Show Me the Money: What Every Non-Profit Leader Should Know Before Asking

Posted on December 15, 2014. Filed under: Data, SWOT | Tags: , , , |

It’s time for fundraising and you’ve perfected your elevator speech. Once-upon-a-time this may have meant that you’d do most of the talking, and you would have all the answers to the same set of highly anticipated questions. But as funding sources have dried up, and dollars flow less freely, those who have typically given to your organization along with first-timers may be asking more (and tougher) questions before investing in your non-profit. Here are some suggested things to include as you make your pitch and as donors critically evaluate the causes they will support this year:

  • Be clear on your mission, goals and objectives. Know what progress you’ve made toward achieving them.
  • Know your numbers. Donors will want to quantify your worthiness. How much, how many, how long, how far, averages, medians, percent increases, percentile ranks, ROI, etc. You get the point.
  • Be prepared to talk about threats, challenges, and even failures. More importantly, provide clarity on how you have (or are) addressing them.
  • Distinguish how you are different from other organizations doing similar work. Be knowledgeable about how you compare to them.
  • Mention any synergy, collaboration, or partnership with other organizations that is favorable, for example, talk about your public/private initiative with a local area school.
  • Mention what is new. If you have new initiatives, new employees that bring a special skill, or new board members, this may be of interest.
  • Talk about how your organization is managed. Focus on how you have utilized funding, improved effectiveness, expanded outreach, formed a sub-committee to address a particular concern, etc.

No leader will be able to accurately predict every question, but the guidelines above will better ensure that you are prepared to compete for dollars in a tougher economy. Good Luck!

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Internship: Moving Forward With Roseland

Posted on July 18, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

These past few weeks the intern team at HR4Non-Profits has been brainstorming ideas to help out Roseland Community Hospital.

Although Roseland Hospital is rated in the top 5% for pulmonary care in America and has been recognized for its medical services, it still struggles to obtain a mammography machine, which would allow doctors to detect the early signs of breast cancer in both men and women.  Since Roseland Community Hospital is the only hospital in a 7-mile radius, the lives of women in Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, and Washington Heights communities may depend on this piece of equipment.

The current goal is to raise $250,000 to purchase a digital mammography machine, and ultimately prevent severe cases of breast cancer from occurring within the community. In order to help accomplish certain goals, it is important to reach out to different businesses and organizations and ask for donations. Some organizations specifically spell out in their websites types of projects they donate towards. These projects range from mentoring programs for women to machines that would benefit hospitals. Either way, this internship has taught me how crucial it is to network and build upon that network in order to reach goals and move forward.

For more information on Roseland and fundraising, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team 630.830.4443 or visit our website at

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Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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Nonprofits and New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on January 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s a new year and the resolutions have already started.  At the beginning of each new year, approximately 40% to 60% of Americans make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking, spend less money or make some other improvement in their lives.  And just like people, nonprofits also find themselves making resolutions each year.  Nonprofits generally make resolutions to increase funding.  But like people, many nonprofits find themselves unable to fulfill their resolutions.

Karen Eber Davis of Karen Eber Davis Consulting ( ) says that, “Listing resolutions to increase your non-profit funding is easy but setting ones you can accomplish is tricky because fulfilling income resolutions requires multiple actions, unknowns, unexpected steps, and frequent recommitment.  Funding resolutions that involve actions like these are impossible to keep.”  Therefore, Eber Davis advises that nonprofits “shouldn’t set resolutions to increase funding.”  Instead, she says that in order to avoid the negative experiences of failed funding resolutions, “do something better.  Instead of setting resolutions, set goals.”

Eber Davis says that, “Goals identify specific results; require learning and refining actions as you work; and require more than a firm commitment.”  She recommends to non-profit organizations the following steps in order to accomplish goals in the New Year:

1. Identify a list of outcomes you seek, like creating a more engaged fund-raising board, implementing a planned giving program or a developing a balanced budget.  For most non-profits one goal will usually include increasing funding.

2. Prioritize your list based on which outcomes are most important to you.

3. Select No More Than Three Outcomes. At least one goal should be something fun.  No need to make your work life torture.

4. Identify Next Steps. A step is a specific action you write on your calendar with a definite beginning and a definite ending. ‘Start planned giving’ is not a specific step.  It is too general.  An example of a specific step is, “Meet with Joe to ask him to be on the Planned Giving Task Force.” Once you complete the step, check it off and move on to the next step.

5. Plan for Realistic Incremental Progress. Avoid setting unrealistic steps, like trying to visit all twelve board members in January. If you completed seven visits last year, undertake a realistic plan of three visits per quarter.

6. Create Your Own Motivation. When you have a choice, motivate and please yourself.  Take time to think about what will motivate you to accomplish steps necessary to meeting your goals.  For example, if your goal is to spend more one-on-one time with your board members, find meeting spots that you enjoy and that energize you. And once you identify your incentives, write them on your calendar in ink.

