In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of volunteer grants and how these programs can benefit your nonprofit.

Volunteer Grants – Nonprofit Catalog

If you have a devoted volunteer base but haven’t heard of volunteer grants, you’re missing out on easy revenue! Corporate volunteer grants are an excellent way to supercharge your volunteer relationships, kickstart new corporate partnerships, and enhance your fundraising strategy.

Tapping into this resource is pretty simple when you know the basics. To help you get started, we’ll cover the essential components of these programs and provide some practical tips along the way. In no time, you’ll cultivate a lucrative volunteer grant strategy that helps you pursue your mission.

What Are Volunteer Grants?

Corporate volunteer grant programs are a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies make monetary contributions to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer. Some businesses pay per volunteer hour while others require employees to serve a minimum number of hours with an organization. Then, after a volunteer submits a grant request, the company will send a check to the nonprofit.

So, let’s say a company offers $100 for every 25 hours an employee serves a nonprofit. Once a devoted supporter volunteers those 25 hours, they can submit a request to their employer who will then send the donation.

This image illustrates the concept of volunteer grants. A company might donate $100 for every 25 hours an employee volunteers with a nonprofit.

Some companies also offer team volunteer grants as a way to encourage team-building and volunteerism in the communities where employees live and work. Crowd101’s corporate giving statistics page shows that 82% of companies report that their employees want to volunteer with their peers, making team volunteer grants a powerful engagement opportunity. When a business offers team grants, they often have additional requirements such as how many employees must volunteer together.

Benefits of Corporate Volunteer Grants

Volunteer grants are impactful programs because they benefit nonprofits, companies, and volunteers alike. Whether you’re making a case to your board of directors to pursue this opportunity or convincing a local business to launch a program, here are some key benefits you can share:

For Nonprofits

Through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives like volunteer grants, nonprofits can:

  • Access more critical funding. Volunteer grants allow you to generate more revenue from supporters without having to solicit them for gifts. Your volunteers have already committed their time to your nonprofit. To earn more essential funds for your mission, all they need to do is check their eligibility and submit their hours to their employers.
  • Recruit and retain more volunteers. Knowing that their employers will amplify the impact of their support can inspire more people to dedicate their time and skills to your cause. Since 66% of volunteers indicate that making a difference in their community is their primary motivation for getting involved, the prospect of making an even greater difference can turn them into regular volunteers for your nonprofit.
  • Secure more donations. According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, 66% of donors volunteer around the world, with 73% donating to the nonprofits they volunteer with. Your volunteers have already demonstrated an investment in your cause. By retaining their support over time, you’ll increase the chances of converting them into donors as well.
  • Build more long-term partnerships with companies. If many of your volunteers work for the same company that offers volunteer grants, you might reach out and establish a mutually beneficial partnership with the company. This can pave the way for event sponsorships, collaborative cause marketing campaigns, and more.

Your nonprofit can obtain more volunteer grants by sharing these benefits, alongside basic instructions about the process, across multiple communication channels. By ensuring that supporters are aware of this impactful opportunity and practicing consistent volunteer appreciation, you’ll be able to unlock more funding over time.

For Companies

Corporate philanthropy has become a major priority among businesses around the world. By providing volunteer grant opportunities to employees, companies can:

  • Increase employee engagement. Many employees need more than a regular paycheck to feel invested in their roles. Nonprofits Source’s employee engagement guide lists CSR programs as a key way to increase employee loyalty and productivity. By giving them the chance to support causes they care about, companies can provide employees with a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the workplace. 
  • Recruit more top talent. Beyond competitive pay and employee benefits, CSR initiatives like volunteer grants can help companies stand out to talented job seekers. In fact, three out of four U.S. employees indicate that they want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world.
  • Boost their reputation. In today’s competitive business landscape, companies must do more than just make profits to be successful. To win the hearts of people in their communities, they must contribute to the well-being of society as a whole. Volunteer grants are one effective way for them to demonstrate this commitment to social good.
  • Attract more customers. Launching a volunteer grant program can enhance a company’s success and sustainability by bringing in new, socially conscious shoppers and turning them into loyal customers. After all, 77% of consumers want to purchase from companies with CSR initiatives.

By joining forces, nonprofits and companies can accomplish more of their goals, expend fewer resources, and leave a lasting impact on the world.

For Volunteers

By devoting their time to nonprofits and securing volunteer grants from their employers, volunteers can:

  • Generate more of an impact. Your nonprofit’s supporters have different preferences and capacities when it comes to getting involved in your cause. Volunteer grants empower them to make financial gifts to your nonprofit without having to spend their own money.
  • Achieve more personal fulfillment. Volunteering is an excellent way for people to find a sense of belonging and purpose in their lives. Considering that the current estimated value of each volunteer hour is $31.80, volunteer grants allow your supporters to amplify the impact of their contributions even more.
  • Tap into the benefits of volunteering. Your volunteers are busy people. Between their careers, hobbies, and personal commitments, it might be difficult to find time to volunteer. Volunteer grants can provide an added incentive to inspire more of your supporters to volunteer and experience all the benefits that come with it—from reducing stress to developing essential skills.

With more involved volunteers, your nonprofit will be well on its way to cultivating a strong, tight-knit community of supporters around your cause.

Common Guidelines for Volunteer Grant Programs

When laying out their volunteer grant programs, businesses typically set a few ground rules for participation. Your volunteer coordinator should be aware of the different types of requirements that companies commonly implement, such as:

  • Employee eligibility: This refers to an individual’s employment status at the company. For example, a company might offer volunteer grants for full-time, part-time, and retired employees.
  • Nonprofit restrictions: Some corporations will place restrictions on which types of nonprofits are eligible. In most cases, companies state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or educational institution is eligible.
  • Submission deadlines: Volunteers must typically submit a request by a certain date. Standard deadlines include the end of the calendar year or a set number of months after the individual volunteered.
  • Required hours: While most companies have a minimum hour requirement for eligibility, some pay by the hour.
  • Donation amount: This is the total grant amount that a company will donate to a nonprofit after the hours are completed. Guidelines may also include how many grants the company offers per employee each year.
  • Logging hours: Companies have different hour reporting requirements. They may require employees to fill out printed or electronic forms.

Corporate giving software can give you instant access to information on thousands of volunteer grant programs. You can embed a search tool where volunteers can research their companies, determine their eligibility, learn how to log their hours, and gain access to required forms.

