Blogs

Entries with Blog Label Nonprofit Management .

November 19, 2021

How to Grow into a Nonprofit Leader

Whether you’re aspiring to be an executive leader, get promoted into a director’s position, or even launch your own nonprofit—rarely there are clearly defined paths to career development when working in the nonprofit sector. While this lack of structure can be challenging, it offers an unexpected opportunity to pave or create your own career path. Without the typical career ladder to climb, the opportunity to take on new responsibilities could be presented to you in a more timely fashion. At any age, with drive, desire and expertise being essential characteristics, you can become a nonprofit leader who wants to make a difference.

In order to create the right professional development plan, here are nine methods to follow, to consider, and use as a guide when furthering ones’ professional career as a nonprofit leader:

1) Conduct thorough interviews: Find those who hold a position that you might aspire to want one day. Take the opportunity to ask questions about how they got to where they are, what their day-to-day tasks look like, how they contribute to the organization, and what the position requires of them.  

2) Seek out volunteer opportunities: When it comes to learning, especially within the nonprofit sector, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Volunteering can offer exposure to the operational facets of the organization by taking on new responsibilities, such as, join the fundraising or strategic planning committee or volunteer to help with the organization’s next event.

3) Ongoing education: If you’re looking for an advantage when pursuing leadership opportunities, consider looking into continuing education (i.e.: an advanced degree, or a specific leadership training program). Having this additional training under your belt will set you apart being well versed in business management principles and the ability to juggle competing priorities.

4) Learn about your organization: Take the time to develop a well-rounded view of everything that is involved in the role of running a nonprofit. This experience will be valuable to you as you progress into a leadership position.

5) Apply constructive feedback: As you take on new challenges and work outside your comfort zone, it’s more than likely you’ll make mistakes along the way. Take the time to learn from these and plan how you will do better in the future.

6) Network amongst your peers: Find people who are at a similar point in their own careers and develop genuine relationships with them. Be sure that you add real value to the relationship and that way, your peers will come to value you—opening doors for you in the future.

7) Relocate to another organization: With a strong foundation of skills in place and a desire to take on more responsibility, you might find that your current organization doesn’t have any openings for you to move up to. Take this opportunity to look for other employment and if you find a great position within your network, don’t hesitate to pursue it.

8) Join a nonprofit board: Being part of a board will give you high-level insights about the inner workings of nonprofits. Develop relationships with others who serve on nonprofit boards and seek out an organization doing work/serving a community that you’re passionate about.

9) Find day-to-day challenges: Leaders face challenges daily, so it is crucial to avoid becoming complacent. Striving to challenge yourself on a daily basis will not only push you to find solutions, it will help you build your resume.

When applying these methods, you will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully lead an organization. If you envision yourself in a leadership role, you’ll have the ability to lay the foundation by excelling in the position you currently hold. These methods will help you cultivate leadership skills, emphasize teamwork and inclusive decision-making.

October 28, 2021

2021 Employer Guide: Nonprofit Leadership Development

A strong leadership team is vital to the success of any nonprofit organization—without it you risk reduced productivity, delayed decisions, and low morale. Rooted in the ability of a nonprofit to maintain sustainability, having a leadership succession plan in place is vital to organizational success.

Don't miss your chance to download a free copy of UST's latest Employer Guide, 3 Vital Steps for Developing a Durable Nonprofit Leadership Team, to discover strategies that can help identify (and develop) tomorrow's leaders with training opportunities designed to strengthen your brand and build resilient teams. In this eBook, you'll discover:

  • How to determine who your future leaders are
  • Tips for crafting leadership development opportunities
  • Ideas for managing leadership vacancies and executing transitions

The consequences of insufficient leadership can be devastating to an organization. Safeguard your nonprofit and its mission by reinventing your organizational leadership strategy—minimizing the threat (and high cost) of turnover.

October 14, 2021

2021 Nonprofit Workforce Trends Infographic

 

As employers continue to strategize for the future—paving the way for flexible work models and creative retention tactics—many are seeing permanent change take place. UST surveyed more than 400 nonprofit leaders from across the U.S. to uncover the latest sector trends caused by the pandemic and created the 2021 Workforce Trends Infographic.

Download your free copy today to get a sneak peak at what your nonprofit peers had to share about their top workforce issues, COVID's impact on staffing levels and more.

For only $99, you can also download a copy of the complete 2021 Nonprofit Sector Report to uncover valuable insight on how nonprofits continue to navigate the ongoing challenges that have risen throughout the pandemic.

September 24, 2021

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: The Future of the Nonprofit Workforce

Nonprofit employers nationwide are living through a fundamental transformation in the way they work and the pace at which employee priorities are changing. In the latest rendition of UST Live, we were joined by leaders from across the U.S with expertise in nonprofit management to discuss innovative strategies for creating a forward-looking workplace culture that is flexible, inclusive, and resilient.

Watch now to discover:

  • Top challenges nonprofit organizations are currently faced with
  • Strategies for creating (and maintaining) a productive hybrid workforce
  • Creative employee engagement tactics to keep employees engaged

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: UST Live was designed to equip nonprofit leaders with strategies that can help sustain their workforce and their mission-driven initiatives. In our final session of the year—scheduled for early December—we’ll discuss nonprofit leadership and succession planning.  

September 14, 2021

2021 Nonprofit Sector Report: Pandemic Impact on Workforce

Are you curious to discover how nonprofits have pivoted strategies in response to COVID-19 and how this pandemic is causing permanent change across the sector? With over 400 survey respondents—representing a wide variety of nonprofits from across the U.S.—this report unveils the pandemic’s impact on workforce evolution and illustrates how the sector withstood the hardships caused by the crisis.

