Are Donors Solving Problems—or Creating New Ones

from  “Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age”,  by Elizabeth Kolbert ,  New Yorker, 8-27-18 Skeptics fear philanthropies have gained undue influence on public policy. In the spring of 1889, Andrew Carnegie published an essay on money. If possession confers knowledge, then there wa s no greater expert on the subject: Carnegie was possibly the richest American who ever lived. The essay, which was printed first in the North American Review, then in Britain’s Pall Mall Gazette, and later reissued in a pamphlet, became known as “The Gospel of Wealth.” The “Gospel” opened with a discussion of inequity. This was the Gilded Age, and, […]

Interim Executive Management: Seven Benefits to Consider

from an article in The Bridgespan Group newsletter Summary A nonprofit that loses a top leader faces an anxiety-producing situation even under the best circumstances. But losing an executive without a succession plan in place can be particularly agonizing. Nonprofits are increasingly engaging professional transition consultants as interim executives, which can help them fill the short-term gap to give them time to consider the organization’s longer-term future. A nonprofit organization that loses a top leader (e.g., chief staff officer, CEO, executive director, executive vice president) faces an anxiety-producing situation even under the best circumstances. But losing an executive without a […]

YEAR UP Nonprofit Demonstrates National Success in Job Training

Economically disadvantaged young adults trained in a Year Up program, earn 53 percent more than economically disadvantaged young adults who did not participate in the program. The findings said Year Up increased total hours worked by three to four per week and graduates earned nearly $4 more per hour than members of a control group that were part of the study. In 1982 the Job Training Partnership Act budgeted about $3 billion in annual funding for the program.  Since then with repeals and replacements of the law (1982 federal Job Training Partnership Act to 1998 Workforce Investment Act of 1998 […]

Lessons from the Merger Culture War

by N. Paul TonThat, Associate, Interim Executive Solutions A Vision/Mission statement for an organization undergoing transition and/or merger is that most exquisite and powerful of commodities. If it is focused, precise and singularly inspiring, it will almost define entirely alone the new or changing organization’s program and governance. On the other hand the mission statement is bound to fail if the focus is overly broad, the standard of services is undefined, and the definition of success is left unspecified. An Uncomfortable Truth Organizational merger is first a contest of power, will and influence before it is an exercise about increasing […]

Leadership Transition in Nonprofits Presents Challenges

By Stan Burrows In March 2017 Third Sector New England published an important paper for the Boston Foundation entitled Opportunity in Change: Preparing Boston for Leader Transitions and New Models of Nonprofit Leadership. The paper was released at a conference that was videotaped that you can review. This effort was a part of the Boston Foundation’s ongoing program on Understanding Boston developed through partnerships with government and local institutions. The focus of this effort, the fifth in the series, is on preparing nonprofits for the long awaited and much discussed retirement of the baby boom generation and the passing of […]

How to Prepare a Budget for Your Nonprofit Organization

Developing a sound budget that provides the Board and Executive team the key information for Planned (based on the budget prepared at the beginning of the year) vs. Actual (what is actually spent per category on a weekly or monthly basis) is critical to the success of a nonprofit.  Grantspace, a service of Foundation Center, provides an excellent collection of information and tools for nonprofit budgeting. Project Budget All budgets have two common elements: your estimate of the true costs of the project and your anticipated income to meet those costs. Your expenses will be direct costs—any personnel and non-personnel […]

Exploring Success Strategies for Nonprofit Mergers

The number of US nonprofits actually grew 7 percent between 2007 and 2011 to 1.58 million, an average of nearly 40 nonprofits per US zip code.   But the rate of mergers in the nonprofit sector has remained flat.  This is unfortunate.  Mergers can make good sense for many nonprofit organizations.  But there are challenges on the way to achieving success.  Below is a checklist from some of the best of the “nonprofit merger” literature to help Boards and Executives get started thinking about this opportunity. Nonprofit Mergers Most Likely to Succeed Done for strategic reasons Combining separate competencies Joining contiguous or related […]

IES Helps MetroWest & CAN-DO Nonprofits to Merge

Nonprofits Announce Merge to Better Meet Affordable Housing Needs Long-time Newton-based nonprofit Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Development Organization (CAN-DO) announces its affiliation, as of January 1, with Metro West Collaborative Development, Inc., also of Newton. Both organizations say that their affiliation move will help grow and support affordable housing in the area.  On February 1 Metro West will take over management of the CAN-DO properties through its offices on Chapel Street in Newton. “CAN-DO was attracted to becoming an organization with a more diverse collection of income sources and the opportunity of working in numerous towns said Susan Davidoff, […]

Dashboard Data Moves Organization Forward

By Chris Moore A nonprofit without a recently updated business plan & supporting intelligence dashboard is like a boat without its engine and navigation tools.  Does your nonprofit have a business plan?  Does it have a Business Intelligence Dashboard in place so that you and your management team are watching both leading and lagging indicators of success, and in real time?  If you answered no to either question, then your business operations may not be running at peak efficiency and effectiveness.  Our services help nonprofits improve operational outcomes so that they in turn can focus on their mission without distraction […]

A Nonprofit Turnaround Story

Christian W. Dame by Christian Dame The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans  (NESHV) faced a crisis. Financial problems had caused the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to suspend state funding and the Board of Directors asked the CEO to resign. The Board then asked NPT’s principal Chris Dame to step in and take charge. Chris assumed day-to-day operational control of a $6.1 million budget and 125 person staff serving 350 homeless clients daily, plus operating 45 apartments and a job training program for 600 other veterans in a 14 story building in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. Meeting the next payroll was problematic. […]

Cultivating Successful Executive Directors

by Alison Buckser, MP; Public Health Solutions “Dream jobs” can be a lot of trouble. Imagine that, after years of doing excellent program work for a nonprofit you deeply respect, the board gives you the executive director (ED) position. You are finally able to lead your organization in truly fulfilling its mission. But now it’s two years later, and you are miserable and exhausted.  The board is angry, the staff is demoralized, and the finances are a mess. You are ready to quit and vow to never serve as an ED for anyone ever again.”  This case study illustrates some […]

Capacity Building Tips for a Stronger Nonprofit

Christian W. Dame by Christian Dame A Crowded Field The National Center for Charitable Statistics’ website reports that Massachusetts has 19,037 nonprofits who reported financial information to the IRS in 2008, 34.4 nonprofit organizations for every 10,000 residents. Rhode Island, surprisingly, had almost a quarter as many – 4349 or 47.4 per 10,000 population. Neither of these rates compares favorably with large conservative states like Texas (20.3) or even other, larger liberal states like New York (28.4) or California (22.6). New England seems to grow nonprofits almost twice as fast as everybody else.If there are too many organizations chasing too […]

Unhappy Endings

According to Daring to Lead 2006: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership, a recent report from CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and the Meyer Foundation, an executive is forced out or fired in an estimated 34 percent of nonprofit transitions. Dismissing an executive, for whatever reason, can be particularly challenging for boards and for the transition process more broadly. An outright confrontation with a CEO who is underperforming is not appealing. Many board members avoid the situation or quietly resign. In addition to creating the threat of a wrongful termination lawsuit, firing an executive can lead to a sense of crisis, […]