Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Associated Community Services Employees Donate To Special Dreams Farm Wk 10 & 11

3/28/2018
‘Casual for a Cause’ is a weekly program that Associated Community Services employees have sponsored for many years. Employees are allowed to dress down on Fridays and Saturdays by donating a couple of dollars to a different nonprofit organization chosen every two weeks. Our ‘Casual for a Cause’ fund is collected internally at our office by staff members, and 100% of donations received go directly to that organization as a donation from ACS employees.

jeans and gym shoes - causal for a cause‘Special Dreams Farm’ is the charity ACS employees supported with ‘Casual for a Cause’ during weeks 10 and 11 of 2018. We raised $1350.50.

“At Special Dreams Farm, the mission is to create an environment that enables individuals with disabilities to meet educational, vocational, developmental, and social needs. “

“Special Dreams Farm has created a working farm for adults with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Downs Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. Special Dreams Farm is a place for disabled adults to feed and care for animals, plant and raise crops, and take part in many other farm responsibilities and activities.”

Casual for a Cause is an internal voluntary program at ACS where ACS employees can make a contribution to a designated charity for a particular week.  No contractual relationship or any other affiliation exists between the designated charity and ACS.  ACS employee contributions to, and acceptance by, the charity does not constitute any business relationship between ACS and the charity, or any endorsementof ACS by the charity.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Top 10 Nonprofit Blogging Tips

Top 10 Nonprofit Blogging Tips
3/27/2018
Associated Community Services
  1. Content is priority. Remember, when writing a new post, choose a topic that isn’t generic but instead strategically focused on your charity’s mission. For example, statistics about homelessness throughout the country may be interesting but what might deliver more punch, is the effect that homelessness has on one individual. This specific example could be a powerful draw particularly if the charity provided a way out of this homeless individual’s plight.
  2. Write like you talk. Be real. Maintaining your unique voice throughout your blog can be its most alluring attribute. Readers want a blog post that flows easily and is entertaining. So when you must include statistics or details, keep in mind that most of us who utilize social media are not interested in reading an article that requires a master’s degree to comprehend.
  3. Post on a consistent schedule. Decide what days you will publish articles before you begin your blog. Personally I prefer to post twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays. I rarely deviate from that schedule because readers come to expect new information on this well-established timetable. Search engines will also notice that you post on a regular basis and will send your blog additional traffic.
  4. Ask for donations. Make sure your blog page has a ‘Donate Now” button. When asking for donations, be sincere and straight-forward. The most common mistake made by organizations dependent upon donations, is hiding or minimizing the ask. Be bold. Be kind. Ask often.
  5. Include photos. Visual aids can be a key ingredient to a blog’s success. Photos can be used to ellicit interest, drive home a point, and support the blog’s content. Please check for photo permissions and copyrights before publishing.
  6.  Share your blog on social media. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter drive traffic to your blog. Social media sharing should be integrated into your online marketing strategy. Don’t write an article and expect the World Wide Web to deliver it for you. Try out productivity accelerators like HootSuite to post to multiple social media sites at the same time using a scheduled publisher. Hootsuite is free for up to 3 social media sites. If you need to post to more than the allotted 3 sites, a reasonable monthly fee is appropriated.
  7. Tell a story. Donors that support your charity want to read real-life stories. They want to see how their contributions have helped make a difference. Tell a story that tugs at the heartstrings. Describe the solution to a life situation relating to your mission. The most persuasive blog posts emotionally unite the reader to your story.
  8. Show gratitude to donors/volunteers/staff for their efforts. Give an online thank you. Your sincere appreciation can stimulate and increase volunteers, donations, and efforts. When one is treated fairly and with respect, there isn’t a more powerful vehicle of inspiration and reciprocation in the world! Word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable and possibly incalculable for your organization.
  9. Optimize. It’s essential to optimize your blog by including tags, popular keywords, links, and using alt tags (alt attribute) for photos/images. You can also use geotags to pinpoint your location.  Most social media sites, which offer blogging, offers geotags as well. Remember to add a meta description for each new blog post. The meta description is a snippet of up to 320 characters that describes a blog page's content. Search engines show the meta description in search results usually when the searched phrase is included in the description. A good description can ensure a better result in the SERPs (search engine results pages).  It’s also a good idea to use the Google Keyword Tool to find popular search results keywords.
  10. Advertising. This is just my personal opinion but I don’t believe in using AdSense, or any of the other advertising sites to promote on a nonprofit blog. I think it’s in bad taste. However, I do believe in monetizing your nonprofit blog by leading possible new donors to your charity’s website gift page.
This above blog post is for informational purposes only.  The material discussed should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  You should consult legal counsel concerning your own situation and any legal questions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Charitable solicitation registration is required in 41 states and the District of Columbia