Download the report to learn:

  • How COVID-19 impacted nonprofit staffing levels, ability to meet demand and employee benefits
  • Employer mandated vaccination trends
  • The most challenging workforce issues nonprofit employers are currently facing
  • Key strategies that nonprofit leaders plan to prioritize after the pandemic subsides

This report will provide valuable insight on how nonprofit organizations are navigating the ongoing challenges that have arisen throughout the pandemic. For only $99, download your copy of the 2021 sector report today!

August 31, 2021

The Importance of Nonprofit Risk Management

Risk management is defined as a discipline for dealing with the possibility that some future event will cause harm and nonprofit risk comes in an endless number of forms—data security, fundraising fraud, regulatory compliance, employee relations, volunteer staff, and theft just to name a few. Given the myriad of ways that nonprofits are changing the world and the impossible task of being able to predict every potential mission-disrupting event, every organization stands to benefit from risk reducing tactics. This is where risk management comes in—an essential necessity that helps nonprofits understand the threats they face and how to prioritize strategies that create sustainability in the future.

Developing a risk management process is essential to every nonprofit but many remain unprotected simply because they don’t have the funds or resources to implement such a strategy. There are however other ways to protect your organization without breaking the bank that just require more time and dedication to create and streamline. So, if you don’t have a risk management strategy in place already, now is the time to start.

Follow these four steps to create a risk management strategy:

  • Perform a risk assessment across all functions of the organization and look at all of the data your nonprofit collects—from donors, employees, volunteers, and investors. The Nonprofit Technology Network offers a helpful assessment tool template to accomplish this beginning stage in an easy and organized manner.
  • Gather pertinent organizational documentation—operational plans, mission, and value statements to understand context.
  • Develop a timeline and set goals to ensure a phased and deliberate process with metrics to measure success. An effective risk management strategy doesn’t happen overnight but requires thoughtful attention and consideration.
  • Implement a risk cycle that regularly evaluates what risks came to life and how they were addressed to understand what works, what needs improvement, and what else can be done. This ultimately enables an organization to adjust quickly and strengthen their risk management strategies.

A single liability incident can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the harm it can do to your reputation. In short, by taking the time to identify risks, prioritize issues, respond to the problems, assess the situation, and improve your strategy, nonprofit employers can better protect their assets and avoid future risks.

July 16, 2021

UST Quarterly Nonprofit Digest: Nonprofit Sustainability Strategies

UST just released the latest edition of our Quarterly Nonprofit Digest. This quick reference guide highlights key findings from last quarter's most popular content—which focused on innovative nonprofit sustainability strategies to help employers thrive in these ever evolving times.

If you're a nonprofit leader, download your free copy of the Q2 quarterly digest to discover essential strategies for:

  • Identifying (and prioritizing) diversity and inclusion practices
  • Developing better defenses against subsequent crises
  • Creating sustainable fundraising best practices
  • Building a high performing workforce

You'll also gain access to helpful checklists, people risk management templates and best practice tips to help you plan (and execute) a successful virtual event.

To get more nonprofit-exclusive content, webinar invitations and sector insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for UST's eNewsletter today.

July 07, 2021

Nonprofit eBook “Preparing for Future Crises” Uncovers Strategies to Ensure Nonprofit Resiliency

UST recently published an eBook that discusses how the global pandemic challenged nonprofits in ways that were unprecedented at that time and how taking the time to develop better defenses against subsequent crises—building greater resilience against natural, economic and health threats—nonprofits can move toward a better prepared future.  

This insightful eBook uncovers strategies that can help nonprofits implement a game plan that will help ensure organizational sustainability in the wake of the next disaster. Available now for download, UST’s eBook will help you protect your employees, continuity of services and the communities you serve when future challenges arise.

In this eBook, you'll also discover:

  • Why it's important to mitigate future risks
  • How to shift from crisis management to proactive planning
  • Methods to develop your intended impact and theory of change

Don’t miss your opportunity to download your complimentary copy of “Preparing for Future Crises: Strategies to Ensure Nonprofit Resiliency” to discover how to protect your nonprofit and its workforce from future crises.

June 25, 2021

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Strategies to Identify Board Diversity

In the latest rendition of UST Live, we were joined by guest moderator, Jenny Berg of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, where we welcomed thought leaders from across the U.S. with expertise in DEI best practices. In this session, the panel discussed innovative strategies for identifying (and prioritizing) board diversity and inclusion practices—that in turn can help advance your mission in such a way that is both equitable and more appealing to donors, potential job candidates and the communities you serve.

Watch now to discover:

  • Common hurdles nonprofits face with increasing diversity on the board
  • Ideas on how to identify and approach new board member candidates
  • Tips for helping nonprofit boards embrace the need to change
  • Strategies for onboarding new board members

 

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: This webinar series was designed to equip nonprofits with the strategies and resources they need to survive (and thrive) in a constantly evolving environment. Be on the lookout for our next UST Live sessions—scheduled for June, September, and December—where we'll discuss strategies surrounding nonprofit sustainability, HR and compliance and leadership development. 

June 18, 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Organizations

While the nonprofit sector is dedicated to serving those in need, without encompassing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their governance and operations, they risk becoming irrelevant. It has been proven that organizations with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Before strategizing a DEI plan, nonprofits must first understand where their organization is and where it wants to go. You can then track your nonprofit’s proficiency in diversity using both quantitative and qualitative metrics, diagnose risks and find opportunities for improvement. Nonprofits will also need to examine internal biases and adopt practices that promote DEI in their work and employment practices as well as on their boards, and in their communications.