How to Win A Volunteer Grant

With help from a corporate giving database, a volunteer can request a volunteer grant from their employer within minutes. Double the Donation’s corporate volunteer grant guide breaks it down into five easy steps. Here’s how it works:

This image summarizes the volunteer grant process, listed below.
  1. An individual volunteers with a nonprofit on a regular basis.
  2. The volunteer researches their eligibility for their employer’s program using a corporate giving database.
  3. If eligible, the volunteer fills out the required forms, either electronically or using a paper form.
  4. The company reviews the grant application and reaches out to the nonprofit to confirm the submitted information.
  5. If everything is in order, the company sends a check to the nonprofit.

It’s that simple! When it’s all said and done, make sure to reach out to thank your volunteers for all their hard work. Show that you appreciate them going above and beyond by submitting volunteer grant applications even after donating their time to your organization. By the end of it, you’ll drive greater volunteer satisfaction and inspire them to stick around for years to come.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Giving Platforms (+ Trends!) – Corporate giving goes beyond volunteer grant programs. Learn about other workplace giving initiatives and how software can make it easy to leverage these opportunities.

Nonprofit Fundraising Training: FAQs and 8 Top Resources – Is your team prepared to take advantage of fundraising opportunities like volunteer grants? Here are some training resources to help them develop their fundraising skills.

This article will review employee recruitment best practices.

Defining Employee Recruitment — Nonprofit Catalog

Picture this: You’re running your most successful phone-a-thon fundraiser in years. Your marketing strategy really hit home, and your phones are ringing off the hook. There’s one problem, though. You simply don’t have enough employees to manage the incoming calls. 

You have tons of donors ready to give, but you lack the operational capacity to manage their generosity. What’s the end result? Missed opportunities and a decline in donor retention. Maybe this example is a little extreme, but the principle is true. Nonprofits that avoid recruiting high-value employees tend to run some serious risks. 

Great employees not only help you crush your to-dos, but they also bring a fresh level of passion and commitment to your organization. In fact, 88% of millennials consider their job more fulfilling when they have opportunities to have a positive impact on society.

Kickstarting the employee recruitment process can seem daunting at first, but it helps if you break the process down into manageable steps.

What is employee recruitment?

Employee recruitment is the process of connecting with potential new employees to assess whether they’d be a good fit for an organization’s open positions. This process can take a while to perfect and will look different as your organization evolves. 

Ideally, recruiting employees is a win-win for your organization. Nonprofits fill positions with capable employees and individuals find a place to work that aligns with their values and schedule. Finding these employees can be trial and error, that’s why it’s important to implement a detailed employee recruitment and review process.

Why do organizations need recruitment strategies?

Filling positions can be time-consuming and challenging. By setting hiring and recruitment strategies, you can acquire the right talent, drive growth, and adapt to changing circumstances without spending as much time as you would otherwise. 

Let’s break down some of the most important reasons to develop a recruitment plan:

This graphic explains the reasons to develop an employee recruitment plan, listed below.
  • Innovation and Growth: Fresh perspectives and diverse skill sets brought in through thoughtful recruitment can lead to new ideas and increased productivity.
  • Adaptation to Change: As your organization’s needs evolve, you may need to adapt your workforce to address those changes. Recruitment strategies enable you to respond to changing market conditions, technological advancements, and industry trends.
  • Better Matches for Positions: You want to hire the right people for the job, and creating recruitment strategies will help you find individuals who possess the right skills and are a good culture fit. In turn, that can also improve employee satisfaction and performance once they get up and running.
  • Reduced Costs: Carefully planned recruitment strategies can help control recruitment costs by optimizing the selection process and reducing turnover rates.

A solid employee recruitment and hiring plan can support your organization in a variety of ways, from staying on top of industry changes to generally finding good fits for your team. In turn, you’ll be able to fill immediate staffing needs and impact the long-term success of your organization.

What are the steps of the employee recruitment process?

An employee recruitment process can be tailored to each position and changed over time. However, it’s helpful to have a general guideline to refer back to. Let’s take a look at some defined steps:

  1. Set a goal. Assess which areas of your organization could use some extra management or expertise. This might be a goal for how many employees you’d like to bring on board or what roles you’re looking to fill at your organization.
  2. Write a comprehensive job description. Include your job requirements, preferred experience, and what a day in the life of this position would look like. Feel free to also detail what qualifications an ideal candidate would have to offer.
  3. Update your benefits. Take a total rewards approach to compensation, especially if you’re recruiting for nonprofit positions. This approach views employee compensation holistically, taking into account not only salary but also indirect benefits like paid time off and retirement benefits. This, in turn, leads to higher performance levels and productivity.
  4. Promote your open positions widely. When recruiting employees, LinkedIn is a go-to. Other online job boards and in-person recruitment fairs are great places to promote your new positions as well. To prepare for in-person networking events and fairs, carry printed promotional materials to explain your organization.
  5. Conduct targeted recruitment. Reach out directly to prospective employees with the right qualifications. If you’ve done some digging on LinkedIn, message a qualified potential candidate directly. Let them know why you think they’d be a good fit and offer your contact information to facilitate future communication.

Throughout this process, keep your options open by casting a wide net. You may have your heart set on a couple of candidates, but keep in mind that plans change for a variety of reasons. Your main goal should be to recruit as many qualified candidates as possible. The next section will show you how to conduct interviews that effectively filter through these candidates.

8 tips for a successful interview process

After you’ve set up interviews with potential recruits, you must ensure that your interview process is well-thought-through to find the right candidate for the job. Make sure that each candidate understands and aligns with your organization’s values, whether they involve giving back to the community, strengthening your diversity and inclusion initiatives, or being responsive to customers.

Follow these tips to hold productive interviews:   

  • Thank candidates for their time. Usually, high-value candidates are not on the job market for long. Thank them for devoting their time to the interview. 
  • Make candidates feel comfortable. Provide a brief overview of the topics you’ll cover in the interview ahead of time. This helps candidates settle in and mentally prepare. 
  • Ask insightful questions. Open-ended questions can give a full picture of the candidate’s professional background and personality. Consider questions like:
    • Why are you interested in this position? 
    • What strengths would you bring to this position?
    • What kind of working environment do you perform best in? 
    • What are you passionate about? 
    • What are some professional accomplishments that you are proud of?
This image features a list of insightful interview questions to ask during your employee recruitment process.
  • Give your candidates enough time to answer your questions. Pace your questions so that a candidate can answer them fully. Otherwise, your interview can feel more like a rapid-fire interrogation. If a candidate is confused by a question, rephrase it in a way they can understand.
  • Leave time for your candidates to ask you questions. Candidates are interviewing you too. If a candidate has done their research about your organization, they most likely will have some questions. Leave enough time to answer their inquiries and provide your contact information if more questions come up.
  • Provide an expected timeline. End your interview by providing an expectation for when you are going to reach back out to the candidate. The usual response period is between one to two weeks. 
  • Check references. Ask your candidates to provide a reference sheet with two to three references and their contact information. Check these references and their credentials before hiring any new candidates. 
  • Follow up when candidates don’t get the job. It’s helpful to provide closure for applicants and explain why you’re going in a different direction. This ensures you don’t burn any bridges. 

