Performance P m e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol. 4 No. 4 Magazine 360
Three Tips To maximize nonprofiT direcT mail
If you’re a nonprofit, you know how critical direct mail is to fundraising. Here are three tips from the experts on how to maximize your efforts.
direct mail is the #1 motivator for donations.
Your house list is gold.
do more than ask for money.
W ith so many “free” marketing channels out there, it might be tempting to transition much of your fundraising to electronic media. However, direct mail remains the strongest, most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations. According to YouGov 1 , 21% of people gave to a nonprofit last year because of a print solicitation. This is compared to 12% who gave through mass media, 6% through social media, and 10% through email. To keep donations flowing, don’t stop the direct mail!
T reated right, most people who donate to an organization will do so again. That’s why your house list is the most important list you have. Keep this list clean, up to date, and treat your donors like the most important people in the world — because they are. What about prospecting? Purchasing a relevant direct mail list is an important way to bring in new people who might be interested in your mission, but it will not be your primary source of donations. Prospecting helps to expand your donor base, but your house list is the primary source of your fundraising dollars.
W hen it comes to a person’s likelihood to donate, the most important factor is his or her personal connection to the organization. To increase donations, use direct mail to build real, lasting relationships with donors over time. • Make sure your donors understand your mission and where their money will be used. • Write to donors by name and personalize your messaging based on the specific areas or projects to which they have donated. • Provide pictures or stories about the specific ways their donations are being used. If people are donating to an ongoing project, keep them in the loop on the progress.
Print is the most effective way for nonprofits to solicit donations.
Treat your donors like the most important people in the world.
Make sure donors understand where their money will be used.
People want to help, and they enjoy being part of efforts to do good for the world around them. Use direct mail to make them feel part of your mission, and they will open their wallets to continue to be part of it.
Performance P m e SynerVision's Nonprofit Professional WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Magazine
Jeanne Torrence Finley Learning More about Your Competition
Growing an Impact-Driven Board
Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine and Professional Performance Magazine are quarterly magazines. Each is published as a digital subscription publication and as a hard copy edition. The views expressed in the ar- ticles and advertisements are those of the con- tributing writers and advertisers, and may not be the views of the management and staff of the publication. The magazine assumes no li- ability for the contributions in this magazine and all content is intended as developmental in nature. SynerVisionisa501(c)(3)nonprofitorganization, and this publication serves its mission.
SynerVision’s Nonprofit Performance Magazine is an affiliated publication of ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com.
The chicken or the egg? Does the problem start with the board member or the organization?
Is the problem with the dead weight member or the organization that didn’t set goals and follow up with appropriate expectations? Is the problem with the naysayer or the organization that doesn’t have a culture in place that accepts alternative opinions? This battle sits at the core of the future of the nonprofit. What expectations are we setting, and how are we communicating those to the members and staff that serve alongside us in the important mission of our organization? Many of us have participated in meetings where board members and staff simply go through the motions in order to fulfill their bylaws and check the box for their nonprofit status. Agenda passed out. Old Business – check. New Business – check.Thanks, and you are dismissed. What if we looked at the board differently? What if it presented opportunity, not burden? What if it could do more than just raise some money (though, for many of us, that would be a good start), and actually served to set a positive vision and direction for our organizations as we serve the community? The reality is, one of the greatest opportunities and hardest challenges of the nonprofit sector is found in the boardroom. In this issue of Nonprofit Performance Magazine, we examine the importance of recruiting and engaging a strong, active board of directors for the success of a nonprofit. Pouring value into the development of an active, focused board might be the most important thing that your organization could ever do. So how does your process look? In the pages that follow, you will hear from a variety of leaders (some staff, some board members, and some who play multiple roles for various organizations) on how they work to develop their organization through a strategic focus on their board. As we know, making change in an organization takes a great deal of courage, so it is our hope that these pages will give you not only the ideas that, when adapted for your organization, can bring greater effectiveness to your community, but also a boldness that comes from knowing you are not alone, but you are surrounded by a community for community builders!
