Our hearts are heavy as we all watch the disasters unfolding in Afghanistan and Haiti. Closer to home, we see the destruction from the approximately 1,000 active wildfires raging across the West. And, with a sense of déjà vu, we observe the coronavirus resurge as the delta variant spreads rapidly throughout the country. In the midst of these and other crises, people are coming together through nonprofits – as employees and volunteers – trying to help as many people as they can. It is impossible to call out every nonprofit making a difference in the face of these disasters. But it is possible to acknowledge that while we may never see or hear about your specific acts serving others, we’re all grateful. To each and every one of you, we say thank you.
In this month’s edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly, we cover a vitally important survey from the Federal Reserve, what nonprofit fundraisers need to know about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the latest in our series on cybersecurity actions nonprofits can take. As always, we welcome your feedback so we can continue to bring you resources your nonprofit can use.
Brief Survey. BIG Impact for Nonprofits!
How can nonprofits spotlight dangerous trends for all to see? If we want foundations, the donating public, and policymakers to support our work in local communities, then we need them to know about emerging problems. For instance, the delta variant, fueling the pandemic’s second-highest sustained spike of new infections and overwhelming hospitals again in too many states, is also destroying the plans of many nonprofits to resume the long-delayed in-person fundraising events on which they rely. Similarly, extended unemployment benefits are quickly coming to an end, as are eviction moratoriums, meaning that more people will be turning to nonprofits for help – at about the same time that the organizational relief funds nonprofits received over the last year are running out. Do that math: fewer resources to operate, plus higher demands for services, which increases costs to meet the higher demands. That formula adds up to unsustainable organizations that might not be around to help the people depending on them. Nonprofits need quality data to spotlight so that others can see what is happening, both in your state and nationwide.
To that end, we are partnering with the Federal Reserve on a special survey, and we ask and encourage you to assist. The survey results will help us all inform the public, foundations, and policymakers at every level of government about the continuing challenges over the past 18 months that require further relief. Survey data released by a governmental entity carries added weight and credibility when demonstrating community needs. So, completing the survey can help everyone.
Your experience and insights are important. Even if you’ve previously filled out surveys about the pandemic’s effects, this one is critical to making sure nonprofits continue to get the help we need. Please take 15 minutes to complete the survey today to help inform equitable recovery programs and policies. Deadline: Tuesday, August 24.
After you take the survey, we encourage you to share the link with other nonprofits you know so we can help create the most complete picture possible. Thank you.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) – What Do Fundraisers Need to Know?
Many of our readers know that our basic approach to fundraising is “Have a plan, work the plan, improve the plan.” In other words, stick to fundamentals, focus on your nonprofit’s revenue strengths, and be patient and persistent in developing the strategy. Though we may be old-school about fundamentals, we do like to stay abreast of trends and new ideas on the horizon. We wrote a little bit about cryptocurrency in 2019, and it’s still relevant. This month, we’re sharing an article that Sid Davis originally wrote for GrantStation about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Sid, a journalist, researcher, and data specialist with a gift for simplifying complex subjects, writes, “a select few nonprofits are now looking at NFTs as a medium of fundraising.” Clearly-written for a non-techy audience, Sid’s article explains what NFTs are, how they’re related to and different from cryptocurrency, and how nonprofits are using NFTs to raise funds in creative (and fun) ways.
Read Sid Davis’s article, “Fundraisers Turn Their Sights to Non-Fungible Tokens” (reposted with permission from GrantStation).
Keeping Your Nonprofit’s Website and Data Secure
As we mentioned in the July edition of Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly, cybersecurity will be an ongoing theme as cyber attacks and ransomware continue to create challenges for businesses, governments, and nonprofits alike. Each month, we’ll be featuring a couple of quick things your nonprofit can do and highlighting additional resources. This month, we’re focused on the security of your website. Here are a couple of actions your nonprofit can take now to keep its data safe.
Follow the principle of “least privilege access” – Redundancy is important. Shared responsibilities are helpful. But the more people with administrative access to your data, the more vulnerable it is. Your organization should set permissions that allow only as much access as needed for someone to do their work. On your website, that means only certain people have editing privileges or ability to see the overall administration options. For your data, it means that (for example) program staff wouldn’t have access to financial information and finance staff wouldn’t have access to casework files. If a breach occurs, it means a smaller amount of data is able to be accessed by the hackers. An added benefit of least privilege access is that it streamlines the experience for your team. Fewer options to navigate makes it easier to find what a person actually needs to do their work.
Keep up-to-date with security updates – Just like your computer needs (seemingly never-ending) Windows updates, your website needs regular updates to remain secure. Whatever content management system (CMS) your website is built on, there are likely regular security updates being released as vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed. Even more vulnerable than the CMS itself are the plug-ins, modules, and extensions that provide added functionality to your website, but can have less rigorous security testing before rolling out. You can do a quick scan of your site with a tool like Securi, but the best way to monitor for updates is to regularly check for status updates in your CMS admin console. Most of the top content management systems also have mailing lists you can sign up for to be alerted when there are new updates to install.
For more cybersecurity tips, see:
Steps to Keep Your Site Clean: Updates (Securi blog)
Cybersecurity for Small Business (Federal Communications Commission)
5 cybersecurity tips for your small business (GoDaddy blog)
Saluting and Thanking
We salute our nonprofit colleagues – individuals and organizations – recognized by BizTech Magazine as the “30 Nonprofit IT Influencers to Follow in 2021.” We’re honored to be counted among their ranks. Here’s what Keara Dowd of BizTech wrote about our work: “The National Council of Nonprofits is an advocacy organization that helps nonprofits connect the dots between policy and practice. This includes details on the latest trends, as well as tools organizations can take advantage of. Trends covered include cybersecurity and proper use of donor data.”
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