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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 nonprofit leaders (most weeks!). I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read and digest these posts.

As we wrap up this series, I thought it would be helpful to reflect upon a book that was highly recommended to me that I am in the process of reading:  Salsa, Soul, and Spirit by Juana Bordas. In the book, the author offers leadership approaches from Latino, Black, and American Indian Communities.  The book has a significant focus on story-telling and shares the symbol of the mythical Sankofa bird, which has its feet pointing firmly toward the future with its head looking back on the past. I just love the imagery from this West African story and believe that we can gain so much by learning each others’ stories and backgrounds.

With our feet firmly pointed in the direction of 2021, we can hold onto all of the hope and anticipation that comes with a new year. With our heads looking back, may we take a moment to reflect on all that has happened in the last year, and what we have learned from it. Here’s a look back on the 52 Tips in 52 Months Series organized by the guiding principles of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector.  We think the lessons of 2020, and this series of 52 Tips, may provide some helpful perspective even in the new year!  Happy New Year from the Standards for Excellence Institute!

Mission, Strategy and Evaluation

Leadership: Board Staff and Volunteers

Legal Compliance and Ethics

Finance and Operations

Resource Development

Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

By Amy Coates Madsen | December 31, 2020 | Nonprofit
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About the Author: Amy Coates Madsen

Amy Coates Madsen is the Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute, a national initiative to promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and to facilitate adherence to standards by all organizations. The Standards for Excellence Institute is a program of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations where Amy has served for more than twenty-two years. Amy is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the association’s comprehensive ethics and accountability program and efforts to replicate the program nationally. She serves as a frequent trainer and writer in the areas of board conduct, program evaluation, program replication, fundraising ethics, and nonprofit management. She has taught courses on nonprofit ethics and accountability at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies Certificate Program on Nonprofit Management. She has held positions at the Trenton lobbying firm of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, and the Public Policy Liaison Unit at the world headquarters of Catholic Relief Services. Amy received her Master of Arts in Policy Studies degree from the Johns Hopkins University – Institute for Policy Studies in Baltimore, Maryland; and her Bachelors degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Amy is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Amy serves on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). Amy is a former member of the Disaster Action Team of the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross and is qualified to provide disaster preparedness training to children and adults. She has also served as the former President of Central Maryland CAN TOO and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the largest United Methodist Church in Baltimore City. She serves on the board of her children’s preschool PTA and is a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Amy is currently leading an effort to establish an endowment for the Virginia Tech University Honors Program.