Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BEST of 2010 in Not-for-Profit News

As the publisher of the Not-for-Profit News and a consultant with nonprofits in leadership transition, I have the benefit of seeing and reading much of the latest thinking around how nonprofits work and we try to share it with our readers. As we wrap up 2010, I took a few minutes to look back through the articles we featured this year that received great feedback from readers and/or resonated with what I am hearing through multiple channels. Each introduction either links to the article on our blog or another source.

In chronological order


1 ) Ten Quick Ways to Invigorate Board Meetings - Jan Masaoka of Blue Avocado

2) Does Your Board Use Executive Sessions? Jan Masaoka of Blue Avocado.

3) What Really Works In Building a Strong Board? - Mary Hiland, Ph.D of Hiland Associates in California.

4) Is Your Board Bowling Or Playing Golf? – Bryan

5) Register for the 2011 Central Indiana Board Chair Summit - January 21, 2011, presented by Peace Learning Center and Lacy Leadership Association. FMI, or Nancy Larner Ruschman at 317-327-7144.


6) Nonprofit Sabbaticals Improve Organizational Capacity

7) How Many Board Treasurer’s Do You Need? – Bryan – Not just for dollars $$ -

8) Can Nonprofit Leaders Consider Retirement Again? – Bryan

9) School’s Out for Summer - An Introduction to Internships for Your Nonprofit – On November 3, we partnered with Indiana InternNet and United Way of Central Indiana to provide an introduction and training session to 50 nonprofit leaders with the hope of increasing the use of interns by nonprofits. FMI, go to www.indianaintern.net or contact Pam Norman.


10) Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Report – Bryan with Jim Morris, Pendula Consulting - www.CINSS.org

11) The BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index 2010


12) The Annual Misperception of Charitable Priorities – Bryan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Should Your Nonprofit Exist Forever?

Two stories in the past couple weeks have reminded me of this interesting discussion. One was by Nancy Lublin, the serial nonprofit founder and leader who now leads Do Something and writes a regular column for a BUSINESS magazine. In the latest edition of Fast Company www.FastCompany.com, Ms Lublin advocates for organizations that address their issue and then celebrate and close. She shares some examples of organizations that she feels have not served the charity world well by allowing their mission to expand and lose focus after they essentially solved the problem they were created to address. Why Charities Should Have an Expiration Date.

On a somewhat related note, a recent edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy www.Philathropy.com featured a story on two nonprofits that were created with limited lifetimes of 10 years or so. The leaders of those organizations emphasize the energy and momentum that can be created by a deadline, and the impact it has in motivating funders and donors, increasing collaboration, and reducing perceived competition with other nonprofits. Charities With an Expiration Date Hurry to Make a Lasting Mark.

I think this is a particularly interesting conversation because so many nonprofits have set very broad, aspirational goals that they know they can never actually achieve themselves. Should our goal be to make a meaningful difference in a burst of activity and impact to move the issue forward or settle for struggling along for an extended period of time wondering if we are truly making a difference? I suspect there is a broad spectrum of possibilities and every organization and cause will fit a different place. By their nature, some organizations are designed to exist to serve a need or audience indefinitely while others are more a project or idea that comes to life and then struggles to perpetuate itself - which are you?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Register for the 2011 Central Indiana Board Chair Summit

After a very successful inaugural event in 2010, the Central Indiana Board Chair Summit continues on January 21, 2011!

This exciting event is created specifically for community leaders serving as executives on non-profit boards and non-profit executive staff. As a community leader, you have the opportunity to transform the nonprofit and community landscape by being a part of the 2nd Annual Central Indiana Board Chair Summit which will take place January 21, 2011 in Indianapolis. Peace Learning Center www.peacelearningcenter.org and Lacy Leadership Association
www.lacyleadership.org are partnering to bring you this exciting event.

The 2011 Summit will include opening remarks from Brian Payne, president of The Indianapolis Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation; the featured presentation by Dr. Kent Keith, CEO of The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and author of "Servant Leadership in the Boardroom: Fulfilling the Public Trust," in addition to roundtable discussions and a panel presentation from experienced board chairs.

To learn more about Dr. Keith's forthcoming book, read an excerpt here.

Mark your calendars for January 21- we would love to see your organization represented!

Registration Details: Friday, Jan 21, 2011 from 7:30am - Noon at The Athenaeum, downtown Indy Cost: $49/person

For a more detailed agenda and to register, go here.

or contact Nancy Larner Ruschman at nruschman@peacelearningcenter.org or

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tell Us How Your Nonprofit is Doing (Update to Spring 2009 Survey)

As our long-time readers know, we see one of our key roles as helping to inform our nonprofit community about what other nonprofits are doing. As the general economy shows signs of emerging from the recession, we want to hear what you are seeing and doing as an update to our survey in the Spring of 2009. We really need your input by Friday, December 10.

Following is a short, 19 question, multiple choice survey. Most questions are focused on 2010 and plans for 2011 - with a few questions about what you have done since mid-2008 to deal with the recession.

Though some of the information may seem detailed, we have attempted to structure it so you can answer off the top of your head without any research. Don’t hesitate to skip a question. We would appreciate just one leader from your organization filling out the survey - Exec Dir/CEO/COO/CFO/Bd Chair or Treasurer.

Please complete our on-line survey by clicking here.

Thank you for your time,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nonprofits Rush to Solicit Donations via Text, but the System Is Flawed

The earthquake in Haiti was an “aha!” moment for nonprofits, demonstrating within hours the vast potential to raise money by text messaging.

Using a simple five-digit code and the word “Haiti,” the American Red Cross raised some $2 million in the first 24 hours after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake — almost as much as was raised in the previous year by nonprofits with text-to-give programs in 2009.

Over all, the Red Cross pulled in more than $30 million by mobile phones for its work in Haiti, setting off a scramble among nonprofits to figure out a way to replicate that success.

“We got calls from thousands of nonprofits wanting to get started with mobile giving,” said James Eberhard, founder of Mobile Accord, whose subsidiary, mGive, was behind the Red Cross’s Haiti campaign.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Form 990 Tax Return Is More Than Numbers - BKD Insights Archive

The Form 990 is prepared by not-for-profit organizations to comply with IRS annual filing requirements. Your Form 990 also may be used to rank your organization against other organizations in your area and throughout the United States, comparing such items as spending on your mission, fundraising efficiency and organizational efficiency. A study of 30 metropolitan markets across the United States was just released, which ranked Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the most charitable conscious city with a median score of 59.38. Baltimore, Maryland was ranked the least charitable conscious with a median score of 51.89. The national average was 55.68, with 70 being the highest possible score.

There are several organizations that evaluate charities, including the Better Business Bureau and Charity Watch, but the largest is Charity Navigator, a not-for-profit organization that evaluates charities and rates them based on organizational efficiency and growth capacity. These services are usually free to the public to view; all you need to do is sign up for an account.

Read the full article.

Questions? Contact Debi L. Ladyman, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4072 or
dladyman@bkd.com or Joe Vande Bosche, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4039 or jvandebosche@bkd.com.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Can Five Short Questions Change the Nonprofit World?

"I often get into discussions with my nonprofit clients about "What is success for your organization? What is the change you are trying to create?"

