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Don’t Have 100% Board Giving? #GivingTuesday Might Be The Answer

Posted By Guest post by Steven Shattuck, Bloomerang Chief Engagement Officer , Friday, October 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017

Republished with permission

100% board giving eludes many nonprofits.

Our own Bloomerang survey found that only 59% of nonprofits saw all of their board members pledge or give a gift in the past year.

According to Leading with Intent’s 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, the percentage of organizations who require board giving is also 59%. That percentage fluctuates based on organization size and type between 19% and 69%.

If you agree that 100% board giving is important but struggle with how to ask current board members to give when no prior expectation for giving had been set, there may be a simple solution:

Giving Tuesday!

Hear me out before you say “Steven, Giving Tuesday is an online day of giving. Go lie down.”

Most nonprofits would say that a primary goal of Giving Tuesday is new donor acquisition. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t board members who haven’t yet given not be an ideal prospect? It’s a perfect, totally organic excuse to ask, without the need to bring up the awkward fact that they’ve never been asked before.

You could treat it like the silent phase of a large campaign, especially if you have a specific dollar amount goal or have a dedicated project that all Giving Tuesday gifts will go towards (you should). “Help us get Giving Tuesday started with a gift of your own!”

Another tack you could take is encouraging board members to give in order to make their Giving Tuesday appeals more authentic.

Let’s say you want your board members to go out on social media and make an appeal for you. Imagine the power of a post that resembles something like:

“I’m not only a board member of (org) but I’m also a donor. I support (org) because (all the great work you do). You’re going to see a lot of nonprofits asking for help today, but I hope you’ll consider supporting (org) with a small gift.”

This kind of post from a board member not only makes sense on Facebook, but could be ideal for LinkedIn.

If your board members are leaders in business, they probably have active LinkedIn profiles. Combine that with the fact that, compared to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, LinkedIn will be pretty quiet on Giving Tuesday. This post will stand out.

The goal here isn’t to get a massive gift from a board member. It’s to get their first gift. $5 is fine. It doesn’t matter. The point is: they’ve given. You’ve removed the barriers “I’ve never been asked to give before” and/or “I’ve never given before.” That should at least somewhat pave the way for future giving.

It’s likely that those board members who don’t give simply haven’t ever been asked. What better day than Giving Tuesday to ask?

Steven Shattuck is Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang and Executive Director of Launch Cause. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven is a contributor to "Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition" and volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and is an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.

Tags:  #givingTuesday  board  campaign  fundraising  giving Tuesday  online day of giving  prospect  social media 

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Are You Ready to Grow?

Posted By NLC Custom Solutions, Friday, October 13, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Images and some content courtesy of TCC Group

Do you know how to measure your organization's effectiveness?

What could you do if you had the right partner to assess your capacity, develop an action plan, and make data-driven decisions?

Wonder no more. 

With the recent certification by TCC Group of our CEO, Emily Benham, FAHP, CFRE, and Director of Strategic Solutions, Tuesdi Dyer, the Nonprofit Leadership Center now has multiple members of staff and select contractors who are equipped to help you measure your nonprofit’s organizational effectiveness in relation to four core capacities – leadership, adaptability, management, and technical – as well as organizational culture via the Core Capacity Assessment Tool or CCAT.

The CCAT is an online, survey-based tool designed to collect information from key decision-makers in your organization and create prioritized recommendations for building organizational capacity. Used by nonprofits more than 5,000 times, the CCAT is a leading assessment tool for measuring a nonprofit’s effectiveness.

Based on decades of research and many large-scale evaluations of capacity-building initiatives conducted around the country, the TCC Group has identified four core capacities that all organizations need to be effective:

The core capacity assessment model also assesses a measure of organizational culture, since the unique history, values, and beliefs of each organization have a significant impact on each of the above core capacities. 

When paired with an interpretation session led by one of NLC's skilled facilitators, the CCAT becomes a powerful means of turning assessment into action. CCAT interpretation sessions include a facilitated conversation to discuss and analyze your CCAT results, deepen your understanding of the CCAT findings, prioritize the most urgent needs, and develop a personalized action plan to enhance effectiveness throughout your organization.

NLC facilitators are currently completely booked for all CCAT engagements through the end of 2017. If your nonprofit would like to explore the benefits of the CCAT process, please reach out to Director of Strategic Solutions Tuesdi Dyer to book your assessment and facilitation in early 2018. Email her at or call our office at 813-287-8779.