7. Eat Peas First. Certain steps will need to be completed before others.  But when possible, complete the steps you like least in the beginning.

8. Evaluate Your Progress. Assess your progress briefly each week and in-depth at the end of each month. The evaluation process is a good time to identify and schedule additional next steps.

9. Resolve to Achieve Your Goals. Nonprofit organizations should steer clear of making resolutions.  But if you must make a resolution, resolve to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals.

For a free consultation and more information on setting goals for your non-profit call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cause-Related Marketing: A Mutually Beneficial Partnership

Posted on November 15, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

In 1976, the Marriott Corporation was poised to launch its Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California but it needed a cost-effective way to publicize the park’s grand opening.  Around the same time, the March of Dimes ( was exploring ways to significantly increase donations for its pledge walk campaign and motivate their fundraisers to meet a given deadline.  The Marriot Corporation and the March of Dimes joined forces to simultaneously promote their respective interests in 67 cities throughout the Western United States.  The result was $2.5 million in donations (a 40% increase) for the March of Dimes by its deadline and a record-breaking grand opening day at Great America with 2.2 million people in attendance and hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity.  This collaboration between the Marriot Corporation and the March of Dimes was one of the first “cause-related marketing” campaigns.

Cause-related marketing (CRM), also known as cause marketing, refers to a marketing effort between a non-profit organization and a for-profit company.  Planning for a cause-related marketing campaign is not unlike planning for any other type of communications effort, according to Stephen Adler, author of “Cause For Concern: Results-Oriented Cause Marketing” and Chief Executive Officer of Charity Brands Consulting (  Adler states that in order to give the cooperative effort the best chance for success, the parties must think strategically about the relationship.  Strategic thinking includes considering such factors as: executing due diligence when exploring and identifying possible cause-related marketing campaign partners; creating a one-of-a-kind unique blend from the non-profit organization and the for profit company’s two distinct and separate brands; and anticipating and preparing for market changes.

According to David Hessekiel, founder and president of Cause Marketing Forum, (, Kevin Martinez, executive director of corporate social responsibility at New York City-based KPMG, and Chad Royal-Pascoe, managing director of national strategic alliances at White Plains, N.Y.-based March of Dimes, cause-related marketing relationships can potentially help the non-profit organization build lasting relationships with companies.  Non-profit organizations, however, are cautioned not to simply hand over their brands and hope for the best.  Cause related marketing is designed to be a mutually beneficial relationship.  Hessekiel, Martinez and Royal-Pascoe advise non-profit organizations to develop a policy to guide cause-related marketing talks and create boundaries for what it would be willing to do with corporate cause marketing.  An effective cause-related marketing campaign can ultimately bring the non-profit organization and the for-profit company greater visibility and increased revenue.

For a free consultation and more information on non-profit cause-related marketing and strategic planning, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Creating a Valuable Brand Image

Posted on November 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

During the month of October, the Power of Pink was prominent.  From CEO’s to construction workers, from  grandmothers in grocery stores to 250 pound linebackers on football fields, the color pink accessorized wardrobes, from top to bottom, from hats to shoes.  That’s because October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and efforts that are centered around breast cancer awareness have become recognizable by a particular brand.  That brand is the pink ribbon.  In 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure ( was launched as a global movement to end breast cancer.  From its inception, the organization has used the color pink and, over time, has used variations of the pink ribbon as its brand image.  Today, the Komen for the Cure brand image is a pink “running ribbon”; however, the pink ribbon, in general, has been imprinted on the minds’ of consumers as a global symbol for breast cancer awareness.  And during the month of October the brand expands and becomes recognizable simply by the color pink.

Branding is a process used by organizations to create widespread recognition of the organizations products or services.  When an organization’s brand is recognizable and when the organization’s values resonate with popular values, people are more likely to support the organization’s cause.  According to BBMG, ( a branding and integrated marketing agency based in New York and San Francisco, “values-driven organizations can benefit from understanding that the people they appeal to also have values.  They are conscious consumers.”  In its “BBMG Conscious Consumer Report”, ( BBMG lists five core values that drive the more socially minded American consumer.  They are:

  • Health and safety:  Conscious consumers seek natural, organic and unmodified products that meet their essential health and nutrition needs.
  • Honesty:  Conscious consumers insist that companies reliably and accurately detail product features and benefits. They will reward organizations that are honest about this.
  • Convenience:  Conscious consumers pare practical about purchasing decisions.  Faced with increasing constraints on their time and household budgets, they balance price with needs and desires and demand quality.
  • Relationships:  Conscious consumers want more meaningful relationships with the brands in their lives. They want to know: Who made it? Where does it come from? And am I getting back what I put into it?
  • Doing good:  Conscious consumers are concerned about the world and want to do their part to make it a better place.

For a free consultation and more information on branding and non profit organizational development, call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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