work better, experience greater satisfaction, and stick around to be part of an organisation’s growth.

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volunteers-601662_640Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do to boost your skills and help others, but did you know it can also boost your career? While you may not necessarily be getting paid for your volunteer work, it can still provide you with valuable knowledge of your particular industry as well as create quality references to fall back on during your personal and professional career.

Personal development is greatly enhanced giving you the opportunity to learn new skills or maintain and develop existing skills. Helping others can have a great impact on yourself and others and improve your self-esteem and sense of achievement. Volunteering can also bring people together from diverse and cultural backgrounds that you may not have the opportunity to meet in your regular day to day activities.

And of course, volunteering is not just for individuals. Businesses can also reap the rewards such as strengthening team bonds, increased morale, and of course, don’t forget good old fashioned fun.

Offering pro bono work is another way to offer your volunteer services in your own industry. Neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos developed a “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model that will have a great impact on your business and on you as an individual. Working on a volunteer project is also likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – great qualities that can enhance your approach to business.

Perhaps you have the potential to take volunteers within your own organisation  Most volunteers won’t mind what they do as long as they feel their contribution is useful so by not accepting their help you could be overlooking a valuable resource. Or perhaps a retired business professional might be a great option to consider.

Anytime of the year is a great time to volunteer, and, more so around the holiday season. Whatever your reason for doing so, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community, without emptying your bank account. Depending on what it is you want to do, or whom you want to support, there is likely to be a lot of opportunity for you.

Whether you are seeking to volunteer or are taking volunteers, the relationships you create during these experiences will be the most memorable. Positive rewarding experiences are yours for the taking and with anything, today is a great day to start.

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christmas-998131_640

‘Tis the season to be jolly” and take a break, wind down and refresh.

It can be a struggle to refocus once you return to work for obvious reasons. Sitting at a desk for 8 hours isn’t half as much fun as laying in the sun with a good book, or watching DVDs in your pyjamas. But getting your groove back is a necessity, and there are a few tips to help with the transition from beach to office.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

That first morning you wake to the alarm is going to be hard, so try not to be tempted to stay in bed too long and go into work at the last minute. Some time alone to regroup, check voice messages, open any mail and start on the inbox, before the rest of the team arrives, will help you feel organised and in control. Your first week back can be hectic, so this isn’t the week to schedule important meetings or commence big projects. Try to catch up on tasks left over from before your break and leave the hard stuff until next week.

Share your holiday stories with your co-workers and reconnect before you return to the business of goals and targets. How often do we hear people say they felt like they never relaxed and that the holiday is a distant memory within days of returning. Relish the memories of the sun, or the snow, depending how you spent the holidays, so you can knuckle down and work towards the next adventure!

Get back into a routine, or if you don’t have one, take the opportunity to create new habits. If you feel fresher in the morning, this might be the ideal time to work on new projects, make sales calls or tackle the jobs where you need extra concentration. Afternoons might be best used for administrative tasks that require less creativity. While you are playing catch up, it can be tempting to push hard, not take breaks and stay back late. Make sure you eat lunch every day, preferably at the same time, and leave on time if you can. Organisation and a fresh focus will be your friend.

Touch base with your co-workers on any joint projects, and see what work is outstanding or requires a higher priority. Getting your bearings will help you identify where to start and what direction you need to focus your energy, which is just the boost you need.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

Simple pleasures will help you make the holiday feeling last, especially on your first day back. Pick up a coffee from your favourite café on the way into work, or pack yourself a special lunch. Returning to work doesn’t have to happen with a thud.

If you over-indulged over the break, as we often do, getting active, taking a walk before work or even at lunch, or hitting the gym to start the day will help restart and re-energise your mind as well as your body.

Returning to work after a break is inevitable, so you might as well embrace it and enjoy the fresh start. Every extra day is one day closer to your next break so why not start planning now. We work to live not live to work!

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Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle and represent

While some organisations focus solely on their clients, others realise that their people are their most important asset. Team building exercises have long been recognised as a great way to help groups break down barriers between associates and foster greater levels of communication and trust while boosting morale.

When most of us think of ways to build teams, shared activities such as a retreat or cookout often come to mind. Events like these provide a relaxed and informal space for workers to get to know one another on a personal basis. Unfortunately, due to the time and expense involved, these types of events are often only held on an annual or semi-annual basis. If your organisation is suffering from a lack of morale and cohesion, you really can’t wait for the next group picnic to turn things around!

Why the best education is all fun and games

A great way to quickly get everyone on the same page in your organisation is to have a little fun and play some games. Before you dismiss this suggestion, think back to your early school days. When was learning and cooperation the easiest? Why, when you and your classmates were having fun while trying to achieve a shared goal, of course!

The benefits of team building games

Make time on a regular basis for some fun and games in your organisation. Choose games that require members to step out of their comfort zones and routines and ask questions as well as actively listen. Playing games not only shakes up the routine and breaks up the monotony in your organisation,  it will help your associates to develop their problem solving skills, and creativity, and help them to feel free to open up and discuss ideas.

As your associates have to rely on one another and work together to find a solution, they will build bonds that they will carry over into their regular work space, increasing cooperation, innovation, efficiency and productivity regardless of what specific work they happen to be doing at the moment.

Suggestions to get your game on

A recent article in the online journal, Call Centre Helper, offered some suggestions for fun and challenging games that many teams might enjoy trying to tackle. A simple online search for the term ‘team building games’ can also help you to find appropriate team building exercise for your associates.

In general, role playing games, or games where associates must cooperate and share information in order to solve the puzzle, generally work the best to help associates step into one another’s shoes and see different perspectives.

Don’t resolve yourself to traditional thinking when it comes to picking out a team building exercise for your group. Even something as simple as dividing your associates into groups that have a friendly competition to raise money for a favorite charity has the power to bring people together and focus on doing their best to achieve a common goal.

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Businessman and businesswoman using laptop in office

Put the #social back in #socialmedia

Using social media to promote an organisation, its operations and events is a primary way to get a message out these days. A quick search for almost any school, business or organisation will turn up their Twitter and Facebook pages, which can have advantages over other media as it can be immediate and brief, and is independent of journalism. Latest findings from Canterbury Christ Church University, however, indicate that while social media use is widespread in the field, up to 40% of PR workers are not truly engaging with other users.

Promoting and reposting happens a lot, with PR workers using social media platforms to connect with  loyal and potential customers alike. Tweets and Facebook posts are effective promotional tools as they arrive within a feed of personalised, invited materials, so people are generally quite receptive to their content. It is an informal seeming way to project the image and operations of a business. But if users are not engaging with the people seeing their posts, and commenting or asking questions, the true potential of the medium is being underused.

Social media is a conversation. There is a to and fro, and give and take. When effectively used, conversations had or ‘overheard’ can stick in viewers minds for years. As well as posting, responding should be an integral part of any social media plan. Showing your value them enough to engage will increase the loyalty of your followers, and help spread the word about your work. Consider asking your audience questions to encourage engagement, and remember, humorous and interesting content always as the potential to go viral.

If you are using social media, remember that people (including mainstream media) consider it a communicative channel. Ideally, you will be treating every approach to your social media page as you would any phone call to your office. Responding in a timely manner demonstrates your respect for your clients, and will help your organisation grow.

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