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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA with Holbrook & ManterThis article is a follow up to last month’s Crop Insurance Deferral Considerations as we now turn our attention to options available should farmers find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to sell livestock due to extreme weather conditions.Livestock sold due to weather related conditionsFarmers forced to sell livestock early to floods, drought, or other adverse weather conditions have two options:1.They may elect to include income from the sale of the additional livestock in the following tax year, or 2. Deem the forced sale as an involuntary conversion.For option one, as prescribed by Internal Revenue Code Section 451, the following conditions are required:The farmer uses cash method of accounting,The farmer can establish that the sale would have occurred but for the weather-related event, andThe weather event resulted in designation of that area (where the livestock resided or where the feed is normally obtained) as eligible for federal assistance. The designation can be made by the President, the Department of Agriculture, or other federal departments or agencies.For example, if Daniel, a cash method taxpayer, usually sells 500 head of cattle in a normal year. As a result of a severe drought, he sells 750 head during the current year at $1,000 per head and realizes $750,000 of income from his sale. The area was declared a disaster area by a federal agency and ruled eligible for federal disaster assistance. Daniel can defer $250,000 ($1,000 x 250 head) of income to the following year, which is the portion of the original $750,000 (750 head) that exceeded the normal number of cattle sold (500 head). Option two: Involuntary Conversion RulesThis one is perhaps the better solution. Under Code Section 1033, the sale of livestock (other than poultry) held for draft, breeding, or dairy animals due adverse weather-related conditions (droughts, floods and other weather related conditions designated as eligible for federal assistance) in excess of the number of livestock that normally would have sold can be treated as an involuntary conversion. To meet the involuntary conversion requirements, the farmer must replace the livestock within four years (the replacement period) after the end of the first year in which any part of the gain from the conversion is realized.This provision provides a much greater deferral opportunity over the one year deferral under Code Section 451, as explained above. In an involuntary conversion, the excess gain that was to be recognized on the sale reduces the basis of the replacement livestock. This procedure defers the gain until the replacement livestock is ultimately sold, which could be perhaps spread over several years. In most instances, the involuntary conversion election will be the most advantageous.The farmer has options when the involuntary election is made. No gain is recognized in the year of sale and the farmer has until the end of the replacement period to determine which of the following is most advantageous:Report the sale and gain in the year the event occurred on an amended return,Report the gain in the year after it occurred, orDefer the gain by reducing the basis of the replacement livestock.If the farmer cannot reinvest the proceeds from the sale in similar property or property related in the use of livestock, the code allows for the farmer to reinvest in other farm property to avoid recognition of the gain.Finally, livestock destroyed by disease, or are sold or exchanged because of disease can be treated as an involuntary conversion, but the replacement period is only two years.Over the course of your farming careers, you are bound to be hit with these situations. Know the tax ramifications and potential solutions can be a useful planning tool.As always, consult with your CPA about your concerns. If you don’t have a CPA relationship, we invite you to contact our firm. Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.HolbrookManter.com
In this edition of the Weekly Wrapup – our newsletter summarizing the top stories of the week – we explain why augmented reality is ramping up (and look at three new iPhone examples), analyze the top websites in the U.S., check out new Twitter statistics suggesting that teens don’t tweet, review recent Wikipedia changes, and more. We also check in on our two new channels: ReadWriteEnterprise (devoted to ‘enterprise 2.0’ trends and products) and ReadWriteStart (dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs). Subscribe to Weekly WrapupYou can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapup by RSS or by email (form below).RWW Weekly Wrap-up Email Subscription form: Purchase The ReadWriteWeb Guide to Online Community ManagementOur First Premium Report for Businesses Recently we released our first premium report: The ReadWriteWeb Guide to Online Community Management. Businesses seeking to engage with online communities on their own websites or all around the social web will find the guide invaluable in getting up to speed on the state of the art and making sure their employees have the foundation they need to be effective. The report is a 75 page collection of case studies, advice and discussion concerning the most important issues in online community. You will also get a companion online aggregator that delivers the most-discussed articles each day written by experts on community management from around the web. All of this is available for purchase at a price of $299. You can download a free sample section of the report here. Web TrendsAugmented Reality: 5 Barriers to a Web That’s Everywhere Teens Don’t Tweet? They May Start Soon“Teens