We know it can be hard to measure success and we know we must first define it for our organization. Here is a short article about a national initiative that hopes to gain traction in getting all of us to think more about the impact we create through our organizations. I'm not sure that these would be my five questions, but I absolutely support the end goal." Bryan

Independent Sector, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar USA are collaborating on an effort to get charities to answer five fundamental questions about how they operate. The very process of answering the questions could help charities with strategic planning or describing themselves more clearly to the public, say proponents of the effort, called "Charting Impact." If the idea catches hold, it could also provide a standardized framework through which to evaluate charities.

The five questions are:

* What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
* What are your strategies for making this happen?
* What are your organization's capabilities for doing this?
* How will your organization know if you are making progress?
* What have and haven't you accomplished so far?

The effort, supported by the Hewlett Foundation, is currently being tested
by a few dozen charities.

Read the full article.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


An Introduction to Internships for Your Nonprofit

Join us on Wednesday, November 3 from 9am-11am to learn how your nonprofit can benefit from student interns during the summer or throughout the year. We will address several key barriers identified in a brief survey in June of 2010 by Charitable Advisors – 1) lack of clarity about what roles an intern might fill and the value they would bring, 2) perceived difficulty in recruiting a talented intern, and 3) uncertainty around paid versus unpaid internships.

Representing the internship triangle of students, employers and career professionals, panelists will share how internship programs unlock student potential and provide a source of talent for nonprofit organizations. Whether you are the CEO or HR Director at a large nonprofit or the Executive Director or Program Manager at a smaller nonprofit, you will walk away with practical ideas and specific steps you can take to begin an intern effort.

This (No Charge) information session is hosted by the Not-for-Profit News, Indiana INTERNnet, and United Way of Central Indiana. The event will take place at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Conference Center, 8th Floor of the Hyatt Hotel/PNC Tower at 115 West Washington Street. Convenient and inexpensive parking is available across the street on the 3rd floor of the Circle Center Mall garage off Maryland and just walk across the connector to the elevators.

There is no charge but please register and answer a few questions so we can prepare a great session. Register here.

Bryan Orander, President
Charitable Advisors and Not-for-Profit News


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Board Development is “In Season” – Two Great Opportunities

One of the most common refrains I am hearing these days is how nonprofits who have always looked to their Executive Director/CEO and staff to keep the organization financially and operationally sound now need the board to step up and do more than attend meetings and review the financials. You might recall an article we ran in August overviewing research that found three critical success factors in boards that increased their effectiveness:

From: What Really Works in Building a Strong Board (Not-for-Profit News - July 13 Blog Post ).

1. Outside governance expertise or training – a “nudge” – from a facilitator or board member attendance at outside training contributed to a new vision of the board.

2. The Board Chair - critical in creating movement and building momentum for change, in partnership with the executive director. The board chair usually engaged a few other board members, building a small group of champions for change.

3. Intention - Study participants described a specific, articulated intention to develop the board: ”We were obsessed with board development.” “Status quo was not OK.”

Here are two great opportunities for board leaders to set aside any excuses for not knowing how to create a strong board for their organization. Please get these dates on the calendars of a couple of your board leaders – or bring a group!

How True Philanthropy Can Transform Your Board: a workshop for nonprofit executive directors and board chairs with Jamie Levy of J.D. Levy Associates, Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 8:00 AM – Noon, Shepherd Community Center – Admission $15. Jamie Levy is president of J.D. Levy and Associates and a faculty member at Indiana University, where he teaches in the graduate and professional programs through the IU Center on Philanthropy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and The Fund Raising School. Through his teaching and consulting, he has trained nearly 12,000 professionals from over 30 countries. Join Jamie to explore how an understanding of "true philanthropy" can move your board from a group of individuals to a body of unified leadership, and how seeing your board through the eyes of a culture of philanthropy will empower your board members to be lifelong advocates as opposed to short term duty. See how the board meetings change when we view the board as a social asset and begin moving the board culture away from problem spotting toward value creation and framing.. We invite you to attend as a team, executive director and board chairman. Register at http://transformyourboard.eventbrite.com , or call 812-447-0345.

2nd Annual Central Indiana Board Chair Summit, January 21, 2011, 8:00am-Noon, Madame Walker Theatre – Admission $49. The primary purpose of the Central Indiana Board Chair Summit is to provide an opportunity for Board Chair leaders to learn new strategies and share ideas with one another that will foster healthier and higher performing Boards. The first-ever Central Indiana Board Chair Summit sold out in January 2010 and elicited tremendous feedback from the more than 80 organizations in attendance: 95% of board chairs rated the Summit as “above average” or “excellent”; 94% of board chairs learned new ideas or skills that could be put into practice immediately; 88% believe they will serve more confidently in their role as Board leader. As one of the 2010 Summit attendees stated: “Realizing that our problems were universal and typical with non-profit boards and hearing peers in my position talk about approaches for resolving them were the most useful aspects of the Summit.” Registration will open soon. Watch the NFP News for more information or contact nruschman@peacelearningcenter.org to be added to the mailing list.

What Really Works In Building a Strong Board?

You may recall an on-line survey we promoted last fall for a board researcher named Mary Hiland, Ph.D of Hiland Associates in California. She appreciated the 30+ organizations who responded from Cincinnati and Indianapolis about both board turnarounds and boards that had shown growth to new levels of effectiveness. In total, she looked at 59 cases from organizations across a broad spectrum of budget and board size. Mary is still assembling the detailed analysis and report but wanted our readers to be among the first to receive her preliminary findings.

She found five dimensions that participants consistently identified in the way boards work:

· Alignment: Right people doing the right things with the right skills.
· Individual growth: Assisting each board member to be the best they can be.
· Team building: Fine tuning how the group works as a team.
· Maturity: The board's ability to understand the needs of the organization and their best roles as a collective group.
· Asset creation: The collaborative process by which boards reach their full potential to lead and add value to the organization in achievement of the mission.

The results reflected a continuum of board development, seemingly independent of the organizational life cycle:

1. Getting the basics right.
2. Improving overall board functioning; building board infrastructure.
3. Becoming more strategic.
4. Attracting investment, social capital(people and influence), and engaging with the community in powerful ways.

She found three critical success factors:

1. Outside governance expertise or training - a "nudge" - usually from a trainer/facilitator or a board member's attendance at outside training contributing to a new vision of the board.
2. The Board Chair - critical in creating (or inhibiting) movement and building momentum for change, in partnership with the Executive Director/CEO. The board chair usually engaged a few other board members, building a small group of champions for change.
3. Intention - Study participants described a specific, articulated intention to develop the board: "We were obsessed with board development." "Status quo was not OK."

What is a "Stronger Board"? The tangible improvements included changes in:

· Leadership - More leadership; better leaders.
· Interpersonal dynamics - Better, stronger relationships among the board members and with the Executive Director/CEO.
· Engagement - Increased attendance and participation. Better quality discussion, better preparation. More energy, momentum.
· Board functioning - better meetings, more ownership of the board's work, more effective committee work, and recognition that the board needs to work on itself - not just the organization.
· More strategic; Less involved in operations - Taking it to the next level.
· Composition: More diverse, better "quality" of board members
· Community engagement - Board members increased engagement with the external community, "got it" regarding fundraising, increased identification and use of board member's networks, and/or strengthened advocacy.

We look forward to learning more as she continues her work. You can find more about Mary Hiland at www.hiland-assoc.com.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Should a New Board Member Receive?

1) Get them immediately involved in ways they can meet people, feel a sense of accomplishment, and see your organization in action.

