By Bonnie Simmons, Partner, CPA

“Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.” – Winston Churchill

The not-for-profit sector in Massachusetts is thriving. According to the most recent report by the Independent Sector, nonprofits employ almost 17% of the state’s workforce.  In 2016, not-for-profits generated almost $118.8 billion in annual revenues and held $334.6 billion of assets.  This volume has led to an increase in competition for fundraising dollars.  Compounding this issue is the projected impact of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  The TCJA will double the standard deduction, which will reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize and take deductions for their charitable giving.

While the not-for-profit sector is lobbying for changes that would restore these charitable deductions, some analysts predict that charitable giving could drop between $12 billion and $20 billion per year.  It is now more important than ever for not-for-profits to get creative with fundraising options in an effort to minimize the impact of these changes.

Friendraising

In recent years, nonprofits have employed a concept called “friendraising,” which is a conscious effort to start and sustain strong and lasting relationships within the community.  The goal of effective friendraising is ensuring an outcome that benefits the community as a whole.  Making genuine connections within the community and engaging them in your work not only increases donor activity but unites the community in a shared vision. Many of the not-for-profit organizations that Citrin Cooperman works with puts together engaging events including galas, golf tournaments, and themed outings, which have proven to be effective “friendraisers,” as they provide a fun environment for organizations to attract members of the community and build relationships with supporters in a way that gives them ownership of the mission, without pressuring people to donate.

One Step Further

In April of 2018, Forbes published an article advising people behind the scenes of not-for-profit organizations to get more involved by sharing their own stories.  The article noted that this not only improves brand or mission awareness, but can significantly increase job satisfaction, especially amongst staff who are not direct care workers.

While sending employees to attend friendraising events to support the mission and build relationships is a great start, employees should strive to make their own connections and share their organization’s mission every day with their networks.

We encourage our not-for-profit clients to involve all of their employees and challenge them to find creative ways to share the mission with their networks.

Ask your employees to make use of social media, share information and updates about the organization, and contribute their own ideas for fundraising and expanding brand awareness. Have some fun getting to know your employees and you might uncover talents they have not yet had an opportunity to share.  Not only will you be raising awareness of the important work you do, but you will create a stronger, more engaged workforce.
 

Bonnie Simmons is a partner in Citrin Cooperman’s Braintree, Massachusetts office. She can be reached at (781) 356-2000 or bsimmons@citrincooperman.com