CHARITY EXECUTIVE BLOG
Fri, Feb 14 2014 03:07 | BOSS, BOWLING, Charitable Sector, Charity Life, EMPLOYEE, EMPLOYER, GOOD, LUNCH, Nonprofit, nonprofit career, Nonprofit Sector, OFFICE, WORKSPACE
Be a useful leader:
Add excitement at the workplace:
Redecorate the workspace:
Organize competitions and award the best:
Fri, Feb 14 2014 03:01 | Charitable Giving, Charitable Sector, Employee Giving, Giving, Giving Campaigns, Nonprofit, nonprofit career, Nonprofit Marketing, Nonprofit Sector
While many of us spent New Year’s Day relaxing, Michael Messenger, executive vice-president of World Vision Canada, donned an orange tutu and ran into Lake Ontario for World Vision’s annual Courage Polar Bear Dip that raises money for Rwandan water projects. When Messenger was asked to be World Vision’s spokesman at the dip, he agreed but “wanting to speak with integrity to something I was asking others to be involved with, I realized I had to be part of the experience.” He took the plunge and this year his team raised $22,000.
While some employees may feel they already give to an organization simply by means of their employment, many nonprofit staff play a key role above and beyond their jobs, and many nonprofit organizations and charities are inviting their staff to participate in employee giving campaigns. We talked with a number of people across the charitable sector who have run successful employee fundraising campaigns to find out why and how they did it.
First things first
Let's set the record straight right away: Employees should be under no obligation to give. As Rachel Smith-Spencer, director of advancement for the Stratford Festival says, “No one owes you philanthropic support. These truly are gifts. It’s as simple as that.” She adds that donations have nothing to do with performance. Messenger agrees: “No one says your commitment to your nonprofit employer is measured by your giving.”
Cynthia Armour of Elderstone Resource Development, a leadership and management company working with the nonprofit sector, says, “Never let anyone feel that it is a stroke against them if they don’t make a donation. Maybe they just paid $1,000 to the mechanics the day you ask. We shouldn’t judge anyone.”
At the same time, Dr. Lucy Miller, president and CEO of the United Way of Calgary and Area, notes that “Smart CEOs organize campaigns where everyone can give in some way. Employees might not give money. Giving comes in all forms. It’s about participation, not about how much you give.”
Why ask staff?
Armour likens fundraising to dropping a stone in a pond and watching the ripple effect. She suggests that fundraisers always start at the centre of the circle: “Charities should always start with their ‘family’ first.”Fred Martin, director of development for Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterlooagrees, even using the same terminology: “If we are a charity asking others to give, why wouldn’t we ask our family to give first?”
“There is a difference between being paid for the work you do – your job – and your personal commitment," says Miller. "How can I go out and say to people in the community that they should support our work – if they ask me, ‘do you support it?’, it’s not enough to say I work there.”
Many staff are passionate about the work they do - in fact, according to Messenger, “Donating time or money is a way to deepen my connection with something I believe in, in a meaningful and personal way.”Shane Bauman agrees, saying he gave to his former employer Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship“because I strongly believed in their mission. Also, I wanted to help out colleagues who were struggling to raise funds.”
As Miller points out, employee donations can effectively say, “We believe in this enough to actually invest in it, to give of our time and personal resources.” This “putting our money where our collective mouth is,” as Messenger calls it, speaks volumes to other potential funders, demonstrating that those who know the organization best support it.
While the importance of board members financially supporting their organization is well known, nonprofit fundraising consultants Custom Development Solutions suggest that staff support is at least equally important. “In fact, staff participation can sometimes make an even stronger impression on foundations, corporations, and individual donor prospects.”
Finally and perhaps most easily forgotten, staff fundraising campaigns are important because, like any other donor, staff often do not give unless they are asked. A 2011 whitepaper issued by Blackbaud, a software/service provider for nonprofits, notes, “Too often, a nonprofit organization fails to even ask its employees for contributions, or the organization might ask its employees to give in a very soft, indirect manner. Employees give when there is a trigger to give, such as an employee giving campaign that has been carefully crafted for this important audience.”