2) Provide a good board package that is informational without being overwhelming - in hardcopy or electronically. I built upon a recent BoardSource post to suggest the following:

-Short introduction and history of the organization, including why is was started and any significant changes or events through its life.
-Organization Goals or Plans
-Prior year audited financials
-Annual Report
-Minutes from Board and Committee Meetings for the past 6 months to a year
-Staff and Board Organization Charts
-List of funders, major supporters, and program partners - their roles and
current funding commitments
-Policies for Board and Staff
-List of all board members with their terms and contact information -Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation
-Executive Directors Job Description and annual review cycle -Recent promotional brochures

Read More

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

IRS Focus for 2010 - Employment Tax & Charitable Spending - BKD Insights

Beginning in 2010, the IRS Exempt Organizations (EO) Division is focusing on two key areas: employment tax and charitable spending. Employment tax has recently been a focal point for the IRS. Exempt organizations have the same payroll obligations as for-profit businesses, such as proper classification of workers and the reporting and payment of employment taxes.

For the next three years, the IRS will analyze data from audits of 500 randomly selected exempt organizations to determine whether they properly comply with employment tax law and reporting requirements, specifically focusing on worker classification, fringe benefits, officer compensation, employee expense reimbursement and non-filers. The IRS has indicated that many of these exams have already started.

The second IRS EO initiative examines charitable funding sources and their relationship to the accomplishment of charitable purposes. The study will look at revenue sources, particularly fundraising, public contributions, grants and revenues from related or unrelated trades or businesses, as well as unrelated business income expenses, officer compensation, fundraising expenses, program service activity spending and the effect of these expenditures on charitable spending.

Read the full article.

Questions? Contact Debi L. Ladyman, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4072 or
dladyman@bkd.com or Joe Vande Bosche, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4039 or jvandebosche@bkd.com .

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Day We First Met

- Guidestar.org - September 2010 -
Reprinted from Contributions Magazine

Working with volunteers is a lot like dating (in the traditional sense). I say traditional because I hear from my friends that dating in the 21st century is much different with online, texting, tweeting, and such. It's been 18 years since I was on the mission to get the guy, but I remember it like it was yesterday. The parallels between recruiting and retaining volunteer leaders and dating are strangely similar.

The Prospect. When you're single, there are two ways to meet Mr. or Ms. Right: a chance encounter where you are both in the right place at the right time (he or she walks through the door and you just know). Or, more likely, it takes some effort; you put yourself out there to increase your chances of meeting your soul mate...

The Courtship. Once you've identified the prospect, you try to learn as much as you can to see if it's a good fit. You spend time talking and learning about what they enjoy as well as their pet peeves. You observe their strengths and weaknesses...

The Marriage. After investing time and energy into the relationship and determining it's a good match, you're ready to make the leap. Marriage is a big deal. It's a commitment to stick together through good and bad, and strive to better one other...

Now What? It takes work to keep the spark going in a relationship. After a while, it's easy to take it for granted, or just become complacent. But relationships that continue to thrive require nurturing...

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

IRS Offers Relief for Small Charities


On July 26, 2010, the IRS announced a one-time special filing relief program for small tax-exempt organizations that may be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they failed to file required returns.

Background - Prior to the enactment of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA), tax-exempt organizations with gross receipts of $25,000 or less were not required to submit information returns. The PPA requires small tax-exempt organizations not previously required to file Form 990 or 990-EZ to submit a new annual notice. Form 990-N was created to enable organizations to meet this requirement.

The new filing requirement does not apply to organizations specifically excluded from filing Form 990, including churches, church-related
organizations, governmental entities and affiliates of governmental units.

>>Read the full article here.

Questions? Contact Debi L. Ladyman, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4072 or
dladyman@bkd.com or Joe Vande Bosche, CPA, Partner at 317.383.4039 or jvandebosche@bkd.com .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to School – For Kids and Boards

September and January are the two times each year that we most frequently see board and staff leaders renewing efforts to bring new members on board, orient all board members about their roles, and get everyone headed in the same direction. On one board where I serve, we realized that many of our board members have trickled in over the past year and haven’t gotten enough attention or information about what the organization needs from them or been given the chance to share what they would really like to do to help.

With that backdrop, we shamelessly plug our board development materials a couple times each year with some special offers, good through the end of September 2010. In the case of our booklets and training CD, the material is not revolutionary or profound but it is presented in an inexpensive summary format and layperson’s terms so that it gets past the common barriers of busy schedules and intimidating expectations. We have sold more than 25,000 copies of our little booklets - across all 50 states. We hope your organization can take advantage of one or all of these special offers.

SPECIAL #1 – SAVE $55 - we are again offering the $55 Training CD of PowerPoint presentations w/Facilitator Guide FREE with a $100 or larger purchase of booklets – Welcome to the Board, Finance for Every Board Member, Fund Raising for Every Board Member, and Planning for Every Board Member. We will include it automatically when you place your order at: http://www.charitableadvisors.com/ordercdbooklets.html

Special #2 – SAVE $75 - If it is time for some candid reflection and discussion about how your board is working and how you can get stronger, we are offering the $75 Sample Pak and Training CD w/Facilitator Guide FREE with the purchase of our on-line Board Self-Assessment. http://www.charitableadvisors.com/assessment-board.html Feel free to contact Bryan at 317-752-7153 or bryan@charitableadvisors.com with questions.

Special #3 – SAVE $39 - We have been fortunate to get to know Henry Freeman, a fund raising master, over the years and are very excited that he captured the lessons he has learned on video for all of us to learn. His introductory 35 minute video “The Nonprofit Board’s Guide to Successful Fund Raising” gives Board members an overview of how fund raising works in nonprofits and their critical role. It normally costs $39 plus S&H, but we will ship two copies when you order one (sorry, no Ginsu knives J). http://www.charitableadvisors.com/henryreemandvd-2.html

Special #4 – SAVE $55 - Finally, Henry Freeman has also created a video reference library of fund development wisdom for every organization, who is serious about developing philanthropic relationships, to use regularly. This library includes two insightful seminars plus fifty 3-10 minute focused teachings on a wide variety of techniques that Henry says have each raised thousands if not millions of dollars. This set sells for $249 plus S&H. Henry has just developed a $55 companion binder that we will include FREE this month that makes it a snap to teach and learn, with or without the video, at staff and board meetings. http://www.charitableadvisors.com/henryreemandvd.html 

Bryan Orander, President
Charitable Advisors and Not-for-Profit News


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

GuideStar Survey Shows Difficult First Half for Many Nonprofits

Jane Page-Steiner, JPS Nonprofit Strategies 

How are your nonprofit's revenues for the first half of the 2010? Some 40 percent of participants in a recent GuideStar economic survey reported that contributions to their organizations dropped between January 1 and May 31, 2010, compared to the same period a year earlier. Another 28 percent said that contributions had stayed about the same, and 30 percent stated contributions had increased.

How can a nonprofit organization address a shortfall of revenues mid-year in a budget cycle?

You may want consider the following strategies:

1. Reconnect with past donors by phone or in person to ask for their support - take the time to explain your critical need for support and how their support will make a difference.

2. Ask your board to increase their annual donation to your organization or challenge the board to create a matching fund appeal - where the board matches up to a targeted amount raised from an appeal to the community. Ask one or two board members to write a story for your newsletter or website sharing why they financially support your organization.

