Salt Lake City Non-Profit Accountant | CPA

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Kritzberg Consulting provides Salt Lake City non-profits with executive level accounting and finance services at a fraction of the cost of hiring a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or Controller.  Tricia Kritzberg, CPA, founded Kritzberg Consulting to assist you with the unique needs of your non-profit organization.  We serve non-profits exclusively, which helps us keep our focus on the challenges facing this unique industry.

Non-profits have unique needs that most accountants/CPAs who work primarily with for-profit companies do not understand fully.  These include fund accounting needs, compliance to maintain tax-exempt status, permits to solicit donations in Utah and other states, and unique reporting requirements for donors, grantors, regulators, board members and the public. 

Nonprofit Crowdfunding – Ten Lessons Learned

Crowdfunding isn’t really a new method of raising funds for non-profits, but it provides a new platform.  It utilizes social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and email, to spread the word and direct donors to a website that will accept their donation (typically, a third party website such as, or many others).  The idea is that the campaign’s core team asks everyone they know to donate and spread the word about the campaign.  Then the people who are contacted by the core team’s friends and family tell their friends and family, and so on.  Successful crowdfunding relies on small individual donations from lots and lots of people collected over a relatively short period of time.

I recently organized a successful crowdfunding campaign, 3300 Pipes, for a nonprofit to raise money to restore a historical organ in Salt Lake City.  The fundraising efforts started years earlier and had stalled.  The campaign still needed to raise about $230,000 of its ultimate goal of $350,000.  The intent of the crowdfunding campaign was to revitalize the campaign, bring renewed awareness to the cause and raise at least $100,000 to get the momentum going again.  Within four months after launching the campaign, the nonprofit has raised the entire $230,000 needed to reach its goal.  Here are some lessons I learned through the process.

1)     Emotion:  Donating is an emotional response, not a logical or rational one.  When drafting the campaign’s story, tell it from a personal perspective and talk about the impact a single individual could make.  Our ultimate goal was $350,000 and for a contribution of $1,000 a person could name or dedicate one pipe to themselves or a loved one.  Unfortunately, $1,000 is a lot of money to ask an individual for so we also informed people that the intent of crowdfunding was to gather many small donations from a lot of people and if we received $20 from a lot of people, we would reach our goal.

2)     Personal: Talking to friends and family about the campaign from a personal perspective was difficult for everyone involved.  The campaign team was very comfortable talking about the organ and could rattle off lots of facts, but they had difficulty asking for donations from a personal perspective.  It required a shift in their thinking to ask people to donate because the organ renovation was important to them personally.  After struggling to seek the personal reasons people were involved in the campaign, we realized those same reasons tapped into the emotions of the potential donors.  If something is important to your dear friend, it becomes important to you.

3)     Ask:  Asking friends and family to donate was uncomfortable.  The team needed to be reminded often that they really needed to ask people to donate directly and put them on the spot.  By asking one’s sister, “Can I count on you to donate at least $50?” or “How much can you donate?” resulted in a donation more frequently than just telling them about the campaign or even stating, “please donate”.

4)     Cards:  We created simple handout cards that people could carry around with them and hand them to friends and family as they encountered them.  The cards were simple and homemade.  They were ¼ the size of a regular piece of paper.  On one side, it briefly explained why restoring the organ was important to us and asked for a donation.  On the other side, it listed ways people could help with the campaign, such as donating, telling their friends and family about the campaign, asking their friends and family to donate, refer people to the website and talk about the campaign often.

5)     Communication:  Have your core team and others who are helping with the campaign send personalized emails or other communications to their friends and family.  They can send some identical text to all of their contacts, but it should be personalized to a degree.  A lot of our team struggled with how they would do this, so we developed some sample email messages to help get their ideas flowing.  Here are a few:


{C}a.      Hi Mom.  Everything is going great here.  I can’t wait to see you at Christmas. 

I wonder if you would do me a favor.  I’m involved in a fundraising campaign to renovate a historic organ.  I wonder if you would be willing to make a donation.  It would mean a lot to me.  The campaign is beginning on December 8th.  The website is {website} and on December 8th, there will be a link to a donation page.  Will you donate $150 on that day?  I’d really appreciate it.

{C}b.      “Hi Jane.  I was so happy to see you last week; we just don’t seem to get together often enough. 

I wanted to let you know about this project I’m really excited about.  We are doing a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to restore a historic organ in Salt Lake.  Did you know it is considered to be the oldest organ within three states?  Unfortunately it hasn’t been maintained well over the past 100 years and is in need of some significant work.  That’s why we are raising this money.  It’s so important to me to make sure this organ gets renovated.  So, I was wondering if you would be willing to donate.  You can do it online on December 8th.  It will be easy.  Just go to {website} and look for the link to the donation site.  Can I count on you for a donation of $20-30?  It would really mean a lot to me.

6)     Day 1:  Try to get people to commit to donating on the first day the campaign is launched.  We raised over $50,000 on the first day, but we were asking people to donate for weeks prior to the launch date.  On the day of the launch, we sent emails to everyone we knew reminding them that the campaign had launched, asking them to donate today, asking them again to tell their friends and family about it and providing them with a link to our website.

7)     Social Media: As far as social media goes, we communicated mostly on Facebook since most of the team already had accounts established.  All of us posted almost daily for the week before the campaign and the week after.  We launched the campaign at the beginning of December so many people told their Facebook friends that a donation would make a wonderful Christmas gift.  One person had a family tradition of giving a pair of socks to everyone at Christmas.  She asked everyone to donate instead of buying socks.  The posting died down a little bit after a while so we kept looking for new ways to bring it up.  We posted our progress frequently, we posted right before Christmas, reminded people to donate as a tax deduction at the end of the year or anything we could remotely link to the campaign.

8)     Press:  The press was really important.  Prior to the launch of the campaign we drafted a one page press release, but we didn’t send it out in mass.  We identified reporters and news personalities who had an interest in history, music or organs and then contacted them directly.  Again, we sent a very personalized message to that reporter and tied the campaign to his/her interests.  Whether it was music, history, Salt Lake historical preservation or other ties, we tailored our communication to target their specific interest.  It was a “feel good” story and the local media liked upbeat stories.  When we raised over half of our goal in one day, it got a lot more media attention as a result.

9)     Other sources:  We continued to ask larger foundations and other organizations to donate to the cause, not necessarily through the crowdfunding campaign.  I believe the media attention and the fact that we had raised so much through individual contributions made those larger organizations realize we were serious about the campaign and that we were willing to do the work necessary to make it a success.

10)  Thank you:  Of course, saying thank you is extremely important.  The crowdfunding platform we used sent out an email representing a tax deductible donation receipt, but we felt it was important for every donor to receive a message of thanks from us directly.