Monday, October 29, 2012

For Basic Hurricane Sandy Information & Where to Donate, Too

Hurricane Sandy weather and geographic details information is available at the National Hurricane Center

Federal Emergency Management Agency's Evacuation Directions

FEMA's directions to find your nearby natural disaster emergency shelter is: "To find a shelter near you, Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345)." [From bottom of web page of http://www.ready.gov/shelter ]


The Red Cross's Hurricane Sandy Shelter (and more) Information

The Humane Society of the United States Hurricane Sandy pet and animal assistance and safety and evacuation tips and information

__ Please be sure to: check in on invalid or elderly neighbors, care for yourself and your family's welfare, and please be sure to evacuate and bring food, water, and medication for all of your animals in addition to yourself

If you wish to donate to rescue organizations assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy:

To Give to the Red Cross

To Give to the Humane Society of the United States

Be safe and care for others unable to help themselves get to safety (human and animal).  I wish you and yours' safety.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Supporting Your Favorite Nonprofit Includes Voting By Tuesday November 6, 2012

My husband and I voted this weekend.  It felt good to get it done.  It's one less thing I have to do this week.  I know that you know what I mean.

The way I look at getting to vote in our republic, our democracy, is it is a privilege given to me by my citizenship; by my country's founders, millions of U.S. Armed Forces veterans (and their loved ones), and all others who have devoted either their livelihoods or volunteer work to this country - or, too, to the states and communities that I've in any way benefited from.  I vote, too, because I believe in America's nonprofit sector.

Of course, this may not be how you look at it.  I understand that there are different perspectives on voting. Many people feel disenfranchised.  Some are apathetic - they have better things to do and aren't sure their vote matters or don't want to put the time and effort in.  Yet others vote sometimes but not every election - and may do so out of either major stresses in their lives (i.e. illness, family problems, etc.) or even duress, or coercion for instance, see Hot Election 2012 Trend: Bosses Advising Employees How to Vote.

Putting voting aside for the moment, if you read this blog at all then I suspect you are either volunteering with or working for a nonprofit.  Most of us doing so believe in some aspect of the organization's cause, track record, and potential to succeed and achieve more.  You'd like to see it succeed further.  As such, I suspect that if we look at our communities, at a bare minimum there are at least a few economic issues that concern you, right now, if not other additional issues.  Nonprofits are in as much of a quandary, of course, as any other entity (household, business, etc.) in this economy.  So, at a minimum, the economy worries all of us supporting a community organization, right now.  There's some good news, nationally, here.

No matter what party Americans are affiliated with - they are aware of these current and unusually higher levels of need and are showing up and even increasing usual annual support for nonprofits across America.   See Conservatives and Liberals Are Equally Generous, Study Finds.  Please see, too, Most Donors Plan to Give as Much or More in 2012, Survey Finds.  So, the news is not all bad.

If, then, we support something in our community outside of the for-profit sector, we acknowledge, on some level, the potential individuals have to make a difference - to make something happen to help others or help resolve an issue - if we are supporting an organization.  You and I believe that, but it isn't that this "should" make you vote if you don't are aren't.  I'm simply pointing out the fact that by virtue of being involved in the community - whether you're volunteering at or working for your church, mosque, the local hospital, your child's public school, a nearby arts organization, your mother's cancer hospice nonprofit, or whatever it might be - you are involved in your community and your community is fortunate to have you do so (whether you're a volunteer or paid staff).  So, those of us involved in our communities are not just enabling something we see a need for - we are also on the front line, too.

What are some current examples demonstrating how nonprofits are actually on the front lines of our communities right now?

Not Hate Mail, but Teachers Send "Disappointment Mail" to Obama

Contest Seeks Ideas From Charities for Creating Jobs

Crowdfunded Medical Care?  Welcome to "The Twilight Zone"

Ryan Presents Romney Poverty Approach: Charity, Not Government

I am not going to tout one party or another, here.  Personally, I'll volunteer, that I don't think any one party, today, has anything in particular over another.  Having said this, I do believe most Americans affiliate with the political party they believe exemplifies their values and vision for this nation (and, of course, herein is the problem with politics, today.  Most Americans don't feel that the rubber meets the pavement no matter what any politician or party promises - but I digress).

