Standing Beside Alaska's Non-Profits

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In his newsletter article this month, Dennis emphasized the need for nonprofits to be involved in public policy. You can read his comments here. This week the president of the National Council of Nonprofits echoed that message in an address in Washington, DC, which he made as part of philanthropy week. Tim Delaney believes the real action takes place in state legislatures and urged nonprofits to focus on their state representatives at least as much as their congressional delegation. You can read his comments which were reported in Nonprofit Quarterly.




The Cold Climate Housing Research Center is initiating a pilot project this month to help Alaska nonprofits save money by making their buildings more energy efficient. The application process opens tomorrow for nonprofit and tribal building owners in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

The Fairbanks Nonprofit Retrofit Pilot provides energy audits and low-interest loans to nonprofit and tribal organizations as well as guidance through the entire energy retrofit process, including arranging an energy audit, prioritizing energy improvements, arranging financing, and coordinating contractors to complete the retrofit.

In recent years, thousands of homeowners, small businesses and public buildings have taken advantage of energy efficiency programs to reduce operating costs. Homeowners have cut fuel use by an average 33% annually through AHFC's Home Energy Rebate Program.

The goal of the retrofit program is to help the nonprofit sector substantially reduce its energy costs so that organizations can spend more on their mission. The program will also explore the cost-savings of retrofitting at a community-scale.

The pilot is made possible by $250,000 from the Denali Commission for technical assistance and energy audits. Financing will be provided under a $2.5 million loan from the Rasmuson Foundation.

If successful, the pilot project may pave the way for a statewide private financing model for small- to medium-sized energy efficiency projects.

Click here for more info and to apply. Or call Danny Powers at CCHRC at 907-450-1726.




Pick.Click.Give. has announced a new promotion for the final days of the 2014 campaign – the Double Your Dividend Sweepstakes. Ten Alaskans who make a PCG donation before March 31 and release their name from anonymity will win a cash prize equal to the amount of the 2014 dividend. Official sweepstakes rules can be found on the Pick.Click.Give. website. Thanks to a generous grant from ExxonMobil, statewide advertising of the sweepstakes began today and will run through the end of the month.




Applications are now being taken for the 2015 Pick.Click.Give. program. Organizations can complete their applications by clicking here. The deadline for filing is Monday, March 31, 2014.

If you have questions about the application process, sign up for a free webinar we are offering on Friday, March 7, from 11:00 to noon. Click here to register.

All participating organizations must apply each year regardless of past participation. If you have not been part of Pick.Click.Give. in the past, a list of Frequently Asked Questions is available that will help you better understand the program and the application process. Click here for the FAQs. 




Earned income which comes from the sale of products or services that are aligned with an organization’s mission is a sustainable source of revenue. For many nonprofits, earned income is their only sustainable income.

The term nonprofit is not a business strategy. Unfortunately, many nonprofits that engage in generating earned revenue don’t understand this concept. Sustainable organizations need to generate a profit.

For example, Girl Scouts make a profit from cookie sales, and that profit allows them to provide services. Thrift stores that thrive make a profit. And there are many types of nonprofits with various missions, like performing arts organizations that sell tickets. Earned income with a profit that becomes unrestricted funds is a very good thing. The more sustainable unrestricted funds that are raised, the more services an organization can provide.

Nonprofits primarily rely either on earned revenue or charitable giving. In my experience, I haven’t seen a nonprofit equally successful with both strategies. While an organization can have both sources, one will most likely dominate.

We would love to hear your examples of sustainable earned income.

--Dennis

Dennis McMillian is President of The Foraker Group, a capacity building organization based in Alaska, and the author of Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey.




The 2014 PCG campaign is entering its final month and we have an exciting opportunity to increase the number of Alaskans who give. Please make sure someone from your organization joins leaders from Rasmuson Foundation, The Foraker Group, Alaska Community Foundation, and United Way of Anchorage to discuss how your organization can take advantage of this exciting opportunity and make the most of the final month of the campaign. 

We'll give you all the information on this opportunity on a teleconference this Friday, February 28, 11:30-12:30.

Come with your great ideas and your energy and leave with new inspiration to make the month of March the best Pick.Click.Give. month to date. 

The session is free. Register today.




Applications are now being taken for the 2015 Pick.Click.Give. program. Organizations can complete their applications by clicking here. The deadline for filing is Monday, March 31, 2014.

All participating organizations must apply each year regardless of past participation. If you have not participated in Pick.Click.Give. in the past, a list of Frequently Asked Questions is available that will help you better understand the program and the application process. Click here for the FAQs. We also will conduct a webinar in the next few weeks which will help answer any questions you may have. Watch the Foraker blog for an announcement on that webinar.




This Friday is the formal deadline for participating in our Salary & Benefits Survey. However, we are extending that deadline to next Friday, February 28, to allow more people to take part. You can read all the information about the survey by clicking here.

If you have any questions or would like assistance completing the survey, please e-mail us at info@forakergroup.org or jjacobs@forakergroup.org.

Thanks for your help. This survey is an important Foraker project and provides useful information to the state's nonprofits.




To add as much value as possible to an organization, board members should invest time in training, especially in the area of fund development. Many people who serve on boards report little comfort in this area. Good training emphasizes that each board member brings his or her own strengths to the process and each has a role to play.

Creating the infrastructure to build relationships takes time, talent and resources from both board and staff. Nonprofits embarking on this path will want to create a maturation process for donors, encouraging them to increasingly invest in a relationship based on their interests and the organization’s focus. Nonprofits can create opportunities for connecting with donors in significant ways, which can become progressively more individualized and involved over time.

Here are some examples:

Annual funds – The donor audience is segmented so there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to cultivation, solicitation, recognition, and stewardship.

Membership – The value of the membership is less than the amount an individual is willing to pay for the intangible mission-related support of the organization.

Special events – Make them fit with your mission and only view them as one step in the development process, not a means to an end.

Major donor programs – This is for organizations with existing donors and infrastructure.

Planned giving, living trusts, and other legacy gifts – Relationships are built with individuals who have supported the nonprofit for ten or more years.

Endowments – A source for long-term financial stability through major and planned gifts.

Let us know if you have other donor strategies that have been successful in fund development.

--Dennis

Dennis McMillian is President of The Foraker Group, a capacity building organization based in Alaska, and the author of Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit’s Journey.




We recently received a gracious note from Josselyn O'Connor, development director at the Kenai Watershed Forum, on the way her organization has integrated Focus on Sustainability into their board meetings. 

"After reading your book, I knew it would be a great tool as we move forward. I have purchased a copy of Focus on Sustainability for each board member and key staff. We have dedicated time at the next several board meetings to discuss one chapter at a time and work our way through the book. Each board member will take a turn leading the discussion. As we prepare to tackle the task of developing our next 5-year strategic/action plan later this year, I'm confident the insight gained from working through your book as a group will be tremendously beneficial to our board, staff, and organization as a whole."

Thanks to Josselyn for letting us know about this creative use of the book. She asks other organizations to share the ways they use Focus on Sustainability in their work. We're happy to post them on our blog.




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