Showing posts with label Nonprofit organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nonprofit organization. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Seniors Can Get Help Paying Utility Bills

If you are just getting by and finding it difficult to meet only your monthly bill commitments, there is help out there. Many seniors may find it hard to ask for help or don’t know where to go. 

Low Income Financial Help has provided a great list of how to get help with utilities. In addition, if you are having other financial difficulties that go beyond utilities and can use some money help, there are numerous non-profits and government programs which can help. 

Non-Government Agency Help for Paying Utility Bills

The first place to look is your own utility or heating company. Utility company programs offer payment plans, free conservation measures, and shut off prevention as resources. Heating bill programs are another way of helping pay for utility bills. 

There are a number of Heating bill programs available, depending upon where you live. Non-profits, charities and social service agencies also offer a variety of assistance with utility bills. 

There are organizations such as Dollar Energy Fund, Operation Roundup, Salvation Family Emergency Services, and the National Fuel Funds Network. So before you begin jumping through the government’s hoops; look closer to home for some help with heat.

Four Main Ways to Get Help From the Government

However, there are at least four ways to get help from the government in paying your utility bills: Low Income Home Energy Assistance, the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Heating Repair Replacement Program. 

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program allows qualifying residents a one-time benefit during winter months to help pay energy bills. The amount paid depends on income, size of household, fuel type, and geographic location. The Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to help low income homes save fuel and money, while increasing their comfort. 

The Home Energy Assistance Program and Heating Repair Replacement Program are smaller, more specialized programs. All of the programs require paperwork and documentation of participants meeting predetermined criteria.

1. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is broken down state by state at This program is designed to keep heat on in low-income homes during the freezing months of winter. 

In order to apply for the program, you must meet a yearly maximum income level dependent upon the state you live in.

You’ll need to contact a local community action agency and make an appointment in order to apply for the program. 

A person who participates in certain other benefit programs may be automatically eligible for L.I.H.E.A.P (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Crisis Programs). 

For any low-income family with an emergency, such as an unexpected disconnection or low heating oil or fuel, grants and financial assistance can be paid directly to your electricity or utility companies.

2. Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program for most states has a goal of insulating homes, especially the elderly, disabled, families with children, high energy users and homes with high energy burdens.

In order to apply for the program, you must meet a yearly maximum income level dependent upon the state you live in.

You’ll need to contact a local community action agency and make an appointment in order to apply. A person who participates in certain other benefit programs may be automatically eligible. 

This program focuses more on the long-term savings for low income housing by providing services such as weather-stripping, wall and attic insulation, minor home repairs, and other energy saving measures.

3. Home Energy Assistance Program

The Home Energy Assistance Program will provide financial help to eligible households that need assistance paying heating and/or cooling bills. 

4. Heating Repair Replacement Program

Heating Repair Replacement Programs provide repair or replacement of heating units, appliances, furnaces, and other home upgrades for low-income families to help with heating costs.

So when you get stuck in the cold for one reason or another, don’t be afraid to ask for help, because it is out there. 

For short-term emergencies or long term planning, making your home a comfortable place should be your top priority.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dangerous Business of Non-profit Debt Consolidation

Wipe our Debt
Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)
These days a large number of people are in debt. Some of them are in a deeper hole, while some are beginning to get stuck in the never ending cycle of debt repayment. Loan may provide you with funds required to fulfill your immediate demands, but the normal human attitude towards money is to spend it when you have it, and beg for more afterwards. Be it begging for time or money, after all, time is money!

This may not be something everyone wants, but the problem of debt is faced by almost everyone at some point in their life. These days, loans are taken right at the time when one is very young and he or she would get stuck in the debt repayment cycle for a very long time.

There are times when people need immediate action to solve the problem of debt payment. Suppose you are in debt, you have to pay $50000 by end of 3 years. If you default on repayment, you risk losing your house or car, whatever it is. This is where two options are usually seen, one is to borrow more money so you can pay off the other creditor, or go to a debt consolidation company who would extend your repayment period and also reduce the interest rate.

