Archive for April, 2011

Social Networks: Winners and Losers

Check out this this Social Media infographic I found on Mashable.  Essentially, it is about the winners and losers in social networking in the past year, and has a bunch of interesting stats.  Check it out below and let us know what you think (once again, thanks to Mashable for bringing this to our attention...click the image for a bigger version on their site):

Controversial E-Mail Sparks Calls for Nonprofit Director to Resign

Jerry Adams, director of the Human Services Coalition, is in hot water after an e-mail he sent sparked controversy.  The e-mail was in response to an announcement by Sandra Pruitt, head of People for Change, about forming a new group to advocate against government cuts to nonprofits.  Here is some of what Adams e-mail said:

"Where exactly do you get the authority to represent your organization as the Nonprofit Coalition of Prince George's County?" the email from Adams reads, adding later: "HSC represents a reasoned and tactical approach as [a] voice of the nonprofit community, and you confuse the issue with a second message and style ... it is a huge disservice to nonprofits."
Pruitt, who is African American, said she felt like she was "on the plantation, having to go to the master to ask for permission."  She and her supporters said they felt threatened by the e-mail, and are calling for Adams to resign.  For his part, Adams has apologized to Pruitt and "regrets" the tone of his message.  "I hope we can all put this behind us and get back to working hard for the nonprofits of Prince George's County," Adams said. 

Still, it doesn't appear the anger has been sated.  Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant, who wore a noose around his neck while at a meeting about the controversial message, said the "e-mail was a direct threat to a black woman from a white man that should be unacceptable in this county. To me, it's a modern-day lynching."

What do you think about this issue?  Was Adams in the wrong here, or are Pruitt and her supporters overreacting?  Read the full article at Gazette.net.

School for Social Entrepreneurs makes TV debut…

It has often been the subject of conversation at SSE about how what the organisation does, and what the effect is on social entrepreneurs, is best communicated through their stories, their journeys and their words. Fortunately, with thanks to a...

Nonprofits Kept Michigan Afloat During Great Recession

Mlive.com writer Rick Haglund just put up an informative article about Michigan nonprofits helped keep the state functioning during the Great Recession.  While the entire country was affected by the economic downturn of the past few years, Michigan might have been hit the hardest.  As has been well documented, the state lost some 850,000 jobs when the auto industry collapsed as a result of the recession.  As this happened, however, the nonprofit sector in Michigan experienced a huge growth spurt.

As a matter of fact, employment at nonprofits grew almost 23% over the past decade, while jobs in the for-profit sector fell about 21% (this according to a study at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies).  And today, almost 375,000 people in Michigan are employed at a nonprofit organization.  As Haglund says, during a time when budget cuts were tearing "a hole in the social safety net, nonprofits kept it from shredding."

According to Lester Salamon, author of the John Hopkins study, "Michigan is fortunate to be home to such an inventive, entrepreneurial nonprofit sector — one that is making a difference in a state under economic siege."

Despite all of this good news, questions do remain about whether the growth of nonprofits in Michigan is a good thing.  Because these organizations are tax-exempt, there are concerns that the tax base of state and local governments could shrink, which would put more pressure on their already strained budgets.  In addition, many nonprofits are having difficulty finding funding for their social services programs.

So while there is optimism about the impact non-profits are having on Michigan, it remains to be seen whether or not their overall effect will be positive.  Read the full article on this subject at Mlive.

Nonprofit CEOs Earned Big Paydays in 2010

Who said it didn't pay to work at a nonprofit?

According to a review of annual nonprofit reports by The Buffalo News, nonprofit CEOs earned hefty salaries in the past year.  In particular, the salaries for nonprofit health insurers in Western New York were particularly high.  For example, James Kaskie, CEO of Kaleida Health, earned a whopping $2.3 million annually. 

Even more curious, however, was that some of these organization saw their CEO compensation increase even as their overall earnings decreased.  In particular, HealthNow President Alphonso O'Neil-White saw his pay increase 11% (to $1.83 million) in 2010, even though the organization's surpluses fell to $52.7 million after a 2.3 percent drop in revenues.  HealthNow explained this discrepancy by saying that the decrease in revenue reflected "strategic initiatives" to cut costs and improve services.  As for White's pay increase, they said this was justified by the HealthNow's performance in 2009, when the company posted a $62 million surplus.

Executive compensation is obviously a sensitive issue these days, when many families are struggling to stay on their feet, so this news is probably going to be outrageous to some.  Read the full article about CEO pay at The Buffalo News

Review Experts

Would you be willing to help me pilot a new idea? Would you be willing to respond to the messaging of this proposal? What does and does not resonate with you? People love to give their input. And, if I may be so daring to say, nonprofits often do not ask for input. Over the last few weeks I’ve started a new strategy in creating new relationships. Instead of asking if I can talk with someone about the organization or a component of the organization, I’m asking for feedback and advice on a program, a case, or project of the organization.

The advantage of asking for someone’s point of view is the ability to refine the messaging of your case to really speak your donors and the community. The individual you speak with offers information about what is the most meaningful to them and what speaks the strongest. I always jump at the opportunity to learn a piece of someone’s story. When an individual’s personal story connects with your organization, this becomes a great start to a new relationship.

For a while I had been attempting to engage new friends of the organization by asking them if I could talk about them: what their interests are, why they give, how they first connected with the organization. But, I found that most people did not see the point or the value that they were adding to the organization. When I was clear about using the conversation as an opportunity to refine the messaging and approach of the organization, I was really surprised at the success of that kind of engagement.