Map of the USA
3/20/2018
Nonprofits are required to register in most of the states they plan to fundraise.  

Though some exemptions exist, states typically do not require registration if the nonprofit is a religious organization, hospital, or educational institution. It is important to follow state requirements regarding exemptions before soliciting funds.

Charitable solicitation registration is required in 41 states and the District of Columbia if your nonprofit does not comply with an exemption. Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Vermont & Wyoming do not ask that you register.

The state of Arizona requires veteran organizations to register. Louisiana requires registration if a nonprofit hires a professional fundraiser to solicit in its state. Missouri exempts 501c3, 501c7, and 501c8 organizations after a one-time application. Last but not least, Texas will require a charity to register if it is a veteran or law enforcement organization, or public safety group.

Many nonprofits outsource their charitable solicitation initial and renewal applications to a professional firm that specializes in nonprofit philanthropic registrations. Hiring a pro removes the worry of having your application returned for forgetting to cross your “t’s” and dotting your “I’s.” A professional service can also relieve the tension of meeting deadlines in multiple states.

This above blog post is for informational purposes only.  The material discussed should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  You should consult legal counsel concerning your own situation and any legal questions.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Charity Compliance - Unified Registration Statement

Community Image based on words
Charity Compliance - U.R.S.
3/15/2018

Complying with state charitable solicitation laws is a necessary obligation for charities and professional fundraisers (PFR) to operate successfully. Both charity and PFR are required to register in most states. Other solicitation laws may apply to one or both parties such as a surety bond, campaign reports, and solicitor registration. These documents are usually filed with the secretary of state or the attorney general charitable trust department. Donations by phone, mail, or online are all considered charitable solicitations and subject a charity and the PFR to specific registration rules and regulations.

If the charity requires registration in multiple states, consider using the Unified Registration Statement. The URS substitutes the information and data requirements of all states that require nonprofit registration into a generic registration that is accepted in the states listed below. 

     Alabama
     Maine
     North Dakota
     Alaska
     Maryland
     Ohio
     Arizona
     Massachusetts
     Oregon
     Arkansas
     Michigan
     Pennsylvania
     California
     Minnesota
     Rhode Island
     Connecticut
     Mississippi
     D,C,
     Missouri
     Tennessee
     Georgia
     New Hampshire
     Utah
     Hawaii
     Illinois
     New Jersey
     Virginia
     Kansas
     New Mexico
     Washington
     Kentucky
     New York
     West Virginia
     Louisiana
     Wisconsin
Charity administrators often acknowledge that charitable solicitation registration laws can be difficult to monitor and maintain, particularly if they are licensed in multiple states. Missing a deadline can result in unwanted red tape that may require legal representation to cut through. For many charities, it makes sense to outsource the administration of such legal requirements. If your charity does decide to outsource, choose a provider that has a keen understanding of:
  • Initial and renewal nationwide applications.
  • Each state’s licensing requirements.
  • Filing due dates.
  • State fees if applicable. 
  • Printed material legal disclosures. 
This above blog post is for informational purposes only.  The material discussed should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  You should consult legal counsel concerning your own situation and any legal questions.