I’m back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference. At one of my sessions, I talked about the importance of taking the vast problems we seek to address and the critical importance of translating them into a scale that is:1.) Relatable2.) Addressable and3) InspiringWhen we fail to do this, we overwhelm people and create the impression their support won’t make a dent in our social problem.Here are examples of making this translation. At the conference, See3, YouTube, NTEN and Cisco announced these videos were among the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards. They take big, faraway issues and make them immediate to the kinds of people who are likely to take action for that cause. They stake a point of view with a clear audience. And they inspire action in a funny way. Enjoy.
If you’re still not sure what your organization should be doing with social media, it would be a good idea to figure it out soon. As social media use continues to grow, this channel is becoming even more important to online donors as a way to connect with causes and find news and information.Here are some social media fun facts: Free WebinarWant some help with your nonprofit’s social media strategy? Nonprofit communication expert Farra Trompeter of Big Duck will join us on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1pm EDT for a free Network for Good webinar. Farra is a seasoned fundraising and nonprofit marketing professional who has helped hundreds of nonprofits create amazing campaigns and communicate more effectively via social channels. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from one of the best. Registration is free and I hope you can join us. (Note: If you can’t attend the live stream, we’ll send you the presentation so you can review it on demand.)Develop Your Social Media StrategyTuesday, October 22nd, 2013 1 pm EDT 27% of online time is now spent on social networking. Source: Experian Tweet this stat.47% of those 45 and younger in the U.S. say social media is more valuable than search for discovering news. Source: Reuters Tweet this stat.Thanks to recent algorithm changes, Google now uses many social factors as top criteria for ranking search results. Source: Searchmetrics Tweet this fact.Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds. Source: Global Web Index Tweet this stat.
An organization’s ability to accomplish its mission is only as strong as the organization’s infrastructure. As you fight to make the world a better place, how do you make sure you’re providing a nonprofit workplace that fosters fairness and complies with the necessary rules and regulations? I recently had a chance to catch up with the Aina Gutierrez, author of Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profitand Deputy Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. Her new book is an easily digestible, yet comprehensive, practical guide to organizing and improving internal operations and finances.NFG: What drove you to write this handbook? Aina Gutierrez: The national nonprofit I work for, Interfaith Worker Justice, has a network of more than 40 affiliates that are small organizations with less than 10 staff. Part of my job in the last twelve years has been to train these groups on the subjects outlined in the book (office administration, fundraising, financial management, board development and human resources). There were two trends I saw in talking to these groups and other small nonprofits I’ve been involved with. The first is that most small groups struggle with these “back office” issues because there were few training resources and materials for those that juggle multiple roles and don’t have the time (nor passion!) around building systems and procedures. And yet, many of them were really struggling with personnel issues and managing their budgets. It caused many staff and board leaders stress and burnout.The second is that many of the policies and procedures of small nonprofits don’t seem to reflect the values that the organizations espouse in their programmatic work. A number of staff work for low pay and few benefits. Most small organizations don’t have access to constructive feedback or support. I felt strongly about the need to reflect the organization’s values in the way it operates, and that a written resource might be the best way to do that.NFG: The book is geared toward small nonprofits with fewer than 10 employees. We work with many organizations who also have volunteer “staff” or staff members who are running their nonprofits on the side? Can you share some advice for those situations? AG: Sure. It’s pretty amazing, but the smallest nonprofit isn’t that much less complicated to run than a more established organization. Both have boards, raise money, file government forms and have policies. This can be tricky for groups without paid staff, or with part-time staff. There’s never enough money or time to accomplish everything.NFG: Can you share some advice for those situations?AG: So I would recommend that your readers do a quick assessment of each area outlined in the book and highlight parts that seem important to the organization that are missing. The book has chapters on staff, board, office systems and management, government