Achieving diversity and inclusiveness in your workplace is a process of creating change through education, collaboration, and vigilance. When we apply equity and inclusion to all aspects of organizational structure, we take action towards ensuring that historically excluded groups are recognized, included, and heard. A diverse workplace encourages people to be more vocal, creative, and involved. Commitment to DEI can be demonstrated through governance policies, leadership, and recruitment.

Often when organizations begin diversity work, it can feel daunting trying to figure out where to start. While the process will be different for every organization, below are some things to consider when starting diversity work in your nonprofit.

  • Diversify Your Board – the majority of nonprofit organizations still lack diversity on their boards. In order to reflect the diversity of the communities you serve, it’s more crucial than ever to change the composition of your board. Working from the top down will also build commitment and trust from within the workplace.
  • Form DEI Committees – everyone needs a champion to support their dreams and efforts—this is no different in the workplace. A dedicated DEI committee can help the organization accomplish its diversity goals by planning and overseeing the strategy and will ultimately be better positioned to have big picture discussions about the organization’s DEI priorities.
  • Perform DEI Audits — a diversity audit helps organizations understand the demographics and culture of their workforce by generating evidence and data which allows them to identify the specific factors that will help create a more diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Update Your Policies – all aspects of your diversity initiatives should be incorporated in all activities and policies of the organization to ensure efforts remain ongoing—there is no end to a process that helps create diversity and supports inclusion.
  • Educate Your Workforce – for organizations to thrive in this time of social responsibility you need to be intentional about creating a race literate workforce. You can start by including race and ethnicity training in your diversity and inclusion initiatives—educated individuals are more invested.
  • Build a Race Equity Culture – starting with a clear and shared understanding of what a Race Equity Culture looks like for your nonprofit will enable you to create and sustain a culture that is focused on proactively counteracting race inequities.
  • Create Open Dialogue – allow your workforce to participate in the conversation. Host a formal event to share the organizations diversity initiatives. Having an external facilitator can help ensure discussions are both objective and effective.
  • Pursue Diverse Candidates – recruiting a diverse staff is essential to nonprofit sustainability. It also gives an organization a competitive advantage while also creating more engagement and greater productivity.
  • Utilize Diverse Suppliers – in an effort to strengthen your diversity initiatives and combat social injustice, nonprofits should utilize diversified suppliers and community partners. Both can be a cornerstone to success, helping to ethically and efficiently source products and services  

When we consider our own diversity, check our assumptions, ask questions, and apply our insights to our work, we can create change. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as organizational values is a great way to intentionally make space for positive outcomes and will ultimately help nonprofits better serve their communities and attract a more diverse staff.

June 14, 2021

Four Best Practices to Improve Donor Engagement

With the rise of smartphones, social media and other digital channels, nonprofits now have more tools available to them for engaging donors than ever before. The issue that comes with having so many ways to donate, is that it can be difficult to pinpoint which engagement techniques are most effective for engaging donors. Most nonprofits know that the main form of donor engagement is making a donation, however, there are quite a few ways to engage with those individuals any time they support or directly interact with the organization. Any opportunity to interact with a donor is a chance to strengthen your relationship with them, which could naturally result in more donations.

To show appreciation for your donors, it’s crucial to develop nonprofit donor engagement strategies that strengthen the relationship between you and your supporters. If you’re looking for best practices to boost your donor engagement, here are four key techniques that can help your nonprofit raise more money and improve your donor retention rate:

1) Create Personal and Genuine Messaging: Engaging your donors requires a personal and authentic approach. Take the time to learn about your donor’s interests as individuals and be transparent when you have interactions with them. Establishing trust with your donors will often result in their willingness to support your mission and reaching your donors on a more personal level, can allow for more opportunities to create personalized engagement strategies down the line.

2) Utilize the Benefits of Software: It’s a challenging task to keep up with hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of donors. Successful communication with your donors requires individualized approaches and the information necessary to make it possible to make those individualized approaches come to life. This is where having a donor database can be a great resource—a nonprofit CRM—a tool built to help nonprofits track all aspects of their donor relationships. 

3) Offer and Implement a Membership Program: A membership involves the donor giving fees or dues to a nonprofit in exchange for member status and the rights, perks or benefits that are included in the membership. The frequency and type of engagement opportunities you offer members will depend on your organization, but the possibilities can be endless. For example: host member only events, special volunteer opportunities or a member ONLY newsletter.

4) Create a Text Communication Option: Seeing as texting is such a prevalent communication method, organizations need to take advantage of this huge engagement opportunity. There are many services that enable nonprofits to establish a text marketing list, allowing your organization the ability to send a mass text message to all donors who subscribed to this list.

Looking for opportunities to engage with your donors authentically and honestly will go a long way in ensuring donors donate time and time again. Take the time to deeply understand why the donor supports you and deliver on their expectations. Start seeing a donation as a part of a relationship, not a one-off business transaction. This way you begin to deepen relationships with people that support what you do, rather than just treating them as just donors. Show gratitude to your donors, invite them to engage in other ways than donating, share with them why they matter, and get to know them on a more personal level.

May 27, 2021

2021 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips

 

Nonprofits across the country were forced to pause, pivot and make remarkable changes to their in-person events last year due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19. As organizations continue thinking about their in-person vs. virtual strategies, the hybrid future of events is taking form—changing the events landscape for years to come.

Virtual events offer the best combination of brand exposure and the digital engagement people crave. Whether your event is large or small, one day or one week, we've compiled some of the top Virtual Event Best Practice Tips to help you navigate the many considerations involved in planning (and executing) a successful virtual event. 

Want access to more nonprofit-specific tips, toolkits and webinars? Sign up for our nonprofit eNewsletter today!