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To register and for more information, visit npotransformation.com 888-398-8471
6 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Next Issue Highlights
Social Media If you ignore it, will it go away? If you ignore it, will your donors and volunteers go away? If you ignore it, will your organization go away? The world has changed a lot in the last decade. Presidents, prime ministers, queens, even the Pope and the Dalai Lama are engaging in social media. So are large corporations, small companies, churches, and nonprofits. Should you be there, too? If you already have a social media presence, should you be doing more? Could you do more without sacrificing the health and sanity of you and your staff? Our next issue will discuss the ins and outs of social media: what your nonprofit should consider and how to participate efficiently. Join us in the adventure. Contributor Highlights • Dr. Clark Greer, Communications Professor from Liberty University • Juliet Clark, Owner of Super Brand Publishing • Carl Setterlund, Social Media and Website Communications Manager for 15-40 Connection
The Official Guide to All Things Nonprofit Nonprofit Performance Magazine brings impact which spreads hope and direction to those who are changing their communities and the world. This magazine is a great resource for nonprofit executives and religious leaders. • Learn from key thought leaders who can assist you in propelling your organization to reach its potential • Read in-depth stories written by those who have found success at the front line of the social benefit journey • Learn about the impact of community, communication, and collaboration in your organization
Performance P e Nonprofit WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED! Vol.4No. 2 Magazine 360
United States Tiye Young Army Officer
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SynerVision’s Nonprofit Performance Magazine is an affiliated publication of ProfessionalPerformanceMagazine.com.
SynerVision Leadership .org I 7
Creating a More Agile Culture
I n days gone by, we did not particularly value agility inside nonprofit organizations. Last century, when things moved a bit slower and were a bit more predictable, we tended to value things like quality, efficiency, and productivity. Stay focused on your mission, because the operating environment is fairly stable and probably won’t require making significant shifts within a short timeframe. That’s not true anymore. The environment moves much faster today and nonprofits are faced with more challenges and fewer resources. How do you adapt when for-profit organizations step into your line of work? How do you adapt to ever-changing attitudes and behaviors around online engagement and giving? How do you adapt to the Millennial generation - as donors, as recipients of your services, and even as employees? Agility is no longer a luxury, and becoming more agile is not a matter of editing your mission statement or changing a few processes. You have to build agility deep into your culture. How do you do it? There are three steps. Step One: Start withWhat Is Start with a deep understanding of your culture, as it is right now.Most leaders want to skip this step.They go off-site and brainstorm a list of glorious new core values (including agility!), and come back to the office with a renewed sense of vigor and optimism for this
wonderful new culture they’re going to build. And then nothing changes. People applaud the new values, but their behavior looks remarkably like it did before. Why? Because the leaders did not connect their vision of the new culture with the reality that people are already experiencing. This is critical. You need to know exactly how agile you are (or aren’t) inside your culture as a first step. And I don’t just mean the high level, like whether your culture embraces change. You have to go deeper. What matters more: title/ tenure, or knowledge/expertise? Does the senior level get out of the way so people can get things done? Can you move quickly but still maintain appropriate levels of quality? You’ll need to get that granular about how your culture does agility in order to start proposing changes, because that’s the only way your people will be able to make sense of the change you’re proposing. StepTwo: Connect Agility to Success Once you see your culture as it really is, you’ll start to figure out which parts need to be changed in order to improve on the agility front. But remember, you’re not trying to be agile to be cool. You need to make a direct connection between being agile and delivering on your mission. I worked with a nonprofit that had been struggling with issues of transparency. The experience inside that culture was that people wouldn’t share enough information with each other. But as
they dug into that issue, they realized the transparency issue was because every decision had four or five people involved. With that many people involved, at least a few of them felt like they didn’t have the information they needed.Was the answer to share information internally? No. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that their stakeholders were complaining that the nonprofit had become too slow. Where the information the nonprofit was providing to the community used to be considered cutting edge, now it was behind the curve. Sharing more information internally, while it sounds like a good idea in general, would actually make them even slower. Since they needed to improve speed to be successful, they decided to becomemore rigorous about their decision- making processes. Instead of sharing more information, they involved fewer people in the decisions, and they started to regain that speed they had lost. When you start to make cultural shifts, you always need to connect it directly to what drives your success. Step 3: Make It Real, and Make It Permanent The last step in culture change is actually changing things. Unfortunately, too many organizations fall down on this step because they fail to manage both the short term needs and the long term needs. There are two sides to the culture change coin: making it real and making it permanent. You must work on both at the same time.
