Fundraising Technologies that Help – Not Hinder – Your Growth

By | Fundraising, Technology | No Comments

You’re forgiven if you’re a little skeptical about the latest technology. We know the phrase “paperless office” is probably playing through your mind, but seriously, technology can help, not hinder, your nonprofit’s ability to grow.

The right fundraising technology makes it easier to connect with donors and encourage them to donate in support of your nonprofit. Here, we cover four new technologies or technology-assisted ideas that can boost fundraising activities and help your nonprofit reach its goals.

Four Technologies or Technology-Enhanced Ideas for Fundraising Growth

These four fundraising ideas incorporate technology or utilize technology for growth. Although some of them may sound far-fetched, they can all be implemented by even the smallest nonprofits.  These ideas benefit your organization’s growth and also benefit your constituents by making it easier to donate.

  1. Dedicated Online Fundraising Pages

Dedicated online fundraising pages are a lot like landing pages used in traditional marketing. These are pages set up specifically to encourage people who visit the page (“land” on the page) to donate.

In order to encourage donations, make sure that:

  1. Your page is clearly branded with your nonprofit’s logo, messaging, colors and images.
  2. You align your nonprofit to outcomes. Who are you helping and what will the donation do? Show pictures, tell stories, but make the outcomes come to life for anyone visiting and potentially donating to the nonprofit.
  3. Make checkout easy and friendly.
  4. Offer opportunities for both a lump sum gift and monthly giving.
  5. Ask people to opt-in to your mailing list to keep in touch.

 

  1. Text-to-Give

You’ve probably seen these campaigns during hurricanes or other natural disasters when major disaster relief services run them. “Text 12345 to give” enables people to give quickly from their mobile phone using a simple text message. It’s a great use of technology to make giving fast and simple and it taps into the population’s increasing dependence on their mobile phones.

  1. Fund-a-Need Programs

Fund-a-Need programs raise money for a specific need. Such needs may include a new roof on a building, or  new buildings, etc. Be specific in the need and in the fundraising goal. Establishing a special fundraising page for these campaigns and utilize social media to get the word out.

  1. Accept Bitcoin Donations

Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, DodgeCoin and other cryptocurrencies can be accepted as donations. You’ll need to set up a special electronic wallet with a firm like Coinbase that enables you to receive cryptocurrency into the wallet and exchange it for dollars or another fiat currency. Many young people like using cryptocurrency. By accepting it as a payment or donation method, you’ll appeal to a specific techno-savvy group who may have money to share but prefer not to share dollars.

Why Try These Methods?

Nonprofits must keep up with technology trends the same way that for profits do. These trends impact your donors and can potentially make a big difference to your bottom line if implemented wisely.

You don’t need to become proficient at dozens of technologies. Implement one idea at a time. As you grow more comfortable with each innovation, you’ll be able to add more until your organization is up to speed with the latest technology.

The more routes or avenues you can open for potential donors, the better. Making it easy to say “yes” to a request and donate dollars or bitcoin will help your nonprofit organization flourish. Now is the time to embrace tech-savvy ideas for a brighter future.

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.

Giving Tuesday Is Coming! Here’s How to Prepare for a Successful Giving Tuesday

By | Donations | No Comments

Giving Tuesday, often referred to by its hashtag #givingtuesday, occurs the first Tuesday after the American Thanksgiving holiday (and for those in other countries, American Thanksgiving is always the third Thursday in November).

Started in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and the New York City 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday began as a grassroots effort or “hashtag movement” to counteract the gross commercialism that often occurs on Black Friday. It’s not uncommon in the United States for eager Christmas shoppers to push, shove, and generally behave  rudely in their quest for cheap goods on the first official shopping day of Christmas. Sad, but true.

These charities began the Giving Tuesday movement in an effort to focus people on the more positive message of giving back to their communities. Instead of crass commercialism, the emphasis is on charitable giving. And that’s good news for your organization if you can leverage the momentum of Giving Tuesday.

In 2017, the last year for which figures are available, approximately $274 million was raised in total, with $45 million raised through Facebook donations.

Your nonprofit can ride the surge of donations generated through the hashtag campaign by ensuring an easy way for people to donate. A little preparation now may result in a surprise on #givingtuesday.

