Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Volunteer and a Violent Stranger - A Question of Liability

posted by
Kathy Renfro
Graduate Student
ASU Master of Nonprofit
Management and
Leadership program
Nonprofit assignments can place volunteers in precarious positions of potential, personal liability. Prior to the 1940s, the Charitable Immunity Doctrine shielded nonprofits from tort liability, but did not protect volunteers. To prevent volunteers from abandoning volunteerism because of liability concerns, the Volunteer Protection Act (VPA) was signed into law by President Clinton in 1997.
The VPA provides conditional immunity for volunteers who are:
  1. acting within the scope of their assigned tasks; 
  2. not grossly negligent; 
  3. not operating a motor vehicle that requires state licensure; and 
  4. not committing acts of violence, terrorism, hate crimes, sexual offenses, or, while intoxicated. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Alternative to Writing RFPs for Nonprofit Websites and Technology

posted by
Laura L Bush, Ph.D.
Communications Director
and Content Strategist
Highway Twenty
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a common way nonprofit organizations invite bids for products and services. Any RFP includes a specific list of requirements that all responding vendors must address. In theory, an RFP’s intention is to filter vendors for quality and ensure competitive pricing.

Unfortunately, when it comes to technology-related RFPs, nonprofit organizations often write inadequate proposals that waste time and money for the nonprofit and the responding vendors. Two problems create ineffective RFPs: first, although well-intentioned, RFPs often demonstrate unrealistic expectations about the time and cost for executing on digital products or services; second, nonprofits often solicit technology they don’t need because they don’t know the right questions to ask.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Top 6 reasons nonprofits should use a CRM

posted by
Pierre Kaluzny
Sputnik Moment
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. I like to redefine it as a Constituent Relationship Management system. Originally limited to sales and support departments, it has now been widely adopted by nonprofit organizations. Here are the Top 6 reasons your organization should be using a CRM.

Know you are about meet a donor BEFORE you enter that meeting
We are all communicating more than ever and connecting with more people than ever. How are you supposed to keep track of the important conversations happening with your constituents? Let alone share it with your team. Your CRM system will provide a simple way for all staff to record emails, phone calls and meetings with your donors, volunteers or other supporters. Imagine it: all of your organization interactions with your stakeholders in one place and no more searching through multiple spreadsheets. This consolidated ongoing communication will enrich the contact profile and start building institutional knowledge, which is coincidentally my next point.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nonprofit Marketing: Beyond Social Media

posted by
Ryan Stewart
As the owner of a Miami based SEO and digital marketing agency, I've helped hundreds of businesses solve complicated marketing problems. I can honestly say that the most challenging clients have been non-profit organizations. The combination of low funding, manpower and resources make it extremely difficult to complete your mission statement and make a positive change in the world.

When your organization is working with this many moving pieces, a lot of important tasks tend to get de-emphasized. In my tenure the most common task that falls by the wayside is having a concrete marketing plan. A marketing plan is easily overlooked in a non-profit organization because it gets lost behind the goals, ideals, values and mission statement. What most non-profits fail to realize is that a marketing plan should go hand in hand with your mission statement and will ultimately maximize your impact on the world.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nonprofit Start-Up Fever Hits the Valley, Sweeps the Nation

Early each semester I graph five years-worth of the number of Arizona nonprofits that gained status as income-tax-exempt under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The graph and the data I used to create it is material for one of my graduate seminars at ASU called The Nonprofit Sector, and students always seem interested in thinking about why exemptions might bounce around from year to year. The (great) data is readily downloadable from the exempt organization section of the IRS Business Master File.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where have all the interns gone?

posted by
Lyn McDonough,

Program Coordinator Sr.,
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
ASU Lodestar Center
The origin of the word “intern” goes back to the Latin and French meaning: to restrict or confine within prescribed limits, as prisoners of war, enemy aliens, or combat troops who take refuge in a neutral country. Currently an intern is thought to be an individual gaining practical supervised training in a hospital or an assistant or trainee working to gain practical experience in an occupation, generally an internship is a temporary and supervised position where on-the-job training is learned. The current narrative includes a person of little status, conducting menial tasks in hopes of gaining experience, letters of recommendations and potentially a permanent position with the organization.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Who Engages in Professional Associations?

posted by
Mark Hager, Ph.D.

Associate Professor,

ASU School of Community
Resources & Development
The ASU Lodestar Center congratulates Mark Hager for recognition of his article Engagement Motivations in Professional Associations as recipient of the 2014 Award for Outstanding Academic Publication on Membership Organizations by the American Society of Association Executives and the Institute for Nonprofits at North Carolina State University. This blog post summarizes the research presented in his award-winning article.
If you are a working professional, there’s a good chance that you are (or could be) a member of an association of people in your field. Could be local, statewide, national, or international. You pay dues to a central nonprofit that probably has annual meetings, probably educates on the ethics and standards of the field, and maybe even helps people find jobs. These are often called professional associations, and examples are the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).


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