Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are You a Risk-Aware Nonprofit?

When I first heard the term "risk-aware nonprofit" I got this image of an
organization that attempted to isolate itself from any possible loss or
risk. When I read the first Hallmark of a risk-aware nonprofit was to "Takes
More Risks Than It Avoids", I knew I was off track in my thinking. Over the
past two years, the Nonprofit Risk Management Center convened and consulted
risk management experts from the nonprofit sector to identify 12 hallmarks
of a risk-aware nonprofit organization, along with practical strategies and
tools to help turn your organization into one that manifests the hallmarks
of a risk-aware nonprofit.

This Hallmarks tool was developed to provide thoughtful guidance to board
and staff members around an area that is too often relegated to "I'm pretty
sure the Finance Committee and staff are on top of our insurance needs." The
website provides both an overview and some detail in each area to allow your
organization to more clearly evaluate whether you are responsible risk

Hallmark #1: Takes More Risks than It Avoids

Hallmark #2: Heralds A Risk Management Champion

Hallmark #3: Guided By Reality, In Addition To Scary Headlines

Hallmark #4: Is Bold But Smart

Hallmark #5: Cultivates a 'Can-Do' Attitude Among Paid and Volunteer Staff

Hallmark #6: Sees the Whole Iceberg Not Just the Tip

Hallmark #7: Understands that Hindsight Isn't 20:20, But It's Better than a

Hallmark #8: Tells It Like It Is

Hallmark #9: Is Transparent with Insurance Partners

Hallmark #10: Values the Journey, Not Just the Destination

Hallmark #11: Engages the Board in Their Battle

Hallmark #12: Looks at Risk from Everyone's Perspective

Read more about each Hallmark at:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thoughts on Building a Prospective Donor Development Process

by Kevin Strickland, The Not-for-Profit Group for GuideStar.org

In today's tough economic environment, many not-for-profit organizations are struggling to grow donations. Taking a more strategic approach to donor development has never been more important. When our principals meet with those seeking donations, we hear common themes of why many are struggling to find new opportunities.

See whether any of these reasons apply to you:

.No time-Most of those responsible for development are busy, if there is
anyone responsible.
.Not sure whom to target
.Prospecting potential donors is a low return activity
.Prospecting new donors is frustrating

Getting new donors is tough. Making sure you have done everything possible to make it easier is not to say it will be easy. Here are some techniques being used by some of the most successful organizations:

1.Make sure your organization is targeting the right prospective donors.
2.Help people identify the best opportunities to target.
3.Build a plan for consistency and committing to the long haul.
4.Select the right approach to get the first appointment.
5.Prepare effectively for the first and second meeting.
6.Reinforce the process. Prospecting new donors is a team sport. Forget
freelancing. By creating opportunities for your organization to share market intelligence, effective calling techniques, and successful strategies, you build a process that can be managed over time. And you improve their chances for success.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Every Board's Guide to Strong Organizational Leadership in 2011 - Michael Peregrine, Atty

For those of you who do not subscribe to the Chronicle of
Philanthropy(www.Philanthropy.com) yet. As an attorney, Mr. Peregrine's
focus is primarily on the internal workings of the organization, which
misses some important externally focused roles of the board, but each is an
important point. Some are more applicable to larger organizations or
organizations doing certain types of work but the list is well worth a run
through at the next Executive Committee or Finance Committee meeting.

-Executive compensation continues to gain attention. When you set your CEO's
compensation, have a clear rationale that you feel comfortable you can
defend when the local press calls.

-Conflicts of Interest - take a look at anyone on your board who is paid or
their business is paid to provide services to the organization. Be able to
substantiate why they were chosen, independent of their board position.

-Risk Management, Defending your Brand and your Intellectual Property,
Protecting your Reputation

-Knowing the Competition - from other nonprofits, business, and government

-Take the Long View - don't get distracted in current issues unless you have
to, that is where the staff is more focused.

-Term Limits - bring fresh perspectives and reduce excess familiarity with
management. Being certain to find ways to maintain institutional memory.

-Board Structure, Size - Every few years take a look at the size of your
board, membership, and committee structure. How do you need to evolve?

-Donor Stewardship - Does the board know how the organization ensures a
donor's restricted gift is used for its intended purpose or how donors are
thanked or recognized?

-Audit Committee - Have you created an audit committee, apart from your
finance committee? Should you? What will they do?

-Qualifying Value -- Given the looming national discussion concerning
deficit reduction, the board should lead internal efforts to quantify the
mission-based contributions of the organization.

You can see the full article if you are a subscriber at:
www.philanthropy.com or read a more extended paraphrase