Nonprofit Fundraising Services: New & Improved

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How we can better serve our nonprofit customers has preoccupied our thinking this year. We know the JustGive website is a vital tool that helps you get more donations, track them, and manage donor data.

Each year, JustGive collects and disburses millions of dollars in donations to thousands of charities—so to make it easier to find the information you need and save you time managing your account, we’ve improved the Nonprofit Services section of our website.

Better description of JustGive’s services
We’ve updated our informational pages about JustGive’s nonprofit donation services and our nonprofit donation reports. Whether you’ve been using JustGive for a while or you’ve just received your first donation check from us, these new pages give you a clear overview of what JustGive provides.

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quicklinksImproved organization & navigation for your nonprofit account
We’ve cleaned things up a bit in your nonprofit account area, and added a new homepage you’ll see after logging in that gives you a snapshot of your donation totals for the current month and year to date. Plus, we made it quicker to access your donate buttons, your donation page (including editing it), your donation reports, and more.

NEW: Downloadable QR code for your website or event
We’ve had a lot of requests for QR codes from our nonprofits, so this is now built right into your account. Visit the Donate Buttons page to download a QR code that has your custom JustGive donation page website address embedded in it. Place it on your website or printed materials—your donors can quickly scan it and are immediately sent to your donation page.

Here’s an example of one for JustGive’s donation page:

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Additional nonprofit resources
We’re often asked for referrals to companies providing other nonprofit services. So we’ve added a Nonprofit Resources page to our site that lists and links you to some of our key partners that can help you with fundraising strategy, recruiting quality volunteers, and more.

question-mark-icon-dc_icon_question_markNonprofit Support Center
Have a question about your JustGive account or our services? Visit our improved and streamlined Nonprofit Support Center for everything you need to know about creating a JustGive nonprofit account, collecting donations, viewing reports, and more.

Go check out our new & improved Nonprofit Services area. Have other ideas about how we can improve the nonprofit section? Leave a comment here on the blog to let us know.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

CSR Pioneers Ben & Jerry’s

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Ben & Jerry’s is thought of as the ice cream company with heart and soul. From the start, its founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield set out to prove that business can play a positive role in society.

In 1978, after taking a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and making a $12,000 investment ($4,000 borrowed), Ben and Jerry began selling ice cream from a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont.  While the company name references only two men, a third man, Jeff Furman (a lawyer and accountant) is considered the ampersand in Ben & Jerry’s and a driving force in the company’s social responsibility efforts.

Utne Reader described them as three men who shared ideals formed in the 1960s and tempered by Vietnam and Watergate. They were smart and creative but suspicious of big business, painfully aware of injustice, and looking for better ways to live.

Social mission as a guiding business principle

In 1988, Ben & Jerry’s became one of the first companies in the world to make a social mission integral to its business and inseparable from its product and economic goals. Its social mission: use the company in innovative ways to make the world a better place.

When Unilever bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary but fought to retain its social consciousness. Through a unique merger agreement, Ben & Jerry’s established an independent board of directors so it could maintain the company’s mission and preserve its values—a board that has the right to challenge Unilever at any time if it feels those values are compromised.

In September 2012, Ben & Jerry’s was certified as a B corp and became the first and only wholly-owned subsidiary of a public company to do so. Its publicly-available impact assessment shows how the company is doing in its governance and for the environment, workers, and community. (The B Corp model can ensure companies provide benefits to society in a way that’s transparent, balanced, and people can believe in.)

“We wanted to constantly challenge ourselves to be better,” said Rob Michalak, Ben & Jerry’s Director of Social Mission. “This model provides the rigor and standards to ensure that we are living up to our own mission and that we push further.”

The measures of success

Creating linked prosperity for suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors—everyone connected to Ben & Jerry’s—is how the company defines success. They operate to benefit people and communities, support social and environmental justice, and give back.

Sourcing & purchasing ingredients. The company uses its purchasing power to buy Fair Trade Certified base ingredients of sugar, cocoa, banana, coffee and vanilla.

In manufacturing, Ben & Jerry’s works to reduce its footprint and has offset 22,400 tons of CO2 emissions since 2002. The company is also actively involved in climate justice, mandatory GMO labeling, peace building and many more issues.

