When nonprofits scrape by, devoting almost all resources to programs and services, we often label them as "efficient." But are they as efficient as they could be if they spent more on overhead? This article argues that NPOs could maximize the good they do by changing the way they do business.
Do you segment your constituent base? The simple strategies laid out in this article can help you tailor your messaging to specific groups which will help your organization develop a more meaningful connection with supporters.
"Collective Impact" has become a popular buzzword in nonprofit circles, but what exactly is it, how is it created, and why are people latching onto the idea? Recently the White House Council for Community Solutions organized a discussion to delve into these questions. Here is the transcript.
Finding and hiring new staffmembers doesn't have to be a stress-inducing endeavor. By following the simple steps in this article, you can bring on board high quality employees in a way that minimizes anxiety for both you and them.
Network weavers, often the unsung heroes of the nonprofit sector, forge the connections that allow our organizations to thrive. Whether online or offline, these individuals are our best ambassadors, fundraisers, and recruiters. Be sure to listen to this podcast for great advice on cultivating a culture of networking in your own office.
You may be collecting the data that your funders want to see, but are you collecting the data that will really help you grow? Remember, tracking your progress provides you with the information you need to maximize your impact on your community. If you're only looking at your metrics when you need funding, you're probably missing a great opportunity for organizational improvement.
Wondering how nonprofit management has changed, and will continue to change, with the shifting economy? This article outlines strategies used to address changes in funding brought about by the challenging economic environment, noting: “While organizations will certainly need to include new options in their tool kit of responses, the tried and true will continue to be important.”
In order for organizations to transition smoothly from one executive director to another, a high level of board involvement is required. As tempting as it may be for board members to step back after the candidate selection process is complete, the ideas listed in this article show the importance of their continued mentorship for new EDs.
What does great leadership look like; why do we appreciate it and how do we develop it? Though many styles of leadership exist, most truly inspiring and successful leaders draw largely on the twelve criteria listed in this article, showing that leadership is, indeed, an art.
Do you spend most of your time reacting to problems and issues, with little time left for your actual job? Being proactive about your job and prioritizing can help prevent issues and problems from occurring in the first place -- learn tips on how to make this happen.
Does your organization have a clear understanding of the leadership capacities it will need in three to five years in order to achieve its strategic goals? If your organization does not, you are not alone - over 60% feel they don't. The three steps outlined here can help you systematically understand your future needs.
Philadelphia Social Innovations Young Professionals Editorial Contributors
As one generation retires and another enters the workforce, the needs of the nonprofit sector naturally change. In this environment, how can we leverage the strengths of different generational perspectives to address our shared challenges? Try reading this article for advice on how to best address this change.
What are the six powerful practices of high impact nonprofits and how can they be applied to your organization? This article illustrates how lessons learned from some of the nations largest and most successful nonprofits can be adapted and scaled to help the vast majority of smaller nonprofits achieve the success they want.
If you work for one of the many nonprofits unsure of how to find and train their next generation of leaders, Bridgestar has a plan to help you. This comprehensive road map will guide you through leadership development and succession planning in a way that will help ensure the longevity of your organization. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the summary for a PDF of the full report.
While nonprofits spend enormous amounts of time fundraising, many have difficulty securing the money they will need over the next five years, even though their vision for how their programs will evolve is often sharp and clear. A well-thought-out approach to raising revenue that fits your organization can solve this problem.
Can collaboration enhance the sustainability of your nonprofit organization? What can be done to maximize the benefits it has on your organization, clients, and community? I f done properly, collaboration can move your organization toward greater mission fulfillment and enhanced long-term sustainability.
Searching for good models of collaboration? Consider checking out the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, now hosted out the Foundation Center website. You can follow the live twitter feed or use a variety of filters to search over 670 examples of successful collaboration.
Grantmakers increasingly seek to collaborate with one another to achieve greater impact. By doing so, they can leverage each others dollars, experience, and points of view. Check out these two reports and find examples of how funders have collaborated to achieve collective impact.
Many high performers would rather do the wrong thing well than do the right thing poorly. This article offers a powerful message on self reflectiion and taking your professional growth to the next level.
According to a recent report from the British National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts, "truly transformation public innovation requires creative decommissioning: actively challenging incumbent service models and mindsets to invest properly in new approaches. As public resources are increasingly precious, creative decommissioning will become a critical capability for public services."
Board composition matrices can sometimes focus our attention on what people are, rather than on what the organization needs board members to do. By replacing your matrix with a set of simple questions, there's a chance that you could improve not only your board's recruitment and retention, but also the overall effectiveness of your organization.
