How to Spread the Non-profit Goodness Around the World

In the past year, I have become more and more involved in helping promoting non-profit groups.  And in this days of digital age, a group has to do some strong promotion through online mediums…

I will discuss 3 groups that I have been helping with and some of the key things that any non-profit groups should have (and are easy to do).

This is my home church in Houston.  We are by definition a non-profit 501(c)3 and to promote communication and growth, website is a must, and have since moved onto the likes of popular social networking sites including Xanga and Facebook.  It has helped garner support and spreading the word around.  Facebook is especially helpful as you can “suggest” to your friends and what not.

OURS stands for “Organizing and Uniting to Restore Shalom” and is a Christian non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth to bring about holistic change in their communities through creative partnerships with individuals and institutions.

I came across Danny through mutual friends and he needed someone to help promote the organization.  Having learned of the group and its purpose, I jumped in.  In both cases of OURS, Inc. and Pathways, both needed a means to accept donations online.  PayPal, as much as some may criticize it, is naturally the best ways to do that.  Most would be shocked that they take 1.9 to 2.9 % of the transaction plus 30 cents per transaction.    However, for non-profits, PayPal limits it at 2.2 % (for under $100,000/month volume).  Read more Nonprofit Resources FAQs here.

Do keep in mind that when you do sign up as a non-profit status group, you need to provide PayPal such proofs.  3 typical proofs required are:

  • Bank statement and/or cancelled checks
  • Non-profit status proof from appropriate state governing body
  • Statement of purpose

When you send them, they will only allow picture formats so you would need to do some combinations of the following.

For bank statements, most banks allow you to download PDF version of the monthly statement.  You can then convert it to some sort of picture format using “File” -> “Export” -> “Image” and then choose any of the picture formats.

For non-profit status proof letters and statement of purpose, you can scan it and save it as a picture file.

PayPal then allows you to simply upload those picture files in the 3 categories.  Just remember that when exporting a PDF file into picture files, it saves each PAGE as a picture file so be sure to include them all.  Another limitation is the file size of each picture.  I don’t think they can be bigger than 1 MB.

In addition to PayPal, Facebook also has a Cause application that is good for accepting small donation amounts (remember that Paypal has minimum of 30 cents transaction fee so if you do $1 donation drives or something similar, you lose at least 30%!  Cause application also has similar proofing process like PayPal but once you are through and accept donations, they also have fees but at least you won’t lose as much if you are doing something like “Donate a dollar” drives.

Another huge incentive in using Facebook is in presence.  One Day’s Wage has become huge since launching on Facebook and has now several hundred thousands of followers!  In the end, one has to be creative.  To help word across, Danny from OURS launched what he calls “Penny Campaign“.  Since he does most of his work with the youth, he decided to challenge them to sign up sponsors who would give a penny for each peson that joined the Facebook Fan page.  It’s a simple but effective at two fronts.  One, it gives the kids a chance to really see the difference they can make.  Since the launch about 10 days ago, more than 1400 people have joined!  That means $14 per person that have signed onto the campaign, but more importantly, it gives visibility to the cause and brings the people in.

I know this wasn’t exactly well-laid out attack plan but I hope other non-profit groups will take advantage of all the help that is out there… Some day, maybe I will become a consultant of sorts on this… Oh wait, I am already one.  😀

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