Monday, August 13, 2018

posted by
Angelina Magerl
Class 12 Public Ally

"Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nourishing to the whole woman.” -Maya Angelou

Coming into Public Allies, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I thought I would do was learn about nonprofit organizations or maybe do some volunteering. Mostly, I just wanted to get my foot in the door of the nonprofit sector. After graduating from MCC, I was confused about what I wanted to do with my degree. I knew I was supposed to have all of these new opportunities open up for me, but I didn’t even know where to start looking. When you spend all your adult life working a job you hate because it provides the income needed to support your family, you don’t really think about what you would do if you could do anything else. I came across Public Allies and it looked like a great program. It was like a paid internship where I would learn about nonprofit organizations, and receive an education award at the end. I was more than excited to apply.

 “Great leaders can see the greatness in others when they can’t see it themselves and lead them to their highest potential they don’t even know.” -Roy T. Bennett

 

Monday, August 6, 2018

posted by
Jarrett R. Ransom, MBA
President & CEO, The Rayvan Group

Skip the resolutions and let’s talk about goal setting for your nonprofit. July 1 represents a new fiscal year for many nonprofits, a time to review programs and previous goals to be sure they’re aligned with the mission and to establish new benchmarks. Without a clear plan, your nonprofit will likely serve less people than you intend. Where do you begin?

Start with WHY.

The reason we say ditch resolutions is because they’re often not well thought out so they fail. We want your nonprofit to be successful in its mission. 

Simon Sinek reminds us to think about why we’re doing what we’re doing. Honestly, whether you’re in nonprofit or for-profit work, remembering the reason you’re serving a particular group is vital to moving the organization forward. 

What will you do differently this year? Review the mission statement - cure cancer, end homelessness, provide affordable housing for working families - whatever it is, ask yourself if the programs from last year helped the organization reach its goals.  

 

Monday, July 30, 2018

posted by
Charlaina Baker
Spring 2018 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Nonprofit executives play a critical role in the performance of the organizations they lead. Executive turnover can be tumultuous and costly for an organization in terms of money and effectiveness. By planning for the transition, organizations can minimize the risks and costs while taking advantages of the opportunities it brings. Several strategies can help nonprofits to plan and manage a successful leadership transition:

Build Board Capacity

Hiring and supervising the executive director is one of a board’s key responsibilities, yet many boards are underprepared for the transition and lack the experience needed to manage the process, according to Michael Allison in “Into the Fire: Boards and Executive Transitions."

Training and educating board members on the executive transition process can help prepare them for this important responsibility. Organizations can also seek to recruit board members who can be strong leaders during the transition. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

posted by
Suzanne Durkin-Bighorn 
Spring 2018 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Member based nonprofits and trade associations have been consistently losing ground in the volunteer sector and are challenged with remaining relevant and retaining members. In a field that is known for the lack of capacity building and infrastructure funding, nonprofits must be strategic in how they allocate time, treasure, and talent. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “nonprofit leaders must focus more attention on innovation, measuring the impact of their efforts, and creating funding structures that encourage risk taking, according to a report  from Independent Sector." An approach that member-based organizations may consider from the private sector is Lean Startup, which provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups in order to get a desired product into customers' hands faster. The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup: how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development. Applying this concept to nonprofits is another accepted means to include the nonprofit sector as a viable player in the business sector, with management capabilities that are equal or exceed the private sector in efficiency.

Taking risks in the business sector is considered research and development. It can drive up costs (pharmaceuticals) because of research and development. Often if a drug trial fails the public is unaware of the failure or the associated cost. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

posted by
Jarrett R. Ransom, MBA
President & CEO, The Rayvan Group

If your nonprofit is serious about long-term sustainability, succession planning needs to be part of the overall plan for the organization. The team has poured their hearts and souls into setting goals, developing strategies, and recruiting staff and volunteers, only to have all that work potentially go to waste when a leader leaves the organization. Disruption happens and the more prepared the organization is for change, the better for long-term success.

Write it down:

BoardSource reports that only 27 percent of all organizations have a written executive succession plan. That means nearly three quarters do not. In the event the executive director leaves, there will be a transition time to not only figure out an interim leader but a process to identify a new one. Without a written plan, assumptions may be made that aren’t aligned with the overall vision and resources spent to start a process that should have already been happening. 

 

Monday, July 9, 2018

posted by
Cara Pritulsky
Spring 2018 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Evaluating volunteer programs within nonprofit organizations is a key step in continual improvement and data collection. Systematic evaluation can positively impact the organization by creating more structure, providing results for adaptability, increasing volunteer retention and improving staff-volunteer relationships. Due to a sector-wide leadership crisis and continual staff burnout, volunteer management and evaluation plays a crucial role in the livelihood of nonprofit organizations. According to the 2018 Volunteer Management Progress Report, the top five training needs within volunteer management are supporting volunteers, recruiting efforts, developing volunteer leaders, outcome metrics, and recognition and retention efforts, according to Johnson and Associates in "Volunteer Management Progress Report."

