Service Sector Snapshot: News and Tips for Nonprofits (April 2015)
Posted Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by Verified Volunteers Staff
We regularly talk about the importance of social media for nonprofits – and also measuring and evaluating the success of your organization’s initiatives. Take a moment to check out some interesting tips and tools that that touch on these topics in a new way.
Tips and Tools for Nonprofit Managers
How Is Your Organization Using Social Media?
If discussions around the use of social media within your organization are not a priority right now, it is only a matter of time before they rise up to the top of the list. Social media campaigns have been wildly successful in not only generating donations, but in engaging followers. Consider the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, or the #feelingnuts and Movember campaigns for men’s health – they generate widespread followings and help raise awareness.
In 2014, the nonprofit sector jumped on the social media bandwagon in a big way, and in 2015, stragglers are going to want to catch up. That’s because, all of a sudden, telethon and other traditional methods of generating donations are falling short against the value of just one follower on social media. According to Phillip Agnew, author for Business2Community.com, the value of just one Facebook follower is $214.81. Check out his article for some great information about planning out social media strategies before each campaign. Social media is not a passive method of marketing – it takes knowledge, strategy and both monetary and resource investment. If you’re struggling, be sure to check out this Google Adwords grant for nonprofits.
How Can You Assess Your Nonprofit’s Performance if You Don’t Have the Money?
Reviewing and assessing performance and making adjustments based on those assessments is important, which is why we’ve talked about it quite a bit recently. Just as planning out an initiative or campaign is important, reviewing the success of it is equally valuable. The problem is that detailed metrics take time, and time is money.
A study conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that “typical nonprofit [groups]…allocate[d] two percent or less of [their] budget to assessing… performance.” One of the reasons is that performance assessment is not funded with grant money from foundations. So what role can foundations play to help nonprofits better assess performance and make adjustments so that they can ultimately serve their communities better? The study explored this very question.
An Employee Retreat Can Do Your Organization Good. Here’s How to Make Yours a Success.
If your organization is considering holding an employee retreat, you should check out this article from the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM). Retreats are an excellent way to help your team make time to discuss key topics in a distraction-free zone. CNM writer Heather Tunis shared some key tips for making a retreat successful:
- Create a Retreat Planning Team – In the planning stages, ensure you’re including key members from your team to help determine timing, discussion points and agendas, and communication strategies.
- Communication & Buy-In – Each team member taking part in the team is dedicating their time and focus. Ensure that the purpose, process and goals of the retreat are well-communicated to all involved. Communications to the organization and surveys can be a great way to help generate buy-in.
- Participation & Engagement – Try to schedule your retreat at a time when the most members of your team are able to attend. Pay attention to ensure everyone is in a comfortable location, free of distractions, with a clear agenda that allows for breaks and socializing.
- Doing the Work – In addition to documenting the discussions that take place and the steps suggested, ensure that there is follow through on action items. What resources are needed? What kind of timeline is realistic? Schedule a review 1-2 months after the retreat to measure how far you’ve come on action items.
Highlights from National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week took place earlier this month. Throughout the week, nonprofit groups across the country went above and beyond to recognize all the folks that volunteer their time and energy to make tough, sometimes thankless projects a success. Nonprofits flocked to Facebook and Twitter to celebrate and share pictures. Check out some of the highlights shared by the HandsOn Network.
News in the Service Sector
- 10 Companies That Are Huge Supporters of Employee Volunteering
- Where The Volunteers Are: How Does Your State Stack Up?
- Nonprofit Work Displayed Through Photography: Take a Look
- Verified Volunteers Partner HandsOn Jacksonville is Celebrating Success – and Honoring Our Friend Judy Smith!
- Is Your Board Effective? Stanford Research Offers Tips for Improvement.
- Find the Right Employees for Your Nonprofit.
Making a Difference
Each month, we like to share the story of a nonprofit organization or an individual that is making a significant impact in the world. This month, we wanted to share the story of Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise.
Adam was backpacking in India when he encountered a small boy begging in the streets. He asked the boy what he wanted most in the world. His reply? “A pencil.” Adam reached into his backpack, handed him a pencil, and watched as “a wave of possibility washed over him.” Since then, Adam has been to more than 50 countries, helping lead an initiative to build schools in developing nations. “We believe that where you start in life, shouldn’t dictate where you finish.”
Check out more about this inspiring organization, Pencils of Promise, on their website.