I am talking, in this blog post, about our American communities and what Americans are facing today.

You know, if you work at all with or otherwise support any nonprofit, that the nonprofit (almost any nonprofit), today, is a major buoy for millions of people or 'things' we associate with a higher quality of life, as so many states' and local governments' budgets and too federal funding being lessened or altogether relinquished from different causes or issue that don't go away just because the prior funding streams do.

We all face some common concerns in our communities, right this week, such as:

Analysis: Fiscal cliff could hit economy harder than many expect

Analysis: Employees to face health care sticker shock

But you know this because we're involved in our communities.  Looking ahead, there are some issues we face, too, that will impact nonprofits and all of our nation.  Our federal funding or even our state's funding from the U.S. government for core projects and programs that either enable or support nonprofits' efforts are facing the chopping block, still.  See U.S. Congress may face another debt-limit showdown in 2013.  Too, the next president will in all likelihood place at least one if not more justices onto the Supreme Court (which, of course, is a life time position).  See Reading Guide: Where Romney and Obama Stand on the Supreme Court.  The list goes on from there.

Being involved in the community is a tremendous service to your family, neighbors, and friends and even to your town and nation.  The election this year on Tuesday, November 6, isn't just about who will become the next president.  It is of course about your local community's leadership and your state's, too.  These local elections impact your organization's future. Voting is also a tremendous service to your community and nation, too.  It could even be self-serving to the nonprofit you support or work for.

So, please vote.  I don't care which party you vote for or which candidates you support.  Please vote.  If not for you and your family, vote this election to benefit that nonprofit you believe in.

[For information on how to register and where to vote click "November 6", three paragraphs up and thank you.]

Grants for Creative "Place-Making" Arts Or Design Nonprofits' and Artists' Projects Fostering Community Identity and Revitalizing Economics

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

"Deadline: January 14, 2013

"National Endowment for the Arts Invites Creative Place-Making Proposals for Our Town Grant Program


"The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has published guidelines and the application for the next funding round of Our Town, the agency's primary creative place-making grants program.

"Through the program, the endowment will provide a limited number of grants for creative place-making projects that contribute toward the livability of communities of all sizes in the United States and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core.

"The program seeks to invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life; encourage greater creative activity; foster stronger community identity and a sense of place; and revitalize economic development. Projects may include arts engagement, cultural planning, and design activities.

"All Our Town applications must reflect a partnership that will provide leadership for the project. These partnerships must involve two primary partners — a nonprofit organization and a local government entity. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. Additional partners are encouraged and may include an appropriate variety of entities such as state-level government agencies, foundations, arts organizations and artists, nonprofit organizations, design professionals and design centers, educational institutions, real estate developers, business leaders, and community organizations, as well as public and governmental entities.

"Grants will range from $25,000 to $200,000.

"Complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and information on previously funded projects are available at the NEA Web site."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Like Any Successful Ride - It's What's Under The Hood That Determines How Well Any Nonprofit Raises Funds

Do Not Chase Grants, Instead - Raise Them Again and Again

A Community's Confidence In A Nonprofit Is the Ultimate Key to An Organization's Future (and success)

Nonprofit Self Evaluation Leads To Efficient, Economically Trim, Effective, Increased, & Successful Fundraising, and More

Why It Matters What the Public Thinks of A Nonprofit and How To Check

Grants for U.S. Nonprofits, Governments, Tribes, and Educational Institutions Linking Econimic Development and Community Well Being to Stewardship & Health of the Environment

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post, for more information].

"Deadline: December 3, 2012

"Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Accepting Applications for Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program


"Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are offering financial assistance through Environmental Solutions for Communities, a new grant program designed to help communities in the United States create a more sustainable future through responsible environmental stewardship.

"The program will support highly visible projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment.

"Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully address one or more of the following: innovative, cost-effective stewardship on private agricultural lands to enhance water quality and quantity and/or improve wildlife habitat for species of concern while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity; community-based conservation of local habitats and natural areas, efforts to enhance water quality, promote urban forestry, educate and train community leaders on sustainable practices, promote related job creation and training, and/or engage diverse partners and volunteers; showcase innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly approaches to improve environmental conditions within urban communities by "greening" traditional infrastructure and public projects such as storm water management and flood control, public park enhancements, and renovations to public facilities; and increase the economic and biological resiliency of the nation's coastal communities and ecosystems (including the Great Lakes) by restoring coastal habitats, living resources, and water quality.

"For the 2013 program, preference will be given to projects in priority regions and states, with a particular emphasis on urban areas.

"Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations; state, tribal, and local governments; and educational institutions. Applicants must be working in states where Wells Fargo operates. Individuals, federal agencies, and private for-profit firms are not eligible.

"Grants will typically range from $25,000 to $100,000 for projects of 18 months.

"The complete Request for Proposals, list of priority geographic areas, and application instructions are available at the NFWF Web site."

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Roles A Nonprofit's Founder May Hold During the Life Cycle or Growth of the Organization

Not every person who founds a nonprofit is not necessarily the very best possible candidate to either be the new organization's executive director nor the board president (and should never be both).  Please read Someone Has To Say It: The Nonprofit's Founder May Not Be the Best Executive Director Or Board President Candidate (and Should Certainly Not Be Both).  This post is the follow up to that one.

When interviewing people for either the executive director or board president position there are considerations (each candidate's professional and/or volunteer education, credentials, experience, knowledge, and one's professional and personal reputation) a nonprofit's board should come to know and weigh, compare, and the founder can be considered in either pool of potential 'hires', of course.

But there's more.

A founder is many powerful and important things to a new nonprofit.  He or she is a leader within the community, simply by virtue of deciding to do something about an issue or cause that concerns them enough to develop a solution for it.  They are probably pretty good at getting objectives achieved.   They may or may not have personal experience or a connection to the cause or issue. Too, he or she is creating an organization that will ideally go on and achieve the goals of the mission statement.  There is something to the idea that every nonprofit is in the business of putting itself out of business.  To put it another way, wouldn't it be nice if cancer were entirely eradicated?  Not only would fewer people suffer, but all nonprofits affiliated with cancer research, support services, medical services, hospice, etc. would be out of business.  It would be a good reason to be out of a job.  There is a lot of doing good involved in operating a nonprofit and a lot of satisfaction for anyone who participates in the effort (from volunteers, to donors, to staff, to clients, etc.).  A founder can (understandably) feel very tied to their new start up nonprofit.  They've likely put in tens and tens of hours into forming it, invested their own expertise and perhaps finances into filing, and have perhaps included friends and family by asking them to get involved.  It's a tremendous effort and even a difficulty.  It's an effort to begin and launch a new nonprofit.  It is understandable, therefore, when we hear of nonprofit founders who, without questioning if its in the best interest of the nonprofit's goals or the beneficiaries, insert themselves into the nonprofit start up's executive leadership positions.  They, after all, are the person who brought the organization into existence.  They are not, however, the reason that the brand new nonprofit exists.  This is an important distinction for the founder but also the other leaders to understand.  The reason the new organization exists is the needs of the beneficiaries. If Bill began a nonprofit to provide lunches to low income elderly seniors who are immobile but not in a care facility, Bill may believe his new nonprofit exists because he founded it.  He did indeed bring it into being.  The reason, though, that the organization that Bill founded exists is to feed immobile elderly who are not in care facilities (and their not necessarily receiving enough nutrition at home, if the service was not provided).  The beneficiaries of the new nonprofit and their need is the reason the lunch service nonprofit exists.  Bill is not the reason this new nonprofit exists.

So, if the reason a start up nonprofit organization exists is perceived to be because of the founder (by either the founder, its executive leadership, volunteers, staff, donors, or etc.) - then something is already setting the organization's potential back when it has barely begun operating.

