The Center for Association Resources

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The Center for Association Resources is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Use search engines to increase association recognition

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.

At The Center for Association Resources has published many articles about how to improve your association’s results using an effective online presence. These include
Non-profit organizations and associations benefit from community support, name recognition, and online presence. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, can provide traffic and accessibility to clients and those seeking to learn or donate to the association. Even a small center, organization, or association should have a website containing at least basic information about your services, and preferably a more interactive and engaging experience that raises interest and awareness of your association and its central objectives.

Providing useful content, in an accessible form, is critical to reaching the widest audience. Google is able to catalog text pages very well. Unfortunately, many sites have begun using Flash and other media to present information. This also makes life difficult for people with blindness or other disabilities that make using a graphical system difficult. If you’re going to have a  graphics version of your site, also make a text alternative available. This will increase your audience, and show that you care about those you serve and those who contribute to the success of your organization.

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

Member survey research

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.

Non-profits must provide constant feedback to their membership groups in order to develop a better system for communication, fundraising, organizing and developing solid relationships to expand partnerships and recruit more volunteers.  Asking questions of your members is the best way to obtain direct feedback from your members.  The first thing to note is communication.  How often is it appropriate to make contact with your volunteers?  Maybe a weekly update via an email mailing list is appropriate, whereas a phone call to members may only be required once a year.

Members need to know that their money that is paid in the form of dues is a worthwhile investment for them, and being updated about the new events in the area is important.  Perhaps you can break up the email list into communicating every two weeks, the upcoming events; or a monthly newsletter with breakdowns of what is happening.  This way the member is not overwhelmed, is offered the opportunity to participate and work with the group, but they are not constantly inundated with messages from your group.

Another important research tool is fundraising growth potential with your members.  How often should you connect with them on trying to make money?  Maybe once a quarter you should send out an email that contains a direct payment opportunity; and there may also be a specialized event they can participate in.  Do not underestimate the power of the people on your mailing list: reach out to them for donations, not only in monetary form. There may be an artist in your organization that can donate a piece to auction, a caterer who may be able to provide food at a discounted price, or a photographer who can take pictures at an event for your website.  These are the critical pieces that can be put together if one really sees them as opportunities.

Its not about the money, it is truly about the people.  There are members who can be interested in the organization, they are the ones who are going to help expand your company.  Developing a simple to use online survey will provide value so you can better understand your membership market.  It is important because it allows you to understand what your members want from you, while they can also provide you with their skills to compensate your business.  Their time is valuable, And one should not discount the possibility that two hours of time is less of a contribution to your organization than a donation of $50.  Those photos taken can impact your website which will then impact your web visitors, their donations and their willingness to devote time.

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

Establishing a reserve fund

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.

In today’s economy, the giving of funds to nonprofit organizations is way down.  Those persons and businesses who used to give a lot are now giving less, and the persons and businesses who gave a little are not giving at all.  With that said, it is highly crucial for nonprofits to establish and maintain a reserve fund in order for them to survive.

Nonprofit organizations have to re-work their budgets and make some extremely difficult decisions in order to keep their causes going.  Organizations have taken extreme measures such as cutting their workforce and moving to more affordable locations, and, in some cases, the organization has even shut down.  However, there are some organizations, both in large cities and even small towns that continue to thrive.  How do some nonprofits thrive while others do not?  There are some key strategies that these organizations utilize to attain their long-term success.

First of all, they develop all the “social capital” that they possibly can.  They accomplish this by spending a lot of time on the phone with potential donors, and also by visiting them or having coffee or lunch with them.  The nonprofits develop close relationships with these persons and businesses so that they will attend fundraisers and donate funds or items to their causes.  These funds are seriously needed to add to the reserve funds of the organizations in order to keep the nonprofits alive.

A successful nonprofit, which has attained a lot of reserves, is sincere.  They care not only about their donors’ passions but their situations, as well.  Sincerity is extremely attractive and will attract a large amount of donors to the organization.  If a donor’s passions and a nonprofit’s passions are similar, there is significant potential for long-term funding to help with the nonprofit’s reserves.

Enthusiasm is a tremendous factor in the overall success of nonprofit organizations.  Without enthusiasm, a nonprofit will accomplish far less than their desired goal.  The nonprofit must have a strong desire for the success of their organization.

Finally, it is crucial for the nonprofit to create and maintain a strict, annual budget.  This will help them manage the organization throughout the year, and also help them see how much funding they need to keep them afloat.  It is possible for any nonprofit to establish a solid reserve fund that will help their group become successful by following the examples of organizations that have become successful, themselves.

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

Ethics in non-profit associations

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.

When examining the field of nonprofit work, which focuses on providing a wholesome contribution to the community, it becomes clear that the ethics of such associations must be pure and unquestionable. This is essential for several reasons: most importantly, the integrity of a nonprofit organization must be intact for it to have any stature in society. Furthermore, the efficiency of such organizations is compromised by any foul play or mismanagement, and in organizations where every penny is supposed to be used to further a particular cause, efficiency is key.

A not for profit organization is meant to be, in most cases, an association dedicated to a certain charitable cause. The very nature of these organizations is typically thought to be pure and selfless. It is in this way that such groups appeal to the public and people’s desire to join in or donate to something that is helping others. However, if the ethics of an association are besmirched, the moral basis of the group is compromised. Since this moral basis is the foundation of the organization and the factor that makes donating to the organization attractive to the public, the entire legitimacy of the group will be destroyed. The public is not willing to donate their hard-earned money to line the pockets of a greedy middle man rather than to feed starving children. And so, when any question of a breach of ethics arises, the public will easily divert their donations to another organization that has maintained such codes of conduct. This will ultimately cause such an organization to not only lose stature and legitimacy, but also to be drained of funding, without which no organization can long survive.

Well-preserved ethics and codes of conduct amongst nonprofit organizations are essential for another reason: an organization cannot run efficiently unless all of its transactions are transparent and above board. Should a breach of ethics occur such as the siphoning of an organization’s funds into an administrator’s personal account, the money lost would be a much greater blow to a not for profit than to a multimillion dollar commercial corporation. Indeed, the majority of nonprofit organizations operate at the bottom line, as they typically rely on charitable donations, not the most opulent of sources, to garner funds. Furthermore, when helping the thousands or millions in suffering, a dollar must be stretched as far as possible, and even then it will fall short. If ethics are breach regarding the handling of an association’s funds, it will drastically decrease the necessary efficiency of the organization.

There are a multitude of reasons as to why ethics in nonprofit associations are essential. Any lack of ethics destroys an organization’s reputation and good standing, and cuts into its efficiency. For these reasons, it is clear that to run a nonprofit organization well, upholding ethics must be a key component of the organization’s mission statement.

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

May 2017
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