Posts Tagged ‘Not For Profit’

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 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.


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.


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.


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!


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social mediaNearly 7% of all of the donations that nonprofits receive comes from online sources, but harnessing the power of the Internet and Social Media tends to be less about collecting money and more about increasing interest in your NFP.

While social media is a great way to share stories about your nonprofit and strengthen supporters’ connection to your cause, there are downfalls to using the platform. The following is a list of some common pitfalls that nonprofit’s experience when they rely too heavily on social media channels to spread their message.

It’s Expensive

Advertising on social media isn’t free, and even though Facebook and other social media platforms sometimes offer discounts, click-thru ads, sponsored posts and other marketing campaigns, it can be still extremely expensive.

NFPs must control costs by using tools that allow them to test messages, manage start and kill dates for ads, and set budgets to keep an eye on ad costs to make social media campaigns worthwhile.

Many Social Media Channels Offer Low ROI

It would be easier to justify expensive advertising on social media if these campaigns at least generated high returns on this investment. But, the truth of the matter is that they simply don’t. Facebook offers the ability to connect, like and share with nonprofits, as well as the capacity to donate directly, and yet only provides a 3% increase in reach.

Other social media platforms, such as Instagram, make it easy to like photos and gain followers, who seldom, if ever, react to direct calls to action made on the platform. Snapchat’s ROI is even worse, as it doesn’t allow online donations directly from its app and nonprofits can’t even share a link to their website.

Despite the low returns on the time and money invested in social media, it’s still a great way to increase awareness about the good work that nonprofit accomplish. You can start conversations with others about the difference specific nonprofits are making in their communities, as an example.

NFPs should keep their objectives in mind, use targeting and segmentation to make certain that they are reaching the correct audience with their messages and set realistic goals when creating their social media marketing campaigns.

Focusing on Social Media Makes it Easy to Forget about Other Ways to Connect with Supporters

While social media seems to be all the rage these days, direct appeals and calls to action made on a nonprofit’s website, as well as in emails, newsletters and direct mail cost less to create and still generate most of the donations that are received by nonprofits.

NFPs that focus exclusively on social media marketing are likely missing out on ways to connect and raise funds that are less expensive and that offer a much higher return on the cost that is invested.

Trolls and Depressing News can Damage Social Media Marketing Efforts

Not every visitor to your nonprofit’s social media accounts is there to connect and share with you in a positive, meaningful manner. There are individuals who surf the Internet looking to join in on conversations with the deliberate intention to create as much chaos and ill will as possible.

Sometimes in the comments section and elsewhere, visitors may share depressing news or memes that feature disturbing text or images. NFPs must take care to monitor and moderate their social media accounts to protect the reputation of the NFP. Care must also be taken when responding to potentially negative or offensive posts to avoid encouraging or “feeding” trolls.

Social media is a great way to increase awareness about your NFP’s mission. The high cost of social media marketing campaigns, and the low returns that they offer, means that most non-profits should continue to include other more traditional methods of communication and fundraising in their strategic marketing plans in addition to their social media marketing efforts.

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college-1280964_640Having a sense of community in an NFP of any size is beneficial but even more in a large NFP to give a real sense of engagement and inclusion.

Build a sense of community in your not for profit

Building a sense of community allows everyone to feel like they are doing their part and helping to shape the overall project. By doing this, you will find your employees and volunteers will go over and above what is asked of them.

Together you can work hard during the challenges and celebrate the successes.

Let your volunteers and employees engage fully

A strong bond between members in the NFP will help develop a strong shared vision and bring your mission statement to life. If your volunteers or employees feel like they are segregated from other members due to their work situation or positioning, then their role will seem no more than just a ‘job’.

Allow your volunteer treasurer to have the opportunity with your marketing team and vice versa. Enable everyone to create a connection with others and engage on a positive and meaningful level.

Generate excitement around projects

A sense of community will allow a real buildup of excitement and motivation take place when you are due to launch a new project. This will give your project much momentum and give plenty of opportunities for participation.

Your supporters will act as champions to spread the word about your project and maintain momentum for the overall project.

Initiate events to build community

The sense of community does not always come naturally particularly if there is a real mix of backgrounds and individuals in the group. Initiate events to allow people to get to know each other and build on their commonality – the want or need to support the non-profit and raise money to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Ensure clear communication at all times

It is so much easier for everyone to work together once they have a clear view of the NFP’s vision and what they are working towards. If communication is lost and people are carrying out tasks with no set direction, then motivation can be hard to find.

Ensure that all the channels of communication are open both upward and downward and everyone is up to speed with their responsibilities. And this goes for listening as well. If people feel that they are being heard, they will be only too keen to provide feedback and offer support.

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teamworkVolunteers may come into your NFP as individuals, but you need them to work together as a group. This doesn’t always happen naturally, but there are things you can do to help bond your people into a devoted team.

Know their reasons for volunteering

Some people like to help out in many places; some will be drawn just to your organisation. Understanding why each individual is there will help you to keep them engaged and inspired, whether they want to learn new skills, fill some free time, or just love to help others.

It will also help you to build an effective team of like-minded people who enjoy each other’s company. Volunteering is often a social activity where people make new friends.


This is the easiest and most effective way to keep your team motivated, but it’s easy to overlook. Expectations should be clear and responsibilities of each person should be laid out, providing a path to success. Provide instruction and offer additional training if needed.

