Being part of a non-profit organization, you know how important it is to timely and accurately report your financial information. These include how much money you are receiving in donations and for what activities those funds are being used. Though many non-profits are not required to have audits performed, your organization’s bylaws may require one.
How do you go about selecting an auditor?
1. Qualifications: First and foremost, find a few potential candidate firms that have the capabilities for which you are looking and dig into their qualifications. Who are the individual staff members with whom you’ll be working directly? 2. Experience: Do they have audit experience in the non-profit sector, or even better, do they have dedicated teams that only work with non-profit organizations? What is their reputation in the industry? 3. Geography: Is it important to have a local auditor, or can you work remotely with one? If you want a local auditor, does the firm have an office in your geographic area? 4. Education: Regulations and laws are constantly changing. How do your audit candidates keep current in the non-profit sector? Are they personally involved with any non-profit organizations at the leadership level? 5. Services: Is it possible that you’ll want or require other services in the future, other than audits? If so, look into a firm that can provide a wide range of services—whether that’s additional tax-related services or even human resources, marketing or technology consulting. Keep in mind that these additional services do not create a conflict of interest with the audit.
The bottom line: Choose an auditor with whom you are comfortable working. Take the time to request proposals, examine what each firm has to offer, engage in interviews with candidates and ensure that your selection is the best fit.
FMI, contact By Steven K. Stucky, CPA; Partner, Sikich LLP. Steven can be reached at 317-842-4466 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those were the parting words of Michael Kaiser, the President of the Kennedy Center (for the performing arts) and a nationally recognized guru in revitalizing and rejuvenating struggling arts organizations. He joined a panel of local arts leaders in discussing the importance of arts to our community and strategies to strengthen local arts organizations. The session was initiated by Kathleen Hacker of UIndy and took place before a full house at the DeHaan Fine Arts Center on the UIndy campus. Dennis Ryerson, former publisher of the Indy Star was moderator. I have read several of Mr. Kaiser’s books, including “Art of the Turnaround” and really appreciate his perspectives. A few of his comments that stood out to me:
- Build a positive cycle based on “Great Art, Well Marketed” that creates a “family” of active supporters that “attracts funds” through attendance, donations, and sponsorships and supports more “Great Art”.
- Plan your programming several years out so you can be ambitious and rally support
- Most organizations should be doing something to surprise their “family” and the community at least four times each year – large arts organization should aim for monthly.
- There are not too many arts organizations but many are not providing “Great Art, Well Marketed”.
- Institutional marketing, making a name for the organization, is at least as important as marketing specific performances in building financial support.
- There are limited economic efficiencies possible in the performance of most art forms.
- Our venues limit our options – locking ourselves into a facility limits our flexibility and earned income potential.
- It would make a dramatic difference if arts organizations put the same energy into developing managers, audiences, and resources, as they put into developing their programs, artists, and artistic directors.
- It is common for a mainstream arts organization to raise 60% plus of its support from individual donors and corporations, that % drops to 8% for arts organizations in minority communities who are mainly supported by government and foundations.
I refrained from asking him my question about whether there have been any communities who have recently established United Arts Funds or workplace giving programs to promote arts in a broader context to their communities. Cincinnati and Louisville created the first programs in 1949 and now they exist in more than 60 U.S. cities raising $10s of millions of dollars, and just as importantly, visibility and buy-in for the arts. Maybe he would respond to an e-mail. For more information
- History of United Arts Funds (Cincy efforts www.theartswave.org)
- Michael Kaiser’s efforts in training and educating arts leaders at www.ArtsManager.org
- Jay Harvey at the Indianapolis Star did a nice job capturing the conversation.
Last year, over 1500 walkers raised over $100,000 for the 35 participating nonprofits. Over the past 8 years, close to 100 organizations have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, in total. I have been involved since the 2nd or 3rd year. I think of 'Walking for Dreams' as the walk-a-thon event for organizations who: 1) aren't big enough to do their own event or 2) don't want to spend valuable volunteer or staff time on event organizing, or 3) want to gather a group of their supporters around fund raising for one particular program.
Here's how it works: There is a $400 upfront fee, but then the Sycamore Foundation plans, manages, and runs the event and your organization keeps the remainder of funds that you raise. They even provide an on-line donation website where your walkers can form teams and receive donations. All your nonprofit does is solicit walkers to participate and raise funds for your organization. Whether you have 5 walkers or 50, it is a fun event and can raise a meaningful amount of money for the effort you invest.
Promoted as the 'Walking for Dreams Family and Pet 5k Walk', the event encompasses just a couple hours of a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the scenic Canal Walk downtown. The energy is terrific, the colors are bright, the faces are happy. Each organization is assigned a table to greet and gather their walkers plus promote their organization to others in attendance. Everyone steps out together and then winds their way through the walk route and back to food and festivities at their own pace.
I have discovered that a Walk-a-thon event is a great way to introduce people to your organization, a good strategy to give reluctant board members or staff a 'harmless' way to talk about your organization with friends and family, and a nice time for social connection between people who care about your organization. To learn more or get your organization signed up for the May 19, 2013 event, visit: www.WalkingforDreams.org.
By Joyce Grenis, Senior Vice President of Human Resource Consulting Services, Sikich LLP
The 2012 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey found that as the economy begins to rebound, non-profit leaders anticipate an increase in employee turnover. Whether these employees decide to leave because of their salary levels, personal reasons or overall dissatisfaction with the organization, one thing is certain—the focus will be on reducing turnover as a critical way to save money and retain top-quality workers.
1. Who are my top performers, and what is the risk of losing these employees? You should understand what keeps these individuals at your organization. Do you know what they want in their careers? And more importantly, can you give that to them? 2. Am I recognizing top performers, or do I treat everyone the same regardless of level of performance? Although high-performance employees like to be recognized financially, they also enjoy non-financial recognition. Do you have an incentive program in place, or a regular newsletter that highlights great work?
3. Are my employees’ salaries and benefits competitive in the sector? Work with a human resources professional to determine what is considered competitive in terms of non-profit salaries and benefits. Are your salaries in line with the market? Do you offer benefits that help your employees, such as comprehensive medical insurance, flexible work schedules and health and wellness programs? If your organization is behind, it’s probably time to rethink this part of your HR function.
