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Boards + Leadership

Join JB+A, U.S. Trust and Nonprofit Connect for Dr. Amir Pasic on Thursday, September 14

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Dr. Amir Pasic is the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Pasic leads the world’s first school devoted to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

The school is an internationally recognized leader in philanthropy education, research and training and is dedicated to improving philanthropy to benefit the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change.

Dr. Pasic will address how an organization’s leadership and fundraising staff must be focused on the same things to make fundraising efforts successful. How do leaders and fundraising practitioners grasp what to focus on and decide where to direct their activity? One key resource that any leader needs is research:

  • How do we know what works, and just as importantly, what does not?
  • How can we understand the complexity of what motivates a donor?
  • How can we assess the impact of our efforts?
  • How can we hope to address societal problems or develop effective strategies unless we have reliable insight into new developments in our field?

Rigorous, high-quality research is an important component in virtually all aspects of the work of philanthropy, and it is through better research that we will achieve even better results.  Join us to meet Dr. Pasic and discuss how research can inform success.

Reserve your spot and register here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:55 a.m. – Program
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110
JB+A is a proud sponsor of the 2017 501(c)Success National Speaker Series,
a program of Nonprofit Connect
501(c) Success National Speaker Series

Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, Current Events/News, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Giving USA, Insights, Stewardship, The Giving Institute | No Comments

Giving USA is a powerful tool:  it is the most trusted annual report on the sources and uses of philanthropy in the U.S., but it’s also a valuable resource in helping us improve philanthropy.  Nonprofit organizations can (and should) use Giving USA to help identify trends as well as opportunities to strengthen resource development efforts.

Here are my Top Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use Giving USA to improve their fundraising:

5. Understand the correlations between giving and economic factors
The stock market, personal wealth, personal income, GDP, corporate pre-tax profits and unemployment rates impact giving by all four sources (individuals, foundations, bequests and corporations). Trends are closely monitored by people “inside” and “outside” the philanthropy sector.
Be aware of changes in these indicators, anticipate how changes will impact donors and adjust fundraising strategies accordingly

4. Confirm or dispel myths about giving
Economic and political scenarios, complex societal issues, diverse giving platforms, wealth and capacity are just some of the drivers behind philanthropy.
Understand the context of these drivers, help manage expectations about giving and set realistic and achievable goals

3. Educate Board members, volunteers, donors and staff about the broad context of philanthropic giving
Help stakeholders better understand your organization’s funding patterns and potential

2. Be nimble in your fundraising and stewardship
Nonprofit fundraising must evolve as philanthropy evolves.  We are seeing an increase in the popularity of non-traditional giving vehicles (such as donor-advised funds and non-cash assets) and donors want more evidence of the impact of their gifts.
Listen to your donors and prospective donors – and tailor your strategies to match their needs and expectations

1. Recognize the “individual giving effect”
An estimated 87% of total giving in 2016 came from individuals, bequests and family foundations.
There are human beings involved in every gift; focus on developing and maintaining meaningful relationships

And remember:

Strengthen your case for support:  the best cases are realistic, relevant and compelling while being supported by the facts and clearly communicating the purpose, programs and financial needs of your organization.

Celebrate your impact: Americans give an average of more than $1 billion a day to help others.  Nonprofits and donors are doing great work.

Giving makes a difference, to both giver and recipient, but we can do more.  So spread the word about the good philanthropy has done – and the good it will continue to do.

I encourage you to download the two traditional pie charts illustrating 2016 source contributions and recipients and share with Board members, your CEO and development staff.

View JB+A’s recap of Giving USA 2017  findings here.

Check out key takeaways from Dr. Rooney’s 2017 Giving USA presentation in Kansas City.

About Giving USA
For over 60 years, Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy in America, has produced comprehensive charitable giving data that are relied on by donors, fundraisers and nonprofit leaders. The research in this annual report estimates all giving to all charitable organizations across the United States.  Giving USA is a public outreach initiative of Giving USA FoundationTM and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Giving USA FoundationTM, established in 1985 by The Giving Institute, endeavors to advance philanthropy through research and education. Explore Giving USA products and resources, including free highlights of each annual report at its online store at www.givingusa.org for more information.

About The Giving Institute
The Giving Institute, the parent organization of Giving USA FoundationTM, consists of member organizations that have embraced and embodied the core values of ethics, excellence and leadership in advancing philanthropy. Serving clients of every size and purpose, from local institutions to international organizations, The Giving Institute member organizations embrace the highest ethical standards and maintain a strict code of fair practices. For information on selecting fundraising counsel, visit www.givinginstitute.org. Jeffrey Byrne has the honor of Chairing The Giving Institute Board of Directors (2015-2017).

