Jumpstart your 2013 Fundraising with 6 Low-Cost/Free Tools for Nonprofits

It’s hardly a surprise that just when people ask for assistance the most, nonprofit organizations experience the most difficulty bringing in donations vital to maintaining, or even increasing, its efforts to support the needs of the community. Overcoming this paradox can be quite the challenge, but there is hope!

Lucky for those working with community organizations, advancing technologies are capable of being cost-effective and of providing alternative, highly efficient ways to increase an organization’s reach to potential donors. Such technologies often exist without a NPOs knowledge, rendering them useless. In an effort to inform you of the best resource out there, FLC has researched low-cost/free tools that can expand your organization’s fundraising efforts without deflating your wallet. Below are 6 great fundraising tools that your organization will want to check out.

  1. Formstack: This site lets nonprofits create online forms which provide an easy, secure method to collect contact information of new donors and/or volunteers. Forms can also be created to process donations on your organization’s website.
  2.  #FundraisingFriday: This hashtag is a twitter campaign that encourages supporters to donate $10 to their favorite nonprofit every week. It’s free, and perfect for getting the word out to potential donors seeking new organizations to support.
  3. GivingLibrary: This site acts as an outlet for nonprofits to present potential donors and/or volunteers with their mission, past accomplishments, and future plans. Be sure to register your organization up and get access to another medium for accessing potential donors.
  4. #GivingTuesday: Similar to #FundraisingFriday, this hashtag is a twitter campaign designed to increase donations during the time of year people are most willing to give: holiday season. To begin on Tuesday, November 23rd, be sure to promote your nonprofit with #GivingTuesday and increase awareness of your cause.
  5. MobileCause: This app is a low-cost mobile service provider which exclusively serves nonprofits. If you’re ready to implement text-to-donate services, MobileCause is the low-cost provider for you.
  6. SupporterWall: This site lets nonprofits construct a “SupporterWall” which donors can choose to purchase different sized squares on which their names will be displayed. This grid is customizable and can be installed on your website. There are two options for payment, both of which are reasonably priced.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 26

Top Stories in LiteracyMiami- Dade targets industries for future employment growth
Local economic leaders say the “Education Assets Inventory” report will help better match local degree and certificate programs with the job sectors that are poised for future growth. The Beacon Council has outlined seven target industries for Miami-Dade to focus on going forward — including aviation, hospitality and tourism, and international banking and finance.

YouTube Offers Live Streaming Video to Nonprofits
Free live video streaming online isn’t a new technology—one of the best-known providers, ustream, started offering the service in 2007—but YouTube’s new service gives nonprofits the chance to stream video through their existing YouTube channels, with all of the features the site provides for other videos.

Online “GED Certificates” Not Worth the Paper They’re Printed on
Consumers are being deceived by fraudulent online “schools” offering high school credentials that have little or no value. GED Testing Service has filed a lawsuit to stop this abuse and protect those seeking to further their education.

Kids Want More Guidance on Money Matters, Yet Parents Lacking as Financial Role
The 2012 Parents, Kids & Money Survey from T. Rowe Price, which surveyed parents, and for the first time, their kids, reveals that kids ages 8 to 14 want to know more about money matters, particularly about saving and how to make money.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 5

Top Stories in LiteracySchools try to match jobless with the 3.4 million open jobs
Ever since the deep recession hit four years ago, many colleges have been rethinking their continuing education programs, straining to figure out how best to help the many unemployed Americans who have looked to them as a lifeline.

Florida Senate passes $71.2 billion budget
The Florida Senate approved a $71.2-billion budget Thursday that boosts funding for classrooms and people with disabilities, but slashes dollars meant for hospitals, adult mental health treatment and higher education.

Florida board approves school grading changes
The State Board of Education made some concessions to local school officials, parents and other critics Tuesday before approving rule changes making it tougher for Florida schools to get top grades.

Nonprofits Pin Their Social-Media Efforts on New Network
Pinterest, the popular new social network that allows people to share virtual pinboards of photos and links, is helping the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption do something it can’t on other social-media sites: share its personality.