In-depth interview processes proactively assess a candidate’s qualifications. Once you have decided on your candidates, be sure to extend them a warm welcome to your team. Keep in mind that regular employee performance reviews are also necessary to keep your team in tip-top shape. Once hired, employees expect consistent and honest feedback for their work.

How do we keep recruited team members engaged?

Recruitment takes a lot of energy and funds, so you want to ensure that the candidates you pick stay for the long term. Here are some tactics you can use to boost your recruitment’s ROI and keep team members engaged:

Open communication between management and directs

Make your organization feel like a close-knit team by encouraging open communication in the workplace. Schedule consistent one-on-one meetings between new employees and managers to help them surmount challenges, boost confidence, and progress in their roles. Doing so allows them to have more frequent conversations about their work approach and feel supported at your company.

At the same time, encourage managers to share regular feedback with their directs, recognizing outstanding performance and sharing areas where they can improve moving forward. This approach removes any uncertainty or guesswork among employees regarding their performance.

Offer upward mobility

A stagnant work structure may lead to employee burnout and disengagement from your organization. Studies show that employees experiencing burnout are 3.4 times more likely to leave the company and nearly 2 times more likely to feel disconnected from company culture. Fortunately, you can minimize the risk of burnout and disengagement by giving employees the opportunity to grow and take on more significant responsibilities over time.

One easy way to accomplish this is to offer professional development opportunities. These may range from a mentorship program to online courses. As a result, you’ll not only keep employees invested in their roles, but you’ll also help them improve their performance in those roles.

Embrace employee recognition

Employee recognition is a vital component of a thriving workplace, enhancing overall job satisfaction and fostering a sense of belonging. While feedback from upper management is important, it’s equally crucial to empower employees to recognize each other’s contributions, too. Consider the following strategies:

  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition Systems: Implement systems where employees can nominate their peers for awards like Team Member of the Month or use public shout-out boards to highlight outstanding work.
  • Milestone Celebrations: Plan events for birthdays, work anniversaries, Employee Appreciation Day, and other significant milestones to build a sense of community within teams.
  • Digital Gratitude Cards: Encourage managers to recognize employees’ hard work immediately and personally with digital greeting cards. To power this strategy, invest in employee recognition eCard software. Here’s an example of a custom recognition eCard that highlights an organizational value:
An employee recognition eCard that says, “Thank you for committing to our value: Respect”

Whichever recognition approach you take, strive to make employees feel valued not only by their colleagues but also by the organization as a whole. Acknowledging employees’ efforts and achievements on multiple levels leads to higher engagement, stronger teamwork, and improved morale.

Involve employees in decision-making

Employees want to know that management values their ideas. With this in mind, open the floor for them to provide suggestions about your organization’s culture or strategies by sending out regular surveys soliciting their feedback.

Consider asking questions in these key areas:

  • Role satisfaction
  • Company values
  • Workplace culture
  • Team communication
  • Work-life balance

Even if you don’t accept all suggestions, it’s important to acknowledge and express gratitude to employees for taking the time to provide their input.

Respect work-life balance

While your employees work for you to make a living, work should not be their entire lives. Respect work-life boundaries by clearly delineating your expectations for work hours and limiting work-related communication on the weekends.

Furthermore, encourage employees to take breaks and consider offering flexible work hours so they can adjust their schedules to maximize productivity. Promote their overall well-being by initiating wellness activities and providing mental health support resources to employees.

Empower employees to be independent

You chose your job candidates because you see potential in them to make an impact on your organization. Enable them to explore projects they’re interested in, take ownership of their assignments, and make independent decisions. They’ll feel much more confident and fulfilled in their roles, and you may even cultivate future leaders within your company.

Create a workplace giving program

Three out of four U.S. employees want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world. By launching a workplace giving program, you’ll be able to retain the employees you recruit and attract even more top talent to your company.

There are many types of workplace giving you can pursue, such as matching gifts and volunteer grants. Through these programs, your company will contribute a certain amount of funds to nonprofits that employees donate their money or time to.

To facilitate these philanthropic initiatives, consider investing in workplace giving software. These technology solutions make it easy to organize your program, engage employees, and report on impact.

As your employee base changes over time, so should your engagement strategies. Gauge the effectiveness of your strategies as time passes by sending surveys, researching new trends, and staying open to suggestions from your employees.

Additional Resources

Learn the basics of charity eCards and see examples from nonprofits.

Charity eCards – Nonprofit Catalog

As nonprofit professionals, we’re tasked to come up with creative ways to engage supporters and sponsors. Especially in the competitive and fast-paced online space, it’s challenging to grab and retain people’s attention. If you’re searching for the ultimate attention-grabbing fundraising strategy, give charity eCards a try!

There’s no better way to bring an interactive element to your online presence than with charity eCards. Everyone loves receiving personalized cards. Connect each one to a charitable cause, and that makes receiving one even more meaningful.

From holiday eCards to cause awareness day cards, your nonprofit’s possibilities are endless. Before you start designing, you’ll need to know the basics about offering cards.

Create your charity eCards with eCardWidget.

What Are Charity eCards?

Charity eCards are digital cards that supporters can send to friends and family to show their support for a particular cause or nonprofit. By using eCard software, organizations can create designs for different occasions. Common themes organizations stick to include:

  • Holiday cards
  • Tribute donation cards
  • Thank-you cards
  • Cause awareness cards

Nonprofits typically offer these cards in exchange for a donation or for a specific price. While primarily sent via email, supporters might be able to send your charity’s eCards through other platforms like text or Facebook. It all depends on your eCard software.

This creative fundraiser works for several reasons. For one, it incentivizes donors to give. They’ll receive an instant give-back with every gift. By enabling people to personalize messages alongside their chosen eCards, you can tap into peer referrals, too. Supporters will get to shout about the causes they love, effectively inspiring their friends and family to look into your cause.

