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The business of doing good: How to manage your non-profit’s finances (Part 2)

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The non-profit sector is a growing field and an important part of the economy. With so many organizations for people to choose from, how does a non-profit gain continuous support from donors? How do they attract associates and maintain staff enthusiasm for the organization? One answer is something you might not expect: cards.

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UMB hosted a group of almost 40 representatives from Colorado Springs non-profits to talk about a variety of financial management tips for non-profit organizations.

In my previous post I highlighted the first idea covered in this forum: stream-lined, full-service fundraising options for your supporters. Two additional ways to develop and maintain support from both groups are affinity cardprograms for the donors and a commercial card (also known as a corporate card) program for the staff.

Affinity Card

Affinity card programs give your supporters an easy way to donate to your organization. Every time they use the affinity card to make a purchase, a certain amount of money is donated to your organization. The amount will vary based on the card provider you use.

You can even personalize the card to display your logo or another image that represents your organization.

Sometimes organizations avoid programs like this because they think it’s too much hassle to maintain the program. Actually it’s easier than you think. The most important thing to remember is to research the program, the bank that sponsors it, and the terms and conditions of the card.

Commercial Card

Like affinity cards, some non-profit organizations avoid using commercial cards. They’re concerned it will cost them money and be more of an obstacle than a useful tool. Actually, you can use commercial cards to bring money back to your organization, not just to pay expenses. For example, if you sign up for a card with a rewards or rebate program, you could make money using your card. Or you could earn points toward other purchases for the organization.

Many cards offer a comprehensive set of payment solutions you can use to pay for everything from basic expenses to financing full-scale fundraiser events. These payment solutions often offer automated purchasing/payables for your bookkeeping, allowing you and your staff to be more efficient and focus on the work you’re doing in the community.

Other features and benefits of commercial cards include:

  • Spending Controls
  • Convenience
  • Reporting Capabilities

Creating enthusiasm from your donors and associates is easy because they’re passionate about supporting your organization and its mission. Maintaining that enthusiasm is sometimes more difficult and it often involves thinking about processes from their point of view. One way to do this is to establish programs that remove obstacles and allow them to focus on supporting the organization.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Doyle is community bank president for UMB’s Colorado Springs region. He is responsible for guiding strategic direction in the Colorado Springs region as a member of the Colorado management team. He joined UMB in 2011 and has eight years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. and a master’s degree in business administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.



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The business of doing good: How to manage your non-profit’s finances

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Jason DoyleColorado Springs boasts some truly beautiful scenery. But did you know this scenic city is also home to nearly 2,000 non-profit organizations? Recently UMB hosted a group of almost 40 representatives from some of these local non-profits to talk with them about a variety of financial management tips for non-profit organizations. A panel of UMB experts shared information on topics like treasury management, purchasing cards, investment management, and endowments/foundations.

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The non-profit sector is a growing field, not only in Colorado Springs but across the country. Non-profit organizations give back millions of dollars to their communities each year, but they’re also important to the local and national economy. Public charities made up 12% of the 13.24 trillion GDP in 2010 (Urban Institute Press). In fact, non-profit employee numbers went up during the financial crisis, when much of the private sector full-time employee (FTE) numbers were going down.

The organizations that thrive combine streamlined fundraising processes, supporter/employee enthusiasm and buy-in, a strong relationship with their bank and a sound financial structure to manage the funds for the organization. Today I’ll address the fundraising component.

Fundraising Processes
Is your donation and collecting process easy? Your supporters will appreciate simple donation methods, making them more likely to donate again. Streamlining the process to collect funds can save money to go back to your organization and enhance the work you are doing to better your community. Here are some ways to simplify your fundraising process:

  • Consider a multi-channel electronicMobile phone donation received billing and payment solution. You can speed up the cash flow process and possibly increase recurring donors by giving them flexibility with how they can donate. For example, you could use a mobile phone application to gain followers who will then regularly donate to your organization. The increasingly popular text-to-give or text-to-donate programs are an excellent example of this.
  • Look for a program with a high level of automation to streamline the fundraising process and reduce cost. A program with more automation is also likely to have reporting capability. Fundraising reporting provides valuable information you can use to track donation trends and find your strengths and weaknesses in the various channels you use to collect funds.
  • Give your supporters plenty of options on how to donate in addition to electronic solutions. This can be something as simple as a donation box at your next event. Don’t ignore low-tech forms of giving in an effort to chase the next big technology trend. Smart phones are more widely-used all the time, but don’t assume that you should invest all your efforts into mobile giving apps. People like to have options and you never want to inhibit your supporters’ ability to donate.

Fundraising is a top priority for any non-profit, but smart and streamlined fundraising is what will take your organization to the next level.

Be sure to check out my upcoming blogs that will cover supporter and employee enthusiasm, strong bank partnerships and finally, sound financial structure.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Doyle is community bank president for UMB’s Colorado Springs region. He is responsible for guiding strategic direction in the Colorado Springs region as a member of the Colorado management team. He joined UMB in 2011 and has eight years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. and a master’s degree in business administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.



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