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Resource of the Week:  December 27, 2015 - January 2, 2016

The Smart Chart

The Interactive Smart Chart is based on the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 – a planning tool that helps nonprofits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. This online version of the Smart Chart offers an interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time – and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort. Go to: www.smartchart.org
 

December 20 - 26, 2015

Succeeding with Succession

According to James Shepherd of AchieveMission, everyone agrees that succession planning is one of the CEO’s and board’s most critical responsibilities. He continues …. A recent Bridgespan article highlighted it as by far the No. 1 organizational concern for US nonprofits. Yet all the studies suggest that nonprofits and their boards grossly neglect this all- important task. Many nonprofit    leaders avoid succession planning because of the anxiety and painful misunderstandings they fear it will create. And, this high emotional charge rests, in turn, on prevalent misunderstandings about succession planning. If your organization needs a new or stronger succession plan, the key to success is to acknowledge the anxieties that you and other stakeholders may have and reframe your understanding of succession planning. Tackling these hidden obstacles will create the conditions for you to reduce anxiety, smoothly move your succession planning forward, and produce a palpably stronger organization. Shepherd, catalogs common concerns and misunderstanding about success and also offers an excellent agenda for initiating a board dialogue on this critical challenge. To download the article, go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

 December 13 - 19, 2015

Volunteer Management Resource Library

The Volunteer Management Resource Library, hosted by Susan Ellis and the Energize, Inc. website, is organized by subject and each subject page provides Online Bookstore links, free articles or excerpts, free electronic books or guides, as well as an annotated list of Web sites with more material on the subject. This is the most comprehensive – and up to date – resource of its kind available. Go to: www.energizeinc.com
 

December 6 - 12, 2015

Sample Request for Proposal for Audit Services for Nonprofit Organizations

Wipfli, Ullrich & Company is one of the largest CPA and consulting firms in the United States, with offices across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, and India. The firm offers a Sample Requests for Proposal - Audit Services for Nonprofit Organizations available at no charge. This document is designed to simplify the process of going out for bid, creating a scoring system, and asking the right questions of CPA firms. To download the sample RFP, go to: www.wipfli.com
 

November 29 - December 5, 2015

Guide and Template for Fiscal Policies and Procedures

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services has developed a well-organized, time-saving template and accompanying guide to make it a bit easier for you to write or update your organization’s fiscal policies and procedures. We believe that the most important part of developing policies and procedures is that they are discussed, agreed upon, and regularly reviewed by both the decision makers in an organization and by those who will be implementing them on a day-to-day basis. There is no “one size fits all” template that will work for all organizations, but this template and guide offer a recommended structure for policies and procedures as well as some questions to guide you in considering what is best for your organization. Go to: www.compasspoint.org
 

November 22 - 28, 2015

Take Root: Volunteer Management Guide

Hands On Network has developed a guidebook on Volunteer Management that includes a new generation of volunteer engagement techniques tailored to today’s community service organization. These techniques make the Hands On Network training curriculum dynamic, innovative, impact oriented, and easily applicable to your program. This guidebook was developed to help national service programs explore the basics of volunteer management. It is meant to be a user-friendly resource for developing volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition strategies and methods of offering projects for diverse audiences. This guide does not prescribe how your programs should be structured; it does, however, provide resources you can adapt to meet your local program needs. The goal of this guidebook is to provide information that will help your program take root, leverage volunteers, and grow. To that end, the guidebook contains action-oriented sections to help you recruit, schedule, retain, and recognize volunteers. In addition, each chapter includes an activities and templates section with tools to assist you in applying the guidebook content to your program. To download the guide, go to: www.handsonnetwork.org
 

November 15 - 21, 2015

Service Enterprise Initiative

The Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) is a national initiative led by Points of Light that started as a partnership between CaliforniaVolunteers and Reimagining Service. The Service Enterprise Initiative serves to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits to fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills to address community needs. Through a comprehensive research-based assessment, training, consulting and certification model, selected nonprofits are equipped with the tools and technical assistance necessary to support nonprofit Service Enterprise transformations. Participating organizations have access to:

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A thorough research-based assessment of existing organizational volunteer engagement practices called the Service Enterprise Diagnostic (SED).