4. Do I have supervisors/managers who understand how to motivate the staff? More than 1 million working individuals in the United States participated in a Gallup poll that found the number-one reason why people quit their jobs—their boss. Take a deeper look into how your supervisors and managers are leading their direct staff. Start with an employee satisfaction survey (it can be anonymous) and ask employees what would motivate them. When results are in, make sure management knows what is expected of them, and provide ways they can motivate the staff better based on survey answers and what is realistic for the organization.
For more information on HR related resources for non-profit organizations, such as compliance and compensation, please contact Joyce Grenis in our Indianapolis office at 317-842-4466 or visit www.sikich.com/hr.
All not-for-profit organizations fortunate enough to receive government and private grants must read, interpret and comply with those grant agreements. One of the key issues to address at the inception of a grant is whether the grant represents a contribution or an exchange transaction; the accounting could vary significantly based upon the classification.
Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 958-605-55 provides guidance to distinguish contributions from exchange transactions. In general, the accounting and reporting of grants is determined by the underlying substance of the transaction. The term "grant" is used broadly and can refer not only to contributions, but to assets transferred in an exchange transaction. Each grant agreement should be carefully reviewed in making this determination, as it may be entirely a contribution, entirely an exchange transaction or a combination of the two.
An example of an exchange transaction that involves a private resource provider would be a corporate entity that sponsors research and development at a research university. The grant agreement includes the corporate entity's right to retain the propriety rights to the exclusive knowledge gained from the research, including patents, copyrights or other privileges. The value retained by the corporate entity is more than incidental and, therefore, would qualify as an exchange transaction.
An example of a transaction considered to be in part a contribution and an exchange would be a transfer of land to an NPO at a price significantly lower than its fair market value with no unstated right or privileges accruing to the donor. The difference between the fair market value and amount paid would be a contribution, and the amount paid would be considered an exchange transaction.
We don’t solicit entries from guest writers beyond our sponsors but every once in awhile someone will offer something that seems too interesting to pass up. Following is an abbreviated version of a note I received from a program officer in a local foundation, used with permission. It might prompt you to inquire with your funding representatives about how they want to be kept informed of your efforts and give you an extra incentive to scrub your mailing list. Bryan O.
Dear Executive Director:
It is that time of year when you, your board, and staff are focusing on end of year appeals to your donors. Your grant officers are certainly pleased that you are working to tell the story of your organization’s work and impact, and to inspire support. This year, would you please take time to clean up your mailing list? For example, I should not be receiving your annual appeal in my role as your grants officer. There are days when we receive many copies of the same appeal, addressed to each and every staff member who has ever worked for the foundation – or so it seems.
I recently saw a Facebook post from a not-for-profit that was so happy to have a volunteer preparing their annual fund letters. This morning I got that organization’s annual letter here at the foundation. The mailing was sent with full first class postage and included a 2 page letter hand annotated with underlining, notes and exclamation points; an annual fund insert, and a return envelope. Your appeal to me represents time and money that are going straight to the recycling bin.
Your grants officers want your organization to succeed in all aspects of your organization’s work—programming, community impact, funds development. Please don’t undermine our confidence in the first two by failing to attend to the details of the third.
As your organization enters the end-of-year fundraising push, please take advantage of Indiana Philanthropy Day’s outstanding educational and networking opportunities on Thursday, November 15, 2012 from 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites, 120 W. Market Street, Indianapolis.
The purpose of Indiana Philanthropy Day is to recognize and celebrate the great contributions of philanthropy and expand knowledge through education and networking. Keynote speakers include Tom Ahern (Ahern Communications) presenting “Smart Donor Communications and Maximizing Return on Investment” and Dan Pallotta (Pallotta Team Works) presenting “Nonprofits Need to Invest and Innovate.” The day’s agenda includes educational breakout sessions, the Indiana Philanthropy Awards Luncheon, and many networking opportunities.
Similar to the 2010 survey, this report covers twelve leadership and management positions based on responses from nearly 300 organizations. We want to thank our sponsors who make it possible to provide this report at no cost to everyone. They are First Person Benefit Advisors, Crowe Horwath, and FlashPointHR.
Today's environment of economic and political uncertainty is taking a toll on non-profit organizations and their donors. Non-profit leaders have three primary levers at their disposal when making financial and investment decisions-what comes in (fundraising and capital campaigns), what goes out (spending) and what you do with what you have (asset allocation and investments). The uncertainty poses challenges to pushing these levers and making strategic, long-term decisions and plans.
In order to make successful financial decisions for your organization's future, there are a number of steps you can take. Starting with identifying your goals, use a robust set of planning tools-such as operational or financial software solutions-to determine where your organization should be in one year, five years and even further down the road. Keep in mind what you can and cannot control, and focus your strongest efforts on that which you can control. Finally, determine whether or not working with an informed advisor will help. Experts can guide you during complex situations, from working on your investment policy statement to crafting ways that will unlock donor potential.
Sikich's Indianapolis office has tools, resources and strategies that help leaders in the non-profit industry make effective financial and investment decisions, as well as other critical business decisions. To learn more about how you can take action, view this on-demand webinar on the Sikich website. Steven K. Stucky, CPA is a partner in the Indianapolis office. He can be reached at 317-842-4466 or e-mail email@example.com.
About Sikich Sikich LLP, a leading accounting, advisory, technology and managed services firm, has more than 400 employees throughout the country. Founded in 1982, Sikich ranks as one of the country's Top 50 Certified Public Accounting firms. www.sikich.com
Charities are more likely to meet fundraising success when their boards pursue at least seven types of fundraising activities, such as holding events and seeking gifts from friends, according to a new study - conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative. Some interesting insights:
* Organizations with budgets under $3-million were more likely to succeed when their boards helped in a wide range of solicitations.
* For charities with budgets of $3-million to $10-million, the number of fundraising activities pursued by trustees didn’t matter as much. But those who met their fundraising goals were most likely to be successful when their trustees asked others to give, allowed their names to be used in solicitations, or rated potential donors on their ability to give.
