Executive Issues

More Nonprofits Are Starting to Think and Act Like Startups
January 20, 2017 at 9:55 am

If a coalition of philanthropic leaders have their way, more San Diego nonprofits will be heading into the shark tank. There’s a growing movement to build a stronger social entrepreneurship ecosystem in San Diego. Supporters envision more nonprofits pitching ideas to potential backers, pursuing money-making ventures aimed at addressing social problems and seeking investment in…

The City That Philanthropy Built
January 20, 2017 at 9:13 am

Madison, Wis., has long leaned on philanthropy. When John Nolen had a vision of a city built on an isthmus, it was a small group of philanthropists led by John M. Olin who ponied up the $2,500 to publish the unique architectural plan. Since then, nearly everything people love about Madison has been built at…

Why Innovation Is Integral to Nonprofit Management
January 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Successful nonprofit organizations are run by great leaders. So, what does it take to show excellent, innovative leadership in the public sector and nonprofit worlds? These two realms often intersect, since they share similar interests: the public good, social justice, socioeconomic mobility, ending hunger and homelessness, and so on. According to Ohio University, one of…

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?...