According to a recent study, smaller nonprofits are largely missing opportunities to share their message online. While budgeting is certainly an issue, the benefits of online marketing and an online presence for nonprofits can’t be overstated. Below is a quick guide to various means of digital marketing and why they’re vital for nonprofit organizations.
Email Marketing for Nonprofits
Looking to increase newsletter subscribers, launch a fundraising campaign, keep supporters and volunteers in the know, or share recent developments? Email is one of the most effective, direct, and inexpensive ways to accomplish all this and more. The key is to capture your reader with engaging content, both in words and images, and always end your emails with a call to action, inviting the reader to reach out to your organization. Consider someone on staff who has the writing chops to accomplish this task, or think about hiring a freelance writer. Aim for sending two-four emails a month.
In addition to having a website that is straightforward and easy to navigate, you want it to function as a tool that maximizes lead generation and gift revenue in ways that email can’t. For instance, adding pop-ups to your site can help gain newsletter subscriptions as well as collect contact information for potential donors.
Establishing a presence on social media and engaging with your audience on individual platforms are no-brainer ways to share your organization’s purpose, campaign materials, involvement in the community, etc. A social media manager on staff could prove to be invaluable. Be sure to add social sharing buttons to your website and emails in order to grow an organic following. Greater outreach equals donations.
The key with donation pages is simplicity, so cut the lengthy information and instructions. You want to encourage two main actions with your donation page:
- Give donors a clear path to give to your organization
- Make sharing the page with friends, family members, and social media networks easy
You will also want to include a recurring donation option for those who prefer to contribute smaller amounts on a monthly basis. This donation approach can be beneficial to both the donor and your organization because:
- Donors aren’t likely to notice or take issue with a recurring $5 or $10 out of their monthly budget for a cause they’re drawn to, but your organization will appreciate these monthly contributions as every dollar adds up.
- Recurring donations create long-term connections between supporters and your organization.
If your organization can establish a position of having a finger on the pulse of current news, knowledge, and facts surrounding its particular cause, donors who share an interest with your cause are going to want to support you, and feel confident doing so. In order to achieve this, you will want to create regular and quality content in the form of informative articles, fact sheets, and other applicable digital resources, all of which convey not just that your organization is a top source of information about your particular cause, but how it’s impacting and changing your community and even beyond.
Gratitude for Supporters
Organizations that recognize the patronage and loyalty of their supporters are more likely to receive follow-up donations and social media mentions than those that fail to acknowledge their supporters, or do so intermittently. This fix can be as simple as creating an automated but personal email response to each donor, professing thanks and gratitude on behalf of the organization.
Generating more organic traffic and engagement on your website and across social media platforms will set your organization on a path for long-term growth and success.
Understanding the Educational Institution and Nonprofit Audit Landscape
June 30, the day on which many educational institutions and nonprofits end their fiscal year, is fast approaching. This brings “joy” to many internal accountants because they know that an annual visit from the auditors is just around the corner.
While it is our experience that auditors are not always greeted with open arms by an organization’s staff, we have seen an evolution in these relationships over the past few years. In previous years, auditors were frequently seen as a necessary evil, but now the disdain has diminished. Audits and auditors are now viewed less and less as a commodity or a frustrating interruption to the regular work schedule. Instead, we are more often than not viewed as professionals handling an independent confirmation of the organization’s financials. It has also become a common perception that auditors seek solutions that can help an educational institution or nonprofit improve policies and procedures.
Through the years, accounting and audit technologies have improved, which in turn has bettered audit efficiencies and lowered costs. In an era when enrollment, funding, government grants, and other forms of income are down, hiring an established and proven independent audit firm that provides fair fees (as perceived by the staff and board) is imperative.
Audit efficiency comes from different areas, such as technologies, documentation, analytical analysis, secondary reviews, and advance preparation. Understanding how to maximize on these efficiencies can cut down significantly on the costs to an organization.
Documentation: A best practice for audit efficiency is documentation. Documenting the whats, whys, and whens associated with accounts or procedures incurs less work for those charged with reviewing the financial data – inevitably reducing the amount of work handled by an auditor. Generally, auditors find that things are done properly but are lacking documentation. It is important to reinforce documentation procedures with your staff because it will save time and money in the long run.
Analytical Analysis: Another preferred practice is to have a member of the auditee perform the analytical work that the audit firm will be doing. This will help in several ways: the analytics will highlight the results that were not expected and/or expected, but had a large variance with a previous period; and the analytics “force” the analyzers to learn more about the organization’s financials.
Issues that arise can be reviewed and discussed internally prior to the auditors’ arrival. Having done the analytical analysis in advance will equip the organization with the answers the auditors will be seeking. This will increase the efficiency connected with the audit, along with providing the staff and other parties with fiduciary duties to the organization more knowledge about its financials.
Secondary Review: Another step that can be taken is to have someone in the organization look at the final financial analysis schedules that were internally prepared. As we know, mistakes happen. A second set of eyes to review the final work product prior to sending it off to the auditors limits mistakes found in schedules, enhances efficiency, and decreases the time an auditor spends at your office.
Advance Preparation: All organizations know when their audits are coming and dread the audit request list. Rather than responding reactively, take a proactive attitude by preparing in advance. Then, respond to the audit request list as completely as possible – keeping the information in the same chronological order as requested.
Leaving a few unanswered requests can really slow down the auditors’ work. Not only does efficiency go out the window, but the final report date gets later and later. The quicker the auditors receive the information, the quicker they will get started. The more time an organization spends on preparing a “tight” package for the auditors, the less time the auditors need to spend on the audit. This equates to lower auditing fees and earlier delivery dates.
Everybody wins when the organization incorporates efficiency into its audit preparation.
Full Article: http://www.accountingweb.com/topic/accounting-auditing/educational-institution-and-nonprofit-audits-fast-approaching-june-30-fisc
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