Category Archives: -By Author

Form 990 Can Be a Public Relations Tool

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

 

Many nonprofits consider the IRS Form 990 to be a dreary necessity at tax time. In the 2008 tax year, major revisions were made to the Form. Nonprofits have been slow to realize the impact the revisions may have for donors and the public.  The diverse information provided in the new Form is now available to the public and can be found online free at at such sites as Guidestar.org, and nccs.urban.org.

In a recent article by Michael Wyland, an author and member of the editorial advisory board for the Nonprofit Quarterly, Wyland points out the advantages to providing accurate and complimentary information on the Form.[1] The Form displays not only financial information (assets and liabilities), but also facts that address governance, programs, and fundraising. His article shows a breakdown of the Form with its schedules and functional area relevance, because not every nonprofit completes the same schedules. However, he points out that most of the 990 parts and schedules still address the multiple categories of governance, programs, and fundraising.

As Wyland notes,”not all organizations complete all parts of the Form, and not all file each and every schedule. For example, while most 501(c)(3) public charities must file Schedule B (Schedule of Contributions), it is considered confidential and not disclosed to the public. Private foundations, on the other hand, must disclose and make it publicly available.”

Never the less, ALL Form 990’s do reveal to the public governance (governing bodies and management, policies, and disclosures), programs, and fundraising. A potential donor may look for efficiencies and financial data, but still seek the charity that meets his/her passion for a particular service or need. A potential volunteer may consider who manages the organization and where they can fit in. It is important for all nonprofit staffs and boards to be aware of the public exposure, but also the opportunity to be more advantageously promoted to the public.

[1] Your 990: What Nonfinancial Matters Does It Reveal to the Media and the Public, Michael Wyland, Nonprofit Quarterly, November 17, 2017

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Leading From Behind

Karen Haren

 

 

One of the biggest challenges nonprofit Executive Directors report is having effective boards. Effective boards don’t just happen, they are developed and supported by effective Executive Directors. The Executive Director leads the board from behind ensuring the board is prepared to fulfill the it’s role in governing the organization.  Here are 5 key responsibilities of ED.

  1. Build a strong partnership with the board chair. Keep the chair informed of any issues.  There should be no surprises between these two partners.
  2. See that officers and board members are oriented and trained. Spell out expectations, provide background on roles, structure of the organization, mission, programs, fund raising, finances, strategic plan, successes and challenges etc.
  3. Prepare for board meetings. Develop an annual strategic agenda calendar for board meetings. Draft the board agenda and discuss with board chair, prepare background materials for actions that the board is being requested to take, distribute packet to board members one week before the meeting. Consider having a web page for board members with bylaws, board minutes, board calendar, meeting materials etc.
  4. Ensure the organization has a strategic plan. Annual plans, budgets, and staff performance plans all flow from the strategic plan. Present a dashboard at each board meeting that shows the board where you are in achieving the targets in the strategic plan.
  5. Ensure there is a performance management process for the ED. The criteria for the review as well as the process and time line should be spelled out at the beginning of the fiscal year.  Compensation and an annual raise should be tied to the performance review process.

While the ED may not be the individual who completes all of these tasks, it is important that the ED ensures that these tasks are accomplished.  Leading from behind ensures an effective governing board.

Author:  Karen Haren, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

New Year Invites Reflection and Evaluation

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek

 

On behalf of all the coaches at Executive Coaches of Orange County, we want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year. May it be blessed with good health, peace and happiness. We at ECofOC are grateful that our 115+ clients have chosen to turn to us for individual coaching or for our Executive Director Forum (32 members), or for both.

For the past 15 years, we have been living our mission of helping nonprofit leaders  and managers become more effective, efficient and successful so their organizations can do more of their good work in our community.

The new year offers a time for us to pause and take an inventory of where we have been and set new goals for the future. The services of ECofOC may provide you an opportunity to move forward and up your game. Change  needs to be met with accountability.

