Not My Fault!
I'm looking for a bit of advice on sharing some news with public last week. One of our agency vehicles was stolen stolen. We only have two vehicles and being down one really impact our program delivery. I'm thinking of using our email list and social media share this and hopes we might get some financial support to help recover. You are lost costs and so that we can purchase a new vehicle. Do you think this approach would work so i totally do with the. I'm going to give of a caveat here so there are couple of organizations that that i don't know if anyone ever tracks it but where you see all the time there's there is like a crisis rate of some sort and it really. There's only so often you can use something like this so i'm not saying don't use is that be really cautious about not over not always coming out with oh this happened this broke down this got stolen lake that starts to then then make raise questions in people's head about the authenticity and whether whether you're even running a good shop in being super smart and safe insecure right sue lake so i so that's a caution but with this i'm gonna assume this isn't something that typically happens. I think it's absolutely a great. I think it's a great opportunity. Share your story so here's here's the thing right out there. That happens all the time people go. I don't wanna find a vehicle. I don't want to fund you know whatever operating getting her overhead expenses or whatever how cool for you to like share a story like even from the vehicles perspective like i was thinking about this and i'm getting nerd like i'm getting nerdy about looks sort of fundraising direct mail pieces but you could literally write a letter an email from the van that got stolen seriously like make it kind of fun and catchy like oh. My god is bad guys got in me and now and i'm su- stressed because i couldn't pick up a these clients to take them to their doctors appointments or whatever whatever advertise rate you could you could do this in a way that would be memorable in people's minds whether they give you money or not they understand more about what you do and how you do it and how things like just vehicle can make or break your organization so i think the storytelling power of this huge it gets me. We excited obviously being timely and then like a call to action. You need a call to action at the end of this right like you can't just go out there and share the story and not tell people how to help you can say gosh we've already had five people step up to help support us but we're going to need to raise ten thousand bucks or twenty thousand or whatever whatever that figure is like. If can you help us this. Can you help us here or do you have maybe van that is in good shape that you would want to donate like please just talk to us because every single thing we use and do matters like it's powerful yeah i think you're i think you're exactly right the getting get it being careful about the way message. It is the most important because you don't want to you you like. There's a common misperception especially in smaller younger nonprofits that that if you look competent that people will be less likely to fund you because they think like you've got. You know you're fine. You don't need my help right and so you need to look needy in order to get money and that's i think obsolete. The opposite of the case is people wanna see that you're efficient and effective and and so if if the reason that the got stolen is because you know like if it's not a great story i if if it was totally your fault then then you know maybe maybe think about that yes but if it but if it is like i think if you can tell a good story around it and how important is the the other thing too is in my experience. People do like giving you things more than just money money. Yes so a lot of times people want to give you vehicles and you went out. If you're replacing van that was six or seven years old and replacing it with a used van. That's four years old. That's actually pretty cool aw and it gives somebody the opportunity to get rid of something that they didn't want and you know that's. I don't think that this is that hard of a this is the heart of an ask for you but yeah. I don't know that i would be embarrassed about because things happened. I mean hey if like why you should have insurance you know. You should make sure that you've got all your bases covered. If there's a problem in your building and like the sprinklers flers exploded or the air conditioner felon or something like that you need to be able to explain to donors like like why you weren't prepared to deal with that expense or that you know if it's an emergency agency or something like that but but in the case of van being stolen and here's the other thing i think there's an there's an opportunity for an ongoing. Don't don't make the mistake that so many organizations do they. They like ask once and then like you never know what happened because that's awful like you're like the the person whether you're giving or you just reading about it going. Oh my god like. I wonder whatever happened like so. This is a great way to sort of not beat a dead horse but to maybe have a few a few follow ups to say hey just update god since our last the email blast or whatever since we reached out we've had this many people a thank you shout out to them. Whatever like there is huge room to build like loyal supporters from something. That's a really unfortunate incident on air nonprofit nonprofit marketing alliance that nonprofits