Monday, December 29, 2008

Video, video and more video

I've been increasingly harping in my speeches to nonprofit managers about using video on their websites to tell their story. YouTube has brought down the required quality of video (which doesn't mean that you don't have to give it any thought), and that video is a, if not the, key communications tool to get and hold people's attention.

Like any other marketing tool, you need to focus your message: Who are you appealing to? Why? Is the video for donors, or to recruit the best volunteers? Does it tell you story to the press, or inspire people to seek employment with you. Just as in the case of written materials or website pages, one size does NOT fit all. Focus, focus, focus.

Here's a good starting how-to from Third Sector New England focused on fund-raising videos.

Here's another good article from TechSoup.

GoodEye Video works solely with nonprofits on video production.

Check out what's possible at DoGooderTV.

Cautionary tale: About four weeks ago, I was in Sarasota and met a staff member of the Dattoli Cancer Treatment Center. Went to their website and was really impressed with the story telling that the opening set of videos provides. Click on each of the vertical bars (such as "About our Team") to see more of the staff and hear about the center. For something like cancer treatment, this rocks: you see the people and hear more about the process. Bottom line: I loved it.

Then, I showed it to my two techie sons. Neither were impressed. One jumped on his iPhone to show me that when he went to the site, NOTHING came up---the page has not been configured to work with hand-held devices. My other son looked at the site and asked, how do I navigate AWAY from the video for more information? It was not intuitive for him.

Lesson: Make sure your video is useful on all parts of the web, and don't get so focused on its Wow! factor that you forget to make basic navigation easy.

All that aside, video rocks....why? It tells stories. About people. In ways that get to us.

Proof? Watch this: it's from an Easter Seals/ARC in northern Indiana. Tell me that this didn't affect you.

And, if you have videos you want to share, shoot me a note and I'll post them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Upcoming Newsletter Topics?

As we head into 2009, I'm planning out my newsletter topics for the Mission-Based Management Newsletter. Here's what I have so far:

January: Organizational Transparency Revisited
February: Different Generational Cultures
March: Organizational Visibility and Reputation
April, May, June, etc. ?????

As you can see, I've drawn a blank on good topics. If you go here, you can see all the past topics of the newsletter. Some, I revisit occasionally (like transparency, since SO much has changed since June, 2004). Others I tweak, drilling down a bit into the topic the second time.

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions. Post them here in a comment, or email me. Any and all ideas will be considered---and be expansive in your suggestion: why do you think the topic is important and why now? I'd love to hear from you.

And, if you want to subscribe to the newsletter, shoot me a note at

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas role model....

Over the years, I've been highly critical of many funders, but none more than the United Way. To their credit, I've seen individual UW organizations make great, great progress in their work, and know many terrific people who believe fervently in the organization, but overall it seems like a business model whose time and come and gone.

That said, I am really, really impressed with this story

You probably saw it somewhere, but the United Way of the Capital Area (DC) has cut their administrative fees so that the fund recipients can get more direct funding.

Good for them. That's what they should do.

Now, what other funders are willing to match the United Way's focus on mission? Who's going to step up?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Green for the holidays...

No, not money--I know your nonprofit needs more green of that kind. But since we are in the middle of the holiday season, I thought I'd post some ways your nonprofit can save money and give a gift to everyone: greening your nonprofit.

This is, like so many things, the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

Example: Chris and I moved into a 1992 vintage house in August of '07. Lots of energy drain due to poor maintenance from the prior owner. We've done the normal stuff--changed to florescent lights wherever possible, caulked, etc. So far, so good. Then, in August, our main heat pump failed (we have one for the main living area and a second one for the smaller guest area on the second floor.). We bought a highly energy efficient one. So far, in first four months of use, our BTU consumption for the house is down over 20%. And we know we can do better. It's one of our 2009 goals.

And, here's the thing: 20% is not an unusual savings nonprofits (and businesses). Look at your organization's energy costs for 2008. How would you like to save 20% of that to use for other mission needs? I'm sure most of you have started greening in your nonprofit. Good for you. Keep going. And, here are some resources to help you:

I wrote the April edition of the Mission-Based Management Newsletter on "Greening Your Nonprofit".

TechSoup has a list of 10 Resolutions to Green your Technology.

TechSoup also has a longer to-do list on greening your nonprofit.

A set of great ideas from The Nonprofit Center in Boston.

So, think about the gift that keeps on giving. Pushing the green envelope helps you in three ways: You help the planet (the right thing), you save money (the smart thing), and you steward your valuable resources to be able to do more mission (the best thing!).

A win-win-win.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2009 Nonprofit Accounting Software Review

Here's a terrific holiday gift for those who are thinking about updating their accounting software: a great review of nonprofit-specific accounting software from Anna Sheets at the CPA Technology Advisor.

Eleven different products are reviewed in depth. If you are thinking about investing in new software in 2009, this is for you.

Thanks, Anna!

Thoughts while driving.....

I picked up my daughter Caitlin at college Saturday. She's leaving for 6 months abroad in Auckland in just over a week, so we had to bring all her stuff home. That required me driving 1,600 miles up to Boston and back mostly in snow. The benefit of all of this was I got 14 hours in the car with her to really catch up....I rarely get that amount of one on one time with her any more. So, it was great, and the 800 miles on the home leg zipped by.

On the other hand, going up, I was racing the storm, and alone with my Ipod, so I had time to think. As a nonprofit nerd, my thoughts turned to the sector. As a 56 year old, my thoughts turned to what I want to do for the sector before I retire in 5-10 years. Of course, all my aspirations for nonprofits are tempered to a great degree by our current economic that I believe will extend well into the next decade.

But, here's what I want the sector to look like by the time I leave:

1. I want nonprofits to always focus first on mission, but use all the business tools they can to get the most mission out the door in the most effective, efficient way possible.

2. I want the sector to embrace (not accept, but embrace) technology in a way that accelerates mission but does not exclude people. There is so, so much that tech can do to improve and expand the way we solve problems.

3. I want funders of all kinds (foundations, corporations, government, individuals) to accept the fact that when they fund nonprofits, they purchase services, they don't get to control the nonprofits in ways that don't benefit the mission. This means much less silly micromanagement.

