Category Archives: Leadership


Jun

13

2013
Ten Steps Before Accepting a Nonprofit Board Position

Ten Steps Before Accepting a Nonprofit Board Position

  A Post from James V. Toscano & Dania Toscano Miwa  What a wonderful tribute and honor to be asked to serve on the board of Directors of a nonprofit organization. Being part of governance of a group providing benefit to society is a unique privilege. Nevertheless, boards have varying cultures, capacities and track records. Before acceptance, it may be wise to do some due diligence to ensure that you understand what you will be doing, what will be expected of you and how successful you will be. Here are ten things to do before accepting the invitation. 1. Read…

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Jun

05

2013

The First 100 Days: Ten Things a New ED Should Do

 A post from James V. Toscano Whether one’s first ED position or one’s Nth time around, there are some universally important, critical things to do in the first 100 days on the job, but often are not done, for a variety of reasons, most of which aren’t valid. Sometimes those not done come to haunt the ED. Here are ten of the most vital. There are more. 1.Walk around and meet all of the staff. Arrange to meet with others not on site or away. Try to remember names and jobs; use mnemonics if they help. Continue these walks daily….

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Apr

29

2013

Ten Requisites to Retain Development Directors

 A Post from James V. Toscano Since the release of the Underdeveloped Study, much has been written here and elsewhere about the state of development and fundraising offices and people in nonprofit organizations. We have been somewhat shocked by what we read in the report on short tenures, distrust, misunderstanding, and intentions to terminate and to leave. All in all, the report gives a picture of a disaster happening before our eyes. We know there are many places where this is not happening, yet we also know a number of nonprofits where elements of this picture are present, some in…

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Apr

16

2013

The Ten Requisites for Conducting a Capital Campaign

 A Posting by James V. Toscano Capital Campaigns, which, for purposes here, include endowment as well, used to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. One could expect one’s religious institution, alma mater, cultural center and favorite charity to solicit a capital donation once. Now, there’s a certain circularity cycling capital campaigns every x years. An institution of higher education near to my home has just gone over its $500M goal and is celebrating. It is simultaneously planning its next campaign, perhaps in five to seven years.


Mar

19

2013

Ten Questions to Ask a Director of Development Candidate

 A posting by Dania Toscano Miwa and James V. Toscano We read in the recent report, UnderDeveloped, of significant problems in recruiting and retaining good development people and that average tenure now is often at two years or less. Moreover, all is not well in many relationships between Executive Directors (ED) and Development Directors (DD). In an effort to promote transparency and clear up what is thought of as the “profound misunderstanding” about roles between and among the Board, ED and DD in an institution’s development program, we submit the following initial questions to recruitment and screening committees of nonprofits interviewing…

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Feb

26

2013
Guest Post – Functionality Plus Fit Equals Better Fund Raising

Guest Post – Functionality Plus Fit Equals Better Fund Raising

 A Post by Dawn M. Fish, M.A., CFRE Reading the recently released report, Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising by Jeanne Bell and Maria Cornelius, I reflected upon my 25 years as an executive, development director and gift officer raising funds in social service, health care and higher education institutions. The report contains no surprises, but did fail to address two major issues related to nonprofit fund-raising failures: the traits and skills necessary in an effective director of development (DOD) and the relationship between the executive director (ED) and the DOD. DOD traits and skills An effective…

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Feb

21

2013

10 Questions A Development Director Candidate Should Ask Once Offered But Before Accepting the Position

A posting by Dania Toscano Miwa and James V. Toscano 1. How many different individuals have held this position in the last 5 years?  If one, proceed to the next question. If 2, ask why each left. If 3 or more, run in the other direction. 2. How is the development goal determined? Has it been met in the last three years?  If the goal is set by the difference between expected expenses and anticipated revenue, and if it hasn’t been met in 2 or 3 of the last three years, ask for a change in the way it is…

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Jan

02

2013
A Recap – The Most Popular Posts in 2012

A Recap – The Most Popular Posts in 2012

Happy New Year! In looking back over last year, Jim and I were interested to see what resonated with our readers the most and are eager to hear what topics our readers wished we’d written about. (The comment box below is a great place to let us know what you’d like to read more about, or if you’d prefer, send me an email at Dania(@)ToscanoAdvisors.com.) These are the top five most read posts of last year. 1.  5 Myths about Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations 2. Why Does a Nonprofit Board Need Young People? 3. The Ten “Must” Agreements Between…

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Dec

16

2012

Ten Predictions for the Nonprofit Sector in 2013

 A post by James V. Toscano 1. As traditional sources of gifts and grants plateau, nonprofits will increasingly turn to new and alternative sources of revenue, including social entrepreneurship, cause marketing, and for-profit subsidiaries. Pay for performance, in many forms, will be an emerging methodology for payment by government and other funding groups. 2.  The total number of nonprofits will increase year over year, as will the number of mergers and acquisitions among existing nonprofits. 3. Of those retiring Boomers from the business world and others who want to benefit society, some will choose to start B-corporations, which are double…

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Dec

07

2012
How Many Board Members Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

How Many Board Members Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

  A Posting from James V. Toscano How many times have we read, heard or said something like, “Board Members Must Not Only Give, They Must Get” or one of the variations of that message? I have read it, heard it, said it, taught it, written it a few thousand times in my fifty years in nonprofit management and consulting. And who listens? Apparently not a lot of board members In the latest BoardSource survey of nonprofit CEO’s on their boards’ performance (see the distribution in the map below), a consistent pattern emerges. Sampling both BoardSource members and nonmembers on a range…

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