Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Tis the Season to Recruit

Your Board of Directors is the heart and soul of your nonprofit organization - carrying the responsibility for prudent fiscal management, overseeing programs that fulfill your mission, and defining organizational focus. Yet many nonprofit boards operate with woefully small numbers, or with members ill-suited to the required tasks.

Is your board at full capacity? Does everyone show up to meetings? Do you have the expertise - and the energy - you need from the group? Here are some tools for strengthening your board with board recruitment that is constructive and organization-appropriate:
  • Establish a process: Review and update your board job description annually (or be sure to create one if it doesn't exist). Create a job application form that asks pertinent questions for prospective board members. Be sure to develop an annual timetable for board recruitment - and stick to it.
  • Have a full board at all times: Providing adequate resources (staff, volunteers, funding, in-kind donations, energy) is first and foremost a board responsibility. A small board translates into a much smaller circle of contacts, lacks the critical mass for sustaining enthusiasm, and leads to board burnout.
  • Make your search ongoing: Be on the lookout for new members year-round. Consider dedicated volunteers and donors, involved clients, and important community contacts. Keep a list of possibilities. And advertise: put a regular notice in your newsletters and emails saying you are looking for board members who are passionate about your work.
  • Do an honest assessment of your current board: Does the membership reflect the demographics of your community and clients? What kind of expertise do you lack? Use your assessment to identify priorities for new members.
  • Be truthful about the job: Tell your prospective board members that the job involves more than just showing up at an occasional meeting. Far too many nonprofits deliberately underplay the level of commitment involved.
  • Recruit outside the box: Traditionally, boards have looked for lawyers, financial people, donors, or prominent community members - yet these folks are often better as pro bono volunteers on a committee, advisory council, or specific project. Look instead for a mix of generations, geography, and community connections. Find folks who fit your unique organizational culture. Above all, you want someone who will be a team player, is passionate about the work of your agency, and will actually show up for meetings.
These days, nonprofits find themselves so strapped for funding that they rush to recruit folks who are wealthy - yet everyone can learn to fundraise, but not everyone has the temperament or time to do the important work required of a board member. And nonprofits are often so desperate for board members that they'll take anyone with a pulse - yet it's essential to put as much time and planning into choosing a board member as it is with an employee.

Get the board that you need and deserve - with a board recruitment process that is creative, organized, thoughtful, and ongoing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Overcoming the Fear of Fundraising

It is the legal responsibility of every nonprofit Board of Directors to ensure that their organization has the resources to fulfill its mission - and that means fundraising.
Yet those who recruit new members often fail to mention this for fear of scaring people away. And board members frequently become paralyzed when asked to do their part to raise money in the one manner that is the most efficient and cost-effective: asking donors directly for contributions.

Here are the most common fears people have - and some suggestions about how to address them:

  • Fear of rejection: First of all, you're going to be turned down;on average 50% of good prospects will give - but note that this means on average 50% do contribute! Your job is to know that being turned down has nothing to do with you personally. When people choose not to give, they do so for many reasons - but it does not mean that you are a bad person or that they hate you.
  • Fear of failure: It's important to change your definition of success in fundraising. Success is how many times you ask. And if you make all your asks, you get an A+.
  • Fear of looking stupid: No donor will expect you to know everything. And when someone asks you a question you can't answer, say "That's a great question - thanks for asking! Let me talk with the Executive Director and get back to you." You can also approach the donor with a knowledgeable partner (staff or board).
  • Fear of alienating friends: Have you ever lost or damaged a friendship because of a charitable request? If you make your asks with integrity (and without blindsiding your friends unexpectedly), they may or may not give, but they will not disinherit you. Give them an out: "If you choose not to participate, that's OK: we'll still be friends. But I sure hope you can help."
Fundraising is not about your feelings - it's about the donor. Just as you feel good when you make a charitable donation to a cause you care about, you are giving the donor an opportunity to feel good. It's not about begging or hounding people - rather it is about facilitating a fair exchange where donors give one thing of value (their money) in exchange for another thing of value (the good work of your organization). And it's not just about money - it's about building sustained relationships.

Your job is to reach out with integrity - speak with passion about your agency's mission, make a clear case, listen carefully, and invite the donor to become involved. There are strategies and techniques but they are far less important than the one quality you need to be successful: your passion for the mission.