4. I want everyone to be more transparent, both inside and outside their organizations. This means nonprofits with their staff, nonprofits with their communities and also foundations and government with all of us.

5. I either want foundations and government to stop worrying about administrative percentages or start living by a 10-12% admin share themselves.

6. I want the media to stop assuming that the nonprofit sector is rife with corruption and look at the facts.

7. I want nonprofits to embrace the best staff involvement practices: we'll get more from our people if we just ask.

8. Finally, I want society to acknowledge that what the sector does is worth paying a fair price for, and to realize that asking people who are good at arts, or human services, or housing, or environmental protection to also be good at begging for every dollar is counterintuitive and unproductive.

What would you add to this list?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good online tools for your nonprofit

As regular readers know, I am telling audiences all the time that the future of philanthropy is inextricably linked to better use of technology. Those nonprofits that capture that perfect interface of mission and tech will thrive. Those that don't, won't.

Here are a few tools that can help you move this along.

Discussion lists: Crowdsourcing works, and younger staff, volunteers and donors all want more input into decisions. TechSoup has some guidance and ideas for you on using discussion lists.

Social Networks: There are big ones, like Facebook, and smaller ones that serve a specific purpose, like LinkedIn. I love Ning, which allows you to set up your own private social network in about 5 minutes...and its free. Think about a network for your board, or staff, or volunteers. If they are younger, they are very comfortable in this environment.

Here is some good information from Wild Apricot, posted on TechSoup, about getting started on Facebook

Speaking of Wild Apricot, their Nonprofit Technology Blog is a must read if you are into tech and charities.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A great pair of posts.....

There are two posts linked below--one inside the other. They perfectly reflect my thinking about Madoff, the SEC, and the fact that if the IRS or an attorney general had had the same amount of "headsup" about ANY nonprofit that the SEC did for Madoff, the feds would have had everyone and their cousin looking into the nonprofit's management. But Madoff? He skated. And took a bunch of nonprofits down with him.

Read this for an ironic laugh...and show it to your board, too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A great at Christmas

In our family, (when I was little, and now as an adult) part of Christmas has always been about giving to charities. Often we send out of town family and friends notice that we gave in their name to a charity, or Kiva credits (well, not when I was little). Sometimes we send a check with a note: "Give this away to a local cause." Seems more like the point of Christmas to me.

Of course, we didn't start this idea, but neither did we spread the word enough--and now someone has taken up the slack on that. Check out Redefine Christmas. Well done website, with the right balance of messages. Take a look--and pass it on to your family, friends, co-workers, board members.

And think beyond just Christmas and Hanukkah. What about Birthdays, Anniversaries, wedding gifts (I love people who ask not for gifts but for donations to charities).

We need our charities. Right now, LOTS of people need our charities and the charities need us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another blow....

Another day, another blow to the nonprofit community from the financial world. First, Lehman Brothers, et. al get their greed comeuppance and the result is that many New York nonprofits have their donations cut in half or worse. Then the banks: same thing for the nonprofit community---less support immediately and over the next two or three years.

The stock market tanks: Foundations lose 40-50% of their endowments and can't make as many grants. Some grants are canceled in mid-stride. Cynical side note: anyone suggesting that in such dire times the foundations should explore merging? Or is this only a good idea for poor nonprofits? Hmmm.

Friday, it was Madoff. While we only know the very, very, very slimmest part of the story, and more is coming out by the hour, many nonprofits are suffering, some to the point of closing.

In hard times the poorest suffer first, most, and longest. It seems that is playing out with nonprofits now. And it's our fault. We (and by we, I mean all of us: funders, donors, media, government) have kept nonprofits poor, fussed at nonprofits when they have cash reserves, hassled them when they had "too much" administrative cost. Now, when the community needs the nonprofit world the most (1 in 10 americans is now on food stamps), they have insufficient resources to ride out the cutbacks, and will fail in large numbers.

Paul Light noted a month or so ago that 100,000 US nonprofits could fail in the current recession/depression. What would that number be today?

And, I wonder what the news will bring tomorrow?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Good wiki tool

I'm involved in a new project with the Kellogg Action Lab, and one of the things that was needed right out of the chute was a way for a few people to share ideas between face-to-face meetings. Only two of us are working on this project now, but more are expected soon. Obviously we can work on documents together, particularly if we use Open Office (which I swear by).

But we really just need a place to post ideas and clean up/edit others' thoughts in a common format.

Enter a wiki. Thanks to my son Ben for reminding me that when he and his business partner were in the early stages of their startup, they used this great tool. So, I went out and did about a 10 minute search and check and choose ClearWiki. It's easy to set up, easy to use, includes WSIWYG editing, and is free for up to ten users. Works for us. One feature I really like is the "Move" feature-as I figure out the best hierarchy for this emerging project, I can instantly move one page to be under another topic thread.

But don't just take my word for it. Lots of other wiki providers are out there. Here's a list from (appropriately) Wikipedia.

Here's a set of nonprofit wiki stories from TechSoup. Take a look at the wide variety of uses, and remember this tool. It works.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Difficult times now and in the future.

No eureka about the title of this post, I assume. Everyone (at least everyone who is paying attention) knows that we are screwed economically, and for a long time to come.

The past few weeks, I've fielded a dozen questions from audiences about how long the current recession/depression will last: "How far down the tunnel is the light?" "How long until fundraising turns around?" etc.

Here's my answer, with the understanding that I'm not an economist, just a mission-based business guy who tries to pay attention to the signals out there.

1. Don't believe anyone who is telling you the market is "bottoming". These people are NOT out in the country with the rest of us. They are in New York or the DC Beltway, and are playing "market model" games rather than looking around. I heard one say two days ago that: "Historically, recessions last 13 months, and we've been in this one 13 months, so things will turn around soon." What drivel. Also, many of the talking heads have a "horse in the race" ....for personal or political reasons, they need to be optimistic.

2. We're a long, long way from the bottom of the economy. Some small factoids from recent news: 40% of mortgages in the US are "under water" that is, the house is worth less than the debt on it. Has never happened--since the 1930's. 10% (yes, that's one in ten) Americans are either on or applying for food stamps. Never happened before ---there were no food stamps in the 30's.