requirements, finance, and fund development. And just start working on it, bit by bit. Include a few tasks in the organization’s workplan, or find a board member or two that are willing to help. There’s a lot of information online and from allied organizations that can be easily adapted and used for small nonprofits. It’s really just being aware of the back office work that needs to be done and doing a little bit at a time.NFG: There’s an entire section on building and managing your board. We hear from many nonprofits who struggle with this relationship. Why do you think this is often such a difficult piece of the puzzle?AG: I think any institution made up of passionate people who bring with them varying ideas and perspectives will not be without its share of internal struggles. An organization’s board is no different. Managing the board can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating at times.. And, as staff, it can sometimes feel like its not worth the time and energy to build a strong board, so it falls by the wayside.But, it is worth it. The key is to continue to recruit and develop leaders that care about the organization and have something wonderful to contribute to its success. If someone doesn’t have a skill set or experience to help, or creates a lot of drama, or brings a different agenda to the table, or doesn’t want to do any work – that person shouldn’t be on the board. It can be time consuming to recruit and keep the right people for the job, but a small group of people that really connect and are willing to work can help build the organization in some really incredible ways.NFG: What are some of the challenges you’ve observed in nonprofits who don’t have strong administrative systems? AG: Oh goodness, there are so many stories. Every nonprofit I’ve worked with has at least one horrible story that cost a lot of time, energy and usually money to fix. I certainly have made plenty of own mistakes in this area!The biggest challenge with organizations that don’t have strong systems is that it’s not an efficient way to operate. Pulling together a 300 person mailing shouldn’t be an all day job. But if your database is disorganized, the printer jams the envelopes, and you have to run to the post office to buy stamps, it can take hours. It impacts the important work that the group should be doing. And its super frustrating for the staff!Having weak systems can also cost a lot of money. I’ve worked with a number of groups that miss government filing deadlines and have to pay late fees. Or groups that order office supplies last minute and pay expensive overnight shipping for a meeting. Or, groups that miss grant deadlines because there are not good tracking systems for applications or reports. These things all cost the organization a lot of money, and there often isn’t money to go around.NFG: What are the payoffs for getting it right?AG: One of the biggest rewards of those with good administrative systems is that they are able to engage more people in their work. Organizations that are able to efficiently communicate with their constituents and potential supporters via email or direct mail are more likely to receive more donations and support than those that don’t communicate. Donors that are assured the organization is run well will continue to give and often give more. Board members that are better connected or informed about the work will more likely be better engaged and provide more help.Having good administrative systems is really the backbone of any strong nonprofit organization. It has a direct impact on its programmatic work and financial viability.NFG: This book is obviously a great guide for emerging organizations, can established nonprofits learn a trick or two as well? Should these organizations re-assess their processes? How often?AG: Yes, definitely. I encourage readers of more established groups to first review the policies and practices outlined in the book and make sure they have similar structures in place. Second, take a look at their own policies through a values-centered lens and see if there are areas that don’t reflect the organization’s values. And third, consider if its time to update a few things. For example, my organization recently looked at our healthcare plan to see if we should try the state-based exchange through the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t make sense for us to change right now, but it is likely something that will impact our healthcare benefits in the future. Even long time organizations should try and keep up on policy changes that could benefit small nonprofits.All organizations should look at the administrative and financial progress made every year. Don’t look at everything, but when the organization is making its annual goals and objectives, it should include some work on internal policies and procedures. Incorporate this work incrementally into the organization’s board and staff and new things will be done every year. Progress is something to feel good about!Thanks to Aina for her insight and for providing a handy guide to policies and processes that can sometimes feel daunting. For more tips and insight, check out Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profit.