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Making it real requires high visibility changes that can be done relatively quickly and easily. By implementing quick wins in these areas, you make it clear that this culture shift is real and not just management’s flavor of the day. Trying to shift your culture to value knowledge and expertise over title or tenure? Try implementing a lunch-and-learn program that features some of your younger employees demonstrating their knowledge to the rest of the team. That change alone will not completely transform your culture, but you’ll be showing people, right away, that you’re serious about this new direction. Making it permanent requires changes to your organizational infrastructure. This takes longer and involves more people, but if you don’t change some of the basic ways you do things, those making it real changes will simply fade away and the old culture will retake control. If you want knowledge to be more important than title, you may need to change your whole organizational structure. Or, like the example above, you might need to change the fundamental way you make decisions inside the organization. It’s important to at least start on some of these long-term changes right away so people understand the importance of this change. Don’t let agility become the management flavor of the day. Do a deep dive into your culture to understand exactly why you are (or are not) agile, and then come up with a change action plan that connects directly to improving your ability to deliver your mission. It’s time for the nonprofit community to start leading the way when it comes to management and workplace culture, and agility is a perfect place to start. Jamie Notter is a Partner at WorkXO Solutions , a culture management firm that uses culture analytics and innovative consulting to drive organizational growth, engagement, and innovation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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This comprehensive handbook is your personal mini management seminar on identifying organizational excellence – and then Achieving It! World renowned executive trainer and consultant, Jeffrey Magee, helps you recognize the management approaches that work best, and then model your own strategies and tactics after these success stories. Packed with action plans and templates, this edition is designed to help you start driving ROI from its techniques right now. You’ll learn how to choose your optimal style and approach for every individual and team interaction, stimulating maximum performance from everyone around you. Categories includes: • Defining a mission statement for a new view of success • Analyzing your players for team success • Developing your “Winning Habit” paradigm • Converting negativity to positive outcomes • Speed reading personalities, negotiating win-win outcomes and building alliances • Creating your winning management game plan • Avoiding the deadly leadership sins that destroy performance • And, many others... Now with 60% new content focused on today’s management challenges, teams and employees, this edition is more valuable than ever. It will be the indispensable resource for new and established supervisors, managers and leaders – especially those rising from frontline management to executive roles. • Mastering 9 tactical steps to high impact leadership • Interviewing, hiring and promoting the right talent
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SynerVision Leadership .org I 9
10 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
DAVID SCHWARTZ Featured Contributor
Creating a Nonprofit to Preserve and Respect History
I t all started when I was a junior in high school in Staunton, Virginia. The president of the camera business was a 50-year Master Photographer, Margo Kent. I liked the portrait side for a while, so I was the grunt person focusing the camera all the time. But I liked the actual pieces of equipment better. I came to the store and I just stayed here. It will be 50 years on May 30, 2018. I started my camera collection the day after I started at the store. Margo thought that I was crazy, spending that much money to buy a used camera - and maybe I was, since I needed to get a week’s advance on my salary to pay for it. But I kept collecting cameras and equipment. And I watched other camera stores close up during the transition as electronic and digital imaging came along. My son didn’t want to have anything to do with the cameras, and I didn’t want to sell them, so I started the nonprofit Camera Heritage Museum. I thought that this would work better as a nonprofit than a for-profit business. I thought we could probably raise more money to get a larger location because where we are is by far too small. On our whole exhibit floor, we are showing about one-third of our collection of approximately 6,000 cameras.That’s not a lot on display. Creating the Nonprofit My original vision was just to show people the collection. I did not understand nonprofits at all.When I started learning about nonprofits, I had to do a lot of self-education. There are not a lot of places where you can learn this stuff except by reading book after book. It’s not very easily read or easy to put together.