Ben & Jerry’s: Giving back

Their efforts to give back go beyond improving quality of life for local communities. In addition to donating more than 5% of profits to charity:

  • Ben & Jerry’s foundation engages its employees in philanthropy and social change work, and supports grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country. In 1991, the foundation was restructured to be employee-led, and employees make all the decisions about grants. In 2014, the foundation won the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s award for a Corporate Grantmaker.
  • The foundation funds the Vermont Community Action Team (CAT) grant program for an array of programs, and prioritizes support for basic human needs and the underserved, including seniors, at-risk youth and low income communities. In addition to grants, employees work together on several large-scale community service projects each year.
  • PartnerShops are independently-owned Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops operated by community-based nonprofit organizations, and run as social enterprises. They offer job and entrepreneurial training to youth and young adults who may face barriers to employment.

Ben & Jerry’s has set a high CSR bar. Not every business has the resources and ability to pursue social responsibility with such fervor, but any business can get started.  Inspired to discover how? Contact JustGive today; we’ll help.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

DonorPath Delivers Fundraising Results

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Fundraising is the instant answer from any director of a nonprofit who’s asked about the hardest part of their job. Your mission is to support a great cause and generate social change, and money is the only way to make that possible. Keeping a nonprofit funded is a never-ending challenge.

Our partner, DonorPath, is an organization that matches nonprofits with experts to support their fundraising efforts. Think of it as getting a fundraising consultant that can help you with strategies, tactics, tracking and campaigns. DonorPath’s experts have a minimum of 10 years experience and have worked for at least three nonprofits in a professional capacity.

Getting started is easy – just visit DonorPath.org, create a profile and select from a list of matching experts to begin building your virtual fundraising team.

The first 30 days with DonorPath is free. During that time, you’ll connect with a fundraising expert and gain access to two important products that they offer:

  1. An analytics tool that helps look at your organization’s existing data, identify trends and make recommendations. (It syncs with your existing fundraising software.)
  2. A library of DonorPath guides, templates and checklists to help manage fundraising. This covers more than just raising money online.

If you decide to continue your DonorPath subscription, the cost is $239 a month for a variety of support services including solution sessions, direct communications with your expert, and building a 12-month fundraising road map. Ongoing reporting and customer service are part of it too.

“We’ve helped nonprofits increase fundraising results by as much as 61% over 12 months when they fully leverage the coaching, tools and insights in a DonorPath subscription,” says CEO and Founder Brian Lauterbach, who’s also a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

“We created a technology and a community that allows small and mid-sized nonprofits access to best practices and ongoing coaching in raising money. Traditionally, only the upper 25 percent of the 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States have the budget to afford these things.”

Check out the video to hear firsthand from a nonprofit that’s used DonorPath.

To find out more about DonorPath, visit DonorPath.org.

For more valuable tips, tools and resources—subscribe to our blog today.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

3 Tips for More Online Donations

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There’s no single magic bullet for raising more money online. It’s finding the right combination of what your organization says and does to reach out, capture donors’ attention, and be persuasive.  There are, though, several best practices for increasing online donations. Here are three of the most effective ones:

1. Optimize your site and emails for mobile donations, and use responsive design.

Make it easy for donors to give when and wherever they are online. With the use of smart phones, tablets and iPads increasing all the time, you don’t want to miss out on any donations because it’s difficult or impossible to give from a mobile device.

Click to view full info-graphic

Click to view full info-graphic

In case you’re skeptical it’s really that important, here a recent Blackbaud study and stats from 2014 end-of-the-year giving season:

  • Donors were 34% more likely to make a gift after reaching a donation form when the website was responsive. Read details at npENGAGE.
  • After the 2014 Giving Season, a study of nearly 350 small and medium-sized nonprofits found 16.6% of mobile giving come from an email. (You can read more in this article by Brandon Granger.)

Take a look at your own Google Analytics stats for mobile transactions and see what you find. You may be surprised!

If you’re not sure how to start making this change, check out these Tips for a Mobile-Friendly Site.

2. Tell donors what their gift can do – communicate impact.

Donors want to know how you’ll use their money and what difference their gift makes. Several surveys, including Cygnus Research 2014 Burk Donor Survey and Money for Good II found that up to 70 percent of donors are looking for this information.

On website pages where you describe programs and services, include results. Pull compelling photos, stats and stories from your annual report or newsletters and weave them into content or graphics. Showcase results in an infographic. Talking about your accomplishments in multiple places on the site helps convince visitors your organization puts money to good use:  it builds your case for support . . . before they reach your Donation Page.

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Click to view larger

On your Donation Page, list several programs and levels of giving, and be specific about what each donation can do. These impact statements can persuade donors to give more, knowing what a donation accomplishes.

