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Being successful at garnering positive media coverage of your nonprofit and its events can play a critical role in getting the word out about your cause. It also provides a tremendous boost to your campaigns, making it easier to reach your fundraising goals.

The following tips will show you how to attract media support and use it to your NFP’s best advantage.

Research Your Target Audience to Discover Where They Get Their News

Recruiting media takes a lot of research and preparation. Ideally, you want to try to attract coverage from those journalists, bloggers and news outlets that your existing audience is already reading and watching.

Once you know where your audience is getting their news, you can begin to target specific publications, channels and reporters. Subscribe to the publications where your audience is consuming their news to get a feel for the types of stories that they enjoy, as well as the topics specific journalists and publications prefer to cover.

You can save money by searching for free, online versions of many newspapers, magazines and periodicals. Using a media database is also another way that you can stay informed about the issues and stories that interest your audience and learn more about the writers and publishers that produce the news.

Create Compelling, Newsworthy Stories

Once you know what types of stories will interest both your audience and the media you will target, you can get to work creating stories that will resonate with your supporters. This will encourage media to begin following your work and covering your events and other significant news that impacts your NFP and its community.

When crafting your stories to release to the media, try to view your subject matter objectively, and write with a professional, unbiased viewpoint. Rather than focusing on trying to convince your audience to take a specific action, emphasise the information that you are relaying to your audience. Rather than selling, you are informing.

Include a catchy headline and use a dateline at the beginning to let the reader know the location of the event. Use the “pyramid” method of telling a story to craft your news item. This means that the most important details are placed at the beginning, in the lead paragraph of the story, while less important details are placed at the end, or left out altogether. Include a link to your NFP’s website, along with a clear image, or video if possible, that supports the information in your story.

Once you’ve created a press release, use a third-party newswire service to automatically distribute it to hundreds to thousands of news outlets in your local and regional area.

Develop Your NFP’s Spokespersons

Keep in mind that you aren’t confined to simply writing stories about your latest events and campaigns. You can also help key influencers in your organisation to develop their voice and use it to spread awareness about your cause. These influencers might be your NFP’s director, a board member, or even a volunteer that is closely involved with your organisation’s activities.

You can help them to establish their authority in a given area by allowing them to create some of the posts on your blog. Allowing the media to interview these influencers is also a great way to establish their connection to your organisation and their credibility as a spokesperson. Going forward, your in-house experts can then be called upon to publicly comment on any number of news stories that relate to your organisation, and the work that it does in your community.

Monitor Your NFP’s Reputation in the News

Not all of your media coverage will be proactive, or positive. To stay up-to-date on news items that affect your NFP and its work, take steps to monitor the news for reports involving your NFP. Use an RSS service to enter keywords that relate to your nonprofit, so that you receive alerts any time that your organisation’s name, or tagline, appear in the various news outlets. Well before you are caught unawares, create a media response plan so that everyone in your organisation knows what to say, and who to contact, should a reporter ask them for a comment on a story.

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For many, their only interaction with the treasurer of a nonprofit is listening to their report about the organisation’s finances during regular board meetings. Most of the processes and procedures that involve the treasurer are conducted out of the limelight, which is why so many people have a very limited understanding about the tasks and duties that are performed by the treasurer. It’s also the reason why most newly elected treasurers come to the job full of questions about the role that they will play in their NFP.

The following overview outlines some of the major functions and responsibilities of the volunteer treasurer.

 Management and Oversight of Finances

The treasurer is an officer of the board, and as such has the same fiduciary responsibility to ensure that public funds are spent for the public welfare, and in keeping with the nonprofit’s mission.

The treasurer is also tasked with managing and overseeing their organisation’s finances. They are responsible for recording and tracking both the monies that the nonprofit receives, as well as those that it expends. Effective management of cash flows is critical to effective financial management.

They help to establish policies and controls to protect the nonprofit’s assets and are either directly, or indirectly, involved with making and monitoring deposits, seeking board approval for the disbursement of funds, managing investments and similar activities.

Whether the treasurer is directly involved in the day to day cash transactions or has a staff that assists them with this and other duties, typically depends on the size of the nonprofit.

Creating and Managing the NFP Budget

The treasurer plays an integral part in creating the annual budget and is responsible for helping the board stay on track as it raises funds, makes expenditures and invests in capital projects. The treasurer is responsible for creating a realistic budget and using sound, reasonable judgement and accepted accounting principles and practices when making forecasts involving income, outlays, expenses, and similar items that affect the financial health and sustainability of the nonprofit.

