Organizational analysis could spur immediate opportunity

Have you ever conducted a third-party review of the non-profit organization you manage? If you’re a board member, have you ever seen an organizational review of the charitable organization?

You can find suitable ways to review your charity’s financial operations through internet searches. We recommend you take a look at those. We also suggest you consider a unique analytic system we created. It’s called HealthCheck. It closely resembles your own visit to your primary physician, who will conduct a review of your health and provide feedback and make suggestions.

 

HealthCheck is designed to provide research and organizational analysis to help organizations make strategic decisions…and help donors make wise charitable giving decisions.

Benefit to charity leaders…

Board and staff members of nearly every non-profit organization want organizational growth…all want money. Not every organization can hire new staff or add a consultant, but they want expertise and leverage to attract new supporters and help build confidence and relationships with existing donors and volunteers. We created HealthCheck to meet these needs in an affordable and hands-on manner. By doing so, we form an alliance with non-profit leaders, where we essentially work alongside, determining and implementing ways to strengthen the organization.

Benefit to donors…

When donors consider non-profit organizations for their contributions, a number of factors come into play, including the donor’s relationship, belief in the mission, and geographical location. Many times, this isn’t enough information for a prospective donor to render a decision. We created HealthCheck to deliver existing and prospective donors with a resource they can easily locate. Knowledge derived from our 40+ years of non-profit and corporate leadership experience were used to design a research and best practices tool, which gives donors all the information they need and in five key organizational strength indicators.
  

HealthCheck analyzes specific strength indicators, including:

Data & Efficiency – Analyzing IRS Forms 990 to evaluate a non-profit organization’s financial performance in key performance categories. Upon analyzing performance categories, we assign a score as it relates to the organization’s efficiency, capacity, and overall financial health.

Finance & Fund Development – Non-profits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. They must comply with all legal financial requirements and adhere to sound accounting principles that produce reliable financial information, ensure fiscal responsibility and build public trust. In addition, non-profits act as the intermediary between donors and beneficiaries and have an ethical obligation to ensure proper handling of funds to carry out their missions.

Governance – A non-profit’s leadership, represented by its staff and board of directors is responsible for defining the organization’s mission and for providing overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization. Each non-profit board should: ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission and provide direction for the executive director and key staff; and evaluate its own effectiveness as a governing body and as representatives of the community in upholding the public interest served by the organization.

Human Resources – The ability of an organization to make effective use of the energy, time and talents of its employees and volunteers is essential to accomplish the organization’s mission. Non-profit organizations should place a high priority on exercising fair and equitable practices that attract and retain qualified volunteers and employees. Nonprofits have an obligation to adhere to all applicable employment laws and to provide a safe and productive work environment.

Public Information – Non-profits that provide information to prospective donors and other constituents promote informed and responsible philanthropy. Donors are better able to make decisions when they can learn a nonprofit’s purpose, who governs it, how it manages its financial resources, whom the nonprofit serves, and what progress it has made toward achieving its mission.

   

Here are the outcomes…

After a very small investment ($45), the process begins with executive staff (or a board exec) honestly responding to sets of specific questions. The process can be relatively short. It will take about 20 minutes to answer online-based questions, then 24 hours for NPcatalyst to conduct research and prepare its findings.

When completed, the organization will be presented with a charity rating score, much like a grade earned on a test. Scores will be earned in the various areas of analysis, accompanied by an overall score. Organizations which seek greater detail may purchase a “best practices guide” to received recommended action items to improve each area of operation. The guide is intended to help the organization raise the rating score to 100.

Donors and prospective contributors enjoy seeing rating scores to accompany the research their conducting on charitable organizations, but also recognize the organization’s desire to diagnose various areas of operation.

 

Click here to indicate your interest to learn more about the unique HealthCheck system or to order the analysis.
 

 

 

Board Retreats – Do they need advanced planning?

Strong organizations are governed by outstanding leaders. Fueled with passion, experience, and commitment, the board members of non-profit organizations play vital roles in the direction, management and impact of these groups.

The strength of this leadership…and engagement…isn’t always immediately felt upon creating the board or recruiting the new board member. As with many great things, the strength of the board is developed over time, through active involvement, and organizational understanding. One proven method to mature leadership and, at the same time, create organizational opportunity is by conducting annual board retreats.

Board retreats are integral to each non-profit organization’s success. They present opportunities to plan for the future by blending the vast amount of leadership, experience, skills, and ideas of the board’s members. As a result, organizations run more smoothly, where board members are more connected, and the interpersonal relationships of board and staff are strong.

Retreats serve as great “starts” or re-freshers for both organizations and their leaders. The most successful retreats…those which set the stage for future success…follow four key steps.
1. Planning – defining the purpose; planning meetings; self-assessment; presentation materials
2. Engagement – clear agenda; board “buy in”; interactive and fun
3. Strategy – creating goals and action steps; measurable results
4. Follow-Through – developed through committee meetings; presented/reviewed at board meetings

A successful retreat hinges on the work of a well-focused team (board and staff), an interested and skilled facilitator, and a proactive agenda. Its success relies on the “buy in” and active involvement of its board members. This enables the board to openly challenge assumptions, address issues, foster interpersonal relationships, improve productivity, understand and clearly represent the mission/message, and develop strategies.