but nothing open that people can actually see. There is a difference between seeing photos of cameras and almost feeling them. You understand proportion of size, and what the photographer went through. Some of these are large, and some are small. There is a great variation, although they all do the same thing. Items from our collection were nominated for the Top 10 Endangered Artifacts list, put together by the Virginia Association of Museums in Richmond, in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They are endangered because most of them are getting thrown in the trash. One prime example was our first gift. The month after we became a nonprofit, we were contacted by Dr. Lee Gray, the curator of the Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She said that they had a huge collection of cameras that needed to go. If we couldn’t take it, they were going to have to dump it. Nonprofits must give their holdings to another nonprofit or they must be destroyed. I think the IRS law should be changed, but I can’t do anything about it. That is the law. We were the only museum open that would accept it. The problem was that they needed us to pay for the shipping to Virginia. We couldn’t afford it at the time. A friend, Chuck Wilson at Wilson Trucking, was very gracious and transported the collection from Memphis to Staunton free. It was a beautiful gift. He got a friend to give us a very reduced rate to transport it from LSU to Memphis. It was a wonderful collection, and they were going to just throw it in the trash. Most of our camera collection was like this, sitting in private collections. We have gotten three or
IRS law is very specific on what you can do with certain things. Once I had educated myself, I thought that it would be hard to set up a nonprofit, but it was quite easy. The hardest part was getting the certificate from the state of Virginia to let us get grants or do major fundraising. We had to go through the Department of Agriculture, not the Department of Taxation (that may vary from state to state). A lot of nonprofits don’t realize they have to register with whatever state they’re in. We’ve just gotten our certificate, nearly six years after the nonprofit was begun on December 5, 2011. Before that, we could raise only small amounts of money. There are lots of regulations on the nonprofit side as to how you manage the organization’s assets. Once you put cameras into the collection, they belong to the nonprofit, and you can’t take them out yourself. There is a legacy portion, but it’s not about me. I just like to see these things preserved because the next generation has no concept of what film cameras are about. The Smithsonian and the George Eastman House (of Eastman Kodak) have huge collections, but they’re not going to put them on show. We looked to see if there were any other groups in the United States, and there were no other camera museums open to the public. There are a lot of private collections,
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four other very large collections from private donors. There are some fantastic pieces that were going to get lost because the families were going to throw them away. Older generations love their cameras. They have had them for years and they are like family. They don’t want to turn them over. When they do let go of them, it’s usually through death, and a widow or a child inherits them. That’s when we get them. But the collector should decide before death what he wants to have happen to the collection. The decision also needs to be recorded and the collection needs to be appraised by official appraisers before it can go to a museum. We have a huge beautiful collection that was driven down to us from Connecticut, but it was not appraised beforehand. We can’t find an appraiser. The law won’t let me appraise the items because I am part of the museum. It’s a problem. There are fewer and fewer of us who understand these materials. We don’t want to take things on loan because of the insurance and liability issues. We would love to have cameras and photographic materials given to us, but it’s complicated. I hope the IRS will change some of the laws a little bit. If you want to donate historic cameras or lenses or any artifacts that relate to photography with film, first, I would suggest go to your accountant and ask what to do. Appraise before you ship or do any paperwork. Then, if you want to donate, you already have your artifact appraised, which the IRS requires. Then we will proceed from there. Appraise first. Make sure there is bona fide value.
The Collection and the Background
There is a great deal of historical value and background stories in our collection. For instance, Kodak has no meaning; George Eastman made it up. And the Polaroid Corporation did not invent instant photography; Edwin Land was a chemical engineer, and he created a practical way of making the process work on paper instead of on tintype.
Some old photographs will revert to silver over time. It depends on how they were washed. We have digitized most of our collection of almost 3,000 glass plates.The originals are in a temperature-controlled vault. I handle one glass plate almost every day, and there is no degradation that I can see, unless you scratch it. It’s a wonderful product. It’s almost ideal. That thing is over 100 years old. Normal old pictures from the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s that people have in their drawer turn brown because the chemist or the pharmacist, because that is where most of them were processed, did not understand you had to wash the salts out of the paper to make them last longer. Even today, if you take the old black and white image, put it back in water, and wash it for another ten minutes, it will likely last a lot longer. Just lay it down flat to dry. We have a Graflex combat graphic camera from the Korean War with interchangeable lenses. It was called the Gulliver’s Contax and was used for aerial work. You just wind it up on the bottom and fire. It produced 50 pictures on a roll. It used 70-mm film, which is three to four times larger than 35 mm. It gave a lot bigger resolution, lot better clarity, and real high resolution. The lenses were made by A. Schacht Ulm in Germany. The Nikon F is what most of the press photographers used after the war. This was what you saw at the White House briefing staffs, everywhere, all over the country, and with all the sports photographers. Nikon almost gave away cameras.They did give away cameras to significant press photographers,
