“ . . . nonprofits not only engaged a younger, more diverse electorate but that they also significantly increased the likelihood of those voters showing up on election day and voting.” (Nonprofit VOTE)

DID YOU KNOW? This Tuesday, November 6, is election day. Corporations and organizations on both sides of the aisle have embarked on massive, often nonpartisan, “get out the vote” (GOTV) campaigns in the hopes of reversing past trends of low voter turnout in midterm elections. According to an article in Nonprofit Quarterly, in 2014, voter turnout for the midterms was 34.7 percent, which marks the lowest turnout has been in 70 years. Many nonprofits who have partnered with corporations this year to help encourage and facilitate voting have reported surprisingly high corporate enthusiasm for a midterm election. TurboVote Challenge is one of the many organizations engaging employers to participate and claims that the number of participating corporate partners is more than twice what it was last year. The Washington Post reported that over 135 employers, including Walmart, Farmers Insurance, and Gap Inc., launched a “Time to Vote” campaign in September, “aimed at increasing awareness about what employers can do to allow time for employees to vote.” If your organization has yet to get involved in the nonpartisan GOTV campaigns but wants to, there’s still time! CalNonprofits offers a few ways your organization can help bring people to the polls on Tuesday, including hanging “vote with your mission” posters around your office and community, publicly posting your position on ballot measures, or sharing nonpartisan voting resources online such as Voter’s Edge and CalMatters2018 Voter Guide. For more information on what you can do to encourage your community and supporters to vote, check out this article from CalNonprofits. But first, check out these five nonprofit headlines of the week.

1. Forging Mutually Beneficial Corporate Partnerships

Securing corporate sponsorships can be a daunting task, especially for nonprofits doing so for the very first time. Yet once forged, these partnerships can help your organization gain national attention and significantly increase your donor base. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy offers a few tips on how to create long-lasting, successful partnerships with national companies that will leave both parties satisfied. Before exploring possible companies to contact, it is important that you are clear about your objectives. Finding a partner whose strengths will compliment and contribute to your goals will only be possible if you have identified exactly what these goals are. Similarly, it will be helpful in your search to focus on companies that share certain values with your organization. Many companies’ social responsibility efforts are focused in certain fields, such as the environment, education, disaster relief, or child advocacy. Thus, identifying companies who are looking to increase their impact in a field similar to yours will help narrow your search and ease the overwhelming task of mass corporate outreach. Other tips to keep in mind during your partnership search include demonstrating how your proposal will support a company’s business goals, offering companies a way to get their employees involved, keeping in regular contact with your corporate sponsor, and encouraging companies to collaborate. To read more about forging corporate partnerships and to learn about how Comic Relief U.S.A. used such partnerships with Walgreens and Mars to publicize the now popular “Red Nose Day” to raise money to fight child poverty, click the link to the article above.

2. Wrapping Up 2018: Year-End Giving Trends and What to Make of Them

As we officially enter November, year-end giving patterns are slowly beginning to unravel. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy identifies a few patterns to note when crafting your organization’s final fundraising push for 2018. The first prediction stipulates that the significant decrease in megagifts, or donations of $1 million or more, in the first half of 2018 will leave your wealthiest donors with more to give as the year comes to a close. According to a study done by the Chronicle, gifts of $1 million or more in the first half of 2018 amounted to roughly $4.5 billion, more than a $2 billion decrease from these gifts last year. Although it remains to be seen what exactly accounted for this drop, if donors are simply shifting their giving timelines, the end of the year might be a time to capitalize on this disparity. Other predictions suggest that the results of the midterm elections might shift donor priorities. Similar to the “Trump bump” that led to increased support of nonprofits working in civil rights, immigration, and reproductive health following the 2016 presidential elections, this year’s midterms could prove to boost certain sectors depending on the outcome of House, Senate and state elections. Another trend to note is the potential for increased use of bundling, or the practice in which “donors make a big gift one year and skip the next year or two to maximize their tax benefits.” Many predict bundling to increase as a result of the new federal tax rules enacted at the end of last year that double the standard deduction and reduce taxpayer’s incentive to give smaller sums. Other trends to note as the year-end nears suggest that disaster relief will be a top giving priority for donors, and that this year’s stock market volatility is unlikely to significantly affect year-end charitable giving. To read more about 2018’s end of the year giving patterns and how to maximize your fundraising in these last few months, check out the link above.

