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Welcome to Our New Members

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Welcome to our new Nonprofit member organizations who joined last week: 
  • Winner Scholarship Foundation
  • Florida Filmmakers' Showcase
  • Florida Redevelopment Assistance
  • Sister Cities of Delray Beach (Renewal)
Welcome to our new Affiliate Consultant:
  • Changing Tides Consulting

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Torrey Smith - Why are you participating in Rising Leaders?

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2016
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Succession Strategy: Mapping the Next Generation of Leadership

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I always find it a little funny when I hear someone say, “The future is now.”

My immediate thought tends to be, “But what does that even mean?” Frankly, it sounds like somebody is trying to be a little too philosophical. I liken it to when someone is sharing “the secret to life,” but really just spewing nonsense.

This common phrase should be shifted to, “The future depends on the now.” Or, as Mahatma Gandhi put it, “The future depends on what you do today.”

This much rings true for your nonprofit organization and the next generation of do-gooders. Succession strategy planning needs to start today. While succession planning sounds intimidating, it simply means putting a plan in place for choosing the new leaders in your organization and giving them the tools they need to succeed.

Take a good, hard look around your organization. These are the people who have your back; these are the people who understand your mission – and they could be the next generation of leaders for your organization.

Set aside time to think about who’s up to the plate and will become that next generation. Murphy’s law states, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Let’s talk about why we need succession planning, how to do it and the best places to look for new talent.

Why Succession Planning is Vital

In the 2016 Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report, Marc Pitman found that 77 percent, or 3 out of 4 nonprofits, said they did not have formal succession planning in place. This number is insane when you think about all of the aspects you can’t control with leadership leaving or even an expected leave with no formal process in place. Your organization should be alarmed if you don’t have succession planning strategies in place, but also know you’re not alone.

Picture this: your executive director is offered a new position right in the thick of your biggest fundraiser of the year. Without a succession plan in place, that sends your organization into full-on crisis mode.

Do you think you’d stop the fundraiser to find an executive director? Absolutely not. Do you think funders will ask questions as to why there’s no executive director and what you’re going to do about it? Absolutely.

Maybe you’re convinced your executive director wouldn’t do that to you. Just remember that life happens – spouses get new jobs in different cities, people decide to retire earlier than expected and so on.

Plus, it’s important to remember that succession planning isn’t just about the unexpected happening, although this helps with that. Succession planning is vital because it sets your organization up for years to come. It helps identify potential leaders to ensure a long and healthy life for your organization. Think of it as a wellness program for your nonprofit.

It Takes a Village

Welcome to another episode of “Whose job is it anyway?” Where you’ll need to make everything up, probably come up with a points system for evaluating prospects – and the points will matter. Now that we know why we need succession planning, who needs to step up and make it happen?

Maybe you’re the marketing manager sitting there thinking, “Clearly this article doesn’t apply to me.” Au contraire.

It’s true, the primary party concerned with succession planning is the Board of Directors, our all-powerful governing body. But while board members should be heavily involved in your organization, they simply can’t be involved in every aspect of the day-to-day grind. So if you’re a staff member sitting back thinking you don’t have a part in this process, you’re wrong.

Board members will most likely seek guidance from you. Some boards will even weigh heavily on your opinion. And if you don’t have any succession planning tactics or processes in place, now is the time to approach your board with the concept. Heck, bring this article with you for moral support.

Plus, who do you think is going to be around to train the newbie once they’re hired? Your organization puts itself into a pickle when you rely heavily on one person and nobody else knows how that person does their job.

Where to Start
  • Write Down Job Duties
    A good place to start is to come up with a list of responsibilities and duties from each staff member and board member. Get it all down on paper. Don’t just use the descriptions for the jobs that were posted when you were hired. As you know, positions change and people start to absorb other duties. Try to make these lists as accurate as possible.
  • Talk About It
    I know that nobody loves meetings, but it’s important that once the roles are written down everybody understands who is tackling what. This can be an opportunity to say that you would like to have more responsibilities or put other responsibilities on another team member if it makes more sense. Then you can solidify those job duties.
  • Cross Train on Tasks
    Make sure that at least two people in your organization know how to do every single task. Or, if that isn’t possible, make sure you have detailed instructions on specific tasks so that anybody could pick up the manual and learn.
  • Determine Your Plan
    Talk with your board of directors. Come up with a list of what the ideal executive director would be, the types of skills and traits that person would possess and their past experiences. Outline how you would search for that candidate and how that candidate would be trained.

In an article by Blue Avocado, writers Jan Masaoka and Tim Wilfred perfectly encapsulate the uncertainty of a leadership change by stating:

“More nonprofits are realizing that the executive director transition is a crucial moment in an organization’s life: a moment of great vulnerability as well as great opportunity for transformative change.”