Tags:  assessment  capacity building  CCAT  custom solutions  data driven  lifecycle  nonprofit 

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Team-Building Tips from the Pros

Posted By Guest blog post by Liz Prisley, Community Tampa Bay, Friday, October 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 2, 2017

Team-building is essential for high-performing groups and for increasing the environment of inclusion in your office. Social science research, Forbes, and Gallup all repeat the same message: Employees who are engaged in their work and with their team members are more productive.

So how do you team build without turning into Michael Scott from The Office?

Community Tampa Bay recommends team-building at every staff meeting. Even longtime coworkers benefit from intentional opportunities to learn more about each other. Team-building gives coworkers intentional time to connect and build relationship in ways that aren’t centered around task lists or performance reviews.

Here are two of our favorites:

In My World (for large groups, 15+ team members)
Set up is easy: you just need chairs in a circle. Be sure to place one less than there are participants. Individuals share commonalities in a musical chairs-like game. When the person in the middle says, “In my world…” followed up by a fact about themselves, those who share that fact move chairs across the circle while the person in the middle does too. Whoever is left in the middle, having not found a chair, repeats, “In my world…” If the same person ends up in the middle, they can choose someone who hasn’t gone yet.

Animal Farm (for small groups, <15)
Participants increase comfort in a silly, animal noise making game. One person stands in the middle of a circle with their eyes closed and points at someone who then has to make an animal noise. The team member in the middle guesses that person’s identity. For each round the person in the middle changes and starts by spinning with their eyes closed while the circle walks in the opposite direction. If the person in the middle guesses correctly, they join the circle and the animal noise maker is the one in the middle. If not, they try again.

After the activity, whichever one you choose, spend time “processing” – asking strategic questions to share reactions and talk about the team. Move from observational thinking to decision making:

1.       What did you notice about our group?

2.       Where did you find yourself feeling frustrated?

3.       What strategies helped us to be successful?

4.       How can we apply these lessons back to how we work together as a team?

Learn more about how to cultivate an intentionally inclusive work space by joining us at NLC on October 13th for an exciting new class, Creating a Culture of Inclusion in Your Nonprofit, facilitated by Community Tampa Bay’s Liz Prisley. Walk away with exciting new strategies for building inclusive team dynamics that contribute to a culture of inclusion in your workplace!

Liz Prisley is the Professional Education Manager at Community Tampa Bay, a local anti-discrimination nonprofit, where she oversees adult and workplace diversity and inclusion education programs. She has more than five years of experience in diversity training and 10 years in teaching adult learners.

As a former college professor, Liz has taught as a Fulbright scholar in Germany, at Virginia Tech, The University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She specializes in creating high-energy, engaging environments for learning where the intangibles of diversity and inclusion are made tangible.


Tags:  employee engagement  high performing  inclusion  performance review  productivity  relationships  team  teambuilding 

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Hand Written Notes: Why?

Posted By Guest pot by Sara Leonard, Sara Leonard Group, Friday, September 29, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
republished with permission
I completed an experiment recently:
I saved all of the mail that came into our household for one week. You would be amazed!

So much junk mail. Several bills. A few medical items.
I collected our mail to create a hands-on learning experience in a class I was teaching at the Nonprofit Leadership Center.

Tom Ahern, in his book Keep Your Donors, says we divide our mail into three categories:
  1. “Stuff I canNOT ignore, or something bad will happen to me.”
  2. “Stuff I can SAFELY ignore, and NOTHING bad will happen to me.”
  3. “Stuff I could be interested in. I’ll save that for a second look.”
As a class, we dug through the Leonard family’s week of mail and sorted accordingly.
We found several hand addressed items: a wedding invitation, a birthday card, and a post card thank you note from a favorite charity. While we were sorting it became crystal clear to me what I’ve been teaching for many years: hand written items are very powerful. Their power/value has grown even more in the age of electronic communication.
Let’s be honest, the mail we send from our nonprofit will never be in stack one. The “stuff I can’t ignore” stack is for bills, insurance information, and items from my children’s schools. No matter how much our donor may care about us, our fundraising communications can be ignored without consequence. That leaves us fighting for a spot in the pile of interesting things.
The next time your procrastinate sending handwritten thank you notes, ask yourself how you are going to move from stack two to stack three? (another way to say it: how do you keep from getting thrown away?) The answer is: write something by hand. How can we make this practical?
Try this experiment:
  • Create a list of 200 donors who have supported your organization.
  • Print the list.
  • Each Monday morning put 5 notecards on your desk.
  • During the week, look for reasons to write a personal note to one of those donors.
  • Each time you do, put a check mark on the list.
  • Before you go home on Friday, make sure you have written your five notes for the week.
  • Repeat.
If my math is correct, after 40 weeks, you will have written 200 notecards. Watch what happens. Your relationships with your donors will begin to grow and from that your fundraising will be more successful in the long run.


Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE
, is a fundraising and board governance consultant. She created the Fund Development Academy at the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay, where she is still an instructor.

Her firm, the Sara Leonard Group, delivers excellent professional guidance, education and facilitation to those responsible for fund development – fundraising professionals, CEOs, CFOs, board members, and other nonprofit staff.





Tags:  communication  donor  nonprofit  relationship building  stewardship 

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Rethinking Strategy: Asking Questions

Posted By Guest post by 2017 Board & Senior Leadership Conference Speaker Steve Zimmerman, Friday, September 22, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 18, 2017

This week we're pleased to share another guest post by our 2017 Board & Senior Leadership Conference Speaker, Steve Zimmerman. Steve is an author and nationally recognized expert in nonprofit financial sustainability. Republished with permission

Questions to ask before beginning a strategy process

After a long week, a Friday evening at our favorite restaurant where we know the service, menu and what to expect is a common comfort many of us long for.  Unfortunately for many, when it comes to board service, the strategic plan is their common comfort.

I understand.  A detailed strategic plan that highlights the tasks that need to be done, who is responsible for them and when they’ll be done by is very appealing.  The board can be engaged in “strategic discussions.” They may even have a retreat and bond over their mutual passion for the organization’s mission.

One problem, they seldom work. 

What happens when a funder calls and has a new project they want you to undertake and they want to fund it?  No organization truly tells them, “Sorry, it isn’t in our strategic plan.”  Rather, they find away regardless of the plan.  Agility and ability to respond are essential in today’s environment to meet the challenges and opportunities that exist in our community and deliver exceptional impact in a financially viable manner.  However, these attributes are seldom found in detailed multi-year task oriented strategic plans.  Part of what perpetuates these plans is how people approach them. We commonly see three reasons for planning:

  • Our last plan ran out;
  • We need a plan for our funders or accreditation; or
  • Something isn’t working quite like it used to.

The first two reasons are really not reasons to engage in planning.  Many organizations thrive even without a board adopted and approved strategic plan in part to effective leadership, a stable environment and a shared understanding of the organization’s mission and services.  Approaching planning from these perspectives is an exercise in compliance, not strategy.  Save your resources and put them toward your program services instead.

The last reason, however, is the beginning of a conversation.  What exactly isn’t working?  What do you believe is the biggest strategic issue for your organization?  Have your funding streams significantly changed over the last several years?  Do your programs seem stale or are your constituents’ needs changing?  Are there new organizations in your community offering similar services?

You may not know the exact question you need to ask, but approaching strategy with an end in mind or a feeling of what isn’t working will allow an exploration to unfold which can surface symptoms and possible solutions.

To help identify strategic issues, we begin by asking a series of questions in four areas:  constituent needs, funding trends, other external factors and internal factors:

Constituent needs
Understanding the needs of our constituents and whether our current program offerings meet them is essential for impact.  While for some organizations this can be a challenge, engaging your constituents in the process and having a thorough understanding is essential.  Some questions to ask include:

  • What are top three needs our constituents have today?
  • Do immediate and long-term needs differ?
  • Have these needs evolved over the last five years?
  • How well do our programs directly address these needs?
  • Have we seen a change in demand for specific programs?

Answering these questions begin to focus whether your programs are truly creating impact, or if a program re-design may be necessary.

Funding trends
Like a canary in the coal mine, funding trends can often be the symptom that something else is wrong, but they’re important to explore in their own right.  Some questions to ask include:

  • What is the percentage of earned revenue versus philanthropic support our organization receives and how has this changed over the last three years?
  • What are the main revenue streams for the organization, what percentage of revenue are they for the organization and how have those changed in the last three years?
  • What is the organization’s operating reserves and how have they changed over the last three years?
  • Do we know the surplus generated or subsidy required for each business line and have these changed significantly over the past three years?
  • How has the funding environment changed over the last three years?  Do we see this continuing?

