What Does Nonprofit Sustainability Look Like?

I often hear community leaders and elected officials pontificating about the importance of a “strong, sustainable nonprofit sector” as a way to enhance overall community health. They talk about the business and municipal communities partnering with the nonprofit sector to better address problems and bring a more holistic approach to the collective work.  Unfortunately, I […]

Five New Year’s Resolutions for the Nonprofit Leader

Happy 2023, friends in the nonprofit sector! If you’re anything like me…and pretty much everyone else on the planet…you’re working hard to step into the new year with intention. Whether you’ve resolved to lose a few pounds, or train for a marathon, or finally get your household budget together, please know that we’ve all got […]

Let Your Policies Be Your Guide

Hey there, friends in the nonprofit sector! Today we’re going to talk a bit about your nonprofit board’s role in policy making, and I’ve got a few tips to offer about policies that every nonprofit organization should have. But first, a quick story from the field: A good friend of mine is the executive director […]

A Gentle Reminder About Governance…

I’ve taken too long of a break from writing, friends! Life and business sure have a way of taking over.   I’m excited to be in the middle of launching a new education series for nonprofits with my friends over at the Academy for Grassroots Organizations. This new series will be called the Level Up Nonprofit Education Series. […]

Your Board Members Have Got to Go (eventually)…

I was talking to a friend the other day about his involvement with a local nonprofit organization. He proudly noted that he has been on this organization’s board of directors for over 20 years, and was taken aback when my jaw dropped and I exclaimed,  “WHY WOULD YOU EVER??” Once I recovered from my shock, […]

Anecdotes are Cute, but They Don’t Prove Success

I will never forget the first face-to-face meeting I had with a program officer at a major national grantmaking foundation. It was 2002 and I had flown to New York City with my boss for a three-day foundation meeting spree. I was brand new to the nonprofit sector and the greenest of green in terms […]

Leveraging Your Nonprofit’s Major Milestones for Fundraising

Most small and midsized nonprofit organizations run on shoestring budgets. Their primary fuel comes from the passion, care, and a sense of community service that seems innate in the people who start and work in nonprofit organizations. On a day-to-day basis, nonprofit leaders often wear so many hats that they sometimes forget to slow down […]

Donors Behaving Badly?

I’ve written before about the importance of avoiding mission creep and other alignment issues when seeking funding for your nonprofit. I know, it is certainly easy to fall into the “any funding is good funding” trap, especially in small and often under-resourced nonprofit organizations. But, as I’ve noted, the pursuit of grant funding can definitely […]

The Ever-Elusive Unrestricted Dollar

One of the biggest sources of stress and uncertainty in the nonprofit sector is ensuring sufficient funding to cover operational costs. Operational costs, or “overhead”, are all of the costs associated with keeping the doors open and the lights on in an organization: staff, equipment, supplies, rent, etc.  The vast majority of nonprofit funding is […]

Have You Checked Your Conflict of Interest Policy Lately?

Friends….Can we please talk about conflicts of interest for a few minutes? This won’t take long.  We’ve all seen stories in the news about some of the more egregious examples of conflicts of interest. Individuals caught enriching themselves at the expense of one or more organizations they’re involved with (self-dealing). Business leaders making sweet-heart contract […]