Don’t forget to listen as well as talk. Volunteers are the people at the heart of your organisation; ask for feedback and be open to suggestions. Talking to them before hiring an expensive consultant can save your NFP time and money.

Share the vision

Your NFP has a big picture and volunteers work on small goals toward making it happen. Show them how the work their team is doing fits into the overall plan, so they know what they’re working toward.

Instead of taking over, delegate responsibility. For instance, don’t hand down a to-do list. Instead, ask the team to make small and large goals for their project. Give your people more control, and they will be driven to make things happen – plus they’ll keep the pressure on the other members of the team.

Let them know they’re making a difference

When a goal is reached, or progress is made, share that with the team so they can see the results of their hard work. For example after building a school, invite the volunteers to visit and see classrooms full of children.

Show appreciation

It’s simple: say thank you! Say it in person when you see them, say it publicly on social media with photos showing off their hard work. Reward the team by celebrating together when important projects come to an end.

Enthusiasm is contagious, and if you aren’t excited about your NFP, no one else will be either. Have fun and your people will too!

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fashion-person-woman-handAs more of our lives involves using digital means to accomplish our daily tasks, things get faster and easier. We can order meals, groceries, take classes, and pay the bill for it all online. However all this easy access can also open the door to unwanted hackers and scammers.

Personal habits are often the key to protecting data, and by taking a few simple steps you can make it much harder for anyone to break into your digital life or that of your Non-Profit Organisation.

Step 1: Take Passwords Seriously

Having a strong password is one of the most basic steps in protecting information, but it is frequently overlooked. Last names, birthdays, children’s names; all personal information is off limits. It is easily found online, especially if you do not have tight security on social media accounts such as Facebook.

Writing a password down is another classic but common mistake. No sticky notes on your desk or the back of the keyboard. If you must write them down, leave the note at your house as a backup.

Use a password that you can remember, maybe a phrase or reminder of a goal. Include capital letters, punctuation and numbers to make it more secure. Don’t share it with anyone, and change it regularly. A good recommendation is every 30 days.

Step 2: Disguise Your Data

Encryption is just a fancy way of saying that the data is scrambled so that it can’t be read without a key. It can be more secure to encode data in this way than to delete it because deleted files can still be pulled off the hard drive.

Setting up encryption is not hard, but it’s not something you may have thought to check. Apple and Windows both have the option to turn on auto encryption of the hard drive, or you can buy a third-party encryption program. If you do business on your phone, you can turn on encryption in the settings on most models.

Be careful what programs you use to communicate as well. Make sure your email is encrypted. Signal and Whatsapp are texting programs that automatically encrypt instant messages, while Facebook Messenger and Google’s Allo have it as an option that will need to be turned on.

Step 3: Stranger Danger

We are taught as children not to trust people we don’t know, and that is a good rule of thumb for the digital world as well. Emails from someone you don’t know are suspicious, and links or instructions that seem strange are a big red flag. Don’t click on flashy links that may take you to a site that secretly accesses your computer.

If it seems out of place or just doesn’t feel right, seek advice. It is always best to be cautious when the security of your NFP’s information is at risk.

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We recently spotted an article from The Guardian newspaper which discussed the trends likely to happen in 2012 which will affect NFPs.

The journalist spoke with experts from different UK charities and fundraisers and reported on their opinions.

1.  Social investment.  The opinion is that we are likely to see more social investment this year but questions whether organisations are set up well enough to manage the debt repayment.

2.  New technology.  The use of technology to encourage online donations will increase as will the use for supporting communication with the marketplace.

3.  Collaboration.  The economic climate (especially in Europe) will see organisations working together instead of competing for funds.

4.  Going Mobile.  The use of apps and mobile platforms to encourage giving.

5.  Ambassadors.  “In 2012 we will see more ambassador and blogger engagement programmes but also more involvement from local communities.”

These are interesting predictions and you should think about them in the context of your own organisation.

What do you think?  Are the predictions likely to be accurate?

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If you have been looking for some up-to-date and industry relevant reading, The Third Sector magazine might be what you need.

The Third Sector magazineThird Sector is an Australian based magazine published for the not-for-profit sector.  The title, the “Third Sector” refers to the fact that there are three distinct business sectors in Australia of which the not-for-profit is the third sector.  The other two groups are the public sector (government) and the private sector (for-profit).  Interestingly, the “third sector” contributes at least $29.6 billion or 4.7% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) making it one of the country’s largest industries with involvement from as much as 65% of the general population. 

Third Sector magazine is endorsed by the Australian Society of Association Executives, published quarterly and distributed both in print and online.  The print versions are mailed directly to 3,900 individual subscribers as well as distributed at a range of not-for-profit sector events held throughout the year.  It covers a wide range of topical subjects and information aimed directly towards not-for-profit organisations such as fundraising, governance, advocacy and leadership.  It also features details on not-for-profit meetings and events hosted in Australia.

The latest issue (October 2010) featured articles covering a variety of subjects including the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010; women’s representation in Australia’s philanthropic, corporate and ‘for purpose’ sectors; destinations for international associations; online training opportunities; an interview with Caroline Hong, the CEO of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine and Australia’s Social Enterprise Sector.

While you are checking out the magazine take the time to have a good look around the website.  It is full of very handy bits of information.

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