Creating Philanthropic Impact through Strong Nonprofits

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Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. was delighted to host Kim Meredith (left), Executive Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, as our first speaker in the 2017 501(c) Success National Speaker Series. Kim joined us on Thursday, February 23, to share her insights on social innovation and the power of philanthropy to ignite ideas and solutions for the world’s most complex problems.

In her keynote address, Kim touched on current trends in philanthropy, the benefits of bridging nonprofits and corporations and the keys to good nonprofit governance. The overarching message in Kim’s keynote address is the importance of strategic planning, thinking and innovation in effective nonprofit governance. Nonprofits have enormous potential to be catalysts for social change, but impact depends on a willingness from leadership and Boards to focus on outcome-oriented philanthropy.

Kim touched on a number of trends that are shaping the way philanthropy implements social change. Some of these trends include:

  • Place-based philanthropy – an emerging focus on community and community foundations, investing funds within a strategic area and tracking growth.
  • Ethical/responsible data use – all nonprofits should be collecting and storing data on donors and funders, but many are asking what the parameters are for the ethical and safe use of this sensitive information. There are no regulations for accountability, transparency, privacy and security surrounding data collection and it’s something more nonprofits should be considering.
  • Generational Behavior – seasoned nonprofit professionals could learn something from the next generation. A common attribute among young people is their willingness to fail and learn from their mistakes. The end result is almost always growth, development and eventually, success. Is this something that we support in the nonprofit sector? Perhaps we should.
  • Collective Impact Initiatives – an intentional way of working together and sharing information for the purpose of solving a complex problem. Participants from nonprofits, grantmaking organizations, the business community and government share a vision of change and a commitment to solve a problem by coordinating their work and agreeing on shared goals.
  • Randomized Control Trials –  bring in a scientific lens on philanthropy and show that there is evidence and research behind these big ideas fueling social change.

Nonprofit Governance Falls Short

Kim also investigated the importance of strategic planning in good nonprofit governance. Prefacing her remarks with a side-by-side comparison on nonprofit and corporate differences, Kim drove home the value of running a nonprofit in the same way a CEO would a business – with a focus on growth and development. Growth will look different for every nonprofit, but the underlying theme is the same. If you want to make an impact, set goals and make a plan to achieve those goals.

Times are Changing for Nonprofit Leaders

Following Kim’s keynote presentation, she addressed a select group of nonprofit and community leaders on how to plan for the future of their organizations. We can assume that changes in government safety net appropriations are on the horizon and nonprofits should be prepared for those cutbacks when and if they come to pass. Now is the time to prepare a contingency plan that can anticipate and address these challenges. Kim urged senior leaders to consider the following when planning for the future:

  • Composition of your Board – consider diversifying your board with multiple women, people of color and millennials. This will help your Board think differently and usher the organization into the future.
  • Mergers and partnerships – are worth considering when the right organization presents itself at the right time.
  • Engaging Board members in strategic planning – take advantage of your Board’s expertise. You should have a handful of business leaders serving on your Board. Use their knowledge to your advantage. That’s what they are there for!
  • Diversified Funding – do not rely too heavily on one source of funding. Diversified sources of funding can help you weather the storm should another economic disaster or other external factor take a toll on your funding.
  • Next Generation – In 2012-2014, 70% of millennials donated to a nonprofit and 60% volunteered their time. Millennials want to share their skills with nonprofits, but organizations need to make it easy for them to get involved. Make a plan to attract millennials to your cause.

Kim’s insight showed the immense potential of nonprofits to implement change. All it takes is commitment from us, the nonprofit professionals, to change our perspective on what good governance means and how it is implemented.

What’s Next for the 501(c) Success Series?  

Our next 501(c) Success National Speaker Series program will feature  Dr. Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research. Dr. Rooney will present the always-anticipated Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy on Friday, June 16. Watch for more details from JB+A and Nonprofit Connect in the coming months.

Time, Talent, and Treasure: Part Three of a Three-Part Series

By | Boards + Leadership, Commentary, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Stewardship, Volunteers | No Comments

By Katie Lord, Vice President 

In this series we have examined both “Time and Talent” as it relates to the “Time, Talent, and Treasure” paradigm in nonprofit donor management and cultivation.  This final segment of “Treasure” is often the one that we, as nonprofits, are most interested and influenced by because it affects our pressing financial goals.  It can often be to our detriment to focus too much on “Treasure” and, in so doing, approach our donor’s “treasure” in a transactional way, without respecting and acknowledging generational differences and preferences of how to cultivate the gift of “Treasure.”

When approaching our donors about giving their “treasure,” remember that in order to create lasting bonds and build solid, long-term relationships we must have conversations with our donors about their “time” and “talent,” which they may also be willing to give.  Research has consistently shown that donors who give treasure combined with time or talent are much more engaged for longer periods of time.  Through the combination of treasure, time and talent, it becomes easier to steward our donors through extended communication and demonstrations of their efforts and how it impacts the overall mission of our organizations.