3. Ask yourself--even if you haven't lost any income in your family---have you put off buying ANYTHING you would have a year ago? A toaster, a lawnmower, a night out on the town, a weekend getaway. Yeah, me too. Everyone is doing that, and that level of fear and inertia takes a LONG time to turn around. At the business level, no one is hiring if they can put it off (except health care and public schools), expansions are on hold....same symptom, just bigger bucks.

4. All the money the feds have pumped into the system hasn't loosened credit, or encouraged hiring. There are tons of profitable businesses who can't get loans, and thus are stalled, not hiring, not making donations to their regular charities.

I went through my list of observations on this a couple of days ago in Florida, and someone asked, "aren't you optimistic about anything in the economy? What about the price of gas?" My answer was no, $1.30 gas, while nice in the short term (and, understand, I'm REALLY happy about gas prices for people who are on the economic edge) is really an indicator that the recession is global--and will thus take even LONGER to turn around.

So, no. I don't see any light right now at all. Even Obama's infrastructure plans (which I fully support) will take 18 months to really have an effect. A good friend told me last night that he was at a board meeting of his firm in NYC this past week and that the economists presenting to them all agreed that the earliest the economy "might show some life" is the second half.....of 2010. And then the presenters added "but really, that's a guess. No one can really see a bottom to this yet."

OK, so it's bad and getting worse. What should you do at your nonprofit? There's a lot of things you can do now, and you need to start very, very soon.

First, get your board and staff together and review your mission....and its meaning. What does your mission tell you about your priorities, your focus, who you need to help the most. It all starts with mission, so start there.

Second, look at your income array. What percentage comes from large donors, or small, from foundations or government? Talk now (yes, get on the phone) with funders to keep on their radar and get a sense of what they know. Don't be offended if they don't tell you much, and remember that they are just as nervous as you are. Most people (most foundations, most governments) don't have a clue right now of how all this will shake out. But by calling, and being sympathetic to their plight, you stay on their minds in a good way.

After these calls give do some math. Look at your income array and play percentage games. Your result might look like this. The percentages are what you expect might be cut

  • State funds:
  • Program a: 20% within 60 days
  • Program b: 50% within 90 days
  • Program c: No change---entitlement funds
  • Foundation 1: No renewal for the third year
  • Foundation 2: 0% cut over the next 6 months, then who knows?
  • Donations: Already down 10%, expect another 10% over the next 6 months
  • Membership: Down 20% for the past three months, seems stable now.

This is just a sample to get you the idea. What you REALLy need to do is a best case, middle case, worst case scenario. And, here's the key BE CONSERVATIVE.
Then you can run both a budget and a cash flow for each scenario, and see where you are.

Speaking of cash flows, as people who come to my trainings know, CASH=OXYGEN. You need to run bi-weekly cash flow projections out six months, and update them every week or so. You HAVE to be on top of your cash position and projection in tough times.

NOW you have the information you need to start talking about cutting back, if your finances show that need, and for most of us, they do.

Remember, some cutting is symbolic, some not so much. No matter what your budget shows, cutting some small things (or, not spending what is perceived as unnessessary) is key. Thus, holiday parties right now should be tabled, or severely reduced. Some subscriptions or memberships might be cut, raises might be put on hold, etc. If you haven't already, start now with some reductions. It will help later on, both financially and politically.

Before I show you some resources, one more note: nonprofits spend about 85% of their funds on their staff. Thus significant cutbacks are always going to be about people. Always. This is very, very hard stuff. If your nonprofit is like 98% of the 501(c)(3)'s in the US and Canada, you are NOT overstaffed, and the people you employ are nearly always great people, people with families to feed, homes to pay for etc. This sucks. It will tear your heart out. Been there, done that, HATED it.

But remember this: Your job as a manager is about the organization's mission. You have to make tough choices to preserve as much well-provided mission as possible. So, start soon, and know I'm thinking about you.

Resources: My newsletter in September (doesn't that seem like a quaint, idyllic time already?) was on Budgeting in a Recession.

My Decision Tree to help you make good, mission-based decisions, is free here.

In Nonprofit Stewardship, there is an entire chapter on leading in Tough Financial Times.

Here's an excellent piece from Thanks to Joanne Fritz.

Finally, remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Start now, keep at this, and keep focused on the people your mission serves as your ultimate inspiration.

And, keep checking back here for more ideas as we move forward. If you have great resources you want to post, let me know and I'll share them.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What was I thinking?

Apparently, that I would get back to the blog "shortly". That must be the same "shortly" that is used by nurses when they leave you half naked in a physician's waiting room and utter those infamous words: "The doctor will be in shortly." and you know you may be waiting until after your next birthday. The day after day "shortly excuse turned into a quarter of a year. Apologies.

Thanks to the people who wrote asking if I was healthy. I am, and I've been buzzing around the country, mostly doing sessions on Generation change, but also working on strategy issues with some very interesting client organizations. I've also been doing a lot of sessions on "Mission-Based Management in Tough Financial Times". No surprise. Just think, when I last posted, your 401K had probably 30% more money in it.....ugh.

So, to get back on track, some reading suggestions. First, read "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job" by Pat Lencioni. The book, which is a fable, is essential reading for any manager in this market, or any market, for that matter. Get it, read it, and then post your comments. Trust me, it's worth your 4 hours....yes, it's that short.

I also just finished "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Tom Friedman. I'm a big fan of all of Friedman's books and his column in the New York Times. This book is, in turn, terrifying and inspirational. It's about economics/climate change/energy/biodiversity and their linkage. Really well done, and if you want a glimpse of our next 10 years, read this book.

My son, Ben has strongly recommended "The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly Improbable", by Nassim Taleb which I just ordered before writing this post. Ben notes that managers need to look at random events as well....although I'll be interested to see how you actually do that in the real world.

One more catchup headsup. My last three newsletters (October, November, December) have been:
Disaster Planning
Staff Recruitment and Retention
Measuring Mission

Check them out.

And, no fear: I have a bunch of postings in mind for the next few weeks. Trust me----I won't get to them "shortly".....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Miscellany

I've had the luxury of nearly two weeks here in late summer, which has been terrific, made all the better by visits from two of my three kids, great weather and lots of boat time.

