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

1. 5 Basic Must-Haves for Every Nonprofit Website

by a contributing author at @classy

     Are you looking to update your organizations website in 2018? This article provides the checklist that you want to have in hand. Make sure you have these 5 basic things covered if you want to both spread your message as well as attract others to support your mission!


2. The Leadership Ethos: How What We Believe Can Inform Our Leadership Practices

by Jeanne Bell (@JeanneBellCP) at @npquarterly

   This article is a must read for any nonprofit leader. It's the kind of the article you need to read and then have time to reflect upon afterwards. If you are the kind of leader that always has a notebook on hand to jot down thoughts and reflections, you will want to have your notebook on hand for this insightful article by Jeanne Bell .  "Leadership and management are not generic methods but rather powerful potential means for experimenting toward a desired future."

3. 6 Back to School Lessons To Boost Your Online Fundraising

by Adam Weinger at @GuideStarUSA

     More and more NFP organizations are looking to optimize their online fundraising. Although direct mail campaigns are still effective, online fundraising IS the way of future. This blog is quick read packed with a lot of practical tips on how to say on top of your online fundraising game!

4.  9 Ways to Cost-Effectively Promote Your Cause

by Leeann Alameda at @non_profit_pro

  This is a great roundup of cost-effective practices that will help propel your mission. Personally, #5 is my favorite.

5. Soul Searching: The Starting Line for Non-profit Communications Planning

by Vanessa Chase Lockshin (@vanessaechase)

     If you are an organization who is in the midst of an "identity crisis" and you find yourself asking questions like, "Who are we?"... "What do we really want to be about"... then you need to meet Vanessa Chase Lockshin! Vanessa is offering the webinar you need to attend:

Soul-Searching: The starting line for non-profit communications planning

Feb 6th at 1 pm PST/ 3 pm CST/ 4 pm EST

Register here.

Put this webinar on your schedule!

FRIDAY FAVORITES: Nonprofit Articles, Blogs, and Resources

Here are my favorite nonprofit articles, resources, and blogposts from this week. Please enjoy!


1. Classy’s Top 6 Nonprofit Webinars of 2017

By: Will Schmidt at @classy

  This is a fantastic round up of practical tips on how to improve your fundraising game. Classy always offers great resources that all nonprofit leaders should be taking advantage on a regular basis. 



2. A Surefire Way to Help Your Executive Director Complete Fundraising Tasks

By: Andrea Kihlstedt at @GuideStarUSA

    Andrea suggests that , "you may be able to get far better results by changing the way you use your regular in-person meetings". If you are struggling to get things done and are frustrating your staff, this method may work well for you. 

  Andrea is also offering a FREE WEBINAR on January 24th: "Feasibility Studies: Essential Process or Unnecessary Expense?". You can learn more about this free webinar here.



3. Succession Planning for God’s Gift: The Nonprofit Whisperer Weighs In

 By: The Nonprofit Whisper at @npquarterly

  I recently stumbled upon The Nonprofit Whisperer who is described like "...a Greek chorus to your nonprofit practice. Write to her today about your nonprofit drama..." In this post a young anonymous asker is sharing their woes as as a nonprofit board member who is frustrated by  "Succession Planning" or lack thereof. The Nonprofit Whisperer weighs in and gives some mighty advice.



4. Direct Mail Continues Driving Planned Giving

By: Mark Hyrwna at @@NonProfitTimes

    This article is a great resource for nonprofits who are trying to decipher the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns vs. online giving.



5. How to Begin Attracting New Donors to Your Organization

By: Robin Cabral at @non_profit_pro

  This is a "to the point" post that gives very practical advice on attracting new donors. It's a great quick read that gives you a lot to think about. 



BONUS: How to Cure Founder's Syndrome

"Founder's Syndrome is a serious condition if left untreated. The good news is that the prognosis with treatment is positive! An nonprofit organization can reverse the damages caused by Founder's Syndrome and even establish a healthier course for it's future."





Founder’s Syndrome is a popular term for a difficulty faced by organizations where one or more founders maintain disproportionate power and influence following the effective initial establishment of the project, leading to a wide range of problems for the organization.
— Wikipedia

    The symptoms of a nonprofit organization that is suffering from "Founder's Syndrome" are as follows:

  • The Founder believes that because they have given birth to the organization, their voice is most important in regards to its growth. No one from the board gets a word in edgewise. 
  • There is an imbalanced ratio between how much the board is directing the CEO and how much the CEO is directing the board.
  • There is an absence of consistent accountability for the Founder/CEO's performance. Nobody gets to tell the Founder how to do their job.
  • The growth of the organization has become stagnant because the vision has not be challenged or adjusted to maintain relevancy.
  • The integrity of the organization has been compromised because the Founder has been allowed to have full reign to do things as they see fit - even when it engages in ethical violations.  

