April 21, 2015

Organizational Design

As FEGS Tries to Transfer Programs, Staff Resign and Costs Mount

NewsPerhaps unsurprisingly, the FEGS bankruptcy appears to be messy and costly despite attempts to control it.

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For Discussion: Ukrainian Pianist Dropped from Toronto Symphony for “Offensive” Tweets

Toronto Symphony memberIs asking a prominent figure in a public-facing institution to restrain her political tweets legitimate, or a violation of her free speech rights?

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Timing Could Be Deciding Factor in Sweet Briar Case: Will Court Act Quickly to Prevent Damage?

 

TimeIf the court doesn’t take action on Sweet Briar soon, the whole process may become moot as students and teachers prepare to flee.

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National Review Magazine Goes Nonprofit to Prepare for Growth

National ReviewDylan Byers of Politico reports that, lured by the potential of tax-deductible donations, the conservative National Review is apparently transitioning to become a nonprofit.

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Building a Culture of Philanthropy in Your Organization

HallwayResearch shows that an organization’s culture dramatically affects its effectiveness. Culture is pervasive, affecting all areas of the organization, including fund development.

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A Radical Proposal to Convert the Assets of Blue Shield of California

MoneyIs another conversion foundation in the works in California with the revocation of Blue Shield’s state tax-exempt status?

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Getting the Most out of Evaluation

DataJust as every nonprofit organization or program is unique, so every evaluation presents its own challenges and opportunities; one size does not fit all.

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Curating Change: The Merger of Two Historic Women’s Organizations

Nonprofit DeathsThis case study looks at the factors that led up to the International Museum of Women’s (IMOW) decision to merge with the Global Fund for Women (GFW) in March of 2014. If IMOW was so successful in achieving its mission and advancing global gender equity, what events led to its decision to merge?

This mini–case study is part five of a series of studies featured in NPQ’s winter 2014 edition, “Births and Deaths in the Nonprofit Sector.” Click here to read part onepart two, part three and part four.

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Frank Music in NYC: A Tiny Cultural Institution Closes for Good

Music notesAnother brick-and-mortar casualty as an era draws to a close with the loss of a historic landmark.

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Exponent Philanthropy Survey Offers Insights into the World of Small Foundations

ChrystalExponent Philanthropy’s 2015 Foundation Operations and Management Report offers important insights into the world of foundations with only a handful of professional staff—or none at all.

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Heads Up, Boards! Even the Most Trusted Managers Don’t Warrant Blind Faith

NewsOrganizations that neglect their financial checks and balances because they trust the staff are being unfair to everyone involved, including staff.

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Changing the Game: How to Make Your Human Service Organization a Powerful Policy Advocate

GamesBuilding your organization’s advocacy power pays off in many ways. Find out here how one mental health agency embraced the task full-on.

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How to “Manage” in Chaos

RuthI want to call people’s attention to the fact that in every story of a management fiasco, there are artifacts that you can point to—odd details that reflect the whole gestalt.

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Another Clinic, Another Unmet Payroll, Another Set of Patients Abruptly Informed of a Closing

ClosingA mental health services nonprofit in Austin, MN, closed Friday, joining several other clinics across the country. Is this an emerging pattern?

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“Dancing Like Ginger Rogers”: The Remarkable Work of Free and Charitable Clinics

RogersIn many ways, the innovative work and extremely low budgets of FCCs are reminiscent of the joke about Ginger Rogers: She had to do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and wearing heels.

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Nonprofit Deaths, Near Deaths and Reincarnations: Part 1 of 5, Hull House

Nonprofit DeathsAlong the trajectory of an organization’s death are signs of decline—and even of antecedents of decline—that can be pulled out and used as a kind of morbidity and mortality analysis in aid of interpreting what went wrong. To that end, this special collection presents mini–case studies on the death, near death, or reincarnation of five organizations.

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Death or Reincarnation? The Story of ACORN

Nonprofit DeathsThe story of ACORN illustrates how seemingly strong nonprofit organizations can hide weaknesses and vulnerabilities. ACORN’s downfall exemplifies what happens when a variety of factors are allowed to combine to bring an organization down. However, a more in-depth analysis of ACORN’s death reveals possible signs of life. Does ACORN’s legacy live on within the disaffiliated local branches?

This mini–case study is part four of a series of studies featured in NPQ’s winter 2014 edition, “Births and Deaths in the Nonprofit Sector.” Click here to read part onepart two, and part three.

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Disrupting the Dominant Frame: An Interview with Susan Nall Bales of the FrameWorks Institute, 2015 MACEI Award Winner

BatesWarning: this interview contains powerful metaphors and insights into social issue communication. The FrameWorks Institute wins the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

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What Happens Before a Nonprofit Is Born?

Ruth“Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”

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Architecture for Humanity Closes Soon after Founders Leave

ClosingAn international organization closes its doors soon after its founders leave. Will its network regenerate?

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10 Ways to Kill Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit DeathsThis article presents the authors’ top picks for how best to destroy your organization. Of course, if you want your nonprofit to thrive, you should avoid the pitfalls described in these pages. But, the authors warn, this won’t be easy to do, as, “Killing a nonprofit takes less effort than making one really effective.”

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Again, Nonprofit Mergers are No Cure-all

Merging problemsMichael Wyland addresses yet another confused and redundant article about mergers as panacea.

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Nonprofit Implodes after Contracting with Chair’s Consulting Firm for Board Development

FireThis story about a legacy community health center is a small “how-not-to” about chairing a nonprofit board.

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A Field of Toddlers: Nonprofit News Sites

Nonprofit journalismThere are historic moments when a whole new field of nonprofits appears in response to social realities—and this kind of phenomenon poses both challenges and opportunities. The challenges are developmental, as the organizations establish themselves, work out their leadership mix and decision-making processes, establish relationships, and set up systems; a primary opportunity is for a well-placed infrastructure to support the whole field through these challenges. This article about new nonprofit journalism sites is based on interviews with the Knight Foundation and the Investigative News Network. 

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The Challenges of New Nonprofits

Non profitAs organizational theorists have described it, an organization’s risk of dying is highest at the point of its founding and decreases with age. So it is essential for new nonprofits to understand the challenges that they face if they are to survive—and, as the author writes, “more importantly, have significant impact.” This article reviews theories on the life cycle–related threats and opportunities that await the young nonprofit.

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Shrinking Revenue and Shrinking Orchestras Meet Big Art

OrchestraWith all this talk of downsizing orchestras, it can be difficult to really get what it means to the art itself. This description may help.

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Organizational DNA

RuthWhat’s in the DNA of your organization? The question is worth considering.

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Volunteers Needed, But…

ShelterThe volunteers at this local animal shelter were at odds with the principles and practices of the organization, which led to a bad end for both.

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About that Nonprofit Career Path (or Jungle Gym)

Jungle gymThe “career path” metaphor may not work for young people entering the nonprofit sector. Maybe a “life’s work” frame would work better?

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Focus on “The Lens”: Nonprofit News Site Having a Tough Go

LensOne of the country’s new nonprofit news organizations is in a race with time to recover its financial footing after a donor pulled out.

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