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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | nonprofits
Tag Archive - nonprofits

Profit is NOT a 4-Letter Word

International Money Pile in Cash and Coinsphoto © 2011 epSos .de | more info (via: Wylio)
“I want to copy the graphics of your book series without buying them. Will you email the pictures to me so I don’t have to photocopy them?” A friend of mine who’s written a series of books was once asked that question.

“Will you send me your presentation so I can use it to give to my friends?” I was recently asked. “I can’t afford you so I just want your presentation.”

I strongly believe in helping non-profits and those with challenges. In fact, I’m so sympathetic that my husband told me that my next philanthropic endeavor is to raise money for the Biever Family College Fund.  Profit is NOT a 4-letter word.

My presentations are my work product. I share parts on Slideshare. However, I am not going to give away my full presentation for others to use. My name is on it, and it’s my brand. My time and expertise went into creating it, along with what I say with each part. If I let you use it, I dilute my brand.

I explained to my friend that a lawyer won’t give you a lease template for you to make your own. Instead, the lawyer takes the template and adjusts it to fit your needs, using time and training for which you are charged. The same applies to my work.

I don’t walk into a restaurant and ask them to give me a free meal because my budget is tight. If I don’t have money, I eat somewhere cheaper or fix my own. If I’m desperate, there are food pantries and other resources so I won’t go hungry. Doesn’t the same apply to owners of small businesses?

How to handle the flow of requests for donations of money, products, and me?

Make a donation budget. Plan, pick and choose who you help and how much to help and how much you can afford. When that amount is capped, you can explain to those asking for more that your donation budget for the year has been met and wish them well. When you focus on building your business to make it MORE profitable, then you can help others more in the future.

If you don’t value your own work product and think it’s worthy of buying, no one else will either.

See Who Shows Up – Step 1 in Scouting Potential Leaders

Leadershipphoto © 2007 Pedro Ribeiro Simões | more info (via: Wylio)
(First in a series on traits of successful leaders, especially non-profits who seek volunteers)

The most important job of a leader is to find and train your replacement. How do you find the right person?

First, watch who shows up for events. Not just the big events with the sparkly toys that get all the attention. See who shows up to do the work before and after the event, behind the scenes, without seeking any public recognition for effort.

It’s easy to show up for the fun stuff. Or most of the fun stuff.

Leaders realize the fun stuff doesn’t happen if someone doesn’t do the tough stuff first.

“There are four aces in every deck,” I was told years ago. “No matter the organization – its size or its scope – generally about 4 key players keep things going.” Maybe that’s why many organizations have 4 top offices – president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

The challenge with most leaders is they are already leading. Most leaders I know are already stretched too thin, especially if they help not-for-profits as a volunteer. They could be great leaders but simply don’t have the time and passion to help you.

The potential leaders who show up most likely have the deepest passion for your cause. Their energy, their time, and their passion follows. As soon as they show up, find ways to uniquely use their talents.

Observe the following the following in new potential leader recruits:

  1. Communication skills – how they relate to others
  2. Work habits – do they go the extra mile and help others?
  3. Work style – what is their work style, and is it a good fit for you? How do they handle stress or tough situations? What stresses them?
  4. Commitment - is this someone who truly wants to help or wants to add a community service line to their resume?
  5. Time frame – some help for a project, a season, a year, a few years, or a lifetime.

The quiet secret of volunteer leadership is you get more than you give. Yes, it’s tough and stressful at times. But whatever you do to help others gives the deep satisfaction of using your talents to help others.

Party Planning on a Budget

“You’re one of the 3 cheapest people on the planet, and the other 2 are your friends,” my 14 year old son told me. I wear it as a badge of honor.

Our Convention Visitor’s Bureau spent more than $3,000 on their Christmas party, with a final tab totalling $219.95 per person attending. This blog won’t deal with the politics.

As one of the top 3 cheapos on the planet, listed below are ways I have organized cheap parties for volunteers that had good food and were fun.

Meat trays and pitch in: I purchased a ham on sale, had the grocery store slice it, and purchased bread store buns. Club members and volunteers brought drinks, snacks, desserts, and condiments. My daughter and I made ham trays.  Total cost to feed 25 people: $22, or 88 cents per person.  For entertainment, volunteers set up black light volleyball.

Soup and sandwiches: Bargain shopping at grocery and bread stores, we made meat and vegetable trays with ham, beef, and turkey for 70 volunteers, plus beef/vegetable soup, Texas sheet cake and apple crisp. Total cost: $200 to feed 70 people, or $2.86 per person.

Video game party: Last year, we had a free room for a video game party for club members. Members brought in video game equipment and systems. All food was potluck.  Total cost: $0 to feed 30 people, or $0 per person.

Laser tag party: we take 25 youth and volunteers to Walther’s for Laser Tag on cheap night. Two laser tag games cost $8 per person. Club members voted to pay for  laser tag instead of food. Total cost: $200 for 25 people, or $8 per person.

Pizza potluck pitch in: we ordered in pizza for a family night potluck, estimating 2 pieces of pizza per person, 4 people per pizza.  With 24 attending, we purchased 6 of the cheap $5 pizzas.  All other foods were brought in/donated by members and volunteers.  Total cost: $30 for 24 people, or $1.25 per person.

Cookie reception: With cookie receptions for my children’s choir, we were forced to purchase punch for $15 per gallon. So we ordered 3 gallons for $45 and asked parents to bring 2-3 dozen cookies per family.  After the reception, we donated leftover cookies to an area homeless shelter. Total cost $45 for 10o people, or $.45 per person.

Others ways to cut costs: hire a local caterer for the main foods. Prep the drinks and ask those attending to bring desserts/appetizers. That can cut @$3 per person from the final tab.

It’s easier to raise money and encourage others to save it when they see that you count every penny and make every penny count. I’m a volunteer. I organize volunteers. And I raise funds for non-profits.

If you have other suggestions for volunteer parties that cost less than $219.95 per person, please comment below. I would love to find some new ideas!