and Growing : Growing
10. START A VOLUNTEER
How can you
solicit help from volunteers?
Follow these steps to start a successful volunteer program:
Assess all current program needs and create a list of volunteer
Write job descriptions for each of these opportunities,
stating the following:
dates and time commitment
what needs to be done, as well as what skills,
resources, knowledge or abilities that would be helpful
number of volunteers
location and the resources needed for the project
benefits for volunteers who choose to participate
Recruit members through newsletter ads, website listings,
a hotline, announcements during events and rides, personal
requests for member participation from those who have expressed
interest in the past, e-mail announcements
Show appreciation by regularly recognizing volunteers
in public and private ways. This may include a volunteer of
the month column in the newsletter, a verbal or written "thank
you," a certificate of appreciation, and/or a round of
applause. You may consider taking a volunteer out for coffee
or throwing an annual banquet that recognizes their efforts.
Note: Should I ever guilt someone into volunteering?
No. While it may be tempting at times, never twist someone's
arm into doing a volunteer project. If volunteers feel forced
to work on a project in which they are not interested, the
chance they will return later is greatly reduced. Accept that
people will decline when asked to volunteer for reasons they
may not wish to share. Eventually they will participate when
they are free to give of their time and talents.
11. CREATE A TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
What is a
technology plan and how do I budget for it?
The following are elements to budget and plan for:
Hire an information technology (IT) consultant who will plan,
implement and support all your IT needs.
Work with an Internet Service Provider to establish
your domain name, website and email addresses, as well as
your Internet connection.
Have a volunteer or someone on staff create and reliably
maintain your website. If you don't have anyone, seek training
for yourself. Frequent maintenance of your website is essential.
Set up a secure server on your website to enable your
organization to accept credit card donations over the Internet.
Establish a local area network (LAN). Even the smallest
two-person office derives benefits from being on a network.
Printing is easier, editing documents is easier and viewing
and sharing data is greatly simplified.
Invest in your workstations. Buy a Pentium-level processor
with the fastest speed you can afford, the largest RAM you
can afford, and the largest hard disk you can buy.
Establish a back-up system. You never know when your
mother board will decide to stop working for no apparent reason.
Find quality membership database/fundraising software.
You will need to use this software for data entry, coding,
indexing, sorting and queries, mail merges, generating reports,
to consider when purchasing database software are the following:
Total cost including software purchase price, user-licenses,
data conversion, technical support, and staff training
Options you can use to code a member
Processes for importing/exporting data and performing
Search features using single or multiple criteria
Processes for indexing and segmenting any group of
Capacities to capture, manage, and report data for
Ease of data entry
Should we create a fundraising database through an off-the-shelf
database programs like Access or Paradox?
Don't do it. Unless you have a full-time IT department who
you can rely on for timely assistance, it is probably not
a good idea to develop your own system.
accounting software. The following factors often play an important
role in the final selection of accounting software for nonprofits:
Reporting features like the following:
general ledger, detailing each transaction posted to
consolidated general ledger, not displaying detail
bank reconciliation format, showing monthly receipts
income and expense statements for each program
and a consolidated statement of income and expenses
for the year to date
balance sheet information for the organization
a budget to actual comparison for the organization
Ease of exporting data into spreadsheet software for more
Cost, noting the higher price you pay the more features
you will receive -- the lower the cost, the more limited functions
Capability to easily handle the payroll function, including
W-2s and 1099s
Security features that prevent unauthorized personnel
from accessing and/or manipulating data in the accounting
Availability of technical support
Can we keep the books on spreadsheet software?
This is not a good idea since there are so few controls
for spreadsheet software. Numbers can be easily changed,
damaging the integrity of financial reports.
- The beginningthese are the first five steps you'll
need to get off to a great start.
- Here are four more steps to help you keep the momentum going.
- Expanding your advocacy group's reach can only be aided
by these last two steps.