Category Archives: Business Features

How to Spot Financial Fraud in a Nonprofit

“We all want to believe that nonprofit corporations are full of hard-working people committed to improving society—and most are. But even the most well-meaning nonprofits can get into financial hot water.

Unfortunately the temptation to cover up financial problems can be particularly seductive for nonprofit managers.

For starters, nonprofits are only required by federal law to report discrepancies of more than $250,000, or over 5 percent of an organization’s annual gross receipts or total assets.

By the time a nonprofit is that far into the weeds, the impulse to cover up the problem—versus coming clean and risking losing millions from spooked donors—can be overwhelming.

A shocking Washington Post investigative piece published October 26, 2013 discovered that from 2008 to 2012 over 1,000 nonprofit organizations had indicated on their federal disclosures that they had discovered a “significant diversion” of assets. These were losses attributed to theft, investment fraud, embezzlement and other unauthorized uses of funds.

Perhaps the most well known example of this came at the hands of Bernie Madoff. When nonprofit organizations like Yeshiva University and Hadassah, both of whom lost significant funds invested with the Ponzi scheme, but fraud also commonly includes simple mismanagement and even stealing.”

Read the full post here.

8 Tips for Dominating Online Sales

“In the last decade, online shopping has grown from a convenience to a necessity. Before the internet, shopping involved a process of getting ready, driving through traffic and navigating through a crowded retail store that may or may not have the necessary item. The digital age has changed everything about shopping. Now, shoppers don’t even need to get out of bed to get the items they want.

Shoppers today have the ability to look for any sort of item they want while comparing pricing and quality across a wide range of sources. There are a number of different tools that allow them to find the best deals. For example, Dropio is an app that notifies the user when the best available price of an item drops so they can lock in an order at the perfect time. With an infinite supply of online retailers, it can be stressful and time consuming to get your products or services to sell. Whether you are trying to sell one item or a thousand, there are a number of easy steps to take that will increase sales.

1. Know your target market
Knowing your brand’s audience is the most important ingredient to achieve success in any aspect of business. Different generations have different ways in which they absorb information. Gearing your online shopping options to the right demographic is key to driving digital sales. For example, millennials tend to gravitate towards more visual content when shopping whereas older generations typically prefer more informational, text based content. Consider your product and to whom it appeals. Then research their buying habits and figure out the best strategy to use on the website.

Read the full post here.

Employee Salary Benefits in NGOs

“Salary Benefits
(a) Bonus

All employees shall receive an annual bonus equal to one month’s basic salary. Bonus will be included in the monthly salary payment of the month preceding the festival.

However, new staff on will not receive any annual bonus until the completion of the six-month probationary period.

(b) Provident Fund

All regular employees are expected to set aside 10% of monthly pay to his/her provident fund. NGO will contribute the same amount on monthly basis. Both the employee’s and NGO’s contributions are deposited in a savings account under the employee’s name. The provident fund can only be withdrawn upon the employee’s resignation from NGO.

1.4.3 Compensation against Accident of the staff during Service

In the event that the staff succumbs to an accident while working for NGO, i.e. during the office hours or during field trips, he/she is entitled to receive compensation amounting to a maximum of two-month salary of the individual to cover the medical expenses.”

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5 Essential Steps to a Great Job

There are five essential steps to a great job, provided one is willing to do some hard work; shortcuts reduce chances. The following tips are for those who want to stay in the same field. For those who want to change fields or who have no idea what they want to do in the future, there are other steps; and for those career changers, most of these steps are still applicable. The five steps are:

1. Self-appraisal
People who find themselves in transition and are ready to go back to work have a good opportunity to do a self-appraisal. The exercise will pivot the skills and personal attributes that they want to use and sell to a future employer. There are a number of such self-appraisal tests that have been around for a long time and have proved worthwhile — for example, Myers–Briggs, DiSC, Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II, Career Insights and StrengthsFinder.

2. Development of marketing collateral
The first things every job seeker must have are an outstanding résumé and an exceptional LinkedIn profile. Notice that I said outstanding and not good or very good. The reason is that because of the vast supply of mostly mediocre résumés and profiles, only outstanding marketing collateral is competitive. My strongest opinion is to have these documents created professionally by a certified and recommended party. Why, you ask? (a) Because you are in fierce competition with others who are also very good at what they do. (b) Because writing a résumé and a LinkedIn profile is part of a profession that requires rigorous training, top skills, longtime experience and full understanding of the requirements of applicant tracking systems — the software that most medium-size and large companies use to parse résumés. And (c) because poor marketing collateral generates no traction and wastes time. Once a résumé and LinkedIn profile have been done, they’ll still need periodic tweaking. Make sure they contain the right keywords. You can research keywords via Google AdWords and check out your competition’s keywords via LinkedIn.

Read the full post here.

25 Creative Spring Fundraising Ideas

“Outside of the year-end fundraising season, the month of April generates the highest donation volume, according to 2015 Classy data. To prepare yourself for a stellar spring, we’ve compiled creative fundraising ideas to help you make the most of this lucrative time of year.

1. Spring Cleaning Garage Sale
Ask supporters to donate items to your organization’s “garage sale” that they’d ordinarily give away or sell. Set up shop at your office or a well-trafficked public space, and sell items in exchange for donations.

2. March Madness Open House
An estimated 40 million Americans create March Madness brackets. Invite your community to join you at your office or a venue for a college basketball game screening. Have people donate to enter, and you can use the game as an opportunity to meet supporters face to face.

