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Advice

Diversifying Nonprofit Income

The Business Weekly section of the Reading Eagle (based out of Reading, PA) did one of those things that local papers are so good at: they wrote about local news in a way that’s actually quite useful to people who aren’t local. In this case, they have a piece about two local charities: Bethany Children’s Home and Opportunity House. Both of these organizations have diversified their revenue streams in order to prevent a reduction in federal grants.

It’s the “diversifying revenue streams” that classifies this as a business article. Their point, and it’s a good one, is that sometimes nonprofits should think like for-profits, which at a certain size, tend to look for multiple income streams in case one doesn’t do so great.

It’s fine for a small business to focus on manufacturing one specific item, but if demand for that item drops, or doesn’t keep pace with growth, or material prices go up, it can tank the company. That’s why you diversify in such a situation.

Nonprofits can benefit from the same thinking. Federal and state grants can dry up or be awarded to other organizations. Donations rise and fall with the economy. But thrift stores, which you’ll notice are frequently run by nonprofits, tend to weather economic downturns really well.

That’s probably why Goodwill and the Salvation Army have been using them for so long. It’s also what Opportunity House is doing in Reading now, with their new OppShop store that allows them to keep items out of landfills while employing underserved people. Bethany Children’s Home, which helps abused and neglected children, has been operating a dairy farm since 1873. Bethany Children’s Home has also operated its own freshwater spring since 2012.

It really boils down to this age-old advice: don’t put all your eggs in one basket, even if you’re a nonprofit.

Categories
Advice

3 Tips for Launching a Successful Social Media Campaign

In order to contend in the highly competitive nonprofit world, all charities must have a social media presence. That’s because social media provides an enormous opportunity to engage with users on a local, national, and international level.

To give you an idea of just how much opportunity exists, consider the following statistic. According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of American adults use social networking websites. That’s nearly two thirds of all American adults! But how do you market to this audience? That’s where the following tips come into play.

Limit Your Focus to What You Have Time For

Look, managing several social media accounts is a full-time job. It would be absurd to expect someone to be successful at it when they can only afford to dedicate 4 hours a week to it. That’s why you should evaluate exactly how much time you’re willing to spend on it. If you only have 10 hours a week that can be allocated to social media, then stick to the two most popular sites: Facebook and Twitter. If you have more than 10 hours, it’s time to start branching out to Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, and Pintrest.

Engage with Other Organizations and Industry Leaders

Here’s the thing about social media: it’s all about karma. If you like posts, share statuses, and comment on discussions, that good karma will eventually come back your way. It takes time though, so be patient. The best way to incorporate this strategy is to add and follow other charitable organizations. You should also familiarize yourself with notable figureheads in your field and begin engaging with them as well.

Use a Personal Approach

There are times that call for a strictly professional approach and there are times that call for a more personal approach. Social media definitely calls for a more personal approach. For example, when talking about your charity, use the pronoun “we.” Language should be natural—as if you were casually talking to a friend you’ve known for 10 years. With that being said, avoid awkward words or phrases.

In conclusion, make sure you have fun with social media and don’t be afraid to share content that isn’t directly related to your organization. For example, go ahead and share that super cute cat photo. Go ahead and retweet that story about the millionaire who gave a thousand bucks to a homeless man. Go ahead and take the time to post an inspirational quote. Your organization will be seen as being more human, and that’s how you’ll attract a large following.

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News

A Comprehensive List of 35 Fake Charities

Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity analyzer, has just released a list of 35 fake charities. None of these charities are registered as 501(c)(3)s, making their public donation solicitations illegal. Unfortunately, this also means that any donations made to these charities are not tax deductible. In most cases, once the donation has been made, there is no chance of getting it back. Take a look at the list below and make sure to share it on social media to protect other donators from being scammed.

  1. Boobies Rock!
  2. Care Package Campaign
  3. Community College Consortium on Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
  4. Delaware Firefighters Foundation
  5. Disabled Veterans of America
  6. Employ Young Adults
  7. Flintwater.com
  8. FM World Charities
  9. Fresh Start Opportunities
  10. The Herron Foundation
  11. I Care Foundation
  12. Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic
  13. Long Island Responds
  14. Matthew M. Brennan Foundation
  15. National Foundation of America
  16. New Hampshire Wildlife Parks & Wildlife Rescue
  17. New Jersey Youth Club
  18. One Child Saved
  19. One Church! One Can! One Night!
  20. One Door for Education, Inc.
  21. Paralyzed American Veterans
  22. RRR Service Dogs
  23. Safety Publications
  24. Say No 2 Cancer
  25. The Se7ven Group
  26. Southeast K9 Search and Rescue
  27. Spotlight on Heroes
  28. Tackle Hatred Now
  29. Tixr4kids.com
  30. United Soldiers Outreach LLC
  31. United States Disabled Veterans
  32. United States Handicapped-Disadvantaged
  33. Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans
  34. Winged Warriors
  35. Winning Ways