* Among charities with budgets of $10-million or more, getting the board personally involved in reaching out to other supporters increased the chances of fundraising success.
Are you passionate about serving your community and interested in participating in a significant way? Then Get on Board is for you! Get on Board is a one-stop-shop for interested, passionate individuals looking to increase their civic involvement at a leadership level. Join more than 500 other experienced and aspiring community leaders on Monday, October 1 from 4:00-6:30pm at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis as you interact with one hundred nonprofit organizations with board and committee vacancies in a single evening.
Again this year, I will be joined by Sandra Emmanuel, a long-time local nonprofit leader and consultant, to present 20-30 minute overviews of what it means to be a board member and help you think about the type of organization that could be a great match for your skills and interest.
Get on Board is hosted by Lacy Leadership Association and since its inception ten years ago, has connected more than 2,000 new board members, committee members, and leadership volunteers into the local non-profit community. Charitable Advisors has been involved with GOB since the beginning and is pleased to be a sponsor again this year. Check out the list of exhibiting organizations, see what past year's attendees have to say, pre-register at: http://www.lacyleadership.org/GetOnBoard.html. Help spread the word within your company or professional circle. Nonprofit board service is acknowledged as a great way to build leadership skills as well as use them.
I'm a pretty passionate advocate of nonprofits trying Friend-to-Friend or Social Fundraising techniques for their organizations. Having come out of the health fundraising world, I've seen the power of having supporters fundraising on your behalf. Mobilizing an army of passionate advocates for your organization can tap into thousands of dollars in unseen funds and link your organization to hundreds--if not thousands--of new supporters. But why hasn't it caught on?
The risk of fraud is a serious concern for all types of enterprises, but fraud can be particularly damaging to a not-for-profit organization, for which a damaged reputation can have devastating consequences. In addition to setting the right "tone from the top," the officers and governing board of a not-for-profit organization must take the lead in establishing and maintaining a formal fraud risk management program, which must include a fraud risk assessment designed to identify certain vulnerabilities and internal control gaps that could leave the organization exposed to financial and reputational damage. This Crowe Horwath publication provides example red flags, and suggestions for assessing fraud risks within your organization.
From a business person - nonprofits are not like businesses
We often refer to the bedrock beneath Detroit as the foundation for what has been built here. I suggest that in addition to the geological bedrock, Detroit is supported by a foundation of nonprofit cultural, business development and human service organizations that collectively are just as substantial -- and maybe even more important to the structure and stability of our city.
As strong as this foundation has been historically, it is time to reinforce it, or we risk its instability at a time when there is still so much to be accomplished.
Like the minerals and compounds that make up the ground we stand on, the nonprofits of our community are also formed with key ingredients. The most important is the partnership between the professional and volunteer leaders -- from entrepreneurs and philanthropists to executive officers of our region's most important companies. Serving in a top position in any of these organizations has always been rewarding and sometimes challenging, especially so during this difficult economic period.
A landmark national survey regarding successful practices in strategic planning for non-profit 501c3 organizations was conducted in March 2012 by the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) and the University of Arkansas Department of Political Science. Initial findings of the 1000+ responses were reported during the May 2012 ASP Annual Conference. These findings included the following three items of significant interest to advocates for the strategic planning process in the nonprofit sector:
• The driver for strategic planning in high success organizations is “Routine periodic process in our organization.” Whereas in low success organizations, the driver for planning is “Driven by significant risks/challenges”
• Successful organizations report having successful plan implementation practices; low success organizations report that they do not have successful implementation practices. (Read that again – sounds like the cliché of “A good plan, well-implemented, beats a great plan that is not implemented” - Bryan)
• Highly successful organizations report that strategic planning has high impact on overall organizational success. Low success organizations do not report strategic planning as key to overall organizational success. (So, a strategic plan can strengthen a good organization but will probably not rescue an organization in trouble because their inability to execute is likely why they are struggling - Bryan)
The report highlights common approaches and factors for organizations who do planning themselves and those who use external consultants.
For additional details of initial findings presented at the ASP national conference please click here.
Did you ever wish you could corner a board professional for a few minutes and get their input on a series of questions about how to improve your board? Guidestar recently conducted a webinar that had so many questions that they couldn't cover them all - so they put several into written form. Though I might have slightly different opinions on some of these, I thought they did a nice job in the short answer format they had to respond.
Q: -How do you keep the Executive Committee from becoming more powerful and/or more invested than the rest of the board?
Q: -There seems to be a disconnect on our board between their enthusiasm to embark on a project or program and their sense of accountability in funding it.
Q: -Can you go over some pros and cons to term limits?
Q: -Do you have any recommended education or strategies for promoting fundraising skills among board members?
Q: -Without term limits, how does one remove 1-2 board members gracefully?
Q: -100% of our board are members of our community. This gives us great community trust but we struggle with fundraising.
Q: -What (really) motivates truly busy people to be willing to join a board? I'm talking about the underlying agendas, motives that you should keep in mind in order to recruit?
It is great to see more and more research and writing around the topic of financial sustainability. There are enough variables that the typical board, and finance committee, needs to take the time to step back and examine them in the context of their specific organization. Beyond Sustainability: Identifying the Right Resource Mix for Growth - Woods Bowman On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, across Central Park from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), stands the New-York Historical Society. It was founded in 1804 as both a museum and a library sixty-two years before the Met and ninety-one years before the New York Public Library (NYPL). The combined budgets of these much younger institutions are now thirty times greater than the Historical Society's. Sustainability is a necessary condition for long-term success, but it is not sufficient to optimize the impact of an organization. The Society is over two hundred years old, so obviously it is sustainable, but long ago it ceded its preeminent role among New York's museums and libraries to younger rivals. This article explains how an organization should manage its revenue composition to go beyond sustainability and maximize its growth potential. Read the entire article here.
