The 7th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report
Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising
A Portrait of Marin - Marin Community Foundation
Ready to Lead: Next Generation Leaders Speak Out
Bay Area Nonprofit Survey - United Way
Nonprofit Landscape Report - The Center
Six Steps to Making the Most of Your Annual Report
Does Your Board Committee Structure Need Some Spring Cleaning?
Does Your Board Committee Structure Need Some Spring Cleaning?By David Livingston Styers, Director of Consulting/Senior Board Governance Consultant A committee has often been described as a cul-de-sac down which good ideas are lured...and then quietly strangled.When it comes to board structure, there is certainly no one size fits all, but there are some specific trends that can help advance the mission between board meetings. All nonprofit governing boards have substantially more work to do than can ever be accomplished at monthly or quarterly meetings. Many boards try to solve the problem by creating committees to work on issues between meetings. But even with the best intentions, boards sometimes don't build their committee structures properly, creating even more work for board and staff members.Each organization must develop its own unique model and structure for the board based on the organization's environment, history, set of personalities, and culture. Typically, there are no laws that regulate the structures of committees, as they do not make organizational decisions. Some state laws, including CA, address audit committee matters. To avoid frequent changes to the bylaws, however, it is wise not to make them overly specific. For example, it is not necessary to include the board's committee structure in the bylaws beyond stating that the board may establish and lay down committees as needed; they should be described in the board's policies. The one committee to specify in the bylaws is an executive committee.Standing committees are work groups that will always be needed as supports for the board no matter what is happening in the life of the organization. Very small boards may not have separate committees as the board functions as a committee of the whole. Remember: the functions are more important than the structure.Join us on May 2nd to walk through the steps for building a solid committee structure to create a more effective and enjoyable board experience. Thursday, May 2, 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., $40/$60, with David Styers 555 Northgate Drive, Suite 200, San Rafael, CA 94903
It's National Volunteer Week!
Managing the Hard Way
Retreating Does Not Mean Raising the White Flag!
“People Join Organizations….”
“People join organizations and leave managers.” I learned that management adage in my first class in business school. I had to say it to myself a few times before I understood it: people join organizations that they love and leave those same organizations because of bad managers. “People join organizations and leave managers.” The words sound simple, but they carry a great weight – a lot like being a manager.
Reimagining the Nonprofit Story
In honor of our upcoming Nonprofit Forum, Reimagining the Nonprofit Story, we reached out to Michael Margolis to ask some questions about himself and his approach to storytelling.Q.: On your website, you own being a “misfit geek” and say that storytelling helped you survive. Can you give us an example of how storytelling became a powerful tool in your personal life?A.: When I was 9-years-old my family moved from Lausanne, Switzerland to Los Angeles, California. I didn’t exactly fit in. This experience of being an “outsider” plagued me for much of my life. No matter how hard I tried, I simply never belonged to the culture I was in. Traveling between the worlds can be a lonely experience. Especially when you feel that you see something others don’t see, that you have something to share if only you could translate it into terms your audience can understand. That’s what brought me to storytelling. Today, we all find ourselves in a disruptive age and I suspect many leaders of nonprofit organizations are “traveling between the worlds” as well. In February we want to explore storytelling as a key not only to innovation and marketing, but also to nonprofit leadership and community creation.Q.: When did you realize that storytelling was important for businesses and nonprofits?A.: It began in the late nineties, during my first career as a social entrepreneur. I co-founded two nonprofits before the age of twenty-three working on the issues of volunteerism and workforce development. I experienced my share of success and accolades including funding from national foundations like Ford and Rockefeller. I also experienced my share of failure and sensed that something was missing from the conversation for how nonprofits tell their story. In 2001, I got really sick and took a healing sabbatical that allowed me to explore the link between storytelling and how new ideas are socialized into reality. During the subsequent ten years of my journey, I have seen some of the most creative and established institutions adopt storytelling as a new organizational capability. What you are seeing today is a broader cross-sector movement that we at Get Storied call “humanization of business.” Technology and our interconnectedness are changing how we lead and operate our organizations. It’s also changing how we think of identity and telling a story that our stakeholders can better relate to.
