Tuesday, May 29, 2018

posted by
Jill Robeck
Spring 2018 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

If you research the topic of volunteer retention, you will find many lists of “best practices” or “high priority” tasks for nonprofit managers.  While these lists are valuable, and applicable to specific types of nonprofits, it is difficult to find a list that can be applied to the majority of nonprofits, regardless of mission and size.

The following list contains best practices that are easy to implement across a wide range of nonprofits.  They are also common-sense solutions, which can be easily understood and transferred into practice.  These practices are mutually beneficial to volunteers and nonprofit organizations.

1. Create Clear Job Descriptions – State the title of the position, what job duties are included, what type of environment volunteers will be working in, and the name of the person they report to.  Most importantly, state the mission of the organization, and show how the position directly contributes to the accomplishment of that mission. 

Why Is This Important? Volunteers want to know what they are getting in to before they sign on for a job.  Creating a clear, concise job description gives them a good idea of what will be required of them, and allows a chance to ask questions.  Nonprofit managers can save time and money by screening out volunteers who are not ready to commit to the task at hand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

posted by
Damonte Johnson
Class 12 Public Ally

My story with Public Allies Arizona starts years before I even walked into a job fair and met my former program manager. For you to truly understand my impact with Public Allies, you must first allow me introduce my journey, my obstacles, and myself. You must first understand how having a village of leaders, nurturers, friends and loved ones all played a part in my journey to get this far. I was born the second oldest of six to a single mother on the north side of St. Louis, City. Where I lived, 16 family members in a three-bedroom home, mostly boys, you would think the house would be a rowdy environment. It was quite the opposite. The house was always full of love for each other, but outside the door was another story. I can still smell the lingering scent of a gun recently fired. I still feel the pangs of not eating and not being sure  when a meal would come. I remember how hard my mom had to work to provide for the household, and all of this was before my sixth birthday. 

When I joined Public Allies back in 2017, I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into. After meeting the strong men and women in my cohort, I knew I was a part of something special. I started working with Creighton Community Foundation, for two reasons. First, I wanted to impact the lives of the next generation through education. Second, the founder Jeff Boles, knows and lives the mission that my Godmother instilled in me, “it takes a village, to raise a child.” While working at Creighton, we worked heavily in the neighborhoods of the students who attended Gateway and Excelencia Elementary.



Monday, May 7, 2018

posted by
Jacque Ahrenberg
Senior Consultant
Rayvan Group

The one-size-fits-all mentality may work with buying a hat but it is not an effective way to attract new donors to your nonprofit. 

It is possible to diversify your revenue and bring sustainability to your organization by attracting new donors. These individual donors will want to support your organization and its mission. 

We have identified three key items that you can immediately implement to attract new donors to your organization.

1. Choose to engage the donor’s head and heart to make the investment decision. 

While some donors want to hear about the tear-jerking story, other donors gravitate to the infographic that clearly demonstrates the direct numbers impacted by the mission of the organization. And to make things a little more difficult, some donors appreciate both – the heart felt story and the hard facts combined with data. 

We have found that you will achieve your best results from a donor appeal letter when you genuinely know your audience. Keep in mind that this is not only the words on the paper – it is also how your solicitation letter made them feel. You want your donors (and prospective donors) to remember their feelings, even after the last punctuation mark on the paper. 

When marketing to a donor demographic that you have not identified their giving preference, go with the heartfelt story. Make sure you are able to clearly illustrate the impact numbers of your organization and, when possible, couple this with a client name, face and personal story. All the better to paint the picture for your donor to feel the impact of their donation. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

posted by
Disa McAlister
Fall 2017 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Nonprofit organizations have added pressure in the area of Leadership Development due to smaller staff sizes, with smaller salaries. This means people are expected to do more for less. Volunteer bases, while passionate, also sport high turnover. Volunteer managers are constantly training, on top of everything else they do. Between being understaffed, stretching resources and constantly training new people, little energy is left over to put into leadership development. 

