Executive Issues

The 3 Biggest People-Issues Nonprofit Executives Face
January 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

Running a nonprofit is for those with a heart, but not for the faint of heart. In many ways, the responsibilities of a nonprofit CEO or executive director are much more demanding than those of a for-profit leader. Nonprofits often face challenges with limited resources and competing demands for those resources. It is up to…

Innovation and Excuses: They Go Hand in Hand
January 17, 2017 at 11:16 am

As an industry, I think we have trouble innovating. Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about our desire and ability to test. We love testing. We love setting up objectives, stating hypotheses and looking at things from a statistically valid perspective. Most of those tests are tactical, and when it comes to really moving the marble, those won’t work. What I’m talking about is strategy innovation, audience innovation or even brand-wide offer innovation...

1 Simple Tip to Increase Your Productivity at Your Nonprofit Job
January 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

I’ve been enjoying The Cooper Review, the satirical blog of Sarah Cooper that features weekly original articles, videos and cartoons on workplace humor. I happened to catch one of the cartoons in a recent Medium post called “9 Cartoons To Help You Avoid Any Work.” It really spoke to me about our culture of overwork,…

Events, Major Gifts and Moving From Transactional to Transformational
January 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

I was recently talking to Susan, a development director for a regional nonprofit, and she was lamenting that she had another gala to put together. Even though this gala takes an enormous amount of time and effort from the staff, the executive director and the board want to keep it going because it brings in almost half of their revenue each year. Susan wasn’t upset about all the time and effort it took to pull it off each year, but the fact that the revenue generated by the event was really in transactional gifts, not mission-oriented gifts...

Unpacking the Myth of an Industry Without a Product: Nonprofit Product Innovation at PBS, WWF, USC and 826 Valencia
January 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

The development world is acutely aware that some people will never give. Naturally, we assume these non-donors are of no value to our organization. The reality, though, is that we’ve just presented them with a stimulus that does not match their expectation to take the desired action we request. They may never respond well to being asked for money, but we might be able to come up with something that would work better—if we could get past the idea that philanthropy is a sector without a product...

Employee Departures, Transition and Donor Retention
January 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

We work in a world of transition. Each of us has gone through a number of job changes in our nonprofit careers. If we have served in a management role, we have also seen a number of employee transitions. A fact of life in our profession is that employees will come and go. And if not handled properly, these transitions can hurt your organization's donor retention...

A Case for Realistic Fundraising: 6 Things You Can Do
January 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

We all want to expand the work we are doing so we can make progress on our missions. But we need strategies, budgets and programs to make fundraising succeed. Simply saying “because I say so” isn’t enough. What can you do if you are facing unrealistic expectations?...

Are Small Businesses America's Most Overlooked—and Valuable—Charity Case?
January 11, 2017 at 8:00 am

In late 2016, the New Economy Initiative, which is the largest philanthropic funder of regional economic development in the country, announced that it would be distributing half a million dollars to 32 small businesses around Southeastern Michigan. Two winners received $100,000, while 30 others got $10,000 each. The awards came out of the group’s third…

The Keys to Building a Sustainable Nonprofit
January 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

It’s one thing to come up with a great idea that may serve a need within the community. It’s quite another to build a sustainable nonprofit organization that will grow and thrive well into the future. Local standouts in the nonprofit sector say a sound strategy, a dedicated staff, a healthy infrastructure, educated board members…

Shifting Philanthropy From Charity to Justice
January 9, 2017 at 8:29 am

Historical injustices—perpetuated by racial and cultural conflicts, and exacerbated by a lack of empathy—are at the heart of America’s growing economic, social, and political inequalities. Nowhere is this gap of authentic empathy and justice more pronounced than in the American philanthropic sector, where often well-intentioned people make decisions for communities they do not come from,…