don’t tweet.” Over the past few weeks, this fact has been reported time and time again by analysts, bloggers, and mainstream media. But before all you adults get too comfortable with your Twitter dominance, take a look at the recent data from comScore. It appears that the youngest Twitter users – those in the 12-24 bracket – are now the fastest-growing segment of Twitter’s population.SEE MORE WEB TRENDS COVERAGE IN OUR TRENDS CATEGORYA Word from Our SponsorsWe’d like to thank ReadWriteWeb’s sponsors, without whom we couldn’t bring you all these stories every week!Mashery is the leading provider of API management services.WeeBiz, a business community where you can find and share new business opportunities.Domain.ME, the official registry for all .ME Domains.Codero, Dedicated Hosting with Backup & Managed Services.Mollom, stop comment spam and build your community.Crowd Science gives you detailed visitor demographics.hakia is a semantic search engine.Rackspace provides dedicated server hosting.Aplus provides web hosting services for small business hosting needs.IronScale, Managed Hosting. The Cloud Gets Physical.MediaTemple provides hosting for RWW.SixApart provides our publishing software MT4. ReadWriteEnterpriseOur channel devoted to ‘enterprise 2.0’ and using social software inside organizations. Why Zoho Wants You to Sign in With Google Apps Not long ago, Google revamped its sign-on system using the federated protocols of OpenID. Now Zoho, a major provider of SaaS productivity and enterprise tools, has decided to support Google Apps accounts for anyone logging into its services. Although the two companies have overlap in areas such as online document editing, the majority of Zoho’s suite is not in competition with Google.ReadWriteStartOur channel ReadWriteStart, sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, is dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs.When and How Founders Should Hire a Professional CEOThis is one post/chapter in a serialized book called Startup 101. For the introduction and table of contents, please click here.There are two schools of thought about founders as CEOs. One school says that founders rarely make good CEOs: the skill sets are simply different. The other school says that no one has as much passion, drive, and deep market and technological understanding as the founder, and so they are best off remaining as CEO.SEE MORE STARTUPS COVERAGE IN OUR READWRITESTART CHANNELWeb ProductsThe Wall Has Fallen: 3 Augmented Reality Apps Now Live in iPhone App StoreFirst Paris Metro, then Yelp, now London Buses. The newest is even selling database layers through in-app purchases.It has been widely reported that the API required to display Augmented Reality (AR) layers of data on top of the camera view of a non-jailbroken iPhone 3Gs would not be publicly exposed until the launch of the next version of the iPhone Operating System, expected this Fall. Many developers are patiently waiting, but some have now found a way around the restriction. This week we discovered 3 AR-enabled apps hitting the iTunes store.Confused About Wikipedia’s Flagged Revisions? What’s Really Happening Wikipedia’s new ‘flagged revision’ policy will radically change how entries about living persons will be maintained. There seems to be some confusion about the extent to which these new policies, once implemented, will change the nature of Wikipedia. According to some, Wikipedia will cease to be free and open. Instead, a group of editors with dictatorial powers will patrol the site. The reality, however, is far less dramatic.Opera Mini Is Most Downloaded Mobile App The Opera Mini application is now considered not only the world’s most popular mobile browser, but also the world’s most downloaded app. According to independent applications marketplace GetJar, the browser has been downloaded more than 25 million times from its store. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Tags:#web#Weekly Wrap-ups Bing Continues to Grow, But Yahoo Loses Market Share Since the launch of Bing, watching the developments in the search engine market is finally interesting again. According to the latest data from Compete for July, Bing continues to grow slowly but surely. At the same time, though, Compete notes that Bing has not been able to convert its growing search share into a rise in paid clicks on ads on the site. SEE MORE WEB PRODUCTS COVERAGE IN OUR PRODUCTS CATEGORYThat’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone. Fifty years after its invention by the British Royal Navy for use by fighter pilots, the technology of layering information on top of our naked view of the world may soon cross over the line between science fiction and mass consumer experience. “The internet smeared all over everything.” An “enchanted window” that turns contextual information hidden all around us inside out. A platform that will be bigger than the Web. Those are the kinds of phrases being used to describe the future of what’s called Augmented Reality (AR), by specialists developing the technology to enable it. Big questions remain unanswered, though, about the viability of what could be a radical next step in humanity’s use of computers.5 Ways Sentiment Analysis is Ramping Up in 2009 The New York Times had an article this week about sentiment analysis, a trend which has been accelerating on the back of the Real-time Web – and Twitter in particular. Sentiment analysis is no short-term hot trend. It will eventually become a key feature of search engines, which will integrate the aggregate sentiment of the crowd into search results. In our post we take a look at five examples of how sentiment analysis is starting to ramp up on the Web. Top 50 U.S. Web Properties: Facebook Enters Top 5 For The First TimeAnnual changes of note: Facebook #5 with a rocket; Twitter entered Top 50 in June; Demand Media, Answers.com and Break Media sites to watch. comScore has just released their latestMedia Metrix rankings for the Top 50 U.S. Web Properties. If we compare the top 50 to one year ago, we see that the top 4 is still the same: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL. But there’s one notable entrant to the top 5: Facebook. Last year the same list by comScore had Facebook ranked number 16. As of July 2009, it is number 5; Facebook’s highest ranking yet. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanus
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Denver (43-21) blew all but two points of its huge early lead, but Harris and Nikola Jokic contributed key baskets down the stretch of the Nuggets’ first win of March.“I liked how we played for most of the game, aside from the stretch where they just got out and ran and scored at will,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.Jamal Murray scored 19 points and Jokic had 12 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, who had lost four straight to the Lakers on the road despite their growth into an elite NBA team during that time period.After James barreled to the basket and hit a layup while being fouled for his milestone points, the Staples Center crowd gave a rousing ovation to the superstar who joined the Lakers last summer after 15 NBA seasons spent with Cleveland and Miami. While the Lakers aired a tribute video during the ensuing timeout, James covered his face with a towel, apparently crying under it.“A lot of stuff that I’ve done in my career, this ranks right up at the top (with) winning a championship,” James said. “For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, M.J. was that guy for me. I watched him from afar, wanted to be like M.J., wanted to shoot fadeaways like M.J., wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like M.J., wanted to wear my sneakers like M.J. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like M.J., and it’s crazy, to be honest. ”ADVERTISEMENT The 34-year-old James began the night needing 13 points to pass one of his heroes. James now trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kobe Bryant (33,643). P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed LATEST STORIES MOST READ 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Will Barton scored 23 points, Gary Harris added 19 and the Nuggets snapped their three-game losing streak with a 115-99 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday night despite James’ latest move up the career scoring ranks.James scored 31 points and surpassed Michael Jordan’s 32,292 career points on a driving layup during the second quarter.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“You’ve got to appreciate him,” Harris said of James. “We’re witnessing greatness. It’s an honor.”With James playing alongside four youngsters who came in with a combined 200 games of NBA experience compared to LeBron’s 1,190, the Lakers nearly rallied from a 23-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Hayward’s game-winner lifts Celtics over Kings Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots and scores as Denver Nuggets forward Torrey Craig, center, defends and center Nikola Jokic watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. With the basket, James moved past Michael Jordan for fourth place on the NBA career scoring list. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)LOS ANGELES, California—When LeBron James hit the driving layup that pushed him past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list, even the Denver Nuggets paused to appreciate their opponent’s big moment.The Nuggets then made sure James’ celebration didn’t include a huge come-from-behind win for the Lakers.ADVERTISEMENT
An Indian climber on Sunday reached the summit of Mount Everest for the second time in less than a week, her expedition team said, setting a women’s record for a double ascent of the world’s highest mountain in a single season.Anshu Jamsenpa, 37, returned from the 8,848-metre (29,028-feet) peak on May 16, before turning around after a short rest to repeat the feat.”Anshu reached the summit of Everest at 8:00 am (0215 GMT) today for the second time this season, setting a new record,” said Dawa Lama of Dream Himalaya Adventures.Jamsenpa, a mother of two, was blessed by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before leaving for the expedition.The current female record, certified by Guinness World Records, is held by Nepali climber Chhurim Sherpa, who in 2012 become the first woman to scale the peak twice in a season.Jamsenpa has climbed Mount Everest five times.She intended to make the summit in 2014 but the climbing season was cancelled after an avalanche killed 16 Nepali guides.Another attempt the following year was foiled after an avalanche — this one triggered by a massive earthquake that left swathes of Nepal in ruins — killed 18 people at Base Camp.Last week, Nepali climber Lhakpa Sherpa broke her own record for the greatest number of summits by a woman after scaling the peak for an eighth time.More than 120 climbers have made the summit this season, with the first ascents delayed by high winds, fresh snowfall and unusually cold temperatures.There are concerns that a high number of summit permits issued by Nepal could cause dangerous “traffic jams” on the mountain as climbers target a brief window of favourable weather before the monsoon in June.advertisementThis year’s climbing season has already been marred by two deaths, including legendary Swiss climber Ueli Steck who fell from a ridge during an acclimatisation climb.
One of the worst things we can do when making decisions is to frame them too narrowly. This can lead us to the wrong thought process – and false choices.As Dan Heath puts it in his new book, “The first villain of decision making, narrow framing, is the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms. We ask, ‘Should I break up with my partner or not?’ instead of ‘What are the ways I could make this relationship better?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Should I buy a new car or not?’ instead of ‘What’s the best way I could spend some money to make my family better off?’”Or – to put this in nonprofit terms – we ask, “Should we have an event or not? Should we blog or not? Should we get rid of that board member or not?”Dan’s new book Decisive is all about this kind of problem. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work provides practical ways to beat narrow framing and other villains of decision making. Here are two of his tips (and I quote):1. Consider opportunity cost. If you are considering an investment of time or money, ask yourself, “What is the next best way I could spend this time/money?” If you can’t come up with any other combination that seems enticing, you should feel more confident that you’re making the right investment. 2. Multitrack your options. Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them “wins.” Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?For more tips, join a free Network for Good webinar with Dan today at 1 pm Eastern. Register here.PS for fun, here is one of Dan’s great teaching videos on giving better presentations. It draws on his book, Made to Stick.
Since 2002, donors increasingly believe that charitable organizations “waste” money—on staff salaries, fundraising expenses, or other core costs considered administrative or not directly benefiting programs. Furthermore, nearly half of those polled were mostly concerned about how organizations use their money. This was also the top concern in the Money for Good study released last year. Since 2002, donors increasingly believe that charitable organizations “waste” money—on staff salaries, fundraising expenses, or other core costs considered administrative or not directly benefiting programs. You know what comes next: Donors favor organizations with low administrative and fundraising costs. In fact, 54% of donors like charities that get good ratings by validators like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau, which seem to reward the “lean and mean” organizations. And now we are squarely back in the thick of the Overhead Myth.Quite a bit has been written and discussed about the Overhead Myth and the charity “watchdogs” or validators, so I won’t add to that debate here. Without a doubt, the measure of nonprofit performance has gotten stuck on financials. This is only one part of the story of an organization’s effectiveness. Nonprofits that have the resources to invest in talent, systems, and infrastructure are more likely to be successful, which is directly seen in their programs’ impact and results.So, if we know donors are scrutinizing charities more than ever and questioning how nonprofits are using their money, how can we restore donor confidence? Change the conversation. Share your vision and plans for the future. Celebrate your successes, and be honest about your challenges and how you are addressing them. Quantify your results and impact, both in numbers and stories.If donors see that you are doing good work with visible results, then the “administrative” costs and how you spend money on staff and fundraising, for example, fit within a broader context of organizational effectiveness. It then makes sense that having the financial resources to pay competitive salaries to hire talented and experienced staff will lead to stronger programs and results. Fundraising expenses become part of your organization’s overall strategy for growth and reinvestment of revenue to create a stronger foundation for innovative and expanded breadth of services. You get the picture.Donor trust should never be assumed. It’s earned. While you may not be able to shift your donors from restricting their gifts to specific programs, you can inspire greater investment by positioning everything you need—from vision to staff to resources—to continue doing your work well. The 2015 Giving USA report announced that giving levels across the United States returned to record highs, finally restarting the philanthropic pause triggered by the 2008 recession.If donor confidence seems to have been restored and all is right in the charitable world again, why does a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy poll point to stalled levels of confidence in nonprofits? Of the 1,000 or so people surveyed, 64% said they had a great deal of confidence in charities. More than 50% is pretty good, right? So what’s the problem? Donor trust levels have stayed about the same since 2002, when Paul Light, a professor at New York University, started studying donor confidence.
