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So far Powerhouse Planning LLC has created 36 blog entries.

Four Tips for Growing Your Nonprofit

By: Meghan Traynor

We understand that starting and maintaining a nonprofit can have its challenges. We’re here to help! Here are four ways you can grow your nonprofit into a successful organization.

 1. Build trust.

Building a strong community with your supporters is vital to your organization’s growth. Here are a few ways you can build trust and foster community with your fans:

  • Provide donors with firsthand experiences so they can see your organization in action. Even if they don’t all take you up on your offer, you are still opening the door of trust with them.
  • Provide relevant data about the need in your community and what your organization is doing to meet that need.
  • Be honest and transparent with donors, volunteers, staff, and followers for a meaningful and sustainable impact.
  • Express gratitude. Thank your donors for every gift. Personalize a thank-you letter for each donation and include how it will make an impact in and for your organization. You can even go the extra mile and send a follow-up thank-you note after the donor’s gift has been used that showcases the impact their donation made and, if possible, a testimonial from someone their donation helped.

The more often you communicate and build trust with donors and followers, the more inspired they will be to continue supporting your organizations mission. (more…)

2020-09-24T20:23:26+00:00September 24th, 2020|

Manners Matter When Growing Your Nonprofit

By: Randi Cairns

When you think of etiquette, you likely think of things like keeping your elbows off the table or not talking with your mouth full. As a society, we have certain rules or conventions we’ve agreed to regarding the proper way to behave in certain settings.

Well, business etiquette is the same thing: It’s about how we behave or interact with others in our work environment. And while most of the personal rules we tend to agree on apply in a work setting as well (nobody needs to see your lunch while you’re talking about your fundraising goals for next quarter), here are three tips specific to business etiquette and growing your nonprofit. (And yes, like your mama told you, manners DO matter.)

1. Be responsive. Whether it’s with the people you serve, your volunteers, your funders, or your critics, show them you’re listening. It’s great to be passionate about your mission. It’s better still to make sure what you’re offering aligns with the needs of your stakeholders. Are you paying attention when your clients tell you what they need? Are you delivering on promised deliverables to grant funders? Are you communicating—both when things are going well and when you hit an inevitable obstacle or challenge?

You want buy-in from others if you’re looking to grow your nonprofit. An easy way to get that? Let them know their feedback matters. (more…)

2020-10-01T14:40:40+00:00September 24th, 2020|

POWERHOUSE SERVICE & SUCCESS

Client Profile: Green Vet Homes/Living Off Rentals

Powerhouse Services Provided: Company Development and External Communications

“The best part of working with Powerhouse is the comprehensive nature of the team. I can discuss the business as a whole and what the needs are, rather than a narrowly defined role that only handles one aspect of the business. Powerhouse has been key in getting me to start thinking outside of just what I’m capable of as a solopreneur.”

– Kirby Atwell, Green Vet Homes/Living Off Rentals

Learn more about our partnership here: Hiring a Virtual Team for Your Rental Property Business

2020-09-24T20:23:43+00:00September 24th, 2020|

BUSINESS RESOURCES

Growing your nonprofit can seem like an impossible task at times. How do you balance meeting the needs of those your currently serve with your desire to reach even more worthy individuals? One great way is to improve or rethink your marketing strategies. The Balance Small Business has a great resource for marketing your small business. And, of course, Powerhouse has the expertise to put any plans or dreams you may have marketing-wise into action.

If you need to improve your management style or techniques to more effectively and efficiently administer your nonprofit, check out the Free Management Library resources. This free site has tons of articles focused on improving management in order to grow your nonprofit resources.

Finally, we’re living in a trying time for nonprofits. COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on how we all operate and live our lives. Check out this free resource for nonprofits on how to mitigate the effects the global pandemic has had on our society and how to reorient your nonprofit to continue to meet the needs of your target populations.

2020-09-24T20:23:53+00:00September 24th, 2020|

GIVING BACK & GETTING INVOLVED

Finding Pride and Representation in Literary Outreach

By: Meredith Flory

The stories we tell matter, helping us process the lives we have and dream of the lives we could have. Diverse representation in stories helps us see ourselves more positively and the lives of others with empathy. The Kentucky-based nonprofit organization Read With Pride is working to help stories from the LGBTQIA+ become more visible.