What is Treasure?

“Treasure,” as it relates to the big three of “Time, Talent and Treasure,” often seems to be the easiest to define and measure by most common practices.  What is treasure, if not the dollars that our donors donate to us and invest in our cause?  Treasure is the easiest to track, as most of us have systems and processes in place to receive, acknowledge and report donations to our organizations and Boards.  It is important to note that the very experience of giving treasure can make or break repeat donations, but that is for another article.  As we take a closer look at “treasure,” the generational differences about how treasure is given are vast.  By acknowledging these differences, we are better able to meet the needs and expectations of all of our donors which ultimately benefits our organizations in the broadest and best possible way.

Generation to Generation: The Boomers

When beginning to examine the generational differences in the giving of “treasure” it is easier to look first at the Baby Boomers.  We have the most experience and data for this generation to date and their giving habits have influenced our sector greatly. However, the giving of this generation, and its long hold as our most generous treasure givers, has not prepared us for the shifts we are seeing in the giving habits of other generations.

Boomers often give their “treasure” first and their “time” and “talent” second.  This post-war generation grew up knowing about the sacrifices their parents made for the war effort.  Sharing their “treasure” with their neighbors and country was ingrained in them from an early age.  Giving was an accepted expectation and giving on any level was appreciated.  This is a generation that does not expect major fanfare for their giving efforts, but who do value the donor acknowledgement in a timely fashion

For many Boomers the motivation to give to organizations that matter to them is “because they always have,” often to the point they may not even know why they continue to donate years later.  A perfect example of this is my own mother.  My mother gives to an organization that was important to her mother and she has kept up the tradition.  When I asked her why she still gives to them, even though her own giving priorities are different, her answer is “because it was important to my parents and I just always have.”

Boomers have been your most loyal annual fund donors by focusing their “treasure” on annual gifts.  Many Boomers are past the prime of their peak giving years, but many continue to work and still have large amounts of “treasure” to give and share.  Boomers appreciate being “cultivated” for their gifts in traditional ways with personal visits, on site tours and communication from staff.  As Boomers are starting to age and to live on fixed incomes post retirement, now is the time to focus on planned giving and legacy contributions with this generation.

The Gen Xers

Gen Xers, on the other hand, are truly in the middle between Baby Boomers and Millennials and exhibit far more balance in their “treasure” giving.  They usually have three to five causes that are important to them based on personal experiences or interests.  They give to organizations not only their “treasure,” but also their “time” and “talent.”  Gen Xers are a generation where all of their treasures and giving work together to make the biggest impact they can in areas of greatest interest and need.  They saw the giving of their parents, but want to be less passive in the giving of their “treasure.”  Therefore, Gen Xers combine their dollars with time and board service; staying longer term with their organizations than the Millennial generation.  Your Gen X givers will want to see their impact of “Time, Talent, and Treasure” in different ways through annual reports, metric measurements against goals and objectives and how it all relates to a long term strategic plan.

The Elusive Millennial

Millennials, on the other hand, give completely differently than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers.  They first like to give their “time” and then, if they see an impact, their “treasure.”  This is partly because Millennials are not currently in their highest earning years, but also because they value their “time” as a commodity and therefore part of their “treasure” to give.  Through stewarding Millennials to give “time” and then a follow-up with a small gift solicitation, you have a better chance of slowly upping their giving over time with incremental moves illustrating their impact and value immediately, while simultaneously capturing their longer-term attention.

Another unique trait of Millennials is that they are very social in their giving; supporting causes of friends and expecting their friends to support them and their causes in a reciprocal way.  Thus, Millennials are perfect for peer-to-peer giving campaigns.  They usually have large social and business networks that they are comfortable tapping into and their competitive nature is a strong incentive.  When soliciting “treasure” from a Millennial, more weight is given by them on who is making the ask of them at the beginning of cultivation and how it makes them feel versus the facts and figures of a campaign.  Due to their lower disposable income at this time and their social giving tendencies, Millennials disperse their “treasure” to many organizations in smaller gifts.

A word of caution when working with Millennials; even though they are not currently in their highest earning years, they will be at some point.  Millennials have a short attention span, but a long memory.  They often devote themselves to organizations for several years and then switch causes.  It is important to show them appreciation through acknowledgement, an opportunity to become more involved through junior board service or the achievement of higher levels of knowledge and responsibility in service to the organization.

Conclusions

In closing, as with “Time” and “Talent,” the giving of “Treasure” differs among the three current generations and each has their own unique nuances.  By understanding and recognizing that solicitations and approach for each generation should be different, you allow your organization to cultivate and steward your donors by meeting them where they are.  Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials have differing interpretations of the nonprofit paradigm of “Time, Talent, and Treasure.”  We, as fundraising professionals for our organizations, must adapt to the expectations, current economic state, and personal interests of our multi-generational donor base in order to cultivate long-term, consistent donor relationships and financial growth for our organizations.

