Emerging Executive Newsletter for September 2017
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Emerging Executive

Helping Nonprofit Organizations And Their Leaders Realize Their Potential And Their Mission.

Welcome to the Emerging Executive newsletter – your news for board development, strategic planning and other important nonprofit insights.

We will send you this newsletter when there is important information to share or workshops we are holding that you might want to attend. Read on to find out more!

With warm wishes,

How Do I Get My Board On-Board with Fundraising?

Let’s face it, board members typically don’t like fundraising! But it’s a very important part of their role, especially if you are small organization with no development staff. If you are lucky, you will have one or two people with some fundraising experience on your board to help lead the effort. If not, you will need to set this as priority and get your board educated so they become active partners in ensuring the financial health of your organization.

For both start-up and mature organizations, there are a number of ways to get your board members involved with fundraising that don’t require making phone calls or visiting donors in-person. You can start slowly by following two simple steps – click here to read more.

Do your Conversations Drag On and On?

Our September 2016 newsletter had an article called “Words Matter – Use Them Wisely”.

Often times not only do we not use words wisely but we don’t know why we are having a conversation! Especially at meetings. At board meetings, this often happens because we do not know the outcome needed from a particular agenda topic. Perhaps a decision is needed. Maybe there are next steps or research required. It could be all of the above!

As an executive coach I see this with new coaching clients - both groups and individuals. At the start of every conversation, I always ask the client what they want to focus on during this call or meeting. Nine out of ten times, the client will not know. They come, out of habit, and tell a story of what has happened since we last spoke.

It takes time for individuals to develop a new habit.  This is one habit I encourage you to develop. Take a few minutes before each session to focus on what it is you want to achieve. If you work with a coach, he or she will help you incorporate this new habit by not going any further with the coaching session, until you state what you want to achieve as a result of your call or meeting.  After all, the session is all about you! 

The other challenge I see regularly that derails conversation is with the use of assumptions. We all make assumptions, regularly! We may decide why a particular event has happened without any factual knowledge or evidence. And worse. We assume everyone else in the room has the same assumption. If there is no factual evidence about a situation, I caution you to challenge any assumption and check in with everyone. A lot of damage can be caused by making assumptions – some more serious than others.

Know your outcomes and don’t make assumptions. You will notice how the quality of your conversations will improve. If a conversation goes off track – personal as well as business – you will able to redirect the conversation to achieve the outcome you require. And know that people are making decisions based on facts and not assumptions. You can save valuable time by not wasted on unproductive discussions!

How Engaged and Active is Your Board?

Often, I hear staff complaining that their board is not active and board members are not attending meetings.  If this is a problem in your organization, look inward and start asking yourself the question:  What are you doing to keep your board members engaged?  Remember, they are volunteers, and there might be something you can do differently to encourage their participation.

A good place to start is looking at your orientation process, especially if you have an organization with complex programs.  Do you just hand people a brochure, or do you take the time to invest in your new board members with a specially designed orientation process that includes program descriptions, staff meet and greets, and presentations of compelling stories about the people who have benefited from your services.  Have you laid out your board giving policy so there are no surprises?  When I joined my first board, nobody explained there was a board giving policy and I was completely taken aback when I got a letter with the board pledge form.

Click here to read more

MNN Conference – November 1, 2017, Framingham MA

This year’s MNN Conference theme is 10 Years of Strengthening Nonprofits.  The conference is one of the largest statewide gatherings of nonprofits, and will mark the organization’s 10th anniversary by doing what MNN does best: providing a forum, with resources, for those working in the sector to learn, share, and network. This year, the Independent Sector’s President and CEO Dan Cardinali is the keynote speaker. The Independent Sector is a leading voice on pertinent federal policy discussions on behalf of the nonprofit sector nationwide.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your fundraising skills, boost your productivity, or energize your board, the workshops at our annual conference cover a variety of topics for every stage in your career and will provide you with everything you need to be more effective and efficient.

Click here to see the 2017 workshop listing

Click here to register

Commonwealth Insights Second Edition from MNN

MNN’s Commonwealth Insights publications highlight policy, issues, and trends important to the nonprofit sector. The second edition of Commonwealth Insights of 2017,  looked at current federal tax proposals and their impact on giving in Massachusetts.

Key points and recommendations include:

  • Federal tax reform proposals would reduce giving, harming people who are served by nonprofits.
  • The total amount of Massachusetts donations at risk is $513 million per year.
  • Itemized charitable contributions in Massachusetts totaled $5.7 billion in 2016.
  • A series of policy recommendations to protect charitable giving, including: 
    • Preserving the federal charitable tax deduction;
    • Enacting a universal charitable tax deduction; and
    • Coupling the universal charitable tax deduction with other tax policies, specifically rate cuts and an increase to the standard deduction.
  • A call to Congress to keep nonprofits out of politics and preserve the Johnson Amendment.

Click here to download the report

Doing Good, Doing Well

Here is a link to an excellent article by Yvonne Abraham in The Boston Globe that illustrates that while a nonprofit may do remarkable community work, in this case St Anthony's Shrine, it still has to be run efficiently, as a business. This is a story about a group with plummeting cash and donations and excessive operating costs that transformed its operations. Soon to be a Harvard Business School case study.

Click here to read more about this story!

On The Lighter Side

Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style. Yet another amazing exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.  Hurry!  Last day is October 9.

“Tell Me Where it Hurts” a book by Dr. Nick Trout,  is a vicarious journey through 24 eye opening hours at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center. It will make you laugh and cry.  A must read if there is a special place in your heart for animals.

A Quick Reminder

Our services at Emerging Executive help nonprofit organizations through the most appropriate combination of consulting, executive coaching, or training for your organization, and always incorporates practical experience and feedback. Services include: board and leadership development, executive coaching, strategic planning, and grant writing.


"“Whenever I am in transition I call Nadia. As an Executive coach she has exemplary listening skills and the ability to think strategically/reframe issues and get me to create and focus on a goal and define actions to get what I want. She is always focused, always available and quickly understands what is required. She asks the right questions at the right time and gives me the confidence to take action."

Carolyn Calmonson
National Promotions Manager
Metcash, Australia

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