Particularly when compared to direct mail, nonprofit eCards are cost-effective and eco-friendly, eliminating the need for postage and printing.

Donation eCards Ideas to Spark Inspiration

Nonprofit eCards come in all shapes and sizes. From simple and straightforward messages to more creative and thoughtful designs, you can create designs for every occasion. Whether you’re connecting them to a specific campaign or offering them year-round, you can create anywhere from one charity eCard to a full collection with dozens of options.

To get your creativity flowing, let’s walk through some examples from real charities. And remember to incorporate your branding into every design. Something as simple as including your nonprofit logo in the corner will go a long way in promoting brand awareness.

Holiday Charity eCards

Holidays happen year-round, making them a great opportunity to support your work. Create ones for people to send to love ones to celebrate any holiday, like:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • The Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other year-end holidays

If you want to get creative in expressing appreciation, your team can actually send holiday eCards to committed supporters and sponsors. Let them know you’re thinking about them during holidays, particularly during the year-end holiday season.

After all, this is the most charitable time of year, and you can reconnect with them when they’re feeling the most generous. In fact, December alone accounts for 30% of annual giving, according to Nonprofits Source’s online giving statistics.

For this example, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium created a collection of Valentine’s Day cards. They featured some of their animal residents, tying each card back to their mission. Mimicking the traditional Valentine’s Day card style, each card features a witty pun and plenty of hearts.

This Valentine's Day card is a great example of a charity eCard for holidays.

Cause Awareness eCards

If there’s a cause awareness day or week associated with your cause, that’s the perfect time to create a fundraising card to spread the word. One option is to offer the cards for free and simply have supporters share their favorite designs with friends and family. Alternatively, connect them to a fundraiser. Have your supporters donate to your cause, then send an eCard to boost awareness.

In this example, Project Sleep created a small collection of charity eCards for World Narcolepsy Day. The day correlates with their mission to raise awareness about sleep health and sleep conditions. Supporters could send the nonprofit eCards for free, helping to increase public knowledge about the 3 million individuals living with narcolepsy across the globe.

Cause awareness days lend themselves well to charity eCards.

Birthday eCards

Birthday cards are a tradition that stands the test of time. Help your supporters celebrate by crafting birthday eCards with your nonprofit’s branding.

We recommend offering birthday eCards in exchange for donations. As explained in Fundraising Letters’ donation eCards guide, this is a creative way to eliminate any pressure to buy a gift. The donor can give in honor of their loved one and send a birthday eCard letting them know. Giving to a cause the recipient cares about is a meaningful way to wish happy birthday.

For this example, we’ve pulled a more generic example that any nonprofit can emulate. Simply add your logo to the corner of the charity eCard you design. Then, customize the message that will be sent alongside it to let the recipient know the proceeds of the card purchase went to support your organization.

Birthday fundraising eCards make great fundraisers year-round.

Thank You eCards

Offer thank-you cards as a way for supporters to thank someone who’s impacted them in some way.

The best part about nonprofit eCards is that you don’t have to sell them or require donations from supporters. You can actually offer them for free and use them internally! Really get creative by having your team send them out to sponsors, donors, and volunteers to express appreciation.

This is such a great way to help supporters thank their loved ones and empower your team to thank sponsors and committed supporters. As a bonus, you can also use eCards as a form of employee appreciation.

We’ve picked a unique charity eCard for this example. As part of its 70th-anniversary celebration, Youth for Understanding (YFU) offered digital cards branded with the organization’s colors and logo to its beneficiaries. Those impacted by the program could send the digital cards to their friends, host families, teachers, and volunteers as a unique way to reconnect and express gratitude.

Express appreciation for supporters and employees with charity eCards.

How to Offer Fundraising eCards to Supporters

Using our preferred charity eCard software eCardWidget, you’ll have a few options for offering digital cards to your supporters, such as:

  • During the donation process: This is one of our favorite ways to raise money with cards and is what’s pictured below. Offer eCards in exchange for donations. A donor will choose their preferred eCard, select a donation amount, and fill out other required information. The donation will go to the nonprofit, while the donor’s loved one will instantly receive the card.
  • Post-donation: Using this strategy, donors can donate and then choose an eCard to send. To use this approach, simply embed the widget into your donation confirmation page. That way, supporters will fill out the recipient’s contact details, add a personalized message, and click send.
  • Attached to your fundraising eStore: This approach is perfect if your nonprofit sells fundraising products! eCardWidget allows you to attach eCards to your virtual store. Someone will buy a card as a product from your store. After making their purchase, the widget will appear on the order confirmation page, where they can fill out the details.
Offer fundraising eCards in exchange for donations.

Best of all, eCardWidget integrates with some of the most popular fundraising tools, making it easy to integrate it into your existing fundraising processes. It even comes with a convenient WordPress plugin and Shopify integration to make the process of offering nonprofit eCards even smoother. Remember, you can also use them internally and offer them for free!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Graphic Design – Nonprofit Catalog – Charity eCards rely on effective graphic design. Make sure you know the basics of nonprofit design to create compelling cards that excite supporters.

Birthday Fundraisers: How to Secure Year-Round Support – Fundraising eCards for birthdays are perfect for raising money. Learn more and explore other birthday fundraising ideas with this guide.

Create your fundraising eCards with eCardWidget.
Engage your community and make a difference with these outreach ideas.

Community Outreach Ideas – Nonprofit Catalog

Our communities are what make us strong as individuals. Community members celebrate and help one another in impactful ways. When a community comes together to support a cause, it is a site to behold.

Schools, nonprofits, and other organizations are uniquely defined by their communities. These organizations exist to further a greater cause. Their relationship with the community directly affects their ability to realize their mission

That’s why, as a nonprofit, your community outreach matters. Without the ongoing support of your local and global communities, your nonprofit’s mission would still be a dream instead of a reality. Connecting with your community can also improve your fundraising efforts and further your positive brand awareness.

What is community outreach? 

Community outreach involves a nonprofit’s efforts to engage community members in fundraising or volunteer opportunities that support a charitable cause. This could look like inviting community members to participate in a 5K fundraiser or attend a fancy fundraising dinner.

Effective community outreach requires transparency and genuine interest from your nonprofit. You have to show community members that you care about them and are invested in being a positive force for good in the local area. Get to know your community members personally and express a sincere interest in their lives. 

