The Center for Association Resources

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Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Importance of committees

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

No matter how large or small a nonprofit organization may be, there are four board committees that are essential to the well-being of the organization and the board itself.  These four committees include the Board Development Committee, the Finance Committee, the Fundraising Committee and the Personnel Committee.

The Board Development Committee is responsible for determining what skills a board member should possess and recruiting and training newly-hired members of the board.  Members of this committee regularly communicate with the board members.  They make sure that the members of the board are making positive contributions and that their board experiences are satisfying to them. The Board Development Committee also creates member evaluations and administers and interprets them.  In short, the job of this committee is to ensure the strength of the board’s future.

The Finance Committee’s job is extremely valuable.  The Finance Committee is responsible for many things, including creating a suitable annual budget, tracking the nonprofits spending versus its budget, monitoring the group’s monthly cash flow and evaluating the overall financial stability of the organization.  This committee not only develops the annual financial plan, but they develop a long-term strategic, financial plan, as well.  Any financial policies regarding the nonprofit must pass approval of the Finance Committee before submitted to the board.  Some nonprofits employ Audit and Investment subcommittees to help “round out” the board’s involvement in financial issues of the organization.

The Fundraising Committee is also a vital part of any nonprofit group.  The Fundraising Committee develops the organization’s annual fundraising plans and then tracks the planned versus the actual results each year.  It is their duty to encourage and train the nonprofit’s members to become involved in any fundraising activities held by the group.  They also look for any new activities that they can implement into their strategic fundraising plans.  Special events subcommittees are often established to assist with these plans.

Even small or young nonprofit groups need a Personnel Committee on their boards.  The main goal of this committee is to make sure that the members of the group follow all state and federal laws and regulations with regard to employment.  They also ensure that the wages paid to members in the nonprofit are comparable to wages in similar organizations.  They see to it that every member has job descriptions, yearly objectives and annual reviews that include training when needed.  Other responsibilities of this committee include creating and issuing employee handbooks, creating human resource policies, hiring, benefits selection, pension considerations and creating holiday schedules.

In conclusion, all nonprofits need these four committees to be successful.  Each committee is equally beneficial to the group and unique in its responsibilities.  A nonprofit that has all four of these committees in place is certain to run smoothly and be highly successful in their cause.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , ,

Creating awareness through SEO

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Search engine optimization or SEO is vital to any nonprofit organization trying to create awareness of their cause. However, many nonprofits feel intimidated when faced with search engine optimization.  They may think it is extremely complex, or that it requires a large budget.  However, the truth is, SEO does not require an expert.  The only things necessary for successful SEO is time, patience and the desire to learn.

There are many benefits to SEO.  SEO increases the traffic to websites and rank in search engines such as Google.  It also increases the nonprofits “visibility”.  Although an expert can be utilized for SEO, the nonprofit can accomplish successful SEO on its own, as well.  There are no short cuts to SEO, it takes time.  However, one will see success soon enough by following these useful tips.

First of all, successful search engine optimization requires solid, clear goals.  One should organize their website by answering all of these questions.  Is information, such as events and new products or services, up to date?  Can people make donations online?  What can visitors do on the website?  Are forms asking the right questions?

Next, the nonprofit should determine who they want its audience to be.  An ideal audience includes potential donors, press, members of the organization and present, as well as, past beneficiaries seeking support.

Keywords are crucial to any SEO strategy.  When launching an SEO campaign, one should make a list of relevant keywords used repetitively on the site.  One should also pay close attention to “meta-tags”.  A meta-tag or “invisible text”  is not displayed on the pages of the site, rather it is in the HTML code which SEO robots analyze.  The elements of meta-tags specify page descriptions, keywords and images.

Content is crucial.  Content should not only be clear and compelling, but it should also be unique, engrossing and geared towards the audience.  Headlines should be descriptive and not contain any ID numbers.  The body’s content should be formatted in HTML context, rather than graphical, so that the robot can read it.  Using a clickable anchor text helps to boost the site’s ranking.  A breadcrumb trail offers users the ability to view various pages on the site.  This is often found horizontally across the top of the homepage below the headline.  Headline tags offer this option, as well.  There should be no more than 450 to 600 words on each page, and keywords should be in bold or italics so that users can identify them.  Internal linking or cross linking is perfect to use for navigating within the site.  In-bound links are useful too in bringing traffic to one’s site.

A site map should be created and posted on the nonprofit’s website, as well.  This allows robots and users to quickly and easily navigate within the site. A site map is terrific in helping with the usability and navigation of the website.  When creating a URL, one should be sure to use keywords and file names to raise SEO.  Making use of such things as documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos and presentations also help an immense deal.

Finally, by signing up with Google’s Webmaster Central and Google Analytics, one can see how well their site and inbound links are doing, and how much traffic is going to the site.  By checking this on a regular basis, one can adjust their strategy as needed and can create a highly successful website for their nonprofit organization.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , ,

March 2011
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