Planning

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Help Us Help You: Three Tips for RFPs

By Kate Hearne, VP for Corporate Services. Like many of you, our team is feeling the pace of business activity approach pre-pandemic levels. At moss+ross, this means we are seeing multiple Request for Proposals (RFPs) each week. Campaigns that were being considered in early 2020 are being revived; strategic plans and development plans need adjustments to incorporate new ways of delivering programs and engaging with donors; and clients are assessing staffing needs for an increased level of activity. As we determine our capacity for responding to campaigns, searches, assessments, or other consulting projects, the quality of the RFP helps guide those decisions. The best RFPs have three things in common: A deadline date. RFPs with defined deadlines for submission and selection will help your organization get to your real goal – starting the project! We have seen RFPs with [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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|

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 [...]

Strategic Planning: An Art, Not a Science by Chuck Fyfe

For many years, organizations embarking on a strategic planning effort followed an organized, pre-set process that grew out of a desire to justify large capital expenditures to investors.  Many books were written on the subject, and a generally accepted process was the norm.  Plans were populated with such elements as vision and mission statements, competitive analyses, SWOT analysis, risk assessments, resources analyses, etc.  And the plans were developed using similarly structured, replicable and defined processes. Chuck Fyfe, Senior Associate But in today’s world, and especially in the world of nonprofits, more attention must be paid to the specific needs of the organization in designing the process.  Unlike in the business world, nonprofits do not have the same set of performance measures such as net income, earnings per share or return on investment.  Often the goals are less tangible, [...]

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|

Show your board some love

At this year’s AFP Philanthropy Forecast, held January 26, Mary Moss led a roundtable where participants discussed the importance of strong board leadership. As part of the conversation, Mary asked participants what was on their minds. The issue most cited was that board members did not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and therefore had unclear expectations for the staff, and vice versa. Suggestions to address this issue include the following: Present a written and up-to-date job description to each potential board member before joining the board so expectations are clear from the beginning; Plan a board orientation in the first months of a new board member’s tenure that involves staff and key board members; Ask the board chair to have one-on-one meetings annually with all board members as a way to check in to see what [...]

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