Nonprofits and Google +

Last week, a LinkedIn group sent me a white paper on the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions. One of it’s biggest claims?  Google + would be big this year. Even though the social site launched this summer, many have been reluctant to “make the switch” from facebook, haven’t considered it, or perhaps started one but didn’t do anything with it (I fall in the latter category). The more I read about Google +, the more possibilities I saw for nonprofits.

Google + is the perfect social networking tool for nonprofits. With all the different features, nonprofits can collaborate and create community among all the different groups of people they work with; volunteers, community based organization, the board, the people who they work with, and the public to spread their message. AND Google has created tools and ideas specifically to help nonprofits get started with this new social network.  What could be a better fit?

Let’s start with circles. As an organization, you can divide all the people you interact with into circles. Then, you can share information that can go directly to one circle, multiple, or the public. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are trying to deliberately hide information from someone, but some things are much more applicable and pertinent to volunteers vs. your Board and vice versa. On facebook, you wear multiple hats as you try to appeal to the people you are serving, your volunteers, other literacy organizations, and potential volunteers. Google + allows you to create community without worrying about burdening readers with useless information.

You can also use the Hangout feature to have video chats with multiple people. You can engage all of your volunteers in different lesson plan ideas or teach a lesson to the people you work with. It’s a virtual conference call that is free for anyone who can be involved. If you have interns at your site, you can an FAQ hang out session with those interested in working for your org and the interns currently there. Both of these tools, circles and hangouts,  encourage collaboration and makes it fun over an easy/less confusing medium.

Are you excited about this? Because I definitely am. The problem right now is that not many people are using it, so it cannot reach it’s full potential. And we all know, anything you want to happen must start with one. SO, You need to step forward and start this for your page if you want it to happen. Encourage your co-workers to jump on board and tell their friends. Highlight this new page to your volunteers. Spread the word! It can happen and you can do it.

Here is a “how to” page to get you started. And don’t forget to add us to your circles once you start! 

Top Stories in Literacy :January 9

2012 Resolutions for the Nonprofit World
The Chronicle of Philanthropy invited leaders of the nonprofit world to share their resolutions ans an opportunity to set new goals. While not all these are focused on literacy, there are ideas that all of us can use.

Why Awareness Beats Anxiety
Carl Richards of the New York Times gives advice on finding the medium between regrets from the past and worrying about the future. This advice can be given to anyone teaching financial literacy

Best-selling authors to join Gov. Jeb Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush for Celebration of Reading in Bonita Springs
The 12th annual family literacy fundraiser, Celebration of Reading, will take place on February 17, 2012 in Bonita Springs. This event will feature the former first lady, several other representatives and three New York Times best-selling authors.

Changes in the GED test will make it harder to pass
The new GED expected to launch in 2014, will include higher math skills, computer schkills, and more writing, focusing on development of skills related to career and postsecondary success.  The current model has not been updated since 1999.

A Literate Nation for 2012
This Huffington Post editorial examines the pitfalls with America’s illiteracy problem.

Top Stories in Literacy Nov 20

Studies show that people who are generous are in better health
Whether people are donating for tax purposes, or because they are genuinely empathetic, research shows that they are happier and live longer. You might want to include some of these statistics in your next fundraising letter.

How to create a social media marketing schedule
In the nonprofit world, there are a million things going on at once and only time to give attention to half of them. While you might feel like you don’t have time to devote to social media, here are some tips to make the process easier.

Medicare Plan to be shut down
Quality Health Plans, a Medicare HMO with 10,000 Florida members, has been ordered into liquidation after failing to come up with the cash reserves the state says were needed. While the members will be moved to a new plan, this information could be useful to your students.

Nationwide Financial Literacy Campaign Empowers Citizens to Share Personal Financial Lessons
The National Financial Educators Council is starting a campaign called Financial EduNation that will provide organizations and communities with solid resources for combating financial illiteracy at the local level. This program will start at the New Year and provide resources for students, parents and the rest of the community.