Running Your Organization

Overview

Running your organization

Practical information and tools to successfully manage a nonprofit organization.

Overview

Advocacy & Lobbying

Advance your cause and mission by educating government officials, organizing community support, and influencing public policy.

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What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy
Free from BoardSource

What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy is a 13-page presentation that answers important questions about what advocacy is, who should be doing it, why it’s important, and how to follow the rules depending on what type of organization you represent.

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Fast Facts about Advocacy & Lobbying

Advocacy
Advocacy is a broad term covering a range of activities that seek to bring about systemic social change. Advocacy often seeks to address the root causes, as well as the symptoms, of social and economic problems. Advocacy by 501 (c)(3) organizations may include community organizing, public policy and lobbying, litigation, or nonpartisan voter engagement.

Helpful link

Bolder Advocacy Initiative
Tools and training to help your organization be a more effective advocate from the Alliance for Justice

The Bolder Advocacy initiative from Alliance for Justice, a leading expert in nonprofit advocacy law, offers tools and training to help your organization be a more effective advocate.

Helpful link

Everyday Advocacy
All the tools and information you need

The National Council of Nonprofits offers comprehensive information on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying including:

  • Why & the basics
  • Proof that it works
  • Your policy maps & tools
  • Proof that it’s legal
  • Resources
Overview

Boards

The board of directors oversees the activities of a nonprofit organization, and is accountable to its owners, the public.

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Board-Staff Interaction
What’s Acceptable, What’s Not?

Without realizing it, many nonprofits put their boards on an imaginary pedestal, which leaves many employees — especially new employees — unsure about how to approach board members. This compilation of FAQs form BoardSource helps explain the intricacies (and the benefits) of the board–staff partnership.

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Voices of Board Chairs
A National Study on the Perspectives of Board Chairs

An in depth look at the making of the board chair.  How they prepare for and perceive their role in relation to the board, the community and the chief executive officer.  Download the report here.

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Engaged and On Board
2015 National Survey of Board Members

This 2015 study, Engaged and On Board, by 2B Communications, offers insight and guidance to nonprofit leaders as they work to enhance the engagement and effectiveness of their board members.

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What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy
Free from BoardSource

What You Need To Know: A Board Member’s Guide to Common Questions About Advocacy is a 13-page presentation that answers important questions about what advocacy is, who should be doing it, why it’s important, and how to follow the rules depending on what type of organization you represent.

Overview

Evaluation & Outcomes

Evaluation covers both program and organizational effectiveness.

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Createquity
Everything we know about whether and how the arts improve lives

Every year, governments, foundations, universities, and scientists invest thousands of hours and millions of dollars generating research about arts and culture. Some of that research might hold insights crucial to solving our most pressing challenges—yet busy decision-makers hardly have time to take it all in. Without a comprehensive understanding of what that research says and what it all means, we might as well all be in the dark.

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The Data Playbook
A tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data

The Data Playbook is a new tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data.

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The Human Needs Index
A timely, multidimensional view of poverty-related need

The Salvation Army and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy have released a new tool that provides regional and national information on basic human needs in low-income areas. The Human Needs Index uses data from 7,500 Salvation Army locations across the US. It shows nonprofits where support is needed the most.

Official national poverty data have long been calculated using a single dimension: income. At best, income statistics provide only a hazy picture of the actual conditions facing the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, and the underemployed.

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Nonprofit Performance Management
Using Data to Measure and Improve Programs

As the nonprofit world adopts an increasingly data-driven model, the expectation is that more and more nonprofits will embrace the same approach. Will yours be ready? The better question is, what opportunities to improve your program activities and communications are you missing out on now?

Overview

Financial Management

Skillful financial management is essential to a viable organization. 

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The 990: Cracking the Code
A Guide to Gleaning Data from a Charities Tax Forms

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has released a series of articles to help readers better understand the 990, how it’s used, and why it must be submitted. Highlights of these articles include:

  • Common areas of misunderstanding
  • Breakdowns of each section
  • Best practices for submitting schedules

 Download a free copy.

