Category Archives: Leadership


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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Apr

21

2014
Guest Post – Train your board. Raise more money.

Guest Post – Train your board. Raise more money.

This post is adapted from the new book, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson, www.trainyourboard.com. No one is born knowing how to raise money, but like many other skills – sewing on a button, mastering a new app, driving a car – it’s a skill we can learn. With effective training and support, pretty much anyone can become a skilled fundraiser. That’s why we assembled our new book. Furthermore, you don’t have to be a professional facilitator to teach your board, volunteers, and staff members. Like fundraising, training others is a…

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Mar

03

2014
Are There Too Many Nonprofits, or Too Few?

Are There Too Many Nonprofits, or Too Few?

We read and hear volumes about the growing number of nonprofit organizations, now approaching one million nationally, with consequent warnings of imminent disaster for many. The causes of the disaster vary, according to source of commentary. Competition for resources is big: there just isn’t enough charitable money to pay for it all. Too many groups asking foundations, corporations and individuals for much more than is available makes difficult choices. Then there is the claim of overlapping service or uncoordinated outreach, followed by lack of efficiency, thus reduced effectiveness. Underpaid staff almost exploited by mission and rapid turnover of personnel complete this analysis….

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Feb

20

2014
I {Heart} Nonprofits

I {Heart} Nonprofits

Reposted from YNPN.org Seriously, what’s not to love? Organizations working to make social change, fix big hairy problems and impact change, both locally and globally. Staff who dedicate their careers and purpose to a mission and to improve our world.Plus, of course, our volunteers and supporters, both in and out of the boardroom, who give away their time, talent and resources in support of what we do. It all adds up to a commitment, a values statement, an ideal.Again I say, what’s not to love?For me, growing up with two parents working for nonprofits, I never really even thought about it….

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Jan

17

2014
The Seven Deadly Nonprofit Sins

The Seven Deadly Nonprofit Sins

 A Post from James V. Toscano As it is the darker time of the year,  it’s time to review the other side of our work. Certainly the satisfactions and successes of our sector are what keep us motivated and eager to get to work each morning, and will inevitably always be the case. Nevertheless, there are dysfunctions, negatives, hindrances of which we need to be aware and upon which we can continuously strive to improve. Not included are those illegalities and ethical lapses for which society has prescribed remedies. Our seven “sins” are those we need to deal with for…

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Dec

19

2013

The Top Ten Posts of 2013

These are the ten most read articles on the Good Counsel’s blog in the last year. 1. Twelve Elements of a Nonprofit’s Business Model 2. Ten Questions to Ask a Director of Development Candidate 3. 10 Questions A Development Director Candidate Should Ask Once Offered But Before Accepting the Position 4.  Why Does a Nonprofit Board Need Young People? 5.  Guest Post by Jon Pratt – Flaws in the Social Impact Bond Craze 6.  The Ten “Must” Agreements between Board and Executive Director 7. The Ten Requisites for Conducting a Capital Campaign 8. Ten Things Every Nonprofit Board Member Should Know 9. The First 100 Days: Ten Things…

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Oct

02

2013

The Qualities Needed in a Nonprofit Organization’s CEO

 A Posting by  James V. Toscano & Dania Toscano Miwa The latest surveys report between 20-40% of CEO/EDs of nonprofit organizations are thinking of leaving in the next few years. Is this a disaster or a remarkable opportunity to improve leadership? In addition to management degrees, e.g. MBAs, MNPM, MPAs, and good track records, what else should we be looking for in the next generation of nonprofit CEOs? Here is our collective baker’s dozen on those qualities that will help bring nonprofits to a new, more productive, innovative position. Some who are next in line at these organizations may have many…

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Aug

28

2013

The Qualities Needed in a Nonprofit Organization’s Board Chair

A Post from James V. Toscano and Dania Toscano Miwa This post dedicated to Amir Gharbi. With a million nonprofits now extant in the United States, we could assume that there may be almost a million unique individuals in the role of chair of the Board of Directors or Trustees. Given the diversity of the nonprofit sector, are there common qualities that all of these groups should be searching for in the individual who will serve as chief volunteer? Clearly, there are. Doing a Google search alone will produce hundreds of descriptions of what a chair does, should be and…

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Jul

29

2013

The Charitable-Industrial Complex

  A Post from James V. Toscano In a provocative op-ed piece in Saturday’s New York Times. Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, takes on the present system of philanthropy with deep insight, passion and some outrage. Buffett focuses on the growing inequality in the society, with the consequent increase in philanthropy by the rich, and the corresponding rise in the number of nonprofits to help “solve” the problems created by the inequality. He points out: “As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give…

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Jun

25

2013

Ten Things to Look For in Prospective Board Members

  A Post from  Dania Toscano Miwa and James V. Toscano All of us need board members. With turnover, reluctance to serve and aging of that generation inured to board service, we are under constant pressure to recruit prospective members for nonprofit boards of directors. Where do we go? Who do we look for? What do we need? There are those mnemonics: 3W, 3G, 3T and 3M, to name just a few.  Fun to recite, they are of very limited value in the actual selection process. Yes, wealth, wisdom and work (3W) nail it on one level, although point nowhere….

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