About Joanna Laznicka

Joanna founded and is the publishing editor of Nonprofit Information. She has a rich background in tech and marketing and sits on the board of several nonprofits in Silicon Valley, Orange County and Canada. You can connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn

Nonprofits Need to Remember the Form 990 is an Excellent Fundraising Tool

Nonprofits Need to Remember the Form 990 is an Excellent Fundraising ToolForm 990 is not just an IRS Form but a publicly filed document and some nonprofits forget they can use it as a fundraising and public relations tool.

With the economy being down and donations getting harder and harder nonprofits need to look in unusual places for donations and use whatever free tools they have. The Form 990 filled out correctly with the collaborations of the fundraising, marketing and accounting department, together can achieve this and attract donors.  A big mistakes is to leave preparation of Form 990 to just the accountants and auditors it must be a collaborated effort.

While coming up with the data to enter remember donors look at the Form 990 to educate themselves about charities they are thinking of donating too assessing what accomplishments and how prior donations were spent and will be spent.

To make the Form 990 a fundraising too tool and use it to increase public awareness of your nonprofit organization always clearly explain the purpose of the organization and its recent accomplishments and attach promotional information to supplement statement of program service accomplishments.

Think of the Form 990 as a presentation everyone can see showcasing whom and how many people your nonprofit has helped. Include how many volunteers were use to accomplish your achievements. With how much money was raised and disbursed with clear statistical results.

By doing this it gives potential donors confidence that their money will be used appropriately.

Filling in an IRS tax form isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do, however for nonprofit organizations need to think out of the box and see a marketing opportunity, as they should in everything even if it is in the most unusual places.

Interview with Mike Sand, a Nonprofit Consultant

Nonprofit AdvisorsSome of our regular readers might recognize Michael Sand’s name and have read some of his articles on our site but asked yourself, who is he and why is he an expert?

Michael, who goes by Mike, the founder of   Sand Associates, consults nonprofits throughout United States and has written three books on starting and running nonprofits. We sat down with him and asked him some key questions that can give you a better feel for who he is and how he became an expert in this field.

1) I noticed on your website you started Sand Associates in 1979, almost 35 years ago. With that being said, you must have seen different trends and regulations in the nonprofit sector.  How and why did you start working with nonprofits and how has your company evolved with time and trends?

Mike: I founded Sand Associates in 1979 because I saw a need for a consultant with special expertise in assisting nonprofit organizations. Of course, that was before e-mails and personal computers.  All nonprofits now should have written, comprehensive strategic plans which should guide the organization on a regular basis.

2) I have seen examples of nonprofits that had poor accounting records, filed their nonprofit status wrong or have done auctions or raffles that didn’t follow state guidelines which came to haunt them later on. What hidden struggles do you see nonprofits face and how can you help them keep within the legal guidelines of being a nonprofit and fund raising?

Mike: My first recommendation to all nonprofits is that they learn about and follow all federal and state laws and regulations.  Their planning must include obtaining legal and accounting advice.  In most states, nonprofits must file reports and follow state fundraising regulations.  IRS requirements and regulations are available on-line.

3) Do you have any examples you can share with our readers that show how your direct influences has benefited struggling nonprofits become successful nonprofits?

Mike:  I have worked with numerous nonprofit organizations to strengthen their boards of directors. Once every board member understands and follows their role to govern the organization, the nonprofit always improves.  I have also seen nonprofits improve by developing and implementing a strategic plan. The plan would include a detailed  fundraising strategy, a necessity in becoming a successful nonprofit.

4) If a nonprofit would like to work with you and your company how much would they have to budget?

Mike: I realize that funding is limited and therefore I am flexible in my fee structure.  One popular plan called Consulting Unlimited  provides unlimited consulting by e-mail or phone at a rate of $100 per month.


If your nonprofit would like to discuss working together, visit his website at www.sandassociates.com or send Mike an e-mail at MSand9999@aol.com.

Nonprofits Can Use Feedback to Their Advantage, Retaining Volunteers and Increasing Donations

Nonprofits Can Use Feedback to Their Advantage, Retaining Volunteers and Increasing DonationsIt is difficult to improve a nonprofits success without internal and outside feedback. It doesn’t matter what focus the nonprofit feedback is the backbone to success.

One of the roles of a good founder or managers of a nonprofit is to improve performance and to make a difference. Understanding feedback and mastering method of what to do with it is an important part of a nonprofit being successful. By doing so it will attracted more donations and retain volunteers.

Below we have outlined the steps of getting feedback and how to use the feedback to improve a nonprofits performance.

Feedback System for Nonprofits:

  1. Define required performance and goals of the nonprofit
  2. Measure actual performance and goals by getting feedback
  3. Compare actual standard against desired standard
  4. Identify deviation of the goals
  5. Analyze cause of deviation
  6. Adapt corrective action to discourage deviation
  7. Implement corrections in a timely manner

To make feedback work effectively, these simple guidelines of getting feedback and using it to the nonprofits advantage will help.

  1. Listen effectively to feedback without giving an opinion, reason or clarity to the person giving feedback. A nonprofit staff will learn more from listening to the feedback then abrupt the converseation with why.
  2. Understand the objectives and how the nonprofit organization, team (paid or volunteers), individuals, services or goals  are to be measured on their success or failure from the feedback
  3.  Once you get the feedback clarify the overall direction and the strategy of the nonprofit to achieve its objectives and improve where the nonprofit seemed weak from the feedback.
  4. Invest time in developing and agreeing upon objectives and performance or goals with the team and or individuals to achieve better success moving forward.
  5. Concentrate on proprieties of work that needs to be done and delegate it.
  6. Ensure the nonprofit  and its volunteers  manage, prioritizing objectives and tasks
  7. Manage effectively the work within the team to achieve better feedback in the near future.
  8. Recognize expertise or successful services the nonprofit has from the feedback

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