presents nonprofit everything the podcast about everything nonprofit fault with your host insured and stacey wedding. Hey stacy here with my amazing using co host andy shirked and we're here on behalf of and the alliance for nevada nonprofits with this episode of nonprofit everything where we answer all of your questions and <hes> whether they are burning in your in your brain and soul or just completely just boring but that's okay either one. We'll take so. We just want your questions so send us your questions. Thank you for joining us for this episode. Thanks to an for making this possible and as always we love your love so please share this us like us. Subscribe to all that stuff. You're supposed to do when you listen to podcasts. Today's episode is sponsored by brenda the j. stout c._p._a. A full-service accounting firm specializing in nonprofit tax compliance and i r s problem resolution find out more at brenda stout c._p._a. Dot com or check the nonprofit. Everything's show notes for contact information. Thank you brenda j. stout c._p._a. Thank you brenda andy questions for you. It actually makes my head spent a little bit just looking at it so hold on tight listeners. I get that pledges have to be counted in year. One hundred thousand dollar pledge over five years twenty thousand dollars a year made in twenty nineteen. We have to book that one hundred thousand dollars in two thousand nineteen. I get it but the actual pledge payments in subsequent years can actually shauwie count towards fundraising goals in other words in twenty twenty. You know you're receiving twenty thousand dollars from that pledge. Your goal is a million but on day one. You're already twenty thousand dollars towards that goal because you have that pledge payment or am. I completely insane. Well okay this so this is actually not not that hard so there's there are a lot of numbers in. It's all see if i can make it for those of us. Who are not numbers. Savvy makes me break on it. I'm just going to say so. Let's just say let's say that somebody is going to give you a thousand dollars. They say they're gonna make a promise to pay a thousand dollars and they're going to give you that a thousand dollars over ten years. There's so which means they're going to give you one hundred dollars a year for ten years so so what the confusion is here is the way generally accepted accounting. The principles are for finance like the way the accounting team has to record. This is when somebody promises two thousand dollars. You have two thousand dollars. That's s. Just the rule <hes>. There's there's actually an interesting story about that. I'm so berkley. Just got is no longer in the u._s. World news us news and world report rankings of. I just klis her last night on the way the so they they used to be like the number to public college right in the rankings they ranked number two and they got kicked out of the rankings completely because they weren't complying with the u._s. News and world report rules about how they were supposed to track pledged payments. I don't know why that's important but what they were doing is they. Were doing it the right way. Which is when someone says. I promised to give you a thousand dollars like you have to book that thousand dollars and this is an accounting podcast. Thank god so we won't tell you how specifically you're gonna thousand dollars but basically just goes in as a two thousand dollars right but then what they're really doing is they're giving you one hundred dollars a year for ten years so the cash that comes in every year is one hundred dollars and it basically sir choose away at that pledge payment and so after ten years pledges pledges received. You've gotten that thousand dollars done right so that's the accounting side of it and that's just the way the rules are the rules. Why it's that way that way because those are the rules <laughter> okay all right now he's just black and white males so <hes> the what the fundraising challenges is like okay somebody pledges a thousand dollars and and then the next year they give you one hundred dollars what you you wanna do. Is you want to count that one hundred dollars towards your fund as your personal or your departments fundraising goal for the year bike and what what i suspect back to the challenge in this particular question is the finest person is saying you can't right right of course because we thousand dollars last year. I know you got one hundred dollar. Pledge payment but the rule is that you don't but what that's doing is that's confusing what the rule is with like what the purpose of keeping track of it is so so even though the accounting rule is to put in two thousand dollars that doesn't have to be how you budget for your fundraising goal like if for example this is a a major is your donation and maybe not a hundred bucks but like let's just say that this relationship is important and you need to take this person to launch or you need to do some activities and so there's a reason to count that making sure that that hundred dollar pledge payment is coming in like that that that's part of an ongoing relationship management project then then sure go ahead and count counted but actually comes down to like when you're putting your budget together to compare your fundraising team against like are you including pledge payments that budget or not including kept pitch. Let's payments in that in goal setting budget because it's up to you you can do it either way. There's no hard and fast rule accounting has to do with the way that gap