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Nonprofit Carnival

I'm hosting the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants this week. The topic is Nonprofit Operations!

Being that I am very passionate about the subject, I am excited to review the Carnival posts this week.  Submit one good Nonprofit Operations post that you have recently written by Friday, August 11th--5PM PT to npc.carnival@yahoo.com or you can submit your entry online BlogCarnival.com

Hire a Caterer or Not Hire a Caterer---That is the Question

I tend to work for nonprofits like Aspiration that do a lot of events for our constituents. Our goal for each event is to spend as little money as possible on the food by either getting it donated or ordering pizza instead of getting catering.

I found that in my past organizations, we spent a lot of time requesting food donations, doing food set up/clean up as well as errands to pick up things that we ran out of or forgot to get.

When I did the math, I found it was actually the same cost and sometimes cheaper for me to hire a caterer who takes care of all that stuff like set up and clean up. Now with all Aspiration events we hire a caterer. I usually pick one who charges between $15-$18 per person (including tax) for breakfast and lunch combined.

Now that I have the extra time that I don't have to focus on food purchasing or preparation, I focus my attention on the important aspects of the event like posting notes to the event Wiki like http://www.advocacydev.aspirationtech.org and contributing to the sessions.

Working with Vendors/Consultants/Contractors

I have worked with a lot of vendors/consultants/contractors ranging from Copy Machine vendors, phone/wiring vendors,  to accountants, web designers, and more. So I thought I'd write a post about 4 steps I follow when working with vendors.

1. When researching vendors I get multiple quotes to make a comparison of prices and services and always ask for a list of nonprofit specific client references. Then I call the references. A lot of vendors say they work with nonprofits, however I like to verify that they have many nonprofit clients and those clients are happy with their work.

Bookkeeping Workshop

I attended a quickbooks bookkeeping workshop by Karen Schiller at Compasspoint www.compasspoint.org recently, it was very helpful.

Here are some helpful tips that I took away from the workshop:

1. When recording classes in Quickbooks you don’t have to record classes with asset or liability accounts.

2. Membership is a support service defined by the IRS.

3. Administration (or Management and General) expenses include: Bank Charges, Legal Fees, Accounting Fees, General overview of time spend managing the organization, and time spent negotiating govt. contracts.

Blogging about Nonprofit Operations and sharing resources

Since I started working at Aspiration, I have learned about how to blog for my nonprofit and some exciting new things have come about in the last month.

<p class="MsoNormal"><span>1. Thanks to NTEN <a href="http://www.nten.org/">www.nten.org</a> I have been able to start a Nonprofit Affinity Group. <a href="mailto:NonprofitOperations@groups.nten.org">NonprofitOperations@groups.nten.org</a> This e-mail discussion group is an exciting outlet for me to share Nonprofit Operations tips and participate in nonprofit operations discussions.&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>2. I also have also had the opportunity to get more active with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) <a href="http://www.ynpn.org/">www.ynpn.org</a> and post Nonprofit Operations resources to the members only resources section of their website. I just joined their membership committee and took on a new role as list maven.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p>

Benefiting from Compumentor

I worked as Operations Manager for Low-Income Families' Empowerment through Education (LIFETIME) for two and a half years.  LIFETIME is a constiuent run organization that helps low-income families pursue their higher education and training goals and graduate out of poverty. 

I was fortunate to be able to speak at Compumentor's staff meeting http://www.compumentor.org a couple of months ago and share about my experience as an Accidental Techie using their services. Below is my personal experience with Compumentor and their services.

1) Compumentor Tech Support:

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