February 2017 – Not-for-Profit Newsletter Newsbits

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Nonprofits warned about email scam

According to published reports, more than two dozen Virginia organizations, as well as organizations around the country, received emails from an individual in England, unknown to the organizations, offering an approximately $30,000 donation. 

Here’s how the check-kiting scheme works: After receiving the original email, the nonprofit gets a check for $40,000. Another email arrives concurrently, saying that the overpayment is the result of a clerical error and asking the nonprofit to return the excess payment. A victim nonprofit might deposit the check and not know for several days that it bounced, during which time it might send a $10,000 “refund,” money that will never be seen again.

Donors say messaging affects their giving Charitable Donations

Seventy-two percent of respondents in software provider Abila’s Donor Loyalty Survey say their decision to give is affected by an organization’s messaging. In February 2016, Abila surveyed 1,136 U.S. donors of all ages who had made at least one donation during the previous 12 months. 

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they prefer a “short, self-contained email” with no links, while 73% prefer a short (two to three paragraphs) letter or online article. Sixty percent prefer short (under two minutes) YouTube videos. 

About 71% of respondents feel more engaged when they receive personalized content. But personalization gone wrong — for example, with misspelled names or irrelevant information — can alienate donors.

GuideStar introduces program metrics to profiles

GuideStar has launched a new tier of Nonprofit Profiles called GuideStar Platinum. The no-charge Platinum tier allows nonprofits to report their progress against their missions using metrics they select. GuideStar has collected about 700 suggested metrics, but nonprofits may opt to share the metric(s) they already track and that matter the most to them. For example, a homeless shelter could report the number of people no longer living in substandard housing as a result of its efforts.

According to GuideStar, more than 500 nonprofits signed up within 48 hours of the first announcement of Platinum in April 2016. 



SKR+CO Expert
Ellen Fisher, CPA, Audit Partner
Ellen has been in public accounting since 1997. She specializes in employee benefit plans, real estate and construction, financial institutions, nonprofits and small to mid-size businesses.