When Hull House, founded by legendary social activist Jane Addams, closed down early this year, the reverberations of the failure of the nation's most famous settlement house were somewhat muted. Was it that the modern era Hull House was so different from the Hull House Addams described in her autobiographical 20 Years at Hull-House that the place had lost its symbolic meaning for the nonprofit sector? Might there have been the presumption that the day of Hull House-and perhaps much of the settlement house movement that flourished around the turn of the century-had simply passed?
- How did this organization move from huge volunteer effort to 500 paid staff?
- How did this organization move from fighting government policies to being fully dependent on government funds?
- What happened to the culture of the organization after the founder was gone?
- What were the signs of trouble?
- What can we learn?
(www.Guidestar.org) How should we evaluate nonprofits? Donors look for assurances that the resources they provide are being used well. Those of us in nonprofit leadership look for ways to justify the hard work we do. We live in a culture of numbers, so we count. How many pounds of food did we distribute? How many houses were rebuilt? But since we work with people, it's hard to measure good work. There are so many variables. Progress is slow. You can count meals; it's hard to count healthier lives. How do we know we are making a difference? I propose that assessment can be meaningful, even if it might not be easily quantifiable. Here are five evaluation tools for nonprofit leaders. It should not be a surprise that ethics, the discipline of thinking about the quality of human action, can help us think carefully and well when numbers don't seem enough. 1. Rules: the best action is guided by principles Questions: Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it in the right way? 2. Consequences: the best action does the greatest good for the greatest number Questions: Are we making a difference? How do we know? 3. Character, or virtue: good organizations are good people doing good things well Questions: Do we have good people? Do we do our work well? 4. Context: it's good if it fits the situation Question: Is our response the best fit? 5. Liberation: it's only good if it leads to greater human flourishing Question: Does our work help make the world better for people? Does it not only change individuals but systems as well? Read the full article.
Exhibitor registration is now open for the 10th Annual Get on Board presented by Lacy Leadership Association (LLA). Get on Board is designed to link prospective board members with non-profit organizations. Since its inception a decade ago, this premier community event has infused more than 2,000 new board members, committee members and volunteers into the community. This year’s event is Monday, October 1 from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. - NEW Location for 2012!
Applications are now available online at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/GOBExhibitorApplication2012. The deadline for application is August 3 at 5 p.m. The exhibitor fee is $75 and your payment will not be processed unless you are selected to exhibit. Once all applications are submitted they are reviewed by a committee. The review and selection process will ensure a cross-representation of all areas of service.
If you have any questions about Get on Board, the exhibitor application or selection process, please contact Susie McKenna at 317.631.6542 ext. 133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to join a board? Mark your calendar for October 1!
Financial Technologies and Management(FTM) has been a sponsor for a number of years and they support dozens of nonprofits across our local community and the midwest by providing accounting services plus accounting and fund development software. Bryan Orander
FTM is pleased to provide free access to a webcast from their nonprofit forum series on advanced grants management. The training webcast is divided into two key areas - 1) how to get the grant, and 2) how to manage the grant.
The speakers are Stacie Harting Marsh, Principal at Words for Good, and Jim Simpson, President of Financial Technologies and Management. Stacie's presentation focuses on the grant writer role by assessing grant readiness, preparing the grant proposal and application, and best practices of grants management. Jim's presentation focuses on the financial management for grants performed by executives, programs and the accounting or finance department. They include practical examples on managing grant budgets, improving grant reporting, and using grant projections to make grant decisions.
You can hear the entire recording of the webcast. http://www.ftmllc.com/index_htm_files/2012-06 28%2012.38%20%20Grants%20Management%20Training%20%20.wmv
Contact Jim or Andrew at FTM at WWW.FTMLLC.COM to learn how they can help your organization.
Surveys consistently show that nonprofit organizations are acutely aware of their leadership development gaps, but unsure about how to address them. The nonprofit leadership teams that Bridgespan has surveyed single out leadership development and succession planning as their most glaring organizational weakness by a margin of better than two to one. Reserach steered us to a straightforward five step "Plan A" for building the future leaders of your organization:
1) Engage senior leaders - you need board and senior staff buy-in and regular discussion at the top of the organization
2) Map out a vision of the future leadership team - what will your leadership team need to look like in 3 years and what people/skills will be needed?
3) Develop future leaders - you need commitment to finding and building the best talent on a day in and day out basis.
4) Seek new talent to fill the gaps - no organization can grow every leader internally and outside perspectives are important
5) Monitor and improve the process of developing leaders -ensure you are making progress toward your goal. Find a way to measure and reinforce your efforts.
In further recognition of central Indiana as a hub of philanthropic study and practice, the 14th Annual Conference of the Grant Professional Association will be held on October 17-20, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. Register now for a Double Discount - see more below.
SIX FEATURE BENEFITS
1) 70 Workshops like "Writing Your Goals and Objectives Right!" and "The Principles of Project Management for the Grant Professional" and more!
2) Keynote Speaker: Stacy Palmer - Editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy
3) 8 Featured Speakers including Patrick Rooney, Executive Director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Henry Berman, CEO of Association of Small Foundations and more!
4) 5 Meals and Welcome Reception
5) 4 Pre-Conference Workshops, featuring Bev Browning's "Grant Writing Consulting", Barbara Harrington's "New Rules For Engaging Corporate Sponsors -- How Grant Writers Can Become Indispensable" and Department of Education's "Keep Your Grant Funds from Wandering"
6) Plenty of Networking Opportunities
FOUR DAYS TO SAVE $$$! ADDITIONAL SAVINGS OF $50! Register before 6/30/12 and save $76 with the Early-Bird Rate! Also, save an additional $50 off of your registration rate or GPA Membership when you enter the discount code "INDY-50" in the shopping cart!
We are very excited to welcome another new sponsor to the Indianapolis Not-for-Profit News. In November 2011, Indianapolis-based accounting firm ent:imler CPA, PC made the exciting decision to merge with Sikich LLP, a leading regional accounting, advisory, technology and managed services firm. Although the CPA practice is now named Sikich, the dedicated Indianapolis team of professionals (all legacies from ent:imler CPA, PC) are committed to providing the same unparalleled service and rates that the Indiana not-for-profit organizations have experienced in the past. With the Sikich enhancement, there is a greater range of valuable resources for organizations.
