January 31, 2023
Revitalizing the membership model
Local nonprofit leaders, survey respondents share opportunities and challenges facing membership-based nonprofits
by Shari Finnell, editor/writer, Not-for-profit News

No matter the nonprofit entity, numbers are traditionally used as a measure of success. How many people showed up at an event? How many email subscribers are on our list? How many donors have contributed to our cause? How many people are we serving?

In the case of some nonprofits, another critical measure of overall viability is the number of people they can count as members. These membership organizations operate by focusing on providing value to their membership community as well as supporting the causes they serve.  

The landscape has significantly changed since many membership organizations were founded decades ago, according to several local leaders, challenging them to find new ways to engage people who may not be familiar with organizations like the Rotary Club, and Kappa Delta Pi, and numerous foundations, fraternities, sororities, churches, and professional, charitable, and veterans’ associations. 

“There’s been a 20-year trend of associations and membership organizations trying to ensure they’re remaining relevant,” said Tonja Eagan, CEO of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an international honor society for educators that was founded in 1911. The organization’s headquarters are in Indianapolis.

Eagan said people who fall in the Millennials category have represented the most significant generational shift in attitudes about membership organizations. Before then, boomers and other previous generations had a deeper connection with membership organizations. “They have these long-standing traditions,” Eagan said. 

“Millennials, mainly because of the use of technology and different ways of communicating and socializing, did not find many of these long-standing traditions as relevant,” she added. “Now, people might say, ‘Why do I need to come to this association meeting when I can just set up a Facebook group?’”

However, Eagan said, new research is providing insights on how associations and membership organizations can effectively recruit and engage younger generations. 

As part of one of those studies, researchers with the 2022 Global Membership Health Study surveyed members, board of directors, and staff of 275 associations in 59 countries. The study revealed a significant gap in how board members and members perceived how their organizations were providing value and opportunities for engagement.

Do’s and don’ts in fundraising copy ℠
by BBB Wise Giving Alliance

One of the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability (Standard 15) calls for solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, to be accurate, truthful, and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Although the Give.org webpage on these standards provides access to detailed implementation guidance, we thought it would be helpful to share suggestions about how to avoid problems typically encountered by BBB Wise Giving Alliance staff conducting charity evaluations.

Accurate, truthful, and not misleading. Each of these terms represents a different issue. Accuracy generally refers to the facts and figures included in the appeal, such as the number of people helped, charity financial information and the number of people that are afflicted with a specified disease. Truthful refers to whether the charity says something that it knows not to be true, such as exaggerating the impact of its programs or the severity of a problem it seeks to address. Misleading is a situation where every statement used in an appeal may be technically accurate, but together, they may provide the potential donor with a misleading impression and/or may be omitting key facts.

Clarity of program descriptions. Charities should ensure that each appeal includes a clear description of the program(s) for which contributions ae sought. Sometimes just a sentence can provide an adequate explanation for potential contributors. Even renewal appears to previous donors should include program explanations. As donors usually contribute to a number of charities and not a single organization, one cannot assume they will recall what each organization seeks to accomplish. Also, a program description not only provides clarity but may help inspire a more generous response.

In terms of clarity, charities should make sure the program description is specific enough so that potential donors understand the organization’s activities. For example, a charity stating it is helping the homeless is not a clear description.
Episode 37: Join Bryan Orander for a quick overview and guidance on how your organization can participate in the 2023 Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey in February and get the report in early June. Bryan shares why Charitable Advisors hosts the salary survey and answers a few common questions about the survey process and results. We want to thank this year’s Nonprofit Salary Survey co-sponsors — VonLehman CPA & Advisors, National Bank of Indianapolis, NFP/First Person and Indy Collaboration on Neighborhoods. Contact Julie to share contact information for the person who will take the survey for your organization. Listen
IFF has promoted Amandula Anderson to executive director for the Indiana Region. Anderson previously was managing director of real estate solutions.
Indiana CPA Society has promoted Jenny Norris to CFO. Norris was previously vice president.
Indiana CPA Society has promoted Nichole Favors as vice president of member services. Favors previously was director of learning and collaboration.
Indiana CPA Society has promoted Jenna Whalen to membership manager. Whalen previously was senior associate of leadership and young pros.
United Way of Central Indiana has promoted Denise Luster to chief strategic intelligence officer. Luster previously was vice president of impact research and analytics.
The SpeakEasy has named Chelsea Marburger as executive director. Marburger previously was senior manager of entrepreneurial programming at Elevate Ventures.
Coburn Place has promoted Celeste Evers to director of supportive services. Evers previously was the well-being coordinator.
Coburn Place has promoted Aisha Easler to housing acquisition manager. Easler previously was housing coordinator.
Did your organization receive a link for the salary survey on Monday? Charitable Advisors officially launched the seventh biennial Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey. If you are unsure, contact Julie at Julie@CharitableAdvisors.com for your organization’s unique link. As a thanks for completing the survey, your organization will receive an early release of the comprehensive report in June instead of waiting until the traditional release date in September.