3. Many in LGBTQ Community Feel Nonprofit Work Environments Are Not Accepting

The inaugural Diversity Among Philanthropy Professionals (DAPP) survey entitled, “The Philanthropic Closet: LGBTQ People in Philanthropy” carried out by Funders for LGBTQ Issues sheds light into the LGBTQ experience in the nonprofit sector – and the results suggest that LGBTQ people do not feel as welcomed at their jobs as one would like to think. According to the survey, which included almost 1,000 individuals from 36 foundations, one in ten LGBTQ repondents reported that they had left a job at a nonprofit because they felt the environment was “not very accepting.” Additionally, the survey found that LGBTQ people working at nonprofits were slightly less likely to be “out of the closet,” or having disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to most of their colleagues, than those in the corporate sector (although these numbers shift when only considering nonprofits with a social justice or LGBTQ focus). Considering that no federal laws exist that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, and 26 states do not have laws that do this either, it is the job of nonprofits to ensure this protection for its LGBTQ empoyees as it does for all others. An article in the Nonprofit Times suggests a few ways your organization can become more LGBTQ-inclusive. First, make sure that your non-discrimination policies do not just cover broad categories, but rather have explicit language protecting people based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. Next, consider adding to your general recruitment outreach and conducting specific outreach to LGBTQ communities not only when looking for staff positions, but also board and leadership positions. Other suggestions for creating an LGBTQ-friendly work environment include ensuring that your health insurance policy offers transition healthcare for transgender employees and providing trainings on general cultural competency and LGBTQ issues. To read more about the DAPP survey and what your organization can do to help reverse some of these disturbing statistics, check out the article above.

4. How to Be Issue-Oriented Yet Grounded in Hope

When writing grant proposals, it can be tempting to highlight the darkest part of your work, in the hope that funders will want to allocate the most to those most in need. While this seems logical, reciting only these depressing statistics can leave both you and your funders drowning in the seeming hopelessness of your cause. In an article in the Nonprofit Times, Barbara Floersch, Chief of Training and Curriculum of the Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, tells nonprofits that focusing on the negative in grant proposals is a mistake. Floresch encourages nonprofits seeking grants to emphasize the potential for positive change that their approach provides and to offer their funders the exciting and unique chance to be a part of such a change. Unfortunately, this overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by widespread societal problems and disturbing statistics is often prevalent in all nonprofit work, not just one’s grant proposals. The important thing to remember, according to the article, is to stay “grounded in hope.” Being grounded in hope does not mean ignoring the facts or the sometimes dire reality of the situation around you. Rather, it means understanding the facts enough to truly know the problem you face, but to not prioritize them to the point where they overshadow all potential for change, all hope. According to Floersch, “As long as you can get excited about promising approaches and feel joy in the accomplishments of those you are working to assist, you’re grounded in hope.” A logical next step that will hopefully help your organization secure more funding, according to Floersch, is bringing that hope into your grant proposals.  

5. Lessons to Draw as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Draws to a Close

Among many other causes represented in this month, October is designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Though October is just ending, it is never too late to start implementing some of the safety measures recommended to organizations during this time to boost your cybersecurity. Not sure why cybersecurity is important or if it even applies to your organization in the first place? An article in BizTech Magazine outlines four reasons nonprofits might want to assess their current cybersecurity practices. First, understanding your specific Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements is essential if financial transactions are occurring on your organization’s server, as this always entails some kind of liability and punishments for noncompliance are hefty. Compliance standards naturally become more complicated as nonprofits become larger and when they use third-party payment processors. Thus, it is essential that you check the PCI of all third-party providers to ensure that your organization is within compliance. Another reason to evaluate your organization’s risk management and cybersecurity status is to protect donor information and maintain donor trust. Having high cybersecurity ratings on your organization’s website signals to donors that you did everything possible to protect their credit card information and other personal data. An overload in visitors could also cause your website to crash, potentially causing significant damage if your organization relies solely on its website for donor and community outreach. Finally, the magazine suggests you invest time in cybersecurity plans to establish a foundation for future technology updates that might require heightened security to fully access. To learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, click here. To learn more about why you should be concerned about your cybersecurity, visit the link above.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! To learn more about next week’s election and what your nonprofit can do to help get out the vote, check out this article from Nonprofit Quarterly.

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