In 2014 Merriam-Webster added 150 new words to their print dictionary. One of those words was “crowdfunding.” What exactly does this heavy - duty buzz word mean? Well Merriam’s definition is “the practice of obtaining needed funding by soliciting contributions from many people especially from the online community.” While crowdfunding initially began as a mechanism for start-up business to raise financial support, crowdfunding has now swooped into and made a place for itself in the nonprofit world.
While on-line fundraising has already raised millions of dollars, it is expected to explode into a $90 - 96-billion-dollar industry by 2025 (National Council of Nonprofits.) These numbers may sound exciting but, nonprofits need to carefully weigh the benefits of hopping on the crowdfunding bandwagon.
Agencies need to do a self-examination to decide if they should run a crowdfunding campaign. According to Crowdfunding for Nonprofits “ nonprofits should only run campaigns that both forward the organization’s goals and get significant organizational buy-in before launch.” Additionally, organizations should consider deciding how the following three questions will be answered:
Consider starting with the Nation Council of Nonprofits (www. councilofnonprofits.org) for recommendations. Another resource to look at is 7 Top Crowdfunding Sites for Nonprofits and Higher-Ed Institutions, by Taylor Corrado.
Whatever your decision, be patient. Crowdfunding takes effort and patience. It is not a sprint but more of a marathon.
Crowdfunding for Nonprofits
By Erin Morgan Gore & Breanna DiGiammarinoErin Morgan Gore is Director of Strategy at Purpose, an Adjunct Professor at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and an advisor to the sharing economy startup Weleet.co. Gore previously led social sector work in The Bridgespan Group’s New York office and the Boston Consultant Group's Boston and Stockholm offices.
Breanna DiGiammarino is the cause director at Indiegogo, where she leads a team to bring the value of crowdfunding to the social sector. Prior to Indiegogo, DiGiammarino was the senior associate at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and a consultant at The Bridgespan Group. Read the complete article: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/crowdfunding_for_nonprofits
7 Top Crowdfunding Sites for Nonprofits and Higher-Ed Institutions
By Taylor Corrado
Taylor Corrado is the Head of Nonprofit and Education Marketing at HubSpot, the inbound marketing software company.
Read the complete article here: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/crowdfunding-sites-for-nonprofits-higher-ed-li#sm.00000r7rzvgkavfpeph4mgui7jbis
Crowdfunding for Nonprofits
National Council of Nonprofits
“Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today -- it's about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit.”
(National Council of Nonprofits.)
This very powerful statement creates a very simple question for your organization – Are we delivering on our mission and will we be able to do so in the future?
When looking at capacity building consider the infrastructure of a car. The car’s mission is to get the driver from point A to point B. The ability to do that relies heavily on the driver and how the vehicle has been maintained. Several additional factors play into this. Has the driver been properly educated on how to operate the vehicle? Has the vehicle been properly maintained? Have the oil and other fluids been checked? Does the vehicle have gas? Has the vehicle had an annual tune-up? These factors and many others determine if the car will be able to accomplish its goal of getting the driver from point A to point B.
Capacity building for nonprofit organization operates in the same manner. To sustain an organization one needs to consider evaluating their infrastructure like that of the car. Questions to ask might include: Is leadership the strongest it can be? Are board members effective? Do employees have the necessary skills to be effective? Are volunteers trained annually? Are we serving the community? Are we getting the funding we need? These factors support your organization’s goals.
TCC Group’s Capacity Building 3.0 How to Strengthen the Social Ecosystem, suggests organizations consider what needs to be evaluated and how to do just that. They suggest reviewing skills, operational systems, training, technical assistance and experience levels.
To learn more read the complete briefing at
TCC Group is consulting firm passionate about helping the social sector achieve greater impact. Since 1980, they have developed strategies and programs that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of foundations, nonprofits, corporate citizenship programs, and government agencies.
Capacity Building 3.0 How to Strengthen the Social Ecosystem. Jared Raynor with Chris Cardona, Thomas Knowlton, Richard Mittenthal, and Julie Simpson
Additional resources for capacity building:
National Council of Nonprofits - www.councilofnonprofits.org
Grantspace – www.grantspace.org
It’s a new year! This is a great time to start creating, reviewing,
updating and implementing new practices for your organization.
This month let’s look at staff training.
Staff training is a critical piece to the success of any organization. Without it employees are flying by the seat of their pants assuming they are doing the right things in their role, but could potentially be doing more harm than good.
