Category Archives: Business Features

Hurricane Harvey: Where You Can Donate

“If you’re watching the reports of unprecedented rain and historic flooding unfolding in Texas from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, you might be wondering what you can do to help.

If you live in the Houston area, the sheriff’s office is asking for people with boats and vehicles that can handle high water to help with rescues.

For everyone else, one easy way to pitch in is to give money to one or more of the many charities involved with the response and recovery. Here are some suggestions and a little guidance if you’re not sure where to start.

This ProPublica article about giving after a disaster is worth reading in its entirety, but it makes a couple of key points to keep in mind:

Do your own research before giving to any group.
Groups with strong local ties to their community can sometimes be the best option.
You have a right to demand accountability of the groups you give to.”

Read the full post here.

Businesses Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

“Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category 4 storm on Friday. There are predictions that by the time the storm lifts, some areas could receive more than 50 inches of rain — Houston has already experienced more than two feet. There have been at least six reported casualties due to flooding.

1. Apple

The plan: When users go to iTunes, they will be presented with a button to donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or $200 to the American Red Cross.

What you can learn: You can build a social mission right into your technological platform. Apple is known for ease of use, and it applied those principles to its giving model.”

Access the full post here.

Market Your Nonprofit like Movies

Yes, you read that right! Marketing your non-profit like movies are will take your fundraising to the next level. Movies make a ton of money every year across the globe. Hollywood alone makes net profit of over thirty billion dollars a year. Analyze how the last movie you saw was marketed to see if there are any ideas that will click with you. Your marketing initiative will, of course, depend on the size of your organization and your budget constraints but rest assured that this technique will bring you the ROI you’re looking for.

Besides the star power that boosts a movie’s success, marketing plays a huge role in putting the movie in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Below is a chronological step by step process of how movies are marketed and how you can be inspired by the techniques to market your non-profit organization.

1. Initial Teasers
For your non-profit organization, sending out a teaser in a newsletter and spreading it across your social media pages will create anticipation for what’s coming. The teaser can be text-based but if you want to go all out consider making a video teaser. Within this step, you can also publish a first-look type of image that features various aspects of the cause you’re supporting without any description.

2. Series of Trailers
Just like movies push out trailer one, two and so on, you can create a series of trailers for your marketing campaign that caters to varying demographics. This is your chance to entice people into supporting your fundraising campaign so give them all the reasons they should not only give donations but also inspire them to take it upon themselves to promote your campaign to their circles of influence.

3. Press Releases, Conferences & Interviews
This requires a lot of involvement from your team: your salesperson, public relations manager, social media coordinator but most importantly the individual that is the face of your marketing campaign. For the United Nations, stars like Angelina Jolie are selected to be brand ambassadors so that they can embody the values of the organization as well as promote the features of your product or service.

4. Commercials, billboards and social media ads
All three of the above mediums can display video ads which happens to be the most effective to grab people’s attention. Commercials are slightly different from trailers because they are usually more compact.

5. Movie premier
Movie premiers are big events with a lot of media hype, great food and an after party. Hollywood stars dress up in their most lavish outfits and have fun while celebrating the work they have completed. If you can have a great gathering for the launch of the cause you’re endorsing and invite the who’s who of your industry.

6. Post release marketing
This is a great time to gauge how the campaign was received by your audiences so put your team to work to create surveys, make phone calls and set up interviews with your supporters as well as the prospects that didn’t end up committing to your cause. Find out the hits, misses and the opportunities so you can take the lessons learned to your next campaign.

7 Ways to Avoid Fundraising Burnout

“With fundraising, especially in the non-profit sector, there’s always more work than there is time. From courting potential donors to hours of grant writing, there are very few times a fundraiser’s job feels done. The amount of responsibilities mixed with our desire to help others and do a great job is a recipe for burnout. It is possible to avoid burnout by following some of these tips.

1) Take Time Off

Take your time off! Nothing helps rejuvenate us like having time away from work. This may almost seem like a foreign concept for the non-profit world, but trust me, it’s possible! The best, and most logical, times to take breaks are after fundraising events. You worked hard to plan that gala, festival, luncheon, etc. You went to every corner of the earth to recruit donors, vendors, sponsors, volunteers, attendees, etc. so reward yourself with a nice break.

While it may be tempting to get right back on the horse – don’t. You are usually provided with vacation time. Use these days. Non-profit fundraisers are notorious for working on their days off. One man I supervise planned on taking his laptop on his honeymoon. Just don’t do that. You may justify it by coming up with excuses like that you are only working for a few minutes, or that the organization really needs your help. Or maybe it’s that if you take time off all the work is just waiting for you when you come back and it will be overwhelming. Stop the excuses. Take your time off. The world and your employer will survive without you for a bit.”

Read the full post here.

15 Most Profitable Small-Business Industries

“While a number of small businesses flop in their first year, a safe way to help your new venture be a success is by tapping into the right industry.

From accounting to legal services to real estate — there are certain industries that tend to see higher profits than others. By analyzing net profit margins of privately held companies over the past 12 months, financial information company Sageworks sought to uncover exactly which industries are the most profitable.

