Do You Qualify for a $1M Impact Grant?

Does your nonprofit qualify for an Impact Grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation?Does your nonprofit have an education or training initiative that you’d like to expand – significantly?

Does this initiative have the potential to reach A LOT of people, but requires a technology solution in order to exponentially scale?

If the answers to both questions are “Yes!!” then you could qualify for Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation’s Impact Grant. As nonprofit technology geeks ourselves, we think this opportunity seems too good to be true.

The Impact Grant offers recipients a two-year donation of Cornerstone software and services, including unlimited use of our learning management system (LMS) and access to a range of pro bono business consulting services. The grant is designed to support a select group of nonprofits that can effectively leverage Cornerstone’s learning and development technology in innovative and tangible ways for significant community impact.

Learn more about how the Impact Grant from the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation could help your nonprofit reach new heights.

This is a great opportunity to leverage technology to seriously expand your organization’s impact. Completed applications are due by Friday, March 7, 2014.

So if you’re interested in learning more, you can review the grant program guidelines and register for an information session here.

(Photo via rafael-castillo on Flickr)

Make #GivingTuesday Count by Engaging Volunteers as Fundraisers

Make #GivingTuesday count by engaging your volunteers as fundraisers.The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is more than just a day to re-commit to your local gym. It’s also #GivingTuesday, a day for giving back, a day for families, communities, companies and organizations to come together for something greater than great deals.

Now in its second year, the global campaign is looking to build on last year’s success, when more than 2,500 partners from all 50 states spread the word to over 50 million people. According to groups like Blackbaud and DonorPerfect, online donations increased by 40-50% compared to the same day the previous year. Clearly, #GivingTuesday made a difference.

How Can #GivingTuesday Help Your Organization?

Last year we talked about how #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to involve your volunteers and supporters in a new way. You should definitely check out that post for ideas to spread the word to your supporters.

This year we want to focus on something slightly different: How to engage your volunteers as fundraisers to get people to donate on #GivingTuesday.

Yes, it’s true – fundraisers are volunteers! (Assuming you’re not paying them.) Empower your dedicated volunteers to get their friends, families and communities involved, and your network of engaged supporters will exponentially expand. Talk about return on investment!

Here are some tips to help your volunteers become successful #GivingTuesday fundraisers for your organization:

Ask them.

Many of your volunteers are probably looking for more ways to get involved and help you out – you just need to ask them! Send your volunteers and email, call them up, ask them in person when you see them, and let them know that raising money and awareness for #GivingTuesday would be a huge help. We bet they’ll jump at the chance to do more for you.

Make it easy.

Provide pre-written emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, and blog posts for your volunteers to cut and paste. The quicker and easier you can make it for them, the more likely it is they’ll do it.

Track their impact.

Give each volunteer a unique, trackable URL using bit.ly or Google URL Builder so you can track how many donations come in through each volunteer. And be sure to update them on their progress both individually and as a group and encourage them to continue!

Recognize their success.

No matter how much money and awareness each volunteer raises, thank them profusely and publicly for their time and effort. Make sure they know how much you appreciate it! Perhaps provide them with a badge they can put on their social media profiles that identify them as a champion for your organization, or mention them by name in any press you receive during the holiday season.

What does your nonprofit have planned for #GivingTuesday? Share your ideas in the comments!

5 Ways Engaging Volunteers Can Help You Raise More Money

Guest post by David Bakke, Money Crashers

5 Ways Engaging Volunteers Can Help You Raise more MoneyIn light of recent economic struggles, many Americans have had less disposable income to donate to charitable organizations. According to Philanthropy News Digest, nearly two-thirds of these organizations reported that donations were either down or stayed the same during the first three-quarters of last year.

The point is, in order to generate more money at your nonprofit, you’re going to have to up your game. One of the best ways to do this is to do an even better job of engaging your volunteers. After all, your volunteers can be your most ardent supporters, ambassadors, champions and even fundraisers.

If you’re looking to increase donations, consider the following five strategies:

1. Elicit Feedback from Volunteers

The best ways to keep your volunteers engaged is to ask for their feedback. Get their thoughts on how the organization is being run and ask if they have ideas on how to make it more effective. When they present ideas, take it a step further and ask if they’re willing to contribute to or even lead the suggested activity. Your volunteers are the cogs that drive your organization’s mission – they’re familiar with what works, and implementing their ideas can make them more invested in the results.

2. Train and Communicate

If your volunteers don’t know how to do something, make sure you provide the proper training. Partner up newer team members with more experienced staff to ensure they’re trained well. Communicate openly and often and oversee the process when necessary. Show an interest in their training progress and make sure new and existing volunteers know you’re available to address questions and concerns.

3. Run an Efficient Organization

Volunteers don’t mind donating their time to a worthy cause. However, they don’t like their time being wasted. Run your organization efficiently and in a streamlined fashion to improve volunteer engagement and retention. Keep meetings brief, make sure volunteers clearly understand their roles, and do your best to see that any events end when scheduled.

4. Put Together Creative Promotions

The more creative your promotions and marketing efforts, the more your volunteers may want to participate in events. One nonprofit recently used Groundhog Day to support a promotion. At another nonprofit, an intern created a rap video for her company. Reach out to everyone in your organization and encourage them to think creatively for ways to promote your cause.

