Archive for January, 2012

A culture of giving

Dylan Taylor showed up at my office on the Friday before Christmas with a nicely wrapped gift that, frankly, blew me away–all the baseball cards for the 1977 New York Yankees, matted and framed with a personalized plaque that said, “To the greatest Yankee fan. Love, your friend, Dylan.”

Dylan and I met about a year ago when he hired me to speak at the national sales conference for Colliers International.  We soon learned that our children attended the same school in Denver, and we’ve since become close friends on our way to the Fifth Floor.

Dylan, the CEO for Colliers’ U.S. division, had read my book and particularly liked what I wrote about building “Fifth Floor All-Star Teams.” That’s where he learned of my love for the Yankees and, in particular, the 1977 world championship team.

In the time I’ve known Dylan, he’s been nothing but a “giver–the type of person you want in your business, on your team, in your life. And that makes him a perfect fit at Colliers, a leader in the global real estate services industry.

Colliers considers “community” a core value, but it’s not just a word they frame somewhere in the corporate offices. They live it out. In fact, they’re living it out in a way that can involve me, you and tens of thousands of other people.

On Feb. 22, Colliers is launching “Everyone Gives”–an eight-day, online giving campaign that, frankly, will change the world. Doug Frye, the international CEO, came up with the idea while thinking about how Colliers could live out its commitment to community in an innovative way that could multiply beyond what any one person or office could do. The plan he came up with is simple but powerful: You give $5 to the charity of your choice and ask at least two friends to give $5 to the charity of their choice. Each person who gives asks at least two more people to give and they, in turn, ask two more people.

Colliers has 15,000 employees in 61 countries, so the potential of this fundraiser is off the charts. Plus, you and I can join in by going to and by promoting the event on our blogs and through our social networks. We all can give. We all can ask others to give. And we all can watch the “giving tree” online as it expands its branches to include thousands and thousands of givers who will impact millions of people in need.

This is a way Colliers’ employees can think differently about what it means to participate in community. It also opens the doors for discussions with their clients and partners that go well beyond the transactional. It helps them build relationships that, in turn, help both their communities and their business.

I knew Colliers was a great company that valued relationships, but Dylan and Doug showed me how that value has become so deeply ingrained in the corporate culture. With Dylan, it’s been through our personal relationship. I’ve seen him live the value in dozens of ways. With Doug, it was by watching him give his presentation to his company’s top 1,200 performers last September in Chicago. He was on stage just before I delivered the closing keynote, and he didn’t talk about mergers or corporate goals or strategies for growing the business. He spent his entire time talking about Everyone Gives. He talked with tremendous passion about how Colliers was going to change the world–$5 at a time.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about business strategies and tactics. It means he knows they don’t operate in a vacuum. He showed his commitment to helping others isn’t lip service, and that’s why others follow his lead. I know I am. I hope you will, too.

See also:

It’s Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life (and Your Organization) by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships

The Connection Culture: A New Source of Competitive Advantage

Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity

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Ready to renew your major gifts?

If your charity was the fortunate beneficiary of a large donation in 2011 thanks to the popular IRA provision, allowing 70+ year-olds to make a contribution up to $100,000 dollars, then you’ll want to rethink your renewal strategy. “Now this benefit is gone, at least until Congress restores it,” according to the Wall Street Journal article by Laura Saunders this weekend.

While your typical donor incentives with traditional gifts (like a tax deduction) don’t apply here, seniors do appreciate not having to count IRA distributions as income if they give it to charity. This saves them higher taxes on Social Security payments or higher Medicare premiums, says Saunders. This Individual Retirement Account (IRA) rule was one of sixty federal tax provisions that expired in 2011.  Similarly in 2006, 2009 and 2010, the law expired but wasn’t re-enacted until December, leaving seniors scrambling with their charitable plans and nonprofits in reactionary mode.

The frustration for IRA donors stems from the fact that the law requires them to take an annual distribution from the account. Donors want to take as little as possible to maximize the annual growth of the IRA assets but also wish to donate some or all of the required payout. If the IRA owner makes a withdrawal and Congress doesn’t extend the law, he or she can’t redeposit the payout for a later gift when the government finally acts, according to Saunders.