Reporting and Adherence to Legal Requirements

Nonprofits must meet the requirements of many state, federal and regional laws when it comes to reporting, as well as the calculation and payment of taxes and other obligations. This means that the treasurer is responsible filing reporting forms in a timely manner.

The treasurer is also tasked with keeping the board well informed about the NFP’s financial status and producing and presenting formal reports that illustrate the NFP’s current financial status on a regular basis. To fulfil this role, treasurers often find themselves offering the board advice so that they can make better decisions that will advance the mission forward without weakening the NFP’s long-term financial stability.

Additional Duties and Responsibilities

The treasurer is also responsible for many other tasks that complement their main duties. For example, it is the treasurer that is tasked with preparing the nonprofit for an audit, and, helping the board to fully understand any issues or items of interest that may be raised in the auditor’s report. They should also work to keep the NFP’s accounts updated and current on a regular basis and be prepared to assist a new treasurer with assuming the position should they choose to retire or otherwise leave the role.

The position of treasurer is one that requires the person holding it to be responsible and well-organised. Since so much is dependent upon the nonprofit’s finances, the treasurer should also be honest and known for their determination and moral character.

While some duties that are performed by the treasurer are sensitive to deadlines, the actual work involved with being the treasurer need not be excessively time-consuming. A good accountancy software suite, such as Admin Bandit can help treasurers stay on track by automating and streamlining many of the data entry and recordkeeping requirements associated with the role.

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The relationship between many NFPs and their funders is in a state of transition. Competition for government grants, endowments from both public and private sources and even individual donations is growing. It’s becoming more difficult to secure all the monies needed to fund projects and services and build capacity to serve as Federal budgets have been slashed and all donors expect more transparency and accountability from nonprofits as they push for them to provide greater value with less.

If your nonprofit is feeling the pinch, you might be dealing with increased pushback and reluctant on the part of your board, and supporters, to spend money on updating your software and other IT infrastructure.  Cutting back on IT spending might save some money in your NFP’s budget, but it can be a very shortsighted strategy. This is especially true if the outdated technology is causing money to “disappear” in the cracks of your processes and if errors are made due to faulty software and other IT issues.

The following three reasons can help you make a case for investing in IT to your board and other interested parties.

Big Data Relies on Updated Tech

Demographic and other data is critical for tracking and measuring the impact made by the programs and services that your NFP offers. This information is also used in fundraising activities and other critical areas of your nonprofit.

Being able to accurately capture, organise, and later import this data for analysis requires the latest IT hardware and software. If you’re using the outdated technology, you’re missing out on opportunities to capture information that can help you to improve the services that you provide your community, as well as being able to paint an accurate picture of the work that your organisation is doing to improve the lives of others.

Even activities that seemingly don’t require IT, such as fundraising depend on updated tech. Using current hardware and software enables you to improve the message of your fundraising campaigns, measure effectiveness so adjustments can be made to improve results, and allow mobile payment processing so that its easier for supporters to contribute via their preferred payment method.

IT is the Key to Streamlining Your Recruiting and Training Programs

Many nonprofits have difficulty recruiting enough staff and volunteers. Apps can help you simplify the process of applying for a position with your NFP. Technology makes it easy for you to list your openings online and makes it possible for others to apply using mobile platforms via apps. Current IT also makes it easier for your NFP to train its staff and volunteers, communicate and perform other work from remote locations. It also helps to level the field for diverse populations so that those with limitations such as physical disabilities, or language barriers can still participate in your programs and both provide and gain assistance.

Securing Sensitive Information and Other Assets is Your NFP’s Responsibility

When we think of NFP assets, we  think of physical property, actual cash, or other tangible belongings. However,  your nonprofit’s financial records, and private, confidential information are types of intangible, or intellectual property, that your NFP has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect from theft, loss or other unintentional release. Using outdated technology increases the risk that any and all of your assets can be compromised, whether they are physical or intangible. Updating your software and hardware is the easiest and most effective way to increase the security of your information and other assets.

It’s been estimated that around half of all nonprofits currently have IT components that don’t work well for them. With so much at stake, investing in updated technology to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and security of your processes is one of the wisest decisions your board can make, especially in times of reduced funding.

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Serving as a volunteer treasurer is both demanding, and gratifying. This roundup of prior posts, offers tips on how to know if you are cut out for the position. It also offers advice on how to acquire the skills that you need to perform your duties well, along with strategies on how to keep calm and save time while fulfilling your responsibilities.

Do You Have What It Takes to Serve?