 Founder's Syndrome is a serious condition if left untreated. The good news is that the prognosis with treatment is positive! An nonprofit organization can reverse the damages caused by Founder's Syndrome and even establish a healthier course for it's future.

Founder's Syndrome is a serious condition 1.png

    Here is the prescription:


Members of the board must collectively agree that their chief priority is that they fully engage and direct the Founder/CEO in order to maintain health and propel growth in the organization. 

       In other words, the board needs to speak up and say the hard things. The board cannot allow itself to be  bullied by the Founder, nor can it allow the Founder to lead as "King" or "Queen" of the organization . It is the board's  job to govern and to make sure the organization is moving forward. In order to do this, members of the board must be willing to challenge the Founder/CEO whether they like it or not.

bullied by founder.png



The board must be directly involved in a process that annually evaluates the Founder/CEO's performance which is tied to their compensation.

       The Founder/CEO must be held accountable and it is the board's job to hold them to task. Evaluations must include measurable annual goals with concrete deadlines. The results of the  annual evaluation conducted of the Founder/CEO's  performance should also determine appropriate compensation. Fair is fair.


STEp 3: 

The board needs to get involved in helping the Founder/CEO transfer their leadership at the appropriate time so that the organization can continue to grow.

     The board must be proactive in helping both the Founder/CEO and the organization in the inevitable process process of transference of leadership. Timing is everything and often nonprofit boards are beginning this process way too late. Boards should be actively identifying and developing new leaders that will posses both the heart of the organization's vision as well as a new perspective to propel it's mission forward. The board is responsible in helping the Founder recognize the timing of this transference. In addition, the board should be involved in the preparation needed for the Founder/CEO to release their position. The board must be empathetic and well insistent in this process.


          Founder's Syndrome is lethal to any nonprofit organization however the cure can be applied with good results. As the board embraces their role in directing and engaging the Founder, they will see the organization grow healthier and stronger for it's future.

As the board embraces 1.png


   If your organization is suffering from Founder's Syndrome, I would love to help you!  I am passionate to see nonprofits fulfill their mission and achieve sustainability in the present climate. So, don't hesitate to reach out:

Name *

Your fan,




 Todd Polyniak is a partner at SAX and is an expert in Not-For-Profit financial health for over 30 years. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @todd_polyniak.

FRIDAY FAVORITES: Nonprofit Articles, Blogs, and Resources


     The beginning of a new year can bring a quiet pressure into the atmosphere of an organization. Leaders can be tempted to roll out a long list of goals for their organization to accomplish. Leaders mean well but often miss out on a golden opportunity to cultivate effective goals alongside their team. Team members feel empowered when their perspective is valued in moving the organization towards greater effectiveness.

         An exercise I encourage you to try with your team this new year is to invite your team to work together in identifying appropriate goals for the organization. 

This exercise will require:

  • A comfortable and quiet space that is away from the office
  • Yummy but healthy food (fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, salads, soups, purified water, etc.)
  • Lots of creative tools (white poster boards, markers, pencils, pencils index cards, etc.)
  • Time (devote 2-3 hours for this exercise)

   As you have gathered the key members of your team, ask them to journal/draw their answers to the following questions...

1. What failure did the organization experience this past year that will make its future success an interesting story to tell?

  There is a temptation to sweep failures under the carpet but having the space to talk about them openly is a great way to learn from them. In addition, no one wants to learn from an organization that has ALWAYS gotten it right. The best success stories come from organizations that experienced failures but have kept moving forward!

2. What motivated and encouraged team members to dig deep into the hard work required to propel the organization's mission? 

    This is a question that will help you, as the leader,  understand how individually and collectively team members are motivated. Be sure to take notes on their answers. You may find that you will have to make adjustments in how you lead.

3. What is one success we can achieve in this new year that will not require money?

   Not all problems can be solved with money. Invite your team to identify a weak area in the organization that can be fixed without a financial solution. I have found that often a non-financial solution will open the door to increased revenue. 

4. How can we have more fun as an organization and still accomplish our mission?

   Folks who love coming to work... do good work. Just saying. 

5. How do you feel you, as an individually team member, uniquely make our organization stronger? What perspective, skill set, or personal quality do you bring to the table that helps us accomplish our mission?

    Out of all five questions listed above, this is the question that your team members will be most hesitant to answer. Be sure to give them a lot of time to think it through. Don't accept non-answers (such as sarcasm or "I don't know"). Encourage them to dig deep and to specifically identify why they are integral in accomplishing the organization's mission. When team members identify their strengths and you, as the leader, affirm those strengths, you will see them set up to the plate in a big way. 


  After you have worked through the five questions as a team, collectively identify 3 goals for 2018. No more than three. The goals should be easy to remember and they should be written down and displayed somewhere that team can see on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to get creative. Turn the 3 goals into a design that can serve as a central art piece in the office. Get fancy with it!