 

 

 

“Interim CEO”: Frequently an Integral Element to a Successful Transition

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susan_cropped-267x300Susan Spaulding, Founder & Lead Consultant, Recalibrate Strategies

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Susan Spaulding as a guest contributor. Susan is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Recalibrate Strategies, helping companies grow their business.  Susan applies proven marketing systems to recalibrate businesses and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint and facilitating a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap.  Susan has more than 30 years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.

Optimally, a CEO departure announcement includes naming the new CEO. This is often the case when the current CEO gives the board ample notice of retirement plans, or if the current CEO is being promoted or re-assigned within the parent company. And, if the CEO departure is the result of an ongoing performance issue, the board should be prepared to announce the new CEO immediately.

However, in practice naming an interim CEO is frequent. Reasons are varied (1), and include:

  1. A succession plan is lacking or not up-to-date. The board isn’t prepared to name a successor CEO.
  2. The CEO needs to step away from his/her role for a period of time – often for a personal or family health issue – but expects to resume the CEO position.
  3. The board believes it’s in the best interest of the company to appoint an interim CEO. Perhaps the desired CEO is not available immediately, or the board decides to deviate from the succession plan for whatever reason.

Roles of Interim CEOs
While interim CEO roles can be as varied as reasons for needing interim CEOs, below are primary roles interim CEOs fill.

  1. Keep the company on course and on strategy until a permanent CEO is selected.
  2. Execute a company turn around – usually following CEO and/or company performance issues. The interim CEO is more likely to be selected from outside the company, and have turnaround experience.
  3. “Trying out” a potential permanent replacement can indicate the board is leaning toward selecting this individual as CEO, but need to see how the individual handles the position temporarily.

What’s critical for any interim CEO appointment is clarity between the individual and the board on responsibilities and primary objectives. It’s critical for the interim CEO to have ready access to board members. Consistent support from the board is critical for the interim CEO, for company employees and for external shareholders/stakeholders watching closely to assess company leadership and overall stability.

Importance of Acting Swiftly
In general, an interim CEO is needed due to a former CEO’s sudden departure. However, in some cases the need for a new CEO – interim or otherwise – was clear much earlier than the decision was made.

Sometimes when a CEO becomes ill, they and the board choose to believe – sometimes with diagnoses and inability to carry out responsibilities indicating otherwise – the CEO’s illness will not prevent him/her from maintaining a reasonable productivity level. The fear of negative impact, internally and externally, from announcing this “weakness” sometimes prevents timely disclosure of reality.

Example (2, 4): Apple’s Steve Jobs both refused to accept appropriate cancer treatment and board recommendations to disclose his illness. Rather, he elected (allowed by the board) to keep his illness secret. He later took a leave of absence. Tim Cook took on the role of interim CEO three times (2004, 2009 and 2011) before actually being named CEO.

Similarly, given performance issues, the board should be particularly well prepared to name a new CEO.

Often the reluctance to disclose the situation, and move forward with a new CEO is based more on emotional responses than on objective assessment of what is best for the company.

Looking Forward
Several sudden CEO departures have been in the news within the past year. Each situation varies. However, what appears consistent is a board ill-prepared for the CEO’s sudden departure. Given the acknowledged importance of succession planning, it’s concerning to witness multiple situations where succession plans are not simply implemented.

Per The Conference Board (3), boards spend an average of two hours annually discussing succession planning. Clearly the topic deserves more attention.

Recalibrating Actions:

  1. What is the status of your company’s succession plan? Is it up-to-date? Does it include contingency plans? Does it encompass roles below that of the CEO? Does it include replacement plans for those who step up to fill an open role?
  2. Ensure there is a written agreement in place between the board and the CEO that addresses unexpected situations like a personal or family illness. Then, if such a situation arises, it is the board’s responsibility to follow through on the agreement.
  3. Succession planning – certainly inclusive of, but not limited to the CEO – is a primary responsibility of the board, and should be treated as such. This will require considerable time on the board’s part to understand the status, skill sets, experience, gaps, and aspirations of leaders lower than the CEO – in some cases multiple levels below.
  4. Ensure you are having discussions with your board frequently to provide status updates on various leaders, new hires, etc. As well, discuss openly how and when announcements of changes will be handled by the board to maintain the greatest company stability and lessen negative external impact.

You can reach Susan Spaulding and Recalibrate Strategies at www.recalibratestrategies.com.

