July 13, 2014

Organizational Design

The “People’s Opera” May Rise Again, But It’s a Waiting Game for Buyers

POThere are potential buyers waiting to be given the chance to buy and resuscitate the New York City Opera, and one of them thinks the board, grinding its way through bankruptcy proceedings, is dragging its collective feet!

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Carmel Tea Party Argues for Municipal Transparency

TeaEven the Tea Party can get something sort of right. In Carmel, Indiana, a local Tea Party group is pushing for enhanced standards of municipal government transparency.

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Community Foundation CEO Steps Down After 20 Years and Leaves Ideas for the Future

LightsBefore Nancy Kieling accepted a job at the Princeton Area Community Foundation twenty years ago, she had never heard of a community foundation. In six months, she will leave behind an organization that has established strong community ties between donors and nonprofits that her successor will be charged with cultivating and expanding beginning January 1st.

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Boards and Magical Thinking

TreeWild ambition to create change and good governance can easily coexist, and NPQ believes that working for the impossible to become possible is what this sector is all about. Perhaps that requires some thinking beyond the most practical of bounds, but we don’t know how many times over this past year we have written the phrase, “But where was the board?” in relation to an enterprise that failed much to the surprise of its governing body. Here, Kathy Ridge discusses what she has found working with organizations on the brink.

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A “Classic Case” Merger: What Tends to Make Them Work

crossing tracksTwo sheltering programs in the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area are merging and their situation provides a “classic case” of the factors that often underlie a successful merger.

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Seeking What Makes Us Valid as People and as Organizations

ShellAuthenticity sometimes seems like a rare commodity – yet it is valuable beyond words in the work we do. Here we reprint a moving speech by Paul Hogan to the Buffalo Society of Artists about art, mental health and personal and organizational purpose.

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What Can We Learn from New York’s Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013?

NYCAs the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 takes effect in New York, is there anything we can learn from it, or are there any trends we should watch out for?

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Operating Above Its Financial Skill Level Not Good for This Nonprofit

NewsNPQ has a lot of empathy for new organizations that misunderstand the level of skill they need to do decent financial management, but it is important to learn your lesson the first time you realize that you may not have the hands on deck necessary to manage to the requirements of a nonprofit.

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San Jose Rep Theater Goes Under; Latest Down in Recent Arts Upheavals

SJRAs onlookers, it appears to us to be a very dangerous time for performing arts organizations, and this week the San Jose Repertory Theatre declared itself out of business. Reportedly, the move will immediately precede a bankruptcy filing.

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Former Defense Sec. Bob Gates and the Boy Scouts: Do the Right Thing!

BobGates has decided he will not fight the battle on gay scout leaders at the BSA, but does he have a choice?

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Are Nonprofits the Future of Work? Rifkin’s New Book Promotes a Redistributive Economy

RifkinJeremy Rifkin’s new book asserts that increased productivity coupled with advances in digital technology will fundamentally change the shape of labor in society, requiring the economy to shift dramatically. Rifkin writes that nonprofits will be at the center of the new world of work.

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What Funders Want: Nonprofits that Need Their Support…But Not Exclusively

PieA nonprofit that serves deaf and hard-of-hearing children in New York State had to learn a tough lesson about relying too heavily on contributed income. Three years after flirting with failure, the board and staff have built a sustainable organization, fueled largely by earned income from a new initiative.

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Sociocracy: An Organizational Structure for Distributed Leadership

PilingWhat kinds of employees do we really want in the nonprofit sector? With all our talk of a need for “leaderful organizations,” there are fewer discussions of what that really requires, though there is at least a half-century of literature and practice on the subject. And guess what? A good deal of it emerged from the same theoretical base as cybernetics, often mixed with some feminist theory. But shifting away from the dominant paradigm of command and control requires a culture shift for many. Here is one take to help inform.

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Nonprofits: Is Competition Killing Your Creativity?

SSHow should stakeholders and market position be addressed differently in this new operating environment?

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Poe’s House/Museum on Amity Street Refuses to Die

PoeIn a deal between the city and a newly formed nonprofit, Edgar Allan Poe’s house in Baltimore is once again open for the public, despite having looked its demise in the face more than once!

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Planning for Any Future that Could Come Along

Crystal ballAs Samuel Beckett put it, “Everything will turn out all right—unless something unforeseen crops up.” That’s why fundraisers need to be ready for any contingencies that might arise. Simone Joyaux shares the lenses she uses to peer into the unknown and prepare for whatever’s on the horizon.

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Boards Cannot Be Sacred, Staff Cannot Be Saints, and Founders Should Never Be Martyrs

FlowerThe language of the sector matters, whether we believe and accept it or not.

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All Enterprise Is Social!

RuthHave we in the nonprofit sector—those who care about injustice and inequality—been fiddling while Rome burns? Not exactly, but there is much more that we can do and be in this sector if we break out of some of our self-imposed mental bonds.

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Should Nonprofits Publish Wage Ratios?

WalletsIn the UK, the National Council of Voluntary Organizations is recommending that all charities publish salary ratios—that is, the relationship between the highest and lowest salaries.

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“Profound Suffering in the Workplace” Results in Dismissal of Museum CEO

Picasso MuseumThe CEO of the newly expanded but not yet open Picasso Museum in Paris has been dismissed—not for her management of the reopening, but for creating “profound suffering in the workplace.”

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Another Nonprofit News Website Gets Its Wings (Read, “Nonprofit Status”)

ButterflyCarolina Public Press received nonprofit status from the IRS, continuing an accelerating national trend.

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When Funds Go Missing, What Can You Do? What Must You Do?

Jar and HammerSo what should a board do once it suspects or has discovered evidence of embezzlement?

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Hybrids, Hybridity, and Hype

RuthNPQ is just going to press with the latest edition of its print magazine. Today, you can subscribe for a year at $10 below the usual price.

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Recession Started a Boom for this Nonprofit Retailer: Here’s How

GoodwillThe years of the recession were tough on many small businesses but not so for thrift stores. They have been experiencing their boom years.

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Some Unanswered Questions About Benefit Corporations, L3Cs, and Social Enterprise More Generally

SocentAs the print version of the Nonprofit Quarterly prepares its upcoming issue on hybrid organizations, this edition of the Cohen Report looks at some questions raised by a few of the newer organizational forms of social enterprise.

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Hidden Dissension and Tortured Alliances: NPQ’s Dr. Conflict Speaks Out

Dr. ConflictWhether buried conflicts in the workplace or a pathological executive director, no problem is too difficult for the good doctor.

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Successful Successions: Executive Transitions that Worked

StepsExecutive transitions need to address the realities of the individual organization at the time in question. This article from the point of view of a skilled transition consultant discusses a number of cases in which organizational dynamics were addressed in the choice of a new executive.

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Doing More with More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice

ImageThere are three key characteristics every organization should develop in order to create a fruitful environment for shared leadership: adaptability within the leadership spectrum; an orientation toward shared leadership; and a culture of trust. But in order to successfully incorporate shared leadership, organizations must be prepared to, among other things, commit to change, stress across-the-board engagement and accountability, and understand that the process requires an up-front investment of time.

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African-American Museum in Kansas Gives Land Back to City

NewsWithout sufficient funds to proceed with building a new facility, the board of the Kansas African American Museum has voted to give back to the city a prime riverfront property and to postpone plans for a new home for up to five years.

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