How to ask
While Armour says that there is no one-size-fits-all letter or template for how to ask, there are some key elements to keep in mind when asking staff to contribute to a fundraising campaign:
- Walk in their shoes. Be sensitive in the request, acknowledging and recognizing employees’ existing commitment to the organization.
- Segment your ask. Just as you would with any group of potential donors, consider years of service, department and other factors to tailor your request.
- Ask senior management first. Blackbaud calls this the “silent phase” of your employee giving campaign and suggests all senior management should make a donation before asking staff.
- Offer the same treatment as you would any other donor, in terms of respect, privacy, recognition and energy invested in the request.
- Show how an individual’s participation is important to the success of the organization, says Miller, and encourage participation rather than dollar amounts.
- Make it absolutely clear that performance reviews or advancement within the organization are in no way tied to giving.
- A direct supervisor should not make a fundraising request of their staff, if at all possible, says Smith-Spencer.
- Size doesn’t matter. Miller has seen employee giving campaigns in organizations with even two staff where employees consider how they can personally contribute to the organization’s mission.
One of the most common and effective means of inviting staff to contribute to an employee giving campaign is through a letter with a follow up ask. The Stratford Festival sends its employees customized case-driven letters about the importance of their work. The letters explain what staff make possible and offer a snapshot of the organization’s goals and needs, giving employees an opportunity to financially support one of four areas. Smith-Spencer says, “It’s not a complicated letter,” and notes that more than 200 staff members are donors to the festival.
Conrad Grebel University College sends an annual letter to staff asking them to contribute to the operations or scholarship funds, but staff also received the same letter as other college constituencies during the college’s current capital building campaign. Martin says, “We’ve had good participation in all areas.”
Other organizations invite staff to become involved in various fundraising activities. World Vision, for instance, often has staff competitions such as chili cook-offs, to raise money during their 30-Hour Famine campaigns. Team World Vision participates in sporting events such as marathons to raise funds for World Vision’s programs. Many staff also sponsor a child through the organization.
Make it easy to give
“Convenience is a major motivator for an employee to make the leap to becoming a donor,” notes Blackbaud. The simplest way organizations can expedite this process is by offering payroll deductions. “Almost everyone can give $1 per paycheque,” says Miller.
World Vision even offers a vacation buy-back program where staff can give up a week’s salary to the organization and take an extra week off.
A significant aspect to making it easier for staff to give is to fairly compensate them. “Organizations can get into trouble if they ask staff to work harder while paying them less and asking them to make a donation on top of that,” says Martin. Armour says she is not surprised if staff who feel underpaid don’t give but suggests it may depend on how they have been brought along in the fundraising process.
Make it meaningful
Some people may not contribute to an employee fundraising campaign because they don’t understand what the funds are being raised for. “A campaign should not just be about giving but also about building knowledge and capacity around what you are raising money for,” says Miller. Her staff are invited to pay to attend a lunch-hour poverty simulation that helps staff realize how big the issues are and the impact their donations can have.
According to Blackbaud, when employees see the impact of their donations and that the organization is a good steward of funds, they are far more likely to increase the frequency and lifespan of their giving.
It’s not all about money
Particularly when organizations are just beginning to invite staff to give, Armour recommends offering different ways to contribute. One easy way might be suggesting that staff document and claim overtime or mileage, and then donate the reimbursed funds back to the organization to receive a charitable receipt. The United Way offers staff opportunities such as organizing a potluck that will raise money, being involved in a game over a lunch hour, or paying for admission to a social event.
Make it fun
A 2012 survey found that more than 50% of employers have increased the number of events and activities associated with employee giving campaigns. Such events build staff morale and increase employee engagement while raising funds and educating about the work those funds support.
Such activities add fun and keep the program fresh, something that especially appeals to Millenial employees. Miller advises that activities should help staff look forward to coming to work.