When you want to contact your donors, chances are, you email them. And so does everybody else.Your donors, through no fault of their own, have inboxes that are constantly bogged down with messages from various organizations, businesses, stores, news outlets, and bloggers. And it’s a rare person who actually reads all of it.So, how do you “cut through the clutter?” Here are five tips to ensure your email reaches (and resonates) with your donors:Tip 1: Think Before You Write.Before you start typing, think about why you’re writing. What is the purpose of the email? Is it to get the word out about your nonprofit’s recent activities? Is it to invite donors to an event? Is it an appeal for donations? The most effective emails focus on one thing. In other words, don’t combine the invitation to join the peer-to-peer campaign with a program announcement and sign off with a donation request to fund a new roof.Sure, you have a lot of things to tell your donors, but unless this is your periodic newsletter (and formatted as such), keep each email to one topic. If the need is vital, it deserves its own email. Need help narrowing down your list? Write down what you want to say and prioritize the messages by need.Once you’ve finalized your email’s topic, it’s time to start an outline. “Outline?” you say. “It’s just an email. What do I need an outline for?” True – emails should be short – but again, we’re going for effectiveness here, and there’s nothing like an outline to keep your writing focused.Here’s what I’m suggesting: At the top of your outline, write the goal of this email (e.g. “get donations to the Spring campaign”). Then, jot down whatever supporting points or bits of information that you think will encourage your readers to take that action. Once you’ve got this bit figured out, you have my permission to start writing.Tip 2: Craft a Killer Subject Line.The hardest thing to write is always the first line. It’s no different when it comes to an email. And there’s a lot of pressure resting on this line, especially when 35% of people say that their decision to open an email comes from subject line alone. How do you write a subject line that convinces your donors to click?In the words of author Ann Handley, ask yourself: “WWYO – What Would You Open?”Many studies have investigated what makes a subject line effective, and they all seem to agree on a few key points:Keep it short, but on point. Too short and it’s not explicit enough, too long and you’ll lose your reader’s attention. Practically speaking, if the subject line is too long, it will probably get cut off in the recipient’s email reader. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 6-8 words.Personalization helps. People love reading their names. Use tokens to include your recipients’ name in the subject line, so it appears you’re addressing each person directly. And, in general, the subject line should relate to something that sets the sender apart or fits with a more narrow interest. For example, “How your dollars are making a difference?”Avoid sounding like spam. Certain words are spam triggers, and if you use them in a subject line, your donors’ email provider could move the message directly to the spam folder. Also, don’t use all caps in the subject line. Not only does it look like you’re shouting, but it also makes your message more likely to end up in the spam folder. Your subject line should relate to what it’s introducing.Tip 3: Make Your Copy Count.The writer’s classic, The Elements of Style, argues that every word of every sentence should serve a purpose, or be deleted. You don’t have to be quite so ruthless with your emails, but you should try to keep your messages short and succinct. Write no more (and no less!) than it takes to get your message across. Some studies show that the optimal email length is 50-100 words. Of course, some of your emails may need to be longer (like an appeal) but, the principle of brevity still applies.The email marketing platform in Network for Good’s donor management system has pre-built templates for appeals, acknowledgements, and more. Curious to see it up close? Click here to request a demo.And while we’re on the subject of your email copy, remember that you’re writing to humans. Humans have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be all business, all the time. If people find your emails warm, friendly, and even a little entertaining, they’re more likely to keep reading time after time.What else can you do to make sure your email is effective? Stay away from large “spray and pray” blasts to your entire list. Breaking your list into smaller segments allows you to write more effective messages. For example, the thank you message you send to recurring donors should probably be different than the one you send send to first-time donors.Tip 4: Have a Clear Call to Action.The body of your email serves one purpose, to draw your recipients to your Call To Action (CTA).Your CTA is what you want your recipient to do after reading the email. For example, if the goal is asking for donations, the CTA would be “Donate now.”Your email should always have one goal and one CTA. Let me repeat: it is always a bad idea to have more than one CTA. Why? Distraction. If you put multiple CTAs in an email, your audience is going to get confused and distracted. Worst of all, they’re not going take the action you want.Tip 5: Track and Tweak.How do you know if your emails are working? Your email marketing platform should show you two basic statistics: open rates and click rates. The open rate (what percentage of recipients opened your email) will tell you how successful your subject line was. The click rate will show you what percentage of recipients clicked a link in your email. To judge the effectiveness of your email copy, look at the click-to-open rate, which is the percentage of clicks from the people who opened the email.As a rule, always be testing. If that last subject line got a 20% open rate, see what you can do to bump it to 23%. If you had a high open rate and a really low click rate, review the copy and find ways to make it more compelling.There are a lot of options for email marketing systems, but only Network for Good donor management combines built-in email marketing with a personal fundraising coach to help you craft the perfect appeal. Develop targeted lists of donors from standard and custom filters. Then, draft your email from scratch or use one of our pre-built templates. All of the data from your email (opens, clicks, etc.) lives in your donor management, and your donor profiles are updated to show who got the email and how they responded. And acknowledgement tracking? That’s automatic. Click here to see it up close in a personal demo.
