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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2nd Week Complete!

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

This second week has been both eventful and exciting. Myself, along with a few other interns, engaged in a lot of research centered on common illnesses within the far south side of Chicago. We looked at how citizens in the south side areas of Chicago, such as Roseland and Riverdale, lack the adequate resources for quality healthcare.  I found myself engrossed with this research and constantly discovering new statistics that put this harsh reality in perspective for these south side citizens. These harsh problems range from a lack of transportation to a lack of quality grocery stores within these neighborhoods.

Being from the middle-class suburbs of Chicago, it’s difficult for me to imagine not having access or a means to travel to a local grocery store, such as Jewel or Dominick’s. For me, these exist on every main street and are visible in every town. From doing this research, it’s easy to assume that such issues arise due to an overall height in poverty. However, if you look more closely, you will find that such issues arise because of a multitude of things within such communities, such as infrastructural problems or less informative knowledge regarding common illnesses like diabetes and breast cancer.

Poverty is used as this umbrella term to describe poorer and less developed communities. However, poverty is both a cause and effect for many issues that communities are burdened with and I think people often fail to recognize that. From doing this research on central issues within Chicago’s south side, it’s evident that poverty is a result from what the south side communities lack as well as a cause that keeps the communities from obtaining resources to solve the many problems that exist. I hope that by doing this research and completing this internship that I will gain a better understanding of the root factors that perpetuates issues of unemployment and income disparity, just a few of the problems that are prominent in the world we live in today.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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First Week Down!

Posted on June 12, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

This past Friday, the HR4Non-Profits team volunteered at Benton House located within the Chicagoland area. We assisted with Benton House’s food pantry which allowed us to see how non-profits work and are actively engaged within the community. It was exciting to see the impact of this community project upon the citizens of Chicago. There is a different perspective gained when you choose to volunteer as opposed to just reading about some harsh reality that a community is facing. The people at Benton House were appreciative of our dedication and look forward to volunteering with us in the future. I’m excited to continue volunteering on Fridays with the team and become acquainted with more Chicago communities and non-profit organizations.

In addition to volunteering, our team at HR4Non-Profits has been brainstorming and outlining ideas for various projects ranging from dealing with business CEOs to marketing strategies. It’s interesting to collaborate with people from various academic backgrounds and provide our input towards a diverse spectrum of projects.

Individually, I hope to learn more about the non-profit sector and also engage the public more with non-profit organizations. As a team, we hope to develop strategies, solutions, and support for non-profit organizations as well as some government institutions. I’m looking forward to being an active member and contributor to this process and to assist in the development of solutions necessary given the obstacles businesses face.

Alyssa Zavislak

Cornell College

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