“Fortunately, there are ways of working with the current system this year,” says Erica Crenshaw, CEO of Execute Now!, a nonprofit financial services firm. Nonprofits are uniquely positioned to target these IRA donors and prospects by explaining what the options are with the help of a financial professional.  When nonprofits consider the size of these donations, compared with the minimal investment of sound financial input, the return is remarkable. Crenshaw adds, “By leveraging our expertise and offering these donors a credible source of guidance, nonprofits can collectively strategize with donors, further cementing an alliance for future giving.”

See also:

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

Zone of Insolvency: How Nonprofits Avoid Hidden Liabilities and Build Financial Strength

The Cash Flow Solution: A Nonprofit Board Member’s Guide to Financial Success

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Martial arts lessons for nonprofit managers

In 2012, nonprofits face another year of budget battles and political skirmishes, and the fight continues to intensify with the coming national election. Make no mistake. Nonprofits are in a full-fledged combat situation. Social, political, and economic forces have created a hostile terrain for nonprofits, described by David La Piana as “The New Abnormal:”

“Nonprofits are caught in this downward spiral of ideological extremism and cynical self-interest. The people they serve need more help than ever, but society provides less and less support to meet those needs. For every nonprofit cutting its services, there are a few dozen, a few hundred, or a few thousand people who are at risk.”

This goes far beyond the accustomed reality of nonprofits, which have long been challenged to do more with less. It is in fact “an all-out assault on the social contract.”

So what are already war weary nonprofits to do? Is it time for new battle strategies? Special training?

Well, before we go reaching for our flak jackets, let’s turn for a moment to the wisdom born of a couple thousand years of experience with conflict: the Chinese martial arts.

Since being introduced to kung fu some ten years ago, I’ve seen time and again how its lessons could be applied within the organizations with which I have worked in the philanthropic sector. Here are just a few examples of concepts and skills that I think nonprofit leaders could use to continue to fight the good fight – and prevail.

Assume a posture of relaxed readiness

We’ve all heard how important it is for organizations in the 21st Century to be more nimble – and it’s true, but we’re not just talking about a dance here, people. Nonprofit-unfriendly policy, practices, and pundits are ready to hit us where we live, and we need to not only be ready to defend ourselves, but to shut down those attacks before they become a problem. This requires that we resist the reactive urge to “tense up” or withdraw, but instead find a position of relaxed readiness in which we stay keenly alert to potential threats but remain calm and flexible enough to creatively and proactively deal with them.

As organizations, we can achieve this state of heightened awareness and self-possession by:

Assessing and owning up to our strengths and weaknesses

Knowing the full array of resources within reach (not only financial resources, but the vast store of skills and talents our staffs, board members, and allies bring to the table)

Scanning the environment for short- and long-term developments that may negatively impact or open up new opportunities for our work

Mobilizing a mix of resources quickly and effectively to achieve our mission objectives

Do what you need to do

Wu wei is one of many Taoist concepts that is wonderfully difficult to define, but was once described by my own Sifu (teacher) as “no inappropriate action” – the point being that you do what is necessary to accomplish your purpose without excessive effort, force, or power-over. Martial arts icon Bruce Lee put it this way: “Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.” This no-nonsense approach means wielding the power of discretion and having the courage to pare away the non-essential.

Think about where your organization is expending the most effort. Where do you feel like you are often running up against the proverbial wall? Have you been spending a disproportionate amount of time and energy trying to resuscitate a flagging program, connecting with a nonresponsive donor base, or simply taking on too much? Why? How much more effective could you be if you spent more time looking for open doors and less time pounding on the ones whose hinges may never yield?

We are defined in relationship with others

Martial artists train under the obvious premise that there is an “opponent,” but the fortunate reality is that we aren’t all running around fighting one another, and instead do much of our work with sparring “partners.” Although a student may spend hours on conditioning exercises or practicing forms or katas by herself, it is not until she is squared off with an opponent/partner that her techniques are tested, brought to life, and made complete. Nonprofits, too, are most vital and alive in relation to a broad range of other players, but do not always tap the power of these potential partnerships – or recognize the potential dangers of going it alone.