JustGive’s Donation Page for nonprofits was built to include this option, and you can quickly customize and even change it several times a year. Then don’t forget to carry this practice through on partner sites where your organization appears, like GreatNonprofits.

Are you giving donors the option to automatically donate every month? If you’re not set up for this, it doesn’t take much to do. JustGive offers free Give Monthly buttons you can easily add to your site to generate a steady stream of support.

3. Say thank you

Immediately sending an email donation receipt makes donors feel appreciated. That starts your relationship on a good foot, paving the way for more communication. (JustGive sends these emails right away to thank donors for donations that come through our website or your customized Donation Page.)

pink_thank_you_14471215Use your Donation Reports and donor data for a second follow up. You can do this effectively with an email that talks about a recent/newsworthy accomplishment of your organization and, at the same time, reminds them again about the impact of their gift.

For donors who give large gifts, consider a handwritten note or call to personally connect – without making another appeal. Just acknowledge what they’ve done and say thanks again.  This creates a positive vibe and can take them by surprise when you don’t ask for more money right away, making them more likely to donate again.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

P.S. Subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you an email every time we publish more helpful tips and tools.

JustGive Donation Checks Change

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The style of the JustGive donation check is changing! Starting August 10th, the donation checks that nonprofit organizations receive from JustGive in the mail will have a different look.

If you’re a nonprofit that receives donations through the JustGive website or your JustGive customized donation page, please watch for checks that look like the new style pictured below . . . and be sure to alert your staff.

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(If you’re a nonprofit that also receive donations from other partner programs through JustGive, such as American Express or Cisco, those check styles will stay the same for now.)

Nothing is changing about the timing of donation payments that come from JustGive. When a donation is made to a nonprofit, we’ll continue to send a check on the 10th of the month for the previous month’s donations.

You can read more about this change in our Nonprofit Support Center.

Keep an eye out for this new style of the JustGive donation check!

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

10 Ways to Prevent Crime in Your Community

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We used to keep our porch lights on and open the door when the doorbell rang, even if we didn’t know who was there. We don’t do that in the world we live in now. But there are many ways to take back control and prevent crime in your community. It just takes communication, commitment and time.nno

In honor of National Night Out—an annual community-building campaign held the first Tuesday every August—here are 10 ways to make your neighborhood a safer, better place to live today.

  1. Work with your local public agencies and other organizations (neighborhood-based or community-wide) on solving common problems.
  2. Set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol, working with police. Make sure your streets and homes are well lit.
  3. Report any crime or suspicious activity immediately to the police. There’s even a free app for that: McGruff Mobile, available on iTunes or on the Google Play store. The app is powered by AlertID, a national online and mobile service, and includes a virtual neighborhood watch where you can share photos and info about activity with neighbors, police, and even Homeland Security. (It also shows you an interactive map of crimes and sex offenders in your neighborhood, and you can receive alerts and information via email or mobile device.)
  4. If you own a dog, be a part of your local Dog Walker Watch crime awareness program (sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch), and serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement agencies in ongoing crime prevention efforts.nno_FB
  5. Volunteer to help clean up your community. Call your city offices or local waste management company and schedule a dumpster for the event. Then pick up litter together. Show you care about where you live and each other.
  6. Organize to help clean and improve parks in your area. Well-kept play equipment and a clean park can attract enough people to discourage illegal activities. Insist that your local government maintain the parks, immediately repairing vandalism or other damage.
  7. Adopt a school. Help students, faculty, and staff promote a sense of community through your involvement in a wide range of programs and activities. Work with the school to establish drug-free, gun-free zones if they don’t already exist.
  8. Mentor young people who need positive support from adults—through programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
  9. Create a community anti-violence competition. Include speech, dance, painting, drawing, singing, musical instrument acting, and other creative arts. Get young people involved to plan it and suggest prizes. Make it a fun, local celebration. You can hold it in a local park, and even include an old-fashioned potluck.
  10. Support organizations that help make communities safer, like the National Crime Prevention Council.

– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

What Programs and Products does JustGive Offer for Companies?

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FEATURED FAQ:
JustGive’s Corporate Services

For company giving programs, United Way may pop to mind first. But there are many options and flexible partners, like JustGive, with the experience and expertise to help your business make an impact with philanthropy.

people_jumping_29365278.jpgWhether you’re a large corporation or small business, JustGive offers a variety of products to incorporate charitable giving into your business . . .  and, at the same time, engage employees and customers. Making things better for your company, your community, and the world.

Here’s a short description of what JustGive can do for your company.

Question
What programs and products does JustGive offer for companies?