3. Make sure your organization is set up to accept donations on your website, FanPage or any other social media you may be using. MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR DONORS!

4. Revisit your strategy plan and how it relates to your budget - extend out goals to help minimize expenses.

5. Consider your policies and practices on utilizing your reserve funds or endowment - can these resources be used to sustain your organization as you build new revenue strategies?

Strong leadership and thoughtful planning can ensure that your organization will continue to thrive even during difficult economic times.

To read the full report from GuideStar "The Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector: A June 2010 Survey" go to ... Read more.

Jane Page-Steiner, President of JPS Nonprofit Strategies is the publisher of the Cincinnati Not-for-Profit News and a 20+ year leader and consultant with nonprofits. You can reach Jane at at jane@jpsnonprofit.com , call 513.574.9797, or www.jpsnonprofit.com .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to Engage 20-Somethings in Your Cause - Guidestar.org/August 2010

Finding new volunteers and donors is one of the biggest challenges facing
nonprofit organizations. For the past few years, more and more nonprofits
have used social media to get people to embrace their causes, but getting
the "social-media generation" behind your cause and then inspiring them to
contribute in time and resources is another matter.

Today's 20-somethings, sometimes called "slactivists," are often cynical of
corporate efforts. After all, at a formative age they witnessed dramatic
institutional and corporate failures. But they were also born during an age
of riches, are highly educated, and have been told that the world is their
oyster. So they are a very optimistic group.

The advertising agency TBWA/Chiat Day, with research partners Flamingo and
Changing Our World, recently conducted a study to explore what causes are
top of mind for people born between 1982 and 1992, and to find out what
types of marketing programs can successfully engage this group.

Here are eight ways the study suggests that nonprofit brands can engage
young adults:

1.Take time to understand what motivates your 20-something audience.

2.Seed information in places the 20-something audience goes for news.

3.Make your messages social.

4.Show how corporations you work with help support your cause.

5.Overcome logistical barriers. The top three reasons young adults don't get
involved in social causes are: time constraints; skepticism that their
involvement will make a difference; and a lack of opportunities to get

6.Ignite creativity.

7.Start an L3C staffed by young adults.

8.Consider going open source.

How do you engage your young-adult volunteers? What draws them to your cause
and organization?

Read the full article at Guidestar at http://www2.guidestar.org/rxa/news/articles/2010/how-to-engage-20-somethings-in-your-cause.aspx source=aug_5_2010nwsltr&hq_e=el&hq_m=714193&hq_l=5&hq_v=10589f9854 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Volunteering in America 2010

This year's 'Volunteering In America' report, from the Corporation for National and Community Service, reveals that for the second year in a row volunteering rates have increased in the United States.

This year's report was highly anticipated for the light it would shed on two issues: whether volunteer rates would drop during the recession, and whether there really has been a compassion boom. In addition to highlighting a number of statistics such as the overall number of hours volunteered per age group, and the states and communities with the highest volunteering rates, the report sheds light on the types of volunteer opportunities that were most popular. In 2009, fundraising accounted for 26.6% of volunteer work, followed closely by collecting or distributing food (23.5%), general labor (20.5%), and tutoring (19%).

Indiana Highlights:

- 1.5 million volunteers
- 29.9% of residents volunteer, 19th of the 50 states plus D.C.
- 42 hours per resident, 13th of the 50 states plus D.C.

"Americans have responded to tough economic times by volunteering in big numbers," said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. "What we're seeing is the depth of the American spirit and generosity at its best. People are turning toward problems, working with their neighbors to find solutions to real problems, from homelessness to the dropout crisis."

To check out the full report, visit http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/IN

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are Your Board Members Bowling Or Playing Golf?

I had one of those “AHA” moments a couple months ago when Dave Renz, Ph D from University of Missouri - Kansas City shared that in anecdotal research his team learned why most board members show little interest in attending training events to become better board members. They found that many board members do not really identify with the board member role or only view themselves as short-term board members. These individuals just see themselves as helping an organization they care about, and it happens to be as a board member right now. That got me thinking …

My “Bowling” vs.”Golf” analogy comes from my own experience as a hopeless amateur at both endeavors. (I offer this with all due respect and apologies, in advance, to accomplished bowlers and golfers.)

Bowling can be enjoyed by just about anyone who shows up at the bowling alley. Even the worst bowler gets to roll 20 balls and feel some satisfaction with knocking down some pins with their friends.
Becoming more proficient is admirable but doesn't change the basic experience. I propose that the individual who approaches their board experience like bowling views it as a great chance to show up, feel good about their efforts, and spend time with friends and people who share a common interest. They might assume that the board experience is the same for most board members in most organizations so there is really nothing more to learn.

In contrast, the beginning golfer quickly realizes they are experiencing a different game than the more capable golfer. Their game takes longer, they see different parts of the course and sometimes suffer the ridicule of other golfers - plus lose lots of balls. Though this person might have started as a recreational(bowling-style) board member they recognize a need to learn and improve. Something has helped them realize that different boards and different board members work at different levels of effectiveness and impact. I would suggest the reason we see many golfers take lessons but fewer bowlers is because golfers realize it really changes their experience.

When board members hold a limited view of the possibilities and potential of being part of a high performance, high impact board, they settle for merely participating. We want them to realize that learning the board member role changes the game and the experience for themselves, their organization, and the people they serve for the better.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

BIN2010: Social Media & Blogging Conference is a 2-day conference for both experienced and new bloggers and social media enthusiasts alike. Sessions will include topics ranging from beginner-level through more advanced social media marketing, business, publishing and tech topics. A beginners workshop, Social Media 101, is included for all ticket-holders.

The event is being held August 20-21st in downtown Indianapolis.

For more information and to register, visit http://www.blogindiana.com/2010. 

Use the discount code NFPNEWS and receive 15% off your ticket!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can Nonprofit Leaders Consider Retirement Again?

Around this time two years ago, tens of thousands of nonprofit leaders across the country were mapping out timelines to their retirement or next adventure - including dozens, at least, in central Indiana. Many had not yet mentioned anything to their boards or other staff leaders. Then the financial crash hit, retirement savings plummeted, and unless a replacement was already hired most leaders put their plans on the shelf to wait for better times.

Staff leaders are thinking retirement again, based on the increase in calls I am getting from board leaders and executive directors to assist with succession planning or these leadership transitions over the next 1-2 years. What has caused the change? The stock market is still far from its 2007 highs but has improved since the scary Spring of 2009. A driven, or tired, leader can only put off their next career, writing their book, or moving to Australia for so long.  Add to that one of the toughest environments ever to run a nonprofit organization and it seemed inevitable that we would begin to see some ripples of that wave of retirements that has been forecasted for the past 5 years. Still, in the bigger picture, many questions remain unanswered about how long current executives will want to continue to work and what they will do next.

What is “Retirement”?

In our leadership survey a few years ago, we found a significant number of nonprofit leaders had pushed their thinking of retirement age toward 67 or even 70. What wasn’t as clear was whether they envisioned being in their current role or doing something else. When I started focusing on executive transition work 6-7 years ago, I perceived many of my clients were retiring to golf, friends, family, and perhaps some informal volunteer roles. The leaders I speak with today are more likely to be talking about pursuing one of their other passions or even continuing their life’s work in a new way – seldom does living in an RV or sipping marguerites on a sandy beach come up as more than a vacation.     

How Big a Deal Is It When a Long-term Leader Leaves?

