Monthly Archives

August 2012

Raise Money Online – NOW!

By | Donor Database, Nonprofit Tech

Dave Boyce getting the Social Media for Nonprofits crowd bouncing to the beat

At a recent Social Media for Nonprofits seminar, I learned how small nonprofits across the world are raising millions of dollars.  In fact, according to Fundly CEO Dave Boyce, online fundraising totaled $30 billion last year and will grow an additional $10 billion this year.  Fundly has raised approximately $280 million for nonprofits across 25,000 campaigns.

So, who gets online donations?  “People who ask for it,” according to Boyce.  He suggests a  simple step-by-step approach.

  1. Launch.   Don’t aim for perfection and you really don’t learn anything until you launch.
  2. Choose an achievable amount.  Donors like to hit goals.
  3. Be specific. Tell donors the exact purpose for the money, the amount needed and the time frame (< 3 months).
  4. Set giving levels such as “feed a family for a day” or “feed a family for a month”.
  5. Share your story – what compels donors to give through you?
  6. Launch with email blasts, Tweets, Facebook postings, etc.
  7. Keep communicating:  email weekly – just 2-4 lines; post to Facebook daily; Twitter a lot.
  8. Recruit help – board members, volunteers, partners, celebrity endorsers and ask them to ask their followers to participate.
  9. Celebrate!  Let your followers and supporters know when you get your first donation, when you reach $1,000. etc.  The point is to celebrate early and often.

Dave saved the best for last when he regaled the crowd with a stirring Beatbox.  I wish I had set my iPad to video!


The Geography and Demographics of Philanthropy

By | CRM & Salesforce

Have you ever wondered how generous your hometown is? Now, you can find out.

A new report released by The Chronicle of Philanthropy compiles charitable giving data from the Internal Revenue Service. While the data is incomplete, it supposedly accounts for approximately 63% of the estimated $214-billion that Americans gave away in 2008. Using a model that measures giving as a percentage of discretionary income (defined as income after tax and essential expenses such as housing and food), the study ranks cities and towns, counties and states and even breaks the data out demographically.

The Chronicle went a step further and provides handy maps so you can drill down to see Total Contributions, by households or as a percentage of income.

So, it was great to see that my home county of Essex, Massachusetts ranked 96th out of 3,115 counties measured. Or that the prime age group for giving in Massachusetts is 45-64 year-olds.

Keep Your Donors Out of Trouble with the IRS

By | Good Governance, Information Technology

In her terrific book Keep Your Donors, Simone Joyaux sums up the process as “Give, ask, send thank you notes”. Of course raising funds in the nonprofit world is more difficult than that, but the “thank you notes” need to be more than being politely grateful.

The IRS recently won a summary judgment against a couple that disallowed their charitable deduction for gifts made to their church. According to a recent newsletter from Leimberg Services, the tax deduction for the donation was disallowed because the church “lacked a statement regarding whether any goods or services were provided in consideration for the contributions”. Even after the church confirmed that no consideration was involved, the IRS disallowed the deduction because the acknowledgement was not contemporaneous.

So, according to the National Council of Nonprofits, your gracious thank you letters to donors should contain:

  • A statement that the nonprofit is a charity recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3);
  • Either (a) amount donated (if cash or cash equivalents); or (b) description of the property donated (the nonprofit should not attempt to assign the cash value of the property in your letter – that is the donor’s responsibility);
  • The date the donation was received;
  • Either:
    • (a) statement whether your organization provided any goods or services in return for the donation, such as, “No goods or services were received in return for this gift“; or
    • (b) if the gift was $75 or more and the nonprofit did provide something of more than insubstantial benefit in return for the gift, (such as tickets to a special event or a dinner), then the charity must include a good faith estimate of the value of the goods/services provided (such as the market value of tickets to the event or the actual cost of the dinner – even if it was donated to the charity).
501 Partners Logo

Welcome to 501 Partners

By | 501Partners News

501_logoWelcome to 501Partners’ new blog posts.  In the future, we’ll be talking about a number of topics including:  nonprofits, information technology, constituent relationship management systems, cloud computing, bookkeeping and finance, fundraising and social media.  All of these subject will be covered in the context of how nonprofits can improve their operations and effectiveness.

If you have any ideas for future topics, we’d be happy to receive them.

Allan & Ira