Category Archives: Leadership


Apr

11

2017

Eleven Ways to Increase Nonprofit Revenue

Dania Toscano Miwa and Jim Toscano For many nonprofits the current revenue situation is undergoing change, especially those seeking growth. With increasing numbers of nonprofits, higher competition, changes in individual giving, more narrow focusing of many foundations and corporations and impending loss of some government funding, where do we look for stability and growth of revenue? Here are eleven options. Many work together. Not all, or any, may fit specific nonprofit organizations. Hopefully, out of these possibilities, will come some opportunity for increased revenue or a stimulus for creative new options. Overall, the first step is to build a culture…

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Feb

07

2017
Trump Tectonics

Trump Tectonics

Just like the plates in earth’s crust, the three major sectors of our society– for-profit, nonprofit and government–are slowly but continuously shifting in terms of responsibility for various elements in the society. In the last century, government grew exponentially in terms of percentage of the GDP for which it was responsible. Nonprofits also grew, benefitting from the large economic growth of the nation, increase in civil need, growing private philanthropy and support from government through grants, contracts and other forms of subsidy. Since the presidential election and inauguration, we have something different, a phenomenon that is starting to produce earthquakes…

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Sep

22

2015
What Should We Look For When Hiring a Nonprofit CEO?

What Should We Look For When Hiring a Nonprofit CEO?

Now that the 401Ks have bounced back, the stresses of running nonprofits are at record highs and many CEOs are in their sixties, we are witnessing a rather disproportionate CEO vacancy rate in nonprofit-land. Clearly the headhunters are doing well running high-paid searches. Their stock in trade is experience, wide networks, skill in interviewing and negotiating, finding out what is really needed and socio-metrics. The last item involves asking around about people who are potential candidates. We’ve all gotten those calls. The real question for the pros and for those agencies that are doing searches themselves is what should we look…

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Apr

07

2015
A New Collaboration?

A New Collaboration?

Foundations must spend at least 5% of their corpus each year, under a federal requirement governing their activities. Imagine what could be done if all of their corpus–spending and investments-were directed at their missions? What about their staffs—those substantive and technical experts they hire—could they work cooperatively as truly equal partners with nonprofits and for-profits in the formulation of the very projects they all want to see succeed? For many years, a handful of foundations have been making program-related low interest loans to further their mission; others have been managing investments away from certain areas, e.g. cigarettes, fossil fuels, gambling…

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Dec

17

2014
Guest Post – Mandate Orientation and Training for Nonprofit Board Members?

Guest Post – Mandate Orientation and Training for Nonprofit Board Members?

Guest Post By Jim Thalhuber Seems like six months can’t pass without a Minnesota nonprofit organization making headlines for alleged mismanagement, misuse of funds or some other misdeed. In the past week alone, two Twin Cities nonprofits were the focus of multiple media headlines. “Despite warnings, state kept cash flowing to controversial nonprofit” was the December 11 headline on the MPR News website. This followed a December 9 Star/Tribune headline reading “New details arise on Community Action spending.” The nonprofit connected to these headlines is Community Action of Minneapolis, an agency that provided heating assistance and other aid to low-income…

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Dec

04

2014
Ten Behaviors: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Ten Behaviors: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

The idea of creating a culture of philanthropy is hot right now, either a fad or a real commitment by nonprofits to envelop boards, staff, volunteers and constituency (visitors, members, clients, patients, volunteers, staff, committee members, board members, donors, legacy leavers, etc.) in deep recognition of the overall importance of philanthropy in the life of the organization. (See my earlier posting on the Culture of Philanthropy) There are many websites talking about it, listing what to do in training, offering training, listing qualities to be achieved, selling packages, offering consulting and on and on. We know it takes years, often,…

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Sep

22

2014
The New Role – Will Our Sector Lead?

The New Role – Will Our Sector Lead?

The number of challenges to the nonprofit sector, what I call the civil benefit sector, is increasing at a rather rapid rate. What the economists characterize as the “failures of the market” are under increasing pressures to be something else. At heart, we are the embodiment of the noble American traditions of collective action for the common good. We always cite the neighbors who bring the lumber and the lunch to rebuild the barn. Toqueville recognized a good thing. What we symbolize is the great stream of generosity toward others, of mutual help, of teaching our neighbors “to fish,” rather…

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Jul

14

2014
Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Everyone these days appears to be using the concept of a “Culture of Philanthropy” to get the point across that nonprofit organizations rely on resources and relationships for their sustenance, if not their existence. When googled, the concept receives 461,000 entries, seemingly mostly from consulting firms seeking business. The phrase is a great summary of what nonprofits are all about, especially in a procedural way. Substantively, we research, we teach, we feed, we exhibit, we heal, we preach, we tinker—we do many things benefitting civil society. Procedurally, we’re being told that our culture—our beliefs, opinions, values, orientations, relationships, and interactions—needs…

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Jun

19

2014
What Does the Village Need?

What Does the Village Need?

Often, in many contexts, we hear the saying about, “It takes a Village to…” But what does the Village itself need these days to be able to do what it is supposed to do? Ultimately, if the Village is that important, we’d better make investments, positive investments, in any way we can. Conventionally, we look to three sources for this investment in the Village, here and abroad: government, private enterprise and philanthropy. Not one can do the job. It seems that two of the three are becoming quite limited in ability to invest. Government investment in infrastructure is at a…

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Apr

28

2014
Civil Benefit Organizations

Civil Benefit Organizations

We wrote recently about the nonprofit sector’s name as something we’re not, as something that doesn’t say what we do, how we do it or what comes of it. So we concluded that the descriptor “nonprofit” has to go. But what to call ourselves? Response wasn’t overwhelming, although there were some very good ideas generated, really good ones. Unfortunately, like the ten we cited, all suggested names left something out that needed to be there. The idea of “benefit” seemed appropriate in describing the work, so we needed to find the all-embracing element that received the benefit. The more we…

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