The comparison that people seem to resonate with most is to a long-term pastor retiring. Though nonprofit executives haven’t done marriages and funerals, they have been visible, inspiring advocates for a cause or a neighborhood as leaders, mentors, coaches, friends, and very important fund raisers. They have been the face, the identity, and the heart of the organization in the community. There are emotional, operational, and relational components that must be addressed as the board steps back to assess where the organization is, where it is going, and what kind of leader will be needed next.  Among the most important is to reassure staff, funders, and donors that everything is on track and well-planned.    

Where I do interviews as part of the organizational reflection and assessment process, staff and board members are both anxious about their long-term leader departing and excited about the possibility of having a new leader with fresh vision, intense engagement, and new perspectives.     

Balancing the Best for the Organization with the Best for the Individual

On the other side of the discussion, leaders who stay too long can inhibit the ability of an organization to build strong staff and board leadership, adapt to the changing environment, and maximize their impact and contribution to the community. Ironically, the very leadership qualities and characteristics that enabled an organization to survive and grow to a certain point can be the same leadership qualities that limit that organization moving forward. Some people have labeled this common tendency as “Founders Syndrome”, applying to both long-term executives and founders.

Truly sharing leadership seems to be the best prescription to combat “Founder’s Syndrome”. A painful, but positive, leadership inflection point happens when the board asserts their role as co-leaders of the organization – insisting on being a real part of defining and quantifying what success means to their organization and holding all parties, including themselves, accountable for moving toward those agreed upon outcomes.

If you are a board or staff leader anticipating a transition, I would be happy to speak with you to discuss the types of support we might provide. Feel free to share this article and the process overview at this link with your leaders  http://www.notforprofitnews.com/images/One_Page_ETM_Intro.pdf . Watch for another Leadership Survey this fall as we keep you informed about what we are seeing.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

13 Steps to Driving Volunteer Recruitment, Engagement and Leadership

From the VolunteerMatch blog! Contributed by Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention

When it comes to recruiting and motivating volunteers to ever higher and more effective levels of engagement, no organization has its work more cut out for it than New York Cares. As New York City's leading volunteer organization, New York Cares runs volunteer programs for 1,000 New York City nonprofits, city agencies and public schools, enabling more than 50,000 volunteers annually to contribute their time, expertise and energy to a wide array of organizations, addressing critical social needs citywide.

In order to ensure that its massive and complex operation runs smoothly, the staff at New York Cares has spent considerable time developing and refining their volunteer recruitment strategies, whose lynchpin, not surprisingly, is communication. I've spent some time talking with the folks at New York Cares recently and as you'll see below, their strategies can be put to work to boost your organization's volunteer recruitment, engagement and retention rates, no matter your size.

The Challenge In the recent past, New York Cares realized it faced three challenges that limited its ability to grow the base of volunteers serving its nonprofit partners.

1. They needed to raise "activation rates" of attendees who came to learn about New York Cares volunteer opportunities. Only 45% were immediately signing up for an assignment after their informational orientation.

2. They needed to increase the levels of volunteer engagement. The great thing about New York Cares is that it's a one-stop shop for want-to-be volunteers to learn about opportunities to help a broad range of nonprofits, and sign up for a project that has a commitment level of as little as just a few hours.

But New York Cares needed and wanted volunteers to come back again and again for more of the meaningful volunteer assignments they offered. "We needed to increase the average number of projects volunteers completed in order to grow the services we provide to nonprofit partners," says Colleen Farrell, senior director of marketing and communications at New York Cares.

Farrell notes that New York Cares also needs a volunteer team leader for every project they start.

3. They needed to create new leaders. "We wanted and needed a higher percent of our volunteer base to step into leadership roles. Taking a leadership role is the ultimate form of engagement and is critical to our expansion," says Farrell.

What follows is a group of 13 key principles for volunteer communication strategies I've gleaned from my observations of New York Cares' work. I want to thank executive director Gary Bagley and Colleen Farrell for volunteering their time and insights on how they've achieved their success. Where credit is due for brilliant insights and ideas, it is theirs alone; for anything less, I take responsibility. More

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Donor Centered Fundraising

Recently, Guidestar shared an interesting article about the findings from fundraising pioneer Penelope Burk. She found that having board members call donors to thank them for their gift can increase your gifting up to 39%. Penelope Burk shared the following statistics from her book Donor Centered Fundraising.

Donors who received a thank you phone call from a board member within 24 hours of receiving the gift - the next time they were solicited, they gave 39% more than the other donors who did not receive a call.

After 14 months, those called were giving 42% more.

She offers this simple strategy - the next time you send out an appeal, employ your standard thank you processes—letters, personal notes, etc.   But select out a random group of donors for a special thank you treatment: 

Organize your board members to make thank you phone calls to these donors within 24 hours of the gift's receipt. It's really important that they make the call within 24 hours of when your organization receives the gift.

Have your board members talk to a real person if at all possible.

After several tries, they can just leave a message that simply thanks the donor.

The phone calls are NOT about asking for another gift. They are for stewardship only.

Burk also suggests if your board members are adventurous, they can ask the donor why he/she chose to make this gift. This will give them the opportunity to hear the donor's story—and the donor will be even more pleased and honored. When you send your next solicitation out to all your donors you can conduct your own research by comparing the ones who received the extra thank you phone call and those who just received your regular thank yous. When the repeat gifts come in, compare the results of both groups. You'll find, when all other things are equal, that the donors who received a prompt, personal thank you from a board member within 24 hours of a gift being received will give up to 39 percent more than the other group.

Sometimes a simple and inexpensive strategy can provide amazing results.


We Need Your Input to The Salary Survey this Week!

This is the last week for the first Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey and WE NEED YOUR PARTICIPATION. We are encouraging all 501c3 nonprofits from Marion and surrounding counties to go to www.CINSS.org and take about 15 minutes to complete the short survey of benefits and management level salaries (Excluding hospitals, universities, and schools this cycle).

We are well over 100 responses but far short of our goal of 200. You will be asked to identify your nonprofit organization in one of eight primary categories, as noted below with the number of responses to date. Whether you fit into one of the eight primary categories or not, your information will be tabulated and published for all nonprofits. There are not enough organizations right now to do breakout reporting on three categories – Recreation, Animal-Related, and Environmental but those organizations will have useful information to compare with organizations of similar staff and budget size.

Arts, Culture, and Humanities (16)
Human Services (35)
Health, Disease, Disorders (22)
Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics (3)
Community Development (11)
Animal- related (1)
Environmental (4)
Membership Organizations (11)
Other (17)

As a reminder, we will be coordinating our data with the recent survey from the United Way of Central Indiana to publish combined results at the end of the summer or early fall. The United Way data will substantially expand our data set in Human Services plus add a few organizations to some of the other categories.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why does a Nonprofit Salary Survey Matter?

Last week, we launched the first Central Indiana Nonprofit Salary Survey. We are encouraging all 501c3 nonprofits from Marion and surrounding counties to go to www.CINSS.org and take about 15 minutes to complete the short survey of benefits and management level salaries (Excluding hospitals, universities, and schools this cycle).

We have been surprised by the wide range of feedback we have received. Many people are as excited as we are about this project while others see it as a lot of work to get enough organizations participating. Still others aren’t familiar with why a salary survey would be of value or interest.