Sources:

  1. Saporito, Dr. Thomas J., Succeeding as an Interim CEO: How boards and temporary chiefs can work together., Chief Executive, March 11, 2016
  2. Stevens, Laurie, M.D., Rolfe, Steven, S., M.D., A Healthy Approach to CEO Illness: How should companies cope with a leader’s health crisis?, Chief Executive, March 4, 2016
  3. Semadeni, Matthew, Mooney, Christine H., and Kesner, Idalene F., Interim CEO: Reasonable Choice or Failed Selection?, The Conference Board, June 2014
  4. Friedman, Lex, Apple Turns to Tim Cook to Replace Steve Jobs, Macworld, August 24, 2011

“Time, Talent and Treasure”: Part Two of a Three-Part Series

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Katie LordKatie Lord, Vice President

As far as nonprofit jargon is concerned, we have all probably used, or at least heard, the phrase “Time, Talent and Treasure” when referring to how we can engage individuals with our organizations.  While it may seem to be a fairly basic concept, defining it is becoming an increasingly complex matter, as definitions have evolved among different generations. In this three-part series, we will examine the components of this trifecta  individually, and emphasize how your organization can effectively create programs right now that can be easily implemented to grow your base of supporters today, tomorrow and in the future.

Talent is the second segment in this three-part series examining the “Time, Talent and Treasure” paradigm as it relates to nonprofit management. As we continue to take a deeper look at each component individually, an examination of how your organization can implement strategies that effectively utilize the “talents” of your leaders and impact your current recruitment efforts can have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

(If you missed Part 1’s exploration of “Time”, click here to access the post.)

In the “Time, Talent and Treasure” trifecta of support that we use in nonprofits to describe and measure the value of contributions that our volunteers or staff provide to our organization, “talent” seems to be the hardest to define in a universal context or to measure on a scale of impact.  This is due to its ambiguous nature and differing definitions based on the uniqueness and needs of each organization.  For the purpose of this article, we are going to define “talent” as “contributions of an in-kind service that requires special skills or knowledge to perform.”

“Talent” is tied to both “time and treasure” as it requires the donating of “services and specialized knowledge” that take time to perform and implement and would require payment if performed on the open market. “Talent” is a more refined form of volunteer service as it usually provides a business-related or operational-focused service as opposed to program support.  Such “talent” directly effects budget line service costs and can include both technical and professional services.

What is unique about “talent” is that each generation has specific talents that can be utilized by a nonprofit organization.  Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers possess a vast majority of skill sets and talents that seldom overlap and are mostly unique to their era, but are complementary to each other.  When combined through Board or committee work, each generation offers great insights and the ability to accomplish and implement a more cohesive organizational business plan that will allow the nonprofit to achieve higher strategic goals at lower costs.

For example, a Baby Boomer may perform an audit, management consulting, or financial services at no charge and be able to provide valuable sector specific expert level information, as they changed jobs and sectors less often.  A Gen Xer usually has changed jobs more often than Boomers, but less so than Millennials, and are often more likely to be self-starters, middle managers and business owners, making them excellent project managers.  Millennials know a little about a lot of different sectors as they have been exposed to more cross training and job transitions.  They have skills focusing on social media, digital marketing, information technology and event planning.  This is not to say that there are not cross-generational specialties as there are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, the “talents” of each generation are significant to a nonprofit’s organizational success and growth.

Thus, it is very important for nonprofit organizations and leaders to not only look at the skill sets of potential Board members and volunteers when recruiting, but to also look at diversity in age, gender and race.  It is a common mistake by nonprofit leadership to only look at “treasure” when acquiring new Board members and volunteers.  While giving capacity is a factor, it should not be weighted more than “talent,” as a high degree of “talent” is usually a predictor of later success and “treasure.”  Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have used their talents to grow into their ability to give “treasure” in their higher earning years. However, that can decrease in retirement with fixed incomes looming, creating a shift in the giving of “treasure” to the increased giving of “talent.”  Gen Xers are beginning their highest earning years and the peaks of their careers, but still wish to contribute in ways that complement their dollars.  Finally, Millennials are in their early earning years and will grow into their higher earning capabilities, but are eager to contribute now, and the best way to do that is through their “time” and “talent.”  Those organizations that seek out Millennials now will see big returns later.

In closing, the three current working generations are ripe with talent if you know where to look and how to assess “talent” based on your organization’s goals and objectives.  The most talented people in a particular field are easy to find: just look in business publications, LinkedIn and trade publications.  The same names will most likely keep popping-up.  Remember, it is wise to include the younger generation now so as to cement those relationships early and to include all levels of “talent” and professions.  By doing so, you will limit the effects of “talent” turnover and create a built-in succession plan of talented leaders within your organization.  Also, a generation’s gift of “time” and “talent” will ultimately increase their commitment to your organization resulting in the gift of “treasure.”

Upon Further Review: More on Managing Boards of Directors

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John+Marshal+for+webJohn Marshall
Senior Vice President

Last year, I wrote an article entitled “Nonprofits, Boards and Managing Expectations: A Two-Way Street.” My effort was intended to share with the fundraising professional a few insights on what it takes to transform a Board from “good to great” (in the words of one terrific author, Mr. Jim Collins).

I wrote about my experiences over the past 40+ years of working with a multitude of Boards—all different, all unique—and I specifically addressed the importance of creating clear expectations (of Board members and of staff) and the great importance of having a comprehensive Board Member Job Description.

In reviewing that epistle, I realized there is even more to be said focusing on a few other insights I believe might be helpful to you as you continue the process of creating the very best Board possible. My hope is that the following will assist you in this regard.

Primary Responsibilities Associated with Board Membership
Beyond what is found in the Board Member Job Description, it is important that Board members are aware of the importance of the following:

  1. Having an understanding and keen appreciation for the mission, motive, purposes and objectives of the organization
  2. Becoming familiar with the function of and services provided by the organization
  3. Providing the organization with support, encouragement, counsel and guidance
  4. Becoming familiar with the means by which the organization operates—its sources of income as well as its areas of expense
  5. Assisting the organization’s leadership in program and financial planning
  6. Helping advance the organization within the community through personal advocacy and promotion—in becoming a bona fide AMBASSADOR
  7. Supporting the organization as a charitable organization, realizing its dependency upon charitable support of its programs, services and overhead
  8. Helping plan the maintenance and expansion of the organization’s properties and facilities from which it renders its programs and services to the communities it serves
  9. Participating in the planning, preparation and operation of a capital campaign, if and when such is deemed appropriate

The Role of the Organization’s President/CEO with the Board
I believe wholeheartedly it is absolutely critical for Board members to feel that the organization’s top leader is interested in the efforts of the Board and has a very real appreciation for their many efforts. And then shows it.  Too many times, this is either neglected, relegated to a lesser staffer or given “lip service” by the organization’s chief executive. I know that this can result in a Board having less than the optimal level of enthusiasm for the organization we all want to see.

With that in mind, here is my list of “Top Ten Responsibilities” of the CEO when interacting with the organization’s Board members:

  1. Share information about the organization’s programs and services with Board members so they are prepared to be even more effective AMBASSADORS within the community
  2. Educate the Board about the organization’s policies
  3. Make certain that Board members are communicated within a timely manner about developments/issues which may impact the organization within the community (this includes the good, the bad or possibly the ugly); most Board members really don’t want to be surprised by hearing of issues “after the fact”
  4. Attend as many of the regularly scheduled Board meetings as possible and if not possible, assign a significant member of the leadership team
  5. Share with the Board the organization’s financial position and help identify specific needs requiring specific funding
  6. Ensure that the Board holds an annual meeting—the “care holders” meeting, and attend
  7. Be available to accompany Board members on visits with those in the community possessing great influence and affluence
  8. Make certain that the Development Department has the necessary resources to support the Board in its awareness and advocacy efforts
  9. Within an appropriate period of time, make the effort to meet each member of the Board one-on-one
  10. Be a personal donor to the organization—“practice what you preach”

Why Board Members Lose Interest
Lastly, one of the laments I have heard far too often over the years is about how difficult it is to not only recruit great Board members, but to keep them. If you fit into that category, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I assigning members realistic goals?
  2. Are they receiving sufficient detail for carrying out their responsibilities?
  3. Am I allowing Board members sufficient opportunity to provide feedback? And am I listening?
  4. Am I adequately recognizing/appreciating their efforts?
  5. Am I providing ample opportunity for them to make a decision?
  6. Is the work they are tasked to accomplish truly challenging?
  7. Am I providing members with sufficient preparation and training to ensure they are successful?

No one ever said that managing volunteers was easy, especially when it comes to Board members. They can be demanding or complacent, overbearing or invisible, fully engaged or there just for lunch (if a Board member calls in advance to ask “what are we having for lunch” you most likely have a problem on your hands!).

Your task in managing these fine people is to do all you can to see their experience is a time of real enrichment, both for them and most relatedly, for your organization.

Want more tips for effectively managing Board members?  JB+A Senior Vice President John Marshall has more than 40 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. You can reach John at jmarshall@fundraisingjba.com or at 816.914.3780.

Time, Talent and Treasure: The First Word is Time for a Reason

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Commentary, Donor Cultivation, News You Can Use, Stewardship, Volunteers | No Comments

Katie Lord

Katie Lord, Senior Consultant

As far as nonprofit jargon is concerned, we have all probably used, or at least heard, the phrase “Time, Talent and Treasure” when referring to how we can engage individuals with our organizations.  While it may seem to be a fairly basic concept, defining the above trifecta is becoming an increasingly complex matter, as definitions have evolved among different generations. In this three-part series, we will examine the components of this paradigm individually, and emphasize how your organization can effectively create programs right now that can be easily implemented to grow your base of supporters today, tomorrow and in the future.