Nonprofits are finding new ways to tap the most vocal supporters outside their core networks to become active supporters of their causes. These supporters, or peer influencers, could be even more important than your brand. While young people may be inclined to “like” or share your existing information, you must respect the fact that they are capable of much more. Focus instead on inspiring Millennials to create and share their own perspectives. Give them the opportunity to take greater ownership over how you are perceived in the world. Peer influencers can help establish trust, exchange ideas and information, and demonstrate relevance. You can begin to embrace peer influencers and make them work for you by following these steps:￼Consider working with influencers so you can know the message they are sending while giving them room to adapt and remix it.Create opportunities for influencers to be creative, and recognize their efforts when they have success.Make sure your website and landing pages are easy to read and access, or the influence will not work.Monitor the reach of your influence (retweets, etc.).Help your staff understand and leverage the power of influencers.At the end of the day, Millennials are highly selective about what organizations they engage with in a crowded and noisy marketplace. Even though peer influence might attract a Millennial to click or read, it might not be enough to persuade them to follow your social channels. The key to reaching and engaging Millennials isn’t to do more traditional, expensive advertising and marketing campaigns or flashy, creative social efforts that emerge from inside your operation. It’s about finding a way into conversations between Millennials, and then letting those conversations take their course.Adapted from Network for Good’s eBook “The Millennial Donor Playbook,” by Kari Saratovsky, Chief Engagement Officer at Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies
Are you being honest about what the experience is?Let’s all agree on this: the giving experience is much more than a donation form. In fact, it’s even more than the moment when you make the ask.Your nonprofit’s giving experience begins at awareness and continues through acknowledgement. Each part of this experience should connect and build on the pieces that come before (and after) it. This consistency reinforces your message and keeps prospective donors in the moment of giving. Your appeals, newsletters, website, online donation page, social media, thank yous, and everything else in your campaign should all have the same compelling story, call to action, and impact statements that help donors clearly understand the impact their gift will have.Step into your donors’ shoes and walk through the entire campaign to ensure that the journey they see is the one you intend them to experience. (It just so happens that Network for Good has a free guide that will help you audit your giving experience. Download your copy now.) Are you putting enough emphasis on the follow through?Getting a supporter to give to your campaign is important, but the stewardship plan to thank, retain, and grow these donors is critical. For each campaign and each core segment, have a clear plan for following up with these donors in a way that connects your communication to the reasons they gave in the first place. As we covered in the first question, this is still part of your donor’s journey and paying attention to retention help you get more from the investment you make in your fundraising campaigns. Do you understand what your data is telling you?It’s very difficult to get smarter about your campaigns if you’re not sure what’s working. And it’s almost impossible to do that if you’re not collecting and tracking the right data. (And no, a spreadsheet no longer counts.) And when you’re not getting smarter, you’re wasting time, money, and your donor’s attention.Make sure your donation and campaign data is flowing into an easy-to-use donor management system that will allow you to quickly track and report on your results. You’ll see who’s giving (and who’s not), understand which outreach works best with each segment, and be better equipped to form the right strategies to meet your goals. (Check out this archived free webinar to learn how to use your donor data to increase your fundraising results this year. You’ll also get a sneak peek at Network for Good’s new donor management software, which is going to make your life a whole lot easier. I promise.) Your communications plan should focus on engaging and inspiring your supporters, but when it comes to making the ask, are the odds in your favor? Here are three questions that will help you optimize your organization’s giving experience.