But, I set the time aside to have consistent focused time to work on the 2008 set of nonprofits that are participating in the Generational Readiness Assessment Project funded by the Foellinger Foundation. Nine nonprofits from the Allen County, IN. area are participating and I've spent much of the last ten days mulling over their data. I'm due to get them their reports and recommendations in the next few weeks, and I'll try to post the areawide findings if it's OK with the people at Foellinger. Interesting project.

In other news, Heather Carpenter at the Nonprofit Leadership 601 blog has included me in her list of "The (50) Next Generation Nonprofit Leaders You Should Know."

Thanks, Heather---and you're right, I don't quite know if I fit in "The Next Generation" or the last one! But I appreciate the thought, and I'm certainly in good company--it's quite a list.

Most importantly, check out the new Communique from The Listening Post at Johns Hopkins.
Titled "A Nonprofit Workforce Action Agenda" it makes some great suggestions on recruiting and retaining the best young people into our sector. Thanks, Lester, for yet another great contribution.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Want to learn more?

As most readers know, there has been an explosion of programs in nonprofit management over the past twenty years, both here in the US and overseas. I'm often approached by participants after lectures who tell me that they used one or more of my books in their classes, and I ask them where they studied and they tell me..."The nonprofit management program at X University", and I had no idea that there even was a program there.

I also get calls and emails from people looking to further their education, or from undergrad students wanting to go to grad school and study nonprofit management. It's been a problem to find a good resource on this issue, until the Kellogg Foundation funded Dr. Roseanne Mirabella at Seton Hall University to do some research. That effort led to the first good, searchable listing of nonprofit educational opportunities both in the US and overseas, along with a great FAQ. You can search by undergrad, graduate, PhD, credit, continuing ed, and online courses.

Here's the site: NonProfit Management Education. Thanks, Dr. Mirabella!

There's also a listing on the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council site. The NACC's mission is:

" to support academic centers devoted to the study of the nonprofit/nongovernmental sector, philanthropy and voluntary action to advance education, research and practice that increases the nonprofit sector's ability to enhance civic engagement, democracy and human welfare. ",

and the board is full of prominent people in the field. You can see the member organizations/programs by clicking on the appropriate link.

So, if you are looking to go back to school, or if you have a staff member that you want to develop, here's a great place to look for a program.

Learn, learn, learn.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good stewardship for technology

As technology wends (some would say worms) its way into more and more of our daily lives, we need to remember that owning a computer/printer/server is, as with any other machine, NOT a set-it-and-forget-it situation.

Think about your vehicle: Whether its a car, van, truck or motorcycle, you'd never let it go years without changing the oil, cleaning it, checking the tire pressure, renewing insurance and license stickers and all the other maintenance items that come with the ownership of this important machine.

Same with technology--and this is multiplied by the number of machines you have--the desktops, laptops, printers, servers, routers, wireless access points, PDA's, cell phones and, of course, software.

I only have four machines to worry about--a home desktop, my current laptop, an old laptop that I keep in reserve, and a cell phone. Still, I have to regularly update software, screen for viruses, renew security software licenses, etc. Much of this I automate, but I still have to pay attention to this task, and I couldn't do it for 20 computers: I have a regular job.

Oddly enough--so does your IT person, whether or not he/she is a full-time IT, or just the poor soul who got stuck with adding the IT work to their job description because they were dumb enough to let people know they knew the difference between RAM and ROM.

(If you like that RAM/ROM joke, and/or if you are in that situation or know someone who is, buy a copy of "The Accidental Techie", by Sue Bennet. The joke comes from there...and it's a terrific resource.)

At any rate, what to do to stay on top of all your technology's needs for update, maintenance, heck, simply to know what your organization actually owns? There's tech management software, and TechSoup has a great article on Managing Your Organization's Technology Assets that I highly recommend. Chris Peters discusses what you need and how to make the best decision.

Check it out and get organized!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mission and Values case study

Last week, I had the pleasure of facilitating a strategy retreat for Nexus, a nonprofit that provides a variety of services, primarily residential, to troubled teens and their families.

As you might expect, Nexus is financially dependent on government revenue, and the staff and board are considering diversifying to other services, other geographic markets, etc.

The strategy session ran on Tuesday night and Wednesday through about 2:00PM and included 21 senior staff and 6 board members. We went through the usual discussion of organizational status, SWOTs, national trends, a decision tree, and key markets. We closed with a prioritization process that allowed everyone to contribute.

Sounds pretty normal, at least for those of you who are involved in planning, right?

Not at all.

From the get-go, these people were focused on a number of important things.

First their mission "To change lives through our cornerstone values" and those values: "Honesty, responsibility, courage, care and concern".

I asked the group who could recite their mission and the values, and not only did they tell me that pretty much all their staff could, but that in treatment sessions the consumers (again, troubled teens) would be asked every evening what they or someone else had done that emulated their values.

In the retreat discussions that followed, ideas that were floated often received pushback based on one value or another. This discussion was vigorous, and very much aimed at resolving conflict based on the mission/value framework.

Wow. This is exactly what I talk about ---living your mission, living your values, dealing with decisions based on those key items. In fact, this month's Mission-Based Management Newsletter is about Vision, Mission, Values, but Nexus puts my thoughts into action.

And, Nexus takes it a step further. They have strategic, long-standing Key Focus Areas (KFAs) that guide their planning (they show up in each treatment location's plan) as follows:

1. Raise the standards of clinical and educational competence.
2. Develop, recognize and invest in the potential of our staff.
3. Adapt, diversify and grow.
4. Promote Nexus and build external relationships.
5. Improve technical competence.
6. Provide respectful physical environments for consumers and staff.

These are great and not just words on paper. The organization really is focused on these, and tries their best to live them. The KFAs are not short term--they provide the over-arching strategic focus that so many organizations (for profit as well as nonprofit) are lacking.

Congrats to the Nexus leadership, both volunteer and paid, for being a role model for other organizations as they consider their next strategic steps. I'm impressed.

Friday, August 22, 2008 look good!

