Happy National Volunteer Week, April 15-21!

President Barack Obama officially proclaimed next week as National Volunteer Week and we’re pretty excited to celebrate all the volunteers who make Washington Youth Soccer the great organization that it is.

This week at Set Plays, we’ll be sharing resources focused on volunteers: recruitment and retention tips; thanking your volunteers for the terrific work they do; how to write a great volunteer position description; and how encouraging your members to volunteer in your  community can benefit your club or association. We hope that you’ll use our volunteer resources to celebrate your club and association volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, 2012.

If you have any tried-and-true volunteer best practices or stories of how volunteers have made a difference in your organization, let us know and we’ll feature them in a future blog post!


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What Can Your Board of Directors Do to Reduce Financial Risk?

If you’re a board member at a nonprofit, you have a fiduciary duty to the organization to make sure that the organization is run with care for the mission, programs, and finances (see our previous post on fiduciary duty). Perhaps the toughest duty of the board is to implement financial controls to reduce financial risks, especially when your board members may not be experienced in nonprofit requirements.

Luckily, our friends at IdeaEncore, a nonprofit resource center that strengthens nonprofits by making it easy to find and share ready-to-use documents and tools, have shared a great free resource: “Controls” for Small Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide for Board Members. The guide, written by Putnam Barber, Senior Researcher at Idealist.org and Robert Fleming, CPA, a shareholder at Clark Huber P.S., lays out eleven steps that your club or association board can take to focus on high organization performance and reduce financial risks.

What’s the top tip? Continue reading

Posted in 501(c)(3), Board Resources, Organizational Structure, Policy, Resources, Risk Management, Volunteer | Leave a comment

Track Volunteer Hours and Win Prizes with the Cabot Creamery Reward Volunteers App

We know how valuable volunteer time is – without it, Washington Youth Soccer wouldn’t exist! So, how can you help reward your nonprofit’s volunteers and how can your volunteers help reward you? Check out the free Cabot Creamery Reward Volunteers iPhone app and web app and start logging volunteer hours with your organization.

When volunteers log hours on behalf of your club or association using Reward Volunteers, the volunteer will be in the running for great individual prizes (like an Alaskan cruise or  cash prizes) and in July, five nonprofit organizations will be given $3000 cash prizes.

Continue reading

Posted in 501(c)(3), Board Resources, Friday Freebies, Fundraising, Outreach, Parents, Resources, Volunteer | 2 Comments

Missed the 2012 US Youth Soccer Workshop? Check Out the Presentation Slides Online!

I was lucky enough to attend last year’s US Youth Soccer Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky, and even luckier to attend the workshop in Boston this February. It’s great to be able to meet peers from other State Associations and learn from industry experts on topics varying from policies & procedures to website design. Most importantly, it’s great to be able to share the resources gained from the national workshop with our local members.

My favorite education session was “Volunteer Recruitment and Retention,” presented by Dr. Sheranne Fairley, University of Massachusetts, and Dr. Christine Green, University of Texas. I’ve been to a few trainings in volunteer management but this is the first session I’ve been to that focused on the specific needs of youth sport organizations that recruit and utilize volunteers – not just normal nonprofit volunteers. Drs. Fairley and Green brought up one of the most important (and forgotten) aspects of volunteering with youth soccer organizations – Continue reading

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Eight “Thank You” Videos Created by Nonprofits

Great examples of “thank you” videos by nonprofits!

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

With each passing day your supporters, donors, activists and sponsors are becoming overwhelmed by the barrage of tweets, status updates, text messages, and emails being thrown at them on a daily basis. As a result, text-based “Thank You” messages are often unread and overlooked. That said, a video can often communicate your appreciation better than the written word and the eight videos below will help inspire your nonprofit to create a “Thank You” video. With peak fundraising season beginning in six months, that gives you plenty of time to create a video that both inspires and communicates your gratitude.

1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals :: aspca.org

2. Best Friends Animal Society :: bestfriends.org

3. Doctors Without Borders :: doctorswithoutborders.org

4. The Natural Resources Defense Council :: nrdc.org

5. The Nature Conservancy :: nature.org

6. The Ocean Conservancy :: oceanconservancy.org

7. Operation Smile ::operationsmile.org


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Via Nonprofit Law Blog: What Board Members Should Know About Reviewing a Form 990

We’ve posted about the Form 990 (the annual tax returns that federally tax-exempt organizations are required to file to maintain their status) in a previous blog post, but once you know what the form is, do you know where you come into the picture as a board member?

If you’re new to your Club or Association board, or if you’re wondering whether you’ve done all you need to do in your organization’s annual Form 990 review process, check out Emily Chan’s post at Nonprofit Law Blog on What Board Members Should Know About Reviewing a Form 990.

What’s the most important thing to know? Continue reading

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Thinking About Building Fields? Apply for US Soccer Foundation’s Planning Grant

The US Soccer Foundation, US Soccer’s foundation and the major charitable arm of soccer in the United States, has just opened their 2012 Planning Grants Program. The grant program provides organizations with help in developing a concept plan for a field-building project.

The foundation’s Planning Grants Initiative offers up to $8,000 grants in the form of credit with CHA Sports, the US Soccer Foundation’s supplier for soccer facility design and planning services. If your Club or Association is selected for a 2012 grant, CHA Sports will produce a concept plan for your project, positioning your organization to ask for support from donors and decision-makers. The foundation’s priority in the 2012 granting cycle will be projects in urban, economically disadvantaged areas.

The 2012 Planning Grants cycle opened Monday, March 5, 2012 and closes on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:00pm EST.  Continue reading

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Board Resource: Checklist for a Top-Level Board Governance Committee

Does your board have a governance/nominating committee? If so, what function does it serve? If not, what is your board doing to recruit and develop board members?

Gail Perry, the best-selling author of Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action, posted her Checklist for a Top-Level Board Governance Committee last spring about the most important tasks of a governance committee and she names some tasks that it’s easy to forget about when working on the everyday duties necessary to run a local soccer club.

My favorite tasks that Gail highlights are:

4. Conduct a Self-Assessment – make sure that you board monitors its own performance as a board, as well as individual board members, so that board members have the opportunity to talk about all issues important to the health of the organization. Continue reading

Posted in 501(c)(3), Blog, Board Resources, Committees, Nonprofit Corporation, Organizational Structure, Resources, Volunteer | Leave a comment

IRS Exempt Organizations Division Reports on 2011 and Its Plans for 2012

Curious about what the IRS will be focusing on with its Exempt Organizations (EO) division in 2012? Guidestar has a great summary of the twelve-page report recently released by the EO division of the IRS and it indicates that while youth sports organizations may not be a focus area, it’s more important than ever to file your Form 990 on time and to:

  • Make sure that you are aware of restrictions on political activity by 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Ensure your Form 990 information is consistent with other documents filed with State of WA and federal agencies, and
  • Any unrelated business activities are declared on a 990-T filing

For more information on the Form 990, read one of our earlier blog posts on the form. If you’d like to learn more about the requirements for tax-exempt organizations, visit StayExempt.org.

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101 Volunteer Recruitment Secrets

VolunteerMatch is one of my favorite volunteer resources – they’re full of positive energy and tips on how to best recruit, retain, and support volunteers. One of their recent newsletters highlighted their new resource, 101 Volunteer Recruitment Secrets. It was created by talking with volunteers, staff, and board members at nonprofits worldwide who have tips for getting volunteers in the door and engaging them to become members of your community.

Take a look at the free document to see what tips might work for your local Club or Association! While you’re at it, browse through the VolunteerMatch Learning Center to see what upcoming webinars can help you on your path to volunteer success.

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