Webinar: 5 Common Legal Traps for Nonprofits & How to Avoid Them

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 wildap logo.1

2pm ET │Free

Have you ever worried your organization could have some hidden legal risks? Often it’s what we don’t know that can come back to haunt us. This is why Wild Apricot has invited Erin McClarty, nonprofit attorney and strategist, to present a free webinar on August 23 on the most common legal issues she sees nonprofits face, and what to do about them.

In this free webinar, Erin will show you:

●The 5 most common legal traps for nonprofits
●Several solutions and tools to reduce your risk
●The best jargon-free resources every nonprofit should read
Read about the presenter and register here.

Program June 15th: Knowing Your Audience…

Road Warrior Tips for Successful Fundraising

It is widely known that 75% of income for nonprofits comes from individuals, but how many organizations have staff experienced in donor cultivation?

Louise Jackson1Colchin-Eve (002)Join Louise Jackson and Eve Colchin on Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 9:15-11:15 a.m. in Meeting Room C at the Main Library,  as they share a combined 36 years of development experience in understanding the importance of getting to know your audience before you ever make your first donor contact.

Relationship building requires specific skills and this program, by two experienced professionals, will share what they have learned over the years.  You’ll hear examples of their experiences about how etiquette, attire, generational issues, listening to the donor, and working with CEOs affected their success.  At the end of the presentation they will answer audience questions.

Success in fundraising requires knowing who you are cultivating. It requires a strong belief in the cause you are hired to address. A clear strategic direction helps pave the way for success for the organization as well as the fundraiser. It is that same success which in return strengthens the confidence in the fundraiser and organization. Understanding who your donor is, what their interests are, and how they align with the organization, leads to a successful approach in fundraising.

The following six items will lead the first part of the workshop presentation:

A Focus on the Cause vs the Money – Building the relationship, focus on the cause and the donor’s interests:

  • Understanding your donor and building a strong relationship raises more dollars
  • LISTEN to Donor

You Have Something to Offer Donors – Clearly defined mission:

  • Focus on the mission and building a donor pool that strongly believes in what you are working to accomplish
  • You have to believe before you can make the ask

Are Your Goals Realistic? – Are they attainable?

  • Research your donors
    • History of giving
    • Projects funded

Changing Expectations – Difficult to build and retain donors if vision is blurry or constantly changes. Donors sense this uncertainty:

  • TRUST must be built in order for money to follow

MGOs Seek Competent Leadership -Team approach to meet goals. Every aspect of organization plays a role in fundraising.

  • Is the right person making the ask (know your donor)

MGOs Leave When the Job Doesn’t Fit

  • You have to experience success to build success
  • Knowing when to make a switch & when to stay and make a different


Book Review: Because Nonprofits are Messy

The full title of this great book is… Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because Nonprofits are Messy .

9781119293064.pdfJoan Garry, has been called the Dear Abby of the nonprofit world and she’s the kind of author I enjoy reading. She’s down-to-earth; a skillful raconteur; humorous and wise.  She also doesn’t need to use catchy metaphors (like a hedgehog, or cheese) to write a worthwhile and practical book on nonprofit leadership.

Even the chapter titles make me want to read more:

Chapter 1 The Superpowers of Nonprofit Leadership
Chapter 2: You’ve Got to Get Me at Hello
Chapter 3: Co-Pilots in a Twin-Engine Plane
Chapter 4: The Key Is Not in the Answers. It’s in the Questions
Chapter 5: You Can Do This
Chapter 6: Managing the Paid and the Unpaid (Or, I Came to Change the World, Not Conduct Evaluations)
Chapter 7: When It Hits the Fan
Chapter 8: Hello, I Must Be Going (Or Navigating Leadership Transitions)
Chapter 9: You Are the Champions

And here is a sample of her unique writing style and perspective:

“Because nonprofits are messy. It’s inherent in the formula of the unique beast we call a 501(C)(3).

A + B+ C+ a big dose of intense passion = MESSY

    1. A poorly paid and overworked group (staff) that…
    2. Relies on the efforts of people who get paid nothing (volunteers) and are overseen by…
    3. Another group of volunteers who get paid nothing and are supposed to give and get lots of money (board).”

I admit, I have not yet read this book cover-to-cover, but what I have read has been spot-on and I’m very comfortable recommending it. You can find it in the ACPL catalog here.  We have two copies on the shelves in the PCNRC, let me know if you enjoyed reading it as much as I have.  Marilynn

A Fundraiser’s Journey

Kelly Updike

Have you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey? Although it debuted nearly 30 years ago, it is considered an important book on leadership today.

