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52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Nonprofits and Issue Related Election Day Activity

As I was filling in my mail-in ballot earlier this week, I was struck by the number of ballot questions posed to voters in my county this year.  Questions about funding for public schools, preservation, refuse facilities, waterways and a state constitutional amendment were posed to voters-- just to name a few.  I was reminded of the line in the Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy Guiding Principle of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | October 30, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Keeping the Mission Statement Front and Center

While preparing for an upcoming virtual seminar, I remembered how much I like using table tents during meetings. For years, I have encouraged nonprofit boards to use these low-tech tools (just a piece of cardstock paper folded in half) to help for board members learn one another’s names.  I also encouraged each board member to write their organization’s board-approved mission statement on the other side of the table tent.  That way, each time the board is discussing or voting on a specific item,[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | October 23, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Charitable Giving

Good news! Charitable Giving is up in the First Half of 2020 – How will nonprofits respond to welcoming new donors?A recent report in the Chronicle of Philanthropy showed that charitable giving was up 7.5 percent in the first half of 2020 over the first half of 2019.  This growth in giving couldn’t have come at a better time in the life cycles of so many nonprofits—grappling to meet growing demands in an all-too challenging environment.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy article describing the[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | October 16, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Sustainability Planning

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies recently released the 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report. In this timely report by Lester Salamon and Chelsea L. Newhouse, with the technical assistance of S. Wojciech Sokolowski, we learn that the nonprofit sector remains the third largest workforce in any US industry, behind only retail trade and accommodations/food service. The report also looks at anticipated job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and calculates “a sizable 1.6[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | October 09, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: It’s Time to Review Your Organization’s Advocacy Policy

Advocacy efforts are front and center in these challenging times. For my colleagues who focus on advocacy efforts, 2020 has been a year with literally no downtime.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in the midst of folks that are dedicated to the Standards for Excellence principle: “working independently and in partnership, nonprofits should strive to influence public policies that affect the organization’s ability to achieve its mission.” Things seem to be moving quickly on so many[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | October 05, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Investing in Volunteer Orientation

In these unusual times, sometimes the things that we cling to the most are the activities and programs that proceed as they would in non-COVID times.  I am truly grateful for individuals who volunteer their time to support our organization’s mission. I’m especially thankful for the volunteer interns that apply to become part of my organization’s team for a semester or two while they are in the midst of their own studies and academic pursuits. I have a special affinity for our volunteer interns[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | September 25, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Board Meeting Minutes are Important Now and Always

Things are changing at what feels like lightning speed. It seems that if I turn off my mobile phone for just an hour or two, I miss all kinds of news headlines and updates that impact my work, family, and community. It’s more important than ever to keep careful records and notes -- for the very practical reason that it’s difficult to remember the important details, especially in a constantly changing environment. The same is true for nonprofits.  Your board president may ponder, did we remember[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | September 18, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Fall Brings Board Development Efforts for Many Nonprofits

It’s fall and along with it—the start of school and even in these unusual times, the beginning of many new activities. One traditional fall activity for many nonprofits is the annual (or semi-annual) board member development effort in anticipation of the nominations and on-boarding processes for new board members and new officers.What does the board development process look like in your organization?  Do you have a short meeting a few weeks before your annual meeting where you create a list of[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | September 11, 2020 Read More>

52 tips in 52 Weeks: Responsibilities of Board Members in the Midst of Dissolution

By Amy Coates Madsen and Paddy MortonSince its inception, the Standards for Excellence Institute has always stressed the importance of a strong and well-functioning board of directors. As stated in the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector, “Nonprofits depend upon effective leadership to successfully enact their missions and programs. Effective leadership consists of a partnership between the board and management, each of which plays an essential[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | September 03, 2020 Read More>

52 Tips in 52 Weeks: Risk Management is More than Just Insurance Coverage

Like many, the nonprofit for which I work is finding that the traditional ways we offer programs has had to adjust and pivot in the midst of the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.  One such example is the move of our annual in-person conference to a virtual conference.  A few weeks ago, our conference director called a special meeting on risk management for the event. While the event was still more than two months away, she requested that everyone on our planning team independently brainstorm and[…]
By Amy Coates Madsen | August 28, 2020 Read More>
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