Have you scheduled your next board retreat? Whether it’s to address your organization’s board development, mission/vision, messaging/public relations, fund development, and/or strategic planning, now is the time to invest in your non-profit’s future.

Amazing community opportunities in the Old Pueblo

Summer has been extremely busy for the NPcatalyst team. Rather than spend the warm months surfing waves in the Pacific or backpacking along the Tahoe Rim Trail, we’ve been serving clients and connecting with corporate and charitable leaders across the country.

This past weekend was spent in Tucson, where we met with numerous non-profit officials, social entrepreneurs, and new strategic partners. Here’s a brief list of our new friends:

  • Beads of Courage – an incredible organization which distributes beads to children being treated for cancer throughout the world.
  • TreeHouse Farm – an organization which provides an unforgettable experience for children recovering from cancer treatment, serious burns, and congenital heart issues.
  • The Haven – extraordinary organization which provides substance abuse treatment and housing for men and women.
  • Arizona Oncology Foundation – a new organization which provides support programs for cancer patients and survivors.
  • One-on-One Mentoring – an organization which matchs caring adults with at-risk youth.
  • Pima Prevention Partnership – provides practical solutions to address both individual and community problems, particularly substance abuse related.

They were all introduced to our services, particularly our online gifting tool, GiftingWishes, and our BoardCheck assessment resource.

Saturday was spent in a retreat with one of our new strategic partners. This soon-to-be-launched company will provide job recruitment, leadership development, and career development opportunities to both college students and employers. Much more to follow soon.

It was just another amazing weekend. We hope it leads to many opportunities to continue helping enhance the philanthropic culture in the Old Pueblo. Plus, we may have even landed a new job for a Tucson resident!

Thank you, Tucson, for your hospitality, heat, and spectacular sunsets!

The issue with our new project – GiftingWishes

We’re barely one month since the creation of GiftingWishes.com and we’re already addressing one major issue. While we suspected it could haunt us, we didn’t expect it to hit this soon.

Each non-profit leader who registers their wishes with GiftingWishes, represents an organization which we become instantly attached. Whether it’s the mission, their beneficiaries, their locations, or their future plans, we (the GiftingWishes team) become attracted as potential donors and voluntary leaders. It’s a “virus” that affects both John from YourVolunteers and Pete from NPcatalyst, but neither of us are looking for a remedy. Instead, we’re actively seeking to infect others with ways to support these organizations.

Here’s a brief sampling of the organizations registered on GiftingWishes and you may quickly recognize our “issue” or, really, opportunity!

  • I am Love Farms (San Diego, CA) – a Veteran Equine Assisted Therapy Charity that helps Armed Forces Veterans heal the visible & non-visible wounds of war through the practice of love, equine assisted therapy & good horsemanship.
  • Arbor Bay School (San Carlos, CA) – fosters academic and social success for children with learning differences through individualized instruction in a small classroom environment.
  • The First Tee of Northern Nevada (Reno, NV) – impacts the lives of young people in northern Nevada by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

We encourage you to become familiar with these organizations and consider supporting them through your time and/or dollar. Even if you contribute an hour or a $10 donation, your leadership will go a long way toward fulfilling their wishes and helping pave the road to greater sustainability.

For more information about GiftingWishes, YourVolunteers, or NPcatalyst, click on those links or send a note to info@npcatalyst.com or call 775-333-9444.

Working with community leaders to build stronger communities!

Nonprofit wish lists can be an opportunistic resource

 

It seems that most nonprofits have more needs than they have resources to fill. By creating a “wish list”, organizations present donors, volunteers, and prospects with specific ways they can engage. Typically, some items on a wish list can be fulfilled with a monetary gift, but most are usually items that are needed.

According to noted non-profit professional, Deane Brengle (blog), “Wish lists are not unheard of within the fundraising community. They are, however, an under-utilized resource available to all nonprofit organizations no matter what the size.”

Charities post wish lists and hope the items are hand-delivered to their doorsteps. While this may happen on occasion, it doesn’t happen as often as they’d wish.  Increasing the likelihood of this happening, these organizations can provide additional, specific information. This includes a detailed description of the items in need, the number needed, and its value to the organization or beneficiary. By providing descriptive information, prospective supporters will have a distinct idea in mind of what to purchase.

Fundraising expert Sandy Rees (blog) believes “You can include literally anything on a Wish List – everything from cleaning products to refrigerators, vans, and forklifts! I would suggest including a range of items from toilet paper and copy paper on the low end to whatever you need on the high end. Nothing is too strange because you never know when someone reading your list will have just what you need.”

Customarily, donors go out and purchase, then deliver wish list items to the charities they choose to support. This will always be an opportunity. But that’s not the only way to transact wish list giving.

Perhaps the charitable organization would accept funds for the necessary items but, rather than the donor purchasing and delivering, the organization’s staff or volunteers could go out and purchase them on their own. While this takes time away from their daily routine, by doing their own purchasing, charity leaders are benefiting in other ways. At a minimum, this presents an opportunity to begin building sustainable relationships with merchants, likely discussing (or receiving) items at further discounted prices, and purchasing exactly what they need (as opposed to using what the donor delivers).

According to Sandy, “The easier you make it for a donor to act, the more likely they will.”

Fundraising through wish lists is not a new concept within the non-profit sector. However, if properly utilized, leveraged, and promoted, it can become an integral part of an organization’s private funding model.

For more information about wish list giving, contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 or info@npcatalyst.com.