I still have my 1990 paperback edition that contains multi-colored highlighted and underlined phrases. But it’s been a long time since I’ve read it and it took me a while to find my copy. I went looking for it after having coffee with Jonathan Busarow, executive artistic director of the fabulous Fort Wayne Children’s Choir.

When I asked Jonathan for some fundraising advice, he mentioned that board engagement is key. Board members are the connectors that staffers need. “They don’t have to do the asking,” he said, “but their role is to help the organization.”

Jonathan said this is just like the Abundance Mentality from 7 Habits. “There are plenty of people to serve, it’s not the Scarcity Mentality. It’s freeing, actually,” he said.

I nodded my head in agreement but later had to look up what Jonathan was talking about.

The Abundance Mentality means there is plenty out there for everybody. Covey wrote, “It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development.”

This trait is part of the Win/Win Habit. According to Covey (and Jonathan), if you look at others through the Abundance Mentality, you will genuinely value their differences and be happy for their success; this leads to sincere understanding and cooperative solutions that are better than if you had done the work alone. I like how Jonathan has connected this to board engagement and fundraising.

Thanks to Jonathan, I will continue to ask my board members to be involved in fundraising. And to re-re-re-re-read 7 Habits.


The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

“I Don’t Know Quite How to Say This”: The Language of Strategy – Mike Stone Impact Strategies

strategyWhat does the word ‘strategy’ mean? Mike Stone addresses the different meanings around the word in a past blog post on his Impact Strategies website.

Is it a means to an end like developing strategies? Or the desired end such as the achievement of a strategic position? As Mike Stone points out, we even throw in other concepts into the mix – mission, vision, and/or impact.

Below is his definition of strategy and what it means:

The strategy conveys how your organization believes it can achieve the greatest mission impact in the most sustainable manner. To return to the words of Michael Porter, strategy is mostly about deciding what you will not do, thereby focusing attention and resources on those activities with the greatest mission value.

Dr. Stone’s definition does bring clarity to the word ‘strategy.’ However, how is ‘mission impact’ defined?

The mission impact describes the demonstrable changes that will result from the enactment of the strategy. Said another way, the impact statement operationalizes the mission by highlighting specific changes that occur at the client or participant level.

Got it?!

To read Mike Stone’s full blog post, click here.

New Book: Seven Keys to Successful Mentoring

Books are beginning to arrive from our recent order, and we’ll be reviewing them here over the next few weeks. 7keys-to-successful-mentoring

Seven Keys to Successful Mentoring by E. Wayne Hart is one of several books in the Ideas Into Action Series for managers and executives.  It is a small volume with a mere thirty-two pages, but it uses them efficiently.  The book is in a format I very much like – it is much like a manual with one to two pages per topic, with bulleted points and lists of questions it gets right to the point.  It is also a very colorful volume in this new edition!

What you’ll find inside:

  • What is mentoring?
  • The importance of mentoring
  • What mentors do
    • Develop & manage the mentoring relationship
    • Survey
    • Sponsor
    • Guide & counsel
    • Teach
    • Model
    • Motivate & inspire
  • Final thoughts

Summary: Continue reading

Is Your Strategy Sound? – Mike Stone, Impact Strategies

Mike Stone, of Impact Strategies with a plethora of experience in strategy work, has identified two key elements that make your strategy sound. The first is organizational core and the second is strategy driver.sound-strategy

Organizational core is defined by Mike as “your strongest competencies aimed at the highest priority needs of your targeted population, within your defined domain.” He uses the example about a nonprofit who’s mission it is to reduce recidivism of ex-offenders by giving them the tools necessary to gain and retain employment. So, their strongest competency would be educating, priority needs are the skills for gaining and retaining employment, and the domain would be the criminal justice system of the area.

The second piece, strategy driver, is the “nature of your business and consequently provides the lens through which program decisions and resource allocations are considered.” Now the ‘drivers’ can be three different options: client-driven (based on target population), service-driven (the nonprofit’s content expertise), or domain-driven (the nonprofit responding to the changing needs/preferences within their identified domain).

In utilizing Mike’s method of organizational core and strategy driver, your conversations about strategic development will be more focused and consistent.

To read Mike Stone’s full blog post about a sound strategy, click here.