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 [...]

Our Firm is Expanding

By Mary Moss and Susan Ross, Co-founders. moss+ross celebrated its 13th anniversary just a few days ago. Our firm has grown tremendously over these years, fueled by the increased demand for our extensive suite of services. In response, as of January 1, we named three longtime senior associates as partners. Joining us as senior managers will be Kim Glenn, President; Lizzy Mottern, Vice President of Talent; and Kate Hearne, Vice President of Corporate Services. Please join us in congratulating them on these new roles. We set a goal when we founded the firm to focus on relationships, not jobs. This deep caring for our community in which we both were born has been rewarded with continued year-over-year growth. As we look toward the future, we reflect on how moss+ross has grown its footprint in many important ways. 220 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

Challenging Times Bring Solutions and Hope

By Mary Moss, Partner. It’s 2021. The hope for a bright and shiny new year was dashed with images from January 6th at the U.S Capitol. An already beleaguered nation that is dealing with issues of life and death – the pandemic, racial inequity, and economic insecurity – is struggling to come to terms with how the first week in January affects the rest of this year and beyond. At moss+ross, we hold fast to our mission to support nonprofits in their missions, amid growing crises. Hope lives brightly on the horizon. Working together, through the toughest of times, we will find ways to get there. Phase I-B for vaccine distribution has been announced, and we are better positioned to address open festering wounds in racial justice and democracy. We will be stronger working together on these issues. For [...]

It’s Fourth Quarter, Now What?

By Mary Moss. You have been working all year long to keep your head above water, to strengthen the relationships you have, and to identify new ones along the way.  You have learned how to operate remotely, and even ask for money remotely. While filled with gratitude for what you have been able to accomplish due to the generosity of so many, you are still telling us that you are worried about your donors not giving as much or at all this year. Even with powerful relationships, you are worried about money. So now, here you are, headed into the fourth quarter. What is your next best play when the times are so uncertain? Your next best play is to concentrate on donor retention of your individual prospects. As you enter the last quarter of the year, [...]

2020-09-09T18:46:41-04:00September 9th, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Fundraising Counsel|

What Help Looks Like

By Mary Moss and Susan Ross. One week ago, we joined the nation in witnessing yet another atrocity -- the murder of an unarmed Black man captured on video. What happened that day has left another image burned in our memory of what systemic racism looks like. The image of George Floyd joins those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. We grieve their unnecessary and untimely deaths, and we also grieve the violence that has erupted in response to these events. This is our home, and everyone who works with our moss+ross team loves it dearly. We grew up in Durham, went to college in Chapel Hill, raised our families in Durham and Raleigh, and built our company in the Triangle. Our mission statement: impact that matters in a place we love, is built on our stated core belief [...]

2020-08-11T20:15:26-04:00June 2nd, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Strengthening Our Abilities

By Mary Moss. For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.  African Proverb The past six weeks have tested all of our abilities – personally, professionally, and societally. By almost any measure, the blow of this virus has been mitigated by the selfless response of people and nonprofits that have stepped up in ways unthinkable two months ago. What have we learned? While we and our society have changed forever, we can be ready when the cloud lifts, as it surely will. Before you miss the moment, stop, think, document, and act on what you have learned. This new knowledge will make us stronger. Review the following five …abilities to assess what has happened and how you can be stronger in the future. Capability – You have now seen what you are capable of [...]

2020-04-22T16:17:44-04:00April 22nd, 2020|All Posts, From The Partners, Special Topics|

Advice for Engaging Boards

By Mary Moss Let’s look back at the last month, which seems like a year. Your first order of business was to make provisions to meet your mission even as you were shuttering your offices.  Somehow, you had to go virtual administratively and also devise new ways to meet your constituencies’ needs.  Then, in the flood of programmatic adaptations, you cancelled or postponed fundraising events, reached out to your donors and volunteers to check in, and pushed out some great annual fund appeals.  You have done a terrific job. Now, what about your boards?  The pandemic thrusts boards onto center stage to assess and reassess the risk that COVID-19 poses to the organization.  Risk management will continue to be the number one focus during the crisis, with special attention directed to program delivery and finance.  Yet there [...]

2020-04-07T19:43:51-04:00April 7th, 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|
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