Much of the staff fundraising activity at World Vision is initiated internally by the staff themselves. “A number of our staff here are of Filipino background. After Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, these staff from various parts of the organization came together and spent hours of their own time leading a volunteer effort to raise funds for relief and connecting with local Filipino people,” Messenger recalls.
Involving staff in an employee giving campaign means that everyone can see themselves as having a role in development and fundraising. Armour says the first step is to give staff advance notice of fundraising campaigns, and invite them to think about how they can see themselves helping. Martin finds that when staff receive fundraising letters, they can also offer information about their area of work that assists the development team. They also see a connection between fundraising and budget available for projects or operations.
At its best, an employee giving campaign helps staff realize the difference they can make when they contribute together to something that matters to them. Perhaps it’s time for your organization to take the plunge?
Note: Giving to other organizations
Many nonprofits offer their staff opportunities to get involved in campaigns on behalf of other charities. The Stratford Festival has two such campaigns: one for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, an organization that is prominent in their town and that sponsors six weeks of bowling for charity annually, and the other being an annual United Way fundraising luncheon. Smith-Spencer says, “We are careful about supporting organizations that are important in our community and to the employees who work here. We support initiatives to which the staff have assigned value.”
Susan Fish is a writer/editor at Storywell, a company that helps individuals and organization tell their story well. She has written for the nonprofit sector for almost two decades and loves a good story.
Fri, Feb 14 2014 02:54 | Board of directors, Charitable Sector, engagement, Executive, Governance, Human Resources, leadership, management, Meetings, Nonprofit, Nonprofit Sector
You’re fretting about that upcoming meeting you’re facilitating. You’re scared you’ll lose control, that you’ll go overtime, or that no decisions will be made. Bad meetings are unfortunately very common in the nonprofit and charity sector. This is despite the fact that many nonprofits and charities strive to be accountable, collaborative, and inclusive, which are hallmarks of a good meeting culture. But your meetings don’t have to be bad. Here are seven tips that can help you lead an effective meeting.
1. Know your role and own it.
A facilitator’s job is to help the group reach the best outcome possible. You get to decide when and for how long the group will talk about each agenda topic, as well as who talks. You also decide how the group will discuss each topic. Do you want to have a debate? Do you want the group to talk in small groups or one large group? Do you think it’s time to vote?
Own that power. If you let the group discuss and decide how to proceed on process, then you could lose control of the meeting. People generally don’t want to make decisions about how to make decisions. They want you to lead that process so they can get on with the important stuff - making the decision.
That said, you can still ask for advice on how to proceed. For instance, you can say something like “are we ready to do a vote on this?” If you need extra help then call a five minute break and ask one skilled person to help you decide on next steps. Good facilitators constantly read the group to ensure the team feels good with their process-decisions. But ultimately, the decision on how to proceed is yours.
Despite all this talk of power, you’re not a dictator. A facilitator does not make decisions for the group, and usually facilitators don’t even share their own opinion. In other words, the facilitator does not respond directly to a meeting participant with a comment like “I disagree with your proposal to host a workshop next week.” If you have a vested interest in the outcome, it's probably best not to take on the role of facilitator.
2. The agenda is key.
A lack of preparation into agenda setting is a key reason why meetings go sour.
Set the agenda in advance. Ask members for agenda items at least a week before the so they have time to think of some topics and develop a thoughtful proposal to present to people prior to the meeting.
Collate the agenda items, add your own, and send your proposed agenda to members prior to the meeting so they can give feedback.
Prepare people to speak to their topic. Ask them to do their research, prepare their presentation, bring handouts and be ready to answer questions. It is surprisingly common to have folks suggest agenda items yet not be prepared to speak to the matter. Don’t waste people’s time.
Don’t overload the agenda. Topics usually take longer than allocated, and people love a facilitator who concludes the meeting early.
Put the most important agenda items near the start of the meeting. This ensures the topic is discussed and you debate the matter while energy is still high.
3. Logistics matter.
Eliminating logistical problems requires attention to detail. Don’t be the facilitator who has everyone waiting half an hour because someone has to buy that Mac connector cord that your presenter forgot to bring.
Make sure the room is appropriate and as comfortable as possible. If using an off-site meeting room, it should be located near public transit and/or parking that is easy to find. It’s distracting when people frequently leave to fill their meter. Meetings should take place in a quiet room, meaning cafes and restaurants are not good choices. Do the chairs move or are they nailed to the floor in classroom format? Is there air conditioning? I once organized an 80-person event in a government building and found out just before the event through a casual conversation with a receptionist that the building’s air conditioning was off on weekends and it cost $2,000 to have it turned on for that day. Don’t repeat my mistake.
If you are showing a PowerPoint presentation, have it saved in three formats (PC, Mac, and PDF). Collect, order and/or confirm all AV equipment, laptops, and connector cords. Bring a USB stick and an extension cord. Check that markers work and that you have flip chart paper and/or whiteboards are available in the room.
Arrive 30 minutes early to set up.
4. Respect the rules.
Know and abide by the group’s formal decision-making structure. Some common decision-making structures include:
- Consensus. Everyone agrees, or everyone agrees not to oppose a decision.
- 80% voting majority. The decision is approved if 80% of people vote for it.
- 51% majority. The decision is approved if 51% of people vote for it.
- One or two people hold the power. This is fairly typical in hierarchical decision-making environments, such as many large nonprofit organizations.
Make sure everyone else in the group understands the decision-making process as well. Don’t pretend that everyone has the authority to make a decision.
You can also identify the individuals who have special authority or influence over specific agenda topics. For instance, if you’re talking about implementing a communications plan for a fundraising event, both the fundraising director and communications director should be comfortable with the proposal.
At the start of the meeting it’s useful to be clear about expectations: “We’re making decisions using consensus today” or “This is an advisory meeting; Bob and Farah over here will be listening to your feedback and finalizing their decision in the next few days.”
5. Respect the culture and the code.
There’s more to decision making than just knowing a group’s official decision-making process. Each group has their own unique way of dealing with meetings. Observe the meeting culture and match it.
Here’s some examples of how meeting culture can vary.
Some groups LOVE creative exercises, such as theatre of the oppressed tools and fun introductions. This could be answering questions like “what’s something that no else in this room knows about you?” At more formal meetings, this often does not work. Some professionals won't want to talk about their personal lives or do anything more innovative than small group work.
Some groups like to make decisions in advance. For instance, many community and labour groups have staff interview representatives from key groups and craft proposals based upon these interviews. The proposal is usually developed, adapted, and informally agreed upon prior to the meeting. Approval of the decision at the meeting is often just a formality. Controversial decisions that wouldn't get approval have already been discarded. Other groups might see this process as undemocratic.
Some groups have a culture of loose facilitation, where the facilitator rarely intervenes and allows for members to stray a little. Other groups have a culture of tight facilitation, where the facilitator might keep rigid track of who is speaking and how long they can speak for. For instance, Robert’s Rules of Order is a very formal decision-making code that is often used by legislative bodies and some groups that abide by a 51% majority decision making system. Robert’s Rules of Order would be inappropriate in an activist group that makes all decisions using consensus.
The variations on meeting culture are endless. The best way to find out a group’s culture is to ask questions and observe their other meetings. Then abide by the code.
6. A three-part process to getting through any agenda item.
For each agenda time follow this simple, three-step process: get the information out, track solutions, then make decisions. Let’s explore these three points.
First, ensure everyone has the information they need to make a good decision. You could encourage the sharing of information by having a participant offer a one-page proposal or deliver a PowerPoint. It’s also useful to allow other participants to share any additional information they know about the topic. Finally, allow participants to ask clarifying questions. If there are some gaping holes or unanswered questions then consider postponing the item so the needed information can be collected.
Second, allow for debate and discussion. The most common way to do this is for everyone to stay in one group and discuss and critique possible solutions. This stage is messy. Sometimes people will suggest new ideas, while others will critique current proposals.
During this discussion you should be doing a few key things:
- Track for solutions. That means you should be writing down any solutions that people are proposing.
