DID YOU KNOW? Jack-o-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins. Instead, people carved menacing faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away ghosts in the night.

DID YOU KNOW? Jack-o-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins. Instead, people carved menacing faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away ghosts in the night.

Like most holidays, Halloween has continually evolved throughout the years. What we celebrate today has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. During this age-old European tradition, people would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward off spirits they believe visited the earth on October 31. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a day to pay tribute to saints. This became known as All Saints Day or All Hallows, and the evening before was referred to as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. And now that we’ve got you in the “spirit” of Halloween, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week. We promise you, there’s no hocus-pocus—just the good stuff!

1.  Does Your Nonprofit Need Rebranding?

With more than 1.5 million nonprofits in existence in the United States alone, it is increasingly more challenging, yet imperative, for nonprofits to create and sustain a solid, captivating brand. According to Forbes, branding strategies can help nonprofits stand out in an overcrowded and competitive industry and build more meaningful relationships with broader audiences. Nonprofits that have experienced mission evolution, transition periods, new leadership, or growth should consider rebranding. Don’t let the thought of an organization-wide rebrand intimidate you. Click on the link above to discover three first steps your nonprofit can follow for a successful rebrand.

2.  What to Do with Tainted Donations

The success of charities and political campaigns relies heavily on donations. So what happens if an organization is forced to decide what to do with contributions they’ve been given from donors whose reputations might smear the image of the nonprofit or campaign? While there is no legal obligation to return ‘tainted’ money, the political and social ramifications for organizations that do not cut ties can be severe. Is your nonprofit prepared to handle a situation like this? Check out the link above from Nonprofit Quarterly to find real-life examples of organizations and campaigns that chose to keep, return or re-gift donations and why.

3.  Entrepreneurship Lessons from Nonprofit Leaders

When most entrepreneurs consider their business idols, world-renowned names such as Jobs, Musk and Branson typically come to mind—innovators from the corporate realm of the business world who are constantly inspiring people to follow their dreams. But what about the role models who aren’t household names yet are working to change the world through their work with nonprofits? According to Entrepreneur, nonprofit leaders are entrepreneurs themselves—using creative problem solving, providing goods and services, employing marketing strategies, and supervising and recruiting staffs just as their corporate counterparts do. Are you looking for inspiration for your own business? Follow the article linked above to learn about three nonprofit leaders and the entrepreneurship lessons they have to share.

4.  Create More Effective Nonprofit Social Content

Many of us who use social media find ourselves looking at the same pages frequently, and avoiding other pages altogether. What is it that attracts audience members to certain types of content, and why are some profiles more likely to actively engage viewers than others? The above linked article from Forbes explores these questions in depth and provides four tips nonprofits can use to create more effective social media content. Can your nonprofit benefit from upping its social media game? Check out the link and learn how to better connect with your audience.

5.  How Does America Give?

How America Gives is an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy (The Chronicle) that examines giving in states, metropolitan areas and counties across the United States. The data is based on the giving patterns of Americans who earn at least $50,000 annually and who itemize charitable deductions as part of their tax returns in 2015. By gathering this data from the IRS, The Chronicle has created a snapshot of giving which highlights each area’s giving opportunity—dollars that would have been raised if giving rates matched national averages. Want to maximize your nonprofit’s fundraising potential? Click the report linked above to read key findings from the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re blasting the “Monster Mash” and planning out our costumes. See you next week!

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