Identifying and Managing Disruptive People

Like any organization attempting to work toward a difficult goal in a complex environment, nonprofits face the fundamental challenges of creating alignment and teamwork among their board. While getting any group of people to work together as a team is hard, the level of difficulty increases dramatically in a nonprofit, where these individuals are volunteers, the work sparks passion and …

Navigating the Complex Nonprofit Revenue Landscape

Finding money for your nonprofit is complicated. Whereas for-profit businesses have fairly clear models on how to raise capital and earn money (there are entire degree programs dedicated to the undertaking), a nonprofit has multiple capital sources and six different revenue domains, each requiring discrete, sophisticated strategy, and the most effective strategies are largely unknown (and not taught in universities). …

11 Steps to Producing a World-Class, Investment-Grade Business Plan for Your Nonprofit

Unfortunately, many (most?) of the 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. live a hard life and struggle just to keep their doors open. Staff suffer from low pay, high stress, and burnout; technology is underutilized; board members and other volunteers are disengaged and misaligned. Even for larger organizations, programs are often under-resourced, pay isn’t competitive, and fundraising is onerous, expensive, …

What it Takes to Achieve Broad Impact

The highest-performing impact organizations—those with products or services that make a profound difference in the world, be it in health, human services, arts, the education, or the environment—possess two discrete characteristics:

The Power of Managing your Cost-Per-Dollar

Most small to mid-sized non-profits have important, high-potential programs and skilled, dedicated staff, but the vast majority are in moderate to severe financial distress.

Donor Analytics Done Right

Time to tell the hard truth: fewer than 1% of nonprofit development offices measure the right things. And their orgs are suffering serious opportunity costs as a result.

Is Your Nonprofit World Class?

Does your nonprofit have what it takes to change the world for the better? Find out with this short, 15-question survey.

Holiday Gift Appeals Done Right

Are you a nonprofit gearing up for your holiday gift appeal? Before you hit the send button on your e-appeal, read this first.

Context Matters

Don’t think “what can we do with what we have.” That is letting your limited budget drive your planning process. Instead, flip it around. 

Affording the Cost of Free

At first glance, Hip-Hop and saving historic buildings might not sound like a natural match. Yet, in Seattle, two organizations were able to think outside the box to create a winning situation for both.

Your Nonprofit’s Culture: Friend or Foe?

I had lunch the other day with a brilliant woman who recently left her job as a finance VP at a major corporation to join a medium-sized non-profit as the new CFO. She was tired of the corporate grind and wanted more meaningful work, but things were quickly going south.

10 Ways to Spot the Best Nonprofits

There’s lots of talk out there about how to tell a non-profit performer from a pretender. And for good reason. The lack of transparency and accountability in this $1.5 trillion dollar sector– 10% of our economy– has reached crisis proportions.

The New Thinking in Nonprofit Revenue

Having trouble with fundraising? Is your organization stuck, revenue-wise? If you look to ideas like development, strategic planning, capital campaigns, auctions, appeal letters and the like, your odds of getting off your bread-and-water diet are very low. These tools are old.

Strategic Plans Done Right

Do you have a “strategic plan?” If you aren’t very careful, this document could be an illusion. It talks about what you do, but will it guide your choices and the behavior of your team? 

Do Auctions and Galas Hurt or Help?

Auctions. Galas. Raffles. Car washes. Bake sales. Walk-a-thons.  If you do them to raise money, you are, as the saying goes, “stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.” Here’s why: