Executive compensation is a hot-button topic for both nonprofit and for-profit companies. With the nature of compensation changing dramatically for technology and other high-growth industries, it is important to understand what is fair and competitive when setting your employee salaries.…
Just yesterday, I was interviewing a new student intern candidate in my office. During the course of our wide ranging discussion, the conversation turned to some of the interesting misconceptions we encounter with clients. I made the comment that we often feel like the crew of the Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters. There is a never-ending supply of well-entrenched myths and misconceptions in the nonprofit world…and dispelling them is part of our job! In this article, let’s take a look at a few of the more common ones.
MYTH: Build it and the grants will come.
FACT: Uh, good luck with that.
2009 is rapidly coming to a close. And once again, we find ourselves amazed at how fast the year has gone by. Funny how we have this conversation every year, but we act like it’s the first time it went by this fast.
Just as December 31 rolls around every year, so does the need to plan for your nonprofit’s year end. With only a few weeks left in the year, don’t put off until later some of the most important things you need to be doing right now. Let’s take a look at some key, year-end necessities.
Strategic planning. The economic uncertainty of the past year has forced many nonprofits to shift gears and even change course. For some, it has caused an existential crisis! What has the economic downturn meant to your organization? The end of the year is a natural time to (re)evaluate what you are doing. Focus on maximizing impact for a minimum of expense. Easier said than done, no doubt. But now more than ever, it is imperative to be intentional with everything you are doing. “Winging it” is ineffective in the good times. It could be fatal in the bad times.
The idea for this article came from my good friend, Belinda from Madison, Alabama. A few weeks ago, she wrote us an email asking the following:
“Due to the economic downturn and, with the increasing requests for benevolence assistance, are there guidelines for churches and non-profits on what they can assist with and how much?”
Great question, Belinda. I know others are asking the same thing. Benevolence is synonymous with charity. It’s the very definition of it. But, there is a definite line between charity and what the IRS calls inurement (or private benefit). This economic recession has caused many churches and charities to be overwhelmed with requests for help. So, what follows are some things to consider when asking, “How much is too much?”
You’ve seen the news. You know it’s tough out there. Just this morning I saw the following headlines on my Chronicle of Philanthropy RSS feed: “Charitable Donations Fell by Nearly 6% in 2008”, “Ford Foundation Offers Buyouts to One-Third of Employees”, and “Robert Wood Johnson (Foundation) Offers Buyout to 40% of its Employees”. Tough stuff indeed. I’m sure that you have your own stories about what the current economic situation has meant to your family and friends. So, the question is this: Is there any way to survive, maybe even thrive, in such circumstances? We resoundingly say, “Yes!” Consider this your 2009 Nonprofit Survival Guide.
First off, stop listening to the news. I mean it…turn it off. I’m not advocating locking yourself into a cave and shutting out the world. But, the constant drumbeat of negativity takes its toll on you after a while. I saw a great sign on a realty office near my home the other day. It said, “We have decided not to participate in this recession.” What a great message! The half-empty folks driving by no doubt scoff at such a sign and call it denial. I call it taking responsibility for your own success. The facts around them may not have changed, but at least for this one realty office in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, they aren’t making excuses. So what about you? Yes, it’s harder to win than to lose. But you have people (or animals or something) that need what your organization brings. Determine to make it.