The Good Counsel Blog


Nov

15

2011

10 Best Federal Government Revenue Sites

 Post by James V. Toscano The federal government has made great strides in the past decade in clarifying the incredibly complex webs of funding streams emanating out of Washington. 1. The single best site is grants.gov. Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services it is an up-to-date repository of current sources of the fed’s largesse. The site helps you find opportunities and then helps you apply for them. There are many other features that make this a frequent stopover. Government benefits, loans funds and small business opportunities are covered elsewhere. 2.  The Federal Register  is the daily encyclopedic…

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Nov

08

2011

10 Basic Ideas About Fundraising

A post by James V. Toscano 1. Fundraising is not about Money. It’s about values, those of the Donor and those of the Organization. Getting alignment between donor values and organization values is the first task in developing a donor base. It’s the beginning of a lifelong relationship. 2. Don’t take the money and run. Fundraising is not one-way but about an exchange of values over time. The organization gets something– resources of the donor– and the donor gets something. Make sure you know what the donor needs if you want the relationship and the exchange to continue. 3. Results…

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Nov

02

2011

12 of My Favorite Nonprofit Resources

  Post by Dania Toscano Miwa There are many more than 12 but this is just a start. The first 3 are Minnesota based, if you are out of MN, skip to number 4. 1. The Principals and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence – This document is available courtesy of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, which is also an excellent resource for Minnesota Nonprofits. 2. MAP for Nonprofits–  Also Minnesota specific, but many of the services they offer, like their board boot camp can be adapted for any board.  There are also templates such as an Executive Director evaluation template, local board position openings and a…

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Oct

28

2011

The New Nonprofit

 Post by James V. Toscano We often hear of Creation Myths. Genesis has two; most southwestern tribes’ creation involves turtles; and Asians attribute their origins to complex deities. In the U. S., we have creation and creator stories, such as presidents who can’t tell a lie, clearly ancient history. Mythologies of the American Dream, streets paved with gold, two chickens in every pot, and, more recently, high tides raising all boats motivate us to specific actions. Idealistically, we could frame “Destination Myths” about where we would like to go as a society. What does the future hold for us and…

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Oct

19

2011

Networked Collaborative Community: The New Organization?

 Post by James V. Toscano Leadership in organizations has traditionally been thought of as the ability to inspire, influence, motivate, persuade and/or compel behaviors and actions in others through decisions made by individuals at the top of the organization. Traditional leadership in nonprofits has been exercised in this model of power from the top down for many years. Yet, in today’s organization, where communication travels at the speed of light and all employees and those beyond are plugged in, everyone needs to be a leader on a scale appropriate for the best decisions to be made. Reams have been written about formal and informal leadership….

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Oct

11

2011
Budgets are Lousy Financial Plans

Budgets are Lousy Financial Plans

Reposted from The Nonprofit Assistance Fund’s Blog  Post by Kate Barr A large percentage of nonprofits view their strategic plan as an essential part of managing the organization. The process of developing a strategic plan clarifies the purpose of the organization in a mission statement, and gets the staff and board on the same page by setting goals and priorities. The most commonly used tool for financial planning, on the other hand, is the annual budget. For many nonprofits, the financial goal represented by the budget boils down to this: “we hope we can raise enough money to pay for programs…

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Sep

23

2011

Through The Eye Of The Needle

Post by James V. Toscano Through the Eye of the Needle Legions of nonprofit board members think of involvement in fundraising as an unnatural act, while development officers think of it as getting the camel through the eye of the needle. Hundreds of articles on boards and fundraising have been published in the last few years. Many admonish board members to do what they’re legally supposed to do. More helpful articles try teaching board members that they can help and lead in development efforts. Some of these pieces suggest steps to train board members. Here’s my compilation and thoughts on…

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Sep

15

2011
Why Your Board Needs Term Limits

Why Your Board Needs Term Limits

 Post by Gail Perry (reposted from Charity Channel) Do you have a board that is reluctant to enforce term limits for its members? Or do you have bylaws that don’t even mention term limits? Term limits are important to a smoothly functioning board. In fact, they can be a nonprofit CEO’s best friend. They keep a board from becoming stale and set in its ways. When that happens, your entire organization may be at risk—sooner than you think. With today’s wildly shifting environment, this is a very dangerous place to be. To illustrate just how term limits can make a…

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Sep

05

2011

Probabilities

 Post by James V. Toscano Almost forty years ago, I was just settling in to the position of Vice President for Resource Development and Public Affairs at the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, then parent to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the College of Art and Design and the Children’s Theatre Company. An intercom from my secretary told me of my first visitor, whom she ushered politely into an office not quite furnished.  As we stood among the packing cases, this older gentleman beamed as he handed me a check for  $2.2 million, told me how happy he was to do so, and…

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Aug

29

2011

Why Does a Nonprofit Board Need Young People?

Post by Dania Toscano Miwa I do a lot of board recruiting. A LOT. One of the most common questions I get from those already on the board in question is “Why do I want a college student or young professional on the board? What value does he/she bring?” While it’s true that most young professionals cannot write a 5 digit check to an organization, is money really the only thing of value we gain from our Board of Directors? Assuming a nonprofit organization has the right young individual for board service, it can be a mutually beneficial experience. The…

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