September 20, 2021

Seven Steps To Compete In The 21st Century

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Every year is finding nonprofits with more challenging environments for funding their programs and operations. There is less support from Federal and State Governments as they reallocate resources to meet their own expanding needs. Grants from foundations are harder to qualify for, and more difficult to obtain. Yet expenditures keep going up. Programs are more costly to fund, and salaries need to be kept competitive with the commercial sector. There are things every nonprofit needs to do to stay viable. Nonprofits need to recognize that they are operating in a competitive environment. Every donor and every grant are being sought by other nonprofits. Here are seven things you can do to stand out from the crowd.

1. Modernize your website. Make it a place that people come to for current information. Keep adding new features as your webmaster makes them available to you. Incorporate features like webmail, flash, search and other applications. Use your website as a conduit to accept donations online. Be sure to include an ‘About Us’ section that does much more than list staff email addresses. Use pictures and biographies to make your web visitors feel they know that person on your staff. [Read more…]

Managing Behavioral Styles

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

How do you handle the differences in style among your employees? Do you wonder how to motivate someone who seems not to care? Are you dismayed when your management style seems to work with a few beautifully, but misses the mark with others?

First, you must come to grips with a rather tough realization: you really cannot motivate another person. Perhaps you can cause them to get motivated for the short term (“If you are late one more time, you are fired!”), but we all know the motivation for true, lasting behavior change must come from within.

Yet you can do much to create an environment where people will become self-motivated. Understanding different styles of behavior and what each style needs is the key. You also can begin to create a high performing team when you use these principles. [Read more…]

Decision Making For Nonprofit Boards

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Many nonprofit organizations struggle, quite understandably, with technology planning and investment. New computers, sophisticated websites and database systems can be expensive. Staff members may be resistant to change and to learning new applications.

But, to quote a famous saying from my homeland: “penny wise can be pound foolish”. Sound and well-thought out purchases in the short term have the potential to save significant resources in the medium to long term.

So, how should your Board of Directors and/or your Technology Committee approach technology planning and investment?

One technique is to start out with a “blue-sky” session. First, take an inventory of the capabilities that you currently have, what’s working in your operations, and your limitations and frustrations. Then, without consideration of constraints such as cost or staff resources, list the things that you should ideally be able to do.

I like to use “What’s the One Thing” questions for this process to help you focus and prioritize:

  • What’s the One Thing that you’re currently doing that is most valued by your constituents? (i.e. Board, members, founders, staff, the general public . . .)
  • What’s the One Thing that you currently don’t do that your constituents wish that you would?
  • What’s the One Thing that would give you maximum competitive advantage? (or fundraising edge, or whatever is your most burning need . . .)

Look at the procedures that are currently absorbing staff time and resources. Is there potential to streamline these, or to recreate them in a way that would be more cost-effective?

For example, many organizations produce small informational leaflets, brief white papers, or regularly updated research findings. These are sold for a few dollars, which may not cover the true cost of printing, mailing, and check or credit card processing.

An alternative is to provide these as downloadable e-books on your Website. When the buyer enters their credit card, they gain instant access to your materials in whatever format you choose – Adobe Acrobat (pdf), Word, html, etc. Once this system is set up, you should have few maintenance or support issues, and you’re in business on a 24/7 basis. You can change the documents whenever you need to, without leaving stocks of outdated print copies.

Are you using e-mail as effectively as you could?  There are elements to successful implementation of e-mail:

[Read more…]

Are The All-Volunteer Groups Taking Over?

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard

Twenty years ago there was something of a mystique about raising funds for a nonprofit organization. Getting 501 (c) (3) status from the IRS was a difficult matter. The process was long and confusing. There were few sources of information about the process available and most of those were complicated and confusing. Even if an organization obtained 501 (c) (3) status, therefore making it possible for donors to make tax-deductible donations, most fledging nonprofits did not have someone on staff who was fully versed in any but the most rudimentary fundraising techniques.

Quite often “fundraising” was synonymous with the annual campaign letter. Only those in the “big leagues” of nonprofit operations seemed to be involved with such sophisticated techniques as “planning giving” or extensive grant writing.

According to the IRS there are twice as many 501 (c) (3)s today as there were 20 years ago. No doubt many of the small nonprofit groups (those making less than $25,000 a year) are all-volunteer groups. Even some with larger incomes (who, therefore, must file returns with the IRS) operate only with volunteers. And guess what? Some of these groups are doing a fantastic job of fundraising! They are writing successful grant applications and raising large sums of money for their nonprofit endeavors. Just nine miles away from the offices of The 501 (c) (3) Monthly Letter, an all-volunteer group was recently awarded a $65,000 grant to use in the restoration of an historic ferry house near Lewis, Iowa, population 600. Even closer to home, in Atlantic, Iowa, (7,000 population) volunteers are conducting a campaign to raise $7 million for a town recreation center . . . and it looks as though they will be successful. This is happening all over the country.

There is a new breed of volunteer out there toiling in the trenches . . . dedicated, educated, and resourceful. They have passion for their mission and are willing to use the information age to achieve their objectives.

As many as 90 percent of the e-mail inquiries to the editor at are from neophytes wanting to know how to set up a nonprofit organization.

So, how long will it take for the number of 501 (c) (3)s to double again? We are willing to venture that it will be closer to five years than twenty.

Do these emerging groups pose any competition for donor dollars? You can bet they do! So, remember that the mystique of fundraising is gone. Others are willing to take the time to learn how to be successful fundraisers. They do this on their own time, at no pay, and they love doing it.

So, beware, professional fundraisers. In order to do a better job of attracting donors than the “amateurs”, the professionals among us must keep honing their skills. Just as importantly, they need to keep their mission vital.

Look back at the founding days of your own nonprofit organization. Did it begin with a small group of dedicated volunteers? Were these same people able to engender enough support so that the organization could eventually have paid staff? Do you, perhaps, owe your job to the efforts of such people?

While you are at it, take a look at the volunteers that presently serve your organization. If they come “to work” with more eagerness and dedication than your paid staff, it may be time to start “tuning up” your internal communications for your own “most important audience”.

Excerpted from 501 (c) (3) Monthly Letter and written by Marilyn Miller.

Found in the Energize Website Library.

Training and Consulting Solutions

Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard
Wendy Biro-Pollard is a Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA), speaker, facilitator and consultant with over 30 years of practical experience

* organizing special events
* marketing products and services
* raising funds
* leading nonprofit boards and associations
* managing programs
* chairing local, state and national conferences
* directing successful volunteer programs

She has led hundreds of workshops and seminars for individuals in the public and private sector, for state and national associations, and for national service and faith-based programs.

Mission Statement

Wendy is committed to helping your organization identify new strategies and solutions that will improve services to your clients, customers, employees, board members and volunteers.

©Wendy Biro-Pollard, CVA – 512-914-8176 – RESUME


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