Revamp Your Donation Page

Don’t wait until the night before Giving Tuesday to update your donation page. Take the time now to make sure it’s as enticing as possible.

  1. Update your branding. If you’re using PayPal or a similar payment service, customize your checkout pages and thank you pages. Add your nonprofit’s logo, slogan, URL and any other information to remind donors that their donation is making a difference.
  2. Remind donors of your impact. Another great use of the donation page is to remind donors of the impact that your organization makes on the constituents you serve. An animal nonprofit may wish to include a link or stories, photos and other media showcasing their work with animals their charity helps. The best time to remind donors of the impact that their generosity makes is at the time they’re giving. It reinforce their feelings of good will and strengthens the bond between your organization and the donor.
  3. Add monthly giving options. Sure, a one-time donation is great, but what about monthly giving options? You may be able to add monthly giving options so that donors can choose to give in regular increments rather than in one lump sum.
  4. Make it friendly: Make sure that your page can be easily read by multiple devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Responsinator is a free tool that allows you to see how your webpages look on mobile devices.

Don’t Be a Stranger

One of the best ways to leverage your participation in #givingtuesday is by letting your constituents know ahead of time. Start several weeks before the promotion to let your donors know that your nonprofit is participating in the event. As the date draws near, send more frequently emails. A good sequence is a thank you message on Thanksgiving; email reminders on Sunday and Monday; and a big announcement email on Giving Tuesday.

Incorporate Social Media

Giving Tuesday is a social media-driven campaign; be sure you’re actively participating on social media in the time period leading up to the actual day. Update your social media banners and set up automated messages using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to make it even easier to keep a steady stream of messages flowing to your constituents.

Remember to use the hashtag #givingtuesday on all posts related to the big donation day. People searching under that hashtag can see your posts; it will show up in the results for the hashtag search. That’s another great way to reach potential donors!

Giving Tuesday, One Great Day Among 365 Other Donation Opportunities

Giving Tuesday is a great event – but so are the remaining 364 days in the year. Every day is an opportunity to connect with donors and raise awareness for your nonprofit. In fact, many of these tips can (and should) be implemented year-round as part of your fundraising and marketing activities.  With a little planning and follow-through, you can expand upon the idea of “giving Tuesday.”

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.

National Defense Authorization Act Raises Micro-Purchase and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds

By | Accounting, Government, Nonprofit | No Comments

If you work with tribes or are part of a tribal government, you should closely follow the changes made to the National Defense Authorization Act. On June 30, 2018, the NDAA issued changes that  increased the minimum thresholds for micro purchases and simplified acquisition.  These changes impact many individuals and groups, as well as impact tribal governments.

Raising the minimum threshold should ease some of the reporting burden on those receiving federal funds.

What Are the Exact Changes?

  • The threshold for micro-purchases is increased from $3,500 to $10,000
  • The threshold for simplified acquisitions is increased from $100,000 to $250,000

What Should You Do?

Groups currently receiving federal awards, including tribal governments, may wish to immediately revise internal procurement policies so that they can implement the new thresholds.

Memorandum M-18-18 also outlines changes for institutes of higher learning, nonprofit research organizations, and independent research organizations that wish to use a micro-purchase threshold higher than $10,000.

Specific Recommendations

There are some specific recommendations that can help you follow the new guidelines as stated in M-18-18.

  • Micro-purchase: You should include purchases when the aggregate dollar amount does not exceed $10,000. It may be helpful to distribute micro-purchases fairly among qualified suppliers if you can. You don’t need competitive quotes if management determines that the price is reasonable. Document a definition of how you define ‘reasonable’ prices so that you have something to reference to confirm your choices.
  • Small purchases: You can use simplified acquisitions for the purchase of property services that do not exceed an establish amount pursuant to 200.88 in the Uniform Guidance. This also includes purchases up to $250,000 according to M-18-18. Informal purchasing procedures are acceptable under the guidelines, but you should always obtain several price or rate quotes before making your choice. This is just good business practice that will also help you comply with the new requirements.
  • Sealed bids: Large projects, such as construction projects, commonly exceed $150,000. A formal RFP or bid solicitation process is required. The fixed price, lump sum, or unit price should be awarded to the best bidder who conforms to all the material terms and provides the best price.
  • Competitive bids and proposals: A formal bidding or solicitation process is required. Competitive bids and proposals covers purchases over $150,000. Fixed-price or cost-reimbursement contracts, as well as a formal bid process, should be used when sealed bids aren’t appropriate or warranted. Awarding the contract should be based on the quality of the program with price being one, not the only, factor.
  • Sole source: You can only use the sole source designation when specific criteria is met. The criteria includes:
    • The product or service is only available from a single source – no one else offers what you need
    • There is a public emergency, and the fastest or best way to handle the emergency is to buy from one source
    • Federal warding agency authorization, or the awarding agency specifically authorizes a non-competitive procurement. This is usually after a written request from the non-federal entity.
    • There’s not enough or inadequate competition after you’ve asked for bids from multiple sources.