So kick yourself and your fears out of the way and let the cause talk. Your job - and it is indeed an honorable one - is to get out there and raise the money your agency needs to do its good work.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dollars and Sense

One of the most fundamental legal responsibilities of all board members is prudent fiscal management.
This has become even more important due to a climate of increased scrutiny precipitated by numerous public scandals revolving around fiscal mismanagement by nonprofit Executive Directors, hand in hand with lack of board oversight. Yet more often than not, nonprofit boards fail to pay attention to their organizational dollars.

So: here are some guidelines about what you need to know:
  • Do your board members receive, read, and understand the organization's fiscal reports? Boards should be looking at financial statements on a quarterly basis at minimum. If you find these statements confusing, know that you are not alone - accounting is a foreign language to most people. Your job is to make sure the information is presented such that everyone fully understands the numbers and their implications.
  • Are your program costs aligned with your stated mission? It is the board's responsibility to ensure that your money is being spent on programs that directly further your mission.
  • Does your nonprofit have cash-management policies in place? Every organization should have basic financial controls in place to maintain the integrity of its bookkeeping process. The bottom line here is to have checks and balances, with more than one person handling fiscal responsibilities, plus secure storage of cash/checks.
  • Does your agency have a diversity of funding sources? Reliance on one single source of funds, whether an individual donor or a foundation, is dangerous. Ideally, you want a healthy mix of earned income, donor contributions, and grants.
  • Does your agency have a program reserve? A designated reserve fund that covers 3-6 months of operating expenses in case of a dire emergency is an essential.
  • Are you required to do audits? If your budget is $2 million or more, you are required by the IRS to have annual audits. If not, whether you do an audit is dependent on many factors including grant requirements, significant organizational change, and the size of your nonprofit.
  • Does the board maintain proper oversight of wages and benefits? Be sure your board reviews all employee compensation and benefits annually in conjunction with performance reviews. The Northern California Wage and Benefit Survey, available at, is a great resource for comparative data. Note that all nonprofits are now required by the IRS to have a written policy on Executive Director compensation.
  • Do you have the appropriate kind and amount of insurance? Every nonprofit should review insurance policies on a regular basis to ascertain whether the organization is properly covered.
The ongoing economic downturn has placed added stress on all nonprofits, and along with it, the need to truly understand your organization's financial situation as you make difficult decisions in regard to program and operating expenses. Don't be afraid to ask questions about your organization's budget and fiscal policies; in fact, it is your responsibility to do so.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Five Tools for Better Boards

Whether you are an Executive Director struggling with a combative Board of Directors, or a Board member secretly wondering why you made the commitment to monthly meetings that often waste your time, working effectively with a nonprofit board can be challenging.

When so many people know what a good board should look like, why are there still so many boards that are contentious and unproductive? Here are some reasons:
  • Board members are volunteers with jobs and lives that take precedence over their nonprofit commitments.
  • Dysfunction is frequently the norm when groups of people get together.
  • On any given board, you are likely to have one person who is a flake, one person having a personal crisis, and one person convinced he/she is always right.
  • Most board members haven't a clue about their actual legal and fiscal responsibilities.
  • Despite all the written materials, there really is no one model for board structure and procedures - because every board is different.
Nonetheless, here are five tools that can help you oil the waters and facilitate a dynamic, creative, and cooperative working environment for your nonprofit board:
  1. Focused recruitment: Expand your search beyond the standard categories of lawyer, banker, donor - consider geography, age, family circumstances, community connections, special skills, ability to work with others. Be absolutely honest about what the job entails when you talk to potential recruits.
  2. Thorough orientation: Put together a complete orientation package that includes a detailed job description, fiscal and program information, annual calendar, policy manual, by-laws, and personnel policies. Meet individually with each new board member to review the materials, find out particular interests, and answer questions. Make sure every board member actually understands the organization's fiscal reports.
  3. Creative culture: Aim for less reporting and more problem-solving. Tackle big issues first, before the minutiae. Evaluate your board agenda; change it if it's not working. Provide snacks and refreshments. Allow some time for fun - nothing improves a meeting more than a good laugh.
  4. Clearly articulated procedures: Create a set of guidelines for board conduct that emphasizes civil discourse and consensus (and leave Robert's Rules of Order behind). Review and update your policy manual annually. Never schedule a meeting you don't really need. Always summarize, make work assignments, and designate the person who will nag everyone about deadlines before the meeting concludes.
  5. Regular renewal: Once a year, read the organization's mission out loud and re-affirm your commitment to that mission; do the same for the board job description. Conduct an annual assessment of board strengths and weaknesses; create a work plan to follow up. Do an annual review of basic board roles and responsibilities.
Above all, stay open to change. Every board is different, and every year in the organizational life cycle is different. Budgets get bigger, staff turns over, the dynamics of the group shifts, client demographics change, and the balance of power between board and staff fluctuates. Be willing to see the change and make the adjustments that will further sustain your organization in accomplishing its mission.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nuts and Bolts: Maintaining Nonprofit Infrastructure