Lilly Endowment has awarded Eagle Creek Park Foundation a $2.6 million grant to fund numerous projects at Eagle Creek Park, including accessibility upgrades for the Pin Oak Trail near the Earth Discovery Center. The funds also will support further community program engagement and the development of a documentary about the park’s history.

The National Endowment for the Arts is awarding a total of $280,000 in grants to nonprofit arts organizations and cultural programming providers throughout Indiana. The funding is being awarded to 15 organizations as part of the NEA’s first round of fiscal 2023 grants. Read more

Indy Reads raised more than $100,000 from more than 450 donors and a $15,000 match from Julie and Joe Whitsett. Proceeds will be allocated to English literacy, high school equivalency, and workforce development programs during our end-of-year campaign.

Indianapolis-based Deeply Ingrained, formerly Socially Distant Woodworking, has been named Makers Grant recipient in the Stanley Black & Decker’s Global Impact Challenge for efforts to provide youth and underserved individuals with woodworking opportunities that develop creativity, learning, and skill-building.

Heartland Film has announced its headquarters are moving to The Sterrett Center, 8950 Otis Avenue, located on the Fort Ben Cultural Campus. Thanks to the generous support of Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, the local non-profit arts organization has renovated the center. Learn more

Hamilton County Community Foundation is now accepting grant applications through Feb. 28. Learn more and apply
Authentic stakeholder engagement & org impact is on Feb. 1 from 2- 3 p.m. Gain insights on how to effectively engage stakeholders as a nonprofit manager and or director, including prioritizing authentic stakeholder engagement in a timely manner. Presented by Nonprofit Hub. Cost: Free. Register

Butler University MBA program virtual open house on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. A brief overview of the program and a discussion about the career opportunities available with an MBA degree. Presented by Butler University. Cost: Free. Register

Navigating the current tides webinar is on Feb. 15 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Indiana Landmarks Center. Topics include accounting and auditing updates, identifying cost-efficiencies, and fraud and risk management, and taking a fresh look at the economy and related volatility. Presented by FORVIS. Cost: Free. Register

Women In leadership: Change leadership workshop on Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Compass Park, Franklin. Sessions focus on navigating personal change, working through change resistance, and tangible leadership actions for successful change. Presented by Leadership Johnson County. Cost: $115. Register

Leading remote and hybrid teams pre-recorded webinar. Learn how to navigate the changing workplace and how to implement effective leadership approaches for hybrid teams. Explore different communication and collaboration styles. Presented by the HR Nonprofit Peer Group. Cost: Free. Watch
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is seeking volunteers for various roles, including research assistant, education program assistant, tour docent, welcome center ambassador, special events assistant, and gardener. Learn more
Nonprofits likely first recovered from pandemic job losses in October 2022 and have added jobs since December 2022.
Engagement with board members’ communities and intentionally investing in relationships to further share a nonprofit mission are important ways to create opportunities for the organization.
Our sponsor marketplace serves to further connect our readers with our advertisers who are focused on serving nonprofits. To learn about each sponsor's nonprofit services, click on its logo.

Coworking memberships available
Looking for a coworking space for your nonprofit? Or a place to work remotely? Nexus is offering month-to-month memberships with free meeting room credits, high-speed internet, printing services, and coffee. Nexus members can engage with other individuals who are making a positive difference in the community. Open desk and dedicated desk options are available. Monthly memberships are $59 to $149. Learn more
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