April 25, 2018

Volunteers Are a Wealth of Fundraising Ideas

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Do you have so much to do for your capital campaign, with so little time? Think about including your most zealous volunteers in your fundraising program, according to Michael J. David-Wilson, executive director for the Middlesex County College Foundation in Edison, N.J. Why not use your best supporters to cultivate other organization members?

David-Wilson presented his ideas in a session at the 46th annual Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) international fundraising conference in New Orleans. Here’s how to turn your volunteers into development participants:

  • Volunteer participation. Volunteers can be a great addition to your fundraising team. Just make sure if they are asking others for gifts, they make one of their own.
  • Major gift donations. Try to tackle big gifts early. Use your own board’s participation as examples of campaign giving.
  • Volunteer training. Ensure that your volunteer solicitors are properly trained before they ask for gifts. Team your professional fundraisers with volunteers for some role-playing in donation asks.
  • Give information. Compile important donor information for your fundraising team. Set up a gift amount to ask for and what that gift amount would do for the campaign.
  • Set up success. Everyone needs a boost of confidence. Arrange some telephone solicitations for your volunteers with donors most likely to give. That will put your volunteers on the right foot for in-person asks.
  • Provide backup. Volunteers don’t normally ask donors for gifts – so they may lose their confidence at the meeting. Couple volunteers with a professional development staff member who can move in if the volunteer gets too nervous.
  • Celebrate successes. Make volunteer solicitors excited about their hard work. Think about building some friendly competition among volunteers by tracking donor visits or the amount raised.

This Tip of the Week is reprinted with permission from The Nonprofit Times Weekly. Go to http://nptimes.com for more information.

It’s Tax Season For Nonprofits Too

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Just because your organization is a nonprofit does not mean that it can sit back and ignore the tax filing season. In particular, it’s very important for small nonprofits to understand that while they may not have had to file anything with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the past, they now may have a new form to file, called the e-Postcard (or Form 990-N).The Pension Protection Act requires small organizations that normally have $25,000 or less in gross receipts to file an annual electronic notice with the IRS. This means that many small organizations — like local sewing leagues, sporting clubs and food pantries — may need to file the e-Postcard to protect their tax-exempt status. There are, however, some exceptions to this filing requirement. For example, an organization that is part of a group return or is a church, its auxiliary or an association of a church is not required to file the e-Postcard.

The first e-Postcard filings were due in 2008. For many organizations that missed this deadline, there are only two years left to start complying with the new rule. It is critical to note that organizations that do not file for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status. If you work with a nonprofit organization — especially a small one that never had to file with the IRS before — check with your leadership team to see if they are aware of this new form. And help spread the word about the e-Postcard to other small nonprofits in your town.

How to File
The e-Postcard can only be filled out and filed online, but you do not need any special software to do so. You just need access to a computer and the Internet. Visit www.irs.gov/charities and click on “Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations” to learn more about the e-Postcard and to access the form.

It requires a few pieces of identifying information about your organization and should only take a few minutes to fill out. But it is important to take the time to do so in order to protect your organization’s tax-exempt status.

Know Your Deadline
Unlike personal income taxes, the e-Postcard does not have a universal deadline. Instead, it depends on the closing date of each organization’s tax year, so your deadline may be different from another nonprofit in your town.

The rule is that the e-Postcard is due by the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of the organization’s tax year. For example, if your tax year closes on Dec. 31, the form is due by the following May 15.

More Information

For the latest information for tax-exempt organizations, sign up for the EO Update, a regular e-newsletter delivered directly to your inbox, at www.irs.gov/charities. To get more information about maintaining tax-exempt status, go to the IRS Web-based training program, www.stayexempt.org.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Tracking the Value of Volunteer Contributions

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

I was cautioned early in my career, never to say that volunteers save money.  Unless you are prepared to deduct all program expenses, it’s best to look at volunteers as enhancing services to clients and community and building organizational capacity.

Tracking volunteer hours is important to funders, good data for annual reports, and important when recognizing volunteer contributions.

The Independent Sector tracks the value of volunteer hours. The most recent figure is $19.51, which includes a 12 percent estimate for fringe benefit costs. This figure does not adequately account for  individuals who provide specialized skills like attorneys.

By 2010, almost 64 million boomers are poised to retire. They represent a highly educated work force. As they begin knocking on nonprofit doors and offering more specialized skills, it is in your organization’s best interest to find a simple way to track the value of these hours.