Salaries and benefits, facility costs and maintenance, fundraising expenses, technology upgrades - these are the nuts and bolts of running a nonprofit organization.

Nonetheless, most nonprofits fail to consistently plan for and fund basic overhead costs - for these reasons:
  • Government contracts generally allow grantees to use no more than 15% for operations, finances, human resources, fundraising, and facility costs.
  • Foundations are just as rigid, allowing on average 10-15% for overhead.
  • Nonprofits must prove, based on IRS Form 990 information, that overhead and fundraising costs are low in order to receive funds through United Way.
  • Most available grant funding focuses on time-specific projects, rather than ongoing operating expenses.
  • According to the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, more than half of adults feel nonprofits should spend less than 20% on infrastructure - and the majority often makes choices based on this assumption.
On top of this, the current recession has forced many organizations to cut back even further in order to maintain programs. A survey of 100 executive directors across the country by the Bridgespan Group found that 56% were planning to reduce overhead spending.

There's nothing sexy about ongoing operating expenses yet no organization can exist without the funds to pay for them. And failing to designate money for overhead can be devastating:
  • Your key staff people become stressed out, overworked, and underpaid
  • Staff salaries lag behind the market, leading to sticker shock when someone leaves
  • Your staff is not trained in up-to-date procedures and technology
  • Your buildings, fixtures, and furniture deteriorate
  • Your essential technology - computer hardware and software, copy machines, phone systems - dates from the dark ages
But faced with pressure to meet the demands and expectations of funders and donors, nonprofits consistently make do with less, in fact making a point of how little they spend on basics - while under-reporting administrative expenses on 990's and fundraising materials. Thus, supporters and funders don't know what it truly costs to run a successful organization (note that overhead rates in the for-profit world average around 25%). It all becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

How can nonprofits buck this trend? To begin with, start speaking the truth about the actual costs of doing your good work. Advocate with funders and donors about the importance of basic expenses as the foundation for accomplishing your mission. Evaluate if it even makes sense to apply for a grant, especially given potential reporting and audit costs attached. See if you can negotiate with foundations about their expectations. Factor in realistic overhead expenses in any grant application and all budget projections. Be sure to include line items for technology, facility, and salary upgrades in your annual budget and strategic plan. And work towards developing relationships and strategies with individual donors to encourage and value unrestricted giving. Educating your donors about how investment in infrastructure benefits the organization's clients could be the most important thing you can do to further your good work.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Viva los Volunteers!

2009 was a tough year for the economy and charitable giving - but it was a boom year for volunteering.

A recent study by the Corporation for National and Community Services indicates that more than 63 million Americans - almost 27% of the population - gave their time as volunteers helping nonprofit organizations in the last year. This represents the largest single-year jump since 2003. About 8.1 billion hours of service were donated, valued at approximately $169 billion.

These figures from 2009 defied the expectation that when the economy goes bad, people just want to take care of their own families and close friends.

The largest percentage of Americans - over 30% - volunteer at churches or religious organizations. But social service agencies saw the number of their volunteers go up from 8.4 million in 2008 to 8.8 million in 2009. Note that this study did not measure all the people who volunteer at schools or helping out neighbors.

And note that the most popular volunteer activity (27%) was fundraising!

There are many factors that may have contributed to this wealth of volunteers:
  • The president and first lady's emphasis on the value of volunteerism
  • A large number of jobless people hoping to gain experience, skills, and contacts (and with the time to do so)
  • A growing emphasis on volunteerism, including required volunteer hours for graduation, at high schools throughout the country
  • People short on cash choosing to continue to support the causes they care about by giving their time
  • Improvements in the way nonprofits recruit and retain their volunteers
  • The breadth of the global downturn acting as a catalyst for people to be more understanding about the plight of others
Volunteering is a great way for people to contribute to a good cause while having fun, gaining work experience, and broadening their community. For cash-strapped nonprofits with staff stretched to the limit in these challenging times, volunteers provide absolutely vital services. At the same time, these volunteers are more likely over time to make charitable donations.