There are several myths about the skills and background that volunteer treasurers must have before they take on the position. Learn more about what it takes to perform the job well in the post, What Makes a Great Volunteer Treasurer.

Once you’ve assumed the role, you are likely to have a lot of questions about how to get started managing your nonprofit’s finances and performing your other fiduciary duties. The post, How to be the Best Treasurer You Can Be will let you know what steps you should take as you begin so that you can put your best foot forward.

Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Effectiveness and Performance

The volunteer treasurer is often a time consuming, and stressful role. Much of the work is time-sensitive meaning that there are numerous deadlines that you must make in order to keep your nonprofit on track and in compliance with numerous guidelines and regulations.

The article, Work Life Balance, for Busy Treasurers, contains several tips to help you destress and reclaim your peace as well as your ability to concentrate and perform.

The post, How to Convince My Committee to Upgrade My Software contains advice on how to demonstrate to your board the benefits of updating, and how it will increase the security and reliability of your systems and processes. Not to mention that upgrading your software to an automated system such as Admin Bandit will also help you to decrease the time, hassle and expense involved in managing your NFP finances!

Take Care of Your Volunteer Treasurer offers advice for directors, board and others on how they can make it easier for their new treasurers to perform their duties well and reduce their stress levels in the process. Of all the tips that it offers, it explains the connection between training and effectiveness, and how investing in your people and helping them develop the skills that they need to perform their tasks well will reduce the workload and pressure on everyone.

Strategies to Keep Your Motivation and Morale High

Burnout is a genuine risk for volunteer treasurers, especially if they serve in the position for several years. While some automatically assume that establishing a well-known routine decreases the stress associated with the role, it actually works in the reverse for many volunteer treasurers. Overly familiar policies and procedures become tedious and difficult to maintain day after day and year after year.

How to Stay Motivated in Your Job is a prior post that can help those that serve in the same position for a long span of time to find new meaning in honing their craft and perfecting their performance.

The article How Taking on the Role of Volunteer Treasurer Can Boost Your Career reminds us of all of the numerous benefits volunteer treasurers receive when they choose to serve their communities in this capacity.

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The famous words, “there is no such thing as bad publicity,” is a saying that’s accredited to circus owner and showman P.T. Barnum. Today, it’s widely quoted by public relations professionals to calm their anxious clients. While it’s a well-meaning adage, it’s also a complete myth.

The reputations of both for-profits and NFPs can suffer irreparable damage as the result of a scandal or other crisis. To lower the risk of harm, nonprofits need to be proactive and have a crisis management plan in place, before unexpected events occur, to help protect their standing in the community.

The following tips can help your nonprofit prepare to better weather the next storm.

Plan Ahead

Create a research committee to help your organisation think about what types of crisis can happen, and what steps can be taken ahead of time, to get things back on track and reduce the harm that occurs. When drafting a crisis management plan, it’s important that your NFP realises that disasters can come in many forms.

Examples of such events include an accident that removes a key member of your NFP from your team, weather events that damage your facilities or hidden fraud that suddenly comes to light. Internal and external events like these can put your mission in jeopardy unless you are proactive and plan ahead.

The goal of your plan is to make your organisation more aware of potential pitfalls that can occur, make changes in policies and procedures to reduce the risk of such events happening, and, to have steps in place to help your organisation deal with the aftermath should such an event befall you.

Create a Contact List

Ideally, you plan will include logistics and communications. Designate who your people should contact, both internally and externally, when various types of events occur. Assign point people that can lead others during these events. Decide on who will speak for your organisation, internally and externally.

For example, if something happens that affects the physical safety of others, pre-designate which members of your team will contact the fire department or police for help. Assign leaders that will oversee an evacuation of your facilities should the need arise.

Training and Drills

Does everyone know what they should do if a fire occurs, or, if an armed assailant were to break in? Do your people know how to respond if they are contacted by a member of the press and asked for comments about the work your organisation does or how they feel about a specific event? Train and drill your team on how to respond to potential threats as well as questions from the media.

Talk to the Press, but Do So on Your Own Terms

As part of your strategy, create a process that will increase transparency, while helping your NFP to get your side of the story out to media. Assign someone to gather information and facts about the event. Pre-designate a team that will handle the press and media inquiries. Have someone in place to monitor your social media accounts and to respond appropriately when questions and comments come in about the news. Train your management team so that each is prepared to be a good spokesperson for your organisation. Once you have a handle on what has occurred, and what steps your organisation is taking to remedy the situation, talk to the press, and tell your story on your website, and across your social media accounts. Be proactive and provide regular updates to show that your NFP is actively working on a solution to the crisis and what others can do to help support your NFP and its cause during this time.