Event DonorsAttended an event in the current fiscal year, but has not made an annual giftFirst gift, flat amount of $25-$40 for a special program Earlier in my career, I was terminated after a spectacular overestimation of my abilities.Armed with a tone-deaf, supreme confidence that I could make great things happen, but for a new tagline and a new brochure, I not only created barriers for 2,000 donors who gave a combined $400,000 each year to give again, but I spent $55,000 more than budgeted to produce the worst possible results during the best possible time for fundraising—and made all of these decisions, relying on roughly seven different spreadsheets of names, gift dates and gift amounts.Consequently, and without much warning nor surprise, I got fired. I was certain, though, I was leaving an organization that didn’t understand me or fundraising, but at the time (and as a young, early 20-something), neither did I. Like many new-to-fundraising professionals, I had more passion than expertise; I had more hubris than self-awareness; and had more “I tried to say” than “I tried to understand.”I also had more ideas than organized data.Since that time, I have learned a great deal, but see many, talented fundraising professionals making the same unnecessary mistakes I did. While I do have genuine empathy for passionate people who try to help and fail (or succeed too slowly), I also see the great cost it has for each nonprofit organization, most of whom could not sustain a mistake of $5,000, let alone $55,000.Within the nonprofit sector, there is a widely known—and not yet wholly addressed—dysfunction in the fundraising profession: We quit or get fired after a comparatively record short amount of time—just 277 days, on average.The first no-nonsense assessment of this dysfunction came from the study UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. A joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the report found high levels of turnover and lengthy vacancies in development director positions throughout the sector. More significantly, the study reveals deeper issues that contribute to instability in the development director role, including a lack of basic fundraising systems and inadequate attention to fund development among key board and staff leaders.For its part, the report quantifies much of what the sector has long known, but fails to accept and address: We have to create the conditions for fundraising success before we can demand it, let alone budget it. In last fifteen years, though, I have worked with more than 200 professional fundraisers and their boards, executive directors and see what we need to understand, embrace, and commit to action.Data, not opinions or “hunchery,” creates results.You were hired because you are creative, tenacious and care deeply about the cause you will leverage inspire your community to give. You have great ideas, but they should be considered only in the context of what has been tried before at the organization, why it worked or didn’t work, and what your donors are telling you based upon when they gave, how much and for what reasons. Without that these basic data elements, there is a high probably you won’t success as planned—or at least in the time you’re allotting and/or needed to achieve success.Data is power and power for fundraisers is know who to ask for how much and when. It’s difficult to do this when you are fundraising with spreadsheets. However, start with the basics and make sure, if you are not yet using donor management software, you work those spreadsheets to do what I call Gift-Level Recency Segmentation: SegmentAttributesTarget Ask Amount Non-DonorsProspects for whom you have a mailing or email address, but have not ever yet made a giftFirst gift, flat amount of $25-$40 for a special program Renewed DonorsMade a gift in the current fiscal yearSecond gift, upgrade/special program appeal Current DonorsMade a gift in the last fiscal year, but not yet in the current yearLast gift amount + 50% more; or recurring/monthly giving program enrollment Lapsed DonorsMade a gift two years ago, or prior, but not since or in the current fiscal yearLast gift amount, special program appeal If you can create simple segmentation as shown in the chart above, you have a much greater chance of increasing donor retention, renewing current donors and converting event attendees into annual donors. The right donor management software will make your life much easier—it will make this process go smoothly, it will be more accurate and it will allow you to spend time fundraising, instead of “spreadsheeting” behind a desk when you are scrambling for time to get it all done.
Reflecting on Developing Country Parallels at Launch of Program to Address U.S. Maternal Mortality Crisis
Posted on November 23, 2013November 17, 2016By: Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, Merck for MothersClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As an OB/GYN who has worked in dozens of developing countries, I have seen firsthand what it’s like to give birth in places where resources are strapped and conditions are bleak. I’ve seen the way women struggle to gather the money needed to give birth at a facility. I’ve seen women walk miles – while in labor no less – to reach the closest health clinic or hospital. I’ve seen women get to a facility only to find that it’s overcrowded, understaffed or lacking in critical medicines and supplies. And for all these reasons, I’ve had the misfortune of seeing women die in pregnancy and childbirth, their deaths often hand tallied on the walls of health facilities, if counted by the system at all.These are circumstances under which no woman should have to give birth. Yet they persist, day in and day out. But what I’ve found most surprising since I’ve taken on a new role as Executive Director of Merck for Mothers is that these issues are actually not confined to the developing world. Sadly, there are communities in the United States that face challenges not all that different than those facing women in places like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.I recently travelled to some of these communities for the launch of Merck for Mothers’ new programs to reduce maternal mortality here in