It’s common for nonprofit board members and staff to express frustration with special events. Questions like “How does this event advance our mission?” or “Where are the major donors, new donors, and volunteers?” are typical.Many of these concerns are raised because your board and staff want to make sure donors (and potential donors) have the opportunity to connect with the organization at a deeper level and understand how they are supporting mission-focused programs.Instead of moving forward with the usual events plan this year, try focusing on these five things that will ensure your events are donor-centric and have a stewardship element.1. Give corporate sponsors opportunities for more involvement.Your event sponsors want to show they care passionately about the community. They want brand visibility and recognition in ways they cannot secure through advertising. Sometimes they want to meet new people: ask them to sponsor tables at a gala or water tents at an outdoor event and place members of their team at those tables and tents. Invite the employees of the corporation to participate as event volunteers.2. Secure creative event partners.Think about co-promoting your event by featuring local artists or dancers as the entertainment. Ask seven chefs to be the feature of seven different food sites at the event. Ask individuals who have a wedding or reunion coming up to allow you to use the table decorations or flowers. Create centerpieces that reflect the mission or are made by clients. Choose a venue that reflects the mission, perhaps a hospital main lobby after hours, a schoolroom, or a park where homeless sleep at night. Not only do creative partners help cut costs, these partners are given the opportunity to contribute to your event in a unique way. These contributions of a special skill or talent can be extremely rewarding or, it lets supporters make the event possible beyond a typical cash donation.3. Choose the right events for the right type of donor.Different events attract different personas. Think of the different donor personas that might be in your donor database as you are planning your special events for the year. The mission must be front and center to the “why” support the event. If the event is an auction, you need to ensure that the people invited to this event can afford the benefit items and expect high end items. If the event is a race, you need to attract people who can not only complete the distance and bring a competitive energy, but will also attract or influence others to support them, support your organization’s cause and follow their training and race progress. And for peer-to-peer fundraising events, these peer fundraisers must also feel comfortable sharing why they support and want others to support your mission.4. Leverage (and value) your board and volunteers.The board must be empowered to connect their network to the event to reach the goal. They need to be proud and excited to participate in the event and willing to speak to their personal “why” story. They need to make supporting your mission important to those within their circle of influence. Some friendly fundraising or guest count competition between board members can be motivating for some people. Facilitate, invite, welcome the board member ideas.Event volunteers must be a fun team, able to answer questions, and easily identifiable the day of. Making sure board and volunteers are happy and feel valued promotes leadership succession for your committees and continued involvement. To help make sure that event volunteering is a postive experience, think about why committee members and board members would expend effort in planning and executing the event. Instead of focusing on what you or the staff need people to do, stay focused on your volunteer and staff why to ensure the experience is a great one for those helping out.5. Plan for success.This means planning at the detailed level. Everything, from signing up for an event and buying a ticket online to paying for an auction item, reflects on your nonprofit’s brand. Instead of thinking about how this process can be made easier for staff, think about the process from the donor’s point of view. Use consistent wording on invitations, your gala program, and volunteer training notes. This is especially important when explaining the event’s mission impact. Receipts or reservation confirmations must be prompt and communicate what has been accomplished because of their vital support. If you’re doing an auction, items should be on display online as well as on the night of the gala to add to excitement and facilitate online bidding.Planning for success requires a communication plan that cultivates the guests and volunteers of the event. Many nonprofits are afraid of over-communicating the event. Don’t be! Part of this events communication strategy should include plans for cultivating volunteers, sponsors, event attendees and major donors after the event. Gather their feedback and thank them early and often. Have board members follow up with five new people they met at the event. And put their ideas to use: with these comments, prepare an even better event next year.Donor-centric events are stewardship events. You will find success with these events as long as you utilize them to bring new and existing donors closer to the mission and to thank major supporters of your cause. And remember to thank early and often: when buying a ticket, upon arrival at the event, upon departure and after the event is over. Remind them when the goal has been raised that the mission cannot be archived without their support.