Whenever I'm doing a gig and someone wants to take a photo for their newsletter, I always ask them to use the filter that makes me look a: 10 years younger and b: 20 pounds lighter. Somehow they always seem to have left those particular filters home. Oh well.

But photos CAN make a big difference in making your organization look better. With digital cameras being so cheap, flexible and good quality, you probably have more photos than you want to sort through, but you also want to make any photo you use, either on the web or in your print materials look terrific. But how to do that simply and cheaply?

TechSoup has a great article on this subject here. It showed up in their weekly newsletter, By The Cup, which everyone who is concerned about nonprofit technology should subscribe to.

Happy snaps, as our friends from the UK would say!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Video, video, video to tell your story

I'm in Seattle (one of my three favorite American cities) doing a two day session on staff recruitment and retention. Much of our talk is about engaging employees in their work, hiring character first, and many of the things that regular readers know I believe in in workplaces.

Two key books to help you retain more staff:
The Three Signs of A Miserable Job, by Pat Lencioni
Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham

That said, much of the discussion has moved around the power of video on websites to tell the mission story, to show what a particular job is about to potential applicants, to focus on giving opportunities. Again, regular readers know I believe in video and that YouTube has lowered the bar on the need for the highest cost highest end video.

But you still need people who know what they are doing. You need talented videographers, and then to share their product. Here's a link to an article on TechSoup about just this issue.

Want to see some examples? Go to the 2008 DoGooderTV awards site. You'll see the power of this medium.

Who to use to help you? One good source is a company that is dedicated solely to nonprofits: GoodEye Video. You can check out their website...I'm impressed with their work.

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is even more true for video....give it some thought, and see what may be the best use for your organization.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Credit Cards

As people who hear me speak know, I often point out that iF your nonprofit's website doesn't accept credit cards and PayPal, you've lost money. Period. The increasing number of people who are comfortable ordering online are less and less prone to want to write a check. In fact, fewer and fewer "checking account" customers, particularly under 30, EVER actually order checks from their bank.

Some older execs point out that credit cards cost a percentage of the revenue received (usually 4-6%), and I counter that 94% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

So what to do? TechSoup has the answers, of course. They always do on tech for nonprofits. Check out this article on the Techsoup website about credit card options and methods for your nonprofit. While you are there, make sure to check out TechSoup Stock, the donated (new) software available for nonprofits and libraries.

And, here's an article on selecting an online donation tool (software), also on the TechSoup site.

Happy fundraising!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good data on volunteers

Many thanks to Nicole Pharm for turning me on to a great source for data on volunteering in the US from Volunteering In America. Check out the site and you can find data by state, city, some new research findings and how we volunteer.

But be careful---I went to the site and, even though I'm not a volunteer specialist, suddenly looked up and an hour had slipped by....the data is really interesting! If you are a volunteer coordinator, or planning on expanding your volunteer activities, check this out.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Character first for boards

I just returned from having a terrific two days with the Ronald McDonald House Charities board leadership session in Oak Brook. Great people, lots of fun discussion. I certainly learned a lot.

Yesterday, the group was focused on better board recruitment and retention. Most sessions on this start with what skillset the organization needs. We started with something different: what kind of person you should seek to have on your board. This set the group back a bit--they were ready to talk about skills. I pushed them to talk about character, and we got a great list going. Things like this:
Open minded
This is not a complete list, but you get the idea.

Then we talked through a good laundry list of skills needed, repeatedly noting that the skills needed by any nonprofit change and should change in sync with their strategic plan.

But when we got done with those two lists, we focused on which is more important to start with: character or skills?

My feeling on this is strong: focus on character first. This is very consistent with pretty much all good leadership development advice: Hire character first in employees. Why shouldn't that extend to board members?

As John Maxwell says in his leadership writing: "You can't coach tall." Character first.

As you evaluate your board recruitment, make a list like the people at RMHC did: what kind of person do you want on the board? It will help avoid a lot of pain further down the road.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Google, and other free stuff

I was stunned recently when I asked a room of 200 or so execs how many of them had taken advantage of Google's $10k per month offer for free ads......not only did no hands go up, but most didn't know what a Google ad about opportunity lost. If you are in their group, check it out at Google Grants. Think about it---you want more volunteers in their 20's? You want more donors in that demography? TRY THIS! It's FREE.

Other free stuff---you should sign up for the free Fieldstone Alliance Tools You Can Use newsletter. Yes, they are trying to sell books, and yes, they are my publisher, but the stuff that they put in the newsletter is useful right now, even if you don't ever buy the book.

For instance, the current edition is about conflict resolution in the context of increasing collaboration and has some great ideas. Check it out.

I'm on my way to Chicago to teach at the Leadership Institute for the Ronald McDonald Houses from all over North America. I've worked with them before and they are great people. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great attitudes during tough times....

I had a wonderful day with a group of nonprofits from Sarasota, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota (and a shout out to all the staff for making my day so easy). What a great group of nonprofit staff and board. Nonprofits in Florida are facing very very tough times, and so the topic of the day "Mission-Based Management in Difficult Financial Times" drew a crowd: the room was packed.

You might expect a lot of doom and gloom in a room like that, but people were upbeat, attentive and appreciative to the nth degree. Very inspiring, but then rooms of nonprofit staff always are to me.

I go back in December to talk about "Social Entrepreneurship" and in February to talk on "Generation Change in Nonprofits". I'm looking forward to both trips.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This morning I was working on my August edition of The Mission-Based Management Newsletter, which will cover the topic of Mission, Vision, Values. In looking up some good resources I came across a fascinating (to a mission-nerd like me) website called, which has collected hundreds of mission statements, not only for nonprofits, but for schools, corporations, government, and individuals. Interesting reading, at least for me.

At the Alliance for Nonprofit Management meeting, I had the pleasure of hearing and then talking briefly to Darian Rodriguez Heyman, who is the ED of the Craigslist Foundation. In his talk, Darian told us about a new foundation online presence and asked for input from the group. Over and over, he repeated the mantra that was guiding the Foundation in its development: "Less time searching, more time doing good."

I loved hearing such focus on a key idea. While that statement is not their mission, it is a guiding principle for a major product, and allows the staff and volunteers to say focused on the desired outcome.

