The Nuts & Bolts of Building Your Resources Capacity

nutsandbolts2Organizations seeking to develop their resources capacity can take heart in knowing that resources are everywhere. How you identify and use them is what makes the difference. Successful resource development does not necessarily require doing more. Instead, it means being more strategic, thoughtful, and deliberate. Below are the five “I’s” of resource development, distilled from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, and questions to ask to help build your capacity.

Identify: Who are potential supporters? How will your organization track their engagement? What system(s) and process(es) should be implemented to maintain and manage good records of past and current donors?

Inform: What, how, and when do you inform potential supporters about advancing your organization’s mission and how you are making a difference? What stories can you share to inform about your cause? What communications channels will you use and how will you manage those channels?

Involve: What volunteer opportunities should you offer to involve potential supporters? What do you need to communicate to potential supporters after their volunteerism to ensure “money follows their time?”

Invest: Are you communicating to potential donors that time, talent, and treasure are all important ways to invest? How do you move time and talent donors to treasure donors?

Impact: Are you tracking all of your board members’ and other volunteers’ time, talent, and treasure to show the impact and to encourage more? Are you communicating to each donor – “your gift of time and/or talent and/or treasure made this impact on our organization and/or community?”

For more capacity-building strategic advice, please contact us at The INS Group

Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Uncategorized

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Top Trends in Nonprofit Giving



In the fast-paced nonprofit sector, organizations that stay on top of the latest giving opportunities will come out on top. Here are a few notable trends:


  • Donors will have ability to control how they receive communications based on personal preferences and interests.
  • Improvements in communications technology will allow nonprofits to connect with donors seeking specific information about the impact of a gift.
  • Organizations will allocate communication and marketing resources according to donor preference, rather than making assumptions.
  • “One-click giving” and other impulse-gifting technologies will gain in popularity.
  • Organizations that provide small, impulsive gifting opportunities will be better positioned to strengthen relationships with donors.
  • Donors will provide smaller gifts but will give several times over the course of the year.
  • Donors will continue to drive smaller gifts toward projects where tangible results can be demonstrated.

Gain more capacity-building insights when you participate in The INS Group webinars. Check our website for the latest schedule.



Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fundraising, Marketing/Public Relations, Nonprofit Management

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Grant Writing: The Most Commonly Requested Attachments



When applying for a grant, funders will often ask for specific attachments. Read the guidelines carefully and only send what has been requested. Funders may ask for the following to help shed more light on your organization.

  •  Audited financial statement
  • R.S. Determination Letter
  • Board roster
  • Project budget
  • Organizational budget
  • Letters of support or endorsement
  • Resumes
  • Job descriptions
  • Brochures
  • News clippings
  • Annual report

Learn more innovative nonprofit solutions. Join The INS Group’s free “Grant Writing Made Simple” webinar series on Dec. 15 from 2 pm – 3:30 pm ET. Register here.

Posted in Capacity Building, Fund Development, Grant Research, Grant Writing

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7 Keys to a Successful Collaborative Nonprofit Relationship (and 7 Barriers)


Keys to a collaborative nonprofit partnership:

  • Shared purpose
  • Compatible missions and values
  • Shared power
  • Shared view of interdependence
  • Mutual respect and trust
  • Shared control/stake in process/outcomes
  • Shared indicators of progress


Barriers to a successful nonprofit relationship:

  • Lack of common vision
  • Costs not identified upfront
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Conflict among leaders/lack of trust
  • Leadership lacking the right skills
  • No accountability standards (clear expectations)
  • No means for managing conflict and grievances

Learn more about creating nonprofit connections and contact The INS Group



Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, Resource Development

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9 Steps to Corporate Fundraising



Corporate fundraising is an essential component of nonprofit sustainability that you don’t want to ignore. According to Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014, Americans donated an estimated $358.38 billion – a 60-year high – with 5 percent coming from corporations. Specifically, corporate giving totaled $17.77 billion, an increase of 13.7 percent (11.9 percent when inflation-adjusted) over 2013 giving.

How can your organization win more corporate donor dollars? Follow these nine steps:

Step #1: Don’t send a form letter

Step #2: Do your homework

Step #3: Send correspondence to the CEO, contributions specialist, or community relations/affairs director

Step #4: Seek sources close in proximity—within the state or city

Step #5: Use your board members and personal contacts to help make connections

Step #6: Ask how to package requests

Step #7: Seek support for big projects

Step #8: Identify ways to involve employees

Step #9: Know the budget cycle


Want to learn more about building your organization’s capacity? Contact The INS Group.

Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fundraising, Nonprofit Boards, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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Are You Writing a Nonprofit Case Statement? Here’s What It Should Answer

The case statement is a core document that outlines the most important facts about your organization so donors can understand the value of investing in it. The document also serves as a plan for long-term strategic direction and should include the following: the organization’s history, the problem (and proposed solution) to be addressed, goals and objectives, and sources of funding. In addition, your case statement should address the sustainability of your organization, how people will be able to donate, the leadership team and their roles as well as the benefits the organization brings to the community

Internally, your case statement can help gain consensus on and enrich the organization’s story. Externally, it can aid in recruiting volunteers, be used to test the market, and serve as a basis for developing materials and presentations.

When crafting your case statement, be sure the following questions are answered:

►What problem are we trying to solve?

►Why are we best suited to solve this problem?

►How much will the project cost?

