"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
-- Benjamin Franklin
Add "e-mail scams" to Franklin's list. Fraudulent e-mails pop up with alarming regularity. Many claim to be from charities and target unsuspecting donors. Others purport to come from individuals charged with turning over a bequest or other large sum to charity. The first kind defrauds donors and damages the public trust's in the nonprofit sector; the second type bilks charitable organizations and can endanger their financial stability.
A user recently wrote to us about a variation on the Cashier Check Scam (described below) that is currently circulating through cyberspace and specifically targeting nonprofits. Our correspondent suggested that we alert Newsletter readers about the scam, noting, "Given the razor-thin margins that most non-profits operate in, a loss of only a small sum through this fraud—or even just a slackening of fundraising efforts because of 'all that money in the bank'—could cause bankruptcy."
It may seem hard to fundraise when there are so many pressing disasters in the world, but if your nonprofit has been actively engaged in cultivating donors, you may find that, rather than encountering donor fatigue, you receive an outpouring of compassion.
The recent disasters are waking people up to all the real need in the world, and many are feeling more generous than ever, even to local causes. Loyal donors don't slip away in a crisis. On the contrary, they seem to have a special "extra pocket" out of which they give for disaster relief in addition to their regular contributions to their favorite organizations.
A solid volunteer program can contribute greatly to a nonprofit organization's success and effectiveness. As Scott Winter of the Walker Art Center commented, "Volunteers can be a valuable asset to your work load and your bottom line." So what should a nonprofit organization consider when establishing a volunteer program?