Are the NSRI Spring Trainings Really for Me?

The spring training programs for the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute (NSRI) at Seton Hall University are in-depth studies at two very specific topics, Board Leadership and Financial Management.  At first glance, these topics of course seem relevant and important but it takes some courage for an organization to admit that they may need more guidance when it comes to such critical areas.  If your organization is functioning well, do you really need to attend these trainings?

Last May, a nonprofit organization named the Federation Employment Services (FEGS) in New York celebrated 80 years of success.  This was a multi-million dollar organization that had long standing government contracts and other strong roots within the New York community.  By February 2015, this same organization began relinquishing programs and prepared to close down as they had found a $19.4 million discrepancy from which recovery seemed impossible.

How does such a large deficit go unnoticed?  Recent articles show that 30% of the annual budget went to administration costs, the organization had leases for spaces they were not even using, and they were not meeting certain performance measures as outlined in their government contracts[1].  There were clearly red flags that were just not recognized or remedied until the situation spun out of control.

How does an organization get to this point?  As a nonprofit organization, the board of directors needs to know what questions to ask and how to ask them in order to get the proper information to ensure that the organization is running to the best of its’ ability.  At the same time, the staff needs to be able to accurately read financial reports and understand the short term and long term viability of their organization in depth.  This is critical! All components of an organization need to be properly trained to guarantee the security of their organization.  The training programs that the NSRI is presenting this spring are structured to help avoid the exact scenario discussed above.  Only through continual training and education can your organization and the professionals in it truly thrive!

 

[1] Swarns, Rachel L. “With Little Warning, Agency Aiding New York’s Most Vulnerable Crumbles” New York Times. February 8, 2015. <http://nyti.ms/1zn18eX>

 

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NSRI’s Exciting Announcement!

NSRI logo better quality

NSRI is excited to announce our new workshop series!

Position Your Mission: Two Workshops, One Day

How does Howard Levy successfully position nonprofit organizations to significantly increase their visibility?

How did Colin Smith increase donations by  over 1,500% ? 

Attend these Workshops to find out!!

Looking to meet leaders in the tri-state area non-profit sector? Learn how to position your company’s mission at expert-led workshops hosted by the NSRI at Seton Hall University and learn industry trends to better engage your audience!

The first workshop, Turn Your Mission Into Your Message—Increase Your Organization’s Impact, will feature Jill Greenbaum, Principal at iCoachiDesign, and Howard Levy, Principal at Red Rooster Group.

The second workshop, Secrets of Marketing and Development Success, will focus on strategic marketing and development strategies, which have generated growth in fundraising, enrollment and client retention. Colin Smith, Executive Director at Change for Kids, Inc., who successfully increased his organization’s budget by 1500 percent, and Meg Paradise, award-winning champion and leader of women’s initiatives and Director of Development at Women Rising, will be sharing their experience in the workshops.

SMART DISCOUNT! If you register for both workshops a discount will be applied at checkout!

To activate the discount, simply add both workshops to your cart! Each workshop has a fee of $89 per person. The discount offers both workshops for $149 per person, a savings of $29!

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are included as well as ample time for networking!

Early bird registrants get a free gift!

Register now! http://bit.ly/1GITClY

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Support and Connections in the Nonprofit Sector

NSRI logo better qualityAs an intern at the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute (NSRI), I have had the opportunity to truly explore the wide world of nonprofit organizations, including the work, effort, drive, and determination that it takes to manage them. One of the most interesting and important elements is the support NSRI provides to help nonprofit organizations grow, build connections and improve service, training, and other important elements of their organizations. As a resource for nonprofits, NSRI endeavors to assist organizations, consistent with our mission. Accordingly, guidance and networking are crucial aspects for nonprofit organizations. NSRI is engaged in research to uncover what nonprofits need most. We will conduct focus groups on a variety of topics and ask many nonprofits for their input. We invite you to look for communications from us about opportunities to get involved and share your opinion.

Our schedule of events features several workshops being launched this fall. Thinking about how important networking and connections are to nonprofit organizations, I realized the perspective of a nonprofit executive and that the connection to an already well-known organization could be valuable to a professional at a smaller nonprofit. Part of our exciting series of workshops, Leaders Share Secrets of Marketing and Development Success”, on Monday, December 1, 2014, is like a mentorship session. Executives of large, well-known nonprofit organizations will speak to professionals of smaller nonprofits with advice on growth and the expansion of their organizations. This workshop will be an excellent and rare opportunity for staff of small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations to obtain advice from peers in the sector, and also to speak with the leaders of these organizations and network. Attendees will be able to learn the latest marketing and development strategies from the leaders of mid to large nonprofits who have generated growth in fundraising, enrollment in programs, and increased client retention. In interactive workshops, they will hear case studies and work with valuable tools to achieve and sustain success. Speakers will provide lists of proven tips and share lessons learned to help nonprofits plot the future of their organizations’ growth and be an example of effectiveness, efficiency, and profitability. Attend this workshop and help your nonprofit grow to its peak potential! For more details, please visit: http://www.shu.edu/academics/nsri.