      2018 can be your best year yet... but only if you invite your team to be apart of the success. Giving them a chance to voice their individual perspectives and thoughts may make your feel uncomfortable at times, but in the end it will serve the mission. In the end, that's what we all want - to accomplish more good for this world. I encourage you to check your ego at the door and let your team help make the organization stronger by asking them the tough questions.


   Your fan,









FRIDAY FAVORITES: Nonprofit Articles, Blogs, and Resources

Here are my favorite Nonprofit articles, blogs, and resources this week! Enjoy!

1. Nonprofit Quarterly's Top 12 Webinars

by the Editors of Nonprofit Quarterly (@npquarterly)


2. Donor Retention vs. New Donors: Donor Retention ALWAYS Wins

by Amy Eisenstein (@AmyEisenstein)  at Guidestar (@GuideStarUSA )


3.  To Maximize Potential, Begin Your Campaign Case Planning Years in Advance

by Jeff Jowdy (@jeffjowdy) at Nonprofit Pro (@non_profit_pro)


4.  11 Stress-Busting Tips for the Busiest Time of Year

by Elizabeth Chung (@elizchung)  at Classy (@classy)


5. How They Did It: 10 Stories of Runaway Growth in Giving

by Drew Lindsay (@DrewLindsayCOP) at The Chronicle of Philanthropy (@Philanthropy)

FRIDAY FAVORITES: Nonprofit Articles, Blogs, and Resources

Here are a few of my favorite Non-profit resources and articles from this week:

#1 After the Donation: A Research-Based Workshop on Retaining Donors

                 by: Simone Joyaux and Ruth McCambridge

"Only three of ten first-time gifts to nonprofits are repeated, meaning that seven of those supporters wander away to support others. Receiving a one-time gift from a donor is only the beginning, but many nonprofits treat it like an endgame. This refresher workshop with Simone Joyaux reminds us, right smack in the middle of fundraising season, of what practical steps need to be taken to keep donors over the longer term."

#2 Your Engine of Impact: Board Governance

                by: William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker

"Board governance is one component of the engine of impact that every nonprofit organization must build and tune to become truly effective."

#3 Are Younger Donors More Likely to Reach Charities Before Giving?

               by: Ruth McCambridge

"...there’s a small study in the UK which indicates that donors who are younger than 24 are more likely to want some background information on the charities to which they intend to give."

#4 The Future of Work in Nonprofits: How Design Thinking Can Increase Your Impact

               by: Stephen Jackson 

"Solving problems is a large part of what nonprofits do every day across the world. From poverty to hunger to curing fatal disease, nonprofits are professionals at finding solutions. In crafting solutions, many nonprofits could benefit from a design thinking approach."

#5 9 Nonprofit Trends That Will Influence 2018

             by: Will Schmidt

"In a lot of ways, trends are feedback. Whether it’s Beanie Babies or Bitcoin, they offer us a window into what large segments of the population like, what they hate, and how they like to be engaged. To stay relevant to your audience, you have to pay attention to trends."

FRIDAY FAVORITES: Nonprofit Articles, Blogs, and Resources

Here are the favorite non-profit articles/ blog posts of the week. Enjoy!

By risking their time, money and effort, these women are building these organizations and achieving significant change.
— E. Chung

Once we start listing everything that can make the difference between nonprofit success and failure, it is hard to know where to stop.
— J. Miller

Sustainability equates to being a winner in the Nonprofit world.
— J. Love

An additional advantage of a sincere effort to measure success is the strengthening of true partnerships between funders and providers.
— B. Hoffman

Facebook is by far the social media that most inspires giving, at 62 percent, followed by Twitter (15 percent) and Instagram (10 percent).
— M. Hrywna


#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

  My eldest daughter was organizing her Monday accordingly: "It's Cyber Monday. I need to be home so I can snag all the deals."

    She had made sure her schedule was clear so she could stand guard by her laptop all day long. She even color coded her list of gifts she needed to buy for the family because: "The goal is to get all my holiday shopping done before midnight. It's Cyber Monday!"

   The strategizing, dedication, and desire to utilize Cyber Monday to benefit her "gift giving" needs is not an uncommon phenomenon. Many people are seeing the benefits of Cyber Monday:

  • It saves money.
  • It saves time.
  • It is well communicated with emails and advertisements. 
  • It affords you to get the holiday shopping done from the comfort of your own couch.

    The general consensus is that holiday shopping is easier now that we have Cyber Monday in our world. Regardless of how we may feel about holiday consumerism, we cannot deny the convience Cyber Monday offers.

   Giving Tuesday could take a page out of Cyber Monday's playbook.

