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. [...]
By Susan Ross. Mary and I are thrilled that moss+ross is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and we just have to take a few minutes to reminisce about the journey. Over 10 years we have helped build shelters, schools, cathedrals, synagogues and museums; stabilized reserve funds and helped nonprofits merge; conducted assessments and written strategic plans; launched new initiatives and helped others reboot; managed dozens and dozens of searches and placed many interim staff members along the way. We have worked on campaigns from $600,000 to $4.2 billion, and we still get excited when our clients get a big gift or cut a ribbon or hit their goals. moss+ross grew out of a shared vision to strengthen the capacity of our nonprofit community. We felt we could make a difference in this region with an expanded use [...]
Once a strategic plan is in place, it shouldn't sit on the shelf. Proactive organizations revisit their plans regularly and pay attention to the milestones for achieving their vision. This takes many forms; here are a few examples: Pictured above: moss+ross associates Lizzy Mottern, Brooke Jenkins, Chuck Fyfe, and Fred Stang 1. Syncing up: Consider an online survey to assess whether there is a common understanding about the mission, and if the Board's goals are aligned with the staff's. This technique is especially useful when you've had new board members or new staff members join your organization. 2. Self-evaluation: Even the best board can benefit from a self-evaluation about performance, leadership and alignment with strategic plans. Such an assessment is particularly important as a tool for correcting course. 3. Big picture: Organizations may neglect strategic planning because it [...]
Our clients are an amazing group of creative and energetic professionals. Here are a few things that have impressed us recently: 1. A school developing its first strategic plan reached beyond its traditional leadership and invited a parent who is a university human resources administrator and a principal from a nearby school to join the strategic planning steering committee. Both individuals offered objectivity, fresh ideas, and organizational sustainability expertise to the planning process – helping to prioritize goals and identify actionable, measurable initiatives for the next three years. 2. The executive directors of several social services clients have been meeting regularly for over three years to discuss best practices and challenges in fulfilling their missions. Along the way, these organizations have worked to eliminate duplication in services across agencies, implement more effective systems and programs for serving their clients, collaborate [...]
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 [...]
When we started moss+ross in 2009, we made a strategic decision to define the Triangle and surrounding region as our service area. As we thought about our ideal nonprofit clients and the difference we wanted to make, staying local made the most sense. On November 28, many of us will shop at our favorite local stores in support of Small Business Saturday. As one of these businesses, albeit without a storefront, moss+ross is grateful to you, our clients, for shopping locally for the best nonprofit strategic planning and development counsel. We couldn’t be happier with the result of our local focus. To date, we have partnered with 106 clients, many of whom have hired us multiple times. Our clients enrich the fabric of our community, and we are grateful for our partnership with you!