In this piece, I join seven of my fellow New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards selection committee members to share management advice. This is the tenth anniversary of the awards program, founded and managed by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee. Thanks to NPCC, we get to celebrate and spread excellent nonprofit management practices.
From Laurel Molloy, founder and chief consultant, Innovations Quantified
Management should have an overall focus on results and impact: The most results-focused organizations both identified the data needed to understand whether their efforts were working, and tracked it. They also regularly compiled and reviewed it internally, which is often forgotten, consequently limiting the ways in which organizations can truly benefit from their data.
From Michael Davidson, board coach
Governance structure moves the organization forward: Consider establishing term limits and a mandatory rotation of both the leadership and membership of your nominating committee, to ensure ongoing re-examination of the diversity environment as it continues to change.
Advice from Jennifer M. Rutledge, vice president/partner, Delphi Consultants, Inc.
Keep your organization diverse and inclusive: Treat your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a core value and treat related policies as “living documents.” Integrate the “lens of diversity and inclusion” into your organization’s theory of change and all resulting plans. Define success, assess your organization, develop work plans and hold leadership and management accountable for results.
Advice from Uday Ray, chief financial officer, Leake and Watts Services, Inc.
Financial management should be informed, transparent and accountable: An organization’s balance sheet is more important to measuring its financial health than profit and loss statements. The balance sheet shows the company’s financial condition along with displaying what the company owns and owes. Analyzing a balance sheet tells you whether the company can pay its bills, if it is taking on too much debt and much more.
Advice from Dawn Gallery-Khan, director of technology services, RoundTable Technologies
Target information technology systems to improving efficiency and advancing mission: Excellent practices in IT include: planning, budgeting, staffing and training; website and social media/internet capability and usage; effectiveness measures; board support and involvement and leaders' understanding of the strategic potential of information technology. With these, organizations can successfully translate IT resources into improved performance.
Advice from Jen Chau Fontán, vice president, The Management Center
Human resources should be valued and developed: Organizational culture is something that will develop through action or inaction. Having a cross-departmental committee of staff at different levels think intentionally about culture will ensure high levels of staff engagement and give your organization the best chance at meeting its strategic goals and its mission.
Advice from Anat Gerstein, president Anat Gerstein, Inc.
Communications should be strategic, effective and brand strengthening: Have a clear and distinct voice that sets your organization apart from the pack and positions you as a leader that people will want to get behind and support. Use multiple channels to have your voice heard, but be deliberate and strategic by laying out planned communications tactics for the year.
Advice from the team at Cause Effective
Fundraising and resource development are strategic and donor-centered: Pay special attention to securing a donor’s second gift. Contributors are not necessarily “your donors” with a first-time gift, which could have arisen from any number of reasons including who asked them. Respond to a first gift with communications which highlight your mission and the good work their donations make possible.
Anat Gerstein is president of Anat Gerstein Inc., a consulting firm that provides a full spectrum of communication services – including public relations, donor communications, social media – to the nonprofit sector.