Answer
JustGive can help your company launch a donation campaign or giving day for a specific charity or cause, or a long-term charitable giving program that encourages philanthropy year round (including matching gifts).

We can also provide donation support and processing if you have an existing giving program or if you’re a new company with a social impact purpose. JustGive takes care of compliance and efficiently distributes donations to charity for you.

woman_casual_business_25401351.jpgJustGive’s charity gift cards are a great way for your company to give employees and customers something extra: the chance to make a difference for a cause they care about. They’re flexible, and ideal as holiday or thank you gifts, traffic-generating tradeshow giveaways, rewards and incentives, or distinctive sales meeting swag. Your recipients can redeem the charity gift cards to donate to any charity they choose (from nearly 2 million in our database).

Get more detail about all our Corporate Services on our site and read our Success Stories to discover how other companies have effectively used JustGive’s charitable giving products.

Don’t miss the latest CSR and philanthropy news and insights: Subscribe to our blog, and follow us on LinkedIn.

-Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Nonprofit Spotlight: Mercy Learning Center

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Mercy Learning Center’s motto says it well: Educate a Woman . . . Educate a Family. The center is all about teaching women the literacy and life skills that empower them to be independent, confident and self-sufficient.

The center operates on the belief that an educated woman not only has a chance to reach her full potential in life, but also become a person who makes a lasting difference for her children and family—leading a fulfilling life.

President Jane Ferreira sees education as key to ending poverty, and a solution to so many other problems. Development Director Nicole Cassidy echoes that, saying, “We realize what a tremendous different education can make in a woman’s life, and her family’s too. We watch women come out of the darkness with education.”

Programs and Services

Every low-income woman who enters the center is helped in a holistic way in a caring, supportive environment. The staff comes up with an individual educational plan for her, knowing she may need help in other areas of life in order to learn.

Mercy Learning Center (MLC) is the only women-based nonprofit in Connecticut offering free adult education and fully-licensed child care. They have three primary programs:

  • mlc3Intensive Study Program – Classroom-based, full-time, 9-month instruction – 20 hours a week plus 5 hours of weekly computer instruction. Five course levels with curricula based in real life scenarios cover math, reading, civic/social studies, science, writing, computer technology and family literacy.
  • Tutoring Program – Part time instruction in English as a second language, adult basic education and General Educational Development (GED) prep, one on one or in small groups for at least 4 hours a week throughout the school year.
  • National External Diploma Program – This alternative to the GED prep program gives women a unique way to use their life and work experience to earn a high school diploma. (MLC was approved as a site for this program in 2008.)

The center’s Support Services provide the additional assistance women need, including on site care for infants, toddlers and preschool children while their mothers are in class; a food pantry; mental health counseling; health consults, citizenship training, career and college counseling; driver’s license assistance; and technology training. There’s even a full time case worker on staff.

“It’s tough to navigate society when you don’t speak the language. It can be completely overwhelming,” explains Cassidy. “To be responsive to issues that crop up, in the last year, we’ve also added workshops for tenant’s rights and responsibilities [we found landlords were not respecting our students’ rights as renters] and school bullying.” In 2014-2015, MLC offered classes, workshops and fairs on 21 life skills topics.

Good Giving Practices

Mercy Learning Center has used JustGive’s nonprofit donation services for the past two years. The center added a JustGive link to its own donation button on the website, and has customized its Donation Page with a photo, description of purpose, and a list of what specific size gift can do—with seven giving levels ranging from $100 to $10,000.mlc

The giving levels reflect the center’s different donor categories and answer the question Cassidy often hears. “People often ask for a concrete answer for what they can support,” she states.

When asked about her experience with JustGive, Cassidy comments, “JustGive is one of the most affordable, and we also appreciate the option for the donor to add in the processing fee so we get the full donation amount.” She adds that JustGive’s online capability makes it easy to integrate the center’s appeal into other communication channels too.

Results

In 1987, Mercy Learning Center started as a one-on-one tutoring program, opening its doors to low-income, undereducated, marginalized women in the Bridgeport community. Since then, the center has educated and empowered more than 10,000 women and their children. In the last five years, student enrollment at the center has increased by 40%.

From July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015, MLC served 1,050 women and children—more than any previous year.

Students have come from 50 different countries of origin, and represent a wide range of races and ethnicities as well as ages. Nearly two-thirds of students are 25-44 years old, and 95% are mothers or primary caregivers of children 18 years old and younger.