- Gauge where people are at on the solutions that are being identified. For instance, if a proposal is suggested do people nod in agreement or cross their arms and look stony-faced? Do people keep talking about one proposal in a positive way?
- Make sure people stay on topic. It’s your job to keep everyone on track. Let one person go off topic and soon others will stray. If someone goes off topic I let them finish and then say “let’s deal with that later. Right now let’s focus on this topic.”
Third, when you sense the group is ready to start moving toward an actual decision.
How do you know when the group is ready to decide? Some signs include:
- more than a few people are talking about implementing an idea.
- there’s lots of nodding when someone talks about a proposal.
- a clear proposal or series of proposals have surfaced.
- people are repeating themselves.
Once you’re reached this point, state the proposals out loud and, ideally, write them down so people know what the options are. If necessary, you can amalgamate common proposals.
Then vote. If there are multiple proposals, it can help to ask everyone to vote once for their favorite proposal. If there’s a clear winner then you’re home free.
If you don’t have the votes to approve a proposal then it can help to ask the people who are opposing the most popular proposal to suggest ways this proposal could be improved so that they would support it. You could either make alterations at this point or send it to a designated team to come up with a better proposal to present at a future meeting. Delaying a decision is aways better than implementing a bad decision.
It’s wise to gauge whether the proposal has the support needed for successful implementation. Important decisions - such as deciding the group’s priority political campaign - should get the group’s near unanimous support, even if 51% is all that’s needed for formal approval.
7. Deal with the difficult people.
Difficult people might speak out of turn, get unnecessarily angry, talk too much, take over the meeting, or sabotage decisions.
As the facilitator, it is your job to deal with them and keep the rest of the group on track.
Here are some tips:
Know in advance if there are people attending who can be resistant to new ideas or the decision-making process. This gives you time to mentally prepare.
Use the power of the group. You could ask a few of the more influential participants to back you up if you need to ask the disrupter to change their behavior. For instance, I once was in a situation where one participant kept trying to take over the agenda and change the topic. Instead of trying to engage in a power struggle over the agenda I asked the group if they wanted to stay on the current topic or move to the topic this person was suggesting. The group said they wanted to stay on the current topic.
Refer to the ground rules. For instance, if someone is constantly interrupting others, it is helpful to go back to the ground rules that were presented at the beginning of the meeting. Two of those ground rules could be 1) no interrupting others and 2) make sure everyone has a chance to voice their opinion. If they break the rules then you can remind them that the group agreed that these were the rules of the meeting.
You - or someone in the group - could even have a one-on-one conversation with the problem person so that you are aware of their concerns and they know that disruptive behavior is detrimental to the productivity of the meeting. Sometimes people simply don't understand how effective meetings work.
Sometimes difficult people have genuine concerns and the group’s failure to act on their ideas has prompted this person to be difficult because they feel ignored. These larger issues should be addressed by the group.
Source: Jessica Bell
Source: Jessica Bell
Thu, Feb 13 2014 04:47 | Charitable Giving, Charitable Sector, Charity Life, fundraising, Instagram, Mobile Media, Nonprofit Marketing, Nonprofits, social media
1. Promote your website.
2. Promote your text-to-give campaigns.
3. Launch a hashtag fundraising campaign.
4. Promote fundraising events.
5. Offer promotional discounts.
6. Thank your donors.
Source: NonProfit Tech for Good
Thu, Feb 13 2014 04:35 | Charitable Giving, Charitable Sector, Charity Holidays, Charity Life, Nonprofit, nonprofit career, NonProfit Valentines, Valentine, Valentines Day
Forget the wining and dining. Do something that matters.
Like many people, I've had good Valentine's Days, and...not so good. The not-so-good ones date back to middle school, when I, like many of my classmates, anxiously awaited one of those sweetheart-pink carnations from what I hoped would be a secret admirer. Much to my dismay, the carnation never came. And for years, it left me feeling downright uneasy about the 14th of February.