With the recovery from the global downturn moving at a snail's pace, now is a good time to evaluate your volunteer program, be sure to thank your dedicated volunteers, double your outreach efforts, and work to increase the number of people actively involved in supporting your good work with their donated time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Giving Good Meetings

Are your meetings endless and unproductive? Do you dread the approach of your next board or committee meeting? Are commitment, creativity, and attendance dropping? Here are some guidelines for making your meetings more constructive and fun:
  • Do a meeting reality check. If you didn't have to be there, would you go to your meetings? Think about meetings you have attended that have been effective, and use them as a role model.
  • Don't hold a meeting just to have a meeting. Could your business be accomplished more easily and appropriately via email, or in an executive session? If most of your agenda involves simple reporting, consider alternative methods of communication - or just give your group a month's vacation.
  • Avoid Robert's Rules of Order. Did you know that Robert's Rules were developed by an Army officer in 1876? It's not 1876 anymore, and you are definitely not in the army. Robert's Rules are rigid and restrictive. And contrary to popular opinion, there is no legal requirement that requires non-governmental nonprofit organizations to follow them. Instead, work with your Board to develop simple procedures and rules of conduct that are appropriate to your organizational culture.
  • Stick to a timetable. After two hours, no one attending any meeting will be paying much attention or at their best. Establish a timeline for your discussions, appoint a timekeeper, stay focused and on task, and get out of there in no more than 120 minutes.
  • Provide thorough and clearly written materials in advance. And be sure to remind committee members if they have assignments to complete prior to the meeting. Then pray that everyone will read the notes and come prepared.
  • Allow some time for fun. Nothing improves a meeting more than a good laugh.
  • Finish with a summary and action plan. Always designate the final 5-10 minutes to summarizing what has been accomplished and coming to agreement on next steps, including a timetable and who has volunteered to do what.
Meetings get a bad rap, but there are good meetings and bad meetings. Take the time to make your meetings fun, focused, effective, and productive - and turn them into important tools towards creating partnerships and community, sustaining volunteers, supporting staff, and furthering the mission of your organization.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Power of Fundraising

Fundraising isn't just about money! It's about promoting the good work of your organization and creating an environment that welcomes donors to participate in that good work:
  • Promoting your mission: This is where it all starts - with the organizational mission that powers all of your services and programs. And it's surprising to discover how many folks involved actively in nonprofits are unfamiliar with the agency's mission statement. Everyone involved in fundraising should have this mission memorized, and be ready to talk about it - passionately and personally - with clients, members, and donors.
  • Building relationships: Every fundraiser will tell you that there are three basic reasons people give: because they want to participate in the work of the organization, because they were asked, and because they know and respect the person that asked. Your job is to represent your organization with integrity, skill, and passion. As you do this, you also have opportunity to really get to know people - and to build genuine, sustaining partnerships and friendships for yourself and for your agency.
  • Encouraging active participation: When people donate to an organization, whether it be $10 or $10,000, they become involved. They have a sense of ownership of the agency and its services. They care more. And that caring frequently translates into active participation doing meaningful volunteer work that benefits your clients, your organization - and the donor. A recent survey by Volunteer Match indicated that two-thirds of respondents said volunteer work makes them feel healthier, both mentally and physically.
  • Creating community: We live in a fractured, stressful world increasingly dominated by technology - and often sadly lacking in human connection. As you talk to people about your work in making the world a better place, as you build relationships with your donors, as you facilitate their volunteer participation, you are bucking this trend by bringing people together and creating community. Along with the important services nonprofits provide, this too is how the nonprofit sector can help heal the world.
Fundraising is about real people - staff and volunteers and board members like yourselves - and their passionate commitment to a cause. It's about developing sustaining friendships and relationships. It's about creating an atmosphere that gets people involved in volunteering to make their community and world a better place to live. And it's about creating community in a world where we need as much real personal connection as we can get.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Searching for Gen X and Y