As nonprofit business models shift, these questions have become increasingly more important and harder to answer in terms of finding the root cause, but knowing the starting point is helpful before entering a strategy process.

Other external factors
The competitive landscape in which our organizations operate is complex and dynamic with changes in the public sector partners, new entrants from the for-profit sector and both competitors and potential collaborators among nonprofits.  Questions to explore our market landscape include:

  • Who else in the community is offering similar services to ours and do we have a competitive or collaborative relationship with them?
  • Are for-profit companies entering our service space?
  • Are community leaders, elected and other, supportive of our organization’s mission or is there a divide in support?
  • Have we received negative press in the past two years?

Internal factors
Last but not least, management guru Jim Collin’s old cliché of “having the right people on the bus” is as important as ever.  Without a culture of results organization will not reach their potential.  Questions to ask here include:

  • Have we had significant turnover in the last two years?
  • Do we have the right personnel with the right qualifications and attitude in the right positions?
  • Does our organization have a culture of excellence?
  • How well does our board understand the organization’s business model and how engaged are they in strategic decisions?
  • Does leadership have the accurate and timely information they need to govern and lead the organization?

Some will look at these questions and feel like they are the first step in the planning process.  In fact, they are.  However, understanding your perceived strategic issue as an internal practice BEFORE you engage a facilitator or enter into a strategy process will enable your staff and board to candidly and boldly address the barriers holding the organization back and position you to seize opportunities on the horizon.  It is important to note that often during the discussions that follow, the strategic issues identified at this stage is merely a symptom of a deeper problem.  However, having successfully identified, perhaps narrowed and articulated the challenges facing the organization will allow you to collectively explore root causes, identify possible solutions and ultimately make strategic decisions to strengthen your organization.

Strategy is an intensive process.  A little prep work upfront will make sure you get the most out of it and that you’re not wasting effort and resources just going through the motions.

Nonprofit Sustainability: 
Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

November 1st 8:00a-3:30p Feathersound Country Club, Clearwater
2201 Feather Sound Dr, Clearwater, FL 33762 
Presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co.


 Understand the relationship between your nonprofit’s revenue & impact. 
Discover a tool to inform the strategic decisions 
that increase your sustainability


Spend a day with your board and senior leaders focusing on your nonprofit’s sustainability.


Which programs contribute to your organization’s mission and longevity? Which programs are mission-centric but financially draining? Which areas should you invest in and grow? Are there any that should be trimmed back—or even discontinued?

These are difficult but necessary, strategic discussions for your leadership. And we’re bringing you the one facilitator who can help you have them—nonprofit sustainability expert and author, Steve Zimmerman.

This conference will be most impactful for your organization when the CEO and at least one board member attend together. Your top financial officer is strong choice for your third attendee, so we’re discounting 3-packs of tickets.

A.M. CONFERENCE | 8a-1p 
Sustainability expert Steve Zimmerman will lead an interactive, half-day session that will create a collective culture where your board and senior leadership can come together with a shared understanding of the organization’s business model. From that common ground, you can make strategic decisions to deliver exceptional impact in a financially viable manner.

P.M. WORKSHOP | 1:30-3:30p
THE MATRIX MAP PROCESS: Roll up your sleeves during the afternoon workshop and collaborate with your team as Steve coaches you through creating a draft of the tool you can use immediately to engage staff and board in strategic decision making.

(9a-1p ONLY)

$80 per individual, $220 for a group of 3.
Includes lunch.


$110 per individual,
$300 for a group of 3.
Attend the Conference & Workshop
and enjoy lunch for a significant savings.






Steven D. Zimmerman, CPA, MBA

Steve is Principal of Spectrum Nonprofit Services, where he provides training and consulting in finance and strategy for community-based organizations, foundations, and government agencies across the country.


He is co-author of The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Decisions with Jeanne Bell and the best-seller Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability with Jeanne Bell and Jan Masaoka.

Prior to starting Spectrum, Steve was a Projects Director with CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit consulting, training, and research providers. His extensive nonprofit experience also includes serving as a CFO, Development Director and Associate Director at community-based nonprofits where he performed turnarounds resulting in increased financial sustainability and programmatic reach.

Tags:  Board and Senior Leadership Conference  financial management  impact  mission  nonprofit  Steve Zimmerman  strategic plan  sustainability 

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