Nonprofit Fraud – from DWD Mission Minded Blog

Carrie Minnich earlier this month published a blog post about fraud in nonprofits. She points out that organizations can be targets of fraud due to limited staff and tight budgets. We often believe that it won’t happen to us; however, there have been 2,410 cases (foreign and domestic) in a 22 month period according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Carrie sites the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners report which noted that on average a nonprofit loses 5% revenue in any given year from fraud. One key step to reduce fraud risks is to have strong internal financial controls, said Carrie.

To read Carrie’s posts on fraud, click here.

 

 

Be on the lookout – A Fundraiser’s Journey

A Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

 “Don’t ignore any opportunity, no matter how weird.”

That’s the fundraising advice from Mark Becker, currently a director with the city’s Parks Department (Riverfront project) and former Greater Fort Wayne CEO and deputy mayor of Fort Wayne.

Mark works with all kinds of people and organizations, from health care to manufacturing to nonprofits. He’s been part of the rebirth of downtown Fort Wayne and worked on the Harrison Square projects. So Mark and I will always be connected by a really strange phone call about 10 years ago.

I had not been long in my job at the Embassy when the city called to ask if we would discuss ramming a sky bridge into the side of the Embassy and creating a pedestrian passage through its third floor so that a new hotel could be built. If I had pooh-poohed that first phone call, which was pretty hilarious, and not called my board chair to take a meeting that we both thought was probably a waste of time, then floors of the former Indiana Hotel would still be standing empty. You see, the sky bridge was the catalyst for further and massive Embassy renovations.

As Mark says, you never know where it will go, long term.

Mark also says to look for opportunities, not just react to them. That means when a couple of prominent community leaders asked me “what’s next?” at a social gathering (not a business meeting), I rallied and rattled off four projects that seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky. But, wow, those folks really connected to two ideas and asked for meetings and proposals. Less than a year later we are juggling a funded feasibility study and a new renovation project backed by significant donors.

Moral of this story? It’s okay to be a weirdo. Phew, thank goodness.

 

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Mission Focused Fundraising Events

We’ve been talking a lot about mission lately on the PCNRC blog. In the latest issue of Grassroots Fundraising Journal Lindsey Harris and Karla Vazquez have some great tips for planning an event that’s fun for attendees, raises money, and aligns with the mission of your organization.

  1. Focus on yeventour mission: One difficulty of fundraising is motivating your entire staff to participate. When fundraising does not seem directly related to your mission even if you know the money will be going toward that mission, staff members may have trouble being as enthusiastic about a fundraising event compared with a service-minded event. Harris and Vazquez suggest organizing a fundraising event that also includes service to the community. For example, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) organizes an InterNASHional food crawl with local restaurants that are run or employed by immigrants and refugees. Attendees buy tickets that raise money for the TIRRC and they also get to interact with and support local communities while enjoying some delicious food. The TIRRC found it was much easier to get their staff involved with the event because it was much more entertaining and meaningful than a simple banquet for networking with donors and funders.
  2. Reach out to a different audience: Another issue with fundraising is getting stuck asking the some people or groups for donations every year. By making a fundraising event open to the community where participation is necessary and exciting people who have never heard of your organization are more likely to attend and become interested in your work. TIRRC’s food crawl helped attract college students in the area and created a new demographic to support their organization.
  3. Find in-kind donations: During the planning stages of the event create a list of all the separate expenses. Then brainstorm your organization’s connection with local businesses or individuals with specific skill sets. By contacting people to donate things like water bottles, office supplies, or ad space in a publication many of the costs of making the event happen can be covered and it is sometimes easier to have someone commit to a certain item or service instead of a writing a check for an unknown reason.
  4. Take risks: It can be hard to determine when an extra cost will pay off and add to the success of your event in a big way. The TIRRC wanted to try to meet their goal by trying a new idea when the organized the food crawl and they decided to hire a professional festival manager. This cost the TIRRC a lot of money but it increased the quality of the event and set them up to contact higher-level sponsors for the next year. The success of this decision reminded the organizers that it is important to push themselves so their event continues to grow each year and they gain momentum.

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Lindsey Harris and Karla Vazquez. “Throwing a Fun, Profitable and Mission-Aligned Event”. Grassroots Fundraising Journal.

Governance Out Of The Box – April 20th, 2017

governance-out-of-the-box-april-12-2016Governance Out Of The Box

When: Thursday April 20, 2017 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Location: St. Francis Historic Women’s Club

What: Are you a board member with 3 years or less or seeking board service? Join us for a free dinner and networking event with other nonprofit professionals in a beautiful local space downtown. Conversations on governance topics will be facilitated throughout the catered meal. Stay for the after dinner presentation of an interactive mock board meeting with a focus on Robert’s Rules of Order starring Indiana actors and featuring an original and entertaining script. A success last year, this event is a mix of education, comedy, and socializing. We want you to learn, laugh, and engage!

How: Register HERE

Cost: FREE to you

*Get on Board is a project of the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center with grant support provided by Foellinger Foundation.

 

Endowments – from “Mission Minded” DWD Blog

Carrie Minnich (2) (576x800)Carrie Minnich, CPA recently posted about endowments for Mission Minded, Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc.’s nonprofit blog.