Reasons for training vary depending on the goals and needs for the organization. Some of these include:
· Carry out the organization’s mission
· Increasing fundraising
· Improving risk management
· Improving donor, employee, volunteer and client satisfaction
· Career development
Now that you know the why of training let’s look at the how, starting with the "6 Best Practices: Is Your Nonprofit Staff Training Effective?" by Rebecca Wyatt
1. Training should support organizational goals
First, identify attainable goals and work towards them across all actions of our organization. Then, identify learning objectives for each training session that tie directly back to those organizational goals. If the training isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, it’s probably better to invest valuable resources elsewhere.
2. Effective training links to clearly articulated job descriptions and work processes
Similar to articulating organizational goals, you must also clearly articulate job descriptions and work processes. Once those are clearly defined, it’s much easier for your training program to define what success looks like. 3. Vary your training methods
While instructor-led training is great for the delivery of key skills and concepts, nothing beats ongoing coaching for reinforcing those concepts and fine-tuning the results. Remember to keep these sessions fun and engaging
4. New hires should complete a thorough orientation
Start early! Training new employees bonds them with senior staff and conveys that they’re a valued part of the team. New hire orientation also exposes them to the organization’s culture and sets a tone of continuous learning and improvement right from the beginning. Nonprofits are uniquely positioned to inspire new employees around the organization’s mission.
5. Job-related information and training should be readily available
Curating and managing job-related information is an ongoing task as the body of knowledge tends to grow over time. Identify the information and tools employees need to perform their jobs well and invest in a robust knowledge-management system so that they can find it.
6. Create a culture of learning
Leaders must demonstrate that learning is valued by continuously seeking their own professional development opportunities and sharing their enthusiasm with staff.
They must also include learning outcomes in staff professional goal setting and performance evaluations. A culture of learning doesn’t stop at formal training - we learn from each other.
Blog authour Rebecca Wyatt has 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and training, racking up good karma points doing everything from teaching high school English to helping harried nonprofit staff sharpen their software skills. She works for Salsa Labs, a supplier of nonprofit CRM software located in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Often agency volunteers are the face and voice of your organization. They are the folks out in the trenches, tasked with sharing and carrying out your mission. Although it is important to demonstrate your gratitude for their efforts year-round, the holiday season offers the unique opportunity to highlight their kind-heartedness.
Something to consider is people volunteer for a variety of reasons. They want to give something back to their community. Some want to make a difference in the lives of others. Some want to help others less fortunate or without a voice. During this season of giving nonprofit organizations have a unique opportunity to applaud the generosity given throughout the past year and to celebrate the humanity that seems especially prominent during this holiday season.
Volunteers are an invaluable part of the nonprofit world. Many programs would cease to exist without their efforts. So here are two questions to ask yourself. The first one is does your organization let volunteers know how much of an impact they make? Volunteers need to know that what they are doing is affecting someone, somewhere, somehow. Two, do your volunteers know how grateful the agency is to them for their work? Everyone likes to know their efforts are recognized and appreciated. Now more than ever is a great time to let them hear it.
Whether you choose informal or formal ways to acknowledge volunteers there are many options available to demonstrate your gratitude. Here are just a few:
Peace and joy to you during this holiday season.
Welcome to the inaugural blog for the Volunteer Center of McHenry County!
VCMC is excited to introduce our new blog series. We are here to help strengthen nonprofits. We strive to find resources to help agencies become stronger and more successful. Our goal is to help you achieve your goals. There are a number of tools to do this, but let’s focus on blogging and what it might do for your agency.
For starters, what exactly is a blog?...
In simple terms it is a piece of software which allows you to communicate to the masses via a website. It is a dynamic communications tool that shares information but also allows for comments and feedback from those who read it.
You may ask yourself…why do we need a blog? A blog is a terrific place to discuss issues, share your stories and gather feedback on your content about your agency.
Start with your agency news. Folks need to hear your message! They need to know what your agency is about and why they should support it. It is also an excellent tool to let folks know what kind of activities and events are happening with your agency.
Blogging also lets you share personal stories about your clients’ victories and accomplishments. It is a great way to showcase how your agency is making a difference in the community you serve.
Use your blog as an opportunity to thank your staff, supporters and volunteers. Acknowledging their efforts gives them the opportunity to shine and encourages others to be part of your agency.
All you need to get started is a keyboard and a volunteer. To learn more about nonprofit blogs please read Taylor Corrado’s article “6 Essential Components of Top Notch Nonprofit Blogs.”
We would love to hear what you think or what types of support materials might be beneficial for your agency.