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|

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 [...]

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 [...]

Leadership Lessons

By moss+ross staff. moss+ross has offered Executive Search services since 2010, and has helped Triangle nonprofits place more than 70 executive-level and development professionals since then. We asked several to share their perspective on nonprofit leadership in today’s environment. Each has led with resilience to revamp services, operate without volunteers, and respond to changing conditions in this past year. Urban Ministries of Durham offers food, shelter and a future to end homelessness and fight poverty in Durham. “You try to stay focused on the things you can control while understanding the need to stay flexible and adaptable. For example, during the pandemic, we had to shift our focus from providing food, housing and other services to keeping people healthy.  That became our first priority.” Sheldon Mitchell, Executive Director (moss+ross search placement in 2016) United Way of the [...]

m+r interim solutions: Navigating Leadership Transitions

By Lizzy Mottern, Senior Associate. Executive director turnover at nonprofit organizations was between 18% and 22% in 2019. Every five years your organization could be facing a transition, expected or not. m+r interim solutions can support you with an experienced temporary affiliate contractor who can set your next executive leader up for success. m+r interim solutions considers the kind of support you will need and provides flexible, customized staffing solutions when you are facing a transition. We gain an understanding of your unique circumstances, pair an exceptionally qualified interim person to lead your organization, and support that person with the expertise of the moss+ross team. As your organization plans for a departure and a new hire, m+r interim solutions can work with your team to examine opportunities for change. We can help you objectively assess processes and make adjustments, or focus on a special [...]

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 [...]

Do you have a campaign plan? by Brooke Jenkins

Here are seven key components of a campaign plan: Objectives – What you typically want out of a campaign are objectives like the following:  to raise a specific financial goal; to broaden awareness of your organization’s mission and impact; to develop the organization’s prospect base by attracting new donors and strengthening current donors’ support; and, ultimately, to complement and strengthen your annual operating/programmatic fundraising efforts. The Case for Support – Consider your audience, timing, content, and channels when communicating your organization’s urgent and compelling needs. You will use this messaging verbally and in written materials. Leadership Structure – Actively engaged staff and volunteers are essential! The plan should define structure and roles for everyone who will be directly involved, including administrators, development officers, board members and other campaign volunteers. Prospect Review – You must take a hard look at your [...]

2020-02-21T17:57:16-05:00October 27th, 2016|All Posts, Campaign Counsel, Team Expertise|

The Importance of Strategic Planning by Mary Moss and Susan Ross

April Fools’ Day is not the only time reality can be hard to see clearly. Just ask any nonprofit executive, and you will get an earful of examples. Smart nonprofits do all they can to prepare themselves, though, and this means taking precious time from service delivery to plan for the future. Does your organization have a strategic plan? How is it used? When was it last updated? Strategic plans provide a framework for decisions about a variety of key issues and help you focus on what matters most. Susan Ross and Mary Moss In our experience, developing a plan is a critical step to strong fundraising. Savvy donors want not only to know how you will use their funds, but how you will change the world by what you are doing. Change the world?  Yes, indeed. We all want [...]

2020-02-21T19:18:44-05:00March 30th, 2016|All Posts, Strategic Planning|

UMD Board Announces New Executive Director

DURHAM – Durham’s emergency homeless shelter and free meal provider has hired a new executive director with more than 20 years of experience leading human services agencies, the board announced Wednesday. The Urban Ministries of Durham board unanimously selected Sheldon Mitchell, previously at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. He will take charge March 14. Board Chair David Sotolongo said the seasoned nonprofit executive stood out among the dozens of qualified candidates attracted by the national search. Mitchell succeeds outgoing Executive Director Patrice Nelson, who last summer announced that she would be ending her nearly 7-year tenure leading the nonprofit. UMD helps 6,000 homeless and poor residents of Durham each year using a cash and in-kind budget of $3 million. Mitchell said that UMD’s core values of respect, accountability and collaboration speak to his own deep belief in treating everyone [...]

2016-03-30T12:30:24-04:00March 30th, 2016|All Posts, Client Highlights, Staffing|

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 [...]

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