I later came to realize that Valentine's Day is about much more than flowers and candy, or even being part of a couple. I love that there's a day in our busy lives when we officially celebrate love. I'm not just talking romantic love, like Hallmark would have us believe, but the real-deal, universal "stuff of life" that makes up who we really are. Behind our roles and personalities and professionalism, each of us, at essence, is a living, loving being. Sure, on the other 364 days of the year we might try to fake it, but on this one day attributed to a Saint, the world agrees: Love is where it's at.
Call it spirit, call it sweetness -- whatever you want to call it, we've all got it. It's just a matter of what we do with it. So this Valentine's Day, put the cupids and carnations and conversation-hearts aside. Give of yourself, your time, your heart -- to people you know, and people you don't. Share your love in small ways and big. And best of all, be generous.
There are plenty of ways to do good and feel good this Valentine's Day. Here are a few.
- Will You Be My...Volunteer? There's no shortage of ways you can help. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or favorite nonprofit, or offer to tutor a child in reading or math. You can find loads of opportunities on VolunteerMatch, Idealist and Points of Light, or check your local college campus for organized events.
- Put the "Fun" in Fundraising. If you're taking that special someone out for a pricey dinner, why not have your bill go to a good cause? Check your newspaper or online city pages for Valentine-themed fundraisers that support local nonprofits. Or better yet, throw your own happy hour or party, and donate the proceeds to charity.
- Send Love Letters. Not just to your sweetheart, but to people and organizations that are doing good things for the world. Tell them why you respect and appreciate their work, and that they really do make a difference. If you're feeling extra romantic, include a donation in the envelope.
- Reach Out to Those in Need. Deliver homemade Valentine's cards or heart-shaped cookies to the sick, the elderly, the homeless -- and their caregivers. Call a local children's hospital, domestic violence shelter, or nursing home and ask how you can help.
- Remember Those Who Serve You. In the spirit of service, think of all those people who make your life easier and more convenient -- every single day. Give a thank-you card to the bus driver or the barista who serves you your latte. Personally thank the janitor who keeps your office or campus clean, or the people who pick up your trash. Leave your waiter an extra tip, and smile -- big -- at the gas station attendant.
- Adopt a Pet for a Day. Offer to take care of a pet for an ill or homebound neighbor. Volunteer at your local animal shelter to take the dogs for a walk. Or adopt an endangered species through theWorld Wildlife Fund, and you'll get a lovable stuffed pet and adoption certificate.
- Be a Fair-Trade Valentine. Buy certified fair-trade chocolate from companies that ensure that small-scale farmers receive higher and more stable prices for their cocoa. Try Divine, Theo, Tazaor the many gourmet organic bars at Equal Exchange cooperative. Or get a fair-trade Valentine's Day Action Kit -- complete with chocolates, cards, and more -- at Global Exchange.
- Love the Environment. Don't say it with flowers -- unless they're organic. Buy fresh organic blooms from your local farmer's market, or send a bunch from Organic Bouquet, which donates 10 percent to charities like CARE, the Global Fund for Women, and the American Red Cross.
- Support Disaster Relief. Hurricane Katrina may be history by now, but the devastating effects in the Gulf region are far from forgotten. When you buy Love Letters to the South, a photography book of celebrities paying tribute to those affected by Hurricane Katrina, your purchase will help with rebuilding efforts. Proceeds support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and Habitat for Humanity's Operation Home Delivery.
- Say "I Do" to Charitable Weddings. If you've decided to tie the knot with that special someone, consider creating a charitable gift registry through the I Do Foundation and its many retail and nonprofit partners.
- Celebrate with Small Acts of Kindness. Valentine's Day isn't the only holiday this week: February 10-17 is Random Acts of Kindness Week. What can you do? Buy coffee, lunch, or a toll payment for the person behind you in line. Tape the exact change for a soda to a vending machine. Send cards with joyful messages to strangers. Collect canned goods for a food bank. Shovel a neighbor's driveway, or babysit -- for free. Visit actsofkindness.org for hundreds of other ideas.
Source: Elaine Gast via The Case Foundation