Most commonly, when speaking of “time” as it relates to nonprofit organizations, the standard definition would be time given related to its direct service activities/programs.  Examples would be serving meals to the homeless, attending a Board or committee meeting, making an in-person gift solicitation or attending a special event.  “Time,” however, can now be calculated through “off-site” activities including networking and personal introductions, technologically-based gift solicitations through social media, email or text or completing a “done-in-a-day” project (such as packet assembly for a walk/race) that can be done at home.

According to the Independent Sector (independentsector.org,) the 2015 calculated hour of volunteer work is the equivalent of $23.56 in a paid wages, thus putting a monetary value on volunteer work and something to keep in mind when recruiting top volunteer talent of any generation.  This value of “time,” however, no longer just equates to “time” given on-site with the organization through a traditional lens. It needs to evolve into a new definition by nonprofits.  It is through the giving of “time” that your organization has the opportunity to tell your story and impart your mission to your volunteers. This, in turn, will expand their knowledge of your organization and their personal commitment to your mission.

As the majority of the population continues to age and retire from traditional jobs, the Baby Boomer generation should be the major focus of volunteer coordinators for on-site and “traditional” in-person support through Board service or capital campaign committees. This is due to their established networks, higher disposable income and focus on leaving their mark on the world.  Baby Boomers are not a passive retirement generation. They are staying involved and active much longer than the generation before them. Many are not completely exiting the work force, but are just reducing hours or taking “retirement” in the form of a nontraditional job.  Having just passed their highest earning years by retiring or semi-retiring, they look to continue to be relevant and to not only use their skill sets, but to also share their invaluable knowledge and experience.

It is important to remember though that many Baby Boomers will be discerning regarding the institutions with which they choose to share their skills, they may also be reducing the number of Boards and activities to which they are willing to commit. Boomers do tend to have a level of longevity with the organizations they support, having given their “treasure” first and then following with their “time” and “talent.”

As it relates to Millennials, “time” is perceived as a commodity due to its finite number; everyone only gets 24 hours in a day.  Most millennials are still in their career-building phase, making less in their day job than the $23.56 an hour a volunteer hour is worth.  Millennials tend to give of their “time” first — to see the impact of their efforts on an organization. They make an evaluation, and then follow with their “talent” and “treasure.”

By choosing to give their time to your organization, Millennials are choosing to not participate in another available activity; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that their volunteer projects produce an immediate and demonstrated impact to those you serve. The emerging generations will not be able to provide you the biggest monetary gifts right now. However, and because of their social nature and focus on networks and communities, their “time” can be focused on income-producing opportunities.  Peer-to-Peer fundraising efforts are a great way to use their network and social connections, along with their “time,” to make introductions or solicitations, both in-kind and monetary.  As they will with their careers, many Millennials will give “time” to certain projects, outcomes or people they know, as opposed to institutions and what they stand for, therefore causing more episodic volunteerism.

Both generations — Baby Boomers and Millennials — may have different focuses and motivations related to giving “time,” but are not so different that they both view it as a gift to organizations. So, make sure your organization is cognizant of differing gifts of “time,” and offers multiple ways for “time” to be given. Make sure you value volunteer “time” within the scope of your mission for both Baby Boomers and Millennials. “Time” is not always a standalone commitment, but is often combined at some point with either “treasure” or “talent.”  “Time” is the gateway for volunteers to become further involved with your organization and for moving them along the path to being fully-engaged donors.

Board Scorecards – What’s Your Nonprofit’s Score?

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Organizational + Personal Development, Volunteers | No Comments

Katie cropped to upload

Katie Lord
Senior Consultant

Nonprofit Board Members are expected to bring a diverse set of skills, experiences and connections to their organization. Their voluntary involvement is the basis for the continued success (or failure) of an organization. The specific skill set or a combination of skills a Board Member brings to an organization usually fills a knowledge gap, bringing expertise in areas of weakness or targeting areas for potential growth.

However, Nonprofit Board Members and the organization’s staff they work with often struggle with the identification and execution of clearly defined measurements of success, responsibility and accountability. In order to be effective and avoid frustration, it is important for Board Members to have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and objectives as part of their Board Member orientation.

This is where the Board scorecard becomes a vital tool for measuring results and providing accountability for each individual Board Member and the Board as a whole.  A Board scorecard is a document in which the roles of each Board Member are outlined.  It includes items such as target completion dates for annual giving expectations, Member introductions, solicitations (monetary and in-kind), hours of service, membership on a subcommittee, meeting attendance and event participation. These areas of expectations and participation are recorded on the Board Member’s scorecard.