Coaching  provides a  one-on-one relationship to nonprofit leaders. Our coaches help managers set specific goals and solve difficult issues from a nonjudgmental perspective in a confidential setting. Coaching can address virtually any nonprofit management issue, including board development, fundraising, outreach, leadership, management, finance, IT and HR issues, personal development and career planning.

Our Executive Director Forum is comprised of 10 to 12 executive directors facilitated by two experienced ECofOC coaches in monthly meetings using a proven process to guide the group to practical solutions for issues brought to the table by each participant. These sessions allow executive directors to test ideas and work though issues with a group of their peers.

We  hope you will consider getting a coach. If you are a manager with a non-profit organization in Orange County, you can apply here at www.ecofoc.org. The price is right; it is FREE! Our team of coaches are prepared to take you where you want and dream to go. The moment and power of change is now!!

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

 

Changing Leadership Skills for the Promotion

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

 

Even good leaders often face uncertainty when they consider what skills need changing in the new job. In a recent newsletter published by the Center for Creative Leadership, they present four (4) important attributes to consider: Self- Awareness, Communications, Influence, and Learning Agility. The premise is that these skills vary depending on the job level in the organization.[1]

Self Awareness: This knowledge may be the most important for the accomplishment of all the skills. For example, do you lead intuitively, deliberately, or strategically and to what degree? If you move from an operational level to a management level, will you need to think strategically and how do you get there? Self-assessment instruments and feedback surveys provide this kind of knowledge so a person can use his/her strengths effectively and make adjustments to the weaknesses. ECOC has coaches skilled in this process and are able to assist in the planning and execution of this process.

Communications: Communications becomes more complex as one moves up the ladder. It is basic to success at many job levels, but requires a different perspective in a larger role. This is especially true if a new boss has been a peer before. Different skills may be building trust, encouraging discussion, listening well, and conveying the vision, mission, and strategic intent.

Influence: Now you need to bring people along and influence their thinking, align the actions of others, and build commitment to achieve measureable outcomes. Again, it is wise to know one’s style of doing this so that adjustments can be made, if necessary. New skills required may be: presenting logical and compelling arguments, more focus on steering long-range objectives, giving insight, inspiration and motivation.

Learning Agility: Being constantly open to learning provides the confidence it takes to learn new skills. “ Learning agility involves asking good questions, respect for give-and-take, listening well, and being open to feedback. For senior leaders, learning agility also includes inspiring learning in others and creating a culture of learning throughout the organization.”[2]

[1] “Leading Effectively”, The Center for Creative Leadership, September 29, 2017.

[2]  Ibid.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Giving Employees Feedback

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Do you believe you know how to give employees proper feedback? Do they learn and develop from your assessment?

If you believe you could do better think about some new ways to become more effective. No one really likes to hear criticism but there are ways to make it more palatable and productive for the organization and the employee.

When giving negative feedback decide whether it is better to do so immediately when you see the problem or at the time of more comprehensive review. No matter the approach when you give negative feedback be specific. While there is no need to bring up every single time the employee has erred it should be detailed enough that the employee clearly understands your concerns and sets the stage for a solution.

As part of this tie the comments into the employee’s values and goals. For example, If the behavior causes others to do more work the employee who values what others think about them will be more receptive to changing their behavior.

When giving feedback maintain a neutral voice and watch your body language. Yelling is counterproductive. Being calm sends the message that you are there for constructive purposes, that it is part of the normal business world.

Be specific about the solution. Be sure you have a remedy in mind before talking with the employee but before you do so ask the employee if they might have a solution to the problem. If it matches yours so much the better.

Lastly infuse any criticism with words of encouragement and praise for what they are doing well. This is a coaching opportunity to build confidence, communicate respect, and hopefully build a better relationship with the employee.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Improving Board Governance: Part 3

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

 

The role of the CEO/Executive Director: Barriers and Risks

I have spoken in past blogs of the importance of a ‘generative mindset’ for enhancing the importance of Board governance. Generative mindset encompasses a macro level of thinking for Board meetings. There is a risk when Board members are confortable with a less strenuous mode of thinking. They may be uncomfortable with the new mode. It may take some time for Board members to accept and participate easily.