Whether you know it or not, most of you have developed a "theory of change" for your organization. It's more or less, the objectives you've set for your organization that you need to achieve to be successful. Using the results of a 10 year study, six major pitfalls were identified, that if avoided, can help make your theory of change more actionable. Is your theory of change actionable?
Community involvement and collaboration is critical in tackling complex social problems. This Bridgespan guide is intended to highlight approaches of existing collaboratives that focus on successful community participation.
Do you know how to identify which eventgoers have the potential to become generous long-term donors? Hear how the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute figures out which event participants are charitably inclined and have the resources to give.
How do you build and execute an effective social media strategy? Read Steinar's blog post OR join him in person at his training this Thursday to learn how. Visit our training page for more information.
Large businesses frequently receive requests for donations, event sponsorships, and other forms of financial support. To give your request the best possible chance of being granted, be sure you know the best, and proper, way to approach your potential benefactor.
A key ingredient to increasing a nonprofit organization's community impact is building the strongest possible team. Having the right people with the right skills helps the organization achieve its strategic goals. Critical to this team are an organization's board members. In this article, you will learn how to match potential board members with your organizations needs, goals, and culture.
Board evaluations of executive directors differ from all other performance evaluations in an organization, and these differences factored into the reasons why only 45% of executive directors received reviews last year. While the differences are crucial, they need not become stumbling blocks!
Though nonprofit boards can provide excellent financial oversight, this oversight must be coupled with an eye to sustainability and long term advancement for any organization to achieve their maximum potential. Boards must be composed of financially literate members, engaging in real-time analysis and focusing on answering the complex business questions that their organizations face today.
The ability to look back on our decisions and carefully calculate their impact often provides invaluable information, but sometimes, we don't have the time for lengthy evaluations. If you're less worried about the next cycle of a program and more worried about making sure that this one succeeds, you might want to consider using real time evaluation to guide your decision making process. To learn more about it and see if it might work for you, be sure to check out this article.
Fundraising begins with building relationships, and the best donors are usually those who understand your cause. If you find yourself feeling awkward or uncomfortable when you solicit donations, this article is for you! Be sure to check out this article for tips on how to engage and cultivate donors who passionately support your organization.
Using free programs like Google Analytics to track information about your website vistors can provide you with lots of great data, but sometimes that data can be a little overhelming. Don't worry! You probably don't need to focus on all of it. Be sure to read this article to learn where the most important information for your organization can be found.
You want an annual report that is both informative AND engaging. If you're having trouble finding this balance, you may want to consider changing the format of your report. In this article, you'll find lots of good information on different types of reports and how you can use them to achieve your goals. Don't miss out!
While it's always good to have tools that inform people outside your organization, the success you track can do much more than help you gain new funding; it can help you maximize your potential to do good! For more info, be sure to check out this great article on the importance of evaluation.
Rather than using your brand primarily as a fundraising tool, why not develop a broader approach. Through strategic management of your brand, you can create both greater social impact and tighter organizational cohesion! Read this article to find out more!
In an age of near instant communication, leaders don't (or at least shouldn't) lead alone. The opportunities for innovation through collaboration increase every day, and with a growing number of resources at their disposal, nonprofit leaders have the potential to greatly increase their organization's level of impact. For any organization interested in learning how communication can lead and drive social change, this is a must read article!
Impact evaluations -- typically, third-party studies that seek to prove a program model’s effectiveness -- seem to be all the rage in social sector circles these days, but do you REALLY need one? Check out this article to see if the time is right for your organization to begin the process and to learn what to expect along the way.
Every donor has a different reason for giving, so every time you ask for something, it's crucial that you personalize your approach! Read this article for five excellent tips on how to have better conversations with your donors!
What can nonprofit leaders do when it becomes clear that a shift in culture is needed to realize organizational goals or increase impact? Four of the most important and effective steps a leader can take are described in this article! Be sure to read them over!
Board members are more than fund raisers! BoardSouce and The Taproot Foundation have examined the ways in which nonprofit board members support their organizations, and if your board only focuses on fund raising, you could be missing out! Check out this report to make sure you don't.
The best donors are informed donors, but too frequently, donors don't take the time to research the nonprofits they support. Your organization, however, can help fix this! Check out this article for to learn what actions the philanthropic sector can take to encourage more informed giving.
Though improving technologies offer many great benefits, the large number of options they provide can often make us less productive. If you're feeling overwhelmed at work, try looking through this article for tips on how to destress and become more productive again!
