Category Archives: Managing Volunteers

Leadership Is About Coaching – Here’s How To Do It Well

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach
Michael Kogutek

Michael Bungay Stanier is a Canadian coach. He is the author of “ The Coaching Habit.” He is one of my favorite people on coaching.

The following piece of his is terrific.” If you’re a leader or a manager, you probably wear a lot of hats. You’re a project manager, delegator, spokesperson, and most importantly, a coach.

But the problem is that no one ever tells you how to be an effective coach, or even what that means. Are you supposed to act like a sports coach? A therapist? Perform some bizarre (and arcane) HR ritual?

The answer is none of the above. In fact, it’s about making one tiny change to your behavior, one that will bring about significant impact. Being a coach is about being more curious, and being slow to give advice and take action.

But the truth is, most of us are advice-giving maniacs. We do not listen as much as we should. Being curious involves asking questions. The best question is What else?? It is based on the understanding that the first answer someone gives is never their only answer.

Coaching is an essential leadership behavior. Curiosity is the driving force in being more coach-like. Questions fuel curiosity. Remember as a leader and a manager, your job is not to have all of the answers-but to guide your employees to come up with the right ones.”

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

“One Minute Mentoring” Book Review

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek


“One Minute Mentoring” Ken Blanchard & Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Harper Collins (2017)

This small and simple book packs a punch. Ken Blanchard, author of the best-selling “One Minute Manager”, and Claire Diaz-Oritz bring much wisdom to the table for managers and prospective mentors to take in. This book is for both mentors and mentees. Mentoring has been around for a long time but only recently surfaced as a leadership development tool in the business world. This book informs prospective mentors how to, including a systematic format. Blanchard talks about ways to keep the mentoring on track and focused. He explains what an initial meeting looks like for a mentor and mentee, “A successful first meeting with a potential mentor or mentee puts the personal before the tactical. The essence supersedes the form. Do your values match?? Do your personalities click?? Does the conversation flow??” The authors conclude with a discussion of comparing and contrasting the differences between coaching and mentoring. I recommend this book as a primer on mentoring and how it can be a game changer for all of us.

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

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, and

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,

No-cost Nonprofit Training Opportunities

Bob Cryer (NPRO) is a website of 43 interactive E-learning curriculums and 385 online classes and videos on a wide variety of nonprofit best practices, all at no cost to any user.  I took one of the curriculums (Management Essentials) and was impressed with the content and interactive presentation. More importantly, sixty thousand people have used the site in the past year, and six thousand new users join each month.

In my opinion, the more people in a nonprofit who know nonprofit best practices, the more effective that nonprofit is likely to be. NPRO best practice trainings can be accessed at no cost, at any time, from anywhere, for as long a session as the user has time for at that moment. It is, by far, one of the most convenient and cost effective methods that I am aware of for acquiring know-how in nonprofit best practices.

Here is a sampling of a few of NPRO’s most popular online courses, videos and curriculums:

  • Managing Expectations This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing expectations contains a 3 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Managing expectations is a crucial part of any professional relationship, from your colleagues to your customers.
  • Managing Your Boss This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing your boss contains a 2 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Your boss can have a big impact on the way you do your work, but your actions can also influence their management style.
  • Introduction to Proposal Writing This 27 minute video is designed for anyone involved in the proposal writing process. Course Objectives: • Understand the basic components of writing and submitting a project proposal
  • Introduction to Finding Grants This 30 minute video is designed for anyone seeking to better understand the grant-seeking process. Course Objectives: • Identify the 10 most important things you need to know about grant-seeking • Understand the primary misconceptions about grant-seeking
  • Project Management Essentials – Part A This 20-minute online course is designed for anyone responsible for managing projects and/or programs. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Define the life cycle of a project and structure it around milestones, Control your project using flexible tools, Create a plan for day-to-day project management.
  • Grantsmanship Essentials Pack In this 1 hour and 50 minute curriculum from the Foundation Center, you will learn the basics on how to find grant programs and funders as well as how to write a proposal that aligns with the funder’s criteria. Objectives: To understand how to identify funders aligned with your organizational mission and cause, To articulate what is required in receiving and managing grant funds, To identify the best practices for writing a successful grant proposal.

Please visit to learn more.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Facilitation Skills for the Leader and Workplace Technology

Adrianne Geiger Dumond



Facilitation skills can be used in many settings – running Board/Staff meetings, strategic planning, problem solving meetings, even conducting performance evaluations. The mission of facilitation is to disclose the facts, and the truth, which means the leader, must be objective and unbiased. If this demeanor cannot be attained, it is better to contract for an outside facilitator.