and fast be say you have to do it. That's just the rules or else. The auditors auditors are gonna come in and burn the place to the ground or whatever auditors do when they're not happy right but but from a from a goal setting and fundraising perspective do whatever you want and like understanding ending what the purposes of those documents are that they are different the financial statements of the financial statements. You don't have a whole lot of leeway about how they're put together but as far as internal documents like how you're how you're spending you want to see the the reason that you have a fundraising goal ride as you want to recognize that the fundraising team spending their time what they're supposed to be doing and we know that we need to get to these numbers so whether or not what you include that one hundred dollars like you're going to have to spend time technically may be getting that hundred dollars from that donor of applying. Maybe you put that in part of the art of the goal interesting yeah so so i'm curious to know from from a staff standpoint. I mean it's so it's so there's really not from what i here. You say i mean it. It truly isn't like a problem of internal reconciliation. It's just two different right if it is it's because somebody's making it that but hey you like they need to at and again. We've talked about this <hes> recently but the development the system where the money goes in for fundraising and the system that the financial statements are generated from are almost always is different and if they're not different. They're not that good right so there's not a you know if you're using quick books. There's no easy way to keep track of pledge payments and all that kind of stuff in quick but you can do it but it's a drag doc and like understanding that they're all in the same system if that's the same system that your budget is spitting out of them that information needs to be coherent it all needs to be connected and coherent but but that doesn't mean that's what you have to necessarily us for goal setting. So how do you do from like okay. This is a worse case scenario but it's happened and we sadly no of you and i both know of instances where this has happened. Donor makes a pledge. Whatever connie has every intent of paying you so much. Every year economy crashes. They don't fulfill their pledge. How does that impact the finance side and then from a fundraising side. I mean to me. It feels like it's a conversation of well well. You can't put that obviously you can't show that as a success marker of your activity that year and yet it wasn't your fault like there's a difference between i didn't steward that donor. I feel i mean those are two different. Questions like donate bad investment decisions not my fault onus off meet like oregon lake. That's not on my back but it's kind of like i was just sitting there thinking from a finance perspective what happens then from like a pledge like that is not fulfilled so so warning saying this is accounting so go ahead. If you've got a skip button on your podcast player go ahead. I'm gonna give i'm going to do this in sixty seconds so hit the skip button twice since you get thirty seconds thirty seconds on remark that go okay for those of you that are still with us. What happens when you book a pledge book corresponding receivable which is like somebody owes you money all right so you're keeping track of the money that that person you so and then you have to do other complicated stuff because of the time value of money you have to actually discount it because one hundred dollars. This year is worth more than one hundred dollars next year. We'll be inflation and that kind of stuff right so so that's gotta be booked as well so if somebody skips a pledge payment you have to determine whether or not the pledges at risk so if the if you don't think they're going to pay it if you think they're gonna completely not pay that's a write off and so you end up writing it off and that hits the expenses because the revenue hit two years ago whenever whenever the college it you have to you'll book a write off in the year that you recognize that it's been written off in that hits an expense line and it makes your revenue or your your your net for the go down. Okay okay so if in most cases what happens with owners is that you you will have a conversation with him and be like we just like like. I still want to give you the money. Can we he. Can we extend the pledge playmate. Can i give you less this year and then when it gets better. I'll give you a little bit more. You just basically changed the you change the pledge schedule and as far as the financial statements go that doesn't make any difference. You're gonna squeeze the pledge schedule that may make your time value of money calculation a little different for the most part that's but in general they're either gonna write it off or you're gonna gonna do some calculations to you know we we saw that during the recession we saw a bunch of so a whole bunch of money that had been donated and they were like <hes>. It's not gonna work out the way we thought it was gonna workout so and i don't think i don't think i saw anybody not pay their pledges but we did see some pledges get extended from that. We're five years turned into tenure pledges. It's absolutely welcome back everybody else done. I love your finance brain and i am so glad i don't do that. I get some wondering if that actually that was a fun digression but did that actually answer the question because they're they're they are two different things and they don't have to be the same. They don't necessarily surly have to be reconciled and may be more work to have to put together a budget but but like so the recession question actually puts puts a that's a good reason to have of those pledges count in the fundraising. You know because you want to make sure that your stuart thing especially if that's a big dollar amounts to make sure that the executive director is like aware this person donated a million dollars over five years. That's twenty thousand dollars. You need to go to lunch with that person or make sure that they get in the building have conversation so that doesn't fall off your radar right. 