This is a great example of developing a project mission, but more importantly, using that project-mission to help guide the process all the time, not just at the outset.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The cost of higher educution and nonprofits

One of the concerns I have about nonprofits recruiting and retaining the best and brightest is the cost of higher education which, as a percentage of average family income, is an enormous barrier. Not only does it stress out current nonprofit staff who have kids and are trying to figure out how to pay for college, but for someone coming out of undergraduate or grad school with a $20k, $30k, even $90k debt, the ability to work in a low-paying nonprofit is severely limited.

The recent federal bill to "fix" this problem is a start, but a poor one. Basically, a 22-year-old has to go to work for a nonprofit, work ten years, and then she sees some minimal help. Ten years? Ten YEARS? Ten years for a 22 year old is half their life so far, at least the part they can recall. Not much of an incentive, particularly for the average 22 or 23 year old who is still figuring out their place in the world, where they want to live and work, and what their real passion is.

We've always used financial incentives to push people toward desired outcomes. Whether its the ability to deduct interest costs on your mortgage to encourage home ownership, had rapid depreciation allowances to encourage businesses to build, or drill for oil. Let's put together a real program that helps both students and parents.

More and more families are taking out loans, rates for loans are rising: student loans now cost 6.8% and parent loans 8.2%. Rates went up last year to help cut the deficit. And, private lenders have stepped back from lending given the mortgage crisis....

Here's my suggestion:

A student with a federal debt (in his/her own name or that of his or her family) goes to work for a nonprofit. During the year, the debtor pays only interest on the loan. After one year, if he or she does the job, 5% is cut off the principle. This continues moving forward for as long as the individual works for a (any) nonprofit. The second year, the forgiveness is 10%, where it stays for each of years 3-5 and then it moves up again to 15% per year until the loan is retired with one last 10% forgiveness in year 9.

Thus, the student receives immediate help (interest only) and a reduction in one year, not 10.
Will congress change the law? Unlikely.

So, what can communities do? Set up the same program locally with some variation. I'd love to see community foundations put money aside for debt reduction for employees at nonprofits, corporations and service organizations like Rotary and Lions set up scholarships for graduated students who work for nonprofits. Local governments could offer property tax relief to nonprofit workers buy homes in the community they work for, and state governments could target the areas where the most workers are needed and offer incentives as well.

We want well educated employees. We know we can't pay our employees salaries that are competitive with the for-profit sector, and we know that our mission-satisfaction makes up for that to a point. But mission-satisfaction can't help here: we have to come up with a better way if we want the best people.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Green Nonprofits-resources

Everyone wants to do their part to green up, lower our carbon footprint, and be better environmental citizens. The Mission-Based Management Newsletter in April dealt with this topic in depth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy had a set of resources recently that I wanted to share.

First, GreenNonprofits has just opened, and will be doing some work to allow nonprofits to be certified at green. Check them out at

TechSoup has a bunch of resources including a listing of recycling centers for your old tech. Take a look:

If you own (or are going to own) a building for your nonprofit, take a look at the US Green Building Council which has some great information on greening up your building both in design and use.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Alliance, and a new resource

Fun to be at the Alliance for Nonprofit Management meeting in Dearborn...great to see so many friends and catch up.

A new resource announced today from Microsfot looks interesting...MS is calling it NGO Connection, and it advertises free/low cost software, TA, etc. I'll check it out but you should too.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Free stuff--a reminder to those who like this price...

I got a bunch of questions last week (yes, on vacation) from people associated with nonprofits who have heard about offers from Google and Yes, there is great free stuff (from both companies) or heavily discounted (in the case of Salesforce) available for nonprofits.

In Google's case, it's up to $10,000 a month in free Google Ads, which is, believe me, HUGE. If you set up the ads correctly, you can have them send people to your services page, your fundraising page, your volunteer page, or all three! Here's the information on this offer:

In Salesforce's case, you can get their client management software free, or at an 80% discount. Again, a terrific offer, since this software rocks.

Remember that both companies have an application process, and it's not a slam dunk. But, check them out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Books, anniversaries, and Alliance

Back from a great 10 days on vacation, in NH with kids and significant others, seeing long-time friends, and relaxing on Squam. Much fun.

I read quite a bit, including taking a run at True North, the second book by Bill George, the author of Authentic Leadership. I'm about a third through and like it a lot. Authentic Leadership was very popular with my book clubs. I'll post more about this book when I finish.

In other book news, the 3rd Edition of Mission-Based Management is underway. I'm pumped about the update, and will post intermittently as I make progress and add new sections.

However, the biggest book news for me is that Generations has been awarded the 2008 Terry McAdam Award for "Best New Nonprofit Book" by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. I'm really pleased and honored, particularly since the runner up this year is Forces for Good, which is an awesome book.

I'm headed out to the Alliance for Nonprofit Management annual conference in Dearborn tomorrow, do a half-day on Generation Change, see lots of great friends and, as a bonus, collect the award. The Alliance meetings are always a highlight of my year, and I'm looking forward to it.

Finally, today is Chris's and my 30th wedding anniversary. I have been SO lucky to have such a great wife and fantastic certainly has been the launching pad for all my work....

I'll post from Dearborn....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Book Club is over

I knew it had been far too long since I posted, but had no real idea that my last entry was April 1. Sorry.

Much has happened between then and now for me, as I'm sure it has for you. Professionally, I've traveled to 12 states, given presentations on Generations and Nonprofit Stewardship, and met some amazing people. One trip was particularly fun: a return to New Orleans, where I went to grad school. Sad, amazing, wonderful and awful all wrapped up in a two day package.

Yesterday was the final set of calls for the book clubs that I've been facilitating since 2004. Budget cuts have caused the cutback, and while I am sad to lose both the conversations each month and the impetus to get my reading done, I certainly understand the sponsoring organization's prioritization. A good four years, for sure.

And now, I get to read more of what I choose!

And, in book news, the update of Mission-Based Management is underway. I sent my suggestions for improvement off to Wiley last week, and their editorial board meets soon to (I hope) approve the third edition. SO much has changed since I wrote the second edition in 2000. Should be fun work.

Tomorrow, I head to New Hampshire for a family week, and will do my best to post more regularly, starting with a list of what I think should be on every nonprofit staff and board's reading list.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Mission-Based Management, 3rd Edition?