In a March 13, 2017 issue of the Wall Street Journal there was a whole section on WORKPLACE TECHNILOGY, “How is AI (Artificial Intelligence) Transforming the Workplace”. The premise is that in the future managers will decide who to hire, how employees might work together on special teams, how they might be evaluated – even predicting how long employees will stay or leave – based on the analysis of mounds of data and a search for certain patterns. This is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential.

Working on this article about the use of facilitation skills led me to conclude that the future must be even more open, transparent with how people work together in this new world. With leaders facilitating how decisions are made, goals are determined, may help to retain trust and faith in the leadership and ultimately the organization. Here are some tips for successful facilitation practices.

Getting started: Setting expectations is an important part of getting started. The facilitator should state the purpose of the meeting and what outcomes might be expected at the end of working together. If confidentiality is an issue, the leader must ensure that ‘what’s said in this room, stays in the room’. If the facilitator is the boss, it is critical to state that she/he will be non-judgmental and unbiased in the discussion.

Asking good questions: Asking good questions takes skill and practice, especially for the facilitator. They must further the truth and circumstances, but remain non-judgmental and unbiased. Open-ended questions are a good start. For example, it is better to ask, “What led up to this situation”, than “How did Jane get involved in this situation?” But the follow-on questions can be a challenge. Here are some examples:

  • Can you tell us more?
  • Can you give us an example?
  • What led you to that conclusion?
  • What should we do next?

Facts and Evidence: The purpose of good facilitation is to put the audience at ease. They must have enough facts to understand the subject and can make an educated conclusion about the decision.

Final expectations: Facilitators owe it to an audience to summarize the discussions and answer the question “where do we go from here?” After taking time to elicit an audience’s opinions and knowledge, it is respectful of their time to be clear about outcomes. They really expect that.

I urge you to read the WSJ section. It is startling – especially for privacy issues. Successful working relationships are built on trust and respect. The future workplace rules will need to consider inhuman data and maintain respect, trust and privacy – a challenge for good facilitation skills.

Click here to learn more about our no-cost coaching program to help you develop your nonprofit leadership and management skills.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Rethinking Motivation

Michael Kogutek

Michael Kogutek


Historically we have come to believe in the “carrot and stick” approach to rewarding our work force. Time for another look!

Harry Harlow, Ph.D., was a professor at the University of Wisconsin. In 1949, he conducted an experiment with monkeys to study motivation. The monkeys were given a puzzle to solve and were not rewarded in any way. On the 14th day, the monkeys became quite adept in solving the puzzle code. Harlow concluded that the drive of the monkeys were internally motivated. This study went virtually unnoticed for about 20 years.

Edward Deci,Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. Deci in the 1960’s replicated Harlow’s study with human subjects. He corroborated Harlow’s findings and advanced the Self Determination Theory furthering the notion of intrinsic motivation.

Daniel Pink in 2009, in a book titled “Drive” reviews the literature on motivation in the business world that includes the above two studies. He puts forth a new view on the nature of rewards in human motivation. He states that we are internally motivated by three principles: (1) Autonomy – People want to have freedom and control over their work. (2) Mastery – People want to be more proficient at what they do. (3) Purpose – People desire to belong to something bigger than them. Pink mentions companies like 3M, Atlassia, Meddius and Zappos taking the above principles and applying them to their corporate milieu.

It is time to consider the role of intrinsic rewards in our managerial world of non-profit organizations.

Author:  Michael Kogutec, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Maintaining a Nonprofit’s Reputation

Adrianne Geiger Dumond

Adrianne Geiger Dumond


It can be said that the quality of a nonprofit’s reputation rests on the quality of its Board of Directors. Directors are often the face of the agency, the voice of the mission, in the communities in which they work and socialize. How does a nonprofit make sure its directors are able to strengthen and keep a healthy reputation?

Select directors who are strategic thinkers and who have management skills. A director is asked to advise and connect with a CEO/Executive Director’s management of an agency and should therefore have some experience and comfort in this effort. This may require taking time to vet a potential director, because often it is difficult to assess for these attributes in a resume. A person may have business experience (e.g., budget director, or legal counsel) but not have managed more than one or two people. The vetting of references would flush out these needed skills.

Rotate directors and committee chairs in significant positions. Succession planning is difficult for many nonprofits, but it is essential for directors in order to maintain an inspired and productive Board and agency. Sometimes this is very hard when a director is a major donor and dominates the meetings and decision -making process. But here is where current bylaws become critical. They should state the process whereby key positions are rotated. Clear rules and regulations make it easier for a Board Chair to manage the rotation.

Conduct Board evaluations. Just as Executive Directors expect and should have performance evaluations periodically, Boards should also conduct evaluations on themselves. There are surveys on line, or you may contact Executive Coaches of Orange County ( for assistance with this process. It may be easier and more confidential to use an outside, objective expert for this step. ECofOC has a Board Self-Assessment instrument that can start a healthy discussion about Board performance.

