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Online Communication Tips For Nonprofits

Online Communication Tips (1)

As with any business, communication is key in keeping a donor base informed and engaged. Whether it’s on social media, through newsletters, or website, online communication is an important part of a marketing strategy. Here are a few tips on how to perfect online communications.

Feature social media follow icons at the top of your newsletter

Don’t make donors have to work to find you on social media. Prominently display follow icons at the top of your newsletter above any content and encourage donors to follow on social platforms. Also, don’t be shy with  calls-to-action. Encourage followers to like, comment, share, or retweet content with which they identify.

Use hashtags, but not too many

Use hashtags in posts and include them in profile bios to increase visibility and raise awareness. The purpose of hashtags is to encourage storytelling and conversation, but never use more than two hashtags per post.

Create social media graphics for EVERYTHING

It’s been proven that all kinds of media see a higher engagement rate online. Try putting your latest report or announcement in a graphic and see the different it makes in reaching donors.

Respond to feedback

It’s especially important to have a system in place on how to handle queries or complaints that you may receive via social media. Promptly responding to complaints shows that you care about the concerns of donors.

These are just a few tips to help you better communicate your content to your donors. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates from First Nonprofit Group.

Top 4 Instagram Trends for Nonprofits

top 4 instagram trends

For nonprofits, storytelling is an essential part of maintaining an engaged donor base and use of Instagram is a great social network to push crafted messages to the public.  Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social networks with over 500 million users to date. Many nonprofits find success on Instagram, using the platform as a means to share photos and drive conversation around their mission. Here are a few of the top trends on Instagram nonprofits can  utilize in 2017.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is fairly new, having only been launched in August of 2016. Like its competitor Snapchat, “stories” are quick videos that vanish after being posted online for 24 hours. “Stories” that include filters, stickers, text, drawings and other fun content get the best engagement.  Nonprofits can utilize Instagram to cover live events, give insight to a typical work day at their organization, or host a “Donor Takeover”.

Instagram Live

“Live streaming” is a popular feature on Instagram that can be used to host a live Q&A, make a special announcement or simply celebrate a major milestone with your audience.

Instagram Business Tools & Profile

Establish a business profile on Instagram and access their analytics tools which are automatically available. These analytics provide intuitive details about followers which help you build meaningful messaging content.

Instagram Ads

If advertising is in your budget, utilize Instagram’s Ad services. There are several options for brands, businesses and nonprofits to advertise on Instagram’s platform. You also have the option of creating ads through your Facebook page (who conveniently owns Instagram). Better yet, Instagram ads can be used to drive traffic to any fundraising page, raise attendance at fundraising events, or promote a social campaign.

We believe Instagram will help improve branding, messaging and marketing for any nonprofit who makes an honest effort to utilize it!  Give it a shot!

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

6 Cyber Safety Tips for Nonprofits

6 Cyber Safety Tips blog
Protecting against cyber theft is a critical piece in ensuring donor care and retention. It’s vital for donors to know when they choose to contribute, their personal and financial information is safe and protected. Continue to insure all donor information is concealed by constantly taking the necessary steps to safeguard personal data. Here are tips to help minimize and protect against cyber threats.

Passwords

Make certain all passwords are unique for every employee and there is additional security in place to authenticate separate accounts. Employees should be required to change passwords frequently.

Protect your network

Keep Wi-Fi networks encrypted and hidden to prevent any sensitive information being leaked to unwanted parties.

Make sure all software and systems are up to date

Older systems are more susceptible to data breaches, which increases the likelihood of an unwanted hack of  vulnerable data.

Secure payment processing

Many donors choose to give online and are wary to donate if payment processing is not accessible through a robustly secure platform. Manage donations by employing a reputable third-party service specifically designed for nonprofits and which guarantees protection.

Controlled access

Prevent data breaches by only allowing necessary user access to certain files and databases. Keep administrative privileges limited to executive level managers and principal IT staff while requiring all employees to lock up any portable devices not in use.

Have a communication/response plan in place

All staff should be properly trained on security procedures and frequent updates should be provided as procedures change. Should any suspected breach occur, a solid communication and rapid response strategy guarantees employees know who to contact and ultimately prevents additional attacks from increasing.

Proactive and continuous effort to prevent cyber-attacks is critical to every nonprofit organization, their staff and donors. We promote cyber safety and encourage others to do the same!

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

Meet The Staff: Jaepil Choi

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Please join us in welcoming Jaepil Choi to the First Nonprofit Group team!