 Even in the age of technology and virtual meetings, the most impactful moments of development happen in regular face-to-face meetings on a daily basis. Your conference room (or coffee shop table) is sacred space. Use the moments in and around meetings to foster the kind of leadership that will support your organization.

Here are a few toxic signs of ego to watch out for that will invade your sacred meeting space and derail leadership development:


To steamroll a conversation is to take the focus off a subject and turn it into being all about one person. If you witness a person is consistently taking over a conversation to talk about themselves, you can veer the focus back by kindly acknowledging what they were saying using reflective language, and then saying, “but this meeting is about X and we need to hear from Mr. Y.” It may not work the first time, but you’ve taken the first step to establishing a precedence for your meeting space.

Monday, April 23, 2018

posted by
Juhi Sharma
Digital Marketing
Give Central

When it comes to fundraising for nonprofits, donors are key. While reaching out to donors for funds, it is essential to treat them as partners. You should constantly keep them in the loop about things you are planning to do and how you plan to go about your campaign.

Donors have several motivations for choosing a cause. It could be something they feel passionately about, or it could also be their desire to be part of a community while sharing the vision of the leader of the project. It could be because of tax-deductible donations, or several other factors. You should be able to provide reasons to the donor for connecting with your cause. Once they are a part of your cause, it is equally important to reach out to them on a regular basis to make them feel a part of your community.

Here are a few ways to make your campaign more donor centric: 

Show donors how they can help solve a problem

Evidence shows that people are more likely to donate if they believe they can create a difference through their support. They strive to help solve something that they associate themselves with. Target your audience with a pitch that has specific requests.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Kristin Harvey

posted by
Kristin Harvey
ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management student

Nonprofits rely heavily on giving from private citizens to have the funds necessary to carry out their mission and strengthen their communities. The tax law and jobs act (TCJA) presents many changes for nonprofits to consider in 2018. Charitable giving provides necessary support to nonprofits by providing vital services to communities, and the most giving by far comes from individual donors.

The Tax Policy Center projects that individual charitable giving will decrease by between 4 and 6.5 percent in 2018. The following changes to the law are some of the most critical when considering the effect they may have on charitable giving to nonprofits. 

  • Standard deductions are increased to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples.
  • Exemption of estate tax has been doubled to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples.
  • State and local income and property taxes are now limited to a $10,000 deduction.
  • For those who itemize, the limit for cash donations is raised from 50 percent to 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).
  • The Pease Amendment, which limited overall itemized deductions, is now repealed.

Let's examine each of them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

posted by
Hallie Rexer
Fall 2017 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Among nonprofit organizations, human service nonprofits, in particular, serve public interests to improve the community. Each community brings diverse challenges for the government, nonprofit, and private sectors to address; and these complex social issues are rarely solved by single organizations. Aid programs may be necessary to benefit the individuals currently in poverty, but it does not provide a lasting solution (Dees, 2008). Many leaders are working towards collaboration; however, “larger cultural contexts remain firmly anchored to the myth of the heroic individual leader” (Senge, et. al, 2015). Understanding how a nonprofit leader can catalyze and guide systemic development to foster collaboration may lead to creating effective change on a greater scale. (Senge, et. al, 2015). 

Nationally and in Arizona, systemic challenges are present. For example, the poverty rate in the United States increased from 12.4 percent in 2000 to 15.5 percent in 2015; and was even higher in Arizona where the 2015 poverty rate was 18.2 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016).  While poverty was rising, so were national high school graduation rates. In 2011, the U.S. graduation rate was 79 percent and the rate in 2015 was 83.2 percent. The Arizona high school graduation rate dropped from 78 percent in 2011 to 77.4 percent in 2015 (National Center for Education, 2016). Scharmer (2008) accuses these failures to the blind “deeper dimension of leadership and transformational change” (Scharmer, 2008). While these problems are seen by some as intractable, there are opportunities for innovation by nonprofit practitioners through leadership advancements. (Senge, et. al, 2015).   

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Media  Strategy Consultant

Every year, the nonprofit industry continues to grow. As more and more organizations enter the scene, the need to become competitive is ever more essential as it's the only way to ensure success. Marketing plays a crucial role in this aspect, and with a well-defined online marketing strategy, reaching your target audience and the results you want are more than ever before.