A few 2014-2015 MLC student accomplishments:mlc2

  • 24 women earned high school diplomas
  • 65 graduates were enrolled in college or career certificate programs
  • 85 women found new jobs
  • 17 women became United States citizens

Many women who enter Mercy Learning Center with little or no English language ability are leaving, having earned a high school diploma (or equivalent) and able to find a job with a living wage.  Never mind being able to explain their health symptoms clearly to a doctor, count change at a grocery store or stand up for themselves or their children. Talk about making a difference!

MLC student Isabella, sums it up well, saying, “What matters is that Mercy Learning Center teaches us to have confidence and a better education in our life for the future.”

Donate now if you’d like to help Mercy Learning Center educate women and transform lives:
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– Candy Culver
Marketing Consultant

Can Donors Make Recurring Donations?

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Featured Nonprofit FAQ:
Can a donor make a recurring donation to our organization through JustGive?

When it comes to processing donations for nonprofit organizations, one question we’re often asked is if it’s possible for donors to set up a recurring donation using JustGive’s services.

Question
Can a donor make a recurring/ongoing monthly donation to our organization through JustGive?

Answerrecurring screenshot
Yes! When you use JustGive to process your online donations, donors have the option to check a box to make their donation recurring. When they complete the transaction, they are charged for the initial donation and then again each month for the same amount. Donors can modify this recurring donation at any time through their JustGive account.

TIP: Encourage recurring donations and ongoing support from your donors by pre-checking the box on your Donation Page. To do that, just add some text (“&isRecurring=true”) onto your custom JustGive Donation Page website link, like this:

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=94-3331010&isRecurring=true

When donors click your donation button or link from your website—with that additional text included—they land on your Donation Page with the “Make this a monthly recurring donation” box already checked. (Donors can easily uncheck this box if they do not want to make their donation recurring.)

For more helpful question and answers, visit the JustGive Nonprofit Support Center.

And don’t miss more fundraising tips & tools: Subscribe to our blog today.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product

Cisco gives back with JustGive’s help

More than 340 Cisco employees donated money and more than 743 hours of time to support the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign in India.

More than 340 Cisco employees donated money and more than 743 hours of time to support the 2014 Global Hunger Relief Campaign in India.

When it comes to corporate social responsibility, Cisco Systems, headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, takes their role in the community and employee giving seriously.

Since 2009, Cisco has partnered with JustGive to ensure that the donation dollars and volunteer hour donations from their employees reach the charities they care most about.

Donation support and processing

Cisco has more than 70,000 employees worldwide and powers platforms to help them engage in charitable giving. The company invested in a Salesforce platform that enables Cisco employees to donate to charity and request matching for those donations as well as track their volunteer hours with organizations, which the company also matches.

Getting the money to the charities is where JustGive comes in. Using our donation support and processing product, donations made by Cisco employees are received through our Donor Advised Fund (DAF). JustGive then disburses those funds to recipient charities, relieving Cisco of having to create their own nonprofit to process donations.

Volunteer hours matching

Cisco employees also volunteer in their local communities, dedicating many hours to organizations that address poverty, hunger, veterans’ needs and other causes around the world. For every hour an employee spends on volunteer work, Cisco matches it with a donation to the charity. JustGive is a key component to make sure the donations from volunteer hours reach the specific charities for Cisco employees.

“Since we started working with JustGive, we’ve supported over 3,000 U.S.-based schools and charities, and JustGive has helped Cisco employees and the Cisco Foundation provide almost $50M in donations and matching gifts,” said Julie Rose, head of Cisco’s matching gifts program in the United States.

Rewarding service with charity gift cards

Cisco also uses our GiveNow Charity Gift Cards for employee service rewards in the U.S. and Canada. Employees receive a gift card ranging from $50 to $500 as thanks for their years of service to the company. They redeem their gift card on a Cisco-branded website—powered by JustGive—to donate to any charity or school approved for the program.

cisco_logo“Feedback has been great from employees who are able to select a JustGive charity gift card. They appreciate the option to donate to charity instead of receiving a gift for themselves,” said Racquel Stotomas, a Human Resources Manager at Cisco that runs the employee service awards program.

So the next time you see the Cisco logo, know that the people behind those products are also making a difference with charitable giving around the world.

We’re proud to partner with Cisco to help deliver effective and engaging CSR programs so that employees, with the company’s support, can pay it forward in a variety of ways.

Inspired to improve your CSR efforts? We can help you include philanthropy that supports your goals — just contact us.

Don’t miss the latest CSR and philanthropy news and insights: Subscribe to our blog, and follow us on LinkedIn.

– Sarah Bacon
Director of Product