Jaepil comes to us as an accounting major attending Saint Xavier University in Chicago. As Operations Assistant, Jaepil will be working closely with Kim Dass, Jenna Marvin and our underwriting team. He will be responsible for the processing of accounts receivable, accounts payable, and wage reports. Jaepil is expected to receive his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting this upcoming July.

Before joining us, Jaepil managed the day to day operations of his family’s restaurant. When asked what he enjoys most about working at First Nonprofit, Jaepil says, “My favorite thing about the position and First Nonprofit is its very purpose of helping other organizations save money so they can better pursue their mission. I admire the effective way the company helps them and the niche market FNG serves.”

A native of South Korea, Jaepil is relatively new to the Chicagoland area. “I was born in South Korea and spent half my life there and half in Michigan. I am proficient in Korean and love to find its cultures in America.” His hobbies include Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, board games, and volunteerism and shares his home with three dogs: Sophie, Bella, and Gabby. “I have volunteered at Food Gatherers in Michigan and Ladder-up. I am a nerd at heart that loves to play board games and read.”

Unique Experiences to Auction at your next Fundraiser

Unique Experiences To Auction At Your Next Fundraiser

 

With funding sources being cut for many organizations across the county, nonprofits are having to come up with unique ways to raise funds for their cause. A great way to raise a large amount of dollars at your next fundraiser is to have an auction. It’s been proven that experiences, rather than physical things, sell much better and usually at higher bidding prices at an auction. There are plenty of ways that your nonprofit can benefit from auctioning a memorable experience at your next fundraiser. Here are a few unique ideas.

Travel Packages

Most people set aside money every year for vacation or travel so auctioning off a trip to an exotic locale is sure to open up your organization to new donors. Make sure the packages are unique and give the donor a once in a lifetime experience.

Auction ideas

-Your choice travel

-Trip for two to attend latest Broadway show in NYC

-Family trip to Disney

Sports Experience

Sporting events are America’s favorite past time. Auctioning off the opportunity for donors to participate with one of their favorite sports team is sure to be memorable experience that will draw major donor dollars.

Auction ideas

-Throw the first pitch at your team’s baseball game

-Join the team for the day

-Floor seats at a basketball game

Dining & Culinary Experience

Everyone has an inner foodie in them! Great dining experiences are in demand and are is sure to generate funds for your cause.

Auction ideas

-Private dinner for two at the hottest restaurant in town

-Opportunity to have popular chef come to your home and cook a 5 course meal

-Sit down dinner and conversation with a celebrity that supports your cause.

These are just a few examples on how your nonprofit can maximize donation dollars at your next fundraiser.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers

5 Nonprofit Trends for 2017

5 NONPROFIT TRENDS FOR 2017 (3)

 

In 2016, nonprofit organizations relied on social media for funding more than ever before. On #GivingTuesday social media donations increased by 33% from the previous year. Increased use of technology in 2016 solidified nonprofit giving as acceptable in the social media space and the current trends for 2017 point toward even greater acceptance of donating to charity through social media platforms.

Push for monthly recurring donations

For nonprofits, enduring financially year in and year out is the key to keeping an organization relevant. This year, try making a push in the funding community via social media for monthly recurring donations and imagine an increase in donation revenue.

Authentic stories and relationships

Also, advancing results-driven stories will be crucial in 2017. Using social media tools like live streaming video is a clever way to humanize donor outreach, augment marketing and enhance meaningful nonprofit storytelling.

Email Fundraising

Email marketing has seen a resurgence in today’s “mobile” generation. Litmus data shows that 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices and the number one activity is reading those opened emails. Obviously, mobile website compatibility to an active website, current newsletter, and a dynamic email list is a necessity today for fundraising success.

Digital Payments

Digital payments are becoming the norm on social media platforms. In 2016 several major social media companies integrated a payment button within their email platform to test digital payment effectiveness. And although service was limited for those tests, the ability to contribute using digital payments in 2017 will be on the rise using email and social media for nonprofits.

Decline in Social Media Engagement

Regrettably, many social platforms have become oversaturated and engagement rates have been on the decline for brands, businesses and nonprofits. In order to see any true results from social media, it’s important to invest in current technology, a paid skilled staff and shrewd advertising.

Along with that rapidly changing digital capability, becoming nimble enough technologically to make a strong and authentic human connection ever more convenient for donors is vital in 2017. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more content exclusively for nonprofits.