For the second year in a row, accounting and tax services takes the cake for the most profitable industry. Real estate, legal services and management of companies and enterprises follows closely behind, also landing on the top of the list for most profitable types of small businesses.

“Many of the top performers are service industries in which certifications and education requirements are barriers to entry,” Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman said in a press release.”

Read the full post here.

Starting a Nonprofit

Group Of Business People Having Board Meeting Around Glass Table

“Welcome to our general subject guide to starting a charity or nonprofit organization in Canada. Here you will learn about some of the basic things to consider before you decide to start a nonprofit, as well as resources and tools to help you through the early stages of the process.

If you know of a resource that you think we should add to our collection, please send an email to with the details.

Initial Questions

The nonprofit sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in North America right now, and with almost 150,000 registered charities and nonprofits currently operating in Canada, it shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, as more and more organizations are added to the mix, groups must become increasingly creative in the planning and carrying out of their mission. Keeping this in mind, there are several questions that should be considered before you begin the process of starting your own nonprofit organization or charity.

Do you have a clear understanding of the problem or need you want to address? Is that need ongoing or short-term?”

Read the full post here.

5 Simple Upsells and Downsells That Drive Profit

“Would you like fries with that?

These are the iconic words every teenager who worked at McDonald’s in the late 80s and early 90s said to every customer. This was before value meals and back when everything was ordered à la carte. “Would you like fries with that” was also my first exposure to the power of upsells.

If you take a look around, upsells are everywhere. In grocery stores, they are the rack of candy bars and trashy magazines. In fast food places, they are the $1 sundaes. In high-end stores, they are the pair of socks to go with those shoes.

There is a reason that nearly every business uses upsells. It’s often the difference between profit and loss; the difference between success and failure. And while we are looking at upsells, we are also going to tackle the downsell, which you don’t see as often, but can put a ton of money into your bottom line.”

Read the full post here.

How to Run a Remote Startup Across Time Zones

Remote Team

Times have changed, and anyone with an eye on trends could have seen it coming. As the world went web-based, so did the traditional office space. A study by Global Workplace Analytics says, “Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 115 percent since 2005.”

Innovative communication tools have evolved to accommodate this new work force. There are tools, apps and programs galore to reconcile time zone differences, connect people virtually and back up the promises of increased productivity.

But, remote teams face challenges, too, and it’s easy for them to fall apart without the right supports in place. If you are considering a remote startup, here is some advice on how to set up for success.”

Read the full post here.

Five Productivity Tips for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, the success of your business lies solely on your shoulders. You not only need to manage your resources wisely but also ensure that your team members are efficient as well. To make productivity a key part of your company’s culture, it’s important to lay out your expectations for yourself and your team and monitor results periodically.

Here are five ways you and your team can become more productive.

1. Create email rules.
Imagine you’re working on an important document and your email keeps buzzing every few minutes. How much does that distraction cost you in time and the quality of work you do? Consider setting specific hours for emails and communicate that with your team members so they know what to expect of you as well as of each other. Communication is healthy so long as it doesn’t hamper productivity.

2. Set up morning huddles.
Meeting for just 15 minutes at the start of the shift can go a long way. Not only is this a great opportunity for team bonding but it also helps to communicate the daily goals, discuss issues and answer queries. Having each member take turns in managing the discussion will ensure your team feels that their voices are being heard and ideas seriously considered.

3. Create to-do lists.
It helps to use tools such as Google Calendar and Reminder to create to-do lists and collaborate with team members by sharing expectations and meeting periodically to check progress. Each time you check off an item from your to-do list, it creates a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Use this positive feedback cycle to keep yourself going throughout the day.

4. Prioritize.
Ask yourself: If you could only accomplish one task today, what would it be? When you know what’s the first priority of the day, work on it as though there is nothing else to do. Once you’ve completed the task, ask yourself the same question again and repeat the process. Remember, multi-tasking used to be considered a golden method of getting many tasks done simultaneously. However, recent studies have suggested that multi-tasking is not the most efficient way of getting work done.

5. Be flexible.
Striving for high levels of productivity shouldn’t make you overlook the human factor in the business you run. There will be times when you might not feel your best and the same goes for your team members. Being the boss doesn’t mean you have to be stiff and strict. There are many successful leaders today that work with the attitude of rolling with the punches.

Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50

“Philanthropy is dead. Long live philanthropy.

The days are long gone when donors sent nickels, dimes and quarters in envelopes provided by charities in support of mission. And, in general, donors didn’t ask very many questions about how the money was spent.

Also gone are the days when transparency, accountability and data were quaint ideas about how a nonprofit should be operated.

Nonprofit executives must have the acumen to understand what data means and have the ability to pivot. Partnerships are now sought, as need grows exponentially and traditional sources of funding are evaporating. Say good-bye to federal block grants and other forms of contracting with federal and state governments.

It’s no longer philanthropy. It’s social good and that often involves profit for organizations and in some cases “donors.” Impact investing and social impact bonds got off to a slow start but are now accelerating as viable funding sources. Social entrepreneurs are developing new revenue streams and are becoming integral elements of the development process.”

Read the full post here.