At least three days prior to each Board meeting, Board Members should receive a copy of their updated individual scorecard to ensure time for checking accuracy and making updates.  Each Board Member should then forward his/her scorecard to the Board Chair so the information can be complied and distributed to the entire Board at their meeting.  (You can do this anonymously by assigning each Board Member a number and listing results in that way to ensure privacy, if this is part of your Board culture). Due to the nature of this tool, it is imperative that an organization’s staff maintain accurate and current records.

The Board Chair and Chief Executive of the organization should be knowledgeable of each Member’s contributions and therefore identify those who are struggling to reach their goals, allowing for one-on-one support and coaching.  Through the use of a Board scorecard, Board Members can be evaluated and share their feedback based on the criteria outlined for success. Both the organization and the Board Member are then able to decide if ongoing participation is beneficial for the advancement of the organization’s mission, success and financial growth. The importance of a strong and responsible Nonprofit Board as a whole and Board Members individually to an organization’s mission and success cannot be underestimated!

Interested in a sample Board scorecard that has worked for me over the years? Click here:  JB+A Board Scorecard Sample.

Five Secrets to Capital Campaign Success

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Campaign Planning + Management, Donor Cultivation, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use | No Comments

judy Keller for proposals 2012Judy Keller
Executive Vice President

After nine years as a fundraising consultant, I have learned a lot about campaigns that I never knew when I was an Executive Director or Development Director. Forty-eight clients later, I have met wonderful people doing courageous work, and am happy to say most of them succeeded in their campaign goals.  Here’s what those campaigns prove to me that your organization needs to do to be successful:

Tie Your Campaign to Community Benefits
Your campaign should NOT be for a new building or more staff for your organization. Your focus should be on the community need and how building or expanding will serve the community need.  Even after your case statement is written, you should force yourself and your group to articulate the compelling need.  Practice it.  Know it inside and out and make sure it is a valid and urgent community problem that your efforts will solve. I’m sure you instinctively talk about the good work your organization does, your grand plans and what you need to pull them off, but to a potential funder that can too easily be tuned out as the same old pitch.  Ask yourselves “why does our town need this” and make sure the answer is short, easy to understand and truly compelling.  Shape your organization’s messages to be about what your community needs and how this effort will solve community problems.  True philanthropists want to serve the greater good, not just “put their names on buildings” but often volunteers or staff think that name recognition is the motivation.

Get Your Board on Board
Make sure your Board and senior staff members know where you are headed and agree that is the right place to go. Never assume that they all agree with the campaign plans.  Especially in a polite, Midwestern workplace, many are hesitant to express negative thoughts in a group setting or they do so subtlety and are easily not taken seriously.  This is an area in which a very good feasibility study can make all the difference. It should ferret out — in candid and confidential sessions — what the concerns are.  Remember if Board members have questions, other donors will too.  One client’s Executive Director had lots of answers, but never really addressed the issues or fixed the project, and the campaign stalled.  It is important to listen to the concerns and address them, not just answer them and move on, but to really take the time to address them in a way that satisfies those who know the organization best. This is about more than getting the Board to 100% participation. It is about really taking the time to strengthen the case for support before seeking it.

Focus on the Right Prospects
Major gifts always come from very few people—even in small communities and even in communities known for their grassroots participation. Capital campaigns are built on a handful of lead gifts and you need to take the time to identify those donors and work with them well before you work on the mechanics of the campaign structure or timeline.  Organizations are often focused on their broader message and fundraising to the community because they have focused on annual funds and larger numbers of smaller gifts to fund their operating budgets. That is a good strategy for building core support for operations, but a campaign requires a few large gifts to succeed and the first can be the most difficult to find.  Take the time to cultivate your major donors and recognize that for most campaigns it will take less than 1,000 donors to succeed.

Train People to Ask
Very few people come to a campaign steering committee excited about their skills as a solicitor. In fact, most of the time we hear that they would love to help but do not want to ask for money.  It is very important to give your volunteers the training and support they need to be comfortable and that means lots of training and practice.  After ample training, role play and conversation, put your volunteers in a position to be successful.  Let them go on “easy asks” and don’t allow yourself to take those first. The beginning of the campaign is an important time for your volunteers to get comfortable “making the ask”. People master a skill by learning the basics and practicing. Asking is a skill.

Set Deadlines
Goals and deadlines work. They won’t make you comfortable, but they’ll help you reach your goal. In fact, goals and deadlines are what get people pulling in the same direction at the same time. They create the energy you need to get everyone inspired.  Without them, your volunteers are all busy people who will likely find something more urgent to do than make their calls.  So with your volunteers, establish a campaign timeline with set by set achievable deadlines, inspire your group to consider the project urgent and to get their work done so you enjoy the momentum of a successful campaign from the start.

Campaigns are exciting times for organizations to make transformational change, dramatically improving the services they provide their communities. Make sure to get the basics right so you can enjoy the ride.