Related posts:

  1. Solicitor Center Donor Plans
  2. Do You Talk or Do You Listen?
  3. A Menu of Fundraising Experts: Interview, Part 5
  4. Using Board Members to Fundraise: Part 2
  5. How to ASSURE a Gift


New OKC Nonprofit Created to Help Progress Economic Development

A new Oklahoma City Nonprofit, The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, has been created and is asking for $424,000 from the city to help fund its projects.  Led by Assistant City Manager Cathy O'Connor, the nonprofit organization is planning to be a "one-stop shop" for economic development.  Set to begin operations on May 1st, the money it is requesting from the city is needed to "fast track" it's development projects.  Larry Nichols, who will be the chair of The Alliance, says that Oklahoma City is in need of the projects their organization will provide:

“Oklahoma City is at a unique stage in its growth,” Nichols said. “As a community, we have implemented strategies that are attracting investment in our city at an ever-increasing rate, yet the process and entities to help facilitate that growth have been the same for many years.”

Although OKC does have organizations already that provide similar servicesm, O'Connor says that The Alliance will not replace these services.  Instead, it is meant to expedite these existing services and focus on implementation.  O'Connor further explains that

“The idea is that entities like the city of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust will contract with The Alliance to coordinate projects we have ahead.”
If you are interested in learning more about The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, read the full article at NewsOk.

Orlando Charities Get Boost From Conventioneers

It is true that the downward spiral that the economy has gone through in the last couple of years has hurt nonprofit organizations.  With spending and lending down, nonprofits have had to struggle to survive; unless they are in Orlando, that is.  According to a recent report in The Orlando Sentinel, nonprofits in the Florida city have had a major advantage over others because of one key fact: the 3 million visitors that go there yearly for corporate retreats, meetings, and conventions.  While these companies visit in Orlando, according to the story, they are increasingly engaging in community service projects through charities and nonprofits in the city to boost their public image.  Chris Allen, executive director at Hands On Orlando, says that his organization has recieved over 2,500 volunteers from many corporations, including French Telecom and G.E.

But it wasn't always like this.  In fact, this trend didn't really start coming to fruition until last year, according to Visit Orlando CEO Gary Sain.  Before that, convention business had seen a sharp drop, especially during 2009.  But those days are gone now, and corporations want to make these community services a part of a larger effort to promote a "corporate social-responsibility platform."  The article gives the example of Aaron's Inc, a lease-to-own retailer, had its employees do volunteer work for Boys & Girls of Central Florida.  At the end of the day, their contributions added up to $200,000 in product and service donations, as well as a whopping 4,500 hours of volunteer time.

It's certainly good to hear that these quality organizations are getting a lot of contributions from corporations, and that they are remaining in business even in hard times.  If you want to read the full article about these Orlando nonprofits, visit The Orlando Sentinel.

Updates and Musings – 3 weeks until my dissertation defense!

I haven’t written a post in over 2 months — shame on me!!

I’ve often thought about writing a post but then was reminded of that looming deadline I have approaching.  In less than 3 weeks I will defend my dissertation and if all goes well, I will become a Ph.D!!  It has been a long road to get here but a wonderful one.  I am so thankful for my amazing professors and mentors I have encountered along the way.  All four years have led up to this moment — where I will defend my dissertation study and then be sent out into the world.

Words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience and how my PhD program has prepared me for my future endeavors.   If you or anyone you know is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. with a specialization in nonprofit and philanthropic studies, please have them contact me. I’d be happy to share with them about my experience and the various programs that offer a similar type of experience!  Each year that I’ve been in the program I’ve written about my experiences:

A lot of exciting things have happened in the past couple of months including, my first peer reviewed article was published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education!  It is titled: How We Could Measure Community Impact of Nonprofit Graduate Students’ Service-Learning Projects: Lessons from the Literature.

I love this work and I am really excited to see where it takes me next.  I’ve been interviewing for faculty jobs in nonprofit-focused master’s degree programs — so we’ll see!!

On another note,  I organized the social media team for the BenchMark 3.5 conference: The 4th Conference on Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies.  BenchMark 3.5 was designed to consider the development of nonprofit/nongovernmental management, voluntarism, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy as a field of study in higher education.  I am so thankful for the team, which was primarily made up of graduate students from DePaul University.  The social media team wrote over 30 blog posts from the conference – I’m still putting them up on the conference blog!  The social media team also took numerous videos throughout the conference, which are also posted on the blog, and they tweeted the conference using the hash tag #benchmark3  If you are interested in learning more about the field of nonprofit management and philanthropy as a field of study in higher education please check out the conference coverage!!

Merger News: ClearPoint JoinsWith New York-Based Nonprofit

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit based in Richmond, Virginia, has announced plans to merge with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central New York.  However, it may take months before the deal is official because the merger need approval from regulatory agencies.  As part of the deal, Consumer Cedit Counseling Service will tak the name of the Richmond nonpofit, and the combined headquarters of the two organizations will stay in Virgnia.  In addition, a ClearPoint spokesman said that all of Consumer Credit Counseling's positions will "transition into reigonal positions," though employees are not expected to see many changes at this point.

This is certainly not the first time ClearPoint has been involved in a merger. Two years ago, it merged with ByDesign Financial Services, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, in April of 2009.  In addition, when the current merger is completed, ClearPoint will have expanded its services into a 12th state. 

Want to read more about this merger?  Head on over to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.