In her post, she defines two different types of endowments. The first is donor restricted. This type of endowment is “a contribution to the organization in which the donor stipulates that the contribution be invested for a specified time or in perpetuity.” The second is a board designated or quasi-endowment. For this type, “money is being set aside for future use as opposed to supporting current activities” and is unrestricted. Carrie’s tip is no matter which type of endowment fund your organization has, be sure to have a policy regarding how the money is managed.

To read the full post, click here.

Purposeful Volunteering – Engaging College Students

“Purpose” is key to engaging students in volunteering and many are eager to donate their biggest asset- TIME. Research from May 3, 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that “77% of college students said they’re more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills or expertise to benefit a cause.” Purpose is empowering. Just as students are seeking to find purpose in their education and career-choice, they look to find purpose in their volunteering activities. We need to remember that college students are “people.” Individually, each is looking to belong to a social network, feel loved, and know that they are making an impact. Helping them find ways to do so is connecting them to realize the purpose of their giving and volunteering actions. As a Volunteer Manager you’ll have to do your homework.

volunteerSelling your project to College Administration and Faculty: Local colleges and universities may have a Volunteer Program already in place and you can contact the staff. If not, contacting the Career Placement Center and Student Center are great places to start. Or, you may have to contact Academic Division Heads to discuss the prospects. Our agency has had great results when we contact the Business, Finance and, Accounting Divisions for recruiting VITA Tax Volunteers. Nursing and PA students provided needed support in health related events such as a Military Standdown for Homeless Veterans. Volunteers from Technical Colleges provide needed skill-based service for repair and construction projects. A number of Instructors and Administrators often offer extra credit for volunteer service and encourage students to serve. You’ll be helping academia provide students with real-life experience and broaden their practice and proficiency in the field they are working to master.

Designing your project: A project for busy college students will have to be crafted to meet their tight schedule.

  • It should be at a convenient time and a location.
  • It should enable them to serve with their peers. Create a group-like experience.
  • A drop-in volunteer opportunity creates spontaneous volunteers.
  • Design transformational experiences that highlight how the work makes a real impact.
  • PROVIDE FOOD!

Marketing the event:

  • Start and end with Social Media: Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, Digg, Flickr, Pinterest, and don’t forget Facebook.
  • College Fairs with “old fashioned” printed fliers.
  • Participate as a work location in a university’s Day of Service event such as IPFW’s The Big Event.
  • Look for pre-formed groups such as athletic teams, student government, and clubs.
  • Make sure you demonstrate the need that this completed project will fulfill.

Selling your project to the students: Give them reasons to volunteer.

  • Tell your story and sell your cause as a “stress-reliever”. College is stressful. But if students volunteer for an organization that serves the less fortunate, they get a chance to see how others live compared to their own life. Nothing relieves stress better than gaining some perspective on how the world really works. Gratitude is an excellent study tool.
  • Be as flexible and transparent as possible.
  • Offer projects that can be done online.
  • Many students express frustration with long, inefficient and unnecessary training and orientation. Even better: put them online.
  • Let them know how volunteering is really worth their time during college years.

The mantra is that a few hours volunteering could change their life and help their future career

-learn to work as part of a team

-learn how to be a leader

-build their resume as they explore careers

-confirm their career choice

-expands their networking connections

-increase chance of scholarships and getting into grad school

We’ve found that a large number of Millennial, Generation X, Generation Y, and Baby Boomer volunteers started their service in college and it became a lifetime commitment. And remember the old adage, “People volunteer because they were asked.” You don’t want them to miss the opportunity to serve.

jean

 

*Post written by Jean Joley, Executive Director at Volunteer Center RSVP

Keep at it – A Fundraiser’s Journey

A Fundraiser’s JourneyKelly pic

Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Two separate instances have converged in my head. Ouch!

The first is from a meeting with Dan Swartz, he of Wunderkammer Company. Dan is planning his second annual Design Week, for which he has obtained a sizeable grant to pay for speakers and marketing. This has given him the freedom to obtain great speakers to participate. People who are significant to their field in a national and even world-class way. Some have local ties to this region.

Dan says he just asks. He figures out how to contact the person, by email or through an assistant, and he asks. He says the person will usually reply and is gracious. Sometimes the person says yes, which means Design Week will again have some phenomenal speakers.

The second is from the My City Summit organized by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI). This year’s theme was diversity. At this event, too, the speakers were local and national, all terrific.

I left this event thinking about our roles in these changing times. We are cranky, according to the keynote speaker, Rich Benjamin. Another speaker, Fort Wayne’s own Courtney Tritch, pointed out that diversity is a needed economic driver. People move to areas where there is freedom and respect for all. Each speaker asked us what we were doing about it.

On the surface these two meetings were very different. But they both ended up in the same place in my mind:

It does not matter where you are politically, uppercase R or D. What matters is that we work every day to make a difference. Our organizations in particular directly impact others.

What are we going to do to help others continue through these times?

We ask and then we ask again. Simply, purely, clearly. As fundraisers. As advocates. As caregivers. As artists. As one human being to another.

Ask. Don’t stop asking.

 

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.