Fiscal Management

Philanthropy is Business…and That’s OK

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As we close out another year with the turn of the calendar to January, many of us spend some time reflecting on the lessons learned over the past 12 months while setting organizational goals for the year ahead.  We need to take the time, not only to do this on a personal and organizational basis, but as a profession.  I think it is important that as a sector we take stock of where we have been, where we are and where we need to go in order to stay nimble – while continuing to increase our meaningful societal significance.  We can all agree that the times they are a changing.

As we continue to march our way through the second decade of the new millennium, the nonprofit sector looks much different than it did even two years ago, let alone in 2000.   Technological tools, data analytics, interpersonal communication options, physical work environments and service delivery are just a few of the ways our work world is rapidly changing. Corporations are now focused on social enterprise; the conversations and perceptions of how they make social impact are changing.  Are we as a sector ready for this?

Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector is not always known for its adaptability or quick response to change.  Misguidedly, we often reject the idea of “running a nonprofit like a business” which causes our sector to be perceived as accepting a “status quo” or “this is the way we have always done it” mentality.  This also reinforces the expectations of “minimal overhead ratios,” “outputs vs. outcomes” and the proverbial misperception that we need to be “saved” by the for-profit sector.  Not surprisingly, this continues to cause tension and maintain an undercurrent of lack of respect and frustration felt by us as the practitioners of social good.

“Failure” is still a bad word among our sector and is not celebrated as a learning experience, as it is with our corporate counterparts, due to how funding for such projects is obtained.  With few dollars available for venture philanthropy, the competition is fierce, limiting the ability for innovative solutions to be discovered and rapidly implemented across subsectors.

My hope for 2018 is that we as a sector begin to be as recognized for our specialties, expertise and impact as our for-profit counterparts. I hope we embrace the fact that at the end of the day, we too are in business – the business of doing good for our community, country and world.  Our work is vital to the economic and social success of our county.  We are the second largest employer behind manufacturing. Our products are safe housing options, research to find cures for disease and hot meals for the homeless.  Our services include removing barriers to education and job skills training, mentorship, mental health programs and youth interventions.

How can this mentality be implemented in our nonprofit organizations this year? Let’s walk before we run.  Invest in team training on business skills, contribute to cross sector conversations, attend networking events, read traditional “best business practices books” and implement key ideas, have a Board focus group to discuss and update strategic plans.  Set one, three- and five-year program and fundraising goals. Seemingly small steps can make big results for our stakeholders and those we serve. Let’s seize the opportunity to do business in 2018, but not as business as usual!

Jeffrey D. Byrne Appointed Treasurer of MoHEFA

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, Fiscal Management, News You Can Use | One Comment

jdb_governor-nixonJeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO of Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc., has been selected treasurer of the Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority (MoHEFA) by Governor Jay Nixon (right). Jeffrey was first appointed as a member of the State Authority by Governor Nixon in February 2016 and is delighted to take on the additional role of treasurer less than a year after his initial appointment and senate confirmation.

MoHEFA is a seven-member appointed Authority that assists health and educational facilities across Missouri in their financing efforts.  The Authority provides access to capital markets in an effort to lower the cost of health and educational services in Missouri by providing high-quality, readily available, low-cost financing alternatives for Missouri public and private, nonprofit health and educational institutions.

Comprised of experts in the fields of healthcare, higher education, investment banking and finance, the Authority advises and assists borrowing institutions in qualifying for, structuring and completing quality transactions, overseeing the financing process. In this role, this bipartisan Authority has succeeded in obtaining more than $23 billion in financing for 500 projects across the state since 1979.

As a member of MoHEFA, Jeffrey brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit and financial business sector. For more than 25 years, he has worked with healthcare and educational institutions across the country on capital and development efforts. As treasurer, he will oversee all aspects of MoHEFA’s financial management working closely with the Chair and Vice-Chair to ensure responsibilities are met.

“This has been an incredible year for MoHEFA and the organizations we serve, having approved $1.7 billion in bonds,” says Jeffrey. “It is a great honor and responsibility to not only be appointed as a member, but now treasurer. As I prepare for a more robust role with MoHEFA, I look forward to making 2017 our most successful year yet in our quest to improve the health and educational landscape of our great state.”

Jeffrey’s term as a member of the Authority ends on July 30, 2019.

Great Capital Campaigns Have Great Business Plans

By | All Posts, Campaign Planning + Management, Fiscal Management, News You Can Use | No Comments

Dan Cosgrove headshot webDan Cosgrove, Director of Operations + Senior Consultant

You’ve made your donor call lists, put together a sleek brochure with a spot-on narrative and pretty graphs, organized the Steering Committee and pulled together the Gantt chart clearly stating how the capital campaign will progress. Are you truly ready to launch the campaign?