Once you’ve established a positive relationship with your community members, encourage them to invite their family and friends to upcoming fundraising events. If you stay consistent, soon, you will have a reliable, diverse community network.

Benefits of community outreach

There are several upsides to community outreach. Although it takes a bit of effort, you will reap the benefits in years to come. A successful community outreach program will help you:

Regular community outreach can help your nonprofit in several ways.
  • Improve your organization’s public image. It’s one thing to be noticed as an organization. It’s quite another to get consistent praise for your efforts. When community members mention your nonprofit in a positive light, it’s like free word-of-mouth advertising. In other words, people value direct referrals from those they trust incredibly highly. 
  • Raise greater awareness and support for your mission. Community outreach gets people talking about your promise to make a difference and opens the door to fostering more support. People naturally reference your mission when they know your nonprofit name.
  • Develop valuable community partnerships, such as corporate sponsorships. In many ways, corporate sponsorships can be the golden ticket that helps your fundraising get off the ground. Partnerships with other local organizations are useful as well. When you team up with another local school or nonprofit to host an event or fundraising campaign, your united efforts will go a long way.

These are just a few of the pros of getting to know your community. Be aware that these benefits may take some time to materialize, but once they do, they can exponentially propel your mission forward.

What are some effective community outreach ideas? 

Creating a plan will assist your community outreach efforts. Ideally, your strategy will contain a variety of outlined ideas planned throughout the year. If your organization is newer, planning more outreach events ahead of time will maximize your ROI.

Below are some options to reference to find the optimal pathway for community outreach success:

  • Host a volunteer open house. Volunteer open houses are similar to regular open houses because they are casual, low-stakes networking opportunities.  It can be a drop-in event where community members can volunteer for an hour or so while learning about your volunteer opportunities and program. 
  • Engage community members in a sneaker recycling program. Everyone, especially parents with growing kids, has an extra pair of running shoes lying around. Partner with a sneaker recycling program like Sneaker4FGood to collect gently worn, used and new running shoes from your community members. You could host a 5K to collect the shoes, take them to the nearest shipping center, and receive a check in exchange for the donated shoes. 
  • Host a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Have your current network facilitate supporter growth. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a personalized campaign reliant on volunteers requesting support from their networks. These volunteers act as ambassadors for your cause and help you reach your fundraising goals. 
  • Lead a sustainability webinar. We can all do our part to cherish the environment. A sustainability webinar explores practical ways your community can give back. You could cover various topics like how to decrease single plastic use or top farmer’s market picks.
  • Partner with a local business for an event or fundraiser. Talk with community members to learn about their favorite local restaurants or entertainment venues. Then reach out to these businesses and inquire about hosting an event or fundraiser in their spaces. It could look like a brunch at a cozy breakfast spot with proceeds benefiting your cause. 
  • Interact with supporters on social media. Keep your social media feed updated with the latest content about your mission. Reach out to potential supporters directly to see if they would be interested in featuring you in a post or on their timeline. 
  • Ask for supporter feedback. Send a survey or offer a poll on your website. Gather supporter feedback concerning specific fundraisers to see how you can improve for your next event. Make sure your surveys are short and straightforward to respect your supporter’s time. 
  • Provide advocacy opportunities. Do you see a major opportunity for positive change within your community? Categorize your community needs and tackle them by advocating for either policy, environmental, or systems change. Host an advocacy committee to reach out to the appropriate leaders to kickstart your movement.

A combination of fundraising ideas, volunteer opportunities, and community events can help you reach different audiences. Get to know your community to decide which outreach idea they would most likely do. Make your outreach relevant and impactful to them. 

Additional Resources

Learn more about nonprofit bookkeeping and how it is used to help organizations like yours.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping – Nonprofit Catalog

Your nonprofit works hard to raise money effectively and efficiently, so your fundraising team is often knee-deep in the process of finding new revenue streams. But what happens after those monies are acquired? How do you keep track of it all? Financial management is an essential part of your ability to fund your nonprofit’s mission, and it all starts with bookkeeping.

What Is Nonprofit Accounting?

Nonprofit bookkeeping is the process of inputting and organizing your nonprofit’s financial data. When your nonprofit makes money through fundraising, investing, or other strategies, your bookkeeper is the one to input the information about that money into your accounting system and ensure it’s labeled and allocated correctly. 

When your nonprofit registered to be a 501(c)(3) organization, you received tax-exempt status. But you also agreed as a part of that registration that you would ensure a high level of transparency regarding your finances in order to maintain that status with the IRS. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure your funding is recorded properly—a task that falls directly on your bookkeeper. 

At many smaller organizations, the job of bookkeeping falls largely on executive directors or high-level staff members. This creates another hat for those professionals to wear in their work at the organization. Meanwhile, large organizations with more transactions to keep track of might hire a full-time bookkeeper to manage their day-to-day finances, although hiring can be expensive. The best in-between option for nonprofits is to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting needs to an experienced, nonprofit-specific firm. 

You might be asking, “Bookkeeping and accounting? Why do we need both? Aren’t they basically the same thing?” In short, no. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these commonly confused roles.

How are Bookkeeping and Accounting Different?

While often lumped together in one category, nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting are two distinct roles. Here are the main differences between the two:

Let’s examine the differences between nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping

Nonprofit bookkeepers manage the day-to-day operational needs of an organization. This includes tasks like data entry, writing checks, and allocating expenses. Because it tends to be fairly administrative in nature, nonprofit bookkeepers don’t usually require specialized degrees or CPA certifications. However, this doesn’t mean the job is easy! Bookkeeping requires strong organizational skills to keep everything straight.

Nonprofit Accounting

Nonprofit accounting is like the big brother to bookkeeping. Accountants analyze your nonprofit’s financial data to determine the next steps that will help your organization reach its goals. This role requires a four-year degree and most people who occupy this position are CPA-certified. Accountants also reconcile your bank accounts, prepare your books for audits, compile and submit tax forms, and create your annual budget. 

Both of these roles are essential for your nonprofit to have effective financial management practices, but they’re often completed by two different people. This way, you’ll create stronger internal controls that help prevent fraud at your nonprofit.

What Does a Nonprofit Bookkeeper Do?