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Up to 16 hours of training to assist in reimagining the ways in which the organization engages volunteers.

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Up to 10 hours of individualized coaching to address unique organizational opportunities and challenges.

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National certification signifying the organization’s commitment to and proficiency in appropriately leveraging the time and skills of volunteers to meet the social mission of the organization.

For more information, go to: www.pointsoflight.org
 

November 8 - 14, 2015

Nonprofit CEO Transitions Resource Center

Leadership can be tricky and require that many people in the organization work together effectively. The board, executive team, and the departing CEO need to manage the exit process. At the same time, the search committee needs to find an internal candtransitions idate who’s ready to step up or begin to look for a qualified external candidate. Through it all, the organization should experience as little upheaval as possible, so it can continue to deliver on its mission. The articles in Bridgespan’s CEO Transition Resource Center can help your organization successfully survive and thrive during a leadership transition. Go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

October 25 - November 7, 2015

Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement

Evolving economic, political and social trends continue to reshape how associations and professional societies approach membership strategies. The fundamental concept of membership has changed with the onslaught of digital – everything. Limitless interconnectivity of social communities, educational hubs and competitive intelligence challenges executives to define new strategies that drive impact and long-term value. Today’s corporate and individual members view their participation with associations through a very different lens than when they had relatively few go-to sources for information and knowledge-sharing. In a knowledge economy, it’s about having just-in-time sources that help members drive business and professional outcomes. And to really value the information, they must be actively engaged. This is the new norm. The newly released e-book “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement”, a collaborative research effort published by icimo LLC, Vertical Leap Consulting and Potomac Core Consulting, provides a definitive strategic member engagement framework and outlines 9 core operating principals for trade associations and professional societies to follow for optimal performance. To download the publication, go to: icimo.com
 

October 18 - 24, 2015

Harnessing Collaborative Technologies

Produced by the Monitor Institute and the Foundation Center, The Harnessing Collaborative Technologies website helps readers make sense of the dizzying array of technologies that are now available to help those engaged in both low- and high-intensity collaborations by parsing different collaborative needs. Though the tool was designed for funders, other nonprofit leaders will find it very useful. How can new tools help you learn and get smarter about the issues you care about? How can the technologies help you find and connect with potential partners? How can they help you transact business together? Which technologies can help you assess collective progress and measure outcomes? Harnessing Collaborative Technologies has identified seven distinct collaborative needs. Each need has its own inherent challenges that can be aided through use of technology tools. The website encourages leaders to start with these collaborative needs rather than with the technologies themselves, to ensure that solutions fit the wants, requirements, and limitations of users. To access Harnessing Collaborative Technologies - the website and the full report - go to: collaboration.grantcraft.org
 

October 11 - 17, 2015

Growth in Giving Measurement (GiG) Tools

In collaboration with PSI/Adventist, the FEP has developed the downloadable Excel-based FEP Fundraising Fitness Test that allows nonprofits to measure and evaluate their fundraising programs against a set of over 100 performance indicators by five donor giving levels. In addition, the seven GiG Reports in the downloadable Excel-based FEP Growth-in-Giving (GiG) Reports template (revised and simplified) provide concise, yet informative pictures of fundraising gains and losses-growth in giving and attrition – in a simple, reader-friendly format that the executive staff and board members can understand. All the FEP Fundraising Fitness Test reports and GiG Reports are growth-oriented fundraising tools for tracking growth in giving by various performance indicators, gift ranges and gain(loss) categories. GiG reports can show performance for the fundraising program overall, as well as for each fundraising activity, such as direct mail and major gifts. Based on these reports, fundraising managers can recommend detail-level strategies by gain/loss category for each fundraising activity. For more information, and to download the tools, go to: afpfep.org
 

