Is there another transition in your nonprofit’s future?

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by Sharon Danosky

In the wake of COVID-19, many nonprofits are experiencing a transition of leadership. Some executive directors are retiring; others are pursuing different interests.  Whatever the reason a leader is leaving, these transitions can be tricky, especially at a time when there is so much uncertainty.

They can also offer unique opportunities.  It is so critical to plan for this transition carefully.

What not to do is panic and immediately list the position.

The right way to approach a transition is to take a deep breath and decide what is required to lead the organization through this tumultuous time and emerge with a stronger organization, well prepared to deliver your mission.

With all the changes that have transpired – in the world and in your organization – your organization may have evolved into something different than it was pre COVID-19.  That’s why a leadership transition is the perfect time to take stock. [Read more…]

Board Considerations: The Importance of a COVID-19 Task Force

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By Sharon Danosky

As discussions begin to emerge on reopening our state, board members in partnership with executive directors should be advancing their own discussions about how to effectively and safely re-open their own organizations. The strength of a board is the different perspectives, and experience they bring to the discussion, just by asking some critical questions:

1) How can we keep our staff healthy as we re-open?
2) How can we meet the needs of our constituents, especially those most vulnerable populations?
3) How can we mitigate potential risks?
4) What are potential legal considerations or ramifications?
5) What are the financial implications and do we have the necessary resources?
6) What does our financial picture look like over the comings weeks and months?
7) Can we sustain whatever plan we decide on?
8) How can we keep raising funds?
9) How do we roll out our communications?
10) Is our Business Continuity Plan on point – or how do we adjust it?

One way of addressing these questions and the many more questions that evolve is to set up a Task Force charged with addressing issues brought about by COVID 19 and the re-opening of your services. For those with a small board, your entire board can serve as your COVID-19 Task Force. There is minimal business as usual reporting going on – and most of your discussions are probably around COVID-19. For those with larger boards, a Task Force allows you to bring in expertise you might not have on your board – in HR, legal, financial, supply chain, communications, etc. You can also bring in that expertise if you are a smaller board.

All planning should be done in conjunction with your Executive Director – she/he or they are an important – even critical – part of this planning process. However, the Executive Director should not be charged with researching and making all these decisions alone or in a vacuum. A strong Board/Executive Director partnership will yield the best outcomes – for the organization and for the community.


Staying Afloat; Managing Risk

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We are starting to hear a lot about business continuity plans (BCPs). These are an essential part of an overall risk management strategy and can provide a roadmap for remaining operational during a crisis. While many might think this is closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, it still might be prudent to take stock if you have 90 seconds to think about it. According to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center the four building blocks of a BCP are:

  1. A communications plan that identifies all your constituents, what you need to tell them, how to deliver the message and how frequently you should update them.
  2. A list of “Must Do’s” — what your organization needs to keep doing so you can provide vital services or just keep things afloat (these can be as simple as processing payroll or moving to a remote workers policy; or an all-out effort to safely engage volunteers).
  3. Which programs and services must continue and which should you suspend. Within the context of COVID-19, what programs are vital for the welfare of your clients (i.e., food, transportation, healthcare) and which ones could put your community or your staff needlessly at risk. Then consider how will you provide those vital services safely over a period of time?
  4. Finally, how will you resume business once things have stabilized? Yes, this will be over at some point and you should have a plan on how you will resume services and continue your mission going forward.

How Can Board Members be Part of the Solution?

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

By Sharon Danosky

During this crisis every board and every board member should be stepping up to help the nonprofit they serve weather the storm and stay on course. While conventional wisdom might suggest letting the professionals handle the day to day – there is a significant role board members should play. Each of the tasks delineated below might be accomplished by a subset of board members. The first things that should happen is for the Board Chair to call a virtual meeting, assess the overall situation and then discuss and assign the following components: [Read more…]

Let’s Be Fair… It’s Time to Eliminate the Nonprofit Pay Gap

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By David Deschenes

Three out of four people working in the nonprofit sector are women, yet men hold a disproportional share of the highest-paid nonprofit jobs. In fact, the share of women in top management jobs decreases as an organization’s budget increases. Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fonte was the only woman named among the highest-paid executives leading one of the nation’s 10 top charities in 2018, according to a Forbes ranking.

This inequity starts at the very beginning of professional careers: women are paid about 7 percent less than men as soon as they graduate from college, according to a AAUW study, even among men and women who majored in the same field.

So, what can nonprofits do to address this inequity? For starters, look at your board. [Read more…]