Los Angeles Times. This was the camera he used for the images you saw in the newspaper when Ronald Reagan was shot. We have a camera that looks like a big old piece of military junk. But it was the actual camera used at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. It was made by Konica. It took 120-mm film, and it works as perfectly today as the day it was made. Konica AR lenses were wonderful. Konica was really good at manufacturing, but they didn’t quite get their marketing piece together. We have a collection of military Leicas, Leica being the most prestigious of all the cameras. Leica was the only camera allowed in the courtroom for many years because it was so quiet. It had no mirror and no range finder. One of ours is a KE-7A; they made only 550 of these for the US military. It’s brass underneath; it also came with chrome over brass, which was very heavy and substantial. 99.9% of the Leicas that were ever made are worth more used than they were when they were new. It’s an appreciating asset, unlike other items. We have over 100 in our collection. Oskar Barnak, who invented the Leica, had asthma. He couldn’t carry the big plate cameras around, so he built the small camera system. We have one of 100 stereo cameras.They are pretty rare. Somebody was going to throw this thing away. It is absolutely beautiful. It is from 1905. With modern electronic cameras, the body is responsible for about 30% of the total
so they immersed themselves in that market and owned it. We have a nice little camera owned by Bernie Boston. He was a famous White House photographer representing the Washington Star and the
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get the new building, we would like to have three different darkrooms, wet collodion, tintyping, and traditional darkroom, and teach the techniques. We would like to have some professors come down from Rochester Institute of Technology and the George Eastman House to give lectures. We could have almost a whole school there because it’s a beautiful location and beautiful scenery to take pictures in. It would be ideal. We have talked to the Smithsonian and, if we can get the building, since we’ll have museum standards, we will be a satellite of the Smithsonian. We can borrow from their master collection and have rotations. I have not talked to the head curator for the George Eastman House, but he might be able to do the same type of thing. It would be nice to show these nice old artifacts instead of having them locked up and never being seen again, as they are now. It’s nice to see them in pictures, but to see them in real life is entirely different. We’re in conversation about how SynerVision can help this museum be the dominant museum and serve others. The museum will live on in perpetuity. We will have an endowment fund to preserve it forever. Staunton, Virginia, is a wonderful town which has preserved its history. It has a world- class Shakespearean theater. Right across the street from us, we have the most wonderful, absolutely huge, skylight. Two blocks up from us is Trinity Church with eight Tiffany windows, two of which are hand-signed.They are priceless. Without dedication, all of this knowledge and history is in danger of falling by the wayside. We’re just into cameras, but that is true in every form of life. I still have people who want me to give up and retire. After 50 years, it gets a little tiring, but I love it. I would love to get more people who are interested in this to come in and help. If you have a vision for something, you can make it happen. Put people around you who are competent and make it happen. Don’t give up on your vision. David Schwartz is the founder and curator of the Camera Heritage Museum in Staunton, Virginia. He was trained by Margo Kent, who was awarded Master of Photography by the Professional Photographers of America, and the Winona School of Professional Photography. www.facebook.com/CameraHeritageMuseum
outcome of the photo.The lens is really 50%. The remainder is how your eye composed the picture. We do not have anything from the Brady Brothers from the Civil War era. Most of the Brady plates were repurposed. Matthew Brady was going blind at the time because of doing daguerreotyping. Daguerreotyping uses mercury, which poisoned him, causing what’s called mad hatter’s disease. Those plates afterwards were repurposed and put in greenhouses, so they are lost now. We have Robert E. Lee’s official portrait for Washington College. They couldn’t use it because he did not buy his vest. He did that on purpose because he didn’t want to put his suit back on after the war. Without the vest, it was considered to be improper dress. We also have John Wilkes Booth’s family album. We are researching local photographers and their contributions to photography and local history. Sally Mann is right down the road from us in Lexington. She is a wonderful photographer. She still uses the wet plate procedure which was developed in 1850. Alfred Eisenstaedt was the famous Life photographer. He had two Leicas; one was wide angle and the other was a slight telephoto.He took everything with those two cameras. B.M. Clinedinst patented the reflex camera here in 1872, and Michael Miley patented the first color photograph in 1902. O. Winston Link lived here, although his museum is in Roanoke. We have a collection of over 2000 antique photos of Staunton and the surrounding Augusta County. These photos are truly worth a thousand words in
what they reveal about the life of the area. This section is also growing as we digitize the images. The Vision for the Future There are plenty of books out there about cameras and equipment. That’s not the problem. Books are out there, and images are on the Internet.What we want is to let people come in and actually see the equipment. We can’t let them touch it, but they can get up close and personal to it. It tells a lot. It’s entirely different from seeing it in a book. Every day on Facebook we put up a photo of a new camera and tell a little something about it.We like to have new likes on Facebook and Twitter. We’re listed and well-reviewed on TripAdvisor. We might be able to do videos and online courses on photography and its history to stir up interest. We have two types of tours: a $5 tour to walk around and take a look by yourself. We have just started a $7.50 audio tour. If you want a curated tour, it’s $20, and I spend well over an hour with you. But we need help to expand.We are trying to get new people on our board who are really interested, along with other people to give us a hand. We are now trying to acquire a nearby building, originally owned by artist P. Buckley Moss, which was built as a museum. It’s ideally suited for what we want, but it’s been sitting empty for five years. We need to raise funds for its purchase and repair. This would allow us to display all of our artifacts. We want to have a strong education element. Right now, we’re raising our revenue streams through GoFundMe and Facebook. If we