Sikich’s Indianapolis team has worked with not-for-profit organizations for more than five decades. In that time, the team has become experts in the industry by getting involved in community activities and not-for-profit boards, as well as participating in specialized training programs focused on trends that affect tax-exempt organizations. In addition to the traditional audit, tax and accounting services, the recent merger allows the team to provide even more services to not-for-profit organizations, from human resource consulting and marketing, to technology services and products, and more. To discuss how Sikich can help you face your challenges and reach your goals, call the Indianapolis office at 317-842-4466 or visit http://www.sikich.com.
Please participate in this important research! If you are a Development Director or an Executive Director, I hope that you will take this survey and distribute it to others you think would be interested. In coordination with AFP, CompassPoint and the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund are conducting a national research project exploring the role of the Development Director/VP of Development in nonprofit organizations. The research findings will contribute to the advancement of the sector's thinking about what successful development leadership looks like and how executive directors and organizations can better identify and support the talent they need in this essential role. They are exploring what they see as a persistent disconnect between what fundraisers do and what executive directors and board members think they should be doing.
Thank you for your support and contribution to this important study. By serving as a partner in distributing this national survey, the researchers have agreed to provide us with a regional (Indiana/Ohio) data summary to share in addition to the national findings.
The search for a key employee is the single most critical decision your organization can make. And if you are like most nonprofit organizations, your board and/or Executive Director will probably decide to take on this task themselves. Most people figure that because they've been in business (or been an executive in a nonprofit) that they know how to hire. But if you ask, they'll tell you war stories - bad hires, bad interviews, horrible candidates.
With the success of your organization hinging on this decision, there are steps you can take (and, more importantly, steps to avoid) to increase the chances of getting the very best candidate for the job.
1 - Don't start with the job description; start with your organization's long-term goals
2 - Don't look for qualifications; look for qualities
3 - Don't place a boring ad; advertise to sell
4 - Don't rank resumes; sort by Yes or No
5 - Don't go straight from Resume to Interview; get more information
6 - Don't interview if you don't know how; Get outside help and know what you're looking for
7 - Don't settle for references that can't verify facts; get the
information you need
I am excited to have Appnuity joining us as a sponsor in both Indianapolis and Cincinnati. David Eckel and his Appnuity team were partners with Charitable Advisors in beginning the Not-for-Profit News more than 10 years ago. Their business has thrived by working with both nonprofits and businesses. Here are a few words from David about their work:
“Appnuity has been providing expert and reliable technology services to the nonprofit and corporate sectors since 1999. As an Information Technology consulting and services company, we provide services from strategy to cloud hosting within our SAS-70 Type II data center (SSAE-16). We work closely with our clients to ensure their information technology environment meets all regulatory and compliance requirements, whether on-premise or utilizing our cloud-based technologies.
Our proprietary Consult, Implement and Operate (CIO) methodology, combined with our comprehensive services, enable clients to leverage one service provider across all technology requirements. Our consultants bring deep technology experience as we assess your business information technology needs in order to create technology strategies that deliver optimal returns. Some of our non-profit clients include: Central Indiana Community Foundation, Children’s Bureau, Inc., Day Nursery and Indiana Grantmakers Alliance. http://www.appnuity.net/non-profit-solution.html or give them a call at 317-566-0203 or toll-free at: 877-850-2777.
Do you think of your board members as volunteers? I came across the article below and was struck by the intentionality put into training and orientation for volunteers who are requested to perform basic functions or roles around a nonprofit. How much more might be appropriate for the volunteers we expect to help lead our organizations?
Back in 2007 we wrote a blog examining why volunteers stay with an organization -- and why they leave. We mentioned that lack of training and/or orientation is one of the reasons volunteers don't stick around. If "on the job" training is your organization's primary means of acclimating volunteers, it may be time to reconsider. Although it takes a little more effort, orientation is a volunteer management practice that sets the foundation for a successful relationship. To help get you started, we've pulled together some recommendations and best practices.
-Start with Some One-on-One Time -Bring out the Paperwork -Give a Sample of The Work You Do -Pair Them Up with an Experienced Volunteer or Staff Member -Give Feedback
In the end, you'll see that investing just a little more time upfront in the orientation process can pay big dividends later. You'll have better-trained volunteers who stay longer, which is well worth it.
Intro - As we approach mid-year, many nonprofits are hustling to recruit that final candidate for the July 1 start of the fiscal year or beginning to look at the long list of experienced board members who will be stepping down in December 2012. We found this article that provides a pretty comprehensive look at finding the right board members.
A key ingredient to increasing a nonprofit organization's impact in the community it serves is having the right people on the team. Critical to this team are an organization's board members.
"Board composition is a key lever," said Jeri Eckhart-Queenan, a partner at the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor to nonprofits and philanthropy. "Having the right people with the right skills helps the organization achieve its strategic goals."
Therefore, the first question that nonprofits should consider as they start to formulate their board recruiting plans is: What are our key strategic priorities, and what new skills or expertise might we need on our board to help us achieve those priorities?
We are very excited that United Way of Central Indiana has elected to join our Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey effort this year. We will launch links to approximately 100 UWCI agencies about 5pm tonight (Tuesday, May 7) with a close date of May 22. This means that we are also going to keep our main survey open – which has 185 solid responses so far.
Bob Cross, from United Way of Central Indiana, shared their thinking - “To avoid duplication and make better use of our community resources, UWCI is joining with Charitable Advisors to provide a more comprehensive study of non-profit salaries and benefits in our community. By including UWCI agencies in Charitable Advisors annual salary survey, the non-profit community will benefit from a broader view of agency salaries and benefits. This year is a test of this approach. We will survey UWCI agencies later this year to get their appraisal.”
HELP US MAKE IT WORK. Keep in mind this salary survey only applies to Central Indiana counties and organizations who have paid staff and excludes hospitals and universities, but not the foundations. The person responding must have access to all executive and management salary information.
If you are a United Way agency and don’t have a survey link in your e-mail on Wednesday morning, please check your Junk Mail and Spam folders and then contact us at Survey@CharitableAdvisors.com. We will send your link again.
