Category Archives: Leadership


Mar

14

2012
Nature Conservancy: Cavorting in Sea, Surf and Deep Manure

Nature Conservancy: Cavorting in Sea, Surf and Deep Manure

 A post by James V. Toscano Certain specific demographic cohorts flock to the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated each year, presumably to experience nature and the environment up close. Some of our friends at Nature Conservancy were intrigued with the demographics of these readers, clearly holding the prospect of adding to NC constituency and donors, so they entered into a three-pronged sponsorship of this year’s swimsuit edition with the magazine and a high-end luxury website.


Mar

05

2012
We’re All Development Officers Now!

We’re All Development Officers Now!

 A post by James V. Toscano A much emailed and referenced article from McKinsey Quarterly by Tom French, Laura LaBerge and Paul McGill, “We’re all marketers now,” stresses the need for commitment from everyone in an organization to fully engage customers. The authors advocate a total organizational approach to marketing. Quoting the article: “…customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product…In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.”


Jan

19

2012
Guest Post – The Best Advice to Achieve Success

Guest Post – The Best Advice to Achieve Success

 Post by Gary Gilson When I headed the Minnesota News Council I heard what I consider the best advice for a nonprofit on how to achieve success. I was in Denver to conduct an ethics workshop for managers of public radio stations in the far west, and I heard a Washington, D.C.-based consultant tell them the two most important things they could do: 1) convince their audience that the station belonged to the listeners, not to the management, and 2) take risks to grow, even if risks meant incurring debt. In other words, a nonprofit had to be entrepreneurial to…

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Jan

14

2012

Ten Thoughts on Retirement/Leadership Transition

 Post by James V. Toscano With one-third of all Executive Directors reporting they will be leaving their positions in the next few years, I advance the following thoughts on retirement, now having retired this month for the third time. 1.    Ensure that the Board of Directors has agreed to a succession policy and plan for top executive leadership well in advance of any announced departure. The Executive Director will probably need to initiate this policy, while board leadership needs then to jump in early and take responsibility. 2.    Always nurture and work hard to develop all internal talent…

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Dec

21

2011

Ten Predictions for the Nonprofit Sector in 2012

 Post by James V. Toscano • Our total number of nonprofit organizations will increase. The number of 501 C(3)s going inactive or out of business will also increase. This is normal in this dynamic sector. What will be telling is that the numbers in both areas will increase dramatically. With more people marginalized, boomers who want to start new and novel nonprofit organizations beginning to retire, and the supply of idealistic young people interested in work in the sector increasing, a boom in new nonprofits is underway. At the same time, an increasing number of nonprofits will not have sufficient…

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Dec

13

2011

The Ten “Must” Agreements between Board and Executive Director

 Post by James V. Toscano There must be agreement: 1. On  Vision. Do all agree on the overall Vision, how it is articulated and explicated into program, or are there major differences? Do  all agree that this Vision is still relevant and essential to social benefit? 2. On Mission. Is there agreement that the organization’s mission is still the critical pathway to achieve strategic goals? Is there consensus on the processes and/or programs that will achieve Vision? Do all participate in and agree on strategic plan or strategic priorities? Is there agreement that the organization is still viable should it…

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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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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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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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