Board Development

Time Management By Quadrant

Posted by on May 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Managing time is never easy. Life moves fast and we all have responsibilities that often overlap, or even collide. Maybe this simple illustration of how I am managing my time will be helpful to you….that’s my hope!


Remember, there are only 24 hours in every day, no matter what we do. Make them count.

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Donors are not ATM’s

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 | 1 comment

A recent training I attended gave me pause. In a particular session, which I attended with a group of nonprofit executive directors, the focus was on financials.

On this day of the financial training, as we were reviewing balance sheets and applying the “acid test” to determine a nonprofit’s financial standing, one organization was upside down with a ratio of .0494:1.05 (.05 in assets to every $1.05 in liabilities – not a good situation.)

The facilitator asked the group to comment on what should be done based on the negative ratio; one participant responded: “You better get out and get more donations!”

Now, I am pretty sure she was kidding, but there was that fleeting moments when the only thought in my mind (after much self-editing) was: REALLY?! And it prompted me to make this short blog post to remind all of us that our donors are not a go-to source for money when we’ve mismanaged or planned poorly.

Our donors are not ATM’s.


Executive directors have the responsibility to manage a financially solvent non-profit organization with AT LEAST a 1:1 ratio of assets to liabilities. And that really isn’t enough, because there is no room for error.

If the ratio begins to slip into the negatives, and the liabilities are greater than the assets, the Executive Director’s responsibility is to make changes within the organization to offset that dip. And where do you do that? Typically in your largest expense items: personnel, programs, etc. , or you can borrow money – not a recommended practice, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Donors are volunteers. They are partners. They are supporters. But they are not ATM’s.

I absolutely believe if management is doing their job, a donor will never be called upon to “save” the organization.

And that’s that.


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Your Board and Fundraising

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 | 1 comment

Next week I will be facilitating a 3-hour Board Training workshop in Washington DC. Our focus is on the board’s role in fundraising and how each unique member can be effective in helping with a nonprofit organization’s fundraising efforts.

As I’ve prepared for the training, it’s become very apparent to me that many board members don’t see themselves as fundraisers. Even more concerning, they don’t want to be involved in fundraising.

There are differing views on a board member’s role in fundraising for a nonprofit organization, to be sure. But to me, it seems like a no-brainer. Of COURSE they should be involved.

Your nonprofit board is not staff. They are not paid representatives of your organization (typically), but they are a critical part of your organization’s team. They have signed on as ambassadors by agreeing to serve on your board. They have often signed agreements to donate hours, money, resources. If nothing else, they have allowed you to attach their name to your organization. They are important. They are influential. They are key players…and not just in policymaking decision, but in fundraising.

Not every board member is able to donate funds to an organization, although all should be asked. But every board member can help with fundraising in many ways, including the following:

  1. Recommend your organization to their friends and colleagues
  2. Identify their personal and professional circle of influence and recommend potential donors based on their knowledge of the person or organization
  3. Sit on your organization’s development committee
  4. Attend your organization’s events and participate in the storytelling
  5. Attend civic and community events and share your organization’s story
  6. Join the CEO in potential donor visits
  7. And the list goes on….
Signing on as a board member for a nonprofit organization is more than just adding a name to the letterhead, it’s a commitment based on passion for your mission and confidence in your efforts and leadership. It’s not a surprise that many board members don’t think of themselves as fundraisers, not many do. It’s not a role many seek after. But with training and a little information, there is rarely a better fundraiser than a motivated board member. It’s worth the effort.
We can’t expect board members to know how to fundraise, or to even understand their role in fundraising, without providing them some basic training and information. It should be part of every organization’s annual planning retreat.
If you are a board member, you are a fundraiser. You may never have to ASK, but you will always be carrying the message.
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Leadership. I Know! Right?!

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 | 0 comments

The English language has changed over the past decades, but it’s not the only thing. As our young leaders of tomorrow respond with new affirmations of agreement (such as, “I know! Right?!”), the leaders of today need to pay attention.

We are not dealing with just another generation of college grads who want to change the world; we are dealing with a group of brilliant, worldly, tech-savvy, research-based, reality-driven individuals with a passion for tomorrow that we can’t match.

They’ve lived through a multitude of yesterdays (ours and theirs), are now existing in the erratic world of today (thanks to us), and are hoping their tomorrows hold more promise than ours appear to hold. Yes, that’s what I said…more promise than ours, since a large majority of today’s adults are not prepared financially for tomorrow, and are therefore changing the landscape of our children’s tomorrows. And also because the world’s anger and hatred is apparent and visible and deadlier than ever before.

In today’s corporations, the leaders of tomorrow are often way ahead of the leaders of today. Not in experience, but in knowledge, in networking, and in balance. They do not intend to spend their lives glued to a monitor in a small office, or bound to a company because of a lack of courage to try something different. They are learning as they go, and they are learning faster than anyone ever has before due to the incredible access to information they hold in their palms. They connect with others via LinkedIn and Instagram and other online communities. They socialize more than we did as a result of the online ability to network. They research instantly and have immediate access to information it took us hours or days or more to discover.

Technology has taken leadership to a new level. It’s opened doors that were closed, altered the traditional view from the CEO’s office, charted new territory in underused processes, shrunk the world, expanded opportunities, and it’s made it easier to test the waters without drowning.

Leadership is about inspiring others, it’s about setting the example, it’s about sharing knowledge and experience with those who will follow. And we better step up quickly because the leaders of tomorrow aren’t lagging behind, they are right on our heels, they are following close and they are watching us between texts. Sometimes, they pass us by.

The English language will continue to change. Abbreviated “text-words” may become the Pygmalion of tomorrow. Texts and tweets may someday totally replace emails, phone calls and media reports, but there is no substitute for experience. You can’t tweet it or text it or Instagram it.

A lifetime of experience is something  we have that they don’t. The sustaining element of real human connection is something we built our careers on, but they are losing it somewhat due to the double edged blade of technology.

Let’s be certain we share our experience, because they need to learn from us. Their ability to access instant data may be far beyond ours, but their experience is lacking. They haven’t put in the time like we have.

The leaders of tomorrow are great, let’s help them become greater! This is our role as leaders today.

It’s a huge responsibility.


I know! Right?!

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A Work In Progress

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

We are under construction! It doesn’t really look like it, but we are basically not here due to the debris. Safety first! 😉

Seriously, in the next few weeks, a newly revamped website will come alive for The RESOURCE Tank…right before your eyes!

We are in the process of prioritizing our services, based on our successes of the past few years. I can’t share everything right here and now, but to give you a hint: we might be leaning toward major gift fundraising,  organizational structure assessments, board training, and development editing – the areas where we excel and have seen the greatest success with our clients. And to be honest, I’m getting too old to manage events…that is exhausting work! I still love it, and might veer off to manage small events, but that’s it!

In addition, we will be working with one unique nonprofit organization to increase awareness of the deadly affects of alcohol and drug abuse, and to provide grant funding to addicts who seek and need treatment but are unable to pay for it themselves. More on this soon, including a link to their new website. This is a great work and we are proud to be involved.

Please forgive us for being less active these past few months, we have relocated to Carmel, CA…our Carmel office will be opening (officially) in April 2013, and we will make an announcement at the appropriate time. What is it they say? If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. We are moving forward! And hope you are too.

Keep on reaching out to your donors, make them feel a part of what you are doing, never forget your organization’s mission as you plan, and connect those dots. You are awesome!

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