I'm in the early stages of re-working the second edition of Mission-Based Management into the third edition. It's hard to believe that the second edition came out way back in 2000 (when I referred to a strong economy and balanced federal budget). Much has changed.

One thing that prompted the update is the number of undergraduate and graduate classes that use the book as their text. While I don't want to turn the book into an academic tome, there may be some things that students and professors want that I can include.

Hence my question: If you have used MBM, either as a teacher or as a student, what would you do to improve the book? Any and all suggestions are welcome....either email me at or post a suggestion here for all to see.

In advance, thanks!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One more marketing trap

Longtime readers, either here, or of my books, know that I feel strongly that most nonprofits have a severe marketing disability that needs to be overcome if they are to be successful in providing the most mission to the most people. That disability is a trap, and now I've realized that there aren't just one, but two, traps to fall into.

The first trap/disability wraps around the issue of needs versus wants. People have needs. People seek wants, and nonprofits often get trapped in their perspective that everything really is about needs. The feds, states, United Ways---all of them do needs assessments. Nonprofits have professionals on staff in their area of expertise, and can diagnose needs very well. Whether you are a museum curator, a teacher, nurse, or rabbi, you can look at me (or my community) run some numbers (or tests) and tell me what I need. That skill is crucial to your organization's mission-success, but it runs smack up against good marketing which is all about wants. To find out about wants, you have to ask. If you don't ask, you can't give people the things they need in the way that they want them---and you don't do as much mission as you could.

(You can read more about my marketing thoughts at the Marketing Ideas section of my website.)

So, first trap: needs versus wants.

The second trap? This one has come to me slowly, kind of like a ship coming over a horizon....and it has to do with a more complex set of thoughts around generation change. Let me summarize.

Different generations are really different cultures (and sub-cultures, but that's not the issue today). Just as we are influenced by our ethnic background, just as we are shaped by our family, we are, in a very real sense, children of the times in which we grew up, shaped by the music, the culture, the experiences, the technology that surrounded us between the ages of 12 and 25 or 30. The more I talk to people about generation change, the more I see this clearly.

Why should this be surprising? It's true with ethnicity. All of us know that Caucasians and African-Americans "see" and "hear" things differently. My African-American friends often talk about the racial code words they hear in conversation, on television, or on radio that go right over my head as a Caucasian male. So experience and background can influence worldview, right? No news there.

I think it's the same for generations. If you know someone who is a Greatest Generation member, they usually think of money differently than those of us who are younger---why? They went through the Great Depression. That's an obvious influence, but there are hundreds more, often subtle ones that make up who we are.

Here's the trap.....being blind to generational differences in marketing: assuming that what I want from my generational perspective is the same as every other generation wants. This gets us back to one of my most quoted marketing truisms: Ask, Ask, Ask, and then Listen!

I'm still thinking this through, and it may not be as profound as it seems to me at the moment....we'll see.

What do you think?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Is generation change expensive?

In my talks on Generations, people seem most concerned about inter-generational conflict and executive transition. No one really seems to focus on the cost of this transition. At least I don't get questions about financial implications.

I think that partly this is because we feel we can do something about exec transition, and inter-generational conflict gets our attention since it drives us nuts. But money? We'll deal with that later.

That's a mistake. Things like attending to retirement costs of staff over 55, figuring out flexible benefits for younger staff, deciding how wrestle with health care costs for older staff who stay on into their 70's....all of these things are cheaper if done sooner.

Of course, there are lots of financial implications, both related to income and expense, and I talk about them in the current issue of the Mission-Based Management Newsletter. The topic this month is Generation Change and Finance.

Check it out...and sooner rather than later.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Reaching 60

No, not 60 years of age...but that'll come soon enough.

The 60 I'm referring to is 60 countries. My Mission-Based Management Newsletter is now read in at least 60 countries on six continents. (I used to have a subscriber in Antarctica, but her grant finished up and she returned to the US.)

When I say "at least" it's because I could have more...subscribers just have to give me their email address to get the newsletter each month, and with @gmail addresses proliferating, who knows? My subscriber base has grown a lot the last two years, and if current trends continue, I'll go over 2,000 subscribers this month or next.

My newsletter comes out once a month and covers a single topic each month. You can look at prior single topic issues as well.

Check out the current issue here. If you want to subscribe, just send me an email to subscribe@missionbased. com

If you do, you'll know you're reading something that nearly 2,000 other nonprofit professionals and volunteers are reading all over the world!

How cool is that? Join us!

Friday, February 29, 2008

What's a good mission statement?

A couple of weeks back, I posted on having taught at Boston University, and one of the classes was focused on finding good nonprofits to give to. One of their criteria was finding the best mission statement, and they asked me for some criteria. Since that class, I have coincidentally had a number of emails from other organizations asking basically the same question.

Here's my drill on this:

1. Less is more. The mission statement is an identifier, an "elevator message" and a motivator. You have to be able to convey what you do quickly to people to make your organization stand out. In an era with short attention spans, this has to be done quickly. If your mission statement is three pages long, or has 20 adjectives, it does nothing but bore. Think short.

2. First Vision, then Mission, then Values. One way to shorten many mission statements is to attend to the vision-mission-values sequence and to keep them separate. Vision is how you would like the world to look. Mission is what your organization does to help realize that vision, and values is how you do it (with respect, dignity, etc.). Many organizations put all three in their mission statement, insuring that they violate rule 1 above.

3. Use the mission everywhere. Once you focus and refine your mission statement, use it everywhere: in meetings, on paper, on your website, everywhere. Talk about it constantly. Make it an integral tool in decision making, budgeting, prioritizing, and planning. Remember, the mission is the reason your organization exists---so make it central to everything you do.

What's the best mission? It depends, but here's a great list of Best Charity Mission Statements from

If you want to add to this list, just click on it......

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bright eyes, Boston version

Had the great pleasure of speaking to both an undergrad and graduate class at Boston University's School of Management yesterday. Thanks to Professors McCormack and Post for letting me borrow their students.