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Attracting and Retaining Board Members
R ecruiting and engaging a strong, active, focused nonprofit board of directors may be challenging for some organizations. But focusing on the benefits to board members, versus your own wants and needs, will provide a better chance of recruiting and keeping engaged board members. Why should they dedicate their time, talent, and money to your organization? What’s in it for them? Here are some possible reasons: • They have an emotional connection to your cause • They have a desire to make an impact • They are philanthropic and heart- centered • They are looking for recognition • They want to add the title to their résumé • They are looking for connections • They have a skillset and want to give back Too often, nonprofit organizations take a willing participant, rather than designing a clear vision of the individual who would best serve their board and create the biggest impact on the community they serve. Having a clear picture of what you are looking for in a board member will aid in the attraction of the perfect fit. What type of board member do you want to attract and why? Describe your ideal board member. Then create a culture within your organization that connects, collaborates, and celebrates to attract the board members you desire. Create a culture that connects Start by creating and connecting to a clear vision and mission for your organization. Communicate a vision that your team embraces, understands, and can articulate with emotion. Some people will join your board because they connect with your vision
Create a culture that celebrates People love to feel appreciated and celebrated. Those who serve on boards or nonprofit teams are often overworked and underrecognized. To create a culture of celebration within your organization, learn why individuals joined you and your cause. What motivated them? Once you know that, you can provide the necessary reinforcement and celebration to keep them coming back. For instance, if one of your board members desires new connections,invite them to events and fundraisers where people are connecting and networking. If a board member has an emotional connection to your cause, you may ask them to share their story at an event, a promotional video, or podcast, and celebrate their story. If someone worthy is looking for recognition, you may come up with a Board Member Award or Certificate and recognize them at an event. Here are some ways to create a culture of celebration: • Awards, recognition, and testimonials • Notes and gifts of appreciation • Parties and events • Humor and fun By understanding why someone wants to be on your board, and connecting, collaborating, and celebrating the person in ways that will benefit them, nonprofits can attract and retain valuable individuals on their boards. Jewels Muller is a wife, mother, and CEO of Chicks Connect Mastermind Support Network. The Muller family has been traveling fulltime in their RV for over 6 years sharing the Chicks Connect Movement, Empowering Women to Empower the World! Click ampros7.isrefer.com/go/CCGiftsLP/hballou for mem- bership information and free gifts.
and mission. They believe in your cause, or they have an emotional connection or experience which draws them in. Others will want to connect their skillset to a need in your organization, such as fundraising, budgeting, event planning, etc. Some will join your team to be connected to others who are making a difference. Ask potential board members what connects them to your movement or cause, and make sure that it aligns with your description of the ideal board member. Create a culture that collaborates Encourage communication, creative solu- tions, brainstorming, and teamwork for an at- mosphere of collaboration. Spend some time getting to know one another and the talents, abilities, gifts, and skills each brings to the team. Identifying roles and responsibilities for board members, based on their skillset and talents, will give them direction and a clear understanding of what is expected. Set- ting team goals, action items, and account- ability will ensure the nonprofit is making a significant impact on the people it serves. Board members will want to see progress and measurable results from meeting to meeting. This collaborative effort will encourage engagement, participation, and action from all members of the board and will keep them invested in your cause and serving on your board.
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Bold Leadership = Financial Support CYNTHIA M. ADAMS Grants Corner
W hether you are a Board member or the Executive Director, part of your leadership job is to initiate candid discussions around the future of your organization. This topic demands a certain clarity of thinking. At some level, none of us want to have this discussion because it threatens the status quo. It reeks of potential change, perhaps even dramatic change, and that can be frightening. However, engaging in this discussion will help you set bold long-term goals for your organization, and establish bold short-term objectives. Your leadership will then make intentional choices resulting in substantial and sustainable change. This type of innovative and challenging thinking will attract funders to your organization. A recent article by Bill Gates (Trend, Pew Charitable Trust, June 2017) talks about being bold in your thinking: “One of the most indelible examples of a world leader unleashing innovation from both public and private sectors came in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy spoke to the U.S. Congress and challenged the country to put a man on the moon within the decade…That speech didn’t just launch humankind on a successful journey to the moon. It also inspired America to build a satellite network that changed the way we communicate across the globe and produced new forms of weather mapping which made farmers far more productive.” Part of Mr. Gates’ point was that the moonshot challenge required “a clear, measurable objective that captures the imagination of the nation and fundamentally changes how we view what’s possible.”