Your nonprofit bookkeeper’s duties are varied, but they may include tasks such as: 

  • Data entry. Basic data entry involves recording all of your nonprofit’s expenses, revenue, transactions, and other financial information in your dedicated accounting software or a spreadsheet. 
  • Writing checks and making bank deposits. When your nonprofit needs someone to go to the bank to deposit cash from in-person donations or to write the check for your water bill this month, you’ll call upon your nonprofit bookkeeper. 
  • Processing payroll. Larger organizations may rely on a separate HR department to process payroll, but small to mid-sized nonprofits often let this responsibility fall onto their nonprofit bookkeeper. 
  • Allocating expenses. Nonprofit bookkeepers are in charge of organizing the allocations for various organizational expenses. For example, they may allocate what expenses are dedicated to different programs, administrative costs, and fundraising campaigns.

As you can see, your nonprofit bookkeeper is primarily responsible for keeping all of your nonprofit’s financial information organized and ready to be acted upon. If your organization’s bookkeeping duties currently fall on your executive members of the team, consider if it’s worth it to designate a dedicated staff member or outsourced bookkeeper to help manage the responsibilities.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services for Nonprofits – Some organizations outsource their bookkeeping and accounting needs to organizations like Jitasa. Learn more about how this works and why it can benefit your nonprofit.

Year-End Giving – Your organization raises a lot of money at the end of the year. This guide will help you prepare to raise that funding and record it properly.

Labor unions are an important part of establishing working conditions in many industries.

What is a Labor Union? – Nonprofit Catalog

A labor union is a nonprofit coalition of workers in the same trade or industry. They are similar to associations, but unions are formed to protect workers’ rights and ensure that favorable conditions are maintained in the workplace. This happens through collective bargaining between the union representative and the employer. Union representatives often negotiate factors such as wages, benefits, schedules, safety, and job security on behalf of the workers. 

Unions are membership-based organizations. Usually, unions charge a small monthly membership fee that gets automatically deducted from their members’ paychecks. Members have a direct say and can vote on the issues that make it to the collective bargaining stage. Thus, workers who are represented by unions aren’t necessarily members of the union. 

Who’s involved with labor unions?

There are three important parties involved in labor unions. They are:

  • The workers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14 million union members in the United States as of 2021. That’s 12% of the full- and part-time workforce. ⅔ of union members are women and people of color, which means they are highly represented by unions relative to their population. 
  • The employers. These players are in managerial positions within companies represented by unions. 
  • The union representatives. Union representatives are often workers who bargain with employers to establish better working conditions. These representatives are elected from the 

These players work together to establish the atmosphere at work and address the concerns of the workers. 

Labor unions are extremely diverse groups of workers.

What industries have labor union representation?

Numerous industries have union representation. Industries with a significant union presence include:

  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Public administration
  • Public protective services (police officers and firefighters)
  • Education
  • Television and film production
  • Live entertainment
  • Construction
  • Healthcare

While these industries have more union representation on average, there are many other industries that are represented by unions. 

How are unions structured?

There are numerous sizes and scales of unions. Most national unions are part of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The AFL-CIO also represents smaller unions at the state and local levels. That being said, many smaller unions aren’t part of the AFL-CIO.

The AFL-CIO acts as an advocate for unions in the legislative process so unions are allowed to exist and achieve their goals across the country. Also, members of the AFL-CIO meet every four years, introducing them to other union delegates. This allows AFL-CIO members to learn from like-minded union members and adjust their collective bargaining approach.  

Whether they’re part of the AFL-CIO or are independent, nearly every national union has local members on a state- or city-wide scale. These representatives resolve grievances and issues within unionized work environments. 

Is union membership mandatory?

It depends on the state. 28 states are right-to-work states, meaning that union membership isn’t mandatory. The other 22 states do require union membership if the workplace is represented by one. 

Additional resources

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more about nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources. 

Tips for Recruiting the Next Generation of Union Workers – Are you a union manager looking for new, younger members? Learn how to recruit this valuable demographic in this guide. 

6 Tips: How to Manage and Retain Union Membership – Retaining your union’s membership is crucial for achieving your goals. Make your members want to stay by using this guide. 

This glossary entry will cover the basics of nonprofit donor relations.

An Overview of Donor Relations – Nonprofit Catalog

Donors power your nonprofit’s work. Without them, you could never deliver your mission to your beneficiaries. And yet some nonprofits make the mistake of viewing their donors as blank checks instead of people. This can be detrimental to your nonprofit’s efforts to fundraise and grow its community.

That’s why focusing on donor relations is so critical for nonprofits—strengthened donor relationships empower you to accomplish your goals and connect with other people who are passionate about your cause and can offer sustained support for your work.

What Is Donor Relations?

Donor relations consists of all the efforts that a nonprofit organization puts into building relationships with its donors and making them feel seen and valued as people.

Your efforts to cultivate lasting relationships with your donors should begin when you first connect with them, whether through prospecting or the donors’ own moves to get involved with your organization. Then, you can continue to build those relationships so that they last.

Donor Relations vs. Donor Stewardship

Often when talking about donor relations, you’ll hear the term “donor stewardship” come up. This makes sense since the two go hand in hand. But there are important differences to note:

  • Donor relations: This relates to how you treat donors and how they perceive your organization.
  • Donor stewardship: Donor stewardship is a form of donor relations that is more specifically employed to express gratitude for gifts and maintain and grow relationships with donors with the goal of them continuing to give in the future.

In other words, donor relations focuses on donors themselves, while its subset, donor stewardship, focuses on donors’ gifts. Both are a critical part of a sustainable and successful fundraising strategy.

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Donor Relations?

Focusing on donor relations requires an investment of your nonprofit’s time and resources. But doing so can pay dividends as you experience the following benefits:

  • Increased giving and involvement: Better donor relations leads to higher donor retention rates, which can result in more donations over time, as well as other forms of involvement like volunteering, event attendance, and board service.
  • More information about your organization’s community and its needs: The better you get to know your donors, the better you’ll understand your organization’s community and what it needs from you to assist you in delivering your mission.
  • Stronger reputation for your organization: When you treat your donors well, word gets around, strengthening your image as an organization that cares about people and making positive change in the world.

In addition to these benefits, focusing on donor relations just makes logical and financial sense. Some nonprofits are misguided in thinking that skipping crucial opportunities to boost donor relations is the easy way out. In reality, constantly having to acquire new donors and supporters can be more costly and difficult than investing in your relationships with those who are already contributing to your cause.