Your feedback will help us plan future programs! Please let us know about other types of workshops you would like to see offered by NSRI via email to nsri@shu.edu.

Post written by Stephanie Cox, MPA Graduate Student at Seton Hall University.

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Voto Latino: Empowering Latinos to Vote

As the Latino population in the United States continues to increase dramatically, the need to have Latino serving organizations also increases. It is an opportunity to not only attract talent for the nonprofit sector itself, but to create programs that educate the Latino population on relevant issues. One such critical area is voting.

Latino voter numbers requires a powerful campaign, committed to ensuring that Latinos in America are educated on the importance of voting. One organization that does just that is Voto Latino. Its mission is to “empower Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change.”

The 2012 presidential elections marked a significant shift for Latinos: a record 11.2 million Latinos voted. Overall, 48% of Hispanic eligible voters turned out to vote in 2012, down from 49.9% in 2008. But even with that record breaking presidential election, the Pew Research Center has found that Latinos’ voter turnout continues to lag significantly behind other groups. The 2012 voter turnout rate among blacks was 66.6% and among whites was 64.1%, both significantly higher than the turnout rate among Latinos.

For the last ten years, Voto Latino has engaged and developed the leadership skills of Latino Millennials. Actress Rosario Dawson founded the organization in 2004 and since then, it has registered nearly 250,000 voters. Maria Teresa Kumar, President of Voto Latino has integrated a digital strategy to engage the masses. Voto Latino pushed to get American Latinos to fill out the 2010 census via a bilingual iPhone app, has fine-tuned the concept of texting campaigns, and is reaching out through Twitter and Facebook.

Why should it matter that although there are approximately 15 million American Latino youth in the United States, only a fraction vote? It matters because Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the United States and will only become more important and politically powerful as the years progress. It is projected that by 2050, there will be 132 million Latinos in the United States and will represent 30% of the country’s population. It’s a powerful voice that will drive change in America. With organizations like Voto Latino at the helm of increasing Latino votes in the United States, the goal shines brighter every day.

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New Jersey Non-Profits 2014: Trends and Outlook

Center for Non-profits logoThe Center for Non-Profits, a charitable umbrella organization serving New Jersey’s non-profit community recently launched the New Jersey Non-Profits 2014: Trends and Outlook. This report is the Center’s annual survey of the non-profit community, and was conducted online in January 2014 to “gauge the experiences, trends and expectations of New Jersey’s non-profit groups. The survey tracks prior year funding and expenses, outlook for the coming year and actions taken by non-profits to address trends. The findings are based on 197 responses from New Jersey 501(c)(3) organizations”. The report is of great use for everybody who is interested in the nonprofit sector of New Jersey. These are, according to the Center for Non-Profits, the 7 most relevant findings of the survey:

  1. 82% of responding organizations reported that demand for services had increased during the past year, and a similar percentage (80%) expected demand to continue rising in 2014.
  2. 46% reported relatively level funding in 2013 vs. 2012, but 31% reported that expenses exceeded support and revenue during their most recently completed fiscal year.
  3. 74% expected their total expenses to increase in 2014, but only 58% expected total 2014 funding to increase. About 28% expected total funding to remain the same as 2013, but only 8% anticipated a decrease. Respondents overall were more optimistic than one year ago regarding funding prospects, predicting increased funding from foundations, corporations, individual gifts and special events.
  4. Overall, compared with the last several years, fewer organizations reported taking new cost-cutting measures such as cutting staff, reducing or freezing salaries or curtailing programs, but such steps remained a possibility for a sizeable percentage in 2014. By contrast, slightly higher percentages reported that they might be able to add programs (41%), add staff (33%), or increase salaries (30%) in the coming year.
  5. A significant portion of respondents (47%) reported launching new partnerships or collaborations in 2013, most commonly with other non-profit organizations, although partnerships with government and business were also reported. 22% said either that they might explore a merger in 2014 or that that they definitely intended to do so, while 10% percent indicated that might, or definitely would, complete a merger in 2014.
  6. Asked to identify the issues presenting the greatest challenges to the viability of their own organizations, non-profits most frequently mentioned financial uncertainty, the need for better branding/ communications, the need for a stronger board, and staffing/benefit costs.
  7. When asked to choose the issues most important to maintaining and improving the viability of the nonprofit sector in the coming decade, non-profits were most likely to select attracting/retaining capable, committed board members; nonprofit infrastructure/capacity building; foundation/corporate funding; and attracting/retaining qualified workers.

