How successful Nonprofit Chief Executives Should Operate
By: Eugene Fram
Successful nonprofit chief executives, like those in the commercial positions, should share similar perspectives and beliefs. Author Jeff Haden writing in the June 25th issue of INC Magazine. about for-profit executives suggests, “9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People.” Following is his list and how I see how his ideas may apply to chief executives of nonprofit organizations
Nonprofit Evidence Based Evaluations: Using Imperfects Metrics Well
By: Eugene Fram
The Office of Management and Budget has issued a call for more rigorous program evaluations. According to Jeffery Zients, acting OMB director, “Where evidence is strong, we should act on it. Where evidence is suggestive, we should consider it. Where evidence is weak, we should build the knowledge to support better decisions in the future.”[i] Assuming this directive will trickle down to many nonprofits using federal dollars, using imperfect metrics for evaluations are becoming accepted, especially for smaller nonprofits, which can’t afford statistically significant studies. These resources are needed to deliver services. In addition, evidence based imperfect metrics can help track progress and drive change. (more…)
Nonprofit board terms are like clothing sizes. They come in all shapes and sizes!
Some terms are as short as two years, with the charter specifying the person remain off the board for one year. Other charters have systems that allow a director to remain for decades. The most common format allows the director a two three-year terms, with some exceptions relating to whether the person is originally filing an interim year or chairs the board in his/or her final year. (more…)
Nonprofit CEOs & Board Directors: How Expert Is Your CFO?
By: Eugene Fram
When hiring a chief financial officer (CFO), nonprofit organizations often find themselves with a major challenge, since many financial and accounting functions are identical. To compete, the organization may need to offer higher salaries that are somewhat competitive with for-profit organizations. Consequently, some trim the level of expertise required to fill the position. This is a dangerous move, especially if the organization is growing. Also the current CFO, if hired five or ten years ago, may not be up to date and make a major error that will harm the organization’s reputation, leading to a board restructuring and/or firing the CEO. (more…)
Attn. Nonprofit Board Recruiters: Marketing & Sales Are Not The Same!
By: Eugene Fram
What are the differences and what do these background differences mean when a nonprofit board concludes that a person with a “marketing background” needs to be added to a board. !
If the nonprofit board needs a person help define and/or segment a market, a director with a strong marketing resume is needed. For example, if a teen social center finds that its clientele is shifting from one ethnic group to another, a marketing person can help with the research to determine the overall differences between the two groups. Then a marketing plan can be established to show how the organization can help solve the problems being faced by the new ethnic group.
Assume the board has a good knowledge of its market but has a critical need for action in the fund development function, and then the need is for a director with a strong sales background. This person can help with planning fund raising events, provide techniques for “making the ask,” educate senior management and directors on the fine points of presentations to senior business executives and, in general, help spark the fund development effort. However, some of the suggestions might seem to be “outlandish” to a conservative nonprofit board. For example, it took me two years to establish a highly successful annual fund raising dinner for a human service nonprofit.
Another background to consider is a person with a marketing communications (often called Marcom) person who can assist with the website, developing print promotions and advise on communications to stakeholders and staff.
In nonprofit board recruiting, a person with “marketing” background can vary greatly. Be sure to define specifications.
How to know when a nonprofit board has achieved a positive culture?
Nonprofit board culture is really about having chemistry that works. Is there transparency and openness? It is an intangible, but it is critical. Is there a spirit of inquiry? That means, for example, that one director can disagree with another director or with the CEO without being hostile or being viewed as hostile for having an opposing opinion. (more…)