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52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Wrapping up the 52 Tips in 52 Weeks Series

This has certainly been an interesting year, filled with all kinds of challenges and issues that we never thought possible at the start of the year in January 2020.  One thing that I’ve held onto is this idea that the Standards for Excellence Institute would create a series of 52 Tips over each of the 52 Tips in 2020.  With this latest post, I am happy to say that we met this goal.  With the world changing so quickly, it was not difficult to come up with topics of relevance and interest to[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 31, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Helping the Helpers

During 2020, my family and I have taken some extra time to sit down in our home to watch movies.  One of the movies I enjoyed most in this year was the 2019 movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks. I just loved this movie – just as I adored watching Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood as a young girl.  In these times, I find myself reflecting on the quote from Fred Rogers, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 24, 2020 Read More>

Introducing: Standards for Excellence Institute® Licensed Consultants Class of 2020

Contact: Kat LaTourMarketing and Communications Assistant, Standards for Excellence Institute®klatour@standardsforexcellence.orgBaltimore, MD – December 18, 2020 The Standards for Excellence Institute, an initiative designed to help nonprofit organizations operate more ethically and accountably, announces its 2020 Class of Licensed Consultants. Twenty-nine class members hailing from various regions of the country completed the intensive, five-day virtual training seminar and can assist[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 18, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Can Your Donors Easily Learn about your Organization?

Last night I sat on my couch with my laptop considering my year-end charitable giving. Where to give this year?  Should I stick with those I gave to last year or give to organizations I haven’t supported in the past? Can I make all of my gifts online? Or will I have to find my checkbook and stamps? Apparently, I am not alone. According to research from the NP Source, 30 % of nonprofit giving occurs in the last month of the year. Wow! That is a bit breathtaking!I was talking with a friend earlier[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 18, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Sarbanes Oxley and Nonprofits - We Remember You Senator Sarbanes

While I get most of my news directly from the pages of my daily newspaper, I was so saddened to wake up Monday morning to a tweet on my phone from a local television news show sharing the sad news that Senator Paul Sarbanes had passed away. I didn’t know Senator Sarbanes personally, but I had tremendous respect for his work, especially where it intersected with nonprofits. How many times have we uttered the phrase “SOX” or “Sarbanes-Oxley” over the years? More than I can count! In my mind,[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 11, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: How are you Engaging Volunteers in These Times?

I was intrigued by an article in the New York Times last week entitled, “Demand on Nonprofit Groups Rose in the Pandemic, Even as Volunteering Fell.” The article cited a recent study by Fidelity Charitable which found that two-thirds of all volunteers had either decreased or stopped their volunteering because of the pandemic. This is breathtaking to say the least. Certainly, it is not surprising that in the midst of these trying times volunteers are not able to engage in the same way that they[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | December 04, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: “This is the way it’s always been done!” – is this mentality stopping you from achieving excellence?

As frequent readers of this blog know, the Standards for Excellence: and Ethics Code for the Nonprofit Sector document is a consensus model for how the most well-managed and responsibly-governed nonprofits operate. This means that when nonprofit leaders review the tenets and benchmarks of the code, they generally agree with the benchmarks and principles.  But, on the other hand, there are many fewer organizations who can say that they live by every one of the sixty-seven Standards. Standards for[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | November 30, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Ensure That You Do Not Fall Victim to Paying Invoices that should NOT be Paid…

There are few things that upset me more than people who steal from nonprofits or scam them out of valuable resources. Every time I read a story about a nonprofit that has fallen victim to a scam or impropriety, I am incensed. Two times in the last week, when I looked at the mail that arrived at my nonprofit’s office, I found documents that appeared to be invoices from official government agencies, but upon closer inspection, it became clear that these invoices were actually “solicitations” from[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | November 23, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: To Accept or Not To Accept - A Question For Campaign Leftovers

It’s been a week since the general election and there’s still a lot to take in. So much news in our 24/7 news cycle. I spoke with someone today who announced that she deliberately turned off all news outlets from November 2nd to November 9th. I was a bit taken aback by this statement. There are still quite a few lawn signs supporting candidates in the midst of the brightly colored fall leaves on the roads and byways in my community. What happens with everything that is left over after the[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | November 13, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Take the time to check your list - and check it twice

So many lists in this time of year!  Whether I’m planning out my task list for the day, planning for Thanksgiving dinner, or trying to get a jump on my holiday shopping, I find myself sitting down with pen and paper to capture my thoughts.  Some days, I’ve got a plethora of lists and am not sure which list to check out first.Of course, there are also lists in the nonprofit sector that our leaders and staff members reference when they are working to meet their mission in the best possible ways.[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | November 09, 2020 Read More>
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