Monthly Archives

October 2018

Help Your Board with Fundraising – Teach Them to Be Storytellers

By | Fundraising | No Comments

There’s an “F” word that even the most seasoned board hates to hear: fundraising. Boards should be your primary cheerleaders and fundraisers, leading the charge to support the organization’s mission and development through effective fundraising.

Yet many nonprofits struggle to achieve their fundraising goals and find their boards sadly lacking in that department. How can you overcome your board’s reluctance to be part of the fundraising team?

Three Tips to Make Fundraising FUN!

These three tips can help turn fundraising from the dreaded “F” word and put the FUN back in fundraising.

  1. Speak positively about fundraising: Many nonprofits bring up fundraising reluctantly as if it were a chore like cleaning out the garage. Instead of starting your fundraising discussions with sentences such as, “I know no one likes fundraising, but…” try to be positive about it. “Here is your opportunity to truly make a difference in our organization.” Help board members understand the positive impact their efforts make. Reframing the discussion around fundraising can help turn it into a positive activity rather than a dreaded chore.
  2. Provide training: Fundraising is more than asking people for money. Board members may not be aware of effective methods of fundraising such as storytelling (which we’ll get into in a minute). They may need coaching, encouragement, and examples to understand how to raise funds for the organization.
  3. Offer supporting materials: One way to make fundraising easier for your board is to provide them with supportive marketing materials and other items to make it easier for them to share the nonprofit’s story. For example, a video on your website or social media pages showing the positive outcomes of your foundation’s work can make it much easier to share the message with others about how your organization is making a difference. Powerful marketing materials can make it much easier to open up conversations around the organization and then close by asking for support.

Storytelling: Part of the Art of Fundraising

Communication professionals know that generalized information is difficult for people to grasp. Talk about a famine in Asia and people skip over it in the news. Share an image of one starving child and tell his story and people are galvanized into action.

The same goes for fundraising activities. It’s easy to say no to someone asking for a donation if you just ask for it for an organization. If you tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, and a personalized message, people grasp the meaning. They are more likely to donate money to an organization.

Help your board understand the power of fundraising through storytelling by sharing with them:

  1. Personal stories and anecdotes they can use as part of fundraising conversations.
  2. Emphasize emotional connections. Emotions are remembered long after dry facts are forgotten.
  3. Draw people into the story. Listen to the best storytellers (TED talks are great places to go for inspiration and to learn how to frame a story).
  4. Teach your board members basic storytelling techniques – pacing, emotional connection, specific examples.
  5. Share examples on your website and social media platforms, too.

Stories hold great power. That’s why we start children off with fairy tales, fables, and imaginative stories when they are young – it boosts the imagination and helps kids frame the world around them. Stories for nonprofits help them illuminate their mission and vision and make it feel genuine to the people who can contribute funds to support the accomplishment of their goals. It’s the opposite of “begging” or “arm twisting” for donations. And best of all, it feels good to share the positive!

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

What the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Means to Your Nonprofit

By | Tax | No Comments

President Donald Trump signed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017, that went into effect January 1, 2018. The provisions of the act impact individuals, businesses, corporations, and nonprofits, with certain provisions having moderate to significant impact on nonprofits.

Major Changes to Taxes, Summarized

Clearly, a detailed analysis of the implications of all that is contained within the new law is outside the scope of this article. However, there are major points which are important for all to note. These include:

  1. All the changes that affect individuals expire in 2025.
  2. New tax tables and rates are in effect from 2018 through 2025.
  3. The system for taxing capital gains and qualified dividends did not change under the act, except that the income levels at which the 15% and 20% rates apply were altered (and will be adjusted for inflation after 2018).
  4. During 2018 the 15% rate will start at $77,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $51,700 for heads of household, and $38,600 for other individuals. The 20% rate will start at $479,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $452,400 for heads of household, and $425,800 for other
  5. The standard deduction increased through 2025 for individual taxpayers to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $18,000 for heads of household, and $12,000 for all other individuals. The additional standard deduction for elderly and blind taxpayers was not changed by the
  6. The act repealed all personal exemptionsthrough 2025. The withholding rules will be modified to reflect the fact that individuals can no longer claim personal

For a complete breakdown of the act’s changes, see this document from the National Association of Tax Professionals.

Changes to Charitable Contributions

The good news for nonprofits is that the act increased the income-based percentages limit for charitable contributions of cash to public charities to 60%. The act repealed  a prior-law provision that had never been put in effect because regulations were never issued. The provision that provides an exception to the contemporaneously written acknowledgment requirement for certain contributions that are reported on the organization’s return.

With the news that the act increased income-based percentages limits for contributions of cash, now might be a great time to increase your donor outreach and relations programs. Although tax savings may be a small incentive to donors in the bigger scheme of things, with items such as mission and services more important to donors, it may incentivize donors who are on the fence about giving to your organization.

Remember that any changes in the tax laws impact disposable income for consumers. These changes may make potential donors feel more inclined to give, as a little extra cash hits their paychecks and wallets. This also underscores that now is the right time to increase donor relations programs.

Are further changes expected? The Tax Cuts and Job Acts was a major move by the Trump Administration and a sign of their intention to keep campaign promises. It is unknown what further actions the President may take especially as they pertain to nonprofits and charities. However, given that these changes will be in effect until 2025, it is certain that nonprofits can move forward at least for the next several years with a better understanding of the current taxation situation.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.