These debt consolidation companies have their own fees, which might just be an additional burden on you. But there are also these non-profit debt consolidation loans companies which charge absolutely nothing to you (At least that is what everyone thinks). Not all companies that use the tag non-profit are all honest and care for the people. They can scam you right away and you will be in an even deeper hole.

Such debt consolidation companies often advertise how quickly they would remove your debt by reducing you interest rates and the amount you pay. Often they tell you things which are too good to be true. There can be testimonials from people who are smiling and telling you how quickly their debt was cleared. But there is always a catch which can dig an even deeper hole in your bank account.

Signs of a Good Nonprofit debt consolidation company
  • Nonprofits should charge a very small amount of fee to setup your account and other stuff that is required. A nonprofit debt consolidation company who charges no fee and promises to fix your debt problem should be carefully examined before dealing with them.
  • Ask for a nonprofit organization license issued by the government or the state government. Most of the states require all nonprofit organizations to have a license to operate. Not having one would apparently look like some shady business and it is advisable for one to stay away from them. 
  • If any debt consolidation company promises you to get you out of debt very fast, then they are lying. Stay away from them! Getting in the debt took you time, and getting out of it would require time too! Considering that you are at a tipping point is the reason why you went to a nonprofit debt consolidation company, i.e. you are in a deep hole. Filling a hole deep enough requires time. 
  • Check out online reviews for all the nonprofit debt consolidation companies that you have on your list. If you need to make a choice, there is a very great website known as BBB (Better business Bureau). All you have to do it enter the organization name and check out their reviews.
Remember, no consolidation company is going to miraculously make your debt go away. It takes time to get out of it. Spend the money wisely, and choose a good debt consolidation company to pay off your debts.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fundraising 101: Turn a "No" Into a "Yes"

Fundraising in the dictionary According to GrantSpace, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. If you're keeping count, that is more than one million charitable organizations vying for the same donations. It's not unusual for fundraising professionals and volunteers to get a "no" from potential donors far more often than they get a "yes." Here's how to turn someone who doesn't want to donate into someone who does.

1.I Don't Have the Money

There's no doubt that times are tight right now. People across the country are not only living paycheck-to-paycheck, but are worrying about how to keep the lights on. When someone tells you that they don't have the money, empathize with them. Tell these people that you understand, but that even a dollar would help. Consider that if you got $1 from 100 people, you've raised $100 for your charity. If you try to force 100 people to give you a specific amount of money and all decline, you've raised nothing. 

2.I Already Donate to...

Many people will tell you that they already donate to a charitable organization, using the excuse to not donate to yours. Thank them for their generosity to the other charity, and kindly explain that your organization is not affiliated with that group. Explain how even $5 can help your group continue its mission. 

3.I Have to Talk to My Partner

Don't push someone who tells you that they have to speak with their partner before they can commit to donating to your charity. It's not unusual for people in a relationship to consult each other when it comes to joint finances. Instead, ask this person if you can call them a few days from now or stop back by. Do not rely on the fact that you will be contacted, take control of the situation. Remind the person that you are not asking for much, and reiterate that any little bit will help your charity or project.

Fundraising Event at Reading – 2011

4.I Don't Donate to Charity

Many people don't donate to charities simply because they don't understand the group's mission, history or current projects. Have a flash drive loaded with your information ready to hand this person. Empathize with your prospect, and let him know that you understand that there are millions of charities seeking his donation. Assure him that he will not be contacted again should he choose to donate one time only, and ask him to view your flash drive and pass it onto a friend or family member who may be interested. 

5.Send a Thank You

Send a thank you note or email to every person that you come into contact with, provided that you have at least gathered contact information. Even if the person doesn't donate, thank them for taking the time to speak to you. This simple act of courtesy may encourage someone to donate even after they have told you no.

You never want to pressure anyone to donate to your organization, but you do want to have responses at the ready if you receive an initial no. If someone takes the time to explain to you why they will not, or cannot, donate, take the time to respond. You'll never turn a "no" into a "yes" if you don't try.

Writer Ken Osteen is an avid blogger for where you'll find more ways to use technology to help with fundraising.

Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics