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.

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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  through Exacttarget to reach you and alert us to turn your subscription back on at . 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 and we will turn it back on. It will be up to you to work with your systems administrator to allow e-mails from to get through to you.

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