April 16, 2021

A Workforce Strategy Designed to Help Push Your Nonprofit Forward

In today’s talent-based economy, an organization’s workforce is one of its most important tangible assets. Despite its importance, this asset is often not carefully planned, measured, or optimized. This can mean that many organizations are not sufficiently aware of the current or future workforce gaps that will limit execution of the current business strategy. Yet at the same time, boards of directors, CEOs and chief human resource officers will frequently declare that workforce planning and data-driven decision making is a top priority for their organizations.

While there can be a disconnect in understanding why there is a gap between intent and execution, the most obvious cause is a lack of defining consistent objectives regarding the outputs of workforce planning, and a lack of consistent processes by which organizations conduct workforce planning and future modeling. Organizations need to design an approach that moves workforce planning from only being considered by a small group of those who think about the future of their workforce, to everyone looking at it’s overall operational effectiveness—this is where management is accustomed to spending its time and energy.

When creating a workforce strategy, there are five key workforce areas that are critical to driving successful business outcomes:

1) Defining Business Operations and Direction: The most critical step in strategic workforce planning is alignment—alignment of business strategy, organizational structure, people, and results. Ensure clarity around strategic objectives, then make sure you have a holistic organizational design and talent plan to drive getting the right people with the right skill set into the right role, thus delivering results.

2) Staffing & Talent Goals: Strategic workforce planning is a key component when looking at the overall talent strategy. It begins with understanding where the organization is headed; what are the future organizational capabilities? This helps the organization identify new skills and competencies needed to create learning and developing opportunities. This is turn, helps define the talent acquisition strategy.

3) Training & Innovation: Offering training opportunities is an ideal way to retain your current staff and to bring on new talent. Investing in developing your employee’s skill set, knowledge and experience will go a long way in nurturing an employee’s journey while encouraging innovation within your workforce.

4) Employee Feedback: Taking the time to listen to your employees is key when creating a successful workforce strategy. Not only can showing your workforce that you are really listening to them improve employee engagement levels, but it also can boost workplace morale, job satisfaction rates and overall retention. Taking the employee feedback and applying it to the development of your workforce strategy will result in a more cohesive and successful strategy.

5) Workplace Environment: Factoring in the importance of your organization’s work environment from an overall workforce strategy perspective can enable an uptick in performance by increasing innovation, employee experience and most importantly, productivity.

Workforce planning requires in-depth insight into what a company needs in terms of talent and skills. And breaking it down into these five key areas will allow your organization to develop and sustain high quality workforce planning programs and be rid of the traditional barriers that can restrain effective workforce planning.

December 18, 2020

UST's Most Popular 2020 Content

This year, UST has been busy creating a plethora of timely and relevant resources designed specifically to help the nonprofit sector navigate the many unknowns presented by the pandemic. You probably recall seeing some of these resources over the past eight months but... with everything you are dealing with these days, you may have missed something.

Below is a list of our Top 5 Resources from 2020:

  1. COVID-19 Nonprofit Workforce Trends Report
  2. eBook: Strategies to Secure Nonprofit Endurance
  3. 7 Mental Wellness Tips Flyer
  4. COVID-19 Employer Guide
  5. Telecommuting Toolkit

As nonprofit employers and their employees continue to adjust their processes for how they work, UST remains committed to supporting the sector with reliable resources that help manage the day-to-day operational challenges. Interested to see what other content we have? Visit our Content Library today!

December 02, 2020

[Webinar Recording] Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability During a Crisis

This short 30-minute on-demand webinar features tools and resources that can help nonprofit employers streamline HR processes and stay compliant with state and federal regulations in these trying times. During this interactive session, UST answered questions about the CARES Act and FFCRA as well as shared examples of problems our nonprofit members have faced and overcome.

Watch now to learn about:

  • Efficiently managing unemployment claims, protests, and hearings
  • Updating policies and handbooks to comply with new legislation
  • Enhancing goodwill by utilizing outplacement services

Whether your primary focus is to ensure compliance, better manage unemployment claims, or to simply stay afloat and keep your employees engaged, this on-demand webinar will provide expert insight and invaluable resources for addressing your current needs.     

For additional COVID-19 employer resources and FAQs, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

November 04, 2020

2020 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips

As we continue social-distancing—heavily relying on virtual resources—large-scale events have taken on a whole new look and feel. With 2021 right around the corner, NOW is the time to map out what your nonprofit's event strategy will look like in the new year and beyond.

While the idea of hosting a virtual event might seem overwhelming, with thoughtful planning and the right support, achieving exceptional results is possible. Virtual events offer the best combination of brand exposure and the digital engagement people crave. Whether your event is large or small, one day or one week, we've compiled some of the top Virtual Event Best Practice Tips to help you navigate the many considerations involved in planning (and executing) a successful virtual event. 

Want access to more nonprofit-specific tips, toolkits and webinars? Sign up for our nonprofit eNewsletter today!

October 15, 2020

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Developing a Sustainable Strategy for 2021

 

UST's latest interactive webinar series, "UST Live," brings the collective expertise of reputable nonprofit leaders to you—live—in virtual panel discussions.

In our second UST Live webinar, the panel discussed new (and successful) strategies nonprofit leaders have implemented since COVID-19 began, as well as common hurdles nonprofits are facing with future strategy development. Plus, get YOUR questions answered first-hand by your nonprofit peers—who have tremendous experience in strategic thinking and organizational sustainability best practices.

Watch now to discover:

  • Common hurdles nonprofit leaders encountered (and overcame) during COVID-19
  • Tactics utilized for refining existing strategies and developing new ones altogether
  • Successful operational strategies that were implemented after the pandemic began
  • Ideas on how to develop sustainable strategies for 2021

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: In our final session for 2020—scheduled for November 19th—we'll discuss innovative recruitment best practices that can help nonprofits attract quality job candidates during (and after) a pandemic.

