Home > The Gardner Report > NPO Considerations, Digital Capacity, Integrated Communications and Take a Seat

NPO Organizational Considerations

As Gardner & Associates looks at 2012 we see a number of bright spots. There are challenges facing NPOs, but the economy is beginning to improve and donors are showing signs of increasing their support. To ensure that your NPO is on track for the improving economy, we suggest three action steps:

  1. Complete the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence (ACE) Diamond Standards inventory. Visit the ACE website www.acenonprofit.org. Their two-page inventory will help you gauge your NPO’s readiness level. The Diamond Standards criteria are helpful metrics of your organizational capacity. It will outline prescriptive action steps to get fully organized.
  2. Check on your NPO’s charitable registration status.
    a. Changes in federal law now require that all charities file an annual IRS Form 990. Visit www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/index.html to confirm the dates, deadlines and details of federal filings.
    b. Arkansas law requires that NPO’s file with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. The Secretary of State wants to know your corporate leadership and their contact information. The Attorney General wants to know your fundraising details.
  3. Visit your local library to access the Foundation Center. Conduct research on 2012 foundation grants that may be available to your NPO. This resource has valuable details on all aspects of foundation support. Invests an hour or two to check out what might be on the horizon.

Assess Your NPO’s Digital Capacity

Recent studies published in Advancing Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals magazine, points out that NPO’s are increasingly moving to mobile or digital messaging and fundraising to achieve their development goals.

  • The New Directions report by Kaptivate Group shows that smart phones and mobile devices are playing a significant role in growing donor responses. It reports that from 2010 to 2011 NPOs are using mobile fundraising have doubled to 9% and is expected to reach 20% in 2012. Early adaptors are experiencing increased fundraising and volunteer recruitment. NPOs are using technology to engage prospects and increase their activity.

    Donors report that they welcome the fundamental value of mobile media because it integrates with their social media activities.

  • An Idealware study of 505 NPO staffers already using Facebook gauged the impact of this strategy has on NPOs. It provides four insights:
    • 70% reported that the greatest impact of Facebook was to attract prospects to events.
    • 70% saw a significant increase in traffic to their website.
    • 66% of advocacy respondents saw increases in taking action such as signing a petition or sending a message.
    • 40% reported success in converting fans into donors or volunteers.

The common experience is that Facebook is a vehicle to increase awareness of your NPO, reach more people, enhance effectiveness and provide timely information to your constituents and enhance relationships with them.

Consider Launching an Integrated Communications Plan in 2012

Today, no single vehicle reaches all constituencies! Paul and Walt encourage their clients to layer communications strategies. Integrate direct mail, e-mail, accessible website, social media and digital newsletters and communications. Align your strategies to match your constituents’ interests and preferences.

NPO communications consultants such as Gail Perry, Convio or Constant Contact remind us that it is essential to incorporate multiple communications channels to deliver your message in a consistent and seamless manner.

  • Consider a four-pronged strategy in 2012 to maximize your communications reach:
  • Prepare a calendar to coordinate the messages and appeals to constituents.
  • Ask your constituents to update their direct and e-mail addresses.
  • Telemarket to prospects immediately following a direct mail or e-mail solicitation to add a personal contact to the appeal.
  • Create an appeal code or link to a custom landing page for the appeal to encourage online response.

Walton Arts Center Ticket Reminder

The 2012 Walton Arts Center season has begun. This means that its Take A Seat program offers opportunities for Northwest Arkansas NPOs to have access to free tickets to these performances.

The WAC website contains the following details:

Because of the commitment and generosity of our sponsors and donors, Walton Arts Center is pleased to announce the fourth season of the Take A Seat program. Take A Seat invites students, seniors, children and families who could not otherwise afford to attend Walton Arts Center performances to experience the arts at no cost.

Working through area non-profit organizations, the program provides free tickets to select Walton Arts Center performances offered throughout the 2011-2012 season. Participating organizations are asked to request tickets based on the interest and preference of the clients they serve.

If your organization is interested in participating, fill out the Application form and Ticket Request form and return both forms by one of the following methods:
(Preferred) E-mail rbradshaw@waltonartscenter.org
> Fax at 479-443-6461 Attn: Ryan Bradshaw
> US Postal mail to: Walton Arts Center, Take A Seat, PO Box 3547, Fayetteville, AR 72702.