Nonprofit marketing is all about getting the name out there, as it will allow you to connect with potential supporters and generate results. This holds true in the online world as well. However, to ensure success, it's essential to broaden your horizon, and don't focus on only having an up-to-date website. 

Dedication and perseverance are also outstanding. Aside from that, knowing some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions regarding nonprofit marketing can also help you in the long run, and we're here to discuss just that.

1. You Will Never Run Out of Donors

One of the most common misconceptions is that, since it's a nonprofit organization, there will always be a group of people who would be interested in lending a hand. Although this might be true, you have to consider that there are also other nonprofit organizations out there. 

Loyalty shifts based on the type of audience-- the non-donors who are not familiar with the organization; the non-donors who know the organization, and the donors. Each audience is expecting a particular content from the organization, and these groups correspond perfectly to the stages of the donor funnel-- the prospecting, cultivation, and stewardship. 

Failure to focus on what these groups of people need would result in having your prospects switch to another nonprofit organization. You can keep an eye on what your donors want by monitoring their interaction with your website and other online tools like email marketing analytics. 

To fix this, make sure that your content is educational to increase the chances of attracting potential donors, and once you get their interest, this raises the possibility that they'll slowly convert into donors. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

posted by
Hira Ismail
Fall 2017 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

The 2012 State of the Work Report shows that “people of color make up 37 percent of program offices at foundations…21 percent of U.S. managerial/professional workforce, but only 10-17 percent of CEO and board leadership at foundations” (Ryan, 2012, p. 5). How, then, shall one convince rigid institutions to prioritize diversity and inclusion? One example of a strategy is apparent in the story of Gallaudet University, a college for the deaf (Ryan, 2012, p. 3). In 1988, the chairman hired a hearing individual as board president. Students protested: Gallaudet is an institution that aims to empower deaf students, but had never allowed a deaf individual to ascend to its highest ranks. This was contradictory and limiting. Eventually, their protest worked and a deaf candidate was hired. Another strategy this report suggests is to help the organization recognize the cost of remaining at the status quo. How will staying singular in its approach to staffing damage a nonprofit organization’s reputation? A nonprofit not only needs to reflect its community through  staffing, but  genuinely hear and act upon  diverse voices. 

How can nonprofits successfully integrate a country’s diverse workforce? In a recent study, researchers found that “a board that has greater gender diversity has more effective governance practices and is more likely to have policies and practices related to diversity” (Buse, Bernstein, Bilimoria, 2014, p. 187). The same study found that an increase in racial diversity, when coupled with diversity policies, practices and inclusion behaviors, affected governance practices positively. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

posted by
Chris Giarratana
Digital Media  Strategy Consultant

For nonprofit organizations, it is imperative to pay close attention to fundraising opportunities. As the economy continues to change, your donors need as much information and contact with your organization as possible if you want to attract qualified volunteers and increase donations throughout the year. 

That is why we have gathered some of the nonprofit marketing & fundraising trends  that you should look out for in 2018. You can use these trends to help your organization grow and hit your goals this year. Many of these topics will strengthen your nonprofit beyond just marketing. 

1. Website Encryption Becomes Serious Business

We rely on technology so much, and because of that, internet security has become one of the most critical factors for nonprofits. Similar to the threats faced by businesses, nonprofits need to protect the personal information of their donors and volunteers. Your organization needs to deliver a secure and trusted experience to your community as they interact with your online presence. 

There has been a rise in the number of hacked websites since 2016, and there are no signs that it's going to stop anytime soon. This lead to hackers taking full advantage of website vulnerability, to the point that even government agencies suffered from this.

Because nonprofit organizations manage and store a lot of relevant information from their business partners and donors, it's essential to ensure that the information being shared with them remains safe.

Website encryption has become one of the prime trends for 2018. It's crucial to transfer your website (if you haven't yet), from HTTP to HTTPS, which encrypts your site together with all the interactions that took place on it. 


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