An agrihood is much like a neighborhood, with the community built around a farm which raises crops and animals to feed local people. Establishing several agrihoods throughout the Valley could, if managed as a cooperative, allow the Foodbank to scale back dramatically, and perhaps reinvent itself and its interactions with the community. It is a bold approach, and could generate numerous grant requests with short-term, relatively bold objectives. Each grant request submitted will move the Foodbank toward completely addressing its mission and creating substantial and sustainable change. The implementation of this plan could take a decade. However, grantmakers are willing to wait if there is real change in the forecast. In today’s philanthropic world, moves like this attract grantmakers like bees to honey - especially since grantmakers rarely get requests that push organizations toward fulfilling missions. I encourage you, as organizational leaders, to be bold. Use the example set by President Kennedy so many years ago, and challenge your organization to think of ways you can fundamentally change how you view possibilities. Cynthia Adams, President and CEO of GrantStation, has spent the past 40 years helping nonprofits raise the money needed for their good work. GrantStation exists because grantseeking requires a thorough understanding of the variety and scope of grantmakers and sound knowledge of the philanthropic playing field. Her life’s work is to level that playing field, creating an opportunity for all nonprofit organizations to access the wealth of grant opportunities across the U.S. and throughout the world. www.grantstation.com
Your organization can use that sort of innovative thinking to set it apart from other groups asking funders to support their work. You want to make grantmakers sit up and take notice, and to think of you as a leader, not only for your organization, but in the field in which you work. Don’t think you have to be a large, well- known nonprofit to do this! You might be a church providing meals for the poor, or a local organization building low-income homes for the needy. The objectives you set for your organization just need to push you to do something beyond your own pre-established boundaries. Begin by taking a hard look at your mission statement.Then ask if there’s a way to actually accomplish your mission. Let’s say your mission is this: The Foodbank is committed to relieving hunger through the acquisition and distribution of food to hungry people throughout the Valley. Look at every phrase in this statement, such as committed to relieving hunger. That probably won’t change. Then look at the next phrase, through the acquisition and distribution of food. Could that change? Discussions around that phrase might lead you to consider developing small agrihoods throughout the Valley.
SynerVision Leadership .org I 15
DON M. GREEN
Nonprofit Operations and Boards
A nonprofit organization can simply be defined as an organization that promotes or wants to obtain a worthwhile cause.While the definition of a nonprofit is simple, operating and maintaining a nonprofit is far from simple. There are many items that need to be handled with diligence in order to avoid problems once a nonprofit has been formed. Many of these items are focused on efficient operations and legal issues, such as adhering to state and federal laws in order to maintain the nonprofit status. One reason for establishing a nonprofit is to receive the tax-exempt status from the government that these organizations receive. In addition, many people form nonprofits in order to receive protection from personal liability. This protection usually extends to trustees, but can be extended to officers and employees, as well. In addition, establishing a nonprofit allows the organization to raise a greater number of funds. Donors are more likely to give money to a nonprofit in support of a worthy cause because their donation will be tax deductible. This alone is a tremendous reason why many donors in higher tax brackets give money to worthy causes. However, failure to file the correct paperwork with the government and IRS, or by neglect on behalf of the trustees, can result in a loss of nonprofit status. There are many items that should be considered before deciding to start a nonprofit. Corporations require many documents and paperwork, such as bylaws, articles of incorporation, and minutes, and
for new board members hasn’t been developed, make this your priority. • Understand the financial commitments that board membership requires. • Be fully committed to making a leadership gift to the nonprofit each year; consider an estate gift, as well. • Encourage other board members to support the financial goals of the organization. • Show up for meetings of the board, including committee meetings; your attendance conveys the importance of the organization to fellow board members and supporters. • Put the nonprofit’s interests before your own. • Trust the staff members of the nonprofit, but ask important questions. • Help to identify new board leadership; seek experts in the field that could lend their services and communicate the value of the organization. • Always remember that,as a board member, you are the face of the organization to everyone you come in contact with, so put your best effort into making a good impression. • Always know the nonprofit’s mission and goals, and be prepared to make a case for new programs, existing programs, and the fundraising needed to achieve the goals. Don M. Green is the Executive Director of the Napoleon Hill Foundation and has held this position for eighteen years. Don is also a trustee of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and is President of the Foundation Board at the College. Previous to his career with the Napoleon Hill Foundation, Don worked in the banking industry and served as a bank president for nearly twenty years. www.naphill.org