October 4 - 10, 2015

Growing Network Impact: How Nonprofit Networks are Raising the Bar on Results

YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity. What these household names have in common is that they all work through a network structure, with multiple affiliates across the country striving for significant impact in the communities in which they operate. For decades, the primary pressure facing networks was to build a bigger footprint—be in more places, serve more people. Now, that pressure is being equaled by another: to get better. Networks, with multiple sites often operating similar programs, are increasingly expected to provide donors and supporters with a higher level of evidence that their work is effective and delivered consistently across the board. While such an “outcomes” orientation isn’t new, its effect on the sector has been magnified, in part because of the difficult economy. Bridgespan has seen several networks take promising steps to deliver measurably better results in achieving their missions. At these organizations, staff members from the central office are working collaboratively with affiliate leaders to improve the way in which their network’s high-level strategy translates into action across the entire organization. They’re figuring out where their best work is being done, finding ways to become more effective, and learning how to ensure that all affiliates benefit from the experiences and know-how of their peers. This resource focuses primarily on two kinds of networks—federated and associated networks. Both are collections of independent 501(c)(3)s, whose affiliates focus on similar activities and services. But whereas federated networks (such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or the Boys and Girls Clubs of America) offer mostly standardized program models, associated networks (such as the Land Trust Alliance or Public Education Network) allow for a more varied set of program models. To download the publication, go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

September 27 - October 3, 2015

Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook: Leveraging Your Dollars

Alliance for Justice’s new Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook has been developed to provide the information needed for foundations interested in confidently supporting advocacy. This publication provides information on 11 benefits and conversation-starters about philanthropic advocacy and lobbying.  Specifically, it answers questions about legal rules and provides concrete examples, templates, resources, and tips. The goal is to help foundations and their grantee partners understand how advocacy and lobbying leverages their grant dollars, strengthens their missions, and helps them shape positive policy change to benefit communities. To download the guide, go to: bolderadvocacy.org
 

September 20 - 26, 2015

Building a Successful Advocacy Effort

All nonprofits have a vital role to play in strengthening democracy, advancing freedom of expression, and adding richness and diversity to community life. Throughout our history, Americans have turned to nonprofit organizations to provide a strong, collective voice to inform and influence public policy. Advocacy is a broad term covering a range of activities that seek to bring about systemic social change. One form of advocacy is lobbying – attempts to influence specific legislation through direct or grassroots communications with legislators or their staff – but advocacy also includes executive branch activities, issue organizing, and nonpartisan voter engagement. Learn about the components of Building a Successful Advocacy Effort in a five-part webinar series designed by Independent Sector, in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation. The webinars examine measuring the effectiveness of advocacy strategies, building internal capacity, adapting to changes in the political climate, creating effective coalitions, and using communications to enhance advocacy efforts.  To access the webinars and more excellent advocacy resources, go to: www.independentsector.org. Free registration required.
 

September 13 - 19, 2015

Nonprofit Leadership Development Toolkit

Bridgespan’s Leadership Development Toolkit, and the leadership development guide, videos, and tools within it, are designed to share stories, lessons, and immediately actionable next steps so that you can effectively work with your senior leadership team to develop the next generation of leaders for your organization. To access the Toolkit, go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

September 6 - 12, 2015

Virtual CAP Nonprofit Resources

Virtual CAP provides an in-depth look at innovative programs and projects developed by Community Action Agencies around the United States. The Resource Library holds hundreds of free tools ranging from sample board of directors documents to successfully operated program models, which can be adapted for your agency. Programs can be researched by state, category or keyword. Each contains a summary description, as well as useful links to download materials and to related websites. To access the extensive resource library, go to: www.virtualcap.org
 

August 30 - September 5, 2015

Systems Thinking Resources

Linda Booth Sweeney, a systems educator and writer, has developed a website that offers a number of excellent resources on systems thinking and its application to organizational and community problem solving. Linda translates the concepts of complex systems theory into accessible materials and seminars for innovation in organizations, schools and communities. She is also the author of several books and numerous articles. Go to: lindaboothsweeney.net
 

August 16 - 29, 2015

Top 10 Tips for Running a Good Nonprofit Hiring Process

Any hiring process takes thoughtful planning. But for nonprofit organizations, which often face time and money constraints, and whose staff are highly driven by passion and commitment to a cause, the planning process takes on new meaning. It becomes even more important in this type of environment to ensure that the hiring process is done efficiently, and reaps the best candidates for the senior roles that nonprofits seek to fill. To explore how to run a good process, The Bridgespan Group interviewed Tom Friel, the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. and a senior advisor to The Bridgespan Group. In this article, he shares his top 10 tips on running an effective hiring process. Go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

August 9 - 15, 2015

Pro Bono Readiness Roadmap

The Nonprofit Collaborative, consisting of Points of Light, the Taproot Foundation, and Common Impact, was initially convened by Capital One in February 2011. The Collaborative came together to identify, organize and share resources that will help the nonprofit sector be ready to engage in and benefit from pro bono professional services. By bringing these three organizations together, the hope is to identify and assess existing pro bono readiness support, understand areas of additional need, and encourage efficiency by reducing redundancy. As a response to the initial convening, over the past year the Collaborative identified the strategic value in building out a Pro Bono Readiness Roadmap to index the existing resources and services that support nonprofits in navigating how to become ready to engage in pro bono consulting services. The Roadmap will allow nonprofits nationwide easy, online access to navigate resources from Common Impact, Points of Light, and Taproot Foundation, among others, to help them prepare for pro bono services. For more information, go to: readinessroadmap.org
 

August 2 - 8, 2015

Calculating the Economic Impact of Volunteers

How can a realistic economic value be put on volunteer time? By putting a value in what volunteers do at the task level. The Economic Impact of Volunteers Calculator created by the Points of Light Foundation makes this possible. It estimates the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on what the person does, the value of specific tasks according to market conditions as reported by the US Department of Labor. Organizations can use the Calculator to determine the value of the time their volunteers give doing a wide variety of volunteer jobs. To use the calculator, search for the job description using the drop-down menu box. Then enter the number of hours given by all volunteers performing that particular task. Repeat this task until all volunteer positions have been entered. The system automatically calculates the totals for each job category and for the total across all volunteer jobs. Go to:  www.handsonnetwork.org
 

July 26 - August 1, 2015

Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice

The Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice outlines 33 principles of sound practice for charitable organizations and foundations related to legal compliance and public disclosure, effective governance, financial oversight, and responsible fundraising. The Principles should be considered by every charitable organization as a guide for strengthening its effectiveness and accountability. The Principles were developed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector in 2007 and updated in 2015 to reflect new circumstances in which the charitable sector functions, and new relationships within and between the sectors. To download a PDF summary of the 33 principles, go to: www.independentsector.org
 

July 19 - 25, 2015

Guide for Board Members and Election-Year Activities

501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from supporting or opposing candidates for public office (“campaign intervention”). This prohibition, however, does not apply to the activities of 501(c)(3) board members when they are acting in their individual capacity. Bolder Advocacy has prepared a one page fact sheet that can help an organization and its board members avoid having personal activities attributed to the organization. To download the fact sheet, go to: bolderadvocacy.org
 

July 12 - 18, 2015

Take Root: Volunteer Management Guidebook

Hands On Network has developed this guidebook to help volunteer service programs explore the basics of volunteer management. It is meant to be a user-friendly resource for developing volunteer recruitment, retention, and recognition strategies and methods of offering projects for diverse audiences. This guide does not prescribe how your programs should be structured;  it does, however, provide resources you can adapt to meet your local program needs. The goal of this guidebook is to provide information that will help your program take root, leverage volunteers, and grow. To that end, the guidebook contains action-oriented sections to help you recruit, schedule, retain, and recognize volunteers. In addition, each chapter includes an activities and templates section with tools to assist you in applying the guidebook content to your program. To download a copy of the guide, go to: www.handsonnetwork.org. You can also access free eLearning courses and other valuable resources at www.nationalservice.gov
 

June 28 -  July 11, 2015

Ten Nonprofit Funding Models

While the “for profit” world has many universally known business models, the nonprofit arena is lacking common plans.  In this study, Landes-Foster, Kim and Christiansen take a look at developing a series of ten funding models based on research of 144 large nonprofits with significant growth year over year.  The intent was not to help choose which model each organization should use, but to inform and educate. They discuss the important distinction between business models and funding models and posit that while business models are generally developed and understood, especially by the for-profit sector, funding models have never been clearly articulated. By using these three parameters: source of funds, type of decision makers and the motivation of the decision makers, the authors came up with ten funding models grouped into categories defined by dominant type of funder (single funder, many individuals, government, corporations and a mix).  They include a few questions with each model to help determine which is the best fit for an organization. Go to: www.ssireview.org

June 21 - 27, 2015

Outcome Indicators Project

The Outcome Indicators Project is a joint project of the Urban Institute and The Center for What Works. The Outcome Indicators Project provides a framework for tracking nonprofit performance. It suggests candidate outcomes and outcome indicators to assist nonprofit organizations that seek to develop new outcome monitoring processes or improve their existing systems. This website contains three primary elements:

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Building a Common Outcome Framework to Measure Nonprofit Performance. This paper describes the rationale for the project and the project components. It also suggests sources for the outcomes and outcome indicators included in the project to date.

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Outcomes and Performance Indicators for 14 Specific Program Areas. These reports apply the Outcome Framework to 14 program areas. For each program, there is a sample mission statement, an outcome sequence chart, a table of candidate program-specific outcomes, and data collection strategies with suggested data sources for each outcome indicator. For convenience, the outcome sequence chart and table of candidate program-specific outcomes are available for download. The sequence chart is an MS Word document and the table is an MS Excel spreadsheet. The program reports are available as PDFs.

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Nonprofit Taxonomy of Outcomes. This report provides basic, generic outcomes and performance indicators that can be used for any program.

For more information, go to: www.urban.org
 

June 14 - 20, 2015

Engaging Millennial Employees in Volunteer Service

According to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report by the Case Foundation, there is a clearer picture of how Millennials' desire to “do good” is reflected in their employment – from the companies they consider in an initial job search to the effect an employer’s cause work has on overall job satisfaction. The idea isn’t to be recognized for doing good; rather, the point is to be able to do good and make a tangible difference through the workplace. As time progresses and Millennials move from being a small, unique segment of the overall workforce to the predominant source of employees, understanding this picture will be crucial to a company’s ability to recruit and retain the best people. After looking through the data and findings from the survey, companies can benefit from doing the following actions:

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Initiate new employees into cause work. As interest in service projects decline and interest in giving increases over time, companies should focus on incorporating volunteerism and cause work through the onboarding or orientation process. Provide opportunities for employees to volunteer with groups and complete cause work with a team during their first days at the company.

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Embrace a three-pronged approach to company cause work. Focus on providing these three specific types of service opportunities: company-wide days of volunteering, department/team service projects and opportunities to use individual skills or interests to benefit a cause.

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Offer a range of cause work actions. Allow Millennial employees to perform both small actions from their desks, as well as larger projects with others, possibly off site.

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Tell stories and demonstrate the impact. Don’t let employees assume the differences their volunteering and giving made; show them who benefited from these actions and highlight individuals who made a difference.

To download the report, go to: casefoundation.org
 

June 7 - 13, 2015

What Makes an Effective Coalition

As part of its grantmaking, the California Endowment supports public policy and advocacy work by its grantees which include coalitions that can leverage the resources of disparate groups that come together around a common goal in order to create critical momentum on issues that might otherwise be overlooked in a complex policy environment. Recognizing the importance of coalitions in its work, the California Endowment asked TCC Group to review the literature to identify best practices with regard to effective advocacy coalitions. This review also draws upon TCC’s own knowledge and experience This publication explores the evidence base for what makes an effective coalition with the assumption that understanding what makes them effective and how to assess and improve them will increase their effectiveness as an advocacy tool and reduce potential frustrations associated with operating in coalition. To explore how to increase the value of coalitions, this paper examines the questions: “What are coalitions?” and “How can we monitor their progress and effectiveness?” Part I of the paper presents a basic framework for defining and understanding coalitions. Part II uses the lens of assessment/evaluation to explore what we know about successful coalition members, coalition capacity, and coalition outcomes/impact. The publication draws on a broad multi-disciplinary review of academic literature, both theory and applied research, regarding the “conclusive” components of effective coalitions, described in a straight-forward manner and punctuated with examples. To download a copy, go to: www.mcf.org
 

May 31 - June 6, 2015

52 Free Development Opportunities for Nonprofit Staff

Bridgespan Group Partner Kirk Kramer led a session on organizational effectiveness at Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative (NEI) leadership program in October 2010. One of the topics discussed was nonprofit staff skill development, which surfaced many creative ways NEI participants offer on-the-job development opportunities to their employees for free. Provided below is a list, organized by skill type, of ways nonprofit leaders can engage promising staff members in critical skill development areas without sending them to formal external trainings. Use these suggestions as a checklist, identify which opportunities best fit with your staffs’ development (or your personal development) needs, and put a few into action! Go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

May 24 - 30, 2015

ACT NOW! 18 Steps to Advocacy Readiness

Because so many have requested help with building specific advocacy skills and practices, Bolder Advocacy Initiative of Alliance for Justice has created "ACT NOW! 18 Steps to Advocacy Readiness." This new five-part series of articles about advocacy readiness and the funder role in building advocacy capacity includes case studies and examples related to specific capacity-building steps, expert advice, funder perspectives, and a funder checklist. Each article also links to additional resource materials aimed at helping nonprofits and foundations alike accomplish long-term public policy advocacy goals. To date, Bolder Advocacy has covered 9 of the 18 advocacy capacity-building steps in three articles: ACT NOW! Three to Get Ready: Planning and Preparing for Advocacy; ACT NOW! Building Influence with Information and Collaborative People Power ; and ACT NOW! Making the Case: Messaging, Media, and Influencing. The remaining two articles – the first on working with legislative, administrative, and other advocacy systems, and the second on organizational operations and fiscal sustainability – will be out soon. Upon completion of the series, all five articles will be compiled in an e-book designed to accompany the Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT), and it will be available at no cost. Go to: bolderadvocacy.org
 

May 17 - 23, 2015

YWCA Racial Justice Resources

YWCA Madison (WI) has compiled an excellent collection of resources to support the struggle for racial justice in American communities throughout the country. The resources are offered by YWCA Madison to help create change:

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individually—through personal learning, education & action

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interpersonally—through discussion & actions with family, friends, and groups to whom you are connected

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institutionally—through working towards systemic change in your community and/or organization

Go to: www.ywcamadison.org
 

May 10 - 16, 2015

Writing Effective Job Descriptions

A clear and comprehensive job description is key to attracting candidates who are well suited to the position you're trying to fill. Before embarking on the process of writing a job description, however, you'll need to have developed a clear sense of the role in question, its responsibilities, and the qualifications that an ideal candidate would possess. Once your team has clarified these dimensions, you can begin to craft the job description. Besides offering tips for writing the job description, this article from Bridgespan provides an Organization Overview Sample to start your descriptions off on the right foot, an Email Job Announcement Sample to help you spread the word of your open position, and several Nonprofit Job Description Samples for a number of senior management roles. Go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

May 3 - 9, 2015

Nine Tips to Improve Nonprofit Governance

A new survey from the Stanford Graduate School of Business supports a long-held hypothesis that many nonprofit boards are ineffective. The survey of 924 nonprofit directors revealed a significant minority are unsure of their organization’s mission and strategy, dissatisfied with their ability to evaluate their organization’s performance, and uncertain whether their fellow board members have the experience to do their jobs well. The survey found:

bullet 27% of board members don’t think their colleagues have a strong understanding of the mission and strategy.
bullet 65% don’t think their board is very experienced, and about half don’t think their colleagues are very engaged in their work.
bullet 46% have little or no confidence that the performance data they review accurately measures the success of their organizations.
bullet 32% don’t think their board can evaluate their organization’s performance.
bullet 42% don’t have an audit committee, and many rely on monthly bank statements to monitor financial performance.
bullet 57% don’t benchmark their performance against peer groups.
bullet 39% don’t establish performance targets for their executive directors.
bullet Two-thirds don’t have a succession plan in place, and 78% couldn’t immediately name a successor if the current executive were to leave suddenly.

The researchers offer nine recommendations to improve nonprofit board governance:

  1. Ensure the mission is focused, and its skills and resources are well-aligned.

  2. Ensure the mission is understood by the board, management, and key stakeholders.

  3. Establish explicit goals and strategies tied to achieving that mission.

  4. Develop rigorous performance metrics that reflect those goals.

  5. Hold the executive director accountable for meeting the performance metrics, and evaluate his or her performance with an objective process.

  6. Compose your board with individuals with skills, resources, diversity, and dedication to address the needs of the nonprofit.

  7. Define explicitly the roles and responsibility of board members.

  8. Establish well-defined board, committee, and ad hoc processes that reflect the nonprofit’s needs and ensure optimal handling of key decisions.

  9. Regularly review and assess each board member and the board’s overall performance.

 For more information, go to: www.businesswire.com
 

April 26 - May 2, 2015

Nonprofit CEO Transitions Resource Center

Leadership transitions can be tricky and require that many people in the organization work together effectively. The board, executive team, and the departing CEO need to manage the exit process. At the same time, the search committee needs to find an internal candidate who’s ready to step up or begin to look for a qualified external candidate. Through it all, the organization should experience as little upheaval as possible, so it can continue to deliver on its mission. The articles in Bridgespan’s CEO Transition Resource Center can help nonprofits successfully survive - and even thrive during - a leadership transition. Go to: www.bridgespan.org
 

April 19 - 25, 2015

Leadership and Race: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice

A new report released by the Leadership Learning Community and other thought leaders in the leadership development and racial equity fields, discuss how current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. This is the first report to analyze the link between major philanthropy investments in the racial equity and leadership development fields. The report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that a large number of leadership programs associate leadership with equal opportunity and individualism. This thinking does not recognize that current systems (i.e. policy, culture and institutional practices) can cause racial identity to limit one’s access to life opportunities. It also focuses too narrowly on changing the behavior of individual leaders. Instead, leadership programs should: Make their programs more accessible for people of color;  Help participants understand how race limits access to opportunities – in other words, the impact of structural racism ; and, Promote collective leadership. This approach will help participants work together to tackle the systems that maintain racial inequalities. This report is the first in a series of publications, the Leadership for a New Era Series, launched by the Leadership Learning Community in 2009 to promote inclusive, networked and collective leadership approaches. To download this free report, go to: leadershiplearning.org
 

April 12 - 18, 2015

Nonprofit Literature Blog

This blog periodically spotlights key books, pamphlets, articles, and other resources that have been acquired at the Foundation Center Libraries. The blog has links to a number of other resources. literature.foundationcenter.org
 

April 5 - 11, 2015

Evaluation Checklists

The Evaluation Checklists website’s purpose is to improve the quality and consistency of evaluations and enhance evaluation capacity through the promotion and use of high-quality checklists targeted to specific evaluation tasks and approaches. The website is a service of The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. Go to: www.wmich.edu
 

March 29 - April 4, 2015

Talent Matters Blog Series

Talent Matters is a blog series hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The series explores how nonprofit leaders have achieved real-world results through an emphasis on talent. Go to: www.ssireview.org
 

March 22 - 28, 2015

The New Volunteer Workforce

By David Eisner, Robert T. Grimm Jr., Shannon Maynard, & Susannah Washburn. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers, but most CEOs do a poor job of managing them. As a result, more than one-third of those who volunteer one year do not donate their time the next year—at any nonprofit. That adds up to an estimated $38 billion in lost labor. To remedy this situation, nonprofit leaders must develop a more strategic approach to managing this overlooked and undervalued talent pool. The good news is that new waves of retiring baby boomers and energetic young people are ready to fill the gap. Go to: www.ssireview.org
 

March 8 - 21, 2015

Founder Transitions: Creating Good Endings and New Beginnings: A Guide for Executive Directors and Boards

This guide examines the unique challenges presented by transitions involving founders or long-term executives. It provides clear advice for executives and their boards in confronting the complex issues these transitions present. www.aecf.org
 

March 1 - 7, 2015

Board Placement: A Candidate’s Checklist

It can be very flattering to be invited, whether the recruitment occurred through a formal process or because someone you know is already on the Board and thought you might like to join them. Often, the knee-jerk reaction is to accept the position. However, once you have been approached about joining a Board of Directors in the Nonprofit Sector it is worth taking a step back and considering the role you may be taking on. The following is a checklist developed by BoardStar of some of the questions to ask yourself and the organization you may be joining. There are no right and wrong answers, here, and there is no magic scoring mechanism that will tell you whether to accept the role of Board Director or not. Instead, this is intended as a process to help you ask questions, and make a considered choice. To download the checklist, go to: www.boardstar.org
 

February 15 - 28, 2015

Succession Planning for Nonprofit Leadership: Steps to Ensuring Your Organization’s Future

This resource, published by Terri Theisen, Theisen Consulting, LLC and the Healthcare Georgia Foundation provides a guide to developing and implementing succession plans, and outlines organizational processes to support those plans, that will help to assure that your organization has the leadership capacity to achieve your mission. The publication has two sections. The first section contains five steps for successful succession planning for the Board of Directors, and provides tools and information for a nonprofit organization to assure that it is doing all it can do to attract and retain the talent that it needs for effective governance and for assistance in the achievement of its mission. The second section of this publication provides five steps in succession planning for the chief executive position in the organization. Similar to the first section, tools and information have been provided to assist an organization in preparing for and making an orderly transition for the chief executive position. Go to: www.healthcaregeorgia.org
 

February 1 - 14, 2015

Sample Bylaws

GrantSpace, a service of the Foundation Center, offers information and resources that are specifically designed to meet the needs of nonprofits worldwide in need of know-how for securing funding and operating effective organizations. GrantSpace has complied an extensive collection of resources on the subject of nonprofit bylaws including sample documents. Go to: grantspace.org/tools/Knowledge-Base/Nonprofit-Management/Boards/nonprofit-bylaws.  In particular, see sample forms from Formsswift at: formswift.com/free-non-profit-documents
 

January 25 - 31, 2015

Sector Source

Sector Source, a project of Imagine Canada, aims to provide a single location for charities and nonprofits to access selected professional material about managing, developing and overseeing their organizations. Available resources range from practical tools that support organizational effectiveness to current research about the charitable and nonprofit sector. Sector Source also acts as a knowledge support system and tool for the Imagine Canada Standards Program. The Standards are freely available to all organizations and this site provides direct links to supporting documentation for items as is available. Click on the "Managing An Organization" tab for links to an extensive collection of tools and resources. While the focus is on Canadian nonprofits, nonprofits everywhere will find Sector Source to be very useful. Go to: sectorsource.ca
 

January 18 - 24, 2015

Introduction to Nonprofit Strategic Restructuring: A Three-Part Video Series

Mission + Strategy Consulting specializes in nonprofit strategic restructuring. This includes executing feasibility analyses, searching for organizational partners and matchmaking, facilitating the agreements, implementing the plan, and finally, evaluating the results. The organization has produced a three-part video series on the subject. The videos provide an excellent introduction to this important subject and are available for viewing at no charge. Go to: www.missionplusstrategy.com
 

January 11 - 17, 2015

The Board Chair-Executive Director Relationship: Dynamics that Create Value for Nonprofit

"The Board Chair-Executive Director Relationship: Dynamics that Create Value for Nonprofit Organizations" by Mary Hiland is one of the best articles available on this critical topic. In the nonprofit governance literature, consultants and practitioners prescribe the roles and responsibilities of board chairs and how those roles and responsibilities are shared with, or distinct from, those of the executive. These typically one size fits all job descriptions fail to consider the incredible diversity of the sector. In addition, beyond to do lists and role clarifications, there is very little that helps board chairs or executives anticipate and effectively manage the complexities of their relationship. To learn more about the dynamics and influence of board chair-executive director relationships, a study was conducted with board chairs and executives from 16 nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Based on study participants’ descriptions, five types of inter-personal dynamics characterized the board chair-executive relationships: facts-sharing, ideas-sharing, knowledge-sharing, feelings-sharing and give-and-take. To download the article, go to: www.wwcc.edu
 

Resource of the Week:  January 4 - 10, 2015

Retaining and Developing High Potential Talent: A Toolkit

Among the best strategies for developing diversity in human services is to retain and develop talent within your organization. The National Human Services Assembly's toolkit, Retaining and Developing High Potential Talent, focuses on onboarding, employee mentoring and succession planning as key levers for advancing diversity and inclusion through talent management. The guide offers a quick and accessible overview of key elements for building a successful Diversity & Inclusion approach to your organization’s talent management, followed by a closer look at how to build effective onboarding, mentoring and succession planning programs. To download the guide, go to:  nationalassembly.org
 

December 28, 2014 - January 3, 2015

Hurwit & Associates' Nonprofit Law Resource Library

Hurwit & Associates' Nonprofit Law Resource Library contains information on a number of subjects pertaining to nonprofit law including nonprofit start-up issues, state filing and compliance, governance and board questions, mergers and affiliations, nonprofit entrepreneurship, charitable contributions and more. Go to: www.hurwitassociates.com
 

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