6 Tips for Strengthening Donor Relationships

Now that you know the basics of donor relations, you’re likely ready to start strengthening the relationships you have with your donors. Here are six tips for doing so:

This is a list of tips for strengthening donor relationships.
  1. Lay a solid foundation by conducting thorough prospect research. Prospect research empowers you to learn about your donors before they actually become donors. Through this process, you learn as much as you can about potential donors’ capacity to give and their affinity for your cause, which can guide you in the relationship-building process.
  2. Get to know your donors. Prospect research won’t be able to tell you everything about your donors. You’ll need to regularly meet with your donors, having an open mind and listening ear, to really get to know them as people.
  3. Work with a nonprofit consultant to fine-tune your strategy. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with an outside expert to fine-tune your approach to fundraising and donor relations. Consider working with a nonprofit consultant who can take an objective look at your current approach and help you implement sustainable improvements.
  4. Communicate often. Just like any relationship in life, staying in touch will be a crucial part of remaining connected to your donors. Reach out often, whether you’re making regular phone calls or chatting over coffee.
  5. Invite donors to further their involvement in your cause. Donating isn’t the only value donors can give to your cause. Let them know about opportunities to volunteer, attend events, or even serve on your board. Better yet, keep an eye out for opportunities that align with their values and interests so that they’ll be more inclined to jump in.
  6. Genuinely thank your donors. Any time a donor gives, whether they’re contributing time, money, or feedback, make sure to thank them. A small thank-you can go a long way in helping you maintain and strengthen donor relationships.

Donor relations is a critical focus area for nonprofits who want to pursue sustained success and future growth. Run with these tips to strengthen your relationships with your donors!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Creating a Capital Campaign Plan: Complete Guide & Template – Donor relations gets a little more complicated with large-scale capital campaigns. Learn how to set yourself up for success by exploring this guide.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Your Nonprofit’s Guide — Peer-to-peer fundraising gives donors the unique opportunity to fundraise on your behalf. Check out how it works!

In this catalog entry, you'll learn all about fundraising campaign websites.

Fundraising Campaign Websites – Nonprofit Catalog

Once your nonprofit has put in all the effort to plan a fundraising campaign, you should spread the word to generate support. A fundraising campaign website is one of the most effective tools in your marketing strategy for catching supporters’ interest and empowering them to give. Let’s explore the basics of campaign websites!

What Is A Fundraising Campaign Website?

A fundraising campaign website hosts all the information your supporters need to get involved with your nonprofit’s campaigns. This website will help you promote your campaign, spread awareness about your cause, and get your supporters involved, whether they’re donating, volunteering, or sharing your organization’s message.

Campaign web pages can be created on your main website, or you can create a separate microsite for each large campaign. Microsites are separate from the main website, with a different URL, so they allow you to really feature the campaign and its related details. Depending on the size of your organization and its campaigns, as well as what you know about your supporters and how they engage with your cause online, this could be a great option for you.

What Are The Elements of a Campaign Website?

For your website to be an effective tool, it will need to include certain elements that create a positive user experience for your supporters. Here are some essentials to include:

This image shows all th elements of a campaign website.
  • An Explanation of Your Mission and Campaign: Every fundraising campaign you run should be closely tied to your organization’s larger mission and purpose. Provide a short explanation of what your organization is all about and how your campaign fits into the context of your cause so that supporters know what they’re contributing to.
  • Your Organization’s Branding: Whether you designed it deliberately or not, your nonprofit has its own unique brand that includes everything from your logo and color scheme to your guiding values. Incorporating your brand on your website can make this marketing tool more consistent with the rest of your organization’s operations and help you look more professional and legitimate.
  • A Donation Form: A well-designed donation form is a crucial part of your fundraising campaign website. After all, this is the tool your supporters will use to act on their passion for your cause and donate to your organization. Keep your form short and simple, with only a few questions that capture essential information (payment details, contact information, etc.). To further optimize your form, offer supporters suggested giving amounts, the option to enroll in your recurring giving program, and the chance to check their matching gift eligibility.
  • A Volunteer Sign-Up Form: Similar to a donation form, a volunteer sign-up form empowers supporters to take action in the name of your cause by donating their time and talents. Again, keep the form short but ask for information that will allow you to pair each individual volunteer with a role that suits their age, abilities, and interests as much as possible. If necessary, ensure you include training or waiver information, too.
  • A Fundraising Thermometer: Your supporters will want to know how close your organization is to meeting its campaign goals, so make sure to include a fundraising thermometer on your website. Feature your thermometer in a prominent place on the site, and update it regularly to encourage your supporters to keep giving until it fills up!
  • Social Media Sharing Icons: Your supporters can serve as ambassadors for your cause and your campaigns by sharing your fundraising campaign website with their personal networks. Make it easy for them to do so by including social media sharing icons in the header or footer of your web pages so they can easily click through to their favorite platforms and share about you!

These elements can all work together to make your campaign website a powerful marketing asset. Depending on the nature of your campaign, you may want to include other features like an event registration form, an advocacy campaign explainer, or an online merchandise store.

4 Fundraising Website Design Best Practices

Including the elements discussed above in your fundraising website will allow you to set up a site that pulls your supporters in. Here are some design best practices to implement to take your site to new heights:

  1. Hone the user experience by prioritizing smooth navigation, writing digestible content, and including high-quality images across the site.
  2. Ensure your website is accessible for people of all abilities by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  3. Optimize your site for mobile so that everything resizes properly and no one has to pinch and zoom to understand your content or use your tools.
  4. Work with a nonprofit website design agency to take the look and feel of your site to the next level!

A well-designed fundraising campaign website that contains all the right elements and information can help your nonprofit succeed in its next fundraising endeavor. Use these tips to get started building your fundraising website today!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Website Builders: The 11+ Best Providers – To make an amazing campaign website, you’ll need the help of a robust website builder. Here are some recommendations.

SEO for Nonprofits: A Complete Guide [+ Optimization Tips] – Search engine optimization (SEO) can help people find your website and campaign pages. Learn how to tap into the power of SEO by reading this guide!

Learn the basics of back to school events in this guide.

Back to School Events – Nonprofit Catalog

As summer draws to a close and the curtains open on the school year, both students and staff are eager to reconnect with one another. Hosting a back to school event creates an ideal opportunity to gather everyone together and raise school funds to support another productive year.

Back to school events can come in many forms, so there is plenty of flexibility to choose the most suitable event for your goals and budget. When it comes to planning one, prioritize offering an enjoyable experience for attendees and maximizing fundraising efforts for your school.

What are back to school events?

Back to school events are social functions usually held at the beginning of a school year to celebrate students’ return from the summer break. These can be tailored to the student population, exclusive to school staff, or even open to the local community. To have everything ready by the time students start their classes, back to school events require prior planning and preparation.