Have you been trying to figure out how to get those elusive young people in their 20's and 30's (Gen X and Y) involved in your organization? Join the crowd. Most nonprofits are dominated by folks age 50 and up - as staff, volunteers, board members, and donors.
  • Gen X and Y have been born into a very different world - dominated by the fear of environmental collapse and terrorism, an exploding world of new media, and decreasing faith in institutions. But they also have a strong desire to help others and to raise money for their favorite causes.
  • Members of Gen and Y now constitute more than half of the pool of potential donors - yet they contribute less money, support fewer charities, and are challenging to hold onto. According to a recent study by Edge Research, Gen Y donors averaged gifts of $341 to 3.6 group; members of Gen X gave $796 to 4.2 organizations. By contract, Baby Boomers contributed $901 to 5.2 groups and those born before 1946 gave $1,066 to 6.3 charities.
  • For Gen X and Y, no one manner of giving dominates - 43% used direct mail, 35% a nonprofit website, 13% cellphone donations. In fact, 77% of those surveyed said they learned about helping quake victims in Haiti via their cellphones, and the majority found information on nonprofits primarily through internet sources. Older folks respond primarily to direct mail and print materials - 77% said they gave through the mail in the past two years.
  • Younger donors enjoy giving as part of social events and through volunteering - personal contact with an organization , especially when it involves fun and friends, is still important to them.
  • Gen X and Y give just because they are asked by friends - and this is increasingly happening through social media networks. 36% of those under 30 had forwarded a message from a charity to a friend in the past month, 37% would join an organization's Facebook group, and 29% had posted information about a favorite charity on their person Facebook page.
  • Younger donors are likely to say they will be increasing charitable donations this year - and much less likely to feel that the global recession has affected their giving.
So: in order to retain current donors and reach out to Gen X and Y, your nonprofit is going to have to do it all: Facebook, text messages, enewsletters, volunteer work parties, youth-oriented events and parties, brochures, phone calls. Your challenge is to engage the genuine desire of young people to make a difference in this world, using every new strategy at your fingertips.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The State of the Arts

These are challenging times for nonprofit arts organizations - and not just because of the economy:
  • Since 1998, the number of nonprofit arts groups - all competing for audience and participants and grant funding - has increased by 42%. At the same time, attendance and ticket sales at most mainstream arts organizations have been in a steady decline.
  • People are increasingly staying at home, choosing to participate in the arts through television or the internet - where you can find almost anything you want to see, for free - or through do-it-yourself arts projects.
  • For-profit businesses - bookstores, cafes, restaurants, retail stores - have become very proactive in promoting and presenting lectures, concerts, and events. For the most part, there is no admission charged because the payoff is increased business, foot traffic, and name recognition. Often these events are benefits for local nonprofits, increasing goodwill for the business while blurring the lines between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.
  • The cell phone culture, in which anyone can be reached and plans made at any moment, has resulted in a casual and last-minute approach to life. This has lead to reduced advance ticket sales and subscription series sales.
  • As America's population grows in diversity, people are seeking out arts experiences through ethnically and/or culturally specific organizations rather than standard arts venues.
  • At museums, concerts, and theater performances, the majority of folks attending are gray-haired and Caucasian. Nonprofits are struggling to find ways to engage new and ethnically diverse audiences, especially those who are under 40.
  • In the competition for government and foundation dollars, arts agencies rarely win when pitted against agencies that feed the poor and house the homeless. For the past decade, arts and cultural groups have been steadily losing their share of philanthropic dollars to international, environmental, disaster relief, and social services agencies.
What does this mean for the future? There are some innovative success stories to consider: the Metropolitan Opera's simulcasts in movie theaters, ArtsMemphis' Iphone app that allows people to directly access their calendar, the new wave of (not quiet anymore) libraries with cafe-like atmospheres and lots of computer access, lively singles' nights at theaters and classical music venues. Arts organizations are going to have to work harder, be more creative and business-savvy, stay up on current trends in social media, experiment with programs designed to reach people of all ages and cultures, and actively seek out collaborative efforts with both for-profit and nonprofit partners that draw new participants.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Lifecycle of Nonprofit Organizations