References to the need for “a stronger board” and “committed board members” are of extreme importance for the NSRI. One of our most relevant initiatives focuses on board leadership training. Through this training program, we seek to provide current and potential board members with the skills and knowledge they need to become the leaders nonprofits need in the 21st century. As most of the nonprofits who answered the survey, we are convinced that a high-performance board enhances the viability and sustainability of a nonprofit organization.

We want to thank the Center for Non-Profits for the great value of their survey. If you want to read the full report, you can download it here.

What statistic from the report surprised you the most? Which one you thing is most crucial for the future of the nonprofit sector in New Jersey? What topics do you think board members need training on?

Share your ideas and opinions, we would love to hear from you and start a conversation!

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Ready, Set, Join! Board Diversity Efforts Mean Greater Opportunity to Serve

Among the latest trends in nonprofit and corporate board leadership is the efficacy of making boards more diverse. Socially conscious investors are increasingly steering money toward companies with gender-diverse boards, according to Investors See Advantage in Diverse Board (February 10, 2014, Wall Street Journal).  The idea behind this drive for gender diversity, is “that if everyone has the same background, they may also have very similar viewpoints. The theory goes that diversity brings disruption and can lead to better ideas,” according to Jason Katz, a New York-based financial adviser with UBS Wealth Management Americas.

A new study produced by Commongood Careers and Level Playing Field Institute presents some very stark diversity statistics:

Today’s nonprofit employees are approximately 82 percent white, 10 percent African- American, five percent Hispanic/Latino, three percent other, and one percent Asian or Pacific Islander. The gap in representation is more pronounced in nonprofit governance, where only 14 percent of board members are people of color. Similarly, in specialized functions such as development, less than six percent of roles are filled by people of color.

What’s significant about the study, however, are not the reflexive conclusions of most diversity studies: nonprofit staff isn’t very diverse; nonprofit boards aren’t very diverse; nonprofits need more diversity; and nonprofits don’t know where to find people of color. Rather, the takeaway is that good intentions aren’t enough. According to author Rosetta Thurman in Nonprofits Don’t Really Care About Diversity, (Stanford Social Innovation Review), “the study showed that most nonprofit employees perceive that their employers claim to value building diverse and inclusive organizations, but that they do little to back up that claim.” Out of 1,600 nonprofit professionals interviewed nationwide for the study, 90% believe that their organizations value diversity, though 70 percent believe that their employer does not do enough to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.

So how do nonprofits overcome this disconnect to go from rhetoric to practice? The Bridgespan Group, an advisor to nonprofits, cites a three-step process:

1. Communicate — Your board should have an open, thoughtful discussion to consider how it and your organization, community, and constituents might benefit from diversity within the board.

2. Act — Develop a case and plan for change: Create a pipeline of candidates; Avoid tokenism; Involve: When you have identified promising candidates, find ways to connect with them and cultivate their interest.

3. Monitor and Measure Results — Monitor progress quarterly or semiannually; Track retention rates of diverse members; Conduct exit interviews; Administer board self-assessments; and Survey staff, constituents, and stakeholders about their perceptions of the organization’s culture of inclusiveness.

Worth adding to the above prescription are the actions of candidates from under-represented groups themselves. Once you’ve committed to serving on a board, one of your very first steps should be to obtain board training from a board leadership program. One comprehensive program for individuals living in the tri-state area is the Board Leadership Institute (BLI), offered through Seton Hall University’s Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute. What makes this a stand-out is its depth (it takes 16+ hours to cover the wealth of board-related material), flexibility (the program can be taught onsite at client locations), and board-matching service, in which participants are individually matched with appropriate boards based on their skills, interests, and locales.

For more information about the BLI, please contact Audrey Winkler, NSRI Director, at nsri@shu.edu.

Post written by Stephen F. Izzo-MPA Graduate Student-2015.

 

 

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The Presence and Absence of Women on Non Profit Boards

by Amanda Cimaglia, MPA Graduate Student, 2014

The Presence and Absence of Women on Non Profit Boards

When the topic of women and diversity of nonprofit board members was brought to my attention, I had not really thought about the issue before. I have worked for a few nonprofit organizations in my past and their board members were all men. At first I thought, it makes sense. Many of these men are very important, successful businessmen who can potentially bring the organization sponsorship and major donors. On reflection, I thought: why can’t women do that?

