INSPIRING OTHERS: The Superpower Every Nonprofit Needs To Possess

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

       What is the difference between a good nonprofit and a great nonprofit?

          I'm glad you asked! The difference lies in how well an organization is able to inspire others to move to action. Good nonprofits can make a good case for their cause. Great nonprofits give people a reason to do something about their cause.

  The ability to inspire others is the superpower every nonprofit needs to possess.

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   Without inspiration you may able to maintain the operations of the mission but with inspiration you will be able to save lives because of the mission. There is a big difference which is why it's important to ask yourselves these three questions:

1) How are we actively inspiring others in relation to the mission? (Where is this done primarily? Events? Marketing? Donor Relationships?)

2) What are the measurable data that indicates we are indeed inspiring others in the relation to the mission? (Don't stick your nose up at 'measurable data'... it's your most useful to in understanding effectiveness. Just saying.)

3) Why are people inspired by us? (What keeps people attracted to our cause?)

    Inspiring others is an art in the non-profit world because you have to be able to find the balance of intentionality and authenticity. Manipulative pleas and do-good gimmicks just don't work. This is why nonprofit organizations must become out of the box, creative thinkers who will are willing to put their heart on the line and their hands to work. 

  Many non-profit organizations are doing a great job at inspiring and frankly, I LOVE IT! This is why my firm, SAX LLP  is giving away another Founder's Award to a NJ/NYC nonprofit organization this year! We are giving away a $15,000.00 unrestricted gift to an NFP that really wows the outside judges with how they inspire.  If you are an NJ/NYC nonprofit, please do not miss out! I don't think I have to tell you that $15,000.00 can make a big difference... 

    For more information on the Founder's Award, click below:

     Keep inspiring, my dear and awesome nonprofit friends! It's your superpower! Continue to wield this gift for good! The world needs it.

Always cheering you on,

Todd

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For nonprofits specifically, this data can provide a detailed look into the trends behind fundraising activity, the people supporting a mission, and the success of a campaign.
— Will Schmidt

Psychologists claim that mind mapping can make us smarter and more creative. That’s all well and fine, but what about its use in practice for your nonprofit organization?
— Leslie Vos

Having such clarity on the leadership of a prospective organization can help eliminate the danger of Founder’s Syndrome, where the organization becomes synonymous with the founder instead of the mission; in turn giving the founder ultimate authority over what should be group decisions.
— Tracy Vanderneck

I hope that these brutally honest answers will spur us nonprofits and foundations to be more truthful and transparent with one another so that one day, our children’s children can write grant proposals without having to craft as much BS as we currently do.
— Vu

t’s not uncommon for folks to tell me they’re involved with a “worthwhile nonprofit” that helps (whatever) – as if the mere fact of being “nonprofit” should be enough to persuade me to jump on board. It’s not.
— Claire Axelrad

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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We do our work in stewardship or trust and, when that is broken ... the results can be long-lasting and far-reaching.
— Ember Urbach
After you’ve established your need to expand your development team, take the time to align your team’s goals with the skill set of your new hire and “fire yourself.”
— Ellie Burke
As online giving grows by millions of dollars every year, access to online fundraising is crucial for nonprofits.
—  David DeParolesa, Give Lively
Our goal, though, is to climb out of the pothole and onward to finding solutions.
— Lisa A. Cohen
If you don’t take steps to address your stress, it can tear you apart.
— Beth Kanter

FRIDAY FAVORITES

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Don’t forget that your users are humans with distinct opinions, perspectives, and habits. The more you can build empathy for them, the stronger your overall narrative will become.
— Will Schmidt
Giving days bring charities bushels of new donors. To keep cultivating them after the big event, Jeannie Howell, former director of nonprofit ventures and strategic impact at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, offers advice based on her experience with the annual Big Day of Giving her organization oversees.
— Heather Joslyn
Typically, we look for ways to support our local shelter when the weather gets cold and people are looking for a warm meal and place to stay, but shelters operate all year long.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh paragraphs are the most compelling. What you want is to capture the reader in an embrace from which there is no escape.
— Jerold Panas
Ever notice how the training that’s offered to help you be a better fundraiser very often has a predictable pattern? It’s the pattern I call “all the cool kids are doing it.”
— Larry C. Johnson

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If you feel like your nonprofit has been just “getting by,” it’s time to take a closer look at what’s holding you back.
— Allison Gauss
What exactly is this “miracle cure” for your blues? It’s charity, and I’m sure we’ve all heard the numerous adages about how giving makes us happy. That being said, most of us don’t know where to start; exactly how much should someone give, and if giving makes one happy, would it not be logical to assume that the more a person gives, the happier they’ll be? The answer is no, and I have the science to prove it.
— Moshe Hecht
People act from the heart and not the head. Giving is a personal act, and the act of giving is immediate.
— F. Duke Haddad
These proven marketing principles of knowing your brand, understanding your target audience, and investing in marketing should resonate today with nonprofits as they try to increase visibility for their work and create deeper connections with donors.


— Julia Campbell
There’s a philanthropic meconomy as well. Your donor seeks a ‘feel good’ experience, and your job is to encourage supporters to invest philanthropically in order to find out what makes them feel good about themselves.
— Claire Axelrad

 

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES

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Some of the most powerful organizations have a mission that includes both serving clients and advocating on their behalf.
— Paul Jolly
One of the best ways you can improve is by reading as many CTAs as you can. Almost any website with an online presence will have countless options for you to study.
— Will Schmidt
My friend’s suicide made me realize that we have a long way to go when it comes to mental health awareness, even among those of us who are in the nonprofit sector and thus are supposed to be more attuned to the people around us.
— Vu
What can fundraisers do? Experts recommend being ready to answer donors’ questions about changes to the tax code.
— Margie Fleming Glennon
Being able to de-personalize the friction is really helpful to diffusing and managing situations effectively, and it also has the added benefit of demonstrating leadership by example to everyone in and outside the organization.
— Lisa A. Cohen
If you want your organization to achieve sustainability then succession planning must be a part of the plan. Nonprofits that want to sustain themselves for the long haul need to make sure there is strong leadership ready and available in the future.

THE 5 "W's" OF SUCCESSION PLANNING FOR NONPROFITS

       I am going to cut right to chase:

Sustainability and Succession Planning go hand in hand. If you want  your organization to achieve sustainability then succession planning must be a part of the plan. Nonprofits that want to sustain themselves for the long haul need to make sure there is strong leadership ready and available in the future.

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Here are the 5 W's of Succession Planning for Nonprofits:

WHY?

     For an organization to be healthy and productive it will need healthy and productive leadership steering it towards success. When there is gap of this kind of leadership, the organization will suffer and experience set backs. If I can't convince you of this, maybe this article will convince ya:  " Succession Planning for Nonprofits- Managing Leadership Transitions"

WHEN?

  Uh..now. Start succession planning . Right Now. It's never too early and it's never too soon. Get the conversation rolling and if you need help with what questions you should be asking at the moment in regards to succession planning, this article on "Succession Planning for Nonprofits of All Sizes" is a terrific resource!

WHERE?

    Start in house, of course! There just may be potential candidates in the organization who already have caught the heart of the mission and are ready to be developed into key leaders! Identify who they are, assess their skills, and get the ball rolling! A good succession plan includes regular development of employees. If consistent development is lacking, than you can expect migraine and ulcers in the future when those inevitable leadership transitions take place. To avoid migraines and ulcers, read: 5 Steps to Stronger Succession Plans in Nonprofits

WHO?

   Who is involved in the succession planning? Good question and this is where things get a bit awkward.  I think the short answer to the question is that board is responsible for making sure the succession plan in place and operating at a healthy level. Leaders who are "on their way out"... should lend a helpful hand in the process too... but... that this where things can get  awkward since the conditions of the leadership transition maybe determine that this would not be appropriate practice. 

  I do believe that all levels of the organization should be involved in succession planning in some capacity...whether it is to give input about development or to help assess the culture to determine future leadership. I think the worst thing to do is to be super secretive about succession planning. There is a time and place to roll out information but it's healthy for employees to understand that as the organization evolves to achieve it's mission, so will it's leadership. 

 Also don't be afraid to enlist outside help to guide you through the process. It's very helpful!

WHAT?

    What do you do in succession planning? There are lots of things to do and there are lots of great resources to help you! Here are my top 3:

Nonprofit Succession Planning :Fostering a Culture of Leadership Continuity To Advance Your Mission

The Five Keys to An Effective Succession Plan

5 Best Practices to Identifying Potential Leaders

 

      Succession planning should not be scary. It's the secret to sustainability. So, if not's an a priority... it needs to be. Your future depends on it.
 