Go out and seize that feeling. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable because vulnerability means you’re making changes. And whatever you do, don’t put this off. After all, the future depends on the now.

Original post can be found here.

Tags:  Cultivate  Development  Leadership  Nonprofit  Oversight 

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Tips for Nonprofits on Measuring Social Media Metrics that Matter

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When it comes to establishing a digital strategy, nonprofits know by now that we need to grow our online audiences. A big part of that is connecting to our communities through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But now that there is endless data we can monitor from all these social channels, is your organization aware of what metrics are important to track?

At NTEN’s 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference, Debra Askanase, founder and digital engagement strategist at Community Organizer 2.0, held an informative session on advanced social media practices. The session took social media management to the next level, focusing on what metrics nonprofits should be focusing in on to help make decisions around online engagement.

Three important questions that can help guide your organization in what data should be valuable to track:

  • Does it inform our decisions?
  • Does it check our progress?
  • Does it show if we matter?

Reach, for example, is a common metric on social media, specifically on Facebook, but one that’s less important to track and could be almost considered a vanity metric. Can you trust that 800 individuals saw your post? Did each of those users actually view your content, or were they concentrating on something else, perhaps using Facebook Messenger or scrolling down their newsfeed without digesting half of the posts they passed? Usually, if your reach is increasing, it’s mainly because engagement with that post is growing. Therefore engagement is a more significant metric that can help you better understand why you expanded your reach.

There are a plethora of ways to track social media metrics, from Twitter and Facebook Insights, to third-party platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer that can gather all your social data together, to web analytics that can help you parse from which social channels your online users are coming. One useful approach to keeping all the traffic metrics you want to track in one place is to create a Google Analytics dashboard for social media.

The social management tools your organization chooses should let you do each of the following:

  • Post content to multiple social media channels and networks
  • See your scheduled social media at a glance
  • Create links that you can track
  • Find successful content (based on engagement or clicks)
  • See interactions and respond
  • Search for keywords, hashtags and conversations
  • Find your community
  • Coordinate responses from your team
  • Measure impact

Social Campaigns

When planning to launch a social media campaign, an organization should keep a few things in mind. Are you incorporating storytelling elements in your online campaign? Are you connecting emotionally to your audience? Is the campaign connected to a larger cause? All of these questions are very important in establishing a successful campaign.

A cohesive design is also extremely important, ensuring that the online campaign is simple for users to participate in, to share with their networks, and easy to follow is essential. If your audience isn’t aware of the specific ask, your campaign will not succeed.

Here are some reasons online campaigns can and will often fail. Look over this list carefully to ensure your organization is not starting out on the wrong foot:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Not enough time to develop campaign
  • Not where your people are
  • Not having the right measurement system in place, or not able to measure success
  • Undeveloped social spaces at the start
  • Did not involve engaged social media fans ahead of the campaign

Why and When to Use Advertising

On platforms like Facebook and Twitter, spending a little advertising money here and there on sponsored posts can go a long way. Just spending ten or twenty dollars on a few Facebook ads can be valuable in gaining data and insights on how to further engage with your online community.

Here are a few tools offered in Facebook Advertising worth playing around with:

  • Lookalike Audiences: Creating a lookalike audience is a great way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your mission and the content you’re offering. Once you select a source audience in Facebook based on a group you have targeted in the past, Facebook will then identify a new group of users that share common interests and behaviors of the source audience provided. You can select the size of your lookalike audience, and it’s suggested you start out small so the target group will reflect your source audience more accurately.
  • Retargeting: No one will engage with your content better than someone who already knows and is connected with your nonprofit. By using Facebook pixels on your website, you can retarget Facebook users that have already interacted with your site to try to hit them up for additional actions, from joining mailing lists to asking for donations. Once you start retargeting through ads, you can even go one step further by including a conversion pixel on certain pages that will allow you to track when a goal is reached based on someone taking action from your ad.

During 17NTC’s Advances Social Media Practices session, Debra shared seven golden rules in social advertising:

  • Know what you want to learn.
  • Identify your audience.
  • Create multiple versions of the same ad.
  • Don’t make the ask too much.
  • Create a custom landing page for ads.
  • Keep the time period brief (test, learn, rerun the ad).
  • Offer value.

So before you decide to jump on the next up-and-coming social network or start a brand new social campaign, make sure you know what your organization should measure and what your SMART goals are. A recent survey in the UK revealed that 35 percent of nonprofits use digital technologies, but don’t have any strategic approach. Are you aware of your strategic approach when it comes to social media?

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Torrey Smith - How Will Rising Leaders Impact Your Organization?

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2016
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