To avoid being scammed, Charity Navigator always advises donators to request the organization’s Employee Identification Number (EIN). An EIN can be used to verify whether the organization is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. However, take note that even official 501(c)(3) status offers no guarantee that the organization is legitimate. Further research is needed to fully evaluate whether a charity is worth donating to. One key thing to look for is tax information. Genuine organizations will openly provide this information, as well as a complete breakdown of how donations are spent. For more information on how to protect against charity fraud, click here.

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News

New Facebook Ad Program Doesn’t Serve Nonprofits

Image credit: rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com

Advertising can be an important part of a nonprofit’s mission. Getting the word out there and attracting new donors or volunteers is essential to keeping a nonprofit healthy and stable. And, with the ever increasing presence of social media, advertising on sites like Facebook is becoming more and more important.

Recently, Facebook launched a new program called Canvas, which allows advertisers to provide a new system for delivering ads that promises greater audience engagement and returns. It makes the process of creating ads easy, and doesn’t cost anything; it’s rolled into the existing advertising structure.

The problem is that the existing advertising structure doesn’t benefit nonprofits. It has become increasingly difficult to advertise on Facebook, in any form, without paying for it. As the company continues to find ways to monetize the site, groups that can’t afford to pay for such advertising continue to lose presence on that service. While a number of companies can build marketing budgets that allow them to use Facebook, that’s a privilege many nonprofits don’t have, because that’s money they aren’t using toward their mission. Though there are certainly a number of large nonprofits which can make use of Facebook in this way, there are far more small organizations that’s can’t afford it.

Facebook has unveiled a number of new tools lately that, hypothetically, could be useful to nonprofits, but they have so far been underwhelming. Canvas is simply the newest tool which, if it weren’t for increased barriers that nonprofits face in accessing those tools, could prove useful. If Facebook really wants to promote nonprofits or make things easier on them, then they need to look into finding ways to keep their monetization schemes from preventing nonprofits from actively using their tools. Facebook is going to have to think long and hard about the kind of relationship they want with nonprofit organizations.

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Organizations Resources

Philanthropic People: Matthew Manos and verynice

Very Nice.Young entrepreneur and self-described “neo-philanthropist” Matthew Manos is something of a humanitarian and business rebel. He is dedicated to disrupting current economic models that make it impossible for nonprofits to achieve the greatest social impact, and at only 25 years old, Manos has found enormous success by carving out his own path and remaining dedicated to doing what’s right.

As the founder and creative director of verynice, he employs his original business model to promote pro bono work, and has helped more than 300 businesses and charitable organizations reach their fullest potential. He is a philanthropic visionary, a creative force, and a published author, whose ideas and work have been featured in more than 100 print and online publications, including Forbes, The Guardian, Wired Magazine, and more. Manos was named one of the most relevant, world-changing millennials in The Huffington Post’s 7 Millennials Who Are Too Busy Changing The World To Take Selfies, for his efforts to “create a movement of pro bono services.”

His company, verynice, is a global design and innovation-consulting agency that dedicates more than 50% of its services to free services for non-profit organizations. The firm is most well known for its “radical 50% pro bono business model, and is considered a global leader in the re-invention of small business philanthropy,” its “Impact” description details. One of his books, “be verynice,” is “an open-source business model and informal startup incubator for entrepreneurs and small businesses from around the world that want to learn how to transform their business into hubs for viable and impactful philanthropy,” according to his website. The publication is an extension of the work that verynice does every day, and is the first of a series of resources from Manos and his passionate team. According to The Huffington Post, “Manos believes that the be verynice model can inspire other marketing and design firms to provide pro bono services that will reduce marketing costs for nonprofits,” of the young entrepreneur’s vision for helping nonprofits and charitable foundations create a greater social impact.

The young neo-philanthropist’s overarching goal is to access non-profit agencies and help them realize the power of pro bono work, and so far, his reach has been widespread. Learn more about Manos’ efforts to change the way nonprofits achieve a greater impact at verynice.co.