There is a wide range of exciting events suitable for schools of all sizes and students of all ages. By taking the time to align your planning committee on your objectives and budget, you can narrow down the list to find a back to school fundraiser idea that works for your school.

How do I organize a back to school event?

Since back to school events tend to be larger scale and involve attendees from diverse backgrounds and interests, it’s important to think ahead to ensure you plan an engaging and successful event. By agreeing on a concrete plan, you can kick off the new school year on a positive and productive note.

Use these following steps as a guide for hosting a successful back to school event:

This image lists the steps for organizing a back to school event discussed in the content below.
  1. Establish a planning committee. There is an abundance of fundraising event ideas to wrap up the summer break and usher in the school year. To efficiently sift through these, it’s crucial to establish a planning committee dedicated to managing the event from start to finish. Gather feedback from school board members and staff to determine what options work best for your school.
  2. Set event goals and priorities. Your committee should gather and review your school’s fundraising objectives. This information will be helpful in deciding which type of event to host. You should also keep these priorities in mind as you move forward with arrangements and planning.
  3. Determine your resources. As you get a more solid idea of the location and type of event you’re arranging, start thinking about potential associated costs. How much time and resources can your school devote to a successful back to school event? Set a budget and use it to stay on track as you move toward your goals.
  4. Spread the word. A significant step in preparing for any event involves making sure that people know about it. The more people you reach, the greater your attendance rate will be. Use methods such as email communications, flyers, and social media to get students, staff, parents, and community members excited about the upcoming function. This is also an opportune time to seek out any volunteers to help out on event day.
  5. Host your event. Once everything is planned and ready to go, it’s time to host your event. Be sure to use this occasion to cultivate school spirit, connect with parents, and encourage attendees to support your school.

Hosting a successful back to school event can be beneficial for both your school and event attendees alike. All it takes is some thoughtful planning to get started.

What are popular event fundraising ideas?

With so many possibilities, it can get a little time-consuming to look into all the event ideas your school could consider. Learning more about popular back to school fundraising events can provide a helpful jumping-off point.

Offer students and parents some fun and enjoyable ways to show their school spirit with these following ideas:

  • Raffles
  • Book Fairs and Readathons
  • Movie Night
  • Game Night
  • Trivia Night
  • School Carnival
  • Fun Run or Walkathon

You can even incentivize attendance and participation from invited guests by organizing games and prizes at your event.

A memorable back to school event can provide an added boost of enthusiasm for students as they begin their fall semester. Ensure a positive and productive start to the school year for both your school and your students with one of these engaging ideas.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Why is Read Across America Important? – Read Across America Week is another ideal time for raising money for students’ education and encouraging them to learn. This article will help you get started with hosting a Read-a-Thon.

Nonprofit Event Planning – Thoughtful planning is essential for providing a solid foundation for any event. Learn more about effective event planning in this guide.

This article discusses the purpose and importance of community software.

Community Software — Nonprofit Catalog

Spreadsheets, paper forms, and disconnected online sign-ups can make any community member shy away from filling out another registration form. Sadly, this means that many unique community events lack the right management system to realize their full potential. Without an organized management system, even the best marketing efforts are stunted by a slow registration process.

Community software resolves the problem of chaotic registration by inviting community members to sign up via innovative software. This solution is perfect for any organization looking to implement a cleaner, more centralized sign-up process. Let’s tackle some community software basics. 

What is community software?

Community software provides a painless sign-up process for individuals and families attending events and programs hosted by parks and recreation centers, aquatic centers, sports leagues, and schools. It’s a streamlined system that makes all memberships, classes, and registrations readily accessible through one account. 

This means that community members only need to fill out their information once to sign up for multiple programs. For instance, if all applicable organizations are housed within the software,  an individual could register for a recreational soccer league, art class, and fundraising 5K by only registering one time. 

Additionally, platforms like CommunityPass offer specialized features that help your organization stay consistent with the latest community updates. Customizable reports, facility management, and simplified payment processing are a few of the tools that can help your organization enhance its online platform. 

Community Software Features

When all of your organization’s registration data are stored in a centralized location, you can speed up the sign-up process while gathering new information. Here are some potential community software features to leverage: 

  • Online Registration and Purchases. Community software conveniently allows individuals to register for multiple events from various organizations. Your organization can offer tickets and branded merchandise for community members to purchase as well.
  • Facility Management and Calendar. Manage your organization’s schedule with built-in systems like facility requests and recurring reservations. Delegate tasks and empower your staff by keeping a clean calendar. 
  • Activity Management. Regulate all aspects of your planned activities from attendance to pick-ups and any changes in between. Community software keeps all activity updates in one place so that your organization can focus on running your activity smoothly the day-of.
  • Online Payment Methods. Offer a variety of payment methods for community members to use while observing PCI (payment card industry) regulations. Online payment processing simplifies the registration process for customers and makes it easier for organizations to manage registration funds and refund requests.
  • Reporting. Use pre-made report templates or use community software to create your own report to evaluate your organization. Customizable reporting can provide valuable statistics to assess factors like financial health and attendance rate.

All of these features can translate into saved money and increased attendance for your organization. In other words, faster sign-ups mean more sign-ups. 

What can community software do for your organization?

Now that we’ve covered some of the perks community software provides community members, what are some more specific, organizational advantages of using community software? Your organization can use this tool to: 

  • Free up your staff’s time. If your software is managing your incoming registration forms, you can free up your staff’s time to focus on your mission. You can use more staff to focus on big-picture campaign planning instead of the minutia of registration management.
  • Attract new members. Now that regular members are accounted for and enjoying their memberships, focus your organization’s time on community outreach. Discover gaps in attendance rates and create promotional opportunities to reach new members.
  • Target your marketing efforts. Use data and reporting to discover your target audience. Send unlimited SMS to targeted contact lists to streamline your communication efforts for faster results. 
  • Elevate basic operations. Are there areas within your organization that could use a tune-up? Optimize your base-level operations by hiring for new positions or reconstructing existing management flows.
  • Increase individual donations. Community software includes a donation button in your registration form so that participants can easily become donors. Tax write-offs are also available for donors to implement. 

Community software makes registration more readily accessible by transforming loose items like tickets, registrations, memberships, passes, and ID cards into trackable data. This way, your organization can reap the benefits of centralized management and community members can enjoy efficient sign-ups. 

Additional Resources