Thursday, June 25, 2009

Online Donations and Payments

I've been telling audiences for a long time that they need to have an online option for donations, and for selling other goods and services. Most ED's recoil, remembering the days when setting up a credit card payment stream was difficult and very, very expensive.

No more, and Wild Apricot, one of my favorite blogs, has broken down the great options, whether from Google, Amazon or other online payment processors. Here's a terrific post on online payment options, and then a second one on Amazon's new program for nonprofits.

Finally, a big shout out to the nonprofits who made the list of the Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, particularly Goodwill Industries International, on whose board I sit. Goodwill came in at #5 on Cone's list, but being on the list at all is a big, big deal.

Good work!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Listening to your customers (and line staff) in a recession

Here's a GREAT article that, on the surface, has nothing to do with nonprofits, but in reality has everything to do with how your organization deals with the new economy.

It's from the New York Times and discusses how big retailers are shifting strategy in the recession.

I know, I know, who cares, right? OK, trust me, read the article. You'll see these organizations listening to line staff (something they should have been doing for years) making small changes that appeal to customers (the anecdote about dress demand in Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City), or reducing "seasons" since people are buying what they need now, and not buying ahead. Small changes that make a big difference.

The other issue from this article to remember is that the stores are making long put off changes since they assume that, even when the recession is over, the new normal will not be like the old normal.

Good thinking.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Building better websites

Regular readers know that I continue to push nonprofits on the fact that more and more people (and certainly EVERYONE under 35) will check your organization out (whether for donations, volunteer opportunities, job openings or actual service) online first and, perhaps, only.

Thus a key to nonprofit success is a great website. But where to start?

TechSoup (again) to the rescue. Here's a great article on Designing or Redesigning an Great Nonprofit Website.

Every nonprofit manager should read this, and then look at your own website!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hidden in the new 990...

I had an interesting week, both professionally and in terms of travel. It started with a fun day in Hartford, sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. We began with a meeting in the morning with a large group of nonprofits, and followed that with an afternoon session for capacity builders. We talked about Mission-Based Management in Difficult Times at both sessions. Great questions and a large number of follow-up emails, which I always enjoy.

Oh, if you are the person who emailed me from the room in Hartford itself--my email crashed at the airport and I lost my inbox (actually two YEARS worth of inbox!). So, it's not that I'm ignoring you, it's that I don't have your email--shoot me another one and I'll get back to you.

Friday I was in Dallas, for a second go round with the American Dietetic Association's annual Leadership Development Conference, talking about Generations. Again, enthusiastic people and fun questions.

Speaking of follow-up questions, I got one yesterday that led me to something we all need to remember-that the new IRS 990 form is not just about the form. It also requires some updating of many nonprofits' management and governance practices. Here's a great article on that topic. If you wait to get at these issues until you are filling in the form at the last minute, you may have some problems.
Check soon.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Enterprise--social benefit-win-win-win

Now, THIS is a good idea for companies in slow times. Check it out and see if you can talk some companies in your town into picking this up. Perhaps feed it to the Chamber of Commerce?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Good day, good ideas

I had a terrific day Wednesday at Aldelphi University's Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership's Nonprofit Summit. Not only did I get to again hear Kim Klein (always a treat), I had fun in two different sessions with participants, and got to visit with some old friends as well as make some new ones.

One theme (starting with Kim's opening address titled, "The Best Of Times") that I completely agree with is that the current economic downturn is an incredible opportunity for nonprofit leadership to reshape our organizations to be stronger when the recession ends. This is so, so true, if we think strategically, and not simply about the day to day problems we have. I know that's easier said than done, but it's still true.

Many thanks to everyone at the Center, but particularly to Ann Marie, Peter, Cathy and Gina. You made my time there very easy and enjoyable.