the U.S. As part of this work, we’ve partnered with organizations in Baltimore, Camden, New York City and Philadelphia, where I had a chance to witness some of the challenges women face in getting the care they need for a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth. What I saw and heard was astonishing, revealing three striking parallels.Our partner in Camden told me that many of the women their program serves interact with the health system for the first time when they become pregnant. Whether it’s because they don’t have the funds (or insurance) to afford preventative care, or don’t have a full understanding of the services available to them, a lot of these women go years or decades without seeing a health provider. Because of this, it is common for women in low-income communities to miss out on things like primary care visits and prenatal check-ups. In fact, only 50% of pregnant women in Camden receive first trimester care, making it much more difficult to identify conditions that could lead to a complicated – and, at times, life-threatening – childbirth.Transportation is also an issue. I remember one woman in Baltimore telling me that – even if her family could afford public transportation – health care services were located too far away for her to use regularly. And because taxis rarely venture into the poorer communities, she is cut off from the transport services she needs to reach care on a routine basis. Harking back to time I spent in rural parts of Zambia and Uganda, this story sounded all too familiar, and little did I know that it was such a prevalent one in the U.S.Finally, perhaps the most profound parallel between maternal mortality domestically and abroad is the lack of reliable data. I knew that many maternal deaths in the developing world go undocumented, but I had no idea that more than 1 in 3 of these deaths are unidentified on death certificates in America. This type of information is critical in our effort to save women’s lives during pregnancy and childbirth, as it allows us to spot trends, better understand the problem and create targeted policies and clinical practices to address it.Considering this range of unexpected realities – and factoring in the escalating rates of chronic health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – it is no wonder that maternal mortality is on the rise in this country. In fact, as an OB/GYN, I fear that these chronic conditions will soon become the fourth major parallel, as these same challenges are beginning to spill into developing countries. The rise of chronic conditions in poor countries has the potential to jeopardize the progress made in bringing down maternal death rates throughout the world, much like they did in the U.S.In view of these common and emerging similarities in maternal health, Merck for Mothers has launched new partnerships in the U.S. that build on our global portfolio of programs in more than 20 other countries. While the contexts are certainly different, many of the obstacles are the same, and I look forward to the opportunity to help overcome them and ensure safer and healthier pregnancies and childbirths for all women – at home and abroad.To learn more, visit Merck for Mothers’ U.S. programs, watch this video on the personal toll of maternal mortality, or watch story by CBS 13 in Baltimore on the program’s work in that city.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
The changing of the guard is as old as time. It can be a bumpy road if you don’t plan for it. The older donor generations can feel pushed out of the very causes they helped launch. Meanwhile, the younger generations cry out for change and inclusion. How do you reach across the generations and bring everyone to the table?Compare the four primary generations of donors—Mature, Boomer, Gen X, Millennial—and you’ll see there’s more that unites us than divides us. Research scientist Jennifer Deal observed similarities in her book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground. She found that all generations:Value family, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness.Want respect.Believe leaders must be trustworthy.Like to receive feedback.Don’t like change.Base loyalty on context, not age.Want to learn and better ourselves.In “How to Engage Multiple Generations of Donors,” we explore additional generational insights on giving activity, volunteer rates, tech use, and communication preferences. Incorporate these findings into your donor engagement to create lasting relationships.Generational Communication TipsYour donor’s preferred method of communication doesn’t always depend on their age. Gen X may prefer email and Boomers may prefer a phone call, but they both enjoy receiving a thank you card in the mail. Ask your donors how they prefer to be contacted, record that information in your donor management system, and use it to create a deeper level of engagement.Matures respect authority and respond to tradition and long-term commitment. Highlight your organization’s history and your position as a leader in your field.Boomers are dedicated, hard-working, goal-oriented individuals. They expect quality services and treatment. Put your nonprofit’s work—and your results—front and center. Inspire them with your story and your mission.Gen X donors risk being overlooked in favor of their Boomer and Millennial counterparts. Pay special attention to them today. As they enter the peak years of their careers, many Gen Xers are looking for proactive ways to support organizations they believe in.Millennials are drawn to transparency and access. As donors, they’re interested in more than just their name on a donor list. They want to contribute in different ways. Incorporate more targeted contact and engagement as part of cultivating this generation of donors. Bring them into your work on a deeper level.Never before has there been such a wide array of communication options. From the classic approach of direct mail to the modern invention of instant messaging, each generation has their preference. Use your donor data to create engagement that bridges the generation gap once and for all.Check out our infographic, Bridging The Donor Generation Gap, for more information on generational giving!
