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.

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
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CalNonprofits
California Association of Nonprofits

CalNonprofits helps build a unified voice for the sector, tracks and analyzes state and federal legislation, and offers members only Monthly Legislative Briefing Call Updates.

Jennifer Fearing
CalNonprofits Sacramento Advocate
(800) 776-4226

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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.

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.

Overview

Boards

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

General information

Fast Facts About Boards
Quick answers to your basic questions about boards

Unlike private businesses, nonprofit organizations are not “owned” by anyone. Instead they are “owned” by the community: chartered by the government to serve a public purpose. The board of directors represents the community’s interests. The board, acting as governors or trustees, is charged with protecting the nonprofit organization’s public purpose. Nonprofit boards and boards of private corporations are similar in that both are responsible for the organization’s success.

Helpful link

Board Job Description Samples

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Recruiting Board Members
Guidelines, tips and tools

BoardSource’s Board Recruitment Center has a Recruit Board Members section for nonprofit staff and board members where you can find some tips and tools on how to find the board members you need to succeed.   It also includes a section for individuals called Serve on a Nonprofit Board with an introduction and a 4 step learning experience to help potential board members find the right opportunity for them.

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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The Reality of Measuring Human Service Programs
Results of a Survey

Nonprofits hoping to improve their programs’ services or reach must first understand their own effectiveness. Measurable numbers—how many meals served at a soup kitchen, how many students in a mentoring program graduate high school, what percentage of the target population does not have access to affordable housing—are critical data that can help organizations identify where they can improve their programs.

Overview

Financial Management

Skillful financial management is essential to a viable organization. 

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Update from the Financial Accounting Standards Board

A new update from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) constitutes the first major revision to nonprofit reporting since 1993.

Read about new changes to nonprofit reporting here.

What do the new reporting standards mean for your nonprofit and how should you prepare? Our friends at Fiscal Management Associates have created a step-by-step guide.

Explore resources for new FASB rules here.

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Best Practices for Nonprofit Financial Health
A three-part beginner-level series of nonprofit finance best practices

The Nonprofit Finance Fund developed these in response to the most common questions they receive.

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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.

Article

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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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. 

Article

New overtime rules for nonprofits
What's different about California?

Everybody’s talking about the new regulations from the Department of Labor that may change how nonprofits classify employees and whether or not they must be paid overtime. But as usual, California is different. One of the ways we’re different is that we have very distinct labor laws, which means that the new federal overtime rules will play out differently in our great state.

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Raffles
Key California regulations

A summary of key California regulations about raffles:

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Top 10 Ways to Get Investigated by a State Regulator

Nonprofit board members need to understand the regulatory environment in which their organizations operate. State attorneys general have the power to bring a nonprofit to justice if it is not in compliance with state laws. How can you avoid these top ten legal risks? BoardSource has compiled this resource to help you do just that. 

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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.

Overview

Marketing & Communications

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

Helpful link

The Goodman Center
Communications best practices and resources

Founded to help nonprofits recruit, propose, persuade, and present more effectively.  Offers free-range thinking™ a free monthly newsletter of communications best practices and resources.

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All About Marketing

A comprehensive set of links to articles and advice about marketing topics.

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Cause Communications

Cause Communications is a nonprofit organization that shares and elevates best practices from all sectors and explores how to apply them effectively in the social sector.

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Stories Worth Telling
A Free Guide to Strategic and Sustainable Nonprofit Storytelling

Funded and researched by the Meyer Foundation and Georgetown University Center for Social Impact Communication, this comprehensive resource is aimed specifically at small nonprofit organizations.  They authors point out that “it pulls together what we learned through surveys, research, and the workshop series to help small nonprofits understand the basics of storytelling and how to create systems within their organizations that will produce better stories.”  Get your free copy here

Overview

Organizational Management & Planning

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

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Building the Capacity to Innovate
A guide for nonprofits

Building the Capacity to Innovate: A Guide for Nonprofits is for anyone who wants to learn more about what it takes to build an innovative organization.  The learning modules contain key concepts, ideas for action, case studies, worksheets, and additional resources.

This free resource was produced by The Bridgespan Group and The Rockefeller Foundation. 

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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.

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. 

Overview

Technology

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

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How Can Your Nonprofit Use Texting for Program Delivery? A Workbook

Created as a companion piece to their free report, Text Messaging for Nonprofit Program Delivery, this series of worksheets will help you:

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Innovating Program Delivery: A Nonprofit Workbook
Implementing new technology in your programs

Innovating Program Delivery: A Nonprofit Workbook from Idealware will help you identify your organization’s needs and match them to the technology that can help you meet them. It will also look at what it takes to be successful when developing a new idea and implementing new technology. The worksheets will guide you past your obstacles and help you jumpstart your innovation potential.

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Nonprofit Technology Policy Workbook

More than half of the organizations surveyed in a 2016 report said that they had experienced a data breach caused by an employee. Most of those breaches were not caused by maliciousness, however, but by carelessness. Staff members often don’t know when they’re taking risks.

Does your organization have written policies in place to protect against such risks? 

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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.

Overview

Volunteer Management

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

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Copyright-free Graphics about Volunteerism
From Energize, Inc.

Copyright-free graphics to use to motivate volunteers.  Visit the Energize Pinterest page to see the many images they have collected for you.

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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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