'cause i could totally see him. You wear my brain went with this question. Is i was thinking yeah so if you're not a true professional and you're like cool score. Check that off. The sheet. I got credit had it for this million dollar pledge because it was booked financially as a pledge. I don't have to do anything else like what easy coast like. That was a great year for me. That made maala great that year what it got booked financially like there's no incentive than if there is another tracking system going on in development or like you know sort of showing how you're moving toward collecting on. I'm not pledge. There's no other incentive to keep doing that. I am a board member of a small nonprofit and we are putting on our first ever fundraising event. I'm hoping you can share some ideas to make are silent auction successful as possible. Is there anything we can do to make our silent auction. Stand out from others anything we should avoid oh. My first first reaction is oh. God not another silent auction <hes> all right so i know i should be saying congratulations yeah. You're silent silent auction. I just know how many hours of work it takes and sometimes for really small returns to just manage your expectations around this right. I mean if you can get volunteers if you as a board member can have a little committee that just focuses on silent auction in every detail of it. I mean everything from who you're going going after to how you mix it up how you create packages right like you. Don't want these one off items that are like okay. That's random. Oh there's this computer that's silent auction item and oh. There's this spa service like. How do you package it right in a way that if you think about when you go and buy things right think about because it truly is like a sales mentality when you go and buy things. Do you like things package like grits like oh. I got everything i need for my cool movie night right so i think some of this is it's just really being thoughtful. Super detailed have super detail oriented people right who can track everything from you know how much it ended up selling four or like thank you know every piece of the silent auction process having the right number of items matters right like sort of the rule of thumb is like one item for every four or guests so so sort of keeping that in the back of your head and i think some mission i mean here's the thing i would say so no not to be disrespectful. Oh but there's very few silent auctions. I go to where i'm like. Wow that's something new. I mean it's it's very much a similar feeling each one. Would you agree agree. My reaction to the question is like. I don't know that i would want my silent action to silent auction to stand out. I want my silent auction to make the most money exactly yeah. Let's let's let's be honest here yeah. How do we make make the most money because you can stand out by like look nothing sold and you know okay so i'm going to go off a little bit more on this because i also think that you see groups that don't minimum bid amounts rate that are too high or or that are so low that you know you've started nowhere so there is that there is an art and science to this and then you can talk to other organizations. I think packaging even display like a visual merchandiser like if you have someone that is good at display it makes all the difference even with online silent auctions now. They're still the table where you can look at it and people who ooh that looks enticing package the right way so you think that makes a difference. Stay away from like service kind of stuff like oh good estate planning planning photography services like those kinds of things don't work our jewelry or personal preferences that generally don't sell well like you know packages that are like travel. We'll packages or there's a new kind of new attraction in town or or like a restaurant dining thing. Whatever like that kind of stuff always does tends to do better at these kinds of things and then the big thing i would say is make this about. There's a couple of small organizations work for that. You know we're kind of like they were looking at the audience that i was gonna come to their event and they didn't want to out price like you can't have items that are going to be so fancy like let's think about your your demographic rate right because if you have super super fancy items and like starting bid is beyond most of these people's ability like that's kind of like let's be real. The silent auction is a way to make people feel like a a are helping and contributing suit figure out who's in your audience rate and have packages around that and i also think it's also like my other thought thought related to. This is just that <hes> i just. I just think that you really want to if there's anything you can offer with your mission shen so that's a