One reason salary and benefits surveys may not be of common knowledge in the nonprofit sector is because more than 90% of nonprofits are not large enough to have staff dedicated to the Human Resources function. HR staff members are commonly the people who research salary information, buy salary data from national surveys, and help in developing compensation and benefits frameworks that make an organization competitive for talent.

While few nonprofits can offer truly “generous” compensation packages, it is critical to remain competitive in the marketplace in order to keep strong leaders and attract more strong leaders. Survey data like this helps the organization walk the line between competitive compensation for good staff and appropriate stewardship of donor funds.

For those organizations that do not have HR professionals, establishing compensation levels is often informal and viewed as an occasional “project” of a staff or board leader or committee. Sadly, many nonprofits get into a routine of paying what fits in their budgets and avoids a staff exodus. We hope easier access to this information will allow more organizations to set goals of working toward raising their overall compensation levels.

I would be the first to tell you that you have to look really hard to find a nonprofit leader who is overpaid, but the IRS has taken a few abusive situations and put rules in place that require every nonprofit board to objectively justify the compensation package they provide to top leaders. A survey like this will go a long way toward meeting that requirement.

We are pleased that more than 60 nonprofit organizations have already responded to the on-line survey at www.CINSS.org since it opened last Tuesday. We encourage you not to wait until the deadline of July 8 to complete it for your organization. We have set a goal of 200 nonprofits to provide worthwhile data for the eight nonprofit areas we have identified.

As a reminder, we will be coordinating our data with the recent survey from the United Way of Central Indiana to publish combined results at the end of the summer or early fall.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Annual Misperception of Charitable Priorities

About the only issue that bothers me more than the occasional abuse of a few highly paid charitable leaders to condemn the whole sector is the regular reporting by the so-called “watchdog” charity rating agencies that use tax forms to determine the effectiveness of nonprofits. These are the types of ratings that perpetuate the “How much do they spend on overhead?” question instead of “What impact have they made on their community?” I wonder what they could determine from my tax forms?

Charity Navigator has released its annual ranking of charitable efficiency based on the Form 990 tax filings of some of the larger nonprofits they have reviewed in each of 30 communities – they poorly label the lists as “the largest” nonprofits in each city. I suppose I am more frustrated than usual because Indianapolis was near the bottom of the list and Cincinnati didn’t do much better, but my major concern is that the issues with this type of rating system are obvious and well-covered while the general public only sees the negative headlines. It is a classic case of making important what they can measure because they are not able to measure what is important. To their credit, Charity Navigator indicates on their website that they will be looking at additional aspects in their ratings – I’m anxious to see how they do it and wish them success with a very difficult task.

In case you are new to this discussion, here are the three points that stand out for me:

1) Demonizing infrastructure and Inaccurate completion of the Form 990 – a 2007 study by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Urban Institute at http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/FAQ/index.php?category=51 emphasized the importance of adequate infrastructure for organizations to be able to effectively deliver quality programs. They also discovered that a significant percentage of Form 990s were incorrectly completed to show few or no funds spent on fund raising or administration. These misstatements can be attributed to a lack of knowledge or an organization’s decision to stretch the truth to look better to donors and rating agencies.

2) Organization Life Stage, Gift Size, or Aggressiveness in Fund Raising – A young organization with little public visibility is required to spend much more time and money to raise each new dollar, in small amounts from mainly new donors, often more than $1 for every $1 dollar it raises. In contrast, a well—established organization, with thousands of repeat donors making larger gifts, may spend less than 10 cents for each $1 raised.

3) Lack of comparative information on program impact – Measures of success are notoriously difficult in the nonprofit sector. Using tax form information is grasping at what little information is available and generalizing it to all the operations of that organization. An organization could have great financials and a low quality program or produce great results but not look very good on its Form 990.

Nonprofits are measured by a different yardstick than private businesses and that is appropriate, but it creates some tough questions for nonprofit staff and boards to deal with. When is it better to provide fewer services than to use more expensive options to raise more money? If a business puts a product on sale and narrows its margins in order to increase cash, they are being business-like. If a nonprofit spends 70 cents on the dollar to raise extra money to accomplish an important mission that would not otherwise be accomplished, they might be labeled as wasteful or inefficient.

When donors are making serious investments in organizations, they need to understand where that organization’s funding comes from and how it is used. Donors need to reward those organizations who are spending money to hire good people and enough people, reaching out aggressively to the public, and following a path of building personal relationships with the individuals and organizations who can make them financially sustainable in the long-run.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job"

This is a terrific tagline! You have never heard of Homeboy, but I bet you have a pretty good idea of what they do and why.

13 Nonprofits were honored last fall for Outstanding Taglines. A nonprofit's tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate its identity and impact. But this high-impact, low-cost marketing tactic is often overlooked or under-emphasized by nonprofits. GettingAttention.org's 2008 survey of nonprofits showed that 7 in 10 nonprofits rated their tagline as poor or didn't use one at all.

The annual Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards program was designed to address this missed opportunity, and guide nonprofits to craft an effective tagline. This year's winners were selected from 60 finalists drawn from 1,702 nonprofit taglines submitted to the 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition.

The winning taglines are featured in the free 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report available for download.

This is a long report but it is skim-able and I promise you will find it thought provoking.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Take a Walk, Support a Cause, Support Me!

Walking for Dreams is a very exciting concept, a multi-organization fund raising walk created by the Sycamore Foundation about 5 years ago. By combining the efforts of 20+ nonprofits who each bring a dozen or two walkers, it creates the energy and raises the dollars of a 300-500 person walk that these organizations couldn't create on their own.

Over the past 5 years, our family has walked for a couple organizations and always have a great time. The Sunday, May 23 event begins and ends outside the restored Buggs Temple at the north end of the canal downtown. The walk route winds along the canal down to White River State Park and back again. It is over before you know it.

Option 1) Go to https://www.walkingfordreams.org/register.aspx and register to walk for an organization you know about or want to know about and recruit your friends, family, and co-workers to donate to support you.
Option 2) Go to https://www.walkingfordreams.org/Donate.aspx and make a contribution to a walker/organization you know of or want to learn about.

Option 3) Go to https://www.walkingfordreams.org/Donate.aspx and make a donation to support ME (Bryan Orander) walking for Southeast Community Services - SECS is the community center and basic needs safety net agency on the near SE side. If you got your job through the NFP News or you appreciate the information you receive through our free publication, here is a way to return the favor.

Option 4) Feel guilty for not participating - feel better by writing a special check to a nonprofit you respect and let us know about it.

On May 23, show up at Buggs Temple between 1-2pm to check in and browse the information tables for all participating non-profits.

Bryan Orander, President
Charitable Advisors and Not-for-Profit News


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Need a Boost of Encouragement, Insight, and Energy?

A few seats are left for Friday, May 7’s Leadercast presented by Chick-fil-A and hosted by our friends at Choices, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit focused on systems of care for youth (www.choicesteam.org).

You can watch from Choices offices on North Keystone with meals provided and wi-fi access or save $15 and watch at a convenient southside location.

The Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a one-day leadership event featuring the world's best leaders speaking about the leadership principles that matter most. Broadcast LIVE by GiANT Impact from Atlanta to hundreds of locations around the world, the Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a catalyst for new ideas and better leadership practices. The focus for this year's event is to help you make a lasting impact in the lives of those you lead by living out the leadership principles that guide your decisions and your life.

See the full agenda at the registration link.

Here is a list of speakers. 

