Nonprofit Kit For Dummies book cover

Nonprofit Kit For Dummies

Authors:
Beverly A. Browning ,
Stan Hutton ,
Frances N. Phillips
Published: October 26, 2021

Overview

Helping you successfully start a nonprofit organization the right way or strengthening the governing, financial, and capacity-building framework of your existing nonprofit organization!

Ready to do some good? Ready to give back to the community? You better be! Because in Nonprofit Kit For Dummies you’ll find the tools and strategies you need to organize and shift your nonprofit into high gear. Buckle up and hit the gas as you master the latest techniques in nonprofit startup, recruiting the right board members, identifying collaborative stakeholders, grant writing, online fundraising, and marketing. You’ll learn to improve your management practices, raise more money, give more effectively, and plan more creatively.

This book’s supplementary online resources include expertly written organization plans, financial procedure outlines and guides, and event planning tools you can implement immediately to help your nonprofit help more people. It also walks you through how to:

  • Find up-to-date info on the latest web-based campaign tools, like Kickstarter, Kiva, and others
  • Use templates, checklists, and plans to organize your nonprofit’s finances, employee relations, and legal structure
  • Survive and thrive during challenging times, like those caused by pandemics and natural disasters

Starting and running a nonprofit organization takes heart, courage, and know-how. You’ve got the first two taken care of. Let Nonprofit Kit For Dummies help you with the knowledge as you lift your nonprofit to new heights.

Helping you successfully start a nonprofit organization the right way or strengthening the governing, financial, and capacity-building framework of your existing nonprofit organization!

Ready to do some good? Ready to give back to the community? You better be! Because in Nonprofit Kit For Dummies you’ll find the tools and strategies you need to organize and shift your nonprofit into high gear. Buckle up and hit the gas as you master the latest techniques in nonprofit startup, recruiting the right board members, identifying collaborative stakeholders, grant writing, online fundraising, and marketing. You’ll learn to improve your management practices, raise more money, give more effectively, and plan more creatively.

This book’s supplementary online resources

include expertly written organization plans, financial procedure outlines and guides, and event planning tools you can implement immediately to help your nonprofit help more people. It also walks you through how to:

  • Find up-to-date info on the latest web-based campaign tools, like Kickstarter, Kiva, and others
  • Use templates, checklists, and plans to organize your nonprofit’s finances, employee relations, and legal structure
  • Survive and thrive during challenging times, like those caused by pandemics and natural disasters

Starting and running a nonprofit organization takes heart, courage, and know-how. You’ve got the first two taken care of. Let Nonprofit Kit For Dummies help you with the knowledge as you lift your nonprofit to new heights.

Nonprofit Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Creating and running a nonprofit organization can be a gratifying and worthwhile endeavor. Success depends on developing a good idea that meets a real need, testing that idea, planning (and planning some more), and inspiring others. Though the work is demanding, it’s also deeply rewarding.

Articles From The Book

29 results

Nonprofits Articles

10 Tips for Raising Money from Your Website

Although online donations still represent a modest percentage (13 percent as of 2020) of total giving to nonprofit organizations, that percentage is growing, and your nonprofit's website is an important fundraising tool. People give online because it's fast and convenient. Websites are particularly strong at reaching donors who know your organization well, trust it, and like the convenience of giving online. They can also attract donors who contribute on impulse. Charities that respond to emergencies have succeeded at raising money online when a disaster strikes. How can you make your website do its fundraising job well? Here are ten tips:

Evaluate your website's content

If potential donors are meeting your organization for the first time through its website, you want them to quickly understand the essence of who you are and what you do. Ask yourself, what do they see when they arrive on your home page? Your purpose and mission should be clearly and succinctly stated. Don't use your full mission statement: instead, present your purpose in a phrase or short sentence.

Pay attention to your website's look

Don't present a cluttered layout or dense text. Remember that it's a visual medium. (You can search online to see examples of the previous year's best nonprofit websites for some great models.)

Invite your website's users to get involved

Include sections labeled, "What You Can Do," "Join Us," or "Make Change." In all online fundraising, using the word "you" is the most powerful way to get your readers' attention. When you have that attention, give that reader some choices. Making a donation should be a clear and prominent option, but it shouldn't be the only way for someone to help you.

Show the outcomes

Online donors want to know about results. They want to know your work is effective and that their contribution makes a concrete difference. You can show them the stack of school supplies their $50 gift could buy for refugee children or the well you could dig in a drought-parched part of the world for just $300.

Keep it simple

Make it, oh, so easy to find your "donate" option and follow the steps to make an online donation. Services such as Just Giving and Network for Good can help you collect and acknowledge your online donations.

Be honest and clear about how you're spending your donors' money

Earn their trust with your candor. And always provide an easy-to-use "contact us" feature so they can submit questions and comments.

Ask directly

Be clear about what actions you want your web visitors to take. Don't be shy about requesting donations and calling on them to take action.

Use keywords to describe the work you do

You want to make those words prominent in your headings and introductory copy. Remember that your online readers will include people who have come across you by searching online for information about the subject of your work, as well as those who are looking for your nonprofit by name. You want to be certain that those people "searching by subject" will find you.

Experiment with investing in search engine marketing

Google Grants and its paid-search service AdWords is a good place to begin.

Pay attention to what people are saying about your organization

Set up Google alerts to see when and how your organization is mentioned in blogs, the media, and other online contexts (and participate in the conversation whenever possible). Also, check to see how your organization is ranked on nonprofit rating websites such as Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and how your clients and volunteers rate you on Yelp.com or GreatNonprofits.org.

