Friday, February 17, 2012

Overheard: Feb. 17

There's a bit of an incidental "money" theme to the list of potential links to share this week, and I think I'll run with that. Board members can't escape their accountability for the financial health of their nonprofits, and these sources contribute to our understanding of that responsibility.

How to attract individuals to give (Tony Martignetti)

In the latest edition of his Chronicle of Philanthropy "Fundraising Fundamentals" podcast (also available for download in iTunes), Tony interviews development professionals Pamela Grow (my favorite fundraising goddess) and Tyler Wilson on the essential elements of successful donor engagement, from the ask through the thank you. It's short, sweet, and easy to share with your favorite board. I'd say it's most useful for board members and staff who are fairly new to philanthropy - a good conversation starter, particularly at a group level.

Why board members miss red flags (Kate Barr)

As a board member who lives in perpetual fear of missing obvious warning signs that our nonprofit might be in trouble, the title of this one captured my attention immediately. I was particularly taken by her bottom line message: those trouble spots often don't exist in the places where we are most likely to be looking. I appreciated the author's alerting us to the need to pay closer attention to the balance sheet, as much as I appreciated the links shared at the bottom of the post - which brings me to...

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund YouTube Channel (Nonprofits Assistance Fund)

Here you will find a series of tutorials related to various aspects of nonprofit accountability. For example, here is a primer on "Balance Sheet Basics." They offer brief overviews of a handful of topics that bring shivers to many a nonprofit board member's spine. The video format is helpful, too - a different way of presenting the information that accommodates learner needs beyond the usual text format.

Finding "money people" for your nonprofit board (Richard Male)

How often have you heard this: "We need someone who can help us with the money piece - anyone know an accountant?" or "We need someone to help us with fundraising. Who do we know who's rich?" I found myself thinking, "I never thought about.." more than once as I read Rich's post. He helped stretch my personal boundaries about both the types of backgrounds where financial intelligence is regularly incorporated, and the types of professions where that might lie.

Organizing the board to support the revenue strategy (Jan Masaoka)

 When we think of board members' role in building the financial health of the organization, many of us hone in on the fundraising component. Jan encourages us to think more broadly about the board's role in building and implementing our organization's business strategy. I immediately could see two potential outcomes of this framework shift: moving away from the perpetual focus on fundraising events and donor calls that can be challenging for many boards, and engaging individual members in work that many already have some confidence and expertise. The potential to focus board energy on revenue strategy also is appealing.

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