A Practical Plan for When You Feel Overwhelmed

From the Harvard Business Review, a collection of tips to help you deal with one of the busiest months for many of us.

“….  when we have too much to do, we can freeze. Spinning without traction, we move fast but don’t make progress on the things that are creating our stress. Because when there’s so much competing for attention, we don’t know where to begin and so we don’t begin anywhere.”

Click here to read full post

Followership – the Flipside of Leadership

From Changing Minds.org and interesting exploration of the flipside of leadership:

“The nature of leadership can perhaps be best understood by turning the coin over and studying followership. Why do people follow leaders? If we can understand this, then we will be a long way down the road to creating those followers and hence becoming an effective leader.

People don’t just follow anyone. You can’t just say ‘follow me’ and expect people to follow out of the goodness of their hearts. You have to give them good reason for them to follow.”

Click here for more information on the key aspects of creating follwership

Research: UK 3rd Sector Income Generation Support

New research out of the UK – findings will certainly resonate with Canadian nonprofits and capacity builders:

“ACEVO and Capacitybuilders are currently collaborating to improve income generation support available to frontline organisations in the third sector. This is a vital issue for the sector if it is to remain both vibrant and sustainable in the future.

In order to understand the needs of frontline organisations and the current provision of income generation support, ACEVO commissioned FreshMinds to undertake research into this area. This report contains findings from an online survey of 102 support providers and frontline organisations, as
well as in-depth interviews with ten of the survey respondents.”

Increasing Cultural Diversity in Nonprofits

The HR Council today hosted an interactive and engaging online conversation about increasing the cultural diversity in Canadian nonprofits.  They discussed their new project and some of the work that they will be undertaking,  and also heard perspectives from the nonprofits who participated on the issue.

If you missed the conversation, you can review the text of the chat here.

News: CBC investigates Charity fundraising

A CBC News investigation learns that charities are spending more and more on fundraising — and that external fundraising is a growing business. Canadian registered charities paid $762 million to third-party fundraisers between 2004 and 2008, all of it deducted from donations and often dwarfing guidelines set out by the Canada Revenue Agency, a CBC investigation has learned.

Read more here.

Imagine Canada has issued a statement in response to the CBC reports

What are your thoughts on this?  Are charities’ fundraising costs out of control?  What potential  impact could this investigation have on donor’s perceptions and your organization’s ability to fundraise?  Feel free to post your comments here.

When Nonprofit Executive Directors Disappear

From the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

“Executive director firings (to call them what they are) are inherently difficult. They are painful episodes fraught with emotion and peril. They represent a moment of legal jeopardy for the board and the organization, which heightens everyone’s anxiety. And aside from legal counsel, not much help is available for boards. There’s a considerable body of literature about how boards can do a good job hiring an executive director but hardly anything about how to fire one.”

Click here to read full post

Resource: Board Evaluation Tools

Here is a collection of a few tools and resources related to non profit board assessment.

McKINSEY & COMPANY NONPROFIT BOARD SELF ASSESSMENT TOOL  The Nonprofit Board Self Assessment Tool is designed to help nonprofit organizations assess their board’s performance and identify priorities for board activities going forward. We believe this combination of performance assessment and priority-setting is the foundation of superior nonprofit board performance over time. The tool should be used with our framework for nonprofit board responsibilities, which describes in detail the key elements of effective nonprofit board governance. The output of the assessment is intended to focus discussion among board members around the governance activities that will result in the greatest benefit for the organization.  Download tool here in pdf

Here’s an article from Board Cafe on the topic of board self assessment

Here’s a board self assessment tool from Cause and Effect

Resource: Marketing for nonprofits

A collection of free marketing guides for nonprofits from Mission Minded.  The collection includes: “Your Logo is not your Brand”, “10 mistakes nonprofits make on communications materials” and many others

Click here to access resources

Resource: New Rules for fundraising and program spending – Questions for nonprofits boards to ask

The CICA released today a Not-for-Profit Director Alert entitled New Rules for Charities’ Fundraising Expenses and Program Spending – questions for directors to ask.  This publication will assist directors of registered charities to understand the implications of recent changes including the Canada Revenue Agency’s fundraising guidelines and changes to the disbursement quota.

The English publication is available  here  and the French at http://www.csrg.ca/organismes-sans-but-lucratif/npo-directors-series/director-alerts/item42639.pdf

Additional resources for not-for-profit organizations from Canada’s Chartered Accountants are available at www.cica.ca/npo

What makes a credible leader?

“When a leader has credibility they have capacity to create change, the support to carry skeptics and followers, the momentum to succeed and the freedom to build new futures. Credibility is a mandate for power and the essential, priceless ingredient of all successful leaders.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner propose that credibility is the key to any leader’s ability to lead, a view confirmed by our experience and any serious study of the subject. In their 2002 work, “The Leadership Challenge”, they built on their 1993 work, “Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose it, and why People Demand it”, to conclude:

“What we found in our investigation of admired leadership qualities is that more than anything, people want leaders who are credible. Credibility is the foundation of leadership.” (p.32 The Leadership Challenge, 2002)

Click here to download full article in pdf (6 pages)


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