Select for skills that solve problems constructively. In today’s complex and diversified culture, Boards need directors with softer skills – those who are critical thinkers, know how to build a team, communicate constructively, and seek compromise. These important qualities can be chosen with the adequate vetting of potential candidates, and ensure that a reputation is maintained with pride.

Author: Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

The Promise of a Pencil

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer


I just finished reading the New York Times bestseller “The Promise of a Pencil”. It is an inspiring story about how a young man, Adam Braun, started up a nonprofit in 2008 with $25 and by 2014 had built 250 elementary schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Adam got the idea to do this when he was traveling in India and observed the severe poverty that many of the children lived in. He wanted to help, but didn’t know how. So he started asking children “If you could have anything in the world, what is the one thing you would want most?” One child answered “A pencil”. When challenged by his parents and others, the child persisted. Adam had a #2 yellow pencil in his backpack, and gave it to the child. The child’s face lit up, and he looked at the pencil as if it were a diamond. As Adam asked the question to more impoverished children in each area he traveled to, and he became convinced that what most impoverished children wanted the most was an education. So it became his mission and the mission of his nonprofit startup named “Pencils of Promise” or PoP.

In addition to being and engaging and compelling story, the book describes the many ways that Adam Braun used social media to startup his nonprofit, and then built it into being a major force for good in the community and in the world.

I recommend that nonprofit leaders read this book to inspire us to think big, and to show us how to use social media to help us make those bigger things happen.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

5 tips to being unforgettable!

David Wild

David Wild


As with a consumer product brand campaign, the key to early adoption is clearly explaining your product value while insuring the message is memorable. You might say the mission of a non-profit is the same.

A NP organization must have a solid relationship with their audience of volunteers, donors, community leaders and the social press. This relationship building demands a strategic effort of MESSAGING—which will keep your mission top of mind.

Here are 5 tips to becoming “top of mind” with your audience:

1) Clarity – have a tag line. Choose your words wisely. Our lives are full of messaging clutter—so you must stand out in the crowd. Logos and tag lines can make you memorable. Nike logo and slogan “Just do it” are known around the world. Their messaging is clear and memorable.

2) Consistency – establish a steady relationship. Consistent messages are not forgotten. No matter what the Social Media method you use, establish a reliable pattern of communication. This can easily be planned on a calendar or spreadsheet—so that you manage the right message frequency.

3) Variety – keep it interesting. Variety is the spice of life. Your message may have the same essence, but often use a different flavor or chef. The menu of success is having a few delicious classics while offering seasonal specialties. Keep your core message steady—but romance it with impactful stories about your volunteers, donors or clients wherever possible.

4) Showmanship – explore all types of mediums. It’s always show time. Images and videos make lasting impact far greater than the written word alone. Website, Facebook and E-newsletters have user-friendly tools that allow your content to come alive. Explore all to best connect with your audience.

5) Authenticity – use simple talk. Tell it like it is. Real life if not a bowl of cherries—there are a few pits in the bowl. Inform your followers of your programs, plans and dreams and even setbacks. You are building a trust relationship with your supporters.

Incorporate these 5 simple tips in your non-profit MESSAGING to build your community of support and your mission will become UNFORGETTABLE.

Author:  David Wild, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Finding New Donors and Volunteers

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Most nonprofits would love to have some additional donors, board members or volunteers, but don’t know where or how to find them. Here is one idea.

Many nonprofits E-mail a newsletter to a fairly large list of people who have not unsubscribed and may even occasionally open and read some of the publication. However, most nonprofits do not know who on their E-list is a good prospect for become a major or smaller donor, a board member or a volunteer. Here is one way to find out.

Send a mailing to your E-list, asking people to identify themselves via an Email reply, and give them an incentive to respond, like entering them in a drawing for a dinner for two at a fine restaurant. Tell them you want to learn more about their interest and involvement with nonprofits.

Your little survey might ask something like:


  • What are your two favorite nonprofits?
  • Are you serving on any nonprofit Boards (y/n)?
  • Are you doing any nonprofit volunteer or committee work (y/n)?
  • How many nonprofits receive a donation from you?
  • Would you like to learn more about our nonprofit (y/n)?
  • What is your name, phone number and Email address?

Only a fraction of your E-list is likely to respond to your request, but those that do are probably predisposed to helping your nonprofit. You can compare their responses to your list of Board members, volunteers and donors. Anyone doing something for a nonprofit other than yours is a pretty good prospect for doing it for your nonprofit. It might be worth a telephone call to learn more about these people’s interests and whether they might fulfill some of them at your nonprofit.

 Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,