The neighborhood around the JR Tennoji Station in Osaka, known as Abeno/Tennoji, was a place where tourists could experience the true atmosphere of working-class Osaka. However, after Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest skyscraper, was erected in the area, the vibe totally changed, and that common-denominator appeal has made way for a modern shopping spot. With hotels and museums, including the Harukas 300 observatory inside Abeno Harukas, the area has become a recommended stop for any visitor to Osaka, Japanese or international.In April 2015, the Foreign Customer’s Salon opened, with services designed to cater to international visitors. The Foreign Customer’s Salon is split into the “Service Salon” and the “Experience Salon,” and offers international tourists ways to have a more comfortable trip in Osaka.Get Sales Tax Exemptions and Have Goods Delivered at The Service SalonAt the Service Salon, you can undergo the process for getting sales tax exemptions, store your bags, and have purchases delivered to your hotel (Osaka Marriott Hotel/Tennoji Hotel/Sheraton Hotel Osaka) so that you can enjoy a stress-free shopping experience in Abeno Harukas. The Salon also offers regional tour information, so stop by if you’re not sure where to go in Osaka. The staff members speak English, Chinese and Korean so you don’t have to worry about not speaking Japanese either.Enjoy Traditional Japanese Culture at the Experience SalonThe Experience Salon is an venue for various Japanese cultural events. Previous events have included tea tastings and sweets tastings. There are future plans for other events that convey other interesting things about Japan, such as Tanabata decorating and traditional handicrafts. Check the Abeno Harukas Kintetsu calendar (Japanese) to learn about the ongoing events.Souvenirs for Sale at the Kokumin Drug StoreThe Kokumin drug store opened on the same floor at around the same time. Naturally it has all the standard items stocked, such as medicine and cosmetics, as well as appliances and souvenirs, so you can get all your shopping done here.Popular Hello Kitty goods include cell phone straps and towels. Kokumin also sells Japanese products like chopsticks and fans.We recommend these traditional items if you want something truly Japanese!The array of green tea-flavored sweets, along with a variety of rare products, will be of great interest to tourists. The Foreign Customer’s Salon was created to accommodate the increase in international visitors to Abeno Harukas as a new sightseeing spot. While Osaka has plenty of famous tourist areas like Namba and Umeda, why not go see what Abeno has to offer?InformationAbeno Harukas Kintetsu Foreign Customer’s SalonAddress: Osaka, Osaka, Abeno, Abenosuji, Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Wing-kan 3.5FHours: 10:00-20:30 (some floors inside the department store may have different closing hours, so confirm beforehand)Other Languages: English, Chinese, KoreanAccess: Tennoji Subway Station (Tanimachi, Midosuji Lines), JR Tennoji Station, Osaka Abenobashi Station (Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line), Tennojiekimae Station (Hankai Uemachi Line)Phone: 06-6624-1111Homepage: Abeno Harukas Kintetsu
The Hida area is famous for Shirakawa-Go, a village with traditional houses.Hida, also known as Hida Takayama or Hida Furukawa, is an old name for the northern regions of present-day Gifu prefecture.Set deep in the mountains and blessed with fine timber, woodwork became the main industry of this area. In the medieval period, woodworkers were sent to the central government at the time as a way to pay the local tax, and they brought back the Kyoto style of architecture to Hida.Hida Furukawa (Gifu prefecture, Hida, Furukawa-cho) is a rare sightseeing spot boasting a well-preserved, traditional townscape.Sukiya Suehiro no Ie (Suehiro House) is a place where the visitors can actually view traditional architecture up close. Suehiro House is an inn, located on a street lined with traditional houses, operated by Satoyama Office & Stay. The inn was converted from a Japanese-style house, and it is perfect for those who want to enjoy their stay in a traditional area.