From the Intern: Relating the Dots


(a further attempt to connect the dots of the Nonprofit Constellation)

I stood on a stool to get this one off the shelf.

I’ve often thought that the founders of our country must have been themselves thinking of a three-legged stool as they drafted the U.S. Constitution and brought into being the three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial.

I mean, wasn’t it Euclid who postulated that a single plane passes through any three points?  Thus, the effectiveness of the three-legged stool.  You can set that stool anywhere ‘reasonable’ and it will achieve stability because each of its legs will be on the same plane.  Not so with the four-legged stool, table, etc.

I mean, just remember the fabled “Rocking Table of Cafe Marais” that spilled a thousand celebrities’ drinks before it was recycled and replaced, or that table Lettie says she’s having trouble selling.  Very little that is more annoying than showing up at Starbucks, gingerly setting your latte close to the window to cool, leaning in to talk across the table to your good friend, and watching their soy chai cappucino slop over the side of their over-sized cup simply because some engineer doesn’t understand plane geometry and the usefulness of the number 3.

If only three-legged tables were more fashionable.

syndetics-lcAnyway, all of this about three legs is to point out why Grace Budrys’ delineation of our sometimes overwhelmingly complex society into a functional image having three major parts (the nonprofit sector, the for-profit sector, and the governmental sector) worked so well for me in her book How Nonprofits Work. Continue reading

Grant Basics I and II

Who Knew? Grant Basics I and II

Did you know that the Paul Clarke Nonprofit Resource Center offers free classes about grant seeking EVERY month of the year, except in August?

In Grant Basics I, you learn how to use The Foundation Directory Online.  The Directory is updated weekly and provides the most accurate details available on U.S. funders and their grants.  It has over 108,000 U.S. foundations and corporate donors, and is the premier tool for grant seeking nonprofits.

In Grant Basics II you learn about the basic components of proposals, the process of grant writing, necessary vocabulary, and writing tips.  As well as tips from foundations and resources for further study.

Sign up for classes here.

The Nonprofit Business Plan

The Leader’s Guide to Creating a Successful Business Model
David La Piana, Heather Gowdy, Lester Olmstead-Rose, Brent Copen

“The Nonprofit Business Plan is aimed at nonprofit leaders who want a deeper understanding of the choices, and consequences, they face in either continuing to pursue their current business model or changing it.”  – taken from introduction

Target audience includes:

  • Nonprofit CEOs and other senior staff
  • staff members who aspire to future leadership roles
  • board members wanting a deeper understanding of their organization’s business model
  • board members from the corporate sector who have been told, “the nonprofit sector is different”

Written to connect, “mission to strategy to execution in a sustainable way, “The Nonprofit Business Plan” introduces the author/consultants’ DARE2 Succeed model:

  • Design and launch process
  • Assess current business model
  • Research and review market factors
  • Evaluate options and assumptions
  • Elaborate on chosen model
  • Includes appendices with a sample business plan

Click the cover to go to the ACPL catalog to place a hold.

Resources on the La Piana consulting blog:

  • Download worksheets and discussion guides
    • Evaluating the Need for a Business Plan
    • Forming Your Planning Team
    • Six Basic Business Planning Questions
    • Assessing Financial Risk
  • Listen to podcasts on
    • The Importance of Testing Assumptions
    • Assessing the Need for a Business Plan

New Books: About the Sector, Fundraising, and Board Development

Click the covers to go to the ACPL catalog to place a hold.

It’s not about the money : how to tap into God-given generosity / Terry T. Munday ; [foreword by John C. Maxwell]. How to make your board dramatically more effective, starting today : a board member’s guide to asking the right questions / Gayle L. Gifford. The state of nonprofit America / Lester M. Salamon, editor.

New Books: Corporate Partnerships, Faith-based Fundraising, Starting a Nonprofit

Click the covers to go to the ACPL catalog to place a hold.

The everything nonprofit toolkit : the all-in-one resource for establishing a nonprofit that will grow, thrive, and succeed / Jim Goettler. Giving and getting in the kingdom : a field guide / R. Mark Dillon Expanding the pie : fostering effective non-profit and corporate partnerships / Susan Rae Ross.

Starting Off Right (Part II): What New Non-501(c)(3) Organizations Need to Know

IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division Exempt Organizations Presents a FREE Webinar – February 24, 2011

Who Should Attend

This new webinar was developed especially for new 501(c)(4), (c)(6),(c)(7),(c)(8) and (c)(10) tax exempt organizations – including social welfare, labor and agricultural organizations, business leagues, trade associations, social clubs, and fraternal organizations – and the tax professionals that represent them. Other members of the exempt organizations community will find the webinar of interest as well.

Learn about:

  • Doing what you said you would– How to ensure that your organization meets the “operational test”
  • Five ways to avoid jeopardizing your tax-exempt status
  • Annual filing requirements for exempt organizations
  • Tools you can use to maintain tax compliance as your organization grows

Register for this webinar at the IRS website.