Perhaps the most important role for success is by the CEO/Executive Director (ED).  The ED is the primary conduit between staff and Board (as should be defined in the by-laws). The ED is responsible for educating the Board – to improve governance – and is accountable for the knowledge and information the Board receives. The ED also controls the pace of meetings so they are useful as well as informative – and this is an important necessity. Meetings can drag on, lots of talk, little new understanding or resolution on next steps.

Meeting guidelines for the CEO/ED:

  • In a separate meeting, beforehand, brief the Board chair, explain your goals so that he/she can support your quest.
  • Explain how governance is a partnership – between ED, staff, and Board.
  • Prepare and select carefully the project/subject for which the Board can provide guidance.
  • Encourage Board members to ask more questions than statements – challenging suppositions.
  • Ensure that nothing is “undiscussable” in the board room, and assure confidentiality.
  • Encourage different opinions.
  • Share information and leadership opportunities – asking questions can prove this to members.
  • Control discussion where a member dominates – one way to do this is to say,  “Sam, in the interest of time, let’s meet after the meeting to hear your viewpoint so that others can express their opinions here more openly”.
  • Don’t be too wedded to the past, but also not too far ahead of the Board.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Focused Conversation Practice, Action Planning and Consensus Building

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek

 

The skills mentioned in the above title are a must for every NP manager.  Last week I took a two day workshop at One OC that focused on those skills. The course is called ToP Facilitation Methods and taught by ToP facilitators Becky Foreman and Emma Diaz. The ToP methodology is associated with a group called the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA).   ICA programs strengthen the capacities of organizations, communities, and individuals to build and implement innovative plans of action that draw upon assets and social capital in a collaborative manner.

Here is the description of the specific workshops:

The Focused Conversation Method: This common sense approach leads naturally to a meaningful exchange of ideas

  • Conduct purposeful discussion
  • Capture a group’s best thinking easily
  • Surface new ideas and solutions
  • Stimulate candid feedback

 

The Consensus Workshop Method: This Structure process is so engaging people are energized getting to consensus.

  • Tap rational and intuitive thought processes
  • Integrate diverse ideas
  • Generate practical and creative solutions
  • Develop group consensus

 

The Action Planning Method: These practical steps help groups plan, organize resources and build commitment.

  • Visualize a successful result
  • Analyze the current reality
  • Create a practical plan
  • Maximize group involvement

 

This was a first class workshop. The leaders are  top notch professionals. If you are a NP manager looking for ways to activate group participation, this workshop is the ticket!!! It helps groups think, talk and work together.

Institute of Cultural Affairs: http://www.ica-usa.org

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

“Ethos of Change” by Stambouly, Amazon 2015

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek

Book Review by Michael D. Kogutek

Ernest Stambouly is a colleague  and friend of mine at ECofOC. He is a dynamite coach who delivers passion, innovation and change in his coaching process.

If you are looking for a book discussing the conventional and traditional ideas of change in individuals and organizations, this book is not for you. “Ethos for Change” is an out of the box body of work that will challenge your current beliefs. In the first part of the book, Ernest writes about change. He talks about his philosophy and psychology regarding change. Self disclosure about his own journey of the subject is refreshing, engaging and connecting. He sets forth three specific conversations that one must use to transform the change process. Most importantly he openly discusses how resistance is the major obstacle in this process. Legitimizing and talking out loud about resistance is critical. In discussing the dynamics of change, Ernest mentions how language and discerning mood states is very helpful. The second part of the book is a road map full of applied and practical interventions to make the process come alive. Ernest is under no illusion that change is easy. It is a state that is uncomfortable and uncertain Keep in mind that what he is proposing will take courage, a leap of faith and the willingness to confront your old beliefs.  This book will have to be read several times to internalize the concepts.  Reading this book is an invitation to change and transformation.

