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+00:00May 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 [...]

Six Questions to Consider in Hiring a Nonprofit Consultant

By Kate Hearne. 1. Do we need a consultant? Look at your strategic plan or annual fundraising plan. What are your goals and how do you plan to move the needle toward those goals? Will you just work longer and harder? Maybe. Or maybe some of those goals would benefit from the outside perspective, strategy, and accountability that a consultant can bring. 2. How can a consultant help?  If you are meeting your fundraising and operational goals, a consultant can help you reach goals above and beyond the day-to-day responsibilities like a capital campaign or launching a major gifts program. If you’re not reaching your targets, a consultant can recommend new strategies and give an unbiased assessment of how you can strengthen your program. The benefit of a consultant is the additional support, creative thinking and extensive experience that will add value to [...]

Dream Big, Plan Well, Execute to Perfection by Mary Moss

Those are three phrases that I use to guide many facets of my personal and professional life.  I did not grow up knowing how to do any of these things with respect to advancement (or much of anything else).  It is through 35 years of practice that I have become more seasoned in these areas. With respect to planning (i.e., the focus of this issue), in my very first development position, I was asked to write a plan on how to increase totals aggressively in a relatively new phonathon program.  Terrified does not even begin to describe what 25-year old me felt. I had no clue what the vice president of this university wanted to see or how to begin or why I had to do it.  My first step was to ask my peers what they thought should be in [...]

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