May 29, 2020

Tips for Ensuring Your Nonprofit Isn’t Scammed During COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines—in more ways than anticipated. While cybercriminals are always looking for ways to scam victims, pandemics provide additional opportunities for fraud. As people are spending more time than ever on their smart phones, iPads, and computers for work, shopping and entertainment, cybercriminals are ramping up their activities and getting more creative with their methods of hacking unsuspecting victims.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers are using COVID-19 to further target consumers and businesses alike. They’re setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting dishonest information on social media platforms. Being aware of the different types of scams out there is the first step in protecting yourself, your business and your employees. Knowing how to handle those scams can save you a great deal of headache down the road.

The following are some examples of scams linked just to COVID-19:

  • Government Check Scams – Attempt to get you to make a payment in return for available business funds.
  • Business Email Scams – Create dummy accounts that look like they come from a company executive asking an employee to make a financial transaction.
  • IT Scams – Emails that appear to come from your tech team asking for a password or directing your employee to download infected software.
  • Supply and Shopping Scams – Create fake stores, e-commerce websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell high demand supplies like hand sanitizer and face masks. 
  • Robocall Scams – Use a recording that appears to come from Google to target small businesses who may be affected by the Coronavirus, warning them to “ensure your Google listing is correctly displaying. Otherwise, customers may not find you online during this time.”
  • Phishing and Malware Scams - Gain access to your computer to steal your credentials. 
    • Malware is malicious software or viruses that can be activated when you click on email attachments or install risky software.  
    • Phishing is used to convince you to share sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information by pretending to be someone you know.

Take the following precautionary measures to protect your organization and its employees from known and emerging scams:

  • Independently verify the identity of any company, charity or individual that contacts you regarding any COVID-19 related content.
  • Ensure you’re using reliable resources to get up-to-date information on the Coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites are your safest sources.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 as well as anyone requesting personal information. Fraudulent emails may be infected with malware designed to capture keystrokes, credentials, or payment information.
  • Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources.
  • Make sure your anti-malware and anti-virus software programs are operating and up to date.
  • Use secure login methods such as requiring multiple password authentication for remote employees.
  • Secure home networks by using encryption which scrambles information sent over a wireless  connection so outsiders can’t read it.
  • Never provide personal information to anyone who calls out of the blue.

With so many people working remote, hackers are looking for companies to drop their defenses, making it easier to infiltrate networks. When people are aware of what scams are out there, they are much less likely to fall for them. Talk about the risks with your management team, create a simplified outline of what to look for, and how to respond and relay to your entire staff.

May 26, 2020

COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction for Nonprofit Employers

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 coronarvirus outbreak a pandemic leaving nonprofit employers across the states scrambling to understand the impact on their business. Now that orders are being lifted and we prepare to re-enter the workplace it’s important to understand the do’s and don’ts of implementing new COVID-19 procedures within your organization.

Do you know whether employers are permitted to take employees’ temperatures and ask about symptoms? Or if employers should allow employees to work at the office if they have been exposed to COVID-19, but are not showing any symptoms?

Since it's often difficult to differentiate the credible information from the bogus, UST has compiled a COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction handout for nonprofit leaders. Uncover the answers by downloading the COVID-19 Fact vs. Fiction Employer Handoutand discover other key COVID-19 facts as well as common misconceptions.

Ensure that Your Nonprofit Stays Compliant! Get a FREE 60-Day Trial of UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR—a cloud-based platform that provides access to a live HR hotline, COVID-19 policy updates, thousands of documents and more. Request your free trial today at www.chooseust.org/HR-trial.

May 07, 2020

COVID-19 Nonprofit Workforce Trends Report

In a recent nonprofit survey, UST uncovered how COVID-19 has affected 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, their employees and operational strategies.

With nearly 800 survey respondents—representing a wide variety of nonprofits from across the U.S.—this report highlights critical COVID-19 information, including:

  • How operations have been impacted as a result of COVID-19 containment efforts
  • Sector statistics on reduced work hours, suspended operations, threatened revenue and more
  • Trends surrounding the most utilized resources for navigating this crisis

This report will provide valuable insight on how nonprofit organizations are coping with the unprecedented challenges during this pandemic. Download your complimentary copy today.

April 03, 2020

How to Manage Your Brand During a Global Emergency

While in the midst of a global emergency, the current COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are challenged with how to successfully continue managing their mission-driven brand. Going the extra mile to prepare your organization for handling such a feat, will help you and your team better tackle any challenges that arise.

This is an opportunity to align your messaging with what your community needs and/or might be seeking during this time. A crisis is temporary and taking the time to show your nonprofit in a new light by providing specific messaging can instill a sense of trust and value that will be long lasting. It’s important to maintain vigilance in protecting your staff and being an example of a model citizen by not participating in unsafe behavior. Above all else, nonprofits must remain diligent of their brand and visible by its community to ensure they come out of this stronger than before. Here are few objectives for your nonprofit to keep in mind:

  • Focus on developing timely content when creating new email campaigns that speak to the crisis at hand
  • Creating webinars that speak to the current crisis—webinars perform well and are sought after by those looking for information from organizations they trust
  • Creating a survey to push out to your membership—people are eager for information and are looking for results and data on their industry
  • Tailoring the tone of your messaging to use more relatable keywords, such as: empathy, community/unity, education, simplicity, reliable, and trustworthy

When it comes to collaboration in times of a crisis, you’ll have to get creative. These strategies shouldn’t complicate your current workflow but rather benefit your organization—having these tools in place will be very beneficial when a crisis is upon us. Taking your staff into consideration and how they’ll continue to operate is vital to prevent interruptions with current business tasks. For example, if your employees are required to work from home for any duration of time, what logistics and tools should you have in place to ensure everything runs smoothly?  Tools such as, GoToMeeting and Slack allow your team to stay connected with one another while still being able to conduct important meetings and to ensure your mission continues to move forward. With the access to technology, it can make it easy to work from anywhere.