Is your organization just starting up, and full of excitement about its mission? Or does your agency have a long track record, assets to manage, and a big staff? Nonprofits - like people - travel through different stages of development over time, and each of these stages poses specific challenges. Identifying your organizational stage will aid in your ability to effectively analyze agency issues as well as plan for the future.
  • Stage One: Your agency is just starting up. There is tremendous passion about your mission and what you want to accomplish. What you don't know about nonprofit management is more than compensated for by your boundless enthusiasm and willingness to work. Your focus is on services; policy-making and fundraising happen on an as-needed basis. Your strengths: excitement, commitment to mission, lots of volunteers. Your challenges: lack of expertise, funding, and a track record.
  • Stage Two: The work you want to do to serve your mission begins to crystallize. Your organization hires paid staff to do the nitty gritty work, but board members run ongoing operations. Board and/or staff are beginning to see a need to formalize systems for management and oversight, but there is a deep reluctance to giving up the fun and informality of the early years. Your strengths: ability to provide services on a shoestring budget, creativity, friendly and casual atmosphere, a highly committed board and staff. Your challenges: lack of consistent funding, long-range planning.
  • Stage Three: Staff begins to oversee programs and services, while the board tries to figure out its changing role. Much of the board's time focuses on governance and financial management. Fundraising becomes absolutely central to the board's role, often in face of great resistance. Your strengths: growing relationships with donors who believe in your cause, the development of systems to sustain your organization over time. Your challenges: board/staff struggles over who is in charge, increased expenses, the board's reluctance to fundraise.
  • Stage Four: Your annual budget is significant in size, as is your staff; you have assets to manage. Staff and board must formally establish their distinct responsibilities. These roles will be different than before, requiring everyone to be thoughtful, communicative, and open to change. This can be a challenging and contentious process, but if handled properly will strengthen the organization. Your strengths: established relationships with donors, successful programs. Your challenges: more board/staff struggles, resistance to change, keeping your commitment to your mission vital.
  • Stage Five: Your agency is big, well-known, and well-funded. Your strengths: name recognition, established procedures, consistent resources. Your challenges: avoiding complacency, maintaining oversight of complex operations.
Numerous books and websites about nonprofits will outline all the procedures you should be following and all the policies that need to be in place. These are important to know, but be sure to exercise judgment about appropriate structures and solutions based on your developmental stage. Understanding the challenges of each stage is key to defining board/staff roles and responsibilities that match the organization's needs and further its mission.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Database 101

Now that you've made it through the holidays and have a moment to take a breath, it's a good time to do some nonprofit housekeeping to prepare for your 2010 fundraising and program planning. And the key to all your efforts is your database.

Ask yourself: can you use your database to do these essential functions?

Provide basic demographic and organizational information:
  • Quickly find mailing addresses, 9-digit zip codes, email address, phone numbers (including cell phones), and appropriate salutations for all of your clients, donors, and volunteers
  • Tell what age people are, and whether they have children (and if so, how old)
  • Track program participation and ticket purchases by year and specific event/program area
  • Identify folks who do not want their names/addresses exchanged or shared
  • Look up all past board members, find out when they served, and on which committees
Let you know about your donors and donations:
  • See and date every donation made over at least the past ten years
  • Track specific interests of individual donors i.e. specific program interests, community affiliations, level of involvement in your organization
  • Look up donors who have given to special appeals and/or like to give for specific programs or purposes (such as scholarships)
  • Find out who has been the contact person/solicitor for each donor
  • Differentiate between donations of cash, stocks, materials, and volunteer time
  • See which fundraising events your donors have attended
  • Provide detailed information about donors who have committed to multi-year donations, monthly contributions, and/or planned gifts
  • Find lapsed donors
  • Identify which donors want to remain anonymous and/or prefer not to receive phone solicitations
  • Track all foundation, corporation, and government donations over the history of your organization including contact person's name and phone number
Document the work of your volunteers:
  • Track the number of volunteer hours by month and year
  • Find volunteers who like to help out with specific tasks and/or events
  • Look up volunteers with specific skills i.e. carpentry, hauling, fundraising, finance, etc.
  • Identify the volunteers who have given the most hours per year
Create and print reports, letters and labels including:
  • Customized solicitation and thank you letters
  • Donor lists by fiscal year, amount given, and zip code
  • Reports tracking in-kind donations
  • Volunteer lists by year, month, and task
  • Mailing labels and name tags for specific purposes.
This may sound like a daunting task (and may require a re-evaluation of your chosen software), but the work you do now to put your database in order will benefit your organization for years to come.