I heard it again on my last trip out — a proposal to expand an organization’s mission packaged as a development strategy. “By launching X, we’ll open the organization to a whole new group of donors,” the executive director said with more conviction than evidence. Never mind that the organization’s strategic plan included nary a [...]
Similar to Leo Tolstoy’s families, healthy organizations are all alike. Or so I’ve noticed. Mission, scope, size, or sector don’t much matter. Nonprofits that are performing well share characteristics the ailing crowd lacks.
When looking for proof texts in support of their craft, fundraisers of faith know they can depend on the Apostle Paul. The Old Testament prophets, along with the Psalmist(s), are other mother lodes of useful passages. And of course there’s Jesus. He had a lot to say on the subjects of money, possessions, and our [...]
A few posts back I suggested that for fundraisers, who it is that’s on the mountain with you makes a world of difference. The annual climb to the top of giving pyramid is a grueling, lonely, and sometimes perilous trek. What a blessing to find a hiking companion willing to go the distance with you. [...]
Now and then, I return to a book that was influential to my thinking in years past. Although less revealing than journal entries, the highlighted sections, along with notes jotted in the margins, recall the issues dominating my thinking and my work at the time of the first reading. Frequently, there’s not much distance between [...]
If you ‘re the member of a ministry or other nonprofit board, chances are you know the frustration of a poorly run meeting. You’ve yawned through lengthy staff reports, incomprehensible financial updates, and endless rehashes of perennial crisis issues. But because you believe deeply in the mission of the organization you’ve been called to serve, [...]
A few posts back, I wrote about potential pitfalls in CEO evaluation, drawing upon advice I give to boards of theological schools. I stressed the importance of doing no harm – a caution that is reinforced in a recent issue of The Nonprofit Quarterly. Specifically, NQ takes on the ever popular, but potentially lethal 360° [...]
My recent involvement in three CEO searches (one as counsel and two as a member of the search committee) has given me a new appreciation for Flannery O’Connor’s lament about a good man [woman] being hard to find. It’s no small task for faith-based nonprofits — and especially those with modest budgets – to fill the seat at the top. For several years now, the average tenure of nonprofit [...]