It may seem too early to think about your year-end campaign, but trust us…it’s not! The final two months of the year are a crucial time for nonprofits. The numbers speak for themselves — 30% of annual giving occurs in December, and 10% occurs on the last 3 days of the year. Now is the time to start planning how you’ll boost your fundraising efforts to attract the generosity of people who are focused on giving at this point in the year.The best way to create a strategic year-end plan is to base it on your donor data. Using this data will optimize your efforts, ensuring you don’t waste resources. In this post, we’ll share five steps for using data to inform your year-end strategy.1) Segment Your DonorsDonor segmentation is important for two reasons. First, it gives you a better idea of who your donors are, how involved they are in their chosen cause, and their giving habits. Second, it provides a way to deliver relevant, customized communications that will pique donors’ interest. The more personal you get with your communications, the more your supporters will feel like part of your team. Segmenting your donor list serves as the foundation of your year-end strategy. Use our Donor Segmentation Cheat Sheet to get your donor data in order today.2) Recruit Top Advocates, Participants, and Volunteers for a Peer-to-Peer CampaignPeer-to-peer fundraising (also known as social fundraising or simply P2P) leverages your network of supporters to fundraise for you. Social fundraising campaigns are most successful when the campaign has a firm deadline — which is why they’re perfect for year-end fundraising. You can tie your P2P campaign to the theme of giving thanks, the holidays, or plan one that celebrates the upcoming new year and ends on January 1.Once you’ve segmented your list according to the detailed data on your contacts, you’ll know who to recruit for your P2P campaign. Focus on those who are consistently involved with your work, whether they volunteer, contribute financially, or simply spread the word about your organization.3) Promote Your Monthly Giving Program Across All ChannelsThe end of the year is an ideal time to promote your monthly giving program. People are in a giving mood, and they’re setting resolutions for the new year. Make it easy for them by inviting them to join your team of active, monthly supporters. Make the most of your monthly giving program in your year-end campaigns. Feature it in your email and direct mail appeals, promote it on your social media accounts, make it the default donation frequency on your giving page.You can promote your program across all your channels in a variety of ways. The first step in gaining new supporters is to make them aware of the opportunity. Again, use your segmentation to send messages customized to each group of donors.4) Approach a Major Donor for a Matching GiftMatching gifts increase not only the revenue per solicitation, but also the response rate of campaigns. There are several reasons why matching gift campaigns work, not the least of which is the desire to be part of a meaningful movement.Year-end campaigns gives you a reason to approach a major donor for a matching gift. Again, this time of year is when people are already in a giving mood, and they’re looking for opportunities to get involved. If you present a major donor with an innovative campaign idea at this time of year, the chances are high that she or he will agree. Scan your data to see which major donors are likely to be open to this idea and focus on those donors first.5) Build Direct Mail and Email Templates Specifically for Year-EndSwitch things up by creating special branding for your year-end communications and donation page. Celebrating the end of the year will get people freshly excited as they see you making the most of this time of year. These banners and templates might include snippets of what you and your supporters have accomplished together throughout the year. Use your data to see which donors celebrate which holidays and customize your direct mail and email templates accordingly.6) Create a CalendarAs you’re brainstorming ideas and creating to-do lists, don’t forget to plan out your calendar in detail. Once you’ve decided what your year-end strategy will consist of, create a calendar that outlines the tasks associated with each campaign and tactic and specifies who within your organization will be responsible for each. From #GivingTuesday to holiday cards to major donor phone calls, assigning dates to the campaigns and tactics you intend to implement will ensure nothing gets lost in the hubbub. You’ll also be able to identify opportunities you missed by noting any holes in your calendar that could be filled. Schedule your social media posts, note which hashtags you’ll use, and include links to relevant materials.Be Sure to Send Your Thank YousStart the new year right! Follow up your year-end campaign by using the first week in January to send your thank yous, expressing gratitude for the role your supporters play in the work you’re doing together. These thank yous will reinforce the good vibes and motivate donors to continue their support.Close out the year with a bang by taking advantage of your donor data. Create a targeted, effective strategy by following the steps we’ve outlined and rest easy knowing that your strategy is based on a firm foundation.