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A Graphic Re-visioning of Nonprofit Overhead
Nonprofit Quarterly
Curtis Klotz
August 16, 2016

Most nonprofit leaders agree that we need a new way to communicate about the true costs of our programs and the vital importance of strong organizational infrastructure. But we have not yet developed a simple, consistent message when sharing our view with potential supporters and investors. We are stuck with old terms and old images.

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Why Funding Overhead Is Not the Real Issue: The Case to Cover Full Costs

Big strides have been made recently in the acknowledgment that overhead ratios are poor indicators of an organization’s impact or financial efficiency. Although the movement toward outcomes-based measurement offers a promising alternative to understanding impact, very little has been done to truly shift the sector’s understanding of what it takes—or even means—for nonprofits to be financially efficient and adaptable.

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True Program Costs:Program Budget and Allocation Template and Resource
Understand your true program costs

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund has developed a how-to resource to guide nonprofits through the steps of calculating and understanding the full cost of programs. The process includes decisions about how staff spend their time, what budget items are shared among several program areas, and how to allocate an appropriate amount of overhead to programs and administration. The guide, spreadsheet template, and a tutorial webinar are all available here.

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Racial Equity Tools

Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

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Resources for Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector
From for profit to nonprofit

Moving from a for-profit leadership position to a leadership role at a nonprofit organization takes careful consideration and a fair amount of research to be sure you find the right fit, both professionally and personally. This collection of articles from The Bridgespan Group can help you find a position, land the job, and get ready for a new career as a nonprofit leader.

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Employee Evaluation Forms
Templates, tips, & resources

There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel when it comes to employee evaluation forms. Check out these resources for free templates, sample forms and best-practice tips to help you create and refine your employee evaluation forms. 

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Nonprofit Works
An Interactive Database on the U.S. Nonprofit Economy

Nonprofit Works is a new interactive website from The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies providing access to critical data on nonprofit jobs, establishments, and wages in the United States from 1990-2011 with updates coming.

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Changing an Organization’s Name, Mission, Programs and Services, or Governing Rules

Is your organization thinking about changing its name, mission, programs and services, or governing rules?

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Reinstatement of Good Standing with Corporate and Tax Regulatory Agencies for California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporations
Help maintaining or reinstating your status with the state and IRS

Staying in good standing with the state of California and the IRS is an ongoing process.  This free publication from Public Counsel, Guide for Reinstatement of Good Standing with Corporate and Tax Regulatory Agencies for California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporations both outlines what you need to do to be compliant, and offers guidance if your organization has lost its corporate and/or tax exempt status.   Download a copy here.

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Who Regulates Charitable Nonprofits?

Many people assume that the IRS has primary jurisdiction over tax-exempt charitable nonprofits. Yet state governments play a much more active role in regulating nonprofits on almost everything, from their creation to dissolution and multiple life-cycle events in between. State laws govern a wide variety of activities, such as how a nonprofit changes its name, amends its bylaws, elects its board members, and pays its employees.

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Nonprofit Compliance Checklist 2016
Everything you need to know, all in one place

Have you ever wished for a better way to keep track of your nonprofit’s compliance responsibilities every year? You’re not alone. That’s why CalNonprofits has compiled this handy comprehensive checklist to help nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations — charities — keep up-to-date with annual filing requirements. All in one place, with links to the resources you need if you have questions.

Overview

Marketing & Communications

Strong communication and marketing are essential for a healthy nonprofit organization.

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Cause Clarity
Free resources to help you communicate more effectively

Cause Clarity makes the power of good communications accessible to all. From “how-to” videos to quizzes and guides, these resources will help you assess your efforts, engage your audiences and strengthen your impact.

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The Nonprofit Design Manual

The Nonprofit Design Manual is a resource intended to help designers and marketing professionals in the nonprofit sector optimize their message while reducing their costs.

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Marketing Toolkits for Nonprofits

Some free tools to help you up your marketing game.

  • Marketing 101 Toolkit 
  • Branding Toolkit
  • Messaging Toolkit
  • Marketing Tools
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Mindful Messaging
Using behavioral science insights to reach your audience

Kristen Grimm, president at Spitfire Strategies, recently released a new report called “Mindful Messaging,” demonstrating how communicators can use behavioral science insights on values, worldviews, and identity in their messaging. 

