Posted on March 13, 2009 by justlists
(ref: How to Prepare Your Nonprofit for an Economic Recession by Richard Male, Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training)
Here are 10 tips from Grassrootsfundraising.org – a really good resource for socially conscious nonprofit organizations looking for ideas and advice for raising more money (and who isn’t these days?)
- Make it personal and stay in touch with your donors. Call them by
phone to thank and update them, invite them to tour your building, or have breakfast briefings a few times during the next six months.
- Don’t rely as much on direct mail either for acquiring new donors or for getting relatively new donors to renew their support. Studies show that direct mail donations have been flat or decreasing.
- Expect foundation funding to decrease as foundations’ investment portfolios take a hit. Foundations will be tending to focus more on their existing grantees rather than on new organizations.
- Stay in touch with all your donors more regularly. Create a monthly e-newsletter for all of your donors, friends, and stakeholders that will keep them in touch with what is happening in your organization. Collect as many e-mail addresses as you can.
- Redefine your major donors downward so you have a larger base of “high touch donors.” If you define your major donors now as those who give $500 or more, try to lower the threshold amount to $250 so you will have a larger pool of donors.
- Focus more on a “few major donors” and increase the personal time you spend with them. They may be your lifesavers during tougher economic times.
- Rely less on corporate philanthropy and more on corporate sponsorship and marketing dollars. Corporate philanthropy (small even in good times) will probably decrease. What is likely to increase is sponsorship and underwriting dollars for special events.
- Increase your fundraising capabilities. Invest time and money in your database, attending a workshop or training session. Increase your development staff. Realize your costs may increase a bit during these times.
- Increase opportunities for your donor prospects and your donors to become involved. Donors are looking for increased involvement and less checkbook philanthropy. Look for ways they can be active in volunteering.
- Develop contingency plans that answer all of the “what if” questions in terms of reduced revenue. Can you use volunteers where staff were functioning in good times? Are there opportunities for board members to play more technical roles?
The Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)
is a multiracial organization that promotes the connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building. GIFT believes that how groups are funded is as important to achieving their goals as how the money is spent, and that building community support is central to long-term social change.
Richard Male is a national and international consultant and trainer with nonprofit organizations in the field of capacity building and coaching. Visit him at http://www.richardmale.com
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Posted on September 5, 2008 by justlists
(ref: Politics and the Pulpit 2008 from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)
In relatively plain English, Politics and the Pulpit 2008 – A Guide to the Internal Revenue Code Restrictions on the Political Activity of Religious Organizations identifies the following commonly asked questions about what role religious organizations can play during an election. Download the report for answers to these questions. Also check out 16 Things Non-Profits Can and Can’t Do in an Election Year.
- Where do the restrictions on religious organizations’ participation in the political process come from?
- Has this prohibition on political campaign intervention always been part of the Internal Revenue Code?
- Are religious organizations singled out by the political campaign intervention prohibition in the Internal Revenue Code?
- Doesn’t the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protect the right of religious organizations to engage in political activity?
- What political activities are prohibited under the Internal Revenue Code?
- Must religious organizations restrict their discussion of issues during election campaign periods?
- When would an issue discussion violate the political campaign intervention prohibition?
- Are religious organizations permitted to engage in lobbying activities?
- Are religious organizations permitted to participate in referenda, constitutional amendments and similar ballot initiatives?
- What are the consequences if a religious organization engages in excessive lobbying?
- Does the political campaign intervention prohibition apply to the political activities of clergy and other religious leaders?
- When are the political activities of clergy or other religious leaders attributed to their religious organizations?
- Who is considered a candidate?
- What rules apply with respect to candidates for non-elective office?
- May candidates appear in pulpits during worship services?
- What if the candidate appears in a noncandidate capacity?
- What if the candidate is a member of the clergy?
- May religious organizations become involved in voter education?
- May religious organizations publish or distribute voter guides?
- Why must a broad range of issues be covered in voter education materials?
- May religious organizations publish or distribute legislators’ voting records?
- May religious organizations distribute voter education materials prepared by a candidate, political party or PAC?
- May religious organizations sponsor candidate forums?
- May religious organizations conduct voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives?
- May the facilities of religious organizations be used for civic or political events?
- Do special rules apply to websites belonging to religious organizations?
- Do links to candidate-related materials constitute political campaign intervention?
- May religious organizations sell paid political advertising in their publications?
- May a religious organization sell or rent its mailing list to a candidate, political party or PAC?
- What are the penalties if a religious organization violates the political campaign intervention prohibition?
- Does the IRS target churches for enforcement of the political campaign intervention prohibition?
Download the Pew Forum report to see the answers to these questions.
Then, read an excerpt from Loud and Clear in an Election Year and consider buying your own copy of this book to learn more about finding and exercising your lawful voice as a socially responsible non-profit in an election year.
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Posted on May 5, 2008 by justlists
(ref: Loud and Clear in an Election Year from Spin Project. Read more…)
7 Things Non-Profits Can/Should Definitely Do….
- Register people to vote as long as there is no targeting of districts based on partisan demographics. Nor can you target swing or battleground districts ( ie you cannot target a “Democratic” area but you can target underrepresented communities, such as African Americans, Latinos, etc).
- Run a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive. The same targeting rules apply, see above.
- Host a candidate forum. Make sure all candidates are invited, rules are fair, and the audience is not stacked.
- Candidate questioning. Organizations can encourage their members to ask all the candidates in a race the same (not loaded) question about a particular issue of concern to them. Groups can also continue to criticize public officials who they feel are detrimental to their issues — even when that official is a candidate — if this is an activity the organization also does in the same manner and scope in a non-election year.
- Public education via earned media coverage of your issue. Use public education tools such as nonpartisan reports, opinion editorials, and letters to the editor to get the word out about your issue.
- Direct public education about your issue by way of scorecards, Internet communications, door knocking, and so forth. All of these must be nonpartisan.
- Ballot initiatives are also a tool to make proactive public policy on your issue.
4 Things Non-Profits Should Be Careful Before Doing…
- Distribute, post on Web site, and send out on listservs voter education guides and legislative voting records that address a wide range of issues. Scorecards are not permissible if they indicate that a candidate’s position is either “good” or “bad.”
- Educate the public on issues as long as the information does not implicitly suggest that people should vote for a particular candidate.
- Educate the public on candidates as long as information is presented on all candidates and on a wide range of issues and without trying to cast candidates in a favorable or unfavorable light. Web sites of 501(c)(3)s may link to the Web sites of all candidates in a race for educational purposes following the above guidelines.
- Seek to influence party platforms, as long as you do it for all major parties equally.
5 Things Non-Profits Must Never Do…
- Endorse candidates.
- Contribute funds to candidates.
- Use organization resources or staff time for candidate election activities (ballot measures are OK, subject to lobbying limits).
- Provide mailing lists to candidates for free or below market rate.
- Solicit candidate pledges: Nonprofit organizations cannot ask a candidate to pledge to do or not to do something in their campaign or in their eventual election. This provides implicit endorsement and is illegal.
For more specific information, Read an excerpt from the book Loud and Clear in an Election Year (and get the book) at Reach and Teach.
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