Both classes were fun; with the undergraduates I talked about the characteristics of a good nonprofit, which should fit well into their big project: figuring out how to give $15,000 away to nonprofit applicants, which is, I suspect, harder than they thought it would be. The class is using Mission-Based Management as its core text, so there was a fair amount of give and take on what makes a good nonprofit, and how my characteristics of good nonprofits would also work for a for-profit.

In the grad class, we spent most of our time discussing what social entrepreneurship (SE) is, how the definition has changed, expanded, morphed and been adopted by a wide range of different activities. For me a social entrepreneur has always been "someone who takes risk on behalf of the people their nonprofit serves". However, the class defined SE as a business that is socially responsible, and a philanthropist who figures out how to help a nonprofit succeed, and someone who sets up businesses that help the underprivileged. We even went round and round about what social good is---and does it have to apply to people who are oppressed, or poor, or, or, or....

As you might guess, all of this was great fun for me, and I hope helpful for the students. It made me miss my teaching at Kellogg even more.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Some online help for you....

Two things popped up on my laptop this morning, both of which will be of interest to any nonprofit looking to maximize its website usefullness.

First, is SEMcares, and organization made up of Search Engine Marketing professionals who help nonprofits pro bono (or at deep discounts) get more from their website. If broad exposure is important to your organization, check them out.

Second is Google Grants. Anyone who cruises the web knows about Google Ads, those little boxes that show up to the right of a search query. I use them myself, and pay only when someone clicks on the box and goes to my website, or to this blog. It's called Google AdWords.

Google Grants allows you to do use AdWords for free.... if you qualify and apply. Thus, you could have a broader reach, and for free! Here's a hint as well: setting up AdWords is a breeze.

Check both of these resources out!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Board Re-org?

Much has been said recently about the need to re-think the Executive Director role in light of the combination of that Boomer-heavy position's transition to GenX and Gen@ combined with those generations hesitancy to even take on the position. I think that discussion is important and, while no clear models have surfaced yet, worth pursuing.

But what about boards? We all need them, we all should want them to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. We want diversity of background, a great skillset, and commitment to our cause. So should we just do the same-old same-old, or try a new model?

While no model is for everyone, and certainly starting from scratch is unlikely for pretty much any nonprofit not in a huge crisis, tweaking your board model now and then to match both the needs of the organization and the capacity of the board members is probably a good thing. And that's the topic of my January issue of the Mission-Based Management Newsletter: Reorganizing Your Board of Directors.

Take a look. There may be a tweak there that's good for you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Book Club Books worth a look

My book clubs are starting up again tomorrow for the January to June cycle. For the first set of calls, our books are:

Emerging Leaders: The Servant Leader, by James Autry
Advanced Leaders: The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Suroweicki

I love both of these books, and have recommended them to dozens of audiences over the past year or so. The Autry book is very, very practical. He describes his philosophy of servant leadership (you work for the people you supervise and serve them so that they can do their jobs) which I completely agree with, and then goes into very, very hands on applications of the theory. What do you do with employees who are having an office romance? What about an employee who is undergoing chemotherapy and wants to work, but whose presence is upsetting other workers? How do you lay off someone well?

Really good stuff.

Surowiecki lays out the premise that crowds (in most cases) make better decisions than a few experts. Through story after story he shows you that getting input into your decisions is worth the effort. I also agree with this, but it's important to remember not to just take a poll--as a leader you have to make the final decision---and live with it.

Excellent reading, and neither is overly long. The Servant Leader you can read easily on a snowy afternoon, or a long plane ride. Wisdom is a little denser, but just as fascinating.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Subscription is now easier, Disaster Planning

A shout out to David Simms at Bridgespan who asked me to put a subscription link on my blog---it's been on my list to do for about a year and I haven't. So, thanks to David's prompting, I's just above my picture on the right. If you like what you see here, subscribe!

If you want other subscription options, just let me know, I can add them easily.

In an unrelated issue, I was in Alaska this past week, speaking to the Foraker Group's Leadership Summit. Great group of people, lots of fun. Many thanks to everyone at Foraker for making my time so easy and fun.

One of Foraker's priorities this year is to have all Alaska nonprofits have a disaster plan. In that vien, here's the Techsoup Disaster Toolkit. I've posted on this before, but it's a great set of resources for any organization.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who's the Best?

We all feel that our nonprofit organization(s) rock, and that their mission is important. But which is "the best"? In fact, is there a best?

A new website, Seekler, is trying to find that out through the development of community lists, where users rate their best charities, best books, best restaurants etc.

Here's the current list of "Best Charities"

Scroll through the list to see all the nonprofits, and click on the "Powered by Seekler" text at the bottom to go to the site. If you want to add your two cents, or give your nonprofit the props it deserves, log in as a user (it's free) and add your own listing of the best nonprofits. Your list will be included in the community list immediately. It's fast and easy.

You can also see lists of Best Nonprofit Books, Best Charity Mission Statements, Best Charity Job Sites, etc.

Check it out....and in full disclosure, I need to tell you that this website is developed by Pretheory, my son Ben's startup. Ben and his business partner have decided to make charities one of their focus areas, so check back and see how the listings grow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Technology Planning

As regular readers know, I'm huge on nonprofits using their technology to do more mission. This ranges from better websites, to using web 2.0, to better marketing materials, and on and on.

Such use demands good planning, synching the IT needs of the organization with mission, vision and strategic planning. Even though the cost of tech is down, it's not free, by any means. So, good stewardship requires good planning

TechSoup to the rescue: See their area on Tech Planning for tons of good ideas on this subject. And remember you can get your new software at TechSoup as well, for significantly discounted prices.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

At last, some educational metrics

Happy 2008 to all...and some good news from late last year, when the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council announced its new guidelines for both undergraduate and graduate study in nonprofit management. I'm really glad to see these, as I get a request a month from some program somewhere in the US that's starting up. Good work to the NACC!

Also, if you go to the NACC site, you can see a list of member centers: the colleges and universities that belong, along with contact information. If you're looking for some continuing ed, or getting an advanced degree, you might be surprised to find a program close to where you live.

Unrelated but topic for a post in the near future....who is the "Best Nonprofit"? Whose nonprofit has the "Best Mission Statement"? Which fundraising special event is best? All of these and more will be referenced in an upcoming post later this week.