   Always your fan,

Todd

FRIDAY FAVORITES

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These days, 85 percent of marketers use social media on a regular basis. Nonprofits that have embraced social media are bringing awareness to the causes.
— Richard Nolan
This trend is true across all demographics, with new data showing declines among even the religious faithful and middle-age donors, who are typically nonprofit stalwarts.
— Nicole Wallace and Ben Meyers
Staff retreats” can mean all sorts of things: hours-long strategic planning sessions, reviewing annual reports and budgets, feedback sessions where staff are encouraged to ask questions of leadership but no one speaks up because everyone is in the same room. The list goes on.
— Sarah Axelson
Salary history is not a measure of someone’s competence or accomplishments.
— Vu
Researchers performed four studies involving more than 1,300 individuals where they first measured levels of narcissism and then rated subjects’ “donation intentions.”
— Ruth McCambrdige

VISION BOARDING TO A CULTIVATE A POSITIVE NONPROFIT TEAM

With summer upon us, I think one thing:

Summer Camp.

And when I think of summer camp, I think of my most favorite thing of all:

Arts and crafts.

And when I am not working with nonprofits, I am painting with a glass of red wine nearby. I am all about visual creative expression to inspire and motivate.

A vision board or dream board  "is a collection of images pictures and affirmations of one's dreams and desires, designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation..."

   I mean, Oprah has a vision board and if Oprah has a vision board, should we even question it? 

    A vision board can be a great (and fun) way to cultivate a positive nonprofit team. Visual creative exercises can help organizations to think outside of the box and get the core of who they want to be. Of course, when you break out the glue sticks and markers, there might be a few among you will have "arts and crafts anxiety",  but I always say, "No one gets extra points for coloring in the lines. We're looking for the heart..."

  Here is how to conduct this fun experiment:

  1. Give every department or lead team member a white poster board. Provide some markers, scissors, glue, and old magazines (up-cylced from the the waiting room). 
  2. Give everyone about 2 hours to complete their vision board.
  3. Ask each department or lead team member to use this vision board to visually express: 2 goals they want to achieve as a department and 5 descriptions words they want to be known as. An example of this might be that the Marketing department wants to achieve the goals of getting 1000 new emails from the mailing list. Perhaps some of their "description words" would be: CREATIVE, EFFICIENT, FUN, COLLABORATIVE and CONSISTENT. 
  4. When everyone is finished creating their board,  invite everyone to a comfy space to eat pizza and show off their boards and maybe even have a good laugh. 

  

  Why do this?

      For starters, it fun... but most of all... sometimes we need to get those creative juices going to remind folks why they are here and what they want to achieve. It's also a great way for each department/lead team member top express their heart for the organization. This is exercise is lighthearted but its meant to uncover some important information. Sometimes the folks in events need to hear that the folks in finance have the same desire for the organization to flourish... 

    In the end, vision boarding can cultivate a positive and cohesive attitude among your nonprofit team... and isn't that what you want? It's every leader's desire to have their team better understand each other so that they can work well together.

  Although it's not necessary, I do feel strongly that ice cream should be served at the end of every vision boarding session. It's just a suggestion, but you'd be foolish to skip it.

Cheering for you always,

Todd

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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With the hefty price tags on conference tickets, airfare, and accommodations, you want to ensure you get the biggest return on your investment. Aside from money, you’re also spending a lot of personal time away from your organization to attend—you want a return on that investment as well.
— Will Schmidt
The latest data shows a continuing trend of fewer donors giving more money. With the number of donors down more than 6 percent, but giving revenue decreasing by just 2.4 percent, the charitable sector continues to see fewer, typically wealthier donors accounting for more and more of giving totals.
— Nonprofit Times
But let’s be honest, the nonprofit world is less interested in broad cultural impact and is more focused on “engagement.” As in, how can we interact with this exceptional group of people to get them to engage with our nonprofits more, in terms of both time and money? Unfortunately, there is good reason for concern…
— Otis Fulton and Katrina VanHuss
When a board member asks for a gift and the prospect makes a generous commitment, joy pervades the air.
— Harvey McKinnon
Most nonprofits should expect fewer donations to come in this year. Major gifts from the 10 percent of people who will continue to itemize will be even more critical to your fundraising.
OK. So, what should charities do about this?
— Michael Stein and Jim Lynch
Every great nonprofit organization has a super awesome board rowing it towards it’s successful destination.