Can you request an even higher threshold than these new amounts? Yes, but with a catch. You’ll need to request approval from your institution’s appropriate Federal agency for indirect cost amounts. They will then assign you to the appropriate office inside the agency who can approve the new amount and maintain records indicating compliance with the new amount. It’s also a good idea to keep records on your own to support any moves you make when it comes to micro-purchases.

The world of nonprofit accounting is always changing, and new thresholds and guidelines like these are important to understand and follow. Welter Consulting can help you if you have any questions about these guidelines or other nonprofit accounting and software needs.

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.

Charities Advisory Council Update

By | Nonprofit, Training | No Comments

Training, Professional Development Opportunities and More

The Washington State Charities Advisory Council was formed in 2007 to advise the Washington Secretary of State as to: 1) training and professional development programs needed for charitable programs; and 2) model policies related to governance and administration of charitable organizations in accordance with fiduciary principles. The Council also advises the Secretary on industry trends in the nonprofit world so that charities and nonprofits can prepare in advance for these trends. The Council’s latest updates are now available.

Members of the council appointed by Secretary Kim Wyman represent a broad and diverse range of nonprofit charities, both big and small, and  with a wide range of missions. The idea is to be as inclusive as possible so as to address all the needs and potential needs of charities for information pertaining to industry trends, training, and professional development.

Free Webinars for Nonprofits

Interested in continuing education? The Washington Secretary of State’s office provides free webinars to help nonprofits increase their knowledge in a range of areas. Upcoming topics include financial issues, legal compliance for nonprofits, and board development. The link to the upcoming webinars may be found here.

Tax Update

The Washington State Department of Taxation provided an update on guidelines for nonprofits. The state produces a valuable online publication which may be found on the Washington Taxation Department site. The guide is provided at no charge to the public and offers an overview of registration requirements, tax exemptions, reseller permits for fundraising events, and taxability of various nonprofit activities.

Renewing Nonprofit and Charities Registration

Washington state has successfully issued a soft launch of their new online registration system for nonprofits and charities to renew their status. The old postcard reminder system isn’t going away – yet. But nonprofits may wish to log into the system soon and learn the process. It’s probably going to be the way of the future for all Washington state charities. Log in with your UBI number to start the renewal process.

Tiered Financial Reporting

SOS Charities Program Liaison, Rebecca Sherrell, spoke at the meeting and provided a summary of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW 19.09.541). This code establishes a set of tiered financial reporting requirements for charitable organizations. The statute requires that charitable organizations with annual gross revenue over $1 million have a professionally prepared federal tax return and organizations over $3 million obtain an independent, third-party audit of their financial records. This audit report must be made available in paper form to the public upon request or accessible to the public on the internet. Nonprofits that receive most of their support from noncash donations. An organization receives less than $500,000 cash can waive the audit requirement.

Asking for Donations? Check out the Attorney General’s Site

The Washington State Attorney General’s office provides guidelines for charities and nonprofits that are requesting donations. To remain compliant with state law, it’s a smart move to review the guidelines and discuss them with your entire team, especially those in marketing and donor relations. The full guidelines are available on the AG’s site.

The next meeting of the State Charities board will take place in January 2019. This meeting has provided plenty of food for thought and interest to those in the Washington nonprofit world. Whether you’ve just started a nonprofit organization or you’re working for a mature organization, there is something to learn from the various people and groups who participated in this meeting.

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.