In 2019, graduate students Kadee Whaley and Alyssa Sciortino noticed a need through their work. Whaley has been an educator for a decade and is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Kentucky. Sciortino is a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Sciortino explains that she has often been inspired to “push [her]self and [her] colleagues to recognize the need for diversity and representation” to better serve their clients. She observes firsthand how often toys, literature, and educational tools are lacking “not only images of cultural diversity but also diversity in body image, age, religion, disability, sexuality, and gender” and sees children’s literature as a way to help adults talk to children about topics they may feel uncomfortable discussing. Working with college students, Whaley shares how in her courses she encourages “students to consider the experiences of others” and feels a responsibility to encourage civic engagement as a means to “achieving equity for all.” Forming Read With Pride gave her an opportunity to put this into practice.

Starting in Lexington, Kentucky, Whaley and Sciortino hatched an idea to help put LGBTQIA+ stories into the hands of those who need them the most. The mission of Read With Pride is to raise awareness and readership of LGBTQIA+ authors and stories in Appalachia, and the ladies work to make these books available for purchase at various locations. With an inaugural event at the TriPride in East Tennessee, they began to see their mission take shape. Whaley explains that all of their books are available for under $10, and many are used or donated. She continues that part of their goals include making books financially accessible for their region, as many areas of Appalachia are dealing with “generational poverty and underfunded schools.” While the pandemic has caused a halt to many of the events they had planned in 2020, Whaley and Sciortino continue to find ways to serve their community online and in-person.

(more…)

2020-09-24T20:24:17+00:00September 24th, 2020|

CEO SPOTLIGHT

From Mermaid to Tent Keeper, One Small Business Owner’s Hope to Bring Joy to Women Everywhere

By: Meredith Flory

Military spouses often find themselves needing to use their degrees, job training, and career experiences creatively. Aj Smit, the Armed Forces Insurance 2020 Lackland Air Force Base Spouse of the Year, certainly found a way to use her theater degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a dream from childhood to spread joy wherever she is stationed.

Smit has been a military spouse for eight years, living in Hawaii, Germany, Mississippi, and now Texas, but growing up in Northern Iowa she dreamed of the ocean. She remembers, “I always wanted to be a mermaid growing up, like people want to be a teacher or astronaut.” While she knew it probably wasn’t possible, she says, “[I] saved my birthday wish each year for this absurd thought, that I could be a mermaid someday.” She remembers wishing each birthday from ages 4 to 22, “Dear God, please let me become a mermaid. I don’t even need to breathe underwater, just the fins would be fantastic.” Then on her 23rd birthday, while looking for mermaid books, she “came across another article about a professional mermaid” and was immediately excited to find that, yes, in fact, people will pay you to be a mermaid. Soon after she got a monofin—a fin that both of your feet are attached to—and later added a tail, beginning her career as a professional mermaid.

She loves bringing “joy, whimsy and wonder to the world.” One of Smit’s early business avenues was performing for mermaid birthday parties. She explains, “At Hickam Air Force Base we could swim out farther down from where the kid’s party would be, and I would tell the adults where my treasure chest was so they could grab it from the hidden spot.” The chest would have books and treasures for the children, and Smit would know which child was the birthday child and call him or her by name as she swam into the party. She would lead games, swimming, and songs and “teach them to speak like dolphins (a lot of high-pitched yodeling, sorry parents), and they would just glow from happiness.”

As her career choice was unique, and military spouses move often, opening her own business seemed like the best way to continue performing. Because her talents and skills were focused on the arts, Smit’s challenge was the paperwork, record keeping, and other administrative duties required when running your own small business. She shares of growing as a businesswoman, “It’s something I’m always reminding myself of, and if people can take that from the get-go and be organized and make sure to keep your paperwork straight, everything else will be easier.”

Smit’s business, In-Joy Productions, has grown to include mermaid and fairy parties, storytelling, henna, and Red Tent events.  (more…)

2020-07-06T20:38:33+00:00July 6th, 2020|

Did You Know?

