Newsbits February 2013

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How to reach younger donors

A survey of more than 6,500 young people, ages 20 to 35, suggests that one of the most important things you can do to reach them is to make your website easy to read on a mobile device. The Millennium Impact Report 2012, sponsored by the Case Foundation, found that more than three-quarters of respondents own a smartphone, and 79% of those respondents have used the device to connect with a nonprofit, including via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and e-newsletters.

According to the report, the prominence of smartphone use makes a mobile strategy more critical than ever — in particular, optimizing websites, e-newsletters and solicitations for mobile devices.

About 65% of respondents said they liked to learn about a nonprofit through its website. Respondents also liked to learn about organizations through social media (55%), e-mail newsletters (47%), print (18%) and face-to-face conversations (17%).

Revising financial data on Charity Navigator

If you’ve recently taken a more conservative approach to valuing your corporate product donations (also known as “gifts in kind”), Charity Navigator has established a way to reflect the impact of such changes. The website is allowing charities that adopt a more conservative approach to revise past financial data to be more comparative — avoiding the appearance of dramatic drops in revenues that would trigger concerns about ongoing operations and sustainability.

To revise data, nonprofits must provide Charity Navigator with Form 990 tax returns from past years adjusted to report the groups’ product donations under the new approach. A nonprofit’s audit committee must sign off on the revised financial information, and the nonprofit must post the information on its website.

Some organizations are concerned that restating financial information reported in prior year IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements will raise concern about those filings. Changing valuations based on current conditions or new accounting standards may not be relevant to prior periods and may not result in valid reports. Therefore, some nonprofits are forgoing this option and merely noting information about such changes in their narratives.

Pro bono services needed

The national Pro Bono Readiness Survey, conducted by consultants LBG Associates, finds that 66% of U.S. nonprofits need pro bono services more than any other volunteer work. The survey revealed particular demand for marketing, technology, strategic planning, management, human resources and leadership development services.

But respondents also said making good use of pro bono services is challenging. Hurdles include the inability to sustain project results over the long term without ongoing external support and the lack of strong project planning and time management tools. 

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