Nonprofits Articles

How to Organize and Interpret Survey Responses to Market Your Nonprofit

After you have survey results, you will need to utilize the responses to help you better market your nonprofit. You can compile the responses by hand or use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet to tally responses. Of course, if you’ve used an online surveying service, it will compile the answers for you. If your survey responders identify themselves and you want to keep track of information and opinions they share to inform your fundraising or volunteer-recruitment staff, you want to incorporate their information into the database you’re developing of your supporters.

Check Idealware for recent reviews of Constituent Relationship Management software options. Such programs allow you to record every point of connection — from workshop attendance to dance contestant to donor — you may have with an individual. If you don’t want to go that route, Microsoft Access and Filemaker Pro are commonly used tools that can be adapted to your needs.

You may discover that you serve several distinct groups of people. For example, low-income students may use the library after school and visit your exhibits while they’re there. Middle-income mothers from the immediate neighborhood may bring their toddlers to the library for afternoon story time and take advantage of your programs. And wealthy older adults may volunteer as docents, serve on your board, and attend your organization’s panel discussions. With this valuable information, you may be able to recognize ways to reach more people who resemble the ones you’re already serving. The more challenging task is to reach and entice new groups of people.

Do people you don’t know gather at your organization’s programs? Sponsor free drawings in which contestants compete for prizes by filling out forms with their names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

An advantage of designing a survey online is that you can make it engaging by using the techniques of branching or piping. In such a survey, someone’s answer to one question alters the next question she’s asked. For example, if you were to say that you preferred ice cream to pie for dessert, you would next be asked if you preferred chocolate, vanilla, or spumoni. If you discover that your target audience likes your program offerings but finds the times you offer them inconvenient, do you want to experiment with new times and formats? For instance, do people find Sunday afternoons (when the library is closed) to be more convenient? What other barriers inhibit their involvement? Maybe mothers with toddlers want to come to your lectures but need childcare. Perhaps you charge a modest admission fee for lectures but students find that charge to be too high.

One of your most difficult marketing tasks is analyzing the very basis of what you do and how you do it. You may feel that your historical society’s close working relationship with libraries is its greatest asset, but the surveys may point out that those libraries are cold and musty during winter months. You may do better by taking over a neighborhood restaurant and creating a “warmer” atmosphere — even offering hot gingerbread and cider.

Nonprofits Articles

Survey Your Constituents to Gain Important Marketing Information for Your Nonprofit

You may never discover who reads about your nonprofit organization in the newspaper or sees your sign every day on the bus, but some people — those with whom you directly communicate — can be identified. Start by defining your core group — your most important constituents — and work out from there. Suppose that your organization is a small historical society that organizes exhibits and panel discussions at three libraries in your town, publishes a quarterly newsletter, and maintains a website featuring news and information about its collection. Your current constituents (or stakeholders, if you want to use a common nonprofit term), working from the core to the outer boundaries, include the following:

  • Your board and staff (and their friends and relations)
  • Your docents and volunteers
  • Families and organizations that donate materials to your collection
  • Local library staff and board members
  • People attending your panel discussions
  • Schools and other groups visiting your exhibits
  • Scholars and other archivists writing to ask about your holdings
  • Patrons of the three libraries
  • Subscribers to your quarterly newsletter
  • People visiting your organization’s website
Drawing up this list of interested people is easy enough. But for marketing purposes, you need to know as much as possible about the characteristics, backgrounds, and interests of each group. Some things you can do to collect this sort of information include
  • Creating a database of your supporters by gathering names and addresses from every possible source within your organization — items like checks from donors, subscription forms from online newsletter subscribers, sign-up sheets from volunteers, and email messages sent to the “contact us” address on your website.

Enter these names and addresses in a database that can sort them by last name, type of contact, and date of entry; if you’re planning to send traditional mail to them, sort them by zip code. Articles at Idealware can help you choose a database software program.

Review the zip codes appearing most frequently on your list. If you’re in the United States, you can visit the U.S. Census Bureau website and get demographic information about residents in those zip code areas.

  • Asking a few standard questions of schools or other groups when they call to sign up for a tour. Don’t engage in a lengthy interview, but find out how they heard about your program, why they want to visit it, and whether they have other needs you may be able to address. You can gather similar information when collecting registrations online.
  • Inserting brief, clearly worded and inviting surveys in the programs at your public events. At the beginning and end of an event, make a public pitch explaining why it’s so important for people to respond to the surveys. Make pencils or pens available. Create incentives for completing the form, such as a free museum membership for a person whose survey is drawn at random.

Make it easy for visitors to your website to subscribe to announcements or services, and send a brief survey to them by email. The higher your response rate, the more accurate and useful the survey information will be.

Your surveying may be quantitative (measuring the degree to which people do something or believe something) or qualitative (going deeper into understanding their beliefs and behaviors). Generally quantitative surveys are distributed and collected — either as paper documents or online — and qualitative surveys are presented by an interviewer in a guided conversation.

Be aware that there’s an art and a science to writing an effective survey: The way questions are worded can influence the answers you get, and you want to receive clear, candid responses. If you want help developing your survey, check with local colleges and universities for faculty members or graduate students who understand survey techniques and who may be willing to give you some guidance.

You can also find survey subscription services and sample surveys on the web that give you ideas about wording questions. Three such services are SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and SurveyGizmo. Each offers somewhat different features and pricing models. All of them will distribute your surveys by email and tally the results for you.

At the Nonprofit Kit page at Dummies.com, you can find two sample surveys that may suggest wording for your survey questions.