Charting professional and business growth is at once one of the most exciting and terrifying parts of owning a small business. Everyone wants to ensure that they are building on their dream and successfully impacting their chosen field. Just remember there are countless parts to the professional success puzzle. For inspiration, ideas, and ways to have fun while building your small business, follow along with Powerhouse’s 20 Tips in 2020 series. Each month we’re offering 20 tips based on a different aspect of the small business enterprise. You just might find the one piece missing from completing your professional success story.

2020-07-06T20:38:55+00:00July 6th, 2020|

Ways to Measure Your Professional and Business Growth

By: Randi Cairns

It is quite easy to convince yourself that you need to be fully engaged and involved on every social media platform. That you need to follow every marketing expert out there. That you need to measure All. The. Things. There are two problems with that strategy: First, you don’t have time to do all that AND successfully run your business. And second, not every tool, trick, and measurement are relevant to all businesses—or even to your business all the time.

Of course, you want to be able to measure your business growth. But how do you do that strategically and in a way that results in useful information?

Decide what you will measure. Your options may feel overwhelming. There are metrics for pretty much everything—engagement, performance, retention, traffic, reach—you name it. Is information power? Yes. Is it also potentially crippling when you’ve got a million data points and no idea what to do with them? Also, yes.

Start with your goals. What does success look like for you and your business? How can you know if you’re growing or stagnant? Sales? Revenue? New customers? Social media fans? Your answer won’t be the same as that of others in a different industry or at a different stage of their company’s existence.

What will your key performance indicators (KPIs) be? In other words, what will you measure that tells you how well you’re achieving your business objectives? If you’re unsure where to start, begin with revenue (what you’re bringing in after accounting for discounts and returned merchandise), customer acquisition cost (the amount you spent on marketing divided by how many customers that yielded), and marketing return on investment (divide your marketing spend by your revenue). These three metrics will show you if your marketing activities are impacting your bottom line or if you need to think about another approach. (more…)

2020-12-05T18:34:51+00:00July 6th, 2020|

20 Business Etiquette Tips

By: Lindsey Stone

In business, the way you behave strongly influences how others see your level of professionalism. Doing or saying the wrong thing can negatively impact your career more than you may realize. By understanding the influence of business etiquette and recognizing what matters most, you can set yourself apart professionally.

Tip #1: Be Aware. Names are one of the first pieces of information we learn about someone, and remembering someone’s name is more beneficial than you think. If you have trouble remembering names, try repeating the name back to the individual as you interact. Writing down a name and job title with some brief notes about the circumstances in which you met can help for future connections and references as well.

Tip #2: Use Your Full Name. Introducing yourself by your full name distinguishes you from anyone else the individual may know with your same name. In addition, knowing your full name will make it easier for others to find you after the meeting or conference on sites like LinkedIn so you can stay connected and build your network.

Tip #3: Be Mindful. Do not walk into someone’s office without announcing yourself. Imagine how you feel when someone walks into your office without notice and interrupts your train of thought or important business call. Remember, the perfect time for you to talk about something may not be the ideal time for someone else. Take a minute to send an email to find out what time works for both of you.

Tip #4: Know Who Pays When. If you invited the client or coworkers to coffee, lunch, etc. for a work meeting, then you should pay. It does not matter if it is a quick meeting or note, the tab is your responsibility when you invite others somewhere.

Tip #5: Limit “Thank You.” Being polite is important, but in the professional world, it is more about minding your p’s and q’s and less about making sure to say thank you consistently. One confident and sincere thank you is sufficient, but being overly thankful may make you seem insecure or insincere. (more…)

2020-07-06T21:10:36+00:00July 6th, 2020|

POWERHOUSE SERVICE & SUCCESS

Client Profile: Alpha Omicron Pi Foundation

Powerhouse Service Provided: External Communications

“Jessica Bertsch and the Powerhouse team fully exceeded our expectations by planning our #GivingTuesday social media campaign within a very short timeframe. The creative and conceptual designs were excellent, and we enjoyed working with Jess and her team. Thank you for helping us reach our #GivingTuesday goal and laying the groundwork for future social media campaigns!”

– Courtney Stafford, Director of Advancement, Alpha Omicron Pi Foundation

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2020-07-06T20:41:56+00:00July 6th, 2020|