Tag Archives: nonprofit management

Learn how to identify your customers and how to use their perspective in defining your priorities.

What Business Are We In?

Adapted from a blog by Rick Williams of Growth Strategies, LLC – October 18, 2017 Guest Column by Lewis M. Rambo, PhD Does a nonprofit have customers? The answer is yes. Learn how to identify your customers and how to use their perspective in defining your priorities. “What business are we in? What are we selling?” These are often the starting points for a business school case study discussion. However, this may be a question that the board members of a nonprofit organization might not think to ask themselves.  Just because your organization is designated as nonprofit does not mean that it is not in business! The phrase “nonprofit” refers merely to its tax status. Inevitably, a serious examination of these questions can begin with an in-depth discussion of this […]

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It’s easier to blame technology than to assess human capacity. But that’s not a winning strategy. Learn how to improve the “human factor”

Choosing and using a donor management system – Part 2

The complaints associated with using technology to support fundraising are many and varied. Unfortunately the “human factor” plays a large role in how well a specific database or tool performs. We touched on a few of these in part one of this series. These include taking the time to evaluate your organization’s technology needs, evaluating how a system integrates with existing hardware; data security; support costs; and correctly estimating start-up, conversion, maintenance, training and staff-related costs. It is easier to blame technology than to assess human capacity. As with many aspects of infrastructure, the wish is for the challenge to be addressed quickly, inexpensively, and “once and for all.” But that is not always a good long-term perspective. Here’s an alternative: consider the following guidance from Ashley Harper. We asked […]

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Complaints about fundraising technology are many, varied, & never-ending. Reduce your stress w insights from Ashley Harper #fundraising Key words: nonprofit management, donor management, nonprofit technology

Choosing and using a donor management system – Part 1

Technology makes the world go round. And that includes the world of fundraising. The complaints related to fundraising technology are many and varied. Some people complain they can’t produce “simple” reports requested by management. Others are vexed by the stand-alone nature of a product. Integrating with accounting is a common complaint, as is the frustration that arises when trying to reconcile fundraising data with that recorded by accounting. A common question – with a complex answer – arises: “What type of donor database should we be using?” In an attempt to shed some light on the situation we reached out to Ashley Harper, former Director of Grants and Initiatives at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Reflecting on her experience with the foundation, she shared that a common request was […]

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Five ways to de-energize your board

Five ways to de-energize your board

There is an ideal board in the consciousness of many nonprofit leaders. It often involves members who are engaged in governance and fundraising; who advocate for the organization; and serve as community ambassadors building relationships and partnerships. These ideal board members are well connected with time to spare. They magically appear, need no support or attention, and easily attract others of like-mind. In reality, too many nonprofit boards are far from this ideal. The directors who report to these boards are pulled in many directions, forced to “wear many hats,” and struggling with too much to do and too few resources. Building and sustaining an engaged board is another item on a never-ending to-do list. It’s one of many items that are moved to “next week.” The dream of an […]

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What is capacity and infrastructure?

What is capacity and infrastructure?

Knowing your mission, vision and proposed impact is critical to your success as an organization. Equally important is the process of building your fundraising capacity and infrastructure. But what exactly are these things? Here are three things you need to know. These refer to tangible and intangibles such as people, skills, relationships, technology, processes, and more. These aren’t built overnight: they are developed over time. These require conscious effort and investments of time Here’s what we mean by fundraising capacity: An organization’s experience with fundraising, especially that of staff and board members A board of directors that is committed to fundraising The number of staff and volunteer leaders who are trained and experienced in fundraising The number of volunteers (trained as well as untrained but willing) available to assist with […]

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Where will the funding come from?

Where will the funding come from?

How will you meet your fundraising goal in 2017? This question typically elicits one of three responses. Some are confident they will be able to secure the funds their organization needs. Others have a general feeling about where the money and resources will come from. Still others are used to making do and believe they will survive one way or the other. Where does your nonprofit fall on this spectrum of responses? Managing the fundraising process throughout the year can help reduce year-end “surprises.” With this column we offer three suggestions to support your fundraising. First, set your annual fundraising goal. How much do you need to raise? This should be set by the board based on information presented by the executive director and finance director. Working with a specific […]

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How to prepare for a board meeting

An Interview with Kim Moss – Part two of a two part series The board of directors plays a critical role in the life of a nonprofit. While each board is unique, best practices can increase a board’s effectiveness. To learn more we talked with Kim Moss, nonprofit consultant. His leadership helps boards increase their capacity for governing and fundraising. We asked Moss for recommendations regarding how often boards should meet, and why. He responded, “It is my experience that nonprofit boards are best served by meeting monthly.  I have had experience with agency boards that only met quarterly and found that the majority of the problematic issues being faced by the organization(s) could have been avoided if the board had met monthly to keep up to date on the […]

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Kim Moss

Four secrets to nonprofit growth: An Interview with Kim Moss

Part one of a two part series We recently had the opportunity to work with nonprofit consultant Kim Moss. He is a wealth of knowledge with 34 years experience in nonprofit administration. He knows about taking care of business. Yes, nonprofits are all about vision and mission. But, if business practices are not in place, it can be challenging to make an impact. We asked Moss to share his observations related to the challenges that nonprofits face when they go through a period of growth. Moss began with the positives associated with growth. He shared, “A growing nonprofit organization can be exciting for the staff, Board of Directors and the people it serves. New and/or expanded programming can also convey a message to the agency’s supporters that ‘everything is on […]

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Five guidelines for managing nonprofit funds

Part two of a two part series: An interview with Leland Faust What would you do if you were responsible for reviewing financial management policies for your nonprofit? What would you do if asked to vote on a change of investment firms? What questions would you ask? These are issues nonprofits grapple with all the time. Some of us have experience in the realm of investment selection and fund management. Most of us do not. One person who is experienced as both a nonprofit board member and an investment advisor is Leland Faust. Faust has been nationally recognized four times by Barron’s as one of the country’s top 100 independent advisors. He is also the author of the forthcoming book A Capitalist’s Lament: How Wall Street Is Fleecing You and […]

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Leland Faust

You’ve raised the money, now how do you keep it?

Part one of a two part series: An interview with Leland Faust Financial management and investing is critical to the sustainability of nonprofits. As a board member or trustee you have a fiduciary responsibility. But how do you fulfill that responsibility? What do you need to know as it relates to financial management and investment? To get some perspective we talked with Leland Faust, the founder of CSI Capital Management. In addition to degrees from the University of California (economics) and Harvard Law School, Faust managed over $1.5 billion in assets from 1978 through 2011. Barron’s has named him four times to its annual list of top 100 independent investment advisors in the country. If that’s not enough, Faust also has a long history of engagement with nonprofits, having served […]

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