Nonprofit Management

June 5, 2017

Cultures of….

Guru Peter Drucker commented that “organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast.” (Or it might have been lunch!)

Organizational culture is about the personality of the organization. The way things work. The unwritten rules and and … Check it out at Wikipedia. Read articles at www.hbr.org.

Within a good organizational culture, we want a culture of philanthropy. So what’s that? Visit the article on my website. Check out Advancing Philanthropy‘s entire issue devoted to philanthropic culture.

Okay. But what about other cultures? Culture of resiliency. Culture of performance. Culture of inclusion. Have you found any articles or resources about these elements of organizational culture? Please let me know. I’m going to do some writing, I think.

May 3, 2017

Times they are a changing? Or not really. Just back and forth.

Tom, Doris and I are subscribers to the Gamm Theatre. Saw “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley… Science fiction — but maybe not so much; just too damn real.  So very very very linked to Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together. Robots and the dark side of social media and the web and….

The Agitator alerted us all to “Your new fundraising word for the day,” ACTIGIVER. From Steve MacLaughlin, Blackbaud VP of Data and Analytics…”Giving in the age of outrage.”

The world is really fast these days. From slacktivist to activist to actigivers. But the fundamental human-ness isn’t different.

I am human, not an avatar. Engage my heart in whatever way I want to engage. I’m human. Behave accordingly.

Your NGO must be – at its core and in its activities – human. Watch out. The backlash has already started. Do you and your staff and your NGO recognize, acknowledge, understand, and do accordingly?

March 13, 2017

What kind of consultant do you want to hire?

What kind of consultant do you want to hire? Think about this!

What is a consultant?

What’s the role of a consultant?

Here’s what I think a consultant is (and does):

Change agent. Teacher. Personal counselor. Trusted advisor. Truth teller.

Brutal truth teller telling brutal truths. (Michael Campbell used the phrase “brutal truths”. I like it!)

Hey consultants, read this great book: The Trusted Advisor

Hey nonprofits, read this 2-part article about choosing a consultant: “Should you hire a fundraising consultant…” And check this out, too: “Tips for using fund development consultants.”

Are we consultants willing and able to take the risks to be this kind of consultant? Do we even want to be this kind of consultant?

February 1, 2017

Do you read 101fundraising?

You should. International crowdblog on fundraising.

Check out Matthew Sherrington’s “12 insights from the crystal ball: Get your fundraising ready for the future.” 

Share with your boss and your board.

I responded by saying that I particularly #6, #9, and #11. That was my feeling yesterday when I read the blog. Of course, I actually like them all.

But #6, #9, and #11 are particularly special to me. Because fundraising is not that icky thing shoved off into a corner… Fundraising is not a means to our organization’s so very important end. Fundraising – and the philanthropy it generates – is meaningful and special and essential in its own right. Fundraising – the resulting philanthropy – represent the donor’s aspirations. Your NGO is a means to fulfill that donor’s aspirations.

So read. Share. Think. And fix your organization!!

By the way, check out Monsieur Sherrington’s twitter feed… Sharing cool historical facts.

December 5, 2016

Building the best organizations

What don’t we know?

How do we recognize that there’s stuff we don’t know — and we don’t know that we don’t know?

How do we confront that we don’t even know that we don’t know stuff?

How do we build into an NGO the concept of regularly exploring / discovering what we don’t know?

And this can happen in every or any part of our work anywhere.

[A conversation I had with Michael Campbell at HFPG‘s consultant workshop that I delivered in early December.]

November 21, 2016

More ethics in fundraising

Visit the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy.

Read about Ian MacQuillin‘s  “foundational theory of normative ethics” for fundraising and fundraisers.

Visit Rogare, the think tank at the Centre, to learn more about the ethical theory to support the fundraising profession.

And read the Critical Thinking blog, too.

November 14, 2016

Yes. There are ethics in fundraising.

If you’re a board member, ask if your organization subscribes to a code of ethics in fundraising. Your board should talk about the ethical code and be familiar with the general content and areas of compliance. All your staff should know, too, that your organization follows such codes.

Your fundraising staff and board fund development committee could present an annual report on your organization’s compliance with the code. (And, of course, your board should adopt the fundraising code of ethics as a policy – just like your board should adopt the Donor Bill of Rights as a policy.)

Review this Code of Ethical Standards. The code includes things like: Public trust, transparent and conflicts of interest. Solicitation and stewardship. Treatment of confidential and proprietary information. Compensation, bonuses, and finders fees.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the AFP Code of Ethical Standards for Fundraising:

#14: Ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.

#16: Obtain explicit consent by donors before altering the conditions of financial transactions.

#21: Not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor…accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.

#22: Be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the..organization and are not based on a percentage of contributions.

Unethical performance harms all other NGOs and harms the nonprofit sector. Beware! Hold your own organization and its people accountable. And demand that other NGOs do the same. Call them out if need be.

October 31, 2016

Are you bored with CRQs?

I hope not. Because asking and talking and (sometimes but not always) deciding is the business of business. This is your work. And the work of your colleagues and boss and board and …

More CRQs…especially focused on boards and governance:

  1. How can we create a board environment that is hostile to apathy and the rejection of diverse opinions? (Cohort 15)
  2. How do we create a culture that allows us to question whether we’re doing governance or management at board meetings?
  3. To what degree – in what ways – might program and services be affected when a board lacks diversity? (Pleasance, Cohort 23)
  4. What are the red flags that the board needs to be aware of? (Cohort 20)
  5. How does an organization make sure that not only is the community represented in the organization’s deliberations – but that the community is actually heard? (Brenda Brown, Cohort 23)
  6. How can boards know what they don’t know? (Cohort 23)

These are the kinds of cage-rattling questions we ask in my classes at SMUMN. And these are the kinds of CRQs that we strive to begin answering. Join us. We have lots of fun and learns lots more.

October 24, 2016

More CRQs…those cage-rattling questions…

There is an infinite number of CRQs for any organization. Identifying, asking, talking, and learning together is what produces meaningful change. All this is the work of staff and board.

Is your organization using these CRQs?

  1. How do we bring people to consciousness about sensitive and potentially offensive topics? (Cohort 20)
  2. What is our role – as leaders – in the organization’s ecosystem? How can we make the greatest possible impact? (Cohort 17)
  3. How can we partner with others? (Cohort 17)
  4. What role does “experiencing life differently” play in the health and effectiveness of a corporation? (Cohort 23)

Thank you to so many cohorts at SMUMN for recognizing the value of CRQs and conversation.

October 17, 2016

Building strong organizations: Part 2

Make sure you review the over-arching theory in my blog of October 3. With the over-arching theory in mind, take a look at these cage-rattling questions (CRQs), useful for any organization.

Keep this in mind:

  • “Ask tough and cage-rattling questions…questions that are a product of a fair dose of curiosity, a sense of humility, the strength to challenge the status quo, and the willingness to share… including the willing to challenge the status quo, and the willingness to share…including the willingness to relinquish privilege, resources, and power.” (Kelly Hurd, Cohort 19.)

Some of my favorite CRQs:

  1. Why is there so little movement on asking, exploring, answering?
  2. Where (and why) is there resistance? Is it fear of questions, fear of change, fear that there will be no answers?
  3. What is the nature of communications that builds understanding? (Cohort 15)
  4. How do we incorporate noble failure to build an adaptive, effective organization? (Cohort 15)
  5. How do we create cultures of accountability?

Who are these cohorts? Students (and graduates) of the Masters Program in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Great thinking, engagement, and commitment.

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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