In my example, here, Bill's effort and contribution to the community is admirable, perhaps critically necessary, and everyone who receives its services and the community at large will undoubtedly be grateful to him for his passion and commitment to the impoverished and hungry senior citizens.  Bill is the face of the organization's story - how it came to be - and he is the critical person who initiated its launch.  The seniors the agency winds up feeding are the faces of the nonprofit's mission statement and ideally, its success.  Everyone involved in getting the organization underway and operating, getting the programs and services designed and implemented, and the volunteers and donors who support the organization's effort are each and all team members in the nonprofit's success (whether it is a start up or a two hundred year old organization - this is always the case - it takes a team).  As we've all heard... yes, I'm going to say it..."there is no 'i' in 'team'".  What we don't always hear is why.  The reason why is no one person can do everything necessary to design, deliver, support, sustain, and grow a successful nonprofit (one that achieves the goals of its mission efficiently and ethically).

A nonprofit like any organization has a life cycle.  The IRS has a segment of their website dedicated to the life cycle of the nonprofit called Life Cycle of a Public Charity.  A brand new organization begins with a lot of behind the scenes work prior to the launch.  Usually the process to file with the state, IRS, and perhaps other entities (such as cities, counties, or Tribes, as required) takes at least a year (from start to finish).  A legal charity in the U.S. must file with the IRS in order to operate as a charity legally.  Meanwhile, the founder and probably a small team as well must make sure that the nonprofit is not setting out to do work already being done (or done well).  There is some required due diligence of this sort.  What is the geographic region the agency is going to serve?  Who is the target population (or beneficiaries or clients)?  What are their typical demographics?  What is the need the new nonprofit is being formed to meet?  How will the nonprofit answer these needs (or what are the programs and services the organization is going to provide)?  Which other government agencies, nonprofits, companies, etc. are working in the same cause of issue in the same geographic region the new nonprofit will serve?  How many are doing very similar work?  Is there any overlap?  Is another entity already addressing the issue or cause the new start up is intending to for the same beneficiary population?  Nonprofits that succeed and grow (whether start ups or not) are ones that are relevant. In other words, if an established nonprofit is already feeding the low income home-bound elderly in the same community Bill wishes to serve - Bill should likely address another need (one that is as yet unmet) or risk not being able to raise funds, volunteers, etc.  If another established nonprofit is already successfully feeding the population he's identified (like for instance, perhaps a Meals On Wheels is already doing this work in the same region) then why would a donor give to your new start up to do the thing an established (successful) organization is doing?  Too, why should Bill potentially pull any support from them if they do their services well?  Finally, why do what's already being done when another need that isn't being served could be?  Perhaps, if Bill finds out during his initial needs investigation that Meals On Wheels is doing what he initially considered doing through the new organization and they doing it very well, efficiently, and are reputable.  Then he could instead make this new nonprofit idea a needed and related program of the established Meals On Wheels - one that is needed but has not yet been designed, funded, or initiated by that Meals On Wheels.  Of course, he'd have to discuss this idea with that nonprofit's leadership first.  Or he could also investigate (through a needs assessment conducted among the target population) what needs actually do exist that are not being met or aren't being met well and create a nonprofit to instead of his first idea, serve another.  Maybe Bill, upon learning of Meals On Wheels providing lunch to poor elderly he conducts a professional and well written survey among the target population and through its findings he finds that they need a grocery service.  No nonprofit, government agency, company, etc. is helping them get their groceries consistently, at no cost or a low fee, successfully.  Bill can now consider how to form the new nonprofit's mission, programs, services, and goals around this as yet unmet need because this new organization will indeed be relevant.  Donors, volunteers, clients, and even other organizations (who might become partners to the new start up) will each and all understand the need being met and that it is not being met by any other entity.  Why wouldn't they (and the remaining community at large interested in this issue) support the new nonprofit Bill is starting up (especially if it's run effectively and efficiently)?

