Servant Leadership and the Usher Protocol

By Kimberly Moore. My first experience with servant leadership was watching my grandmother serve as an usher in our small rural Baptist church in Gibsland, Louisiana. I am reminded of that usher protocol through moss+ross’ work in executive search, strategic planning, and fundraising counsel as well as my service on nonprofit boards. Through my grandmother’s example as a servant leader, I witnessed her preparation, setting of the tone, and anticipation, and can trace it through all the stages of organization engagement. Preparation My grandmother spent a few hours each Saturday washing and ironing her uniform – a starched white dress with matching stockings, shoes and gloves. This first step in her process was a labor of love to meet the crisp uniform standard. Similarly, when the moss+ross team assists an organization with executive search they come to [...]

2022-05-25T10:46:19-04:00May 25th, 2022|All Posts, Team Expertise|

What We CAN Do

By Susan Ross. We are confident that a new normal is ahead – we just don’t know what it looks like yet. In the past six weeks, we have posted weekly newsletters focused on what we CAN do, in the context of the hourly, daily and weekly shifts in news. Given where we are now, today’s best advice is to take action to shape your future using the lens of COVID-19… literally: C –    Carry on by focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t. Your mission remains important and you need to keep moving forward. O –    Optimism is a good thing. Make a best-case/mid-case/worst-case fundraising plan so you and your team are ready to take action when the medical and economic cloud lifts. V –    Visit with donors and volunteers by phone each [...]

2020-04-20T21:15:58-04:00April 15th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

The Black Swan: Practical Advice In Uncertain Times

By Mary Moss. Do you know the phrase “black swan” – a rare, unpredicted occurrence with widespread consequences? It was popularized in a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, published around the time Susan and I started our business just before the recession of 2008. Our firm has faced extreme uncertainty in nonprofit management and fundraising before, and 12 years later we can offer advice and experience to help you navigate the rough waters of today’s black swan: coronavirus. Clients are implementing this advice already, and we believe it is helping. Nonprofit Management 1.  Stay calm and be flexible. As a nonprofit leader, you need to instill confidence in others that your next steps are thoughtful and informed. This is an evolving situation; listen to the news, stay informed, and do the next right thing. Be ready to [...]

2020-08-11T20:11:30-04:00March 12th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

How Much Can You Do in an Hour?

By Mary Moss. It turns out, a lot! Have you ever been in a meeting and caught yourself yawning without opening your mouth where your nostrils expand, and you pray no one is watching? This is a dead give-away that the meeting has gone on too long. I am a keen observer of how different leaders run meetings. Some people process aloud, some don’t say a word, and some insist that everyone say something.  Some prefer to set a time limit; others intentionally do not. Some prepare ahead of time and follow an agenda; others cannot be constrained to an agenda. I have become a huge proponent of the one-hour meeting. Strong meeting management values other people’s time. For example, my Rotary runs a tight ship – meetings are one hour, although people can come earlier to eat [...]

Communicating the Message by Susan Ross

I am a communicator as well as a fundraiser – two very important aspects of our profession. Telling stories of how the work you do changes people’s lives, and how your donors’ gifts make a difference, helps your fundraising. Once you have painted a picture of what could happen if donors invest with you, the solicitation part is much easier (and more likely to be successful). My father was a career public relations professional.  One of his favorite definitions of the field was: DO A GOOD JOB AND GET CREDIT FOR IT.  That is sound advice for those of us trying to effect change in our corner of the world. As a proud graduate of the UNC School of Media and Journalism, I take very seriously the fundamentals of good communications: clear messaging, accuracy, audience awareness, and correct grammar. moss+ross has always included communications in our development and [...]

Three Steps to Great Messaging by Jeanne Murray

Your organization communicates purpose and inspires support through your messaging. While a good starting point is crafting a great mission statement, the day-in/day-out communication of your organization’s message doesn’t end with a declaration of mission. Continual messaging conveys the impact, energy, and needs of your organization – and, importantly, supports your development efforts. How do you know good messaging from the kind that needs improvement? Good messaging communicates value, encourages consistency, and identifies clear action. Good messaging communicates value. Messaging that communicates value is less about what you do, and more about what gets done with donor support. Words and images that bring impact to life tell donors that your organization is a worthy investment of time, money, and attention. Do your communications identify a donor’s role in achieving the mission? For example, I’m on the board of a Durham [...]

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