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It would seem that a Board that is properly recruited, trained, and engaged would alleviate most, if not all, of the other issues listed in the poll. Board members should be selected because of what they bring to the table, not what they take away. Their willingness to represent the cause and to offer their expertise and advice, and how their role fits in to a partnership with paid staff is vitally important, but will keep everyone on a solid path forward, if properly facilitated.
I am seeing more and more non profits that are hiring without conducting proper searches; without some help they often include so many glitches in the process that they almost entirely obviate their chances of locating good people. But what riles me the most are the organizations that do not advertise their openings but, instead, hire friends or acquaintances of board or staff members who happen to be available. I think such searches violate the spirit of openness and transparency that ought to dominate the thinking of non profit organizations in this country.
By far, there is no higher priority than raising money for any non-profit. Finding
qualified donors is a never-ending chore. Convincing them they should donate to your
organization is difficult, discouraging and demanding. Finding volunteers to help with
grant writing is challenging.
At times when many worthwhile organizations are beating the bushes just trying to stay alive, it is a battle that tries the soul of most grant writers.
New ideas, new methods of fund raising are always being sought.
None of these categories works for me, although of course they all have importance. What keeps me up at night is the knowledge that the priorities of powerful people in this country are so screwed up that they will spend any amount of money on unncessary wars and tax cuts for people who already have enough money, but will fight against every cent for programs that might help (or are required for the economic survival of) the average American. “Deficits” only matter if the money being spent by the government doesn’t put money in the right people’s pockets.
While raising money does keep me up at night, the PRIMARY issue is knowing we will have enough cash to pay the bills and meet payroll each week. Cash flow management is the key to survival right now. We can predict exactly how much we will spend, but the income side is not at all predictable.
The preceding is a guest blog post by Lindsay Nichols, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at America’s Charities, the leader in workplace giving and philanthropy. As a member of the organization’s senior leadership team, Lindsay guides and oversees the strategy and execution of all marketing and communications efforts with a major emphasis on strategy and tactics that support increased growth for the organization. Lindsay has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, NonProfit Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, Dallas Morning News, and more.