Every question asked in an interview can be condensed down to the three discussed in this article. Whether you're looking for a new job or a new employee, understanding the fit of an organization and individual is crucial in creating lasting success. If you're on either end of this equation, be sure to read this article!
Entering the realm of social media can be a great step for your organization, if you do it with purpose and do it well To make sure you hit the ground running, or to see what improvements you could make to your current campaigns, be sure to check out this great article from Bridgespan.
From The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, this toolkit provides information on working with the White House and Agencies across the federal government as well as information on applying for federal grants and accessing capacity building resources.
Finding great employees, or volunteers, can be difficult, especially if you don't know what qualities to look for. Don't make the search harder by skipping this article! You may miss out on someone who has the stellar (and occasionally unusual) qualities to really help your organization thrive.
Don't worry, there isn't actually anything wrong with it, and this isn't another essay on those non-verbal cues you send. Sometimes, however, your outward expressions shape your feelings and the way you think about things more than you realize, and they could be making your life more difficult. Try taking a couple tips from this article and using them to make the trickier moments of your day much easier to handle!
There are many innovating ideas in the nonprofit world that promise organizations transformative results. Possitive Deviance, Social Return on Investment, Collective Impact. They're all great ideas, but transformation more about attaining a certain mindset than about jumping straight to end results. If you're tired of the jargon, try reading this article to learn how to focus more on the process of change and less on the lingo.
When planning campaigns, organizations frequently find the hardest part of implementing their strategy to be creating a consistent stream of quality content. If you're trying to avoid this problem, try checking out some of the tips and resources includded in this article!
We all want to cut our overhead, spending as much as we can on program services, but are we limiting ourselves? There's a good chance the answer is "Yes!". Check out this article to learn how financial support for fundraising can exponentially increase your ability to do good!
Not everyone volunteers for the same reasons, and understanding why your volunteers volunteer will help you keep them involved and passionate. If you need help identifying the different types of volunteers in your organization, try reading this article!
We all want to improve the financial performance of our organizations, but what is the most efficient way to do so? This article, from the Nonprofit Assistance Fund, offers both some basic and in depth information on how to tweak your business model!
Though often necessary for measuring success, statistics and raw data can by dry and boring, leaving little impression on those you want to engage. Before you send out your next report, be sure to read this article for great tips on how to liven up your information!
It's often easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, frequently forgetting to do things we know we should do. Here's a short list of things you should make sure you do BEFORE you leave the office this week!
So you've read the SWVR, but now you're trying to figure out what it means for you. As your organization reviews its volunteer activities for this year and makes plans for 2012, here are a few ideas to consider!
If your office tends to resist change, try checking out this article (as well as those to which it links) for some tips on how to change the culture of your office. Be sure to check back later for Part 2!
Philanthropists and nonprofits must get a maximum return on their investments. This is especially true in hard economic times. Check out this article for several tips on how to make every dollar count! And for more information on effective philanthropy, check out CNE's Philanthropy Toolkit.
While the commitment to philanthropy made by baby boomers deserves praise, the idea that more is better occasionally hinders the joint action necessary to solve contemporary problems. Read this article to find out why and learn what you can do to help.
Funders frequently want results that are finitely measurable. However, the benefits of leadership development are often difficult to gauge. So how do you demonstrate to funders that such programs are worthy of their time, energy, and money? Start by reading this article!
Most nonprofits understand the potential power of social media to connect with both old and new supporters, advocates, and clients. But have you considered how social media can be used to increase your organization's accountability and transparency as well? Check out this article to find out how!
Organizations that can clearly and accurately articulate their financial story and resource needs are better positioned to make a strong case for support. Try using this worksheet to capture a snapshot of your nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses! This will help you not only improve your organization, but also better tell your story.
When an organization gets sick, it becomes a shell of its former vision. So what do you do when your organization contracts a cold? Check out this article for 7 great tips for nursing it back to health.
In June 2011, a small, exclusive group of 35 influential leaders from across the nonprofit industry, along with the Hartsook Chair at the Center of Philanthropy and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Blackbaud, and Hartsook Companies, came together at the Growing Philanthropy Summit to develop an action-oriented agenda on growing philanthropy. The mission: to grow giving by enhancing the quality of the donor experience. Be sure to check out this report on the outcomes of their Growing Philanthropy Summit!
The Alliance for Children and Families has released a new, national report designed to help the nonprofit human services industry maintain high performance while identifying game-changing opportunities. Be sure to check here for both the Executive Summary and the full report!
Are you a board member dragging your feet on your Executive Director's performance review? Are you in an executive position and frustrated by a lack of feedback from your board? This article is for you.