Unemployment insurance cost facts every Illinois nonprofit should know!

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What do state unemployment taxes (SUTA), state unemployment reserve balances and claim overpayment rates mean to your nonprofit?

These factors could mean less money for your nonprofit organization’s cause.

54% 2009-2015 Increased Tax Cost

From 2009 to 2012, the Illinois Department of Employment Security borrowed money from the Federal Unemployment Account in order to pay the excess unemployment claims the state trust fund could not cover. In order to replenish the fund, factors used in calculating unemployment rates were increased, therefore increasing the average unemployment tax cost per employee from $300 in 2009 to $463 by 2015.

$227 Million Unemployment Claim Overpayments

The Illinois July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 unemployment claim overpayment rate was 13.585%, equaling over $227 million.

However, there are options to financing your nonprofit organization’s state unemployment costs…

First Nonprofit Group provides state compliant, individually insured, cost-saving options to satisfy SUTA (State Unemployment Insurance Tax) requirements for nonprofit and governmental entities. Below is a sample savings analysis of one of our Illinois members since 2009.

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Visit our website or call (800) 526-4352 to request a free, no-obligation cost savings evaluation on your organization’s unemployment costs. Evaluations include a 2017 rate projection!

Nonprofit Hiring Best Practices

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The hiring process in the nonprofit sector can be quite challenging. Every nonprofit needs a resilient, loyal and solid team in order to thrive and be successful. Many nonprofit managers lack the time and resources it takes to hire qualified candidates which makes the recruiting process more demanding than necessary. Here are few tips to help guide a nonprofit manager’s hiring process.

The right process + patience yields best result

Finding the right candidate that’s a good fit for your organization is a process that takes time and should not be rushed. Beyond having the necessary professional capabilities, the ideal candidate generates mutual benefits when they’re a perfect cultural fit for your organization. Being patient and taking time to attract and hire a suitable, qualified candidate is vital to building an organization for the long run.

Cast a wide net

Utilize all available resources to reach as many potential candidates as possible. Reach into your current network of donors, friends, and clients, use social media, and post on targeted employment websites and professional job boards to spread the word about an exciting employment opportunity.

Have a clear job description

Identify the organization’s needs and craft a precise job description. Include pertinent information such as title, reporting structure, purpose of the position, responsibilities and daily activities, required skills and company background information. Don’t forget to highlight the benefits of working for your nonprofit.

Make promoting a current employee or volunteer a priority

Responsible, loyal organizations will look internally before searching for outside candidates. Not only is this option cost effective, it rewards individuals dedicated to the cause and boosts overall morale.

For a nonprofit organization to thrive indefinitely, it must build a solid collection of nonprofit leaders, change makers and influencers within their staff.

We hope these tips help when hiring your next nonprofit superstar!

Nonprofit Storytelling: The key to effective fundraising for nonprofits

nonprofit storytelling

As more nonprofits continue to use content marketing in their fundraising efforts, telling a compelling and meaningful story is similar to creating a recognizable brand. Many nonprofits struggle with donor preservation and storytelling has proven to be an effective method of retaining and attracting donors while distinguishing an organization’s mission from other competing nonprofits. Here are a few tips on how to tell a compelling story.

Be Authentic

Telling a story that’s authentic to an organization’s mission is sure to make its content influential. A genuine story should be unique, memorable, universally likeable, and come across as “human” and not promotional. Connecting and relating to a mission’s audience in an authentic and vulnerable way is absolutely critical.

Show Your Stories

Effective storytelling must be flexible to adapt to changes in donor preferences and technological advances. Confirm transparency by using photos, video and a variety of media to validate where donation dollars are going! The more followers are able to experience the benefits derived from an organization’s work the more likely fundraising is successful.

Add some Variety

Make certain storytelling content goes beyond the practical benefits of the mission and connects readers/listeners to evocative, touching and personal testimonies. Program success stories, private and stirring revelations about staff and volunteers, plus the positive impact they’ve had on the community increases responsiveness.

Consistency is key

Committing to producing a reliable schedule for with illuminating content is often the biggest obstacle for nonprofit organizations but maintaining it is just as challenging. Creating a steadfast content calendar for nonprofit blogs and social media channels makes the process of maintaining an active presence much easier.

So many opportunities for nonprofit storytelling exist for fundraising efforts, whatever methods chosen should always reflect the essence of an organization’s mission and how it benefits a community.

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