We want more non-United Way participation - We have received survey link requests from dozens of organizations who have not completed the survey. Your link may be in your spam or junk mail folders. Please let us know at Survey@CharitableAdvisors.com and we will send your link again.
We are also happy to have new organizations participate. You’ll recall that all participating nonprofit organizations will receive a more detailed report than what is available to the general public. There is no cost to participate and the reports are free.
On May 16 at 1pm EST, I will be partnering with Indiana Youth Institute’s monthly webinar series to present “Why are Exceptional Boards the Exception – Increasing Board Member Engagement”. I am excited to work with the IYI training team on this topic because it is the most common question I receive from staff leaders and board members. We’ll talk about how both staff and board leaders have critical roles in creating and sustaining an engaged board.
The IYI webinar format uses presentation, interview, and Q&A to keep things moving along. The session is free for staff and board members of organizations who serve youth or children. IYI typically has over 100 attendees but I think this topic could draw more – I hope you will join us and push attendance to a new high. Have every board member join in from their office.
Volunteer Projects can = Extra $$ (through May 15)
The 1st Annual Central Indiana Service Challenge will award a total of $100,000 through volunteer teams of up to 10 people from the same workplace who serve a charity any day between now and May 15th (How about entering those volunteer activities you already have on your calendar?). Teams register for the challenge on-line now and then film a 2 minute video on their I-phone while they’re working and upload it to the Companies With A Mission (CWAM) website. Each team just answers three short questions about how they served, how they will be involved in the future, and what they will do for your organization if they win two, five, or ten thousand dollars for you!
That’s it! But you need to hurry because May 15th is coming up soon.
The teams have to serve and get the application and short video submitted by May 15th to be entered in the contest. After that, a team of judges will select the winners to be announced at the Indy 500 Breakfast. Share the registration page with all your regular and new volunteers and get your teams signed up at: http://cwam.com/central-indiana-2012-service-challenge/
The Central Indiana Service Challenge is presented by Companies With A Mission (CWAM) – inspiring a culture of service and spirituality in the workplace. If you have more questions or want to find out more about CWAM, you can contact Erica at CWAM 317.500.2245 or www.CWAM.com
President of Charitable Advisors and Publisher, Not-for-Profit News
Our theme for April is Leadership. One of my common recommendations to nonprofit staff leaders who want to improve their skills is to find a nonprofit board where they can serve. Research has shown that nonprofit board experience is a great development experience for corporate leaders but it may do even more for nonprofit leaders.
1) You will be a better staff leader if you have worked with a good staff team from the board member seat. You will gain a new appreciation for the staff/board dynamics and better understand why certain things happen or don't happen in your own relationship with your board.
2) It can be tempting to serve on the board of a partner organization - after all, you know the people and the subject. But you already have influence with that organization and they have access to your skills - you are taking the seat of someone who can bring an additional circle of contacts and new skills. Plus, they usually let you off the hook for raising money, so you don't have a true board experience.
3) Develop and practice your leadership skills in a setting separate enough from your typical work that you are refreshed by the focus, the people, and the work. Extend your network and try on a new approach. If you are the usually the finance guy, take on a role that deals more with people. If you are the marketing person, take on a program role, etc.
Read the article below, which takes a more self-serving approach.
We are excited about the next cycle of the Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey. Our 2010 Salary Report was downloaded more than 1,000 times in the 30 days after it was released. The 2012 effort is co-sponsored by First Person Benefit Advisors and Crowe Horwath CPAs. There is no cost to participate. Participating organizations will receive an enhanced version of the final report.
A unique survey link is being e-mailed directly to several hundred HR managers and staff leaders this afternoon plus many of you will receive a reminder postcard. If you do not see a link by Wednesday afternoon, please contact us at Survey@CharitableAdvisors.com and we will get a link to you promptly.
I WILL Retire Someday: Preparing Yourself & Your Organization
Next week is our first free seminar aimed at helping local Executives Directors/CEOs begin thinking about retirement, even if it is in the distant future. We have 18 reservations so far, of all ages and organization sizes, and would love to have a group of 20-25. An active and open discussion format will focus on three important aspects: 1) What are other nonprofit leaders doing after they "retire?"; 2) Preparing yourself financially; and 3) Preparing your organization.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 from 8:00am - 10:00am - David A. Noyes & Company, 96th and North Meridian St, Indianapolis.
Attendance is limited to current nonprofit Executive Directors and CEOs. Coffee and light refreshments will be served. Presenters: Bryan Orander, Charitable Advisors and John Wheeler, MBA,CPA, CFP/FPS of David A. Noyes & Company. John's father recently retired after 15+ years as CEO of a mid-sized nonprofit in SW Ohio.
We are pleased to partner again this year with Choices, Inc as they host the once a year Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 4. Through a very engaging LIVE webcast from Atlanta, more than 85,000 leaders from more than 17 countries will hear the latest thinking from long-time leadership gurus and rising stars.
"It is one of the single most consolidated sources of leadership that I know of," said Paul Urbanowki, senior manager at AT&T. "But it goes beyond that. I think this conference, although very focused on leadership, transcends the topic and really shows you how to lead in life."
This year's program will focus on the power of choice. The diverse group of internationally-acclaimed authors, leadership experts and practitioners will share insights to help leaders empower and equip others at work, at home and in the community.
Speakers include: Marcus Buckingham(Discover Your Strengths); Patrick Lencioni (Five Dysfunctions of a Team); Tim Tebow (does he play football :-); and from Indiana - Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry.
The local webcast site is in Carmel, IN. Leadercast is presented by Choices, Inc., an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization serving youth with mental, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Many faulty business decisions can be traced to “confirmation bias” that leads people to unwittingly seek information that bolsters what they want to believe, says Brigham Young University accounting professor Doug Prawitt. “We don’t realize it when we do that, but it’s a very, very powerful human bias”. Prawitt is co-author of “Enhancing Board Oversight: Avoiding Judgment Traps and Biases”, a white paper on business judgment released Wednesday by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
Their simple process seems obvious but is being well received and put into practice at both the board and leadership team levels:
- Define the problem and identify fundamental objectives.