  Non-profit organizations need to recognize that #givingtuesday will not necessarily guide people to give to their specific organization. A general movement to be more generous this holiday season will not guarantee that potential givers will actually give. Bottom line: The organizations that attract #GivingTuesday givers are ones that have applied some of the Cyber Monday strategies:

1) Communication

    The story must be compelling. For-profit businesses spend big money to promote their products for Cyber Monday. Marketing teams are dedicated to writing the story for why the consumer should purchase their goods. They devote a huge portion of their budget to communicating what they will offer (value and sale). They use several modes of communication (tv ads to social medias ads) to make sure their story is heard. They spare no expense. Non-profit organizations need to organize their budget so they can invest in a communication strategy that will tell their story. If the story is compelling and if the giver has seen/heard it more than once from more than one source, there is a greater chance the giver will stick around hear how they can give. If for-profit businesses believe in their product enough to sell their story, how much more should non-profit organization believe in their own value enough to tell their story?  Bottom line: Spend the money and build the story-telling team. Your mission is worth it.

2) Convenience

    Cyber Monday is ALL about convenience. To maximize the #GivingTuesday potential, organizations need to roll out the red carpet for their givers. They must making giving as convenient and uncomplicated as possible. Websites should be easy to navigate and online giving must be accessible. A potential giver should be able to grasp the heart of the organization and be able to make an online donation as easy as it is to purchase an item from Amazon Prime. Gone are the days where the majority of giving is a mailed-in check.  The path to online giving should be clear and quick. If it takes longer than 4 minutes for a potential giver to make a donation, they will are more likely to click off your page. A shabby site breeds suspicion. No one gives to a site they are "unsure" about. Bottom line: Insist that your website is easy to navigate and simple to use for online giving. Invest in a great website and then hire someone to maintain it.

3) Connection

    Non-profit organizations are not just looking for one-time donors. They are looking for long-haul partners who will help carry the mission. It is important that a connection is made when givers do donate on #GivingTuedsay.  When you make any purchase on Cyber Monday, you receive a confirmation email that both thanks you for your purchase and lets you know when you should be expecting your package. Organizations can connect to their #GivingTuesday donors the same way! A simple email to say thank-you and let know how they can further be involved will help build a strong connection. Bottom line: Follow-up is key! Don't miss out the opportunity to turn your #GivingTuesday donor into a long-haul partner! Stay connected!


   #GivingTuesday is an awesome movement! I am huge fan for giving people the opportunity to be apart of greater good! Non-profit organizations can benefit greatly from this wonderful social media fueled platform if they organize and strategize to make giving easy

Your friend,




Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
— Aesop

  For any organization to maintain a healthy connection with their donors, board, and team - the leadership must master the art of saying 'thank you'

  It is important for non-profit leaders to not only commit to clearly communicating the mission of organization but also to consistently communicate  gratitude to the people who give their time, money, and energy to accomplishing the mission. When an organization possesses a strong DNA of appreciation, there is s strong foundation for passion, loyalty, unity and perseverance to be built into the culture. 

     There are three things to keep in mind when mastering the art of saying 'thank-you'. 

1) BE Consistent. 

      Non-profit leaders need to commit to consistently showing their appreciation to their staff, volunteers, board, and donors. The rule of thumb is that you can never saying 'thank you' too much. Leaders can help themselves lead from a position of gratitude by literally scheduling periodic times when they communicate their personal appreciation, such as : staff lunches, personal phone calls to board members, hand written cards to volunteers, and opportunities for donors get an inside peek into the outcomes of the mission. It is important that NFP leaders understand that saying  "thank-you" will take up 'time' but the benefits will be well worth the time spent.


2) CHOOSE to Customize.

      The art of saying thank-you requires the recognition that a one-size 'thank-you' will not fit all. Leaders should spend TIME to think of the most appropriate and effective way to say thank you to the different  groups of people that help carry out the mission. A general email to the board, donors, volunteers, and staff can come across as insincere. When leaders the take time to customize their 'thank-you' it will not go unnoticed. The more  personal attention given to the appreciation, the greater its effect.


3) GET Creative.

    Creative appreciation is appreciated! When leaders go beyond the standard way of saying 'thank-you', they communicate "value" to people they are extending gratitude towards. For example: holding a fun award ceremony for volunteers is a creative way of saying thanks that goes beyond the standard 'thank you note'. It not only creates an opportunity for volunteers to experience fun together but it gives a sense of unity in which, "we are all in this together". The best way for a leader to become more creative in saying 'thank you' is to invite their creative team members to help them in this endeavorer. Finding new and fun ways to communicate gratitude can become a team effort which will further strengthen the organization's culture of appreciation!



      When people are left un-thanked and unrecognized for how they give - they will eventually burn out or lose their passion for the mission. No matter how busy things get or challenging, leaders should make it a priority to master the art of saying thank-you. Where gratitude is sown, passion is reaped. 

Always your friend,