mission package where you'll see okay. This silent auctions sheet is actually more of like anyone who puts an amount on here like a minimum of twenty bucks basically is going to help us purchase. These kinds of services for one of our individuals or like is going to help us provide like this new. Whatever <hes> you know like i'm just thinking about if it's even like one counseling session or three meals right for for for somebody like that also super cool away right lots of what makes i actually think i'm 'cause most people go into the stuff. I don't need another package. I'm not gonna use her. I'm gonna forget about right. I'm going to bet on it. How many of us have done that bit on it when it and then forget about it and expires so like figure out how you can do some mission stuff like within their that's where i think you could really stand out that idea. That's good so i'm gonna go with <hes> things that you shouldn't do things you should avoid okay never ever take items on contingency so if you go to someplace like a pawn shop or whatever they'll give you some jewelry and they'll say you can you can put this in your silent auction provided that you get to some base level right and that you're actually buying it from them. You're actually you're paying for it from the place so it's not an actual donation. Don't do that number. One don't do any puppies. That's just rude yes. I don't wanna talk to you something. You're supposed to plan for something. You're supposed to get after you've itsel wrong for glasses trafficking animals off aw awful make sure that you're you understand the accounting rules about fair market value and what you are allowed to tell the donors about what their charitable gift is so the rule is if the fair market value if the price they pay for it is less than for market value. There's no charitable deduction and you need to make sure that the paperwork they get the receipt that they get is very specific on that point 'cause you're auditors will come after you on that one so those those are my three doubts. Okay some do's and don'ts three you. Don't i am searching for a position in the social social services sector and i'm wondering if there is a protocol or best practice for appropriate attire. I may be over thinking this but i fear that if i overdressed yes i may come across as ostentatious or like i'm not able to connect with the client's organization serves complicating this further. I'm a recent college grad and just us don't have fancy clothes yet. That's part of why. I need a job any thoughts or suggestions. I guess so i think this this i don't know i love to hear what stacey thinks on this. I think from my perspective is a person that hires. I expect you to walk in looking professional like don't look like clown. Don't walk in a tuxedo. He clearly like the wrong thing but like you know if if you recognize that that a job interview is really your opportunity to sort of sort of show like your best self so like think think about what you would wear if you're going to a board meeting even if you're not normally going to be into a board meeting as sort of a level of professionals in the people expect i mean and you're going to be you know ninety ninety nine percent of the time. You're going to be dressed better than the person who's interviewing because they're going to be in the you'll get to see. I think different questions like what do i wear to work every day and that's like what everybody else right so the but but in when you're coming of a job interview it's a really weird artificial situation already so i'd say just be you know look doc. Look your best if you know. I don't know that you need to go buy fancy clothes and again answering this as a dude right who who for me like a suit is a suit and and like it doesn't have to be fancy as long as it fits. You know as long as you're tied. He doesn't like totally crowd clashed with your shirt. You're probably okay but then again you know that's not as a hiring manager. That's not necessarily what i'm looking for but there may be in the back of my mind if you walk in with a t shirt under a blazer. I may wonder right right right yeah. I think there's a fine line of i am totally in agreement about professional. I don't think it needs to be i think there is professional <hes> <hes> without being formal and fancy or without being fancy. I think you need to walk when you walk in that room and i see you. I want to see someone who spent some time preparing to make a good first impression booth that comes with not only your resume and cover letter but how you look so oh doesn't mean fancy but it means someone that like put themselves together ray so i just want whether it's slacks and a blouse for a woman or just stowe sort of a nice business dress or it doesn't have to even be a suit. It just needs to be something that looks professional and you know. There's some i'm cool. I mean i'm sure you know this. This may have already crossed <hes> the person who wrote this question in their mind but you know there's some cool you know thrift shops in goodwill's unlike cool things where you can find some great things that don't cost a lot but i think it is worth taking that step that you walk in and i go yeah. They didn't just throw themselves together. I wanna see you care terror like you cared enough right so i think that's it and then i think sometimes depending on the position. There's two interviews right. I think that i that i and translate it would be. I'd rather err on the side of over dressing that under addressing and