Jim Collins - Author of Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, and co-author of Built to Last

Tony Dungy (Pre-Recorded) - Retired head coach for the Indianapolis Colts

John C Maxwell - Leadership expert and best-selling author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Steve Uzzell - Award-winning corporate photographer and former staff member of National Geographic

Mark Sanborn - Best-selling author of The Fred Factor

Connie Podesta - Expert in the psychology of human behavior and leadership development

Jim Goodnight - CEO of SAS Institute, Inc.

Ed Bastian - President of Delta Air Lines

Ben Carson - Neurosurgeon and Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Chip Heath - Author of Made to Stick, Columnist for Fast Company, and Stanford Professor

FMI or to register visit . Registration ends Wednesday.

I will look forward to seeing you at the Choices site on Friday,


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Many Board Treasurer’s Do You Need?

I really appreciated a presentation by Aaron Hurst at last November’s BoardSource Conference. Aaron Hurst is the founder and CEO of an organization called Taproot Foundation. Taproot Foundation has re-invented pro bono services by creating ways for teams of selected professionals to volunteer together to complete high value projects for nonprofit client organizations.

I resonated with Aaron’s premise that the Board Treasurer and Finance Committee tend to be the most consistently functioning board members on many nonprofit boards. Aaron suggests the Treasurer role is best performed because it is the best understood, reporting requirements are clear-cut, and the position is very specifically recruited – we know we need a person with particular skill and expertise. The Treasurer is the steward of the organization’s Financial Capital or Assets. They can take hold of the role of ‘owning’, protecting, and maximizing those assets.

What if you applied this stewardship concept to the other key assets of the organization and recruited people who were highly qualified to leverage them?

Treasurer of Human Capital – How do we recruit, hire, and train the best people? How do we attract and retain the best volunteers? How do we best leverage the skills of our staff and volunteers? What are the metrics that define progress and performance in this area?

Treasurer of Social Capital – “The Boss of Buzz” – Establishing and protecting our ‘brand’. Identifying and building key relationships. Coordinating and integrating fund raising, marketing, PR, and communications. What are the metrics that define progress and performance in this area?

Treasurer of Information Capital or Treasurer of Impact – How do we get information and how do we use it? How do we manage and access the knowledge we have developed? How do we show we are making a difference? What are the metrics that define progress and performance in this area?

Aaron suggests this model is best applied in mid-sized nonprofits that have staff infrastructure in each functional area but are not large enough to have highly experienced senior executives in areas like HR, marketing, and finance.

Pro Bono versus Traditional Volunteer - With a Pro Bono volunteer, you respect their professional skills and engage with them almost like a client and consultant relationship. With a traditional volunteer, you treat all the same and assign to low skill roles where volunteers are essentially interchangeable. Mr. Hurst also asserts that these Treasurer roles are very high leverage - many of us may have experienced this through the financial downturn as we had board members step up to show us how we should be forecasting and managing cash or restructuring debt. An “A”-level, high-expertise and high-performing board member can have 10x the impact of a board member who brings less energy or expertise. Who will be your second treasurer and what will they be stewarding?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why is Board Self-Assessment So Important?

The past two years have been far from the norm and have required nonprofit boards to step up and take their roles even more seriously than they have in the past. As you begin this new year, it is the perfect opportunity to provide your board members with the opportunity to reflect on key roles, provide candid feedback on what is working, and offer ideas to further strengthen your work. Regular Board Self-Assessment is considered a “best practice” for increasing the engagement and effectiveness of your board.

Here are four good reasons to integrate an assessment debrief into an upcoming board meeting, working session, or retreat:

Education – It is critical for boards to regularly review and discuss their roles and responsibilities. An assessment creates an opportunity to move from textbook theory to application. It is easy to get caught up in one or two roles and lose perspective on the bigger picture.

Engagement – An assessment requests input from all board members and then engages the full board in discussing the results and defining actions to be taken.

Reflection, Evaluation, and Perception – Ah… the unexamined life. Do we all view our work the same way? How are we doing? Step back from the routine reports and activities to explore how we can work smarter and leverage our efforts in support of our mission.

Prioritization – What should we be focusing on? Beware of assessment tools that merely ask you to rate everything and then produce a long list of problem areas. You need to know where you are already strong, what areas are most important in the next few years, and which areas are worth investing your scarce time and resources.


The Charitable Advisors on-line assessment is adapted from a framework developed and placed in the public domain by the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company that identifies nine critical roles of the board. It helps prioritize efforts and solicits input on committee work and board member commitment. The cost is only $325 for the on-line assessment and summary report in PowerPoint. In Central Indiana, Bryan can also provide a 1 ½ - 2 hour on-site board training and debrief, including the cost of the On-line Self-Assessment, for $750.

>>Learn More

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What are the most recognizable Nonprofit Brands?

I often meet new people and share that I work with the leadership of nonprofits. I am amazed at how often people ask “What is a nonprofit, can you give me an example?”. Now I have a great list. Each year, Harris Interactive releases the 2010 results of EquiTrend®, its renowned annual brand equity study that measures over 1,000 brands across 42 categories. Harris Interactive has been tracking consumers' awareness and perception of brands for over 20 years. A portion of this study focuses on an array of charitable non-profit brands, defined as charitable, member-based organizations with tax-exempt status. Harris Interactive's 2010 EquiTrend® report includes an overall Brand Equity score which takes into account several different dimensions of each non-profit organization. These include elements such as familiarity, quality, and likelihood to donate. While all of the top-rated organizations are household names, they are not necessarily just the largest non-profit organizations.

The top most trusted nonprofits this year include:

>>Read Entire Article

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writing PR Pitches with Punch

We all struggle to get our organizations noticed. Here are some tips from NYC PR pro, Sharon Fenster

A public-relations executive's greatest challenge is to help her organization stand out from the crowd, to get the editor's attention, to keep it and to translate it into ink. Believe it or not, if you follow a few simple strategies you are almost guaranteed success:

· Create a seasonal tie-in - Build around an annual event or related recognition like National Alcohol Awareness Month or.
· Select a spokesperson for your organization
· Locate a third-party source from a related organization - someone who also has expertise in the subject.
· Package your story. Make the reporter's job easy by providing an objective story line. Write a backgrounder that explains how to recognize the symptoms. Then provide your survival tips with quotes from your expert and your third-party source.
· Craft a fact sheet that can be used as a sidebar.
· Before you dial the editor's number, develop a compelling phone script.
· Use current events
· Conduct a survey - if possible, provide a case study or two that underscores the credibility of your findings.

Read the full article.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Who’s Missing Out on the Not-for-Profit News?

In Cincinnati, we have almost 1600 weekly subscribers. In Indianapolis, where we have been publishing since 2001, we are past 9500 weekly subscribers. Over these years, we have sent millions of informative e-mails – to help fill thousands of nonprofit job openings, promote thousands of training events, and share successes and great ideas from local nonprofits and the nonprofit sector across the country.

Since subscribing is no charge, we are convinced that every nonprofit executive, manager, and board member could and should be benefiting.