In this guide she walks you through:

Overview

Organizational Management & Planning

Nonprofit management supports continuous improvement of individuals and their organizations to better serve their communities.

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The Power of Possibility
Exploring greater impact through strategic partnerships

Supporting for boards as they explore the possibility of strategic alliances and restructuring this resource from BoardSource offers focused resources to help guide board discussion during these critical moments. They are designed to help you reflect on where your organization is, where it’s headed, and how a strategic alliance or restructuring could help you get there.

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The Data Playbook
A tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data

The Data Playbook is a new tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data.

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County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The County Health Rankings rank the health of nearly every county in the nation and show that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor’s office. The County Health Rankings confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income, and environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live.

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DataArts
Where data meets the arts

Data Digest, DataArts’ e-newsletter, will provide you with periodic updates on the system, new tools and resources, as well as news and information on field research, national trends, and local success stories for data-driven management in the cultural sector.  Visit the DataArts website and sign up for their newsletter.

Overview

Risk Management

Risk management helps identify, assess and control risks that may be present in operations, service delivery, staffing, and governance activities. 

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Safer Internet Guide
Designed for nonprofits, charities, and NGOs

You rely on the goodwill of your donors, constituents, and community for support. So it’s very important that you protect your data and infrastructure. The Safer Internet Guide, from TechSoup, is intended to help you keep it safe.

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What Nonprofits Need to Know About Security
A Practical Guide to Managing Risk

Big, sophisticated hacking incidents get the headlines, but most attacks are small and not all that intricate—and most could have been prevented. Hackers prefer easy targets. Perfect security isn’t possible, but practical security is within your reach.

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A Nonprofit’s Guide to Risk Management and Insurance
A free publication from the Public Counsel Law Center

Risk management is a tool to help nonprofit organizations like yours deal with the uncertainty of possible risks related to your work.  A Nonprofit’s Guide to Risk Management and Insurance, a publication you can download for free, will help you better assess and reduce your risk and understand how to get the kind of insurance you will need. 

Resource For MembersFor 3 day trials

Waivers and Hold Harmless Clauses
Risk managment tools

Overview

Technology

Technology supports greater social impact by increasing organizational capacity, enhancing effectiveness, or reaching new audiences.

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Softwareadvice.org

Software Advice helps nonprofits choose the right nonprofit management software so they can plan fundraising events and centralize donor contact data. 

They offer a free Buyer’s Guide and also a live person to talk with who can help you make the best selection.

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A Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems
Idealware 2017 Edition

Idealware’s 2017 edition of A Consumers Guide to Low-Cost Donor Management Systems is targeted at small-to-medium-sized nonprofits. It  looks widely at 32 systems that cost under $6,000 to support one user and fewer than 1,000 records for the first year. As in past editions, the guide includes a resource directory to help you put the one you choose to work for you.

Download a free copy of this valuable report.

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The Data Playbook
A tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data

The Data Playbook is a new tool to help your nonprofit collect, analyze, and communicate the results of data.

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DataArts
Where data meets the arts

Data Digest, DataArts’ e-newsletter, will provide you with periodic updates on the system, new tools and resources, as well as news and information on field research, national trends, and local success stories for data-driven management in the cultural sector.  Visit the DataArts website and sign up for their newsletter.

Overview

Volunteer Management

Volunteers are the heart of many nonprofits and are often vital to an organization’s success. 

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VolunteerMatch Learning Center
Free training for volunteer coordinators

The VolunteerMatch Learning Center offers dozens of free webinars on the practices of volunteer engagement, such as recruitment, screening, orientation and recognition of volunteers.  It also recommends books and resources and hosts a helpful blog. 

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Volunteers
Resources compiled by the National Council of Nonprofits

Excellent round-up of information and resources to strengthen your organization’s work with volunteers.  Includes information on managing volunteers, tax and time reporting guidance, and statistics.  Find it here.

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Ten Time-Tested Volunteer Recruitment Tips that Still Work

Volunteer expert Susan Ellis shares her top ten volunteer recruitment messages.

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ALIVE: Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement
An organization of professional volunteer program managers

AL!VE serves to enhance and sustain the spirit of volunteering in America by fostering collaboration and networking, promoting professional development, and providing advocacy for leaders in community engagement.

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