then. I think you look at people who were interviewing. You're the one person who's interviewing reviewing you and what they wear and i think if you come back for a second interview you can do a little not completely but a little bit of matching and mirroring your attire to that person for the second interview and let me tell you is say the sandy so the other day i have a friend who recently got a pretty high level position and organization organization and what she was sharing the story with me she came in dressed to the hill for this position and as she should have right but after after the second or third interview the person hiring her said you're going to scare off everybody if you dress like that like when you come to this job and she took like note of that she's like okay. That's fair and i get it and she's like yeah. I don't want to be that person. That staff can't connect to. I don't wanna be that person that potential clients can't connect to so i think there is something to be said about thinking about the kind of organization the culture maybe getting a sense of you know there's organizations and nonprofits where you see people dress super formal and that's sort of their culture and for them i say dress as like if you do research beforehand and come into that meeting like dressed to show you can fit into that great <hes> but i also think there can be a risk if you continued on the interview process and you don't start art to kind of slowly modify what you're doing to match the culture and the sort of internal expectations of that organization position you can get a sense of that pretty quickly after an interview or two so i say like it doesn't mean dressed down but it means be cognizant of what message you're sending sounds like so. How much work stacey does it does. Well people like me like think about this kind of stuff so i appreciate this question it does. You're like god really don't have to think that much. It may be a way boys dress in the way girl stress might be a little bit different like a suit. My thing would be like did is this the pseudo where last time i want to wear the same suit and tie insure combination twice in a row is that looks like that's the only one i have honestly. That's the only that's the only thought i have a so you know. There's a there's a i was in review process a few years ago and i have to just laugh because it was all women and one there's five of us and the interview panel final four women one guy and i felt like i made me realize how much people pay attention the woman every woman that walked in for that interview when they left the women were all checking out her shoes and her handbag and literally were making comments not that they're going to hire her for that but saying wow really like her style. Those are cool shoes. It's it's just funny. It's funny how things can influence people subconsciously consciously whatever it is so i know anti it's tortured you to think of all that thought thought. Maybe it's easier for boys. I think speaking from a female perspective. I'm gonna make sure i'm not trusting with like shirt. That's too tight or that showing cleavage inch or or showing too much leg because that right there is like i don't know it's red flags lower so i just think there's maybe maybe women have to be a little more sensitive to this edano so okay so what i want to see this. If you're listening and you thought this was interesting. I'd like you to send in the following question. Should we hire for cultural fit fleas. Send us that question as i think that's that's the continuation of question and i think that that was what we rational okay before you hit the next button or closed the podcast window or whatever it is that you're doing to make this go away. I have a request so coming up stacey now. I want to do some more episodes with basic questions so we've been talking to people in one of the questions that we get from people say how. How do you like the podcast. What can we do better in one of the things that we hear is a lot of these questions seem to be very technical and complicated and are for big nonprofits or non profits that have big challenges and complications so what we would love to do is at some point put together a bunch of questions that are sort of like nonprofit one. Oh one level questions so what i would like you to do is ah make a note in your brain. Tell siri do something get figure out a basic non cloud nonprofit question that you can shoot over to us so that we can answer that and we would love to do a podcast or even a series of podcasts specifically on basic nonprofit questions so do that or if you just have a question that maybe this podcast made you wonder i'm go ahead and send that to us to thanks again to the alliance for nevada nonprofits there the producer of this podcast or the ones that make it possible if you're not a member of an please go join if your organization is not a member of an hassle the person you think is responsible the person with the credit card that does that kind of thing just bother them say hey how come we're not an members and and they will just yeah and the reason and you wanna be in a member is that an is what makes podcasts possible so there are lots of ways you can support us. You can share this episode. You can high five stacey and i we like that you can join an. Dan is a really good way to support the podcast. You can send us questions all of those kinds of podcast. He things so. Please do that and we will see you in a couple of weeks the phone uh-huh <music> take.