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Living in a digital age means that it’s increasingly important for nonprofits to be aware of the latest technological advances and how to use these tools to grow their NFP’s base of support. Some of the following ideas might be just the inspiration that your nonprofit needs to find new opportunities to encourage greater giving and expand the services that you provide.

Improve Your Storytelling and Increase Your Reach

Social media is a great way to bring together increasingly diverse groups of people. Use this tech to reach out to the individuals connected with your NFP and discover more about their personal experiences. Use this information to inform your storytelling.

When you allow everyone’s unique voice and experience to shine through, it increases the variety of perspectives and points-of-view you offer supporters, making your stories more relevant, and interesting, to them.

Once you have some great stories to share about your nonprofit, encourage everyone connected with your organisation to use multiple digital channels to share your posts with their networks to increase awareness about your NFP and its work.

Embrace Big Data

Larger, for-profit organisations are known for using “big data” to help them identify trends to drive greater creativity and innovation. Nonprofits can benefit from this technology by using both data and its related analytics to shape their strategic planning, test and adjust messaging, and develop more effective processes.

Using data can also increase transparency in the decision-making process while making it easier to identify areas for potential collaboration with others. Since most NFPs are constantly under pressure to use their scarce resources more wisely, collaborations make it possible for nonprofits and their partners to share their limited resources and accomplish more together than they would have on their own.

Big data’s analytic tools even make it easier to identify your NFP’s current key social influencers, as well as identify and recruit new ones that can make it even easier to spread messages about your work, and how others can join your efforts.

Use the Cloud to Increase Access and Security

Saving your nonprofit’s data in the cloud makes it easier to secure your nonprofit’s sensitive information. If your NFP’s data is only stored on a local computer, external drive, or physical printouts, it’s more likely to be damaged by a fire or flood. It’s also easier to manually alter information when it’s stored locally, or to steal it outright.

NFPs can also control access to cloud-based documents and programs more easily. Most cloud-based drives create a record of what user logs in, when they do so, and what specific information they view, offering a further deterrent to fraud and other forms of theft.

Many cloud drives make it easy for you to invite other users to collaborate on specific files. This makes it easier for others in your organisation to work together on projects and other shared activities, and increases productivity.

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While your nonprofit should be showing gratitude to your supporters throughout the year, holidays like Christmas are a special time. Get into the spirit of the season by putting some extra thought and effort into the ways you thank others for their donations.

The following tips add a festive touch to the ways you acknowledge others for their contributions to your organisation.

Celebrate Recurring Donors

Reward your donors’ loyalty to your organisation by sending a personalised thank you note that recognises the anniversary of their support. For example, if a supporter has sent you a contribution every year for the past ten years, be sure to thank them for supporting your NFP over the last decade. Talk about the impact that has been made due to their support, and recount some of the progress that your organisation has made during that time.

Remember Their Name, and Use It

Nonprofits collect a lot of demographic information about their supporters. Use this information to make your donors feel appreciated. Always personalise your notes of gratitude by using your donor’s name.

Include handwritten notes inside your Christmas cards and other communications. Continue reaching out through the entire year. For example, if you collect donors’ date of birth, reach out on their birthday with a note or phone call congratulating them and wishing them all the best!

Customised Stocking Stuffers

A number of novelty gift shops and speciality printers make it easy, and budget-friendly, to give customised items like mugs, calendars and more at a reasonable cost. While you could personalise these items with your NFP’s logo and tagline, consider going the extra mile for your VIPs and include your donor’s name on the gift item as well!

Give Sweets and Other Treats

If you have some skilled bakers on your team, recruit them to make smaller versions of holiday cakes and breads that you will wrap and send to supporters. Include a handwritten card or note thanking them for their contributions. If no one has time for cooking, you could also send out some attractive chocolate bars, or other prepackaged, but delicious, holiday candies or cookies. Wrap them up in a festive bow or package them in a holiday-themed tin.

Videos and Highlight Reels

Because of the hard work of your volunteers, staff and donors, your organisation has accomplished a lot this year. Make a video to send to your donors and other supporters that thanks them for their efforts and visually shows the impact created by their work.

Ideally, this video should include several candid snapshots along with short snippets of footage you’ve shot during many of your NFP’s service projects and events. Include parts of testimonials from some of your beneficiaries, board, staff, volunteers and, your donors. Gather together some of the folks connected with your organisation and ask them to hold up signs or letters that spell out the words thank you in the closing moments of your video.

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