You might want to pause for a bit to consider the end game.  What happens after the capital campaign concludes? Or, more importantly, what do you have to show when a donor asks “What are your plans for long-range sustainability?” Or, perhaps “I will only contribute once. Are you sufficiently prepared to cover costs during the ramp up period?”

This is where a strong business plan for the new project is crucial.  Have you really thought through what new and sustainable opportunities will be created?  This plan identifies the organization’s models, missions and objectives. It clearly delineates the staffing, location, marketing and financing requirements that are needed to meet those objectives.

Excitement for a project is always high during the run up to a capital campaign launch. Often the feeling is that the business planning can wait until the capital campaign is nearing completion.  However, a strong plan with vision beyond the campaign will give you extra credibility with high net worth and business-savvy donors.  Planning also allows you to gain momentum in securing repeat donors as your confidence and thorough preparation will be evident.

Take the extra time to focus on what the long term sustainability of the project will be worth.  You also might gain some new perspectives on improving existing operations.  And the team could subsequently dust off the old strategic plan and bring it in line with current thinking.

People often ask “What is the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?” A strategic plan is an evolving document that will keep your organization focused for a 3 to 5-year timeframe.  A business plan coexists and provides the crucial underpinnings of a successful strategic plan.  The strategic plan alone is typically much more broad in scope and does not detail specific plans of action for each individual operating unit within an organization.

A successful capital campaign with careful business planning will clearly communicate to the donor that once the goal is reached, the plan is ready to be executed so that services will be delivered in a timely manner. Business planning forces the organization to think past the general numbers proffered in the case for support or brochure.

Consider these questions when formulating your plan:

  • Is the project true to the mission of the organization?
  • What are revenue projections for one to three years?
  • What are the realistic costs of operations?
  • Who is my customer? Where are they located?
  • How will the newly financed offering provide a return on investment? Are there new revenue streams?
  • Who is going to staff the new operation? What qualifications are critical for success?
  • How are the new offerings going to be marketed?
  • What are the benchmarks for success?

A detailed business plan will more thoroughly prepare your solicitation team to answer the deep dive questions from potential funders and give the organization a head start on implementing the vision once the campaign is completed.

Now you are ready and set.  It’s time to take off and GO raise money.

Does your organization need help in developing its business plan?  JB+A can provide the best practices, guidance and support you need.  Reach out to Dan Cosgrove, Director of Operations and Senior Consultant at or at 816.237.1999. 

JB+A Client Partner SAFEHOME Receives its FOURTH Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating in a Row

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Congratulations to JB+A client partner SAFEHOME for receiving its FOURTH 4-Star Rating in a row from Charity Navigator.  According to Charity Navigator, only 8% of the charities it reviews have received at least four 4-Star ratings in a row.

“I am thrilled that SAFEHOME has received this distinction from Charity Navigator, but I am also not surprised,” says JB+A President + CEO Jeffrey Byrne.  “In all the years I have worked with SAFEHOME, Janee’ Hanzlick (President/CEO) and her entire team have done an amazing job of stewarding SAFEHOME’s precious resources.  I have great respect for their tireless work to break the cycle of domestic violence, as well as the compassionate, yet fiscally prudent manner in which they do so.”

SAFEHOME’s mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence and partner abuse for victims and their children by providing shelter, advocacy, counseling and prevention education in the community.  Through SAFEHOME’s shelter and community services, approximately 7,500 individuals each year receive the support they need to lead healthy, independent lives.

To learn more about SAFEHOME, click here.

To learn more about Charity Navigator and its rating system, click here.

JB+A Client Partner Challenge Aspen Receives Coveted Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating

By | All Posts, Fiscal Management, JB+A Client Fundraising Success | No Comments

JB+A is proud to announce its client partner, Challenge Aspen, has received a 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator.  Challenge Aspen received this 4-Star Rating for its sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Congratulations, Challenge Aspen!

Making possibilities for people with disabilities, Challenge Aspen empowers children, adults and families living with cognitive or physical challenges to turn fear and despair into hope and growth.  Since 1995 Challenge Aspen has been a trendsetter in adaptive recreation, offering year-round activities and private group opportunities customized for its participants:  adaptive sports including skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and fishing; cultural activities including theater, cooking classes and music therapy and life skills such as team-building through camping and a ropes course. It has also developed programs to specifically serve injured service members through Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO) and participants on the autism spectrum through Challenge Autism.

To learn more about Challenge Aspen, click here.

To learn more about Charity Navigator and its rating system, click here.