On Wednesday, April 11, 2012 the IUPUI University Library Philanthropy Collections will host Dollars to Deeds: the Lifecycle of Social Enterprise, a ninety-minute forum looking at social change, with speakers from three outstanding organizations at different points in the social enterprise life cycle—start up, sustainability and long-term impact. The forum takes place from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the Lilly Auditorium on the lower level of the IUPUI University Library at 755 W. Michigan Street in Indianapolis. A public reception will follow the event. Guests can also visit the Philanthropy Archives from 2:00-3:00pm prior to the forum.
Dollars to Deeds special guests include: Barbara Kerkhoff, a self-described orchestrator and co-facilitator for Indiana Voices of Women, an Indianapolis-based group that facilitates programs for women to share their stories and gain leadership skills. Ted Levinson, Director of Lending at the San Francisco-based RSF Social Finance. For over 25 years, RSF has been expanding the definition of social finance by providing loans, gifts, and investments that foster social and spiritual renewal. John Hunting, founder of the Beldon Fund—a national foundation established in 1982 to promote sound environmental policies.
As a nonprofit leader or manager your time is valuable and limited. We have a great way to save you time in the resume review process. Our next step in utilizing the capabilities of our new jobs database (Fall 2011) is the ability to include job specific questions so that candidates can more closely match their experience and qualifications with your position. Wouldn't it nice to know, upfront, if your candidates for Development Director had experience with a capital campaign or how familiar they are with social media? These questions provide a writing sample that you wouldn't see otherwise and discourage unqualified candidates from applying, further reducing your resume review time.
Your organization may have discovered that sending out questions for candidates to answer can assist in matching their experience to your needs, but it extends the search timeline and takes a lot of administrative effort. The Charitable Advisors applicant tracking system makes these questions part of the résumé submission process so that you receive the résumés and question responses simultaneously.
The fee for this service is only $99 in addition to the cost of the job ad. If you request this service, we will send a sample list of questions and request you to select or provide your own for a total of 4-6 questions to be included. Please allow adequate turnaround time to select questions and get your position posted in the next newsletter. Submit your ad or request the sample question list at email@example.com or contact me with questions.
President of Charitable Advisors and Publisher, Not-for-Profit News
Is it the board chair, the officers, executive committee, the Executive Director? I hear many different answers to this question. In my mind, the Board Chair and Executive Director/CEO are the keys to leading the board and refining the purpose and role of the board in your organization. I work with several dozen boards each year and essentially all consider their board to have significant untapped potential.
We are pleased to be co-sponsors again this year of the Board Chair Summit. Registration is reaching 100 with a little more than a week to go. The event is at the JCC next Friday morning, March 9th - hosted by Lacy Leadership Association with assistance from Peace Learning Center. Board Chair and Executive Director(or CEO) teams are encouraged to register together this year to work with nationally recognized author, consultant, and researcher, Dr. Mary Hiland. Dr. Hiland brings over 35 years of “on the ground” experience, complemented by her own research on building strong and effective nonprofit boards and Board Chair/ED relationships. Participants will learn from their peers, discover practical tips for leading their organization and leave with a plan of action that builds a stronger governance future. The 2010 and 2011 events were sold out so please register NOW. ED/Board leader teams register together for $140. Individual registration is $79. A continental breakfast is included. For more information or to register now, visit www.boardchairsummit.com.
Many of you will remember Irv Katz, who served in a number of Indianapolis area nonprofit leadership roles before stepping up to the national stage. In this article, he reflects on the demise of Hull House in Chicago and what it means to those of us working in the sector.
"The recent demise of Hull House, the historic Chicago settlement
established over a century ago by socialite, social entrepreneur, and activist Jane Addams may well be emblematic of tectonic shifts taking place in the human service sector. And the big problem with tectonic shifts is, you don't know where the plates will land until they have.
To know about the history of social welfare in the United States is to know about Hull House as one of its most historic and significant icons. Addams imported the idea of a settlement house from England, and had the bold idea of empowering people and giving a hand up not a hand out. Central to the concept was that the settlement house was a part of the community, often an immigrant community, not somewhere downtown where one had to beg for help.
Last year, 40 non profits and over 1500 walkers raised over $100,000. Over the past 8 years, close to 100 organizations have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, in total. I have been involved since the 2nd or 3rd year walking for several different organizations. I think of 'Walking for Dreams' as the walk-a-thon event for organizations who: 1) aren't big enough to do their own event or 2) don't want to spend valuable volunteer or staff time on event organizing, or 3) want to gather a group of their supporters around fund raising for one particular program.
Here's how it works: There is a $350 upfront fee but then the Sycamore Foundation plans, manages, and runs the event. They even provide an on-line donation website where your walkers can form teams and receive donations. All your nonprofit does is solicit walkers to participate and raise funds for your organization. Whether you have 5 walkers or 50, it is a fun event and can raise a meaningful amount of money for the effort you invest.
Promoted as the 'Walking for Dreams Family and Pet 5k Walk', the event encompasses just a couple hours of a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the scenic Canal Walk downtown. The energy is terrific, the colors are bright, the faces are happy. Each organization is assigned a table to greet and gather their walkers plus promote their organization to others in attendance. Everyone steps out together and then winds their way through the walk route and back to food and festivities at their own pace.
A Walk-a-thon event is a great way to introduce people to your organization, a good strategy to give reluctant board members or staff a 'harmless' way to talk about your organization with friends and family, and a nice time for social connection between people who care about your organization. To learn more or get signed up for the June 3, 2012 event, visit www.WalkingforDreams.org.