One way is way is to utilize volunteer management software.  My favorite is Volgistics. You determine the value of the job based on what the local market will bear, plug in the figure and the software does the rest. Volunteers enter hours through your website portal and they are downloaded into your database.

The Points of Light Foundation has created a free tool, a  which makes it possible to estimate the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on the volunteer’s position.

The calculator is simple to use! You just need to search for the job description and enter the number of hours given by the volunteer. Repeat this process until all volunteer hours have been entered. The system will automatically calculate the total for each job category and for the total across all volunteer jobs.

Calculating the value of volunteer hours is just one step in measuring your volunteer program’s effectiveness.

For more information about tracking volunteer hours and determining their value, check out the following articles:

Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line,” by Dennis Walsh, CPA.  

“Pro Bono Work Pegged At $120/hour,”  The Nonprofit Times, March 30, 2009

Articles and reports on this topic, EnergizeInc.com






Giving Is Good For Your Health

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

During times of economic downturn, you may have to dig a bit deeper into your pockets to make charitable contributions. However, you can still end up better off. In addition to the tax breaks giving can bring, as it turns out, giving is also good for your health.

“Several studies over the years have found links between altruistic behavior and improved physical and psychological health,” says Dr. Ann Vincent, an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic who researches the mind-body connection. “In general, I think altruism makes people feel better about themselves, which often translates into improved physical health. Other benefits that have been attributed to positive emotions include: enhanced creativity and ability to cope with stress and broadened cognition. In essence, thinking positively about ourselves is good for our physical and mental health.”

But the benefits of giving, whether in the form of volunteerism or making a donation, aren’t just a one-time deal. The more you give, the better you may feel, and that means finding ways to give back throughout the year. Generosity is also a wonderful survival skill to help you get through difficult times in your life.

“Recent studies have examined individuals who have survived trauma, natural disasters and being prisoners of war,” says Dr. Edward T. Creagan, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic. According to Creagan, people who seem to thrive in adversity have many characteristics in common, but especially a few:

  • A sense of connectedness. The recognition that family and community are crucial to survival.
  • A sense of altruism, somehow sharing of themselves to make the lives of others a little bit better.
  • An optimistic attitude and sense of humor.

If you have trouble motivating yourself to give time, money or goods, focus on how giving back can benefit you. “There is a ‘helper’s high’ that people sometimes say they feel in connection with altruism/philanthropy,” says Vincent. “But that initial euphoria is also sometimes followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.”

Philanthropy can also have positive effects that help people maintain or improve their physical and mental health. It often creates broader social networks, which can help people cope with stress and anxiety, and it can provide a sense of purpose and empowerment.

The emotional and physical benefits of philanthropy may be even more significant right now. Nonprofit organizations everywhere are increasingly looking for charitable individuals to partner with them in their goals for the future. Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit organization, is one of the world’s premier medical treatment and research facilities and is currently conducting a campaign to transform patient care, research and education. The gifts Mayo Clinic receives now will help people today, as well as benefit future generations of patients and medical professionals.

For more information on how giving can make a life-changing impact, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/campaign.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Suffering From ‘Recession Depression?’ Try Volunteering!

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard 060

Downsizing. Difficult. Depression. Dread. These are a lot of “D” words. But “D” words seem appropriate — even reflective — of the grade many of us might give our financial and mental states right now.

Corporate downsizing and increased unemployment can take a heavy toll on everyone. And the impact is more than economic. Difficult economic times also produce increased incidence of depression as well as a dread of dealing with personal finances.

Tough, even scary, news about our country’s worsening financial condition continues to bombard us from television and radio broadcasts, printed pages and the Internet. To compound the problem, many Americans without jobs have too much time to dwell on their misfortunes and seemingly bleak futures. A downward mental spiral can lead to a range of feelings from a general uneasiness to serious depression.

Clinical psychologist Mary Gresham says, “This is a scary time even for those who are not in an immediate crisis,” on the American Psychological Association’s Web site.

“Many people,” Gresham adds, “mistakenly believe that money stress can only be reduced by money itself … the more you think about money and how not to lose more of it, the more anxious you will become and the less likely you’ll be able to solve problems.”

This certainly seems to be sensible advice, but it provokes an obvious question: How do you stop thinking about money problems? And that query prompts a simple response: Think about something else.

Thinking about something else may be accomplished best by thinking about someone else.  Focusing on how you can make even a tiny effort to help another human being will immediately present a new perspective. Volunteering offers all kinds of benefits, some of them particularly important as we struggle to maintain our financial composure.

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