 The number one thing that a new nonprofit's founder can do especially initially is network.  A founder can be incredibly instrumental in networking as they are the face of the new organization's administration.  He or she is a store of compelling information.  Bill can sit down with pertinent contacts working for similar or related other nonprofits, companies, and government agencies in the field and impart his passion about this population, explain in quantifiable recent terms (per his needs study's findings) why this need is so important to serve (no one else is doing it and they need groceries), and where he is in the process of starting the new organization.  Perhaps he's even the best person at this stage to do this very necessary work.  Networking is a large percent of his job as the organization is being formed and certainly as it launches.  He will not only be developing potential donors, community partners, volunteers, or colleagues but he will also find out information he did not know that is pertinent to the new nonprofit's existence and work.  Maybe Bill meets with the Meals On Wheels executive director, Deborah, and board president, Seth, and shares with them what the new nonprofit will do, for whom, how and what the founding/launch timeline is.  He might hear from Deborah that Bill ought to meet with Meals On Wheels' programs managers to inform them of the new nonprofit's services and timeline but also to ask them about who they would recommend (as they are professionals in that field) who they could recommend as potential volunteers or staff to assist in designing programs and being hired as programs managers.  Maybe, too, Seth recommends that he take Bill around to a few meetings with the larger businesses in town - he would be happy to make introductions for Bill and the new nonprofit to people who may become board members, may donate themselves and/or through their businesses, and might also be key community partners (for example, maybe Seth introduces Bill to the Ford dealership's owner (who has donated new vans to Meals On Wheels every five years) and that dealership leader after meeting Bill promises to do the same for the new nonprofit - and why not - it's a second and new additional write off, community outreach opportunity, marketing and public relations accomplishment for the dealership). 

Meanwhile, Bill has a million other irons in the fire as do two others who have been helping him since day one.  They, together, are researching recent, local, fundraising trends in general (to take its overall temperature, in the current economy, locally), and researching potential donors for their specific organization (and even through a feasibility study, perhaps) to understand  would local people support it financially or in kind, would local businesses, and if so - how much - how often, etc.  The three of them are also developing job descriptions and qualifications for various volunteer positions - everyone from the first executive director (which Bill intends to throw his hat into the ring for among other candidates) to the fundraising committee, to the board, to the volunteer manager, programs people, and bookkeeper.  They already have a local nonprofit-specific CPA and attorney who are each volunteering time with the start up (and these folks are helpful to have in place as a start up files for their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS).

Bill maybe learns of Keisha and Anthony who are each reputable and credentialed social workers that have worked with the elderly their entire careers, from Meals On Wheels (or another agency) during his networking.  They meet with him and agree to volunteer to help Bill design the new nonprofit's services and programs as he has no experience in programs or services design or management (and certainly not in geriatrics or direct services such as providing groceries).  He asks them to do two things.  Bill asks them to research what other nonprofits in the state and the rest of the United States are successfully delivering groceries weekly to low income elderly and whether any of these nonprofits would be willing to share their programs/services designs and their budgets.  Nonprofits often share the programs or services that they have designed that have proven to be both effective (per the service's goal) and effective (successfully providing the program or service to the target population such that it works for them) because they can then call their programs or services that are replicated by other organizations model programs.  Model programs raise more support particularly from grant donors and some matching grant donors because they are not only successful but proven and replicated.  The other side of this is the organization that uses a proven program or service as a model for their own is building proof of concept (and success) into their own new program or service.  This builds a lot of confidence into their new service offering (even if start up) and donors give when they feel confident.  The second task he asks Anthony and Keisha to do is to identify actual real service numbers or put another way - he asked them to research and be able to state within one hundred people how many people exactly their organization will serve during the first two years of the organization's operations (which is expected to begin within a year's time).  In order for Bill to oversee the designing of realistic programs and services, but too, to be able to budget for, staff, fund, etc. anything - he has to know in real numbers what costs he is looking at.  If Keisha and Anthony find after their research that potentially the new nonprofit will buy and deliver groceries to ten thousand clients, Bill might respond, "Wow.  We will have to grow into serving that many people, and begin smaller but aim to serve them all in five years."  Or he might respond, "I've been raising enough money, already, and have enough pledges, sponsors, and other kinds of donors that I think we could do that within the first two years of service."  His response to their findings has to be based in both what he's already hearing back from potential volunteers and donors; but too, how much he is learning the organization will realistically be able to raise each year.  In the end, given what budget/funding decisions Bill makes, he leaves it up to Anthony and Keisha and their expertise to decide whether going with one of the model programs as a template is potentially the most effective method to deliver their services to local clients (given the findings from the needs assessment), or whether it makes more sense to develop their own programs from scratch (using Keisha and Anthony's expertise, what community partners are pitching in, and local demographics and needs findings).  If they deem building their own programs makes sense, and if the board signs off on this finding, then the two of them will design and implement (and possibly run) the programs and service (including the intended outcomes in specific client numbers, evaluations, budgets, staffing needs, site locations, logistics, etc.).