A simple question posed to Patrick Lawler 27 years ago inspired his appetite for business reading. Lawler, the founder and CEO of Youth Villages in MA(now with a staff of 2300), was at a conference with Mary Lynn Cantrell, a leader in the field of children's mental and behavioral health. Cantrell casually asked what he was reading and Lawler had to admit that he wasn't reading anything. Then in his 20s, Lawler had young children and was working long hours just keeping Youth Villages afloat. But Cantrell's question, coupled with Lawler's need to learn more about the business of managing a nonprofit organization, spurred him to read. Lawler is a devoted reader, and his views about the value of reading fuel his desire to share the resources that have helped (and continue to help) him. He assumes everyone has already read - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Good to Great by Jim Collins 1) The CEO Paradox: The Privilege and Accountability of Leadership - Thomas R. Horton 2) On Becoming a Leader - Warren Bennis 3) Leadership Is an Art - Max DePree 4) Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done - Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan 5) How to Act Like a CEO: 10 Rules for Getting to the Top and Staying There - D.A. Benton 6) Boardroom Verities - Jerold Panas 7) The Executive in Action - Managing for Results; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; The Effective Executive - Peter F. Drucker 8) The Visionary's Handbook: Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Business - Watts Wacker, Jim Taylor, with Howard Means 9) businessThink: Rules for Getting it Right-Now, and No Matter What! - Dave Marcum, Steve Smith, and Mahan Khalsa 10) What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful - Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter How much better equipped we would be if we were reading through this list? What's your plan? See the full article with book descriptions at: http://www.bridgestar.org/Library/AGoodBooksRole.aspx
The third annual Central Indiana Board Chair Summit, hosted by Lacy Leadership Association and Peace Learning Center will take place on March 9th, 2012, from 7:30 am to noon at the Arthur M. Glick JCC. Board Chair and Executive Director(or CEO) teams are encouraged to register together this year to work with nationally recognized author, consultant and researcher, Dr. Mary Hiland. With over 35 years of “on the ground” experience, complemented by her own research in the nonprofit sector, Dr. Hiland will share insights into building strong and effective Board Chair/ED relationships. Participants will learn from their peers, discover practical tips for leading their organization and leave with a plan of action that builds a stronger governance future. The 2010 and 2011 events were sold out so register early. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind gathering of nonprofit board and executive leaders from across central Indiana. ED/Board leader teams register together for $140. Individual registration is $79. A continental breakfast is included. For more information or to register now, visit www.boardchairsummit.com.
Last Thursday, January 19, we hosted a pilot session for 20+ new board members from 15 organizations across the central Indiana community at the Harrison Center for the Arts. It went very well and we plan to do it again in September. The intention is to supplement the new board member orientations that your organizations already do and address some topics that don’t typically appear in organization orientations. Our agenda included topics such as a the Board/Executive Director relationship, nonprofit finances, the expectations of and from the board chair, being a change agent, and helping to create a positive, active board culture. Pat Wachtel from Girls, Inc. and Travis DiNicola of Indy Reads were kind enough to join us to share their thoughts and for Q&A. Watch for our announcement of the September session in June/July. These sessions are provided at no charge as a service to the local nonprofit community.
As we prepared for this session, I was reminded of one of my favorite articles published on Guidestar a couple years ago about how board members can start the new year off right:
1. Get more engaged.
2. Have a bias toward action
3. Think big
4. Be optimistic, no matter what
5. Go back to your vision over and over and over
6. Be the catalyst; be the provocateur
7. Make your own proud, personal gift to support your organization
8. Support the staff.
9. Introduce 10 of your friends to your cause
10. Be a sneezer and spread your organization's viral news wherever you go.
The still-troubled economy will loom large over charities in the coming year, but simply keeping the lights on won't be the only problem organizations will face. All sorts of nonprofits, including deep-pocketed grant makers, are likely to struggle with the following issues and their fallout.
1) Philanthropy and the 99 percent - Economic inequality raises tricky issues for donors
2) Pressure from shrinking government aid - Foundations and nonprofits may step up the fight against cuts
3) Soothing generational tensions - Managers must make peace between baby boomers and 20-somethings
4) More demands to show results - Moving the conversation away from overhead costs
5) Innovation (and competition) from social enterprises - Will new approaches help charities or get in the way?
In addition to the Daring to Lead 2011 study, my friends Marla Cornelius and Tim Wolfred at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services in San Francisco recently assembled a thought-provoking piece on the trends they are seeing in the hundreds of organizations their organization touches each year. While you might argue with a few from your personal perspective, this short white paper will get you thinking about how you can be better prepared for new and emerging challenges and opportunities alike.
Their 9 traits are:
1. Impact Driven – we already knew this one
2. Finance and Business Savvy - ditto
3. Continuous Learning - hmmm
4. Shared Leadership – sometimes seems we have too many leaders now
5. Wired for Policy Advocacy – since the government touches everything
6. Multicultural and Culturally Competent – diversity increases complexity while it drives creativity
7. Ambiguity of Work-Life Boundaries – does anyone remember the 40 hour work week?
8. Constituents as Thought Partners – do we ask the people who really know us best?
9. Boards as Value Add – imagine a board that multiplies your energy instead of consuming it
A new year offers an opportunity to set new goals. In that spirit, The Chronicle invited a diverse group of leaders and thinkers to share their 2012 resolutions for the nonprofit world. A sampling of their responses is below, see the full list plus reader comments on their webpage.
- May 2012 be a year of courage for philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. - Deepak Bhargava, executive director, Center for Community Change
- Explicitly fund overhead-we all have it and we all need it. And stop talking about getting nonprofits to merge, unless we are willing to put up a retirement fund for the executive director who will be asked to leave. - Gerald Chertavian, chief executive of Year Up, a nonprofit that offers training programs to young urban adults
- The Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and ongoing calls for social justice have inspired millions, yet U.S. philanthropy has remained largely sidelined and silent. We, in the foundation sector, resolve to stop being as irrelevant as we have been for so long. - Albert Ruesga, president, Greater New Orleans Foundation
- I would like to see all nonprofits, but especially the smaller ones, resolve to improve their financial controls. - Elizabeth Grant, head of the charitable activities section, Oregon attorney general's office; president of the National Association of State Charity Officials
- 2012 must mark the year we get in front of technology, instead of behind it. Let's resolve to unleash the full potential of social media and Internet marketing for fund raising, community organizing, and advocacy. - Darian Rodriguez Heyman, author of Nonprofit Management 101