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Improving Board Governance: Part 2

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

The Importance of Effective Board Meetings

Board meetings can be comprised of dedicated supporters, and/or highly trained professionals – all committed to the cause, but with different skill sets for good governance. Part 1 of this series named the three ‘mindsets’ that Boardsource likes for adequate governance of a nonprofit. They were: Financial Insight, Strategic Insight and Generative Insight – the third mindset being the most challenging to grasp.

Generative governance requires time being spent to feel comfortable with the concepts – critical thinking, problem analysis, and tackling ambiguous Board circumstances. It’s more than the usual Board meeting agenda. Board, staff, and CEO must work as partners to handle the strategies going forward. A generative mindset might be quite healthy in a nonprofit’s staff and its teams. For example, a problem arises, the appropriate team analyses cause and effect, researches possible solutions, proposes recommendations to the CEO – who then takes it to the Board. A generative mindset might mean that the staff person/team leader also present their reasoning to the Board, since the Board may need to approve a large expenditure. This thinking for the Board is at a macro level that may feel uncomfortable at first. And it requires better preparation for Board meetings – asking better questions instead of focusing on immediate, short-term considerations – like balancing the budget.

Operating in a generative mode is educating Board members and requires more meeting time and resources for critical thinking, discussion and debate. Here are some tips for making the transition easier.

Consent agendas:  Sending out an agenda ahead of the meeting allows quick acceptance of routine reports and approval of recurring actions.

Pre-reading: No meeting time should be spent reviewing documents for information and knowledge, Information should be sent early enough for Board members to be prepared for discussion and to provide their opinions.

Board Composition: A diversity of thinking styles and problem solving is important. This is a great learning opportunity for all involved. Often, great team work is the outcome – members having better understanding of each other.

In Part 3 I will cover the important role of the Chief Executive in this process, and the risks and barriers.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

 

Management and Leadership Skills

Bob Cryer

 

Would you be interested in quickly learning how you might get better results from your nonprofit management and leadership efforts? NonprofitReady.org can deliver some ideas relevant to your interests whenever you are ready, and do it quickly and at no cost to you. Here are some of the most popular of the 47 NonprofitReady.org trainings in the “Personal & Professional Development” category, sub-category “Management and Leadership”.

Becoming a Coaching Manager – Part A This 15-minute online course is designed for managers seeking to improve their ability to coach employees to higher performance. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Identify ideal coaching situations, Explore tools for coaching success, Understand how coaching can assist both individuals and teams within an organization.

Fostering and Maintaining Motivation This 20-minute online course is designed for leaders seeking to improve their motivational skills. Objectives: Identify motivational levers, Undertake effective action to motivate colleagues, Delegate in a motivating and effective manner.

Making Your New Management Position Successful – Part A This 12-minute online course is designed for new managers as well as those looking for a basic refresher on the core principles of management. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Clarify the implications of your new position as manager, Succeed in the first steps of your new position; Identify the key points of delegating.

The Management Styles This 20-minute online course shows how to adopt an effective management style. The course is designed for all levels of managers and team leaders. Objectives: Understand the value and purpose of different management styles and when to apply them, Incorporate the positive aspects of each management style when leading teams, Determine when and how to adapt management styles to different circumstances and colleagues

Essential Skills for New Managers This curriculum will address questions such as: What are the markings of an effective manager?  What knowledge and skillset are essential for great managers to succeed in leading people?  What are the most common pitfalls of managing people?  What are the essential skills that all new managers need to be successful?

5 Levers for Producing Great Leaders This 30-minute online course is designed for anyone seeking to improve their leadership skills. Objectives: Successfully communicate vision, Maintain cooperative relationships, Push for achievement.

Leadership Best Practice This 30-minute online course is designed for senior managers seeking to build the leadership pipelines within their organization. Objectives: Carry out a leadership inventory in your organization, Develop an innovation strategy to cultivate leaders in your organization, Secure collective buy-in of leadership development goals.

Please go to https://www.nonprofitready.org to take a few of these no-cost trainings

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org