No one who builds a new organization (for profit or nonprofit) sees that entity as only existing for the duration of their lifetime - only to end when they die.  The intention is that the business or nonprofit will go on growing, succeeding, achieving, and building into the future indefinitely.  As such, the goal is for a new start up to thrive, grow, succeed, and flourish.  What will it take for the nonprofit to do this?  Well, it must achieve the goals of its mission statement.  It's programs must be efficient and effective.  The population served must actually assert themselves (without coercion, etc.) that their need is being met that the agency intends to serve.  The organization has to be reputable, well run (according to professional, nonprofit, best practices probably), and announcing its name, services, goals, and successes in the community.  They must make their organization and its successes known so that current and potential new donors, volunteers, and community partners feel confident supporting this nonprofit.  Operating the nonprofit according to best practices just happens to get a nonprofit in position to be the magic combination: compelling, relevant, and also able to demonstrate (through programs' evaluation findings and service stats) it's a sound investment for anyone in the community that wishes to support it.  This is an organization that is currently successful and whose future is bright.  Efficiency is a best practice that also instills confidence and also ethics - 80% or more of each dollar raised goes directly to programs and services, the agency reports on time and is a transparent operation (anyone at any time can get the organization's annual report).  Aside from its administration, though, a new nonprofit that is going to thrive must have an experienced, talented, credible, reputable, and perhaps even specialized team of volunteers or staff (especially among its board and entirely its programs and services designers and managers).  Credentialed reputable professionals instill confidence, too.  Perhaps more importantly, they know how to build or replicate a successful program design, how to implement it, how to oversee and manage it (and its staff or volunteers, budget, and evaluation) - so that it achieves success for the beneficiaries.  Their needs get met and the organization doesn't waste time, money, or its reputation fumbling and bumbling (even if well meaning).  If a reputable team of leaders and staff or volunteers (especially initially) aren't at the helm - who is going to know what is going to actually work and how long will it take that person to find that out? 

All volunteer positions (leadership, office admin, programs, and specialists, even) should have a job description including qualifications.  These should be state of the art (or current) because anyone considering the position can tell a lot about your organization from the job descriptions it advertises for job openings.  Always put the organization's best professional foot forward and research what the latest best practices job descriptions for various positions entail (and understand why).  Multiple candidates should be recruited for the leadership roles (leaders in the professional field and the sector should be identified whether working already or volunteering already elsewhere, courted, and invited to apply).  What nonprofit couldn't use the cream of the crop to ensure its organization's success and potential?  Aim high.  All for profit executives consider community involvement and many volunteer (especially as board members).  It's a public relations opportunity for their firm, at  a minimum if the company's leaders are volunteering but often these leaders genuinely wish to get involved in the community.  Don't decide for anyone.  Let them say "no" to your organization's opportunity if they need or wish to.  Candidates for office administration or assisting with programs or services should also be considered in larger numbers than necessary but considered based on their commitment to volunteer, availability, maybe experience, but too, definitely their background check results, and what is learned after following up with their references, etc. to determine whether one's beneficiaries (clients) will be safe in their care, and so on.   It helps to use the cause or issue's professional and ethical minimum standards (including too the laws or guidelines suggested by one's state, and other pertinent governments). 

