Emerging Executive Newsletter for May 2019
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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.

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,

6 Tips to Skyrocket Your Board and Staff Interactions.

That is assuming you are an organization with a staff!  When there is staff, what is appropriate communication is always a thorny topic, outside of the accepted relationship between the executive director and the board.  

But, a board’s responsibility is as a group is to govern the organization and be fiscally responsible for the organization. As an individual, each board member has a role to support the organization. If we take this basic concept, then logically, there must be communication between the board and staff members.  It is both necessary and appropriate. 

But here’s where it gets tricky.  The executive director might feel their authority is undermined or concerned that misleading information will be shared.  Restricting access can also lead to suspicion on the part of the board.

What this comes down to, in my experience, is having agreed-upon guidelines that are approved by the Board and reviewed or updated as necessary, for example, when a new board member joins the organization. 

Things to consider include:

  • The Board of Directors collectively in its governing capacity may provide direction to the executive director
  • The Executive Director should be copied on any correspondence between a board member and a staff member. 

Click here to read more.

Millennials. Swipe Right to Donate!

When you open the new charity app Millie, you’ll see the profiles of three organizations that need funding. Each has a picture and a quick description to court your interest. If you feel drawn to one, simply click to learn more, and then swipe right to make a donation. You can pick how much you want to spend and seal the deal automatically, thanks to whatever money you preloaded into your account.

That might feel like a familiar dating app, but there is a lot more to this Boston based company. Click here to read more.

No is a Complete Answer! 

Yet not many of us think that way either in our professional or our personal lives.  We are too concerned about how we may be perceived by others. Will we upset or offend the other person?  Will they no longer like us?  If we are at work, how might this influence my next promotion?   

Saying no is one of the most important skills that we can learn.  Remember what they say on the airlines, “put on your oxygen mask first before helping others”.  If you consistently say yes, when you really want to say no, there will come a point when you will feel resentful which will ultimately impact your relationship in a negative way with the other person. 

Learning to say no professionally is a key leadership skill. At the start-up stage of an organization, energy and passion are at their highest and there is a willingness to do almost anything to prove the organization should exist.  But the clarity of purpose or business is essential to success.  In the nonprofit world, how often do we see mission creep in well-meaning organizations looking to help those in need?  In my experience, a lot of the time.  Whereas funders are a good example of organizations that say no.  Probably more than many in the nonprofit world would like to see!  But they understand they cannot fund every program and say no to organizations that fall outside of their funding guidelines. And when they do not see a sustainable program. 


Registration for Nonprofit Awareness Day: A Celebration on Nonprofit Excellence is now open! Join MNN and Presenting Sponsor Citizens Bank to celebrate the Massachusetts nonprofit sector and the people who power it. Nonprofit Awareness Day will be on Monday, June 3, 2019, from 10:00 am-12:30 pm in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House. The event will bring together hundreds of nonprofits, business leaders, and elected officials from across the state to recognize excellence in nonprofit work.


You have probably heard about the leaders of digital marketing tools such as Moz, MailChimp, etc. However, in this article, we’ll focus on the “gentle giants” of the industry. They might not be as popular, but they are very effective and cost-effective tools that will just blow your business up the scale.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Effective tools: SEMrush and PBNPilot
To most marketers, SEO is like a monster. Fortunately, SEMrush and PBNPilot are indispensable tools that any startup or established company can use in combination. SEMrush lets you view various keyword ranking for both paid keywords and organic search (Google doesn’t do this). The tool also features a backlink crawler and other data-centered tools. While PBNPilot gives you the ability to easily manage multiple websites on complete autopilot. It’s really an all-in-one system that automates the setup, management, and maintenance of your websites. Everything you need to run your sites is accessed and managed from the dashboard. SEMrush offers its users their site’s current keyword positions and aggregated data on how the keywords’ positions have changed over a specific period. This makes it easier for you to compare how your search engine optimization techniques have impacted your rankings and how you can improve them.

Inbound marketing
Effective tool: Optimizely
It is challenging to code new landing pages or even run an effective A/B split test, particularly for startups.

No matter the size of your business, it is essential to remember that A/B testing your site is among the most effective to boost your website’s conversion rates.  

Two Important 2018 Fundraising Reports Released

How has the new tax law impacted nonprofit organizations?  And what might these mean for fundraising effort as we move forward? The Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s (FEP) 2018 Fourth Quarter Report showed giving increased by 1.6% in 2018 with philanthropic gains being driven exclusively by donors who gave $1,000 or more. However, the # of donors, as well as retention rates, fell. 
Blackbaud's Charitable Giving Report recently released showed a similar overall increase to the FEP report. Highlights include:

  • In 2018, overall charitable giving in the US increased by 1.5% year-over-year, with large organizations growing by 2.3%, medium-sized organizations growing by 2.0%, and small nonprofits experiencing a decrease of 2.3%. 
  • Since 2016, overall giving has grown 9%.
  • Online giving grew 1.2% in 2018, with large organizations decreasing 0.5%, medium-sized organizations growing 3.7%, and small nonprofits growing 0.7%. 
  • Since 2016, online giving has grown 17% and average online gift amounts have continued to increase. The average online donation in 2018 was $147.
  • Despite significant growth, online giving only accounts for 8.5% of overall fundraising revenue. 

Important questions to ask now:

1) How much more can we do to retain donors?
2) Do we have the right people connected with our organization to reach potential donors who can give $1,000 or more?
3) How could our fundraising incorporate (or incorporate more) online giving which continues to increase?

To read more on both reports click below:
Giving Up Slightly in 2018, But Only Due to Larger Gifts
Use the latest charitable giving data to transform your organization’s strategy 

On the Lighter Side

Like British sarcastic, twisted humor and Ricky Gervais?  Watch After Life on Netflix.  Clever writing!

Apollo 11.  Awesome documentary.  Some of the never seen footage is definitely worth seeing.

As an avid tennis fan, a big shout out to Roger Federer for winning his 101st title in Miami.  And Sascha Zverev for visiting an animal rescue center and adopting a pup!  The pup hit the jackpot; he is going to live in Monte Carlo!  Adopt, don't buy!

On my recent trip to St. Lucia, I was thrilled to visit a few of the schools that
 Hands Across The Sea is supporting.
With a mission to improve the literacy of children from preschool to high school, the organization has distributed over 98,000 new books to schools islandwide. 

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.


“In her workshop at TDC Boston, Lack of Funds is NOT your Primary Challenge. Nadia taught me a lot about how organizations evolve--in an incredibly short amount of time. The presentation was absolutely absorbing."

Howard Katz  Tech Writer | Grant Writer | Advocacy Writer

Brush up on your fundraising acumen with these webinars, available to purchase at
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