Holiday Consumer Commitment: Buy to Benefit Nonprofits
Q&A with Alan Castner – Volunteering at the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed
Recently, Suzanne Whelan, Mt. Tamalpais Watershed Volunteer Coordinator with Marin Municipal Water District, reached out to the Volunteer Marin team to recognize one of MMWD’s most devoted volunteers – Alan Castner. Alan, referred to glowingly by Suzanne as, “our star Natural Resource Program intern,” is a student at San Francisco State University studying Wildland Restoration.
Vote With Your Mission
Asking the Right Person for the Right Amount
Since it’s time to start thinking about Annual Appeals, we thought we would share an article that we came across in Nonprofit Quarterly, Asking the Right Person for the Right Amount by Kim Klein. Klein is an internationally known fundraising trainer who has worked in all aspects of fundraising. She is best known for adapting traditional fundraising techniques, particularly major donor campaigns, to the needs of organizations with small budgets working for social justice.
5 Takeaways from the Canal and San Geronimo Valley Workshops
9 Reasons the Marin Human Race Rocked our Socks
Lessons and Insights from the Reinvention Summit 2
Simply the best: Top 10 blog posts
Posted by 101fundraising in Crowdblog on Fundraising on April 2nd, 2012.
From now on, every quarter 101fundraising will share with you the best blog posts published in the past quarter.
If you don’t have time to read all the valuable information that they publish, at least read these 10…
According to Crowdblog readers these are the best blog posts of the first quarter of 2012:
(1) Unexpected (?) fundraising tool: your ears as your money makers – Vera Peerdeman(2) Climate change needed for donor centric fundraising! – Reinier Spruit(3) The 5 fastest growers and their recipe for success – Reinier Spruit(4) Get away from your desk and remind yourself WHY – Margaux Smith(5) Reader Beware: Contains Dangerous Ideas on How to Motivate (F2F) Fundraisers! – Jack Ryan(6) It’s you, not me – Rebecca Davies(7) How my pissed off donor came back… – Gerbren Deves(8) I’m awesome. You’re awesome. We’re AWESOME… aren’t we? – Kimberley MacKenzie(9) Un-define fundraising – Brock Warner(10) Fundraising almost always involves “change” – Mitch Hinz
Which ones did you appreciate? And how will you translate these tools into your agency? Please share with us! We would also love to hear your thoughts on other types of postings you would like to see here.
Why Online Donors are Worth More than Offline Donors
Posted by Frank Barry to Online Fundraising in Netwits Thinktank on February 17th, 2012The research in the 2011 donorCentrics Internet and Multichannel Giving Benchmarking Report and the 2011 Online Giving Report is extensive and well worth the read if you’re into all things fundraising, but I’d like to focus your attention on one piece of the findings for now.The majority of giving still comes from offline channels, but online fundraising continues to be a significant source for acquiring new donors.In fact, the dominant giving channel for new donors 64 years old and younger is online. Plus, revenue and household income for online acquired donors is significantly higher than for offline acquired donors. The trend towards online fundraising is an important one to pay attention to. Here’s why …
Mobile Fundraising Options for Nonprofits
Pro: User-friendliness: Sending a text message is about as simple and quick as mobile donations get. Having the donations automatically added to their phone bill is also convenient for donors. Donors are not required to have a credit card or even a bank account, and there are no online forms for them to fill out.Pro: Reach: Any constituent who has a phone with text messaging capabilities can donate, once they find out where the short code is (through a TV commercial or printed add, for instance).Con: Donation Amounts: $5-$10 limit. Also, there is no option for recurring gifts. One way around the donation limit is to allow text pledging. Nonprofits can ask for the donor’s contact info along with their pledge and then follow up later with a reminder to fulfill the pledge.Con: Turnaround: 30-90 days to process; donations are received only after the customers pay their phone bills.Con: Engagement/Integration (Donor): With text donations, there is no intrinsic next-step for donors. Consequently, mobile engagement is limited to a transaction and ends after the transaction is completed.Con: Engagement/Integration (Volunteer/Employee): N/ACon: Red Tape: Mandatory ASPs (application service providers), mandatory foundations and annual budget requirements can all be obstacles in setting up a text donation program.Con: Expense: Between initial set-up and per-message service costs, 5-10% of each text donation ends up being lost in fees.