5. Recognize Volunteers

If you have volunteers that go above and beyond the call of duty, make sure they’re recognized for their efforts. Make an announcement to the team, include a quick post on your social media pages, or consider any other way to show your appreciation. Little pats on the back and “thank-you’s” go a long way to keeping your most productive volunteers engaged.

Final Thoughts

Even if your nonprofit is reaching its goals, investing in volunteers is a promising way to exceed them. Implement efforts that incorporate volunteers and then track the success of those efforts to determine which are most effective. Just don’t hamstring your efforts by not devoting enough time to your most important asset – your people!

What ways can you think of to raise money by better engaging volunteers?

David Bakke is a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he stresses the importance of properly managing your finances and giving back wealth to the community.

A New Form of Volunteering: How Social Gamers are Raising Funds for Nonprofits

Guest post by Ashley Tumson

How social gamers are creating a new form of online volunteeringOrganizations fundraise best when they can gain support from people doing the things that they love to do anyway, so it is no surprise that nonprofits have latched onto online gaming as a way to raise funds for their causes.

By partnering with online advertisers, online social gamers are raising massive amounts of money simply by playing computer games online. With no extra effort on their part except for playing games they enjoy, social gamers are creating new ways of fundraising and volunteering on the Web.

Test your vocabulary, give rice to the World Food Programme.

One of the biggest success stories for charities partnering with social gamers has been the UN World Food Programme’s Freerice.com, which allows people to play a simple vocabulary game either alone or in groups that donates 10 grains of rice for every correct answer. Funded by advertising, grains of rice have quickly accumulated to a donation of over 96 billion grains of rice since its inception, with an approximate average of 250,000 grains of rice donated each month.

Although originally a vocabulary game, Freerice.com has expanded into quiz games for a variety of subjects such as mathematics, geography, literature and SAT prep. The site’s integration with Twitter and Facebook has increased the social and viral nature of the game, further increasing its ability to raise money for a good cause. The website allows for people to form groups that work together to raise funds, effectively donating nothing but their time to raise as much money (and therefore rice) as possible for UNWFP.

Play a game you choose and give to a charity you choose.

Australian charities guru Adam Palmer, leader of nonprofit organization Gramble.com, has pioneered allowing gamers themselves to choose what nonprofits they support and how much of their money goes to said nonprofit. Gramble, which contains a variety of games to play while raising money for charity, has been a major success since its founding earlier this year. Many gaming start-ups are now following in Gramble’s footsteps by either dedicating their entire ethos to becoming a charity hub or by simply integrating ways that their players can selectively support ethical causes.

This choice not only reflects well on the gaming giants by letting them showcase their ethical credentials but also allows nonprofits to diversify their fundraising. The choice is also great for the new legions of social gaming volunteers as it allows them to choose what organizations they are volunteering their time for, giving more options to the people who want to give back.

Buy sugar for your virtual farm, pay for sugar for the world’s poor.

Although some games are originally created with charitable intent, some social games that were invented without any cause-focused purpose have found ways to contribute – especially in times of crisis. Zynga, the design company behind gaming hits Farmville and Mafia Wars, partnered with Save The Children to have the proceeds of some of its virtual purchases donated to the Japanese Earthquake disaster relief.

By making volunteers out of those who would not usually donate or spend their time on a cause, Zynga has become just one of the many gaming companies that are turning casual gamers into social activists. The results are telling: continued links between Zynga and different charities have led to Zynga game players raising over $10 million for good causes.

So are social gaming volunteers really making a difference?

Although no figures are available on the total amount that social gaming has raised for causes, case-by-case analysis has shown that the partnership can be profitable for both the gaming company and the nonprofit. Although organizations working with established gaming giants tend to fundraise more money than start-ups, the increasingly profitable channels available to charitable gaming start-ups through social media such as Facebook and App Stores mean that both forms of gaming-nonprofit partnerships can be very successful indeed.

Ashley Tumson is a nonprofit advocate with a keen interest in giving back through social media. She is an occasional guest blogger and freelance writer, working for nonprofit organizations such as Pro Bono Australia. You can follow her rants on Twitter.

(Photo by Suzanne Tucker)

The Last Day to Sign Up for Twive and Receive is Tomorrow

A diaper bank in Detroit. An anti-bullying organization in Alabama. A horse rescue facility in Florida.

These are just three out of hundreds of organizations that have registered to raise money in Twive and Receive on June 14. With the deadline tomorrow to take part in the fundraising contest, this is the last call for your organization to compete for its share of $30,000 in awards.

More importantly, for organizations that haven’t fully explored online social fundraising, you don’t want to miss this chance to gain new skills at the intersection of volunteering and fundraising.

Twive and Receive, from the team at Razoo.com, is a 24-hour online giving competition that teams Twitter activists and locally supporting nonprofits to fundraise and benefit their hometown. Nonprofits must first register on TwiveAndReceive.org to represent their city.

If approved, the online fundraisers in your town will raise money for you during the 24 hours of June 14. The three nonprofits/communities that raise the most money will also win a share of $30,000 in prizes, courtesy of Razoo. And no matter what, there I pride at stake. Who will rank as America’s most generous cities?

Visit TwiveAndReceive.org to register. Razoo is also hosting one last free webinar on Twive and online social fundraising on Thursday, 6/7. You can sign up for that here.

Is your organization going to take part in Twive and Receive? Are you already raising money and engaging supporter via online social fundraising? Let us know!