Nonprofit Need More Than Just A Vision

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It is not unusual to hear nonprofit organizations and consultants discuss how they need to become more “corporate” in their approach or how they need to operate more “like a business.” Yet, this is not where most nonprofits are willing to put precious resources. Why?

To answer this question, check out this video of a TEDxWilmington in which Chris Grundner talks about modern-day nonprofit governance and he states that passion is not enough. Mr. Grundner is the CEO and president of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement.

The third sector continues to place an emphasis on vision over management. We want to hire the best “visionary” we can find for our nonprofit mission.

However, this choice can come at the expense of effective management. Management (e.g., talented people, IT systems, and effective human resources) do not excite donors. Donors rarely want to fund supportive administrative operations. I know I do not look here first. I want my dollars to support the grass root level of service.


Nonprofits – is it just about the Mission?

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Does the nonprofit community have a greater purpose?  Do we owe more to the social contract than just our mission? I would say yes.

In the video above, Deirdre Jones (Associate Director of the University of Toledo’s Schmidt School of Professional Sales) talks about how to get sustainable financial and non-financial support from like-minded individuals and organizations so non-profits can execute their missions properly.

Each nonprofit organization has its own mission which drives (or should drive) each and every decision made by the board of directors, the leadership team, patrons, the staff and volunteers.  We become involved in a nonprofit organization because it speaks to us from our hearts. Our connection, at first, may simply be employment and my path certainly started this way. But we stay because we become emotionally attached to our work and the lives we are changing.


6 Low-Cost Professional Development Ideas for Nonprofits

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Let’s be honest. When it comes to the precious resources in the small to mid-size nonprofit, the first place we turn to is far from professional development. However, the greatest resource most of our organizations have to offer is those who are committed to working for us and our mission day in and day out. So, why is it professional development is a nonprofit issue?

Listen also to Rueben Mayes speak at this TEDxWSU meeting. In this video, Mayes talks about that at some point in their lives, everyone will be asked to raise money for something. It could be a high school event, a sports tournament trip, or some campaign. He addresses the topic of fundamental elements of successfully raising money for various causes and his keys to successful fundraising.

There is no doubt at all it is first and foremost a question of resources, financial and otherwise. You may not have professional development (or training) as a line item in your nonprofit’s budget. And, if this is the case, funding for training may be the responsibility of your program director to find the resources from within their individual budgets.  So how can we develop our teams when money is scarce?


6 Thoughts for the Nonprofit Sector

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If you are reading this I assume you have at least a passing interest in the nonprofit world.  Whether you are employed in the Third Sector, volunteer for your favorite organization, or just want to make a difference in this world you have experienced or will experience, the days where you do that, may just be plain tiring and/or frustrating. It is part of the chase. This week’s post is not about the “nuts and bolts” of nonprofit issues; it is about why we do what we do.

Interesting in the following TEDxCrenshaw video in which Areva Martin, a civil rights attorney, talks about her experience as a child when she received help from nonprofit organizations and setting up her own nonprofit for children with special needs. Why would we call the organizations nonprofits when we, in fact, all profit? Just take a look:

Respect is earned. Honor is given. Who doesn’t want to be respected? We put in long hours for our organizations. We give blood, sweat, and tears. Most who enter the nonprofit domain do not do so for monetary rewards. We give respect and we earn it through our good works. However, honor is given. The Third Sector is in the midst of the largest generational turnover in leadership experience in its history. We do not have to agree with all that was done by those who came before us. However, we must honor their efforts. And we must honor those we serve.


Common Ground for Common Good

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Please join us for an informative and lively monthly discussion of key policy issues facing nonprofits in Wisconsin. Every month at noon, WNA Public Policy Committee members will lead a phone and web call-in session on important state and federal developments that are likely to impact the nonprofit sector. Check out the following video if you’re getting ready to start your own nonprofit organization.

Topics have ranged from state budget advocacy training sessions to interviews with policy-makers themselves, from analyses of federal tax policy issues that are sure to affect your bottom line to reviews of the state legislature’s rule-revision process that is fully underway.

Simply put, you won’t want to miss these free sessions.

Advocacy and Public Policy

Are you a volunteer, a director, or a staff member who has been charged with the responsibility of fundraising? If this is one of your roles and you want to develop your knowledge of fundraising, this is the workshop for you.


Nonprofit Management

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By using the resources below, we hope that many of your questions will be answered. These resources are certainly no substitute for legal advice from an attorney familiar with the law of tax-exempt organizations however they will get you on the right path with the right tools and the questions to ask. In the following video, Toby Mathis (Anderson Business Advisors) shares his wisdom on nonprofits.


  • Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector is growing and there are many more nonprofits than we are able to easily count.
  • Nonprofits rely on a broad array of revenue sources and amounts and sources of revenue vary significantly among different types of nonprofits.
  • The government continues to rely on nonprofits to perform a number of key functions in our communities and challenges remain related to the contracts and grants involved.
  • Both staff and volunteers play critical roles in carrying out nonprofit missions.


FLSA Overtime Regulations in Wisconsin

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The Wisconsin Nonprofits Association (WNA) has been tracking information about the recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding overtime compensation for employees.  Much information about changes is available through the Federal Department of Labor, however, states are allowed to enact more stringent protection of workers—and Wisconsin does so.

Following is a summary of information received by WNA on June 7, 2016, from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

There are also documents and links to more detailed federal-level information listed on WNA’s website.  WNA will continue to track and communicate any new information as it becomes available.

Overtime Coverage

The state overtime law applies to most Wisconsin employers, including state and local units of government but not necessarily to each individual worker. Covered workers, regardless of age, must be paid 1 1/2 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week.

The law applies to factories, mercantile (see definition of mercantile) or mechanical establishments, restaurants, hotels, motels, resorts, beauty parlors, retail and wholesale stores, laundries, express and transportation firms, telegraph offices and telephone exchanges.


How to use the Compensation Report

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There are many ways that experts use the Compensation Report, but here is one that over the years we have found useful for assessing how existing salary data stacks up to how much a candidate should be paid, using comparable data. See also this TEDxInternationalSurfLA video in which Dan Pallotta talks about discrimination of compensation in the nonprofit sector.

Step 1: Turn to the Job Title Summary page for the specific job that matches most closely to the job you’re reviewing.

If you’re a participant (knowing your own code) you can see exactly where you rank; if you’re a non-participant, look at where you are relative to the average, and which quartile you are in.

Unless you are looking at a position in which you have several employees, you can probably safely ignore the Weighted Average in the Overall Position Data Highlights box. This value better reflects organizations that have multiple people in that same position.


Overtime Regulation for Nonprofits

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As we know, the news of the overtime regulations has been met with a mixed bag of enthusiasm and unease. It is very hard to argue that those of us working in the nonprofit sector do not deserve a raise, since we work very hard, constantly fight to burn out, and have to adjust to many externalities that are not always under our control.

In the following Idaho nonprofit center video, Join Jason Mau (Attorney) and Karen Baerlocher (Owner of Peak View Performance Solutions) discuss and examine the changes to federal rules that govern employment and contracting practices. These changes may potentially affect the operations and costs of nonprofits. The changes will specifically affect organizations that receive government grants and/or contracts.

On the other hand, many organizations are already struggling with finding the money to keep day to day operations going, let alone increasing salaries for full-time employees or paying hourly employees overtime pay.


WNA – A Statewide Organization

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Through state associations, local nonprofit organizations collaborate to manage and lead more effectively, increase their impact in their communities, and strengthen their collaborative voice on issues that affect both society and the nonprofit sector. A state association of nonprofits has the potential to provide services that will reduce the cost of doing business and increase the effectiveness of policy and advocacy agendas simultaneously. They have the ability to raise the ethical standards for all nonprofit organizations while increasing their overall effectiveness.

Currently, 43 state associations are making an impact in their nonprofit communities from Alaska to Hawaii and Florida, including Wisconsin. These state associations help strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations and speak on their behalf with their result of evoking meaningful and lasting change as well as helping to keep the public informed on the latest challenges and achievements in the nonprofit sector.


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