Software for non profit agencies

People donate their money to non profit organizations so it benefits the cause they are interested in. They spend a lot of time researching the various charities and their track records before taking a decision. One of the key considerations in rating a charity is the ratio of the administrative expenses to the total funds raised. If a large percentage of the funds are used for just the organizational expenses of the non profit, it might find it difficult to raise funds  in the future. So it important to use a suitable Nonprofit Fund Accounting Software to accurately track the funds available and expenses and take appropriate decisions.

Non-profit agencies get a large proportion of their funds from their donors and it is important to use a Fund Raising software which can help them manage the entire fund raising process, from sending mailers to their donors to analyzing the results of an advertising campaign. Depending on the size of the organization, the non-profit can choose the Sage 50, Sage 100 or Kintera Sphere  On Line Solution.

Most accounting software available are developed for commercial entities whose goals differ very significantly from those of non-profit organizations. By using a fund accounting software developed for non-profits, the organization can closely track expenses and take appropriate measures. Sage MIP Fund Accounting, FundWare and Microsoft Serenic Navigator are some of the accounting software available.

Online education

During the current recession, as jobs are scarce, it is important to keep your skills updated so that you can fully utilize the limited resources available. If you have sufficient savings, you can take a sabbatical from your work and attend classes in a college. Working professional can add to their qualifications by getting an online IT degree from Regis University. The course work can be done as per the students convenience after considering their other commitments. Specializations include Business Technology Management, Computer Information Systems, Computer Networking and Computer Science.

A Masters degree in Business Administration gives the individual an overview of how businesses work and improve his or her career prospects. Regis University offers an online MBA course which can be completed in less than two years by the student. However, considering that many of the students are working professionals, there is a lot of flexibility in the schedule and they may take up to 6 years to complete the coursework.

Today many of the richest people in the United States have pledged a large portion of their wealth to charities increasing the demand for well qualified personnel for non profit management. Regis university offers both degree and certificate courses in Non profit management which can be completed online. These qualifications are useful for decision makers in a charity or individuals interested in starting their own charity.

Selecting a charity

While selecting a charity to make donations to or for getting assistance , it is important to find out how efficiently it is run. In some charities, a large portion of the money donated is used for funding the administrative expenses like salaries or for promotional activities. Some of the websites where you can track the performance of a charity are:

www.charitywatch.org (The American Institute of Philanthrophy) – rates charities based on how efficiently they use their funds. The charities rated A to A- must use more than 75% of the money they raise on programs.

www.charitynavigator.org – considered one of America’s largest independent evaluator of charities and has more than 5000 charities listed. However, they do not evaluate many Christian charities, since they do not file a tax form. After considering their organizational efficiency and capacity charities are assigned a star rating. Income statements which includes revenues and expenses of the charity are listed. Registration allows users to compare charities.

Finding charities – I

Guidestar allows you to search for nonprofits by organization name and searching for key personnel. It has information on more than 1.7 million non-profit organizations worldwide. Visitors can access a list of the top 400 viewed nonprofits , with company profile , website and other information without registering.

Basic membership of  Guidestar is free and allows donor to find out whether a contribution will be tax deductible, to view a nonprofit’s recent Forms 990, or find out more about its mission, programs, and finances.

A premium membership of Guidestar is also available for professional users like financial firms and philanthropic foundations . The user friendly tool allows users to analyse the various charities.

Assistance in getting a job

Many job providers have a very stringent criteria for selecting employees – they should be young, fluent in a language, have a college degree, good credit record and no criminal history. If an individual does not meet these criteria, they are often not even given a chance to appear for an interview.

Goodwill industries helps unemployed who are otherwise at a disadvantage to get a job. These include people with disabilities, people who do not have experience or handicapped in some way.  Goodwill Industries, which was founded in 1902, is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world today.  It includes a network of 184 independent organizations in USA, Canada and other countries.

The education and job training services offered by Goodwill are funded to a large extent by donations of clothing and household goods by families. These items are then auctioned off.   Some revenues are also earned by providing contract labor for filling in labor shortages in government departments and large companies.

Salvation Army

The Salvation army helps a large number of people in the United States with rent, power bills, food, Christmas gifts. In case of natural disasters like hurricanes or floods, the Salvation Army is usually the first organization to provide assistance to the affected people.

The Salvation Army usually has a local office in most town or cities. The address is usually available in the local yellow pages. If you cannot find it, you can go to the United Way who are the connecting place for a lot of community organizations

Like any other non profit organization formed to help the community, they have expenses and they should have adequate funds to pay them off. With increasing prices, suppliers and service providers are no longer willing to sell products and provide services for free.

They raise funds by taking in donations from people who wish to help the Salvation Army and sell these to interested buyers. The prices they get for the donated goods may be lower than the market rate, but are often adequate. The funds are used for making payroll, utilities, rent payments and to keep the food pantry going.