The Indianapolis Not-For-Profit News
We think the biggest reason people are missing out is that they haven’t heard of us yet. Please let your nonprofit colleagues, fellow board members, and up and coming nonprofit leaders know about us and how this quick, weekly read can keep them in the know. Also share that we welcome news and updates from local nonprofits that we can share across the community. www.charitableadvisors.com/submitnews.html

Sign-Up Here
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I Used to Subscribe
We regularly hear from people who used to be subscribers but have stopped receiving the newsletter. Our e-mail service provider, ExactTarget, is programmed to stop sending e-mails to an address after it bounces back three times. We usually find that people who are no longer receiving the newsletter either find us in their spam folders or that security or filters in their systems have bounced the e-mails back. Please ask your system administrator to allow e-mails from Bryan@CharitableAdvisorsLLC.com  through Exacttarget to reach you and alert us to turn your subscription back on at Bryan@NotforProfitNews.com . If your system security will not allow it through, you might consider subscribing on your home/personal e-mail address.

I Tried to Sign up and Got an Error Message
The most common reason for an error message is that you were subscribed at this e-mail address in the past and it stopped sending due to bounce backs. The system does not allow a second signup under the same address, even if it is not currently active. If you get an error message, please let us know at Bryan@NotforProfitNews.com and we will turn it back on. It will be up to you to work with your systems administrator to allow e-mails from Bryan@CharitableAdvisorsLLC.com to get through to you.

Bryan Orander, President
Charitable Advisors and Not-for-Profit News

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Web Platform Encourages Foundation Transparency in the Digital Age


How does the foundation of the 21st century achieve transparency? Does it post a searchable grants database at its web site? Does it use Twitter or Facebook to distribute news about its program priorities? At www.glasspockets.org, a web site launched February 1 by the Foundation Center, foundations that have taken the lead in communicating about their work, particularly using online resources and social networks, are featured along with direct links to their current initiatives. Designed to inspire greater openness among private foundations, Glasspockets encourages these organizations to tell the stories of their successes - and failures - in part by highlighting exemplary efforts of their peers.

According to Foundation Center President Bradford K. Smith, the term "glasspockets" was used more than 50 years ago by then-Carnegie Corporation of New York Board Chair Russell Leffingwell, who told a McCarthy-era Congressional hearing: "We think that the foundation should have glass pockets."

Read more at: www.glasspockets.org/about/

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Several years ago, a foundation client of mine sent me to a national conference of foundations where I met the President and CEO of the Durfee Foundation in California. Durfee's primary capacity building/leadership development strategy was a well-planned sabbatical for the CEO that forced the leader to delegate and grow the rest of the staff leadership team. That conversation has stood out in my mind since then and I have mentioned it to many people. Now a study has been completed that validates their strategy.

Bryan Orander

Creative Disruption

Sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders can be a relatively inexpensive but highly productive capacity-building tool that yields measurable results. "Creative Disruption: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building and Leadership Development in the Nonprofit Sector" provides emerging evidence of the benefits to nonprofit organizations, leaders, funders, and the sector.

This study exposes the myth that an executive sabbatical will be a chaotic disruption, finding instead that the creative disruption of a well-planned sabbatical can be productive for the entire leadership of an organization.

Organizational capacity is increased as the second tier of leadership takes on new responsibilities. Governance is strengthened as a result of the planning and learning that goes with a sabbatical process. Executive directors come back rejuvenated, with a fresh vision and innovative ideas, and tend to extend their tenure with the organization. And funders gain a deeper perspective on community needs from the feedback, networking, and innovative ideas that sabbatical alumni bring.

>>Read entire article

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do You Need New Computers, an On-line Makeover, or a Security and Disaster Recovery Plan?

Which of these would have the greatest impact on your ability to do your work and serve your clients, patrons, or consumers? We are excited to announce NPower Indiana's new Tech Angel Awards, which will grant over $60,000 in products and services to three Indiana nonprofits next month. The application is short and requests thoughtful responses to 5 questions about how this would impact your organization and the people you serve. Applications are due by Friday, February 5, 2010 - so don't delay. This is open to nonprofits across Indiana - see the application for the few groups, like churches and government agencies, who are not eligible.

NPower Indiana is taking the lead in raising the visibility of technology in the nonprofit sector to the broader corporate community. On February 26, they will bring together technology leaders of the largest corporations in our community for Byte Night 2010, a chance to help these leaders better understand and appreciate the big impact that technology can have when implemented effectively in the nonprofit sector. The Tech Angel Grant awards will be announced at Byte Night 2010, providing the nonprofit winners with terrific exposure to the broad corporate community.

For more information about applying for a Tech Angel Grant www.npowerin.org/tech-angel-awards

To learn more about NPower Indiana and Byte Night 2010, go to: www.NPowerIN.org

Please contact Paul Giese, Director of External Relations, at PaulG@NPowerIN.org or 317.396.2848 with any questions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Makes a Board Choose to Get Better? How Does it Happen?

Share your experience
At the BoardSource Conference last November, Jane and I met Mary Hiland, LCSW, PhD, a board researcher and consultant from California who was in the midst of researching how boards improve their operation or “get better”. At that time, she had already interviewed more than 20 board and staff leaders of organizations whose boards were better now, in some meaningful way, than they had been in the past.

I told her what a knowledgeable base of nonprofit leaders we had among our readership and we agreed that a short survey might assist in her research – and we get early access to her findings. If you have been part of an organization that has seen a real improvement in the way the board works, she has a short, nine question survey for you to complete. If you desire, you can identify yourself and she may call you for additional clarification. Here’s the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/86F8NTP .

Please complete it by Jan 30. You may complete it more than once if you can cite more than one example.

Bryan Orander

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year – What will 2010 hold for you?

I always feel a bit more reflective as one year ends and a new year begins. This year, in particular, has varied from very difficult to very different for most of us. For 2010, I am grateful to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Charitable Advisors and our capacity-building work with nonprofits and funders to support our communities.

I will skip the full “Top 10 list” but wanted to share a few trends or factors that we are seeing for the next year or two that directly impact our work:

1. The elephant in the room for 2010 - Will this be the year the nonprofit sector begins to get better or the year we fall apart? I don’t see many experts offering a middle ground, it seems that we will either tank or return to some semblance of normality. I suspect both are wrong, overall, and that each organization will feel it differently anyway.

2. Nonprofit leaders who deferred retirement are looking for a way to reduce their work schedule. For those who planned to retire in late 2008 or 2009, the past 15 months have been even more exhausting than it was for the rest of us. Though the stock market is doing better, many are not prepared emotionally or financially for retirement, but they don’t want to be “in charge” anymore and may be looking for part-time, staff, and project roles.

3. Foundations are narrowing their portfolios to emphasize grantees who are very effective at their work. This means even more emphasis on evaluation, higher board involvement, and probably more strategic thinking (and hopefully - shorter, more meaningful strategic plans)

4. More organizations will be deciding their future – you can only do so much with less. It seems that most nonprofits are fiercely independent and only “merge” as they go out of business. We may see more nonprofits resorting to earlier “all-volunteer” operational structures with the benefit of more online tools. There can be a tendency, as an organization becomes smaller, for focus to shift to keeping that one staff person on the payroll and losing sight of program goals. Hopefully, we will see groups combining efforts more around a shared neighborhood or group of people to enable services to continue even if organizations close or go into hibernation mode. QUESTION – would more weak organizations close, and hand off their clients, if inexpensive or no-cost legal support were readily available to do it well?

5.What will happen next in Social Media – now that Twitter has been around for several years, we have to assume that something else will be emerging as the “next best way to engage or fund raise or ???”.

We have some interesting ideas for 2010 that you will hear more about as we get into the year – but here is a clue. We have chosen the theme “Live Your Legacy” for 2010.