Help Us Help You: Three Tips for RFPs

By Kate Hearne, VP for Corporate Services. Like many of you, our team is feeling the pace of business activity approach pre-pandemic levels. At moss+ross, this means we are seeing multiple Request for Proposals (RFPs) each week. Campaigns that were being considered in early 2020 are being revived; strategic plans and development plans need adjustments to incorporate new ways of delivering programs and engaging with donors; and clients are assessing staffing needs for an increased level of activity. As we determine our capacity for responding to campaigns, searches, assessments, or other consulting projects, the quality of the RFP helps guide those decisions. The best RFPs have three things in common: A deadline date. RFPs with defined deadlines for submission and selection will help your organization get to your real goal – starting the project! We have seen RFPs with [...]

Building Capacity for the Future

By Kim Glenn, President. Over the last 13 years, moss+ross has had the privilege of working with 220 central North Carolina nonprofits to help them deliver on their missions. We partner with board and staff members alike to evaluate fundraising capacity, operational efficiency, and program impact, and help them develop plans that will enable them to thrive. The National Council of Nonprofits says it well: “Capacity building is not just about the capacity of a nonprofit today — it’s about the nonprofit’s ability to deliver its mission effectively now, and in the future.” When clients engage us to help them build capacity, we approach each situation as a unique opportunity to refocus on mission and find new ways to grow. We start by listening to key stakeholders, inside and outside of the nonprofit, who can help answer [...]

Focus

By Mary Moss, Partner. Almost every day this month, as emotional headlines about rising Covid cases, the Afghan war departure, and historic weather events scrolled across my screen, I was inspired by the uninterrupted focus that comes from great nonprofit leadership. Featured below are three unstoppable moss+ross clients: Orange Habitat, Healing Transitions, and Trinity Academy. We could have featured many more who are equally focused on doing great work in our communities. The secret sauce of focus includes more than dedication to mission. Here are some tips: (1) make fundraising a weekly top priority (so you do not fall behind); (2) partner with capable volunteer and staff leaders who meet regularly (to infuse ideas and energy and share the work load); and (3) don’t forget the fun (plan agendas that highlight the work of others and recognize [...]

Advancing Equitable Fundraising

By Jeanne Murray. What does it mean to approach fundraising in an equitable way? We see many examples of organizations, foundations, boards, and nonprofit leaders taking action to be more equitable and inclusive in fundraising. Some examples: Collaboration among nonprofits, from advocacy, to grant applications, to mergers Intentionally inclusive fundraising, for example, fundraising events with tiered pricing Partnering with communities for strategic planning and program development Strengths-based framing in storytelling and messaging Stewardship efforts that ask donors and participants “how do you want to be engaged?” In the past year we have all felt the urgency to do better and be better, especially in partnering with communities to achieve results. moss+ross seeks to understand how we as individuals and as a firm can advance this conversation, and continue working with clients to help them promote deeper change. [...]

The Five W’s of Development Planning

By Elizabeth Hopkins, Brooke Jenkins, and Lizzy Mottern. The summer months are a good time to refresh and renew our enthusiasm for the important work we do – and to create a Development Plan for the year ahead. The Five W’s of Development Planning will help you focus on the important elements of your plan. Why Plan? A plan provides common understanding of what is being done, who is doing it, and by when. Development plans: Secure resources for your organization Keep donors connected, informed, and feeling appreciated Ensure the development team works efficiently and effectively. When to Plan? For many organizations, the summer marks the end of one fiscal year and the beginning of another, making this an ideal time to assess what worked well last year and plan for the year ahead. Start early and [...]

Invest Now, or Regret Later

By Mary Moss, Partner. The Dow Jones all-time high of 34,811 happened on May 7, 2021. Given the year we have had, I have been astonished at U.S. economic performance amid the disruption of the pandemic, the calls for justice, and political polarization. Yet, experts continue to promote economic optimism this year and in the coming years, some saying that the best is yet to come. Of course, all of that is subject to opinion and evolving data. The economy and philanthropy are partners for life, and when the former does well, so does the latter. In 2020, depending on which report you read, overall giving increased slightly, or increased in some sectors, or decreased. In 2021 so far, we are seeing donors give generously, respond faster with pledges and payments, and volunteer more freely. Every capital campaign moss+ross is supporting is finding success. [...]

Risk Management and Continuity Planning

By Chuck Fyfe and Jim Roberts. Many organizations are now asking themselves: Could we have been better prepared? As nonprofits look to the future, risk management and continuity planning is a high priority. Effective emergency and crisis management planning cannot foresee every possible scenario, but it can prepare organizations for addressing adversity from any quarter. Organizations need this type of planning to face the future realistically and avoid the optimistic bias of everyday operations. Checklist for Planning Your organization must systematically identify and prioritize risks, articulate prevention and mitigation strategies, develop contingency plans to ensure business continuity, and provide a framework for effectively managing through unavoidable emergencies. In addition, you should consider the possibility that some change may be permanent and require a modified business model. Addressing this whole spectrum is essential to prepare for what could [...]

2020-05-22T15:26:28-04:00May 21st, 2020|All Posts, Strategic Planning, Team Expertise|

The Room Where It Happens

By Mary Moss. If you’ve seen Hamilton, you know that the “Room Where it Happens” means more than just clever lyrics and melody. History is made by having the right people in the room, people whose actions and commitment will change everything. Alexander Hamilton was in the room, and as they say, the rest is history. Who is in your room? As staff, do you have the right people in your room? As board or committee members, do you have the right volunteers in your room? This past month has been an extraordinary one for some moss+ross clients. To name only a few:  * SECU Family House and Oak City Cares celebrated successful campaign conclusions * Healing Transitions and Durham Tech met huge milestones in their campaigns * Voices Together hired a Director of Development and Eno [...]

Recipe for Nonprofit Success: Three Essential Ingredients

By Mary Moss. Imagine your organization has stopped operation. Imagine funds have run out. Imagine the population your mission supports cannot be served. Everything stops. Imagine the despair. For the leaders at Community Music School (CMS) in Raleigh, this was reality, not imagination, and on the front page of the News & Observer a few years ago. Fast forward to today, where CMS is thriving, growing, adapting, and serving more students as it lives into its mission To Create Brighter Futures Through Music. Fundraising numbers are way up, teachers are being recognized in myriad ways, and more students than ever are clamoring to see their brand new facility located at Longleaf School of the Arts in Southeast Raleigh. How did this extraordinary state of affairs turn around? CMS leaders concentrated on three key ingredients. This is a simple recipe, [...]

Your Board Really Can Be Great!

By Susan Ross. I was asked for my perspective on the probing question “Is Your Board Any Good?” in a recently released short video from local agency Angel Oak Creative. During the filming, I suggested to the interviewer that “Is your board as good as you need it to be?” might be a better question. At moss+ross, we work with lots of boards, and Mary and I have rarely run into one that really is not “any good.” But we have seen boards that aren’t making best use of their skills, have fallen into performance ruts or lost their focus, and have ended up being less effective than the nonprofit or institution – or their board members - deserved. Sometimes a retreat or custom training can be a big help to getting a board reengaged and focused. Last [...]

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