nonprofit organizations are no exception. Records must be maintained, annual filings must be completed, and nonprofits still need the professional advice of accountants and lawyers.This can sometimes be a disadvantage because of the increases in fees and expenses. Nonprofits can and do provide contributions to society and can be vastly important to the communities in which they operate. In order to have the correct people overseeing a nonprofit organization, a board of directors should be selected that have high standards of quality and are extremely efficient. Here are some points for potential candidates to consider before joining a board. In selecting a member of the board of directors, organizations should verify that candidates will follow through on them. • Be selective about the nonprofit board on which you will serve as a member. • Before accepting the invitation to join a board, fully understand the number of meetings each year, expectations to attend events connected to the board, and know the fundraising goals of the organization; know the term of membership, if applicable. • Investigate the nonprofit thoroughly to confirm that your goals and aspirations align with the organization. • Participate in the board member orientation program; if an orientation
16 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine
Changing Board Approaches to Tough Conversations
T he best laid plans for delivering premium service do not always work. Effective nonprofits begin by looking at things they can control before going outside to discover what went wrong. When emphasis is on doing an external scan, problems inside the organization go unnoticed. Dedicated people in nonprofits do not set out to be ineffective at solving social problems. Many difficulties can be traced to poor communication, when people talk to each other in disrespectful ways or critical issues are ignored. Expectations about what has to be done and how to do it stifle conversations around change. Everyone in the organization turns to the board of directors to provide that leadership. They need not agree on every aspect of operations to be effective. A group with different backgrounds creates a larger capacity for understanding multiple audiences. Diversity and inclusion are key ingredients. It is not enough to have people who look different; their voices must be considered and given equal weight in every discussion. Before getting to the tough questions every board faces, putting six things into practice paves the path for highly effective boardroom communications. 1. Remember that everyone on the board is valuable and worthy of respect. They bring a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities toward accomplishing the mission.
their response and thank them for taking time to listen to your point of view. Focus on the problem, not the person. 6. Continuously celebrate what is working. When you notice others’ good qualities in action, verbalize how you admire them in front of the group. Openly state how much you value and appreciate each other. Making these six strategies a habit will increase your effectiveness as individuals and as an organization. The above techniques free you to answer the following questions. You are on your way to tackling any challenge when you’ve answered them! 1. What’s our primary purpose? Always stay focused on the vision and mission. 2. What are we best at? Always work from your strengths. 3. What is our biggest challenge? Work on the most important things first. 4. What are we not doing that we should start doing? 5. What should we stop doing? 6. What should we keep doing? Russell Dennis, CEO of RD Dennis Enterprises, LLC, is host of the Social Profits Success Show and co- host of SynerVision Leadership Foundation’s Nonprofit Exchange Podcast. He creates customized tools that are easy to access, understand, and use to help social profits raise more funds and attract more support for their missions. You can find him at RussellDennis.com and at user name RmanRussDen on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Go to Bit.ly/bookruss to schedule a complimentary consultation.
2. Always use a respectful tone when addressing each other and do not make anything personal. Focus on the vision, mission, and the people who need your services. 3. Focus on the good qualities each member of the team possesses. This is not always easy in the heat of discussion. Build pauses into conversation when agitated or doubtful about the direction it is taking. Allow time to reflect and adjust to what has been said. It is possible to be wrong, and everyone has a right to be wrong. Angry language will not bring others around to your way of thinking. Empathy is the best tool for getting the conversation back on track in these situations. 4. Listen and ask questions. Repeat what someone has said, in your own language, then ask if that was what they meant. Conversations may last longer, but this approach is worth the extra time invested to eliminate misunderstandings. Active listening includes full engagement, openness, going beneath the surface of the words to hear what is not being said, and not interrupting the person speaking. 5. Be clear about what you want to say and how you say it. Show respect by avoiding you-statements when you are addressing a disagreement or talking about your reaction to something they said or did. Address your response to the action, not to their action. Listen very carefully to