As I researched the absence of women on nonprofit boards, there were references to the lack of women on corporate boards. The two may go hand in hand. If women aren’t in these power positions, how might they be recruited for a nonprofit board, or more importantly, why would they be? Many people feel there needs to be more diversity on boards; how can you have an organization supporting breast cancer, and not have its board include women, who are the vast majority affected by the disease?

One statistic cites “Women represent just under 14 percent of the total board seats of New Jersey’s 111 largest publicly held companies. That statistic is slightly better than the national average, where just 12 percent of corporate boards of directors are women.”1 When nonprofit organizations recruit women in these leadership positions to fill their board seats, it is going to be harder to find them. Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell’s Soup, for example, serves on multiple boards. According to her corporate bio, “Denise serves on the board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, where she chairs its Health and Wellness Committee. Denise was named as a Vice Co-Chair of the Consumer Goods Forum in 2013 and serves on the organization’s board. Denise was named to President Barack Obama’s Export Council in 2012. Denise was elected to the MetLife, Inc. board in February 2014. She previously served on the boards of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Ballard Power Systems Inc. Denise is a member of the board of directors for Catalyst. She is regularly named among the Fortune and Forbes Most Powerful Women.”2 The connections between the absence of women on nonprofit boards and corporate boards merit further research.

Much of the research I am pursuing on this topic this semester, is to identify the factors underpinning this absence of women in board positions. I am also interested to see the progress underway to change this factor. Perhaps my future blog posts will become more positive about the changes being made, not only in New Jersey, but also across the country. My next post will focus on specific improvements right here in New Jersey.

 

1 Friedman, Alexi. “Men Far Outnumber Women on the Boards of NJ’s Largest Companies, Report Shows.” NJ.com. The Star Ledger, 28 Jan. 2014. Web.

2 “Campbell’s About Us.” Denise M. Morrison. Campbell Soup Company, n.d. Web. <http://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/aboutcampbell/executive-team/denise-m-morrison>.

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The Value of Board Diversity

by Harlenny Javier, MPA Graduate Student 2015

In honor of Black History Month, we celebrate how far this country has come in accepting other races. It is appropriate to also consider why we have difficulty assembling a diversified board for many nonprofits organizations.

We have often promoted inclusion in all aspects of the workforce, which extends to the nonprofit sector. In considering inclusion, it is appropriate to ask if nonprofit boards are, in fact, sufficiently diverse. A national study found that on average, 86% of board members are white non-Hispanic, 7% are African Americans/Black, 3.5% Hispanic/Latino. What might be the justification for this disproportionate representation among the races in nonprofit boards?

Yes, there are a select few organizations that will likely have African-American or Hispanic board members because their area of expertise aligns with the group’s mission. This reflects the fact that they may have a better understanding of that particular field. This typical scenario repeats the same detrimental effect that such thinking may affect the organization. Shouldn’t we include as board members not only individuals for their area of expertise, but also those that can bring diverse thinking and a range of viewpoints? This approach could greatly enhance the overall mission and success of the organization.

So how do we affect the racial balance on a nonprofit board? The most oft-cited recommendation is the recruitment process of the board members. As an organization, board members first need to look at how are they recruit new candidates? Which skills or criteria are used to identify these individuals? Input from the current board members could help break up the homogeneity of the boards by setting targets for outreach to diverse candidates and a timeline. As a nation, we must work harder to continue to address this change that can bring benefits to all nonprofits.

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Building a Strong Foundation for the Nonprofit Community

by Jasmine Mathis, MPA Graduate Student 2015-

2014 is a new beginning for the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute (NSRI). Under the direction of Audrey Winkler, the NSRI is undergoing a reinvention of what it means to the Seton Hall community and how the organization will chart its future. As part of an effort to reposition NSRI in the nonprofit world, Winkler has assembled a group of 10 graduate students from the Masters of Public Administration program at Seton Hall University. This has proven to be a galvanizing opportunity for graduate students to make an impact on their nonprofit community and gain valuable experience for their budding careers.

In anticipation of the launch of an exciting array of programs for the 2014 spring semester, the graduate students have taken on various projects to address the future of NSRI. Research is underway to analyze the needs of New Jersey nonprofit organizations in multiple sectors: arts, social services, education and the environment, to name a few.
NSRI is revitalizing programs that enhance the effectiveness of corporate, professional, and community leaders serving on nonprofit boards. Plus, courses are being developed to understand the dynamics of nonprofit management. In addition, graduate students are analyzing trends, demographics and overall characteristics of current board leaders of various non profit organizations, to more fully examine the needs of the community.

This focus on developing a strong foundation for the NSRI is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to gain