Con: User-friendliness: Constituents have to find the native app in their device’s app store and download it. Then, they have to manage the native app on their device whenever the app is updated.Con: Reach: Nonprofits must develop a different native app for each device they want to reach. A native app built for Android, won’t work on BlackBerry, for instance, so nonprofits will need to develop several different native apps in order to reach their constituents effectively. To complicate matters, Apple prohibits charitable donations through its transaction engine, so native app donations are not an option for the second most widely used smartphone operating system.Pro: Donation Amounts: Unlimited; recurring donations possible.Pro: Turnaround: Donations processed in real-time.Pro: Engagement/Integration (Donor): Native apps can extend key business processes, such as CRM, etc. to offer mobile donors true engagement with core business functions. Native apps can also deliver a high-quality user experience to constituents that makes full use of device-specific features. For example, push notifications and camera functions can be integrated.Pro: Engagement/Integration (Volunteer/Employee): The possibility of allowing volunteers and employees to interact with key business processes via their mobile devices is a reality with native apps.Con: Red Tape: Native app releases and updates must be approved by app stores, a process that can take weeks.Con: Expense: $30,000, minimum, to design, implement and deploy one native app for one operating system (e.g. Android). There are 4 major operating systems: Android, Apple (which doesn’t allow donations), BlackBerry and Windows. To create 3 different native apps, it would cost at least $90,000. Integration of business processes is significantly more expensive (upwards of $1 million per app).
Pro: User-friendliness: Constituents can find a mobile site easily by doing a quick search in their browser. When they click nonprofit’s official website link, they are automatically redirected to a mobile-optimized site. No downloads or updates required on their end.Pro: Reach: All browser-enabled smartphones can access a mobile site.Pro: Donation Amounts: Unlimited; recurring donations possible.Pro: Turnaround: Donations processed in real-time.Con: Engagement/Integration (donor): Constituents can interact with the nonprofit after making a mobile site donation through features, such as video and geo-location mapping. However, constituents are unable to engage directly with the nonprofit’s key business processes, unless a mobile web app is embedded in the site.Con: Engagement/Integration (Volunteer/Employee): Donation forms can easily be added to mobile websites, but they are not integrated into the nonprofits’ existing software. Other key business processes, such as CRM, are inaccessible to volunteers and employees unless a mobile web app is embedded in the site. Information captured through a mobile site is siloed in a database separate from the nonprofit’s existing databases. Aggregating information among databases can be time consuming and costly.Pro: Red Tape: None.Pro: Expense: A high-quality mobile website can be created and managed through a mobile website platform for under $200/mo.
Pro: User-friendliness: Easily accessible on mobile site.Pro: Reach: All browser-enabled smartphones can access a mobile site.Pro: Donation Amounts: Unlimited; recurring donations possible.Pro: Turnaround: Donations processed in real-time.Pro: Engagement/Integration (Donor): Like native apps, mobile web apps can extend key business processes, such as CRM, Billing, Registration, etc. to mobile constituents to offer donors true engagement with core business functions. With HTML5, mobile web apps can increasingly access more device-specific functionalities, but they are still somewhat limited in this capacity.Pro: Engagement/Integration (Volunteer/Employee): Volunteers and employees can engage with key business processes via their mobile devices. Mobile web apps address the consumerization paradigm more efficiently than native apps, because they allow all devices with a mobile browser to engage with key business processes.Pro: Red Tape: None.Con: Expense: A mobile web app that integrates with core business processes and allows for deep internal and external constituent engagement normally costs upwards of $2,000/month.