With the sector under fire, the time is ripe for nonprofits to rally against common threats and draw upon the skills they have developed over years of competing with one another to work better together. Although collaborative capacity is increasingly regarded as an element of organizational effectiveness, many nonprofits still struggle to form meaningful partnerships. If there is one positive outcome of “The New Abnormal,” it could just be a more cohesive, politically savvy nonprofit sector that advocates for itself and the public good that it has committed to serve.

To change with change is the changeless state

Again I’m borrowing a Bruce Lee quote with the above line, not because I believe him to be the paragon of Chinese martial arts, but because the guy could sure turn a phrase! The point is: innovation is nothing new. Despite the cult of innovation that has recently taken the philanthropic sector by storm, it is not only a tenet in Eastern beliefs, but recognized by everyone from Heraclitus to Isaac Asimov that change is, in fact, a constant.

All beings must adapt to their environment, to the situations they find themselves in, to the barriers they encounter, and to the new paths that open up. This is the task of the martial artist. It does not mean being reactive or passive. You must always know your purpose, your mission. But changing and responding flexibly to how you achieve it is the “art” at work.

All nonprofit leaders already practice kung fu, whether they know it or not. Though most commonly understood as a name for Chinese martial arts, kung fu is more accurately (and broadly) defined as “skill achieved through hard work” – a fitting description of nonprofit leadership, right? So why not put some of that martial philosophy to work as we face these challenges ahead?

See also:

The Nonprofit Business Plan

Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge…

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Streamline your tweets and consider geolocation

If you haven’t taken a closer look at Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz-Ortiz, look again. This book is the definitive guide for all innovative leaders in the nonprofit and corporate sectors who want to use Twitter to achieve their cause-related goals.

The author says, “there’s no magic bullet to excelling on Twitter but there are clear, measurable ways to reach success.” By applying the author’s T.W.E.E.T. model, you can watch your community grow and your nonprofit reap the rewards. This week, we’re highlighting the author’s tips on streamlining your tweeting and determining whether to geotag your tweets.

Streamlining is an essential part of the tracking plan, says Diaz-Ortiz. For some, that will mean creating a dashboard of the metrics we’ve explored in this framework; for others, it will mean outsourcing it. Either way, don’t let go of the reins entirely. Be involved in how your target and voice are determined.

CausePlanet: What are other tips for streamlining my tweeting?

Diaz-Ortiz: Scheduling Tweets is a great way to help maintain constant flow of Tweets—no matter what crisis your organization is dealing with in a given week. Additionally, if your non-profit organization doesn’t want to worry about tweeting on holidays or weekends, it’s extremely easy to schedule Tweets many months in advance. I often recommend Tweet scheduling; it works well as a way to highlight old content or information on your website, because this material is not time-sensitive. The main issue with Tweet scheduling is that you want to choose to schedule only those Tweets that are not time-sensitive. A great tactic is to use Tweet scheduling to focus on high-quality old information on your website that you want to make top of mind again for followers.

And of course, stay genuine when you schedule Tweets. Don’t tell people you’re having a “hard morning in the office” when   you actually slept in late and are still at home. Finally, be careful about tweeting when you don’t want to be “online.” I sometimes schedule innocuous Tweets for days on which I know I won’t be tweeting. On the day I turned in the final draft of this book, I knew I needed to be disconnected, so I scheduled a Tweet from earlier that week about a (bad) movie I saw. Word to the wise: if your book editor doesn’t know you schedule your Tweets, she might think you’re watching a movie and not finishing up your book manuscript!

CausePlanet: Should I geotag my Tweets?

Diaz-Ortiz Many individuals have their Twitter accounts set to show the location from which they send each Tweet. This can be extremely interesting—and useful. Should an organization show their geolocation status to their followers in their Tweets? The question really depends on the amount of travel involved in the account holder’s tweeting. Take John Wood’s personal account, @johnwoodrtr, and the Room to Read main account, @roomtoread, as two examples. Wood travels two-thirds of the year to interesting places all over the globe, reading his location adds an element of interest to his Tweets. In contrast, Room to Read’s organizational account, @roomtoread, is run by Rebecca Hankin, director of communications and marketing. Rebecca spends most of her year in San Francisco, so if she had her account set to include geolocation in her Tweets, it wouldn’t be terribly interesting to followers.

This blog excerpts a Page to Practice™ book summary. Learn more about this title and others in our summary library.

See also:

The Networked Nonprofit
Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution
Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

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Nonprofits: Can crowdsourcing become community building?

Social media has great power to connect people within and across communities–geographic communities, communities of practice and interest and communities of faith and belief. How are nonprofit organizations mining these connections to achieve their missions?

Crowdsourcing is often the answer. Ever hear of Kiva, Ushahidi, Kickstarter, or the Crisis Commons? How about Wikipedia or Pepsi Refresh? Given the ubiquity of these programs, most of us have already connected in some way with the power of crowdsourcing. A term coined by Jeff Howe in a 2006 Wired magazine article, crowdsourcing is the act of sourcing tasks that are usually performed by individuals to a large group through an open call.

Let’s examine some of the ways that nonprofits are using crowdsourcing.

The first order of business for many nonprofits is raising the money needed to work toward their mission. Crowdsourcing has become a powerful fundraising mechanism, especially for small and start-up projects. Kiva is a widely-known, micro-lending website that allows people anywhere to make loans to entrepreneurs around the world. By tapping into the generosity and investments of donors in developed countries, Kiva is changing the lives of thousands of hardworking men and women in the developing world. It has a 98% repayment rate and makes more than $1 million worth of loans each week to people like Mohannad, a 24-year-old grocer in the Palestinian territories, or Ada Luz, a young mother selling baby clothes and toys in Peru.

Less well-known is, through which arts and cultural projects seek funding through crowdsourcing. An example is See Savannah Art Walls (SeeSAW), co-founded by Savannah artists James Zdaniewski and Matt Hebermehl. SeeSAW seeks out artists, neighborhoods and property owners who are willing to work together to create public art. Kickstarter is currently raising money for a “muralcle on 34th street”–a rotating mural on a wall near downtown Savannah. At the time of this article,, it has raised almost $2500 of its $5000 goal from 51 backers.All across the United States, communities are launching special “giving days” or “match days” to draw the power of the crowd into providing funds for nonprofits. Colorado Gives Day raised $12 million in December 2011, and GiveMN has raised over $48 million in the last two years.

Another goal for many organizations is fostering the sharing and aggregation of information. Ushahidi provides a free, open-source program that helps people collect and map information, often related to the effects of natural disasters. “Ushahidi,” which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi received funding from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge. Knight sponsors numerous similar projects, including, which crowdsourced information on radiation levels in Japan after its devastating earthquake and tsunami. Another tool called Crisis Commons offers key resources to first responders in natural disasters.

Crowdsourcing is commonly used in the software development community: developers will often have on-line “hackfests” where they crowdsource the development of a particular software solution. The philanthropic sector is putting this energy to work in the area of healthcare reform. Last year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored the Blue Button contest to encourage software developers around the world to create programs that would make medical records available at the touch of a button.

Community development is another place where crowdsourcing is gaining traction. The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham used the Prize2theFuture contest to crowdsource ideas for creating “something cool and vibrant” on one city block in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. It received more than 1,100 submissions from individuals and design teams in 39 countries, vastly exceeding any expectations.

Gathering the “wisdom of the crowd” to select prizewinners gives nonprofits the opportunity to heighten awareness and draw in new supporters. Thousands of nonprofits have raised funds and awareness through the Pepsi Refresh challenge, launched when PepsiCo decided to take the $20 million it would have spent on Super Bowl advertising and invest it in community groups. On a local scale, the Brooklyn Community Foundation sponsored the Do Gooder Awards, which drew 250 nominations of local leaders and 300,000 votes. “The Nobel Prize, Brooklyn-style” will be repeated this year after its huge initial success.

These disparate examples demonstrate how nonprofit organizations and leaders in local communities and across the world are harnessing the incredible power of the social media revolution. Our motivation to gather through new communications technology is the same motivation that used to draw neighbors to a barn raising. The tools we’re using are certainly different–we bring our dollars and voices and smart phones, instead of hammers and saws. And the barn we’re raising might be in Japan or Peru, Savannah or Birmingham, or even a place down the street. Still, we know that if we pull together, the job will get done, and we’ll have a sense of working as a community for something we all value.

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Finding the influencers on Twitter

I’m a big fan of our Page to Practice™ feature this month, Twitter for Good, because author Claire Diaz-Ortiz boosts readers with essential advice about Twitter and managing your social media strategy. I remember participating in a workshop last year with one of my statewide association partners where attendees were exclaiming that they couldn’t possibly find the time for social media in their schedule. You would think, by the look in their eyes, we were asking them to boil an ocean. (Read last week’s blog to find out how Diaz-Ortiz answers the “find-the-time” question.)

This week, I wanted to highlight the author’s answer to “How do I find the influencers and what’s the best way to contact them?” Many aspiring Twitter users think they need to mimic celebrity Ashton Kutcher who surpassed ESPN with his number of followers. Diaz-Ortiz argues otherwise. She asserts that what you need to focus on is quality over quantity.  Diaz-Ortiz addresses dozens of the most popular questions she’s asked as leader of corporate social innovation and philanthropy at Twitter, Inc. Here’s an excerpt of the author’s Q and A from the book about influencers:

CausePlanet: How do I find the influencers?

Diaz-Ortiz: There are a few great ways to find influencers on Twitter. First, be sure to check out Twitter’s Suggested User Lists in various categories. Individuals with high follower numbers are high engagement make it onto this list via an algorithm so these are all great examples of popular users in a given area of influence. Searching for highly followed lists is another fantastic way to find the movers and shakers in your area of interest, and you can set up automatic searches for keywords and phrases to help you find out who is interacting about given terms. I’ve also suggested making your own private lists of influencers you are following. Consider choosing one or two of these influences a week to focus on, and read all t heir @replies on any given day. There are many tools that can help you set up an automatic stream of who they are @replying to. This allows you to see who they are interacting with and will lead you to new influencers.

CausePlanet: Once I find the influencers, what’s the best way to contact them via Twitter?

Diaz-Ortiz: It can be intimidating to contact influencers, and knowing how to do it well is the key to getting noticed by the people you are trying to woo. Check out the specific tips from Tim Ferriss earlier in Chapter Five.

Ferriss’ tips:
• Make your tweets specific and offer proof that you’re capable or credible.
• Keep it to 120 or less and get your friends to retweet it. For your message to stand out in the firehose stream of Tweets, I first need to see it. If your Tweet is 137 characters, no one can easily retweet without editing.
• Use multiple channels. The easiest way to influence me is to have one of my friends (not someone who’s just met me once) email me and ask me to take a look at your work.

Seasoned Twitter users and novices alike will find a plethora of useful advice in this book. I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself. Her simple yet comprehensive methodology uses the word T.W.E.E.T. to help readers remember to Target, Write, Engage, Explore and Track while using Twitter. The book is designed for nonprofits of any size as well as for-profits that want to make a difference or create a movement.

This blog excerpts a Page to Practice™ book summary. Learn more information about this book summary and others in our summary library.

See also:

The Networked Nonprofit
Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution
Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

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Successful nonprofit leadership: The starts, the risks and the failures

This article is the first in a series that looks at practices of seasoned nonprofit leaders. The series aims at offering some lessons and wisdom to the next generation of leaders.

The walls at Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) are lined with beautiful photographs of people they have helped, which can be shared with generations of family members. These pictures tell of lives filled with joy, struggle and stories. Telling the story of these seniors is what the CEO for almost 30 years, John Zabawa, believes is the most important aspect of his job. In 2010, 19,467 individuals across 10 Denver metro counties were directly served by the Seniors’ Resource Center. Since 1982, when SRC was incorporated, this organization has stayed close to its mission: a community partner providing person-focused, coordinated services to enhance independence, dignity and quality of life.

The organization’s growth (it is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Jefferson County, Colorado) parallels John’s growth as a respected and well-known nonprofit leader. Two accomplishments that highlight John’s career include the development of a business model called “coordinated care” and the completion of a successful capital campaign. The new building, financed by the capital campaign, opened last fall and doubled the space and capacity of the organization to offer adult day and respite services to the elderly. This building allows caretakers to provide a safe place for their family members. The building is on the cutting edge of senior care in the future. The building is the physical representation of the mission, as it is a place where seniors can come to get services that are needed and return to their homes at the end of the day. This allows clients to stay in their homes and remain independent. This facility is also the core of the coordinated care model. Seniors and disabled clients receive auxiliary support such as transportation, in-home care, care management and mental health support that treat the client’s complete needs.

Over coffee, I asked John to reflect on how he and the organization grew as well as what he would want younger leaders to know. John believes the “story” is a series of activities that include the very formation of the organization. In the late 1970s, the organization was housed and funded by county government. Central to the mission is the desire for seniors to live independent lives. John knew the organization needed to be independent as well. When the organization became its own nonprofit, the organization could form and move toward an integrated model. What integration meant to the community and clients was discerned by listening to those served. Over the years, SRC has asked for feedback from the community. The format included frequent customer satisfaction surveys as well as listening tours with all stakeholders. Caregivers, staff, board members, volunteers, funders, lawmakers and clients themselves were asked to describe what is needed by an organization such as SRC.

This type of assessment and analysis was part of an entire organizational analysis conducted in 2004. From that assessment, the coordinated care model was solidified. Beginning with a vision activity
that imagined the needs of clients in 2020, staff, especially the senior members, implemented a process where SRC would be the focal point for delivering or partnering with organizations to help attend to any client need. Recently, a storefront in a local mall was opened to welcome current and potential clients to find resources to make their lives more livable.

John believes that long-term success is in the starts, the risk and even the failures. In an attempt to support the “whole senior,” the organization has sometimes moved ahead of itself. In the early 1990s, SRC correctly identified that the sandwich generation of U.S. workers would increasingly struggle. This generation involves those who are trying to take care of the needs of their children and their aging parents while holding full-time jobs. The demographic was accurate but the response of a workplace program was a little too early for employers to embrace. In 1985, John asked the board to take a big risk with him. He persuaded the board to approve buying a property in Evergreen, Colorado. The “Yellow House” is now the pride of that mountain community, and directions are given by saying, “It is right down the street from the Yellow House.” However, in the mid-80s such a large investment in real estate made board members nervous about the financial stability of the organization. Twenty-five years later, that investment proved to be exactly the right addition for SRC.

Finally, just as John knows that listening to feedback helps improve the organization, he knows that hearing that feedback keeps him humble. Humility is the lesson for all leaders, particularly younger ones. John Zabawa’s lifelong lessons that led to his success– take the time to forge relationships, respect differing opinions and be empathetic—are qualities that appear in the faces in the pictures that decorate the halls of SRC.

Special thanks to John Zabawa for his time and insight on this story.

See also:

The Leadership Challenge

Working Across Generations

The One-Hour Activist

Image credit: The Denver Post,

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Building the partnership between board and CEO

Unlike business partnerships, which are usually grounded in equal shares or investments, the partnership of a nonprofit board and the executive is much more ambiguous. Although one is a governing entity (the board) and the other is a management entity, the two functions often overlap, blurring the distinction between the two.

Boards, in their zeal to perform their oversight duties, may unintentionally (or intentionally) try to direct program activities, the function of management. Miscommunication between the two entities can cause friction within the organization, which ultimately can hurt programs and derail the mission of the organization. Maintaining compatibility and cooperation is essential for operations to run smoothly and for an organization to achieve its mission.

If you feel like this article introduction needs to be read at the beginning of each of your board meetings to keep everyone on task, perhaps you should learn more about The Nonprofit Leadership Team: Building the Board-Executive Director Partnership by Fisher Howe. Even high functioning boards will find Howe’s strategies for improving the relationship of board chair, board and executive director insightful.

Fisher Howe is focused on the working partnership between the three (chair, board, and ED) and how they can join forces to lead an effective and healthy organization. Howe covers every aspect of leading an organization as a team, from what the board expects of the executive, and vice versa, to how the Leadership Team deals with the specific responsibilities and challenges inherent in the functions of both governance and management.

This book explores the nature of leadership in nonprofit organizations and looks at how leadership can be most effective in serving an organization. Author Howe begins with three underlying propositions:

The board “owns” the organization; it is accountable for everything the organization does. That is their governance and fiduciary role. The board leads.

The strength of the board—and, therefore, the strength of the organization as a whole—is directly related to the effectiveness of the chair as a leader.

The executive is the manager in charge of the staff and responsible for carrying out the organization’s programs. The executive also leads.

Although nonprofits differ in size and purpose, some fundamental principles of leadership can be found in all of them. This book looks at those principles as they relate to three dimensions of leadership: the personal qualities of leadership, the partnership roles of the board, including its chair, and the executive, including the staff, in fulfilling the different functions of governance and management; and the special challenges that face the Leadership Team.

The book is divided into three parts. Part One looks at the qualities of shared leadership in terms of what the board expects of the executive; what the executive expects of the board and individual board members; and the personal dynamics among them.

Part Two identifies six functions of governance and six functions of management, and looks at the partnership roles of board and executive in each of eight shared functions of management and governance (hiring and evaluating the executive; the mission, vision and strategic planning; program direction, oversight and support; financial management and governance; marketing, promotion and public relations; fundraising; enhancing board effectiveness; and administrative activities).

Finally, Part Three looks at the challenges that confront the Leadership Team, including how to tackle evaluation of organizational performance; how to deal effectively with today’s information and communication technologies; and the impact of new governance and management forms.

See also:

Death by Meeting

World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter

Leveraging Good Will

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Solving today’s complex problems with technology

According to Twitter for Good author Claire Diaz-Ortiz, we live in a world where more individuals have access to mobile phones than clean water. “This truth shapes the greatest challenge of our age: How can technology solve today’s most complex problems? The answer lies in the individual,” says Diaz-Ortiz. She and her Twitter camp say their open real-time information network allows individuals to share minute-by-minute information about what is happening in their lives, their communities and the world. Not only does Twitter allow one to share from anywhere, but it also allows one to share with anyone. Technology is changing us, and we now have the unique opportunity to find innovative ways to use technology to help change the world. Twitter cofounder Biz Stone has said the real triumph of Twitter is one of humanity, not technology.

Because Diaz-Ortiz’s position at Twitter is focused on helping nonprofits use Twitter effectively, she has spent thousands of hours and conducted hundreds of presentations on just that. This framework is the result of her research and work in the field alongside nonprofits like American Red Cross, Room to Read, the Skoll Foundation, Kiva and many more. The author explores each of the goals within the acronym T.W.E.E.T.

T (Target): Why Tweet?
W (Write): Why you should Tweet like Kanye
E (Engage): Tools to win
E (Explore): Finding everybody and bringing everybody to you
T (Track): Making sure you’ve hit your mark

It’s no surprise why social media has become the strategy du jour among nonprofit organizations. It’s relationship building, it’s inexpensive, and it works. With more than 200 million users worldwide, nonprofits cannot afford to overlook Twitter as an option for informing their constituencies and running fundraising campaigns.

In 60 seconds, or the time it took you to read this section, more than 98,000 Tweets were sent, and 320 new user accounts were created. More importantly, Diaz-Ortiz cites examples of large and small organizations and local and global causes that are making phenomenal use of Twitter to advance their causes and raise millions of dollars. Nonprofits can’t hide behind the excuse that they can’t afford to make time for social media. In this case, they can’t afford not to.

Diaz-Ortiz’s book also includes the most common questions she’s asked by users and novices. We’ll leave you with one of them:

CausePlanet: How long should it take each day to tweet?

Diaz-Ortiz: With a streamlined system, you can easily manage the Twitter accounts for your organization in two twenty-minute blocks each day. You can certainly spend more time, but two twenty-minute periods are enough for you to adequately respond to @replies and direct messages, craft engaging Tweets, retweet and favorite others’ Tweets, and complete the bulk of your other tasks on Twitter. Even if you have lots of followers, this is enough time. Keep in mind that this does not include the time needed to develop your “Target” in the beginning, find your particular voice in your writing, or find the initial list of influencers you want to follow and engage with. This also does not include extensive Twitter tangents—like reading every Tweet written by someone you may or may not have gone to high school with twenty years ago. For those journeys, the sky is the limit.

See also:

The Networked Nonprofit

Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution

Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

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