►Why is solving the problem so important now?

►What is the plan for fundraising?

►What are the benefits to the community?

►What are the benefits to the donor?

For more advice on creating a case statement or finding other innovative nonprofit solutions, please contact us at The INS Group

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Nonprofit Boards, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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Top Nonprofit Crowdfunding Sites

crowdfunding2Causes: A platform for individuals and nonprofit organizations who want to change the world

Crowdrise: Named the “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist”

CauseVox: A startup social site that focuses on helping small to mid-sized nonprofits raise funds and have a social impact

DoJiggy: A complete online event registration/donation management system where constituents can fundraise

Fundly: This donation platform is easy to use, provides ideas, and scales to any size fundraiser Offers fundraising and event solutions for nonprofits and people (special events solutions, social fundraising, and enterprise solutions)

Indiegogo: An international crowdfunding site that can be used to raise money for charity and nonprofit organizations

Kickstarter: A project crowdfunding website that any nonprofit organization or individual can use to finance an event project

StartSomeGood: Gives “social innovators” and forwards the trend of social entrepreneurship

RocketHub: A crowdfunding platform used by all types of organizations and individuals

Razoo: A movement of people who want to make generosity a part of everyday life


To learn more about The INS Group’s consulting services, please visit:

Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Resource Development, Strategic Planning

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Deciding on a Crowdfunding Site? Use this Checklist


Aesthetics: Are the fundraising pages/template appealing to donors? Can you post videos and pictures?


Ease of Setup: How easy is it to create the fundraising page and are there technical skills needed?


Methods for Making Donations: Can donors make contributions through credit cards or e-checks and how quickly are deposits made to your account?


Costs for Using Platform: Are there set-up fees and/or a monthly fee? Are there additional administrative costs for sending checks or statements?


Social Networking Marketing Tools: Will the site help publicize/promote your fundraiser? How does the platform integrate with social networking sites? Can your donors and volunteers set up their own pages to help raise funds?


Traction: Does the crowdfunding site have significant followers or number of daily visitors? What are the demographics? How likely are they to become donors of your cause?


Success Stories: Check out the projects that are currently listed to determine what types of projects are getting funded.

For more ways to help sustain your organization, see The INS Group’s list of recommended reading here:

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fund Development, Fundraising, Marketing/Public Relations, Resource Development, Strategic Planning

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Crowdfunding 101: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

questionmarkWhile crowdfunding should not be used exclusively as the solution to annual fundraising success, it is an effective new approach to raising awareness and funds for a specific nonprofit project or initiative.

What is crowdfunding?

A fundraising method using networking through online social-media platforms and Internet technologies to secure small to medium monetary donations from individuals to large “crowds” focused on a short- to long-term fundraising campaign.

Why should nonprofits use crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding rallies communities and individuals to be emotionally invested, it offers an opportunity to share your organization’s “compelling story,” and it provides a purposeful goal with tangible or emotional rewards. This approach also allows for transparency and active communication with engaged contributors who share through social media.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding?

It enables nonprofits to leverage support from a wide variety of stakeholders, provides a space for testing what motivates different groups to give, and an opportunity to communicate with donors directly and describe the positive impact of their support.

How does it work?

Nonprofits set up a campaign master page, while individuals create fundraising pages on behalf of charities they support and donors and volunteers set up pages to encourage friends and colleagues to donate. Through this crowd-sharing strategy, information about your project spreads from current supporters to support from “strangers,” and your campaign can eventually gain traction from people around the world based on its success.


Want to learn more about expanding your organization’s network? Join The INS Group “Best Practices for Building Collaborative Relationships” webinar on June 24 (2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET). Register here.

Posted in Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning

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8 Strategies to Drive Donor Dollars

DonateDollarThere’s a growing demand for nonprofits to articulate to funders the results they hope their work will achieve and to track whether those results are actually happening. Organizations are being asked to show the outputs of their efforts, including the number of people served, the number of services provided, and so forth. The good news is that a combination of traditional fundraising strategies and technology tools can allow even small nonprofits to leverage their resources and build organizational capacity.

1. Focus first on individuals for donations. Giving USA reports $335 billion was contributed to nonprofits in 2013 by individuals, foundations, and corporations, with 72 percent coming from individual donors.

2. Don’t overlook younger generations, women, and communities of color as potential donors. Each of these market segments are gaining economic power.

3. Tailor your messages. The most-effective fundraising campaigns have carefully targeted messages directed to each donor segment.

4. Implement a multi-pronged fundraising approach that includes both short-term strategies, such as one-time giving at events, and long-term strategies (planned giving).

5. Leverage online fundraising and giving platforms such as DonorsChoose and CrowdRise.

6. Recruit volunteers to help post daily to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media accounts and create online fundraising campaigns. Share case studies and examples on social media to demonstrate how your organization has made an impact.

7. Focus your time and energy on loyal donors who attend activities and events, engage with you on social-media platforms, and regularly volunteer.

8. Document donor giving frequency, preferred giving vehicles (mail, email, web, and events), age and gender, range of giving over time, and motivation for past giving to ensure the best use of your resources.

For additional insights on building your organization’s capacity, register for The INS Group “Best Practices for Building Collaborative Relationships” webinar on June 24 (2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET). Find out more here.

Posted in Capacity Building, Donors, Fundraising, Nonprofit Management, Resource Development, Strategic Planning

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