3. Fashion Show
The fashion industry follows the same cycle as the seasons, and spring is a great time to embrace “new.” Host a fashion show and partner with local vendors, recruit volunteers for models, and charge for entry. You can even have each model create peer-to-peer fundraising pages and compete against each other for a prize.”

Read the full post here.

5 Innovative Ways to Automate Sales Processes

“B2B companies of all sizes have discovered how sales automation programs can make tasks more efficient and effective. However, there’s still room to get additional value out of your own investment in sales automation techniques.

Here are several unique ways to expand your automation strategy in 2017, to improve your sales processes for both your customers and sales professionals.

Maximize upsell/referral opportunities through post-sale correspondence.
B2B-focused organizations can learn a lot from their B2C counterparts: For instance, innovative companies like Amazon are often able to increase their upselling and cross-selling opportunities by employing sophisticated algorithms to recommend additional products for returning customers.

It’s a remarkably simple idea, even if it’s based on the analysis of complex data: Find new ways to add value to your customers’ lives while simultaneously encouraging them to buy more. During the first quarter that the system was in place, Amazon reported a 29 percent revenue increase over the same period the year before.”

Read the full post here.

5 Tips on Calculating Business Expenses

If you own a small business, you know that the Canada Revenue Agency (or the equivalent government organization in your country) requires you to not only record your income and expenses but also puts you in charge of the nitty-gritty of reporting all of that information correctly to them. This means not only do you have to educate yourself with the dos and don’ts but also ensure that you’re doing the calculations correctly. Reporting incorrect income and expenses, even if it’s unintentional, can result in hefty fines.

Figuring out how much money your business makes can be simple but calculating business-related expenses not so much! We want to help you with that so we have come up with five tips to record and report business expenses properly so that you can receive the highest tax return possible.

1. Estimate your income and plan a budget.
Whether it’s investing in the right hardware and software for your business or setting up an expense tool like Concur, planning ahead of time can make all the difference. When you’re well prepared to handle your tax-related responsibilities like saving invoices and tracking expenses, tax season can be a time to look forward to, not one to tread.

2. Report your cellphone and internet services.
Both these services require a device to operate so you’d have to calculate them separately from their hardware. Divide the usage of both services between personal and professional. Let’s say you use your cellphone and internet service forty percent for personal use, you can claim 60% of the costs against your business income. Calculating the hardware is a different story altogether. Your cellphone and computer would fall under Capital Cost Allowance where you claim a certain amount of depreciation on these devices per year. This applies to all services you’ve signed up for such as banking, bookkeeping service like quickbooks, and industry-specific services such as Smartsheet or Hootsuite, etc.

3. Report your office expenses.
This can be done in two different ways depending on your office is. If you’re running your small business from your home, you can claim part of your rent and utilities. If you’ve rented or purchased your office space, you can claim the entire amount against your business income. In addition to the space itself, you can report the furniture and tools you buy for your office.

4. Report your advertising costs.
This expense is not limited to traditional advertising costs like airing an ad on TV or displaying an on a section of the newspaper. Today, the marketing landscape is ever-changing so much so that the cost of running a social media account like a Facebook business page can be considered advertising (lots of businesses even invest in Snapchat).

5. Track your business meals.
Are you going out with a business associate to discuss an upcoming project? Are you buying your clients a meal? If you keep a copy of these meals’ receipts, you can potentially report their cost as an expense against your early income. This category of expense can be frequent so it’s best to keep your invoices organized and numbers punched in periodically.

Bonus Tip:

You can view the full list of business expenses listed by Canada Revenue Agency through the link below:

Importance of Financial Management for NGOs

“As a NGO you might be thinking your primary task is to work towards social service and not financial management. But unless your finances and funds are sorted, you cannot achieve your objectives. The primary significance of financial planning and management in NGOs lies in achieving its overall goals and objectives. Here are some points indicating the importance of financial management for an NGO.

Being accountable to the donors: Most NGOs rely completely on funding and therefore having proper accounting systems in place becomes all the more important. As a NGO you need to be accountable to the donor agencies and individuals who support your cause. With proper systems in place you can keep track of your expenditures and submit timely reports to them. This would lead to enhanced trust between you and the donor, thereby increasing the chances of your NGO getting a continuous support from them. With limited funding it is important for an NGO to manage all the funds in a careful manner. Furthermore, proper finance systems will also help the NGO maintain financial reports and showcase their entire spending to the regulatory bodies as per the agreed terms.”

Read the full post here.

How Smart People Handle Difficult People

“Difficult people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus — an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success — when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organization needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.”

Read the full post here.

15 Reason Competitive Sports Are Great For Kids

“To compete or not to compete? That really is a question when it comes to youth sports.

Why should kids compete? Is competition good for them? Is it necessary to get them prepared for their grown-up lives?

I don’t think that competition is either good or bad. It just is. Rather it is how we think about it and cope with it makes it good or bad. How much we stress the importance of competition that gives it a larger space in our lives than it deserves. And, when we place winning as the most important objective of youth sports, then competition is toxic.

I also don’t ascribe to the belief that competition sets kids up to experience the “real world.” It’s been my experience that competition is not as prevalent in the “real” world as people deem it to be. Success is not a zero-sum game. There is plenty of room for more than one person, product or company to be considered successful and the truth is the “best” is often more subjective than objective. Besides, the most useful kind of competition that I’ve experienced in my life is the competition I have within myself to be the best version of myself that I can be. No one else needs to keep score for me to measure my progress.

All of that said, I whole-heartedly believe that there is a place for competition in the lives of kids, one that can teach them tremendous life lessons.”

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