In times of a global emergency, having a plan in place to manage your organization, brand and team through the crisis is just as important as the ability to remain flexible and creative.

March 26, 2020

UST Launches COVID-19 Resource Center

Here at UST, we understand the importance for nonprofit leaders to remain informed and prepared as the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus continues to impact the communities you serve. Nonprofit organizations nationwide have had to react quickly to a rapidly evolving crisis and change their standard business practices to maintain critical operations.

Like so many of you, we have transitioned to remote work and are continuously gathering resources to stay on top of the quickly evolving legislative developments designed to mitigate the economic fallout triggered by the public health response. We’ve also been in close contact with our strategic partners nationwide to ensure that the unique needs of nonprofit employers are being prioritized by our elected representatives during this time.

In an effort to help keep nonprofits abreast of evolving information, we’ve created a dedicated COVID Resources Webpage on our website, which we’ll continuously update,  provides:

  • General considerations related to COVID-connected workforce reductions
  • Links to the most current state-specific unemployment regulation assessments available from our claims administration partner, Equifax Workforce Solutions
  • Language you can share with your elected representatives to support nonprofit employer advocacy efforts
  • A continuously updated list of frequently asked questions, driven by our members’ feedback

We’ll continuously be updating this page so please check back regularly and bookmark the page above for easy reference. UST has been supporting nonprofit employers for over 35 years and understand the value of being informed during times of uncertainty and challenge. Please know our thoughts are with all who have been impacted by the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and we’re here to answer any questions you may have.

March 12, 2020

The Benefits of Nonprofit Capacity Building

 

Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of your nonprofit organization–does your nonprofit have the ability to deliver according to its mission effectively now and is it prepared to do so in the future? 

Some examples of capacity building projects may include, identifying a new communications strategy, a different approach to volunteer recruitment, ensuring thoughtful leadership succession, and bringing your nonprofit up to speed with the latest technology. Each of these projects can help build a nonprofit’s capacity to deliver its mission. When capacity building is successful, it will strengthen your nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission and help to enhance the positive impact your nonprofit has on the lives and communities it serves.

Capacity building can be developed across multiple levels—individual (micro), organization (meso) or sector/network (macro) and often times, these levels are developed at the same time. For instance, at the individual micro level, programs may enhance people’s knowledge and behavior in ways that can strengthen culture, management practices and connections to other organizations (meso level) and then encourage overall participation in collective action networks (macro level). It can be helpful to look at capacity building from the perspective of who (e.g., people, organizations, networks), what (e.g., knowledge, skills, processes), and how (e.g., training, peer learning, technical assistance).

From a time management and impact on bandwidth perspective, capacity building initiatives fall into three categories; short-term planning and training, longer-term organizational effectiveness initiatives and sector-strengthening programs that encourage the exchange of information. Capacity building produces multiple benefits simultaneously, such as learning and peer interaction.

When looking at capacity building and nonprofit work in general, it can be difficult to not view capacity building, especially multiple forms of capital, as an additional task. However, when executing the program mindfully, building capital can occur through service delivery. A multiple-capitals approach to program design can help produce mission fulfillment and increase overall effectiveness of the organization. A multiple-capitals framework integrates planning, service delivery, evaluating, and reporting—in return, offering a smoother, integration of organizational activities and stakeholder accountability.

Capacity building is an important infrastructure that supports and shapes nonprofits success in helping the communities that serve. Capacity building enables nonprofit organizations and their leaders to develop competencies and skills that can make them more effective and sustainable, while increasing the potential for nonprofits to enrich lives and solve society’s most intractable problems.

February 20, 2020

Five Steps to Achieve Social Media Capital for Your Nonprofit

 

Social media continues to prove to be an essential part of a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. A key benefit of social media is that it offers new forms of communication and the ability to engage with your organization’s stakeholders. Another benefit that can go unnoticed, but is a crucial and valuable resource is social media capital. Social media capital is a particular form of social capital that is accrued through an organization’s social media network. Nonprofits can look at social media capital as being an immediate outcome derived from their social media efforts, and as a resource that can be converted or used toward strategic organizational outcomes.

Social media capital is built around interests or causes rather than institutions, and this is where nonprofits have the upper hand over other types of organizations. Nonprofits have the opportunity to integrate their missions into their social media presence and strategy to take advantage of the capital that comes with advocacy and awareness efforts. Plus, any public events that relate to a nonprofit’s mission will likely be seen in the media and nonprofits can take advantage of this opportunity for exposure—building their online presence.

To dive deeper into social media capital, highlight its characteristics, and how nonprofits should be intentional when building out their strategy, here are five steps your nonprofit can take to get a better grasp on the benefits of social media capital:

1) Utilize resources and target audience strategy: In order to get your social media up and running you need resources—time, money, and staff. Unfortunately, these commitments are likely to be overlooked by nonprofit managers and passed off to another staff member to handle. Next, is your strategy—what is your organization’s communications role and what audience are you looking to target? The organization needs to develop a plan that shows a clear lay out of desired outcomes, defines the target audience, and communication efforts.