There over 62 million volunteers in America each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to "Volunteering in the US." “Four out of five charities use volunteers” and the majority of these organizations report that the volunteers are “beneficial to their operations in a number of ways,” according to Urban Institute . 

Monday, July 2, 2018

posted by
Anne Byrne
Professional in Residence, ASU Lodestar Center

 What we know: The new tax law’s influence on charitable giving is a topic of lively discussion, and multiple projections of negative impact have been made. Not everyone fears the effect of the change, with some believing it will put more cash into the economy and actually boost charitable giving. The nonprofit sector will not know the full implications until after year-end, but it is in the best interests of organizations to proactively consider the tax changes in their operations. The ASU Lodestar Center’s two Professionals in Residence, Pat Lewis and Anne Byrne, weigh in with their differing perspectives and advice for nonprofit organizations. For more information on the likely impact of the new tax law, click here

Perspective 2: 

There have been many very negative predictions on the impact of the new tax bill, with some sources projecting up to $20 billion less in charitable giving as a result of the increase to the standard deduction for taxpayers. By contrast, there are also enthusiastic advocates predicting that both businesses and individuals will have more money available and therefore charitable giving will stay the same or actually increase as a result of new tax policy and a robust economy. My colleague Pat Lewis is one, and she makes her case in the companion blog article here. Unfortunately, I do not share her optimism, but I do offer suggestions on how to respond to change.

 

Monday, July 2, 2018

posted by
Pat Lewis
Retired Professional in Residence, ASU Lodestar Center

 What we know: The new tax law’s influence on charitable giving is a topic of lively discussion, and multiple projections of negative impact have been made. Not everyone fears the effect of the change, with some believing it will put more cash into the economy and actually boost charitable giving. The nonprofit sector will not know the full implications until after year-end, but it is in the best interests of organizations to proactively consider the tax changes in their operations. The ASU Lodestar Center’s two Professionals in Residence, Pat Lewis and Anne Byrne, weigh in with their differing perspectives and advice for nonprofit organizations. For more information on the likely impact of the new tax law, click here.

Perspective 1:

Yes, we are now undergoing significant changes to tax law changes that impact individuals in new ways. For those of us engaged in the world of philanthropy, there is a lot of head scratching going on. Will people have more funds to give because of the significant increase in the standard deduction? Will those with moderate giving patterns have less to give because of the $10,000 cap on state and local income and property taxes? Will those with significant estates and high annual incomes give more because of their greater access to deductibility of their charitable gifts? 

Monday, June 25, 2018

posted by
Danielle Connolly
Spring 2018 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

In today’s day and age, it’s no longer a question of “Should we use social media?”, but rather “How can we use social media to achieve our mission?”. Organizations cannot afford to post randomly, without strategically thinking about what they post, where they post it, how or if they are engaging followers, and what they are aiming to achieve or gain from every post. To make matters trickier, many nonprofits do not have a social media team, or even a social media person. To get the most out of every post, there are some key components organizations should consider and implement. 

To whom are you speaking?

The first step would be to think before you post; whom are you trying to reach, and what are you trying to get out of them? If you are unclear on these questions, then you are posting blindly and will have no way to measure whether or not your time and energy spent on social media is paying off. Think of the target population, and then you can strategize on what kind of content that population will be interested in.

Social Media Capital

The next step in creating an effective social media strategy is to build your social media capital, or the, “social resources in an organization’s social media network that can be accumulated, mobilized, and expended to achieve organizational outcomes,” according to an article by Guo and Saxton. . Organizations need to do more than just collect mass followers, because while followers are important, the number of followers alone does not equate success. Remember, it has been shown that, “[w]hen stakeholders are engaged in social media platforms, they may be more likely to engage with the organization in other ways,” according to an article by Carboni and Maxwell . Organizations need to build and strengthen relationships with their followers through dialogue and interactions. These relationships can be strengthened, “through some combination of reciprocal following, through sharing and liking the users’ messages, and through mentioning and acknowledging the user in targeted social media messages." Your organization must then make a call to action to your followers. This is the “what now?” move for your organization by asking for what you need; donations, volunteers, resources, etc. Conversion is the quintessential reason for utilizing social media. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

posted by
Taylor Polen
Class 11 and Class 12 Public Ally

My name is Taylor Polen, I was born and raised in Arizona and am passionate about finding creative solutions to inspire systemic equality and opportunity for all. I graduated from high school in 2016 and had little notion of what I wanted to do with my life until I joined Public Allies.

I found the program while searching for other sources of financial aid for college and applied late despite discouragement. My first term with Public Allies and the Alzheimer's Association began as an outreach specialist in December 2016. I became a program specialist my second year with Public Allies, in October 2017. Because of this program, I have been given the opportunity and guidance to achieve my life mission to create meaningful, positive and lasting change.

“To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research: to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

 

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