Bill may or may not outshine other candidates in whichever position he applies for (along with the other candidates) but the board (or whomever is 'hiring' for the leadership position) should be clear that they are to choose whomever is the best candidate based on how they stack up to the job description and suggested experience and skills, and how they compare to the entire pool of candidates.  Bill is concerned and has passion and follow through but does he know how to run and oversee a nonprofit organization?  It requires expertise in fundraising, working with volunteers, overseeing budgeting and implementation of programs and services, evaluating those programs and services, and more.  If he doesn't know how to do these things - why doesn't he allow someone who does (and does well) to take the role?  The future of the organization and its best interests (the goal of the mission statement and the intended outcomes for the beneficiaries) should be the focus in all of the nonprofit's leadership's decision making.  Mission-based decision making is what leads to organizational operational and programmatic success.  Kowtowing to a founder's ego or entitlement to a position or role does not do anything for the nonprofit or its beneficiaries and it can actually harm both (see the news item links at the bottom of the previous post, "Someone Has To...".  The link is in my first paragraph, above).  When leadership always uses the mission and best interest of its goals as the number one factor in making decisions - not only is everyone in the leadership on the same page - but it's clear that the values of the organization are truly its services and programs' successes.  This instills confidence among clients and potential supporters, but too, it is how a nonprofit thrives, grows, succeeds, and shines.

A founder may or may not be effective in any role (including being the founder, even) depending (of course) on what their knowledge and experience is in both the nonprofit sector and the professional field that the specific nonprofit is working in.  Nonprofits are unique and require (like any field) unique expertise.  You'll want someone with successful experience but a strong reputation to plan and begin fundraising.  If you don't recruit a volunteer (or eventually staff member) with qualifications - why wouldn't you and what are your real goals, then?  The real answers to these questions need to be brought to the fore and addressed, maybe.  It's the exact same thing with nonprofit programs, nonprofit administration, and leadership.  Expertise saves money, time, and reputations; but more importantly it's how success is achieved (and quicker).  As an organization launches, ideally it has in all necessary positions (executive director perhaps, but board members, volunteers, and committee members) filled by experienced, reputable, talented people who are told to do what is best for the nonprofit and its beneficiaries and not any one or anything else - and then do that. 

A founder may, after an organization launch, become a board member (not necessarily the president), an in office volunteer (who works under the executive director), a committee member (marketing and public relations, fundraising, etc.), or may even simply become a client (the last nonprofit that I was a staff member for was founded fifty years prior by a woman who needed a direct service provider and after helping form the nonprofit became one of its clients (and nothing more)).  Can a founder be the best possible candidate for a leadership position after a nonprofit is formed?  Yes.  Is it always going to be the case?  No.  How can a nonprofit do its very best?  Requiring qualifications and expertise be met.  With the best possible team and the best possible candidates filling each and every leadership position the organization's future is very really potentially incredibly successful.

Grants for Organizations Providing Care to People Living With HIV/AIDS From Under Served Populations

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

"Deadline: November 2, 2012

"AIDS United and MAC AIDS Fund Announce Retention in Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS Funding Opportunity


"AIDS United and the M·A·C AIDS Fund have announced a Request for Proposals for the Retention in Care initiative, which aims to increase retention in effective HIV health care by people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those who are living in poverty and are at risk for dropping out of care or becoming sub-optimally engaged in care.

"The program will support approximately five grantees in the United States to facilitate retention in HIV health care by strengthening support and service systems and addressing barriers that affect people's ability to consistently participate in such care.

"AIDS United encourages applications that include a focus on marginalized, under-served populations that traditionally have less access to, and retention within, medical care. The organization is especially interested in funding proposals that combine retention in care efforts with intersecting areas of concern — for example, intimate partner violence, depression/mental health treatment, housing, and food security.

"The Request For Proposal (RFP) process will be open to any qualified applicant regardless of their funding status with AIDS United.

"Total project budgets are expected to be in the range of $200,000 to $250,000 annually. Grant funds may be used for direct retention in care program expenses; personnel expenses for staff providing direct services to the clients served by this project (peer navigators, nurse practitioners, case managers, early intervention specialists, outreach workers, etc.); overall initiative coordination; project evaluation; and information systems development and implementation.

"The complete Retention in Care RFP and application instructions are available at the AIDS United web site."