2) Strengthen connections and messaging on social media: To acquire social media capital, you need to utilize two essential tools; making connections and responding to messages in a timely manner. Connections are viewed as relationship building—these connections can be made through organization’s friending and/or following other users. This action shows your nonprofit’s interest in engaging with other users, in turn, creating an online community. Messaging is designed to provide content to your target audience and can be curated to meet the needs of the community you’re looking to reach and engage. And, can be done through any social channel (e.g., YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

3) Gain social media capital: This is the step where your organization should expect to see social media capital—these are the social resources in an organization’s social media network that can be used to achieve organizational outcomes. In order to attain any meaningful organizational outcome through social media activities, your organization must first obtain social media capital.

4) Turn your social media capital into organization resources: This is the step when you turn your followers into customers—converting social media capital into an organizational resource. For example, your organization asks followers to donate to a cause and it results into a success, this is social media capital converting into an organizational/social resource, i.e., financial capital.

5) Incorporate social media capital into your strategy: Nonprofits should look at social media capital the same way they look at financial capital. Financial capital is considered a convertible resource and needs both short-term and long-term planning. Similarly, social media capital is fluid and requires a thoughtful strategy to maximize its support of both short-term and long-term goals.

Social media capital is generated differently and more simply than capital accumulated offline. Social media capital is assembled on messages, connections, and having a trusted role in social networks where you want to start conversations. This can help convert capital into other resources or produce key organizational outcomes.

January 30, 2020

UST Debuts New Animated Video - HR & Unemployment Workforce Solutions for Nonprofits

 

For over three decades, UST has been providing nonprofits with workforce solutions that help manage unemployment funding, ensure compliance, and maximize employee bandwidth. By offering cost-effective services, reliable protection and significant savings, UST allows nonprofits nationwide to save valuable time and money.

As part of UST’s ongoing efforts to educate nonprofits we recently released our newest animated short video designed to provide a holistic overview of UST. About a minute long, this video reveals how nonprofit employers can streamline their day-to-day processes with simplified programs and dedicated support—including HR consultants, on-demand training modules, unemployment claims representatives, and career transition services.

UST already helps more than 2,200 participating nonprofits make the most of their resources to achieve their mission-driven initiatives. And, just last year, identified $2,707,750 in potential unemployment cost savings for 103 eligible nonprofit organizations. Watch the video today to discover how UST can benefit your nonprofit, your employees and the communities you serve.

For access to nonprofit specific how-to-guides, checklists and resources, sign up for UST’s monthly eNews today!

January 29, 2020

Five Obstacles Marketers Encounter in the Nonprofit Sector

When marketing in the nonprofit sector, it can be a difficult road to navigate. With more than a million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S., it can be challenging to earn the trust and support needed from donors to run a successful nonprofit. From grassroots groups to national organizations, local nonprofit marketing brings its own unique set of challenges. Even national nonprofits often struggle to implement cohesive campaigns across their many locations.

Here are five of the biggest obstacles nonprofit markers have to face on a daily basis:

1) Consistent Messaging: More often than not, nonprofits are faced with bandwidth restraints making it difficult to develop specific messaging that speaks to different marketing channels and constituents.

2) Communicating on a Personal Level: Since most nonprofits suffer from having a small team or budget restraints, marketers rely heavily on the success of email communications to their membership and supporters. While this form of communication can result in a positive response, it lacks personalization. The use of social media can be a great way to connect with your donors on a more personal level—allowing for more one-to-one communication.

3) Using Key Performance Indicators: Measuring success of marketing efforts is an area some nonprofit marketers lack expertise in or the time to devote to capturing this data. Marketing teams that have been able to incorporate the task of measuring their efforts, have more insight into performance and the ability to make data-driven decisions when creating an annual marketing plan.

4) Communication Across all Teams: In order for nonprofit marketers to gather accurate data and segment prospect lists, they have to collaborate with other departments and this can be a difficult task for some organizations. Passing information around the organization can lead to some restrictions or even tension amongst departments–competing for budget increases and donor attribution.

5) Dealing with Budget Restrictions: Nonprofit marketers deal with challenges from all directions, especially when it comes to budget restraints.  Many nonprofits face challenges in reaching their marketing and engagement goals and this is primarily due to budgetary constraints. This is a consistent theme across most organizations, regardless of size or type of nonprofit.

With the needs of nonprofit communities constantly changing, we have to remember that the marketing strategies should change with them. To gain continual support, nonprofits need to keep consistent communication with donors, volunteers, and employees. They should attend council meetings, fundraisers, and other events to gain exposure and one-on-one face time with those they hope to serve.

December 10, 2019

Winter is Upon Us - Prepare your Nonprofit Now

It’s that time of year again when we can expect to experience some inclement weather conditions across the states. When severe weather interferes with the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit, having a plan in place for unexpected barriers to your workflow can help to keep your organization productive and or reestablish business operations sooner than later if you are forced to shut down.

Severe weather increases the risk of power outages—knocking out heat, power and communication services—and often for extended periods. Many employers find themselves dealing with a number of weather related inconveniences they hadn’t even considered until it happens to them. While there are no federal or state laws that define how a company should handle such things as notifying employees of office closures or how to handle pay for missed workdays, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority.

By taking a proactive approach now, you can avoid the headache later—scrambling to figure out what to do and where even to begin. You can start by creating a plan that includes policies for what to do before, during and after emergencies—ensuring that everyone in the organization has a role and understanding of the policies once finalized.