If I were a Foundation Officer
We found this post intriguing and wanted to share with you all. It gives us the opportunity to explore a little and let our mind wonder about the "what ifs." Heather Carpenter believes that we should be curious and idealistic in our mission to change the world. Check out her story, then tell us about your own in the comments!By Heather Carpenter (originally posted September 30, 2011 on Heather Carpenter's Blog) I was speaking to a recent graduate of the University of San Diego who wants to land a job in the Foundation world — the challenge is she hasn’t had much luck landing her first job. She’s super talented, already has interned in a nonprofit along with earning her Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from American Humanics…the only problem is, few foundations are hiring entry level positions.It was great to see her excitement in wanting to change the world. Then I thought back to the 7 long years I have been working in the nonprofit sector and what would I do if took a different route in my career. What would I do if I worked in foundations and what I would do if I were a Foundation officer?If I were a Foundation officer I (and my staff) would do needs assessments within nonprofits to identify which capacity issues were present to maintain the nonprofits’ current programs. Then I would fund each nonprofit for 5 years (at least $100k or more per year) in order for them to hire, train, and support staff to maintain their current programs. I would also fund operations and any other administrative and support needs to run the current programs. Then I (and my staff) would do more consulting within the organizations on management and leadership issues along with overseeing the strategic planning process.Furthermore, after 5 years the nonprofits may be eligible for additional funding for program expansion based on the results of the strategic plan and the progress made during the previous 5 years they spent building their capacity to do their current programs. If the organization received additional money for program expansion, I would also fund program evaluations.So I’m not a program officer — However, I have completed numerous grant applications and proposals to keep organizations running as well as I consult start up nonprofits on setting up their operations, so I’m quite biased on building capacity within nonprofits, but I’m curious…what would you do if you were a Foundation officer?Do not hesitate to share! We would love to hear your ideal and practical answers.
Leading with Lollipops: Leadership Insights
Are we devaluing the things we accomplish every day by celebrating only the biggest accomplishments? Drew Dudley believes leadership is not a characteristic reserved for the extraordinary and argues that we need to redefine "leadership." Check out Drew's funny story and inspiring message, then tell us about your own "lollipop moment" in the comments!
Branding + Fundraising = Brandraising
The Philanthropy News Digest recently posted a great interview with, Sarah Durham, the author of Brandraising. She argues that marketing and communications are fundamental for successful fundraising and gives a snapshot of the principles of brandraising in just four minutes. She also predicts that mobile communications and fundraising is the next big thing. Watch the video and let us know what you think!
A Board Member's First Foray into Personal Fundraising
A Reflection on Engaging Volunteers on MLK Day
Martin Luther King Day is a national day of service designed to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of a “beloved community.” To honor his legacy Volunteer Marin and over 50 volunteers worked throughout the county on Martin Luther King’s national holiday.
Volunteers started the day in Marin City in conjunction with the Conservation Corp North Bay to spruce up the Mattie and Clarence Boatman community garden. The Conservation Corp was able to use 30 Volunteer Marin volunteers to beautify the garden, plant new fruit trees and lettuce plants, and pick up litter in the Marin City Marsh. The garden looks great and the Conservation Corp got twice as much work done as they'd expected.
Although the day went smoothly the biggest difficulty was logistics. Projects like these can become chaotic. The best way to manage this chaos is to provide as many details to the volunteers as is possible. The times where the day wasn’t going smoothly were due to lack of communication between the partnered agencies.We had a lot of volunteers (30) and two sites. We had to figure out the best way to manage all the adults and kids, keep them engaged in the work, and connect the work to the larger issue we were addressing. We had a few hiccups during the day but we got a lot of work done and got people excited about volunteerism.
Volunteer Marin’s day then moved on to the Marin Food Bank. There our volunteers helped to bag chili for hungry families in Marin. We brought twenty volunteers to support the Food bank on a day when staff does not typically work. We were able to bag several thousand pounds of chili in order to feed several families in Marin.
Volunteers are one of the most important parts of the nonprofit sector. They are an invaluable labor source that some organizations otherwise couldn’t afford. As a staff member, I needed details and early planning to be prepared to manage both the projects and volunteers. We had to make sure we used our systems to communicate beforehand with volunteers, then use our database to collect information which allows us to maintain contact with the volunteers in the future.
Want to plan a project next year? Here are my tips to lead a successful MLK Day project:
-Communicate with volunteers 48 hours in advance via email and 24 hours via phone
-Give really specific instructions
-Make a meeting spot obvious and accessible and give volunteers the specific directions/instructions (We use Starbucks as our meeting point and ask everyone to wear a specific color shirt)
-During the project try to meet everyone and, if you can, talk about why the work is important
-After the project lead a reflection discussion
-Survey the participants so you can learn how to improve
-Follow-up with a thank you email or handwritten note
Ashley Kelly is an AmeriCorp VISTA serving in the Volunteer Services Department of the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership. She recently graduated from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina with a BS in International Studies with a focus on human rights and development. Ashley has varied experience in the nonprofit world but focused most of her time working in after school programs and with at-risk youth.