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|

Volunteers Bring Magic to the Mission

By Mary Moss, Founding Partner. April is National Volunteer Month, and we are celebrating the strengths and talents of volunteers with our clients and in our social media. Volunteers are not supplemental, or nice to have; they are essential and foundational to a nonprofit’s mission delivery. In 1981, my first fundraising job was to recruit student volunteers at Duke University to fill 18 slots a night throughout the year for the first Dialing for Duke telethons. Duke’s Annual Fund grew exponentially from this personal touch from students to alumni. Four decades later, I can report that every effort I have led as a staff member or volunteer, or guided as a consultant, has found its success through committed volunteers. The real magic happens when you build a strong staff-volunteer partnership with shared goals resulting in a cadre [...]

Welcome Normal Days

By Susan Ross, Partner. I’ve kept a newspaper column for many years called “Learning to be grateful for life’s normal days.” Encouraging us not to overlook their beauty, Donna Britt writes in the Washington Post of their “magnificent mediocrity” and says “those are days worth loving.” Never was that more true than during the 2020-21 pandemic-related upheaval of our normalcy. Nonprofits did what they could. Some hunkered down while others geared up, and most of those who continued fundraising just closed one of their best years ever. Our advice, shared through every Zoom call and e-newsletter over the last year, was not to wait it out but instead to continue to do the hard work of asking people to support the mission. So now as you begin to plan your 2021-22 fiscal year, how do you account [...]

Phasing in Your Fundraising

By Susan Ross. Now that North Carolina has begun its phased reopening, you may be looking at how this applies to your fundraising efforts. The nonprofit community has responded in extraordinary ways during this time, with dedicated staff and volunteers doing all they could to serve clients, maintain programs, and raise money when able. In the process, nonprofits realized which services were most critical to clients, and many were able to pivot when they saw a service gap that they could fill. Going forward, this pandemic-induced clarity is an opportunity for change as nonprofits review missions, collaborations, and impact in the community. Importantly, whether or not you have been actively fundraising during the past few months, you need to start getting back up to speed soon. Like everything else in our lives, fundraising activity will fall into [...]

2020-05-21T20:19:03-04:00May 21st, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

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|

Making the best of unexpected circumstances by Mary Moss and Susan Ross

Perspectives on change and the unexpected from moss+ross co-founders and partners Mary Moss and Susan Ross... Over the course of our consulting careers, we have worked intimately with more than 100 organizations. Some embrace change, planned or not, while others grit their teeth and hope they make it through. Our perspective is that change can be a wonderful catalyst for leaders to step back and rethink, reorganize and restructure operations for the best. And in the 21st century, change is a given in almost every environment. An organization that is not changing is probably withering. Sometimes forced change offers opportunities that were not there before. Maybe you have an unspent salary to invest in strategic planning or an assessment you know you need. Perhaps you have been organizing your staff workload around a person’s strengths or weaknesses, and the change [...]

Succession planning: What can you do now?

While the departure of an executive director is not something that can always be planned, there are things that can be done along the way to ensure the organization is not crippled when this happens, because sooner or later, it will. Executive directors play such key roles representing an organization to all of its constituents. Often, he or she really is the face of what you do, so it’s not surprising that a departure can send waves of anxiety through an organization’s staff and board. Succession planning applies also to boards of directors. Many boards have a founding board chair who has become the driving force of the organization, functioning almost as staff. It is just as critical that the board members have a plan for what happens when that person wants to step down or cannot serve any longer [...]

2015-08-20T01:45:31-04:00August 20th, 2015|All Posts, Staffing, Strategic Planning|

Why you can’t afford to wait: The benefits of interim staffing by Kim Glenn

Your organization is planning a 30th anniversary gala, and hundreds of donors, board members, and honored guests will be invited to attend. It's a flagship moment in your history, an incredible opportunity to highlight your mission, boost sponsorships, and engage new donors. The event is only three months away when your development director suddenly gives you a two-week notice. Kim Glenn, Senior Associate at moss+ross Or worse still, your organization hasn't had a development director for more than a year. The position has been allowed to remain vacant to "save" money. The strategy worked at first, but a year later, your budget is shrinking as grant deadlines are missed, annual appeals go out late or not at all, and donors are overlooked. Whether you are a small, medium or even large non-profit, you most likely don't have the [...]

2020-02-21T19:30:34-05:00August 20th, 2015|All Posts, Staffing|

How are you nurturing your donors?

When was the last time you sat down with your best donors, or potential donors, and invested your time and energy in them by listening to their ideas and truly matching their interests with the goals of your organization? Did you develop a meaningful plan to engage them fully? moss+ross has always emphasized that major gifts – "investments" – typically follow involvement and engagement. Here's an example from Susan Ross of how that can play out. A woman we know was interested in volunteering with an organization that addressed poverty issues. She approached one nonprofit that had a good reputation in the area, but found its particular approach was not a strong match for her. In a casual conversation she shared her experience with me, and I encouraged her to check out a nonprofit I had been supporting, and invited [...]

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