Below are some tips to help ensure your nonprofit and its employees are prepared:

  • Outline an emergency communication plan
  • Update your evacuation plan and practice it
  • Where possible set up remote access to desktops for use during forced office closures
  • Sign up for local notifications and updates from the National Weather Service (NWS)
  • Understand what disasters could possibly affect your area
  • Learn how to help before help arrives
  • Create an emergency supply cabinet with first-aid kits and non-perishable food
  • Work with other organizations in your community to strengthen preparedness
  • Hold a preparedness discussion with your employees to ensure everyone understands the procedures and how to stay informed

Regardless of what weather incident you may experience, having a solid preparedness plan in place will help ensure your employees know what to expect and aid in keeping everyone informed. There are dozens of websites dedicated to helping businesses create successful preparedness plans so just remember—a little preparation now will go a long way should your nonprofit come face-to-face with Mother Nature.

November 15, 2019

How to Create Your Nonprofit's Story

In our world of online communication, nonprofits and charities are able to share and show how their organization is making a significant impact on the communities they serve through inspiring stories. This can be a challenging and overwhelming task for nonprofit professionals—they feel the pressure to create inspiring, unique and emotional stories that will set them apart from other nonprofits.

In the beginning stages of telling your nonprofit’s story, you should start by telling your organization’s “origin story.” This gives you an opportunity to explain how your nonprofit came to exist. Where and when did the idea of your nonprofit begin? How did you get to where you are today? Being able to emphatically and confidently tell your origin story will make a significant impact when connecting with your donors and volunteers.

Great storytelling is the best way to capture the attention, as well as the hearts and minds, of your supporters. While providing data on how a charity has impacted a community can be beneficial, people tend to give more when presented with a heartfelt story rather than data. Stories will help you express your mission to people who may know nothing about you or your cause. Statistics may offer some shock value, but statistics rarely get people to take action and donate to your cause.

If you and your nonprofit organization are doing things no one else is doing, it’s your job to make people aware by sharing your story. Tell your story in such a way that people won’t be able to forget it. Start by sharing how the community looked before your organization started and what the world looked like at the time. Then, touch on how the world looks now after you started this nonprofit journey. Maybe even share an example of how your nonprofit has positively impacted the community to help build your story. Using these types of examples makes your nonprofit more relatable—it allows for a more real connection and even empathy.

Empathy is also incredibly important when telling your organization’s story—there should be a moment when people see themselves or someone they know within your story. The more people can relate to your mission and your story to their own lives, the more likely they will be willing to engage and offer support to your organization.

September 11, 2019

How KPIs Benefit a Nonprofits Success

What is a KPI? A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is “a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a nonprofit (or another type of organization) is achieving its key organizational objectives.” Most nonprofits make their data-driven decisions with the help of KPIs – using them at multiple levels to evaluate success in reaching targets.

While KPIs provide important performance information that can allow nonprofits to understand whether or not they are on track toward certain objectives, they must fully grasp how the KPI’s work and how it’s benefiting the organization’s return on investment. The executive team and board members will be looking for stats and will have questions. Such as, how quick will we see a return? Are we seeing any patterns with our donor’s behavior? Can we see a comparison year over year? etc.

The use of KPIs can help correct an organization’s course of action efficiently and adapt to the changing conditions of the environment. When a nonprofit is looking for ways to succeed and achieve its mission in an ever growing and noisy space, they need a solution to measure progress and apply their course of action accordingly.

KPIs are essential when making informed decisions. Once a nonprofit gathers relevant and sufficient data, it’s much easier to make sound decisions that are going to push the organization in the right direction. It’s common that many nonprofit organizations measure generic KPIs that don’t offer any help in understanding whether they’re progressing towards achieving their mission and to what extent.

Being that it’s crucial and challenging to select the right KPIs for your organization, here’s a list of  suggestions for KPIs that are specific to various areas of nonprofit management:

1) Donors & Growth of Donation

2) Donor Retention Rate

3) ROI for fundraising

4) Track donation conversions by channel

5) Website page views

6) Email click-through rate

Friendly reminder: Once your KPIs are set, the work isn’t over. Make sure you’re checking-in regularly, whether that’s weekly or monthly and use that data to your nonprofits benefit. Tracking these important KPIs affect donor relations, program delivery and most importantly, the ability to achieve your nonprofits mission.

March 19, 2019

​​​​​​​Job Growth and Resilience in the Nonprofit Sector

From 2007 to 2016, the nonprofit sector experienced substantial growth in employment and a range of industries reaped the benefits of this growth. During this time, nonprofits surpassed the for-profit sector in employment growth with a 16.7 percent increase compared to the 4.6 percent increase in the for-profit sector. With consistent resilience and very little recognition for these efforts, nonprofits had the ability to employ nearly twice as many workers as construction, finance, insurance and transportation.

When looking at how nonprofit employment is distributed across a variety of industries, it can be helpful to see which industries benefited from this growth. Hospitals came in at the highest with 34 percent of the total, along with other health care sectors (e.g., nursing homes and health clinics) at another 21 percent. Next, is education with 14 percent of nonprofit employment then social services with 12 percent. An interesting point made in The 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report is “within the industries noted above, nonprofit workers tend to out-earn for-profit workers” and an example of this is, “an average nonprofit worker in ambulatory health earns $1,364 a week versus $1,101 for a person employed in the same industry by a for-profit firm. That is a 24 percent nonprofit wage advantage. In the social assistance sector, the nonprofit wage advantage is a stunning 55 percent.”

While nonprofits are less impacted by recessions than for-profit firms, they still face other obstacles that are unavoidable. For-profits continue to make advancements and are outpace nonprofits in a number of the traditional nonprofit sectors, such as nursing and residential care field, hospital field, social assistance; to name a few. For-profits also continue to grow in the private sector and while nonprofits are growing in the service(s) sectors, they are growing faster than the economy can accommodate.

With the nonprofit sector continuing to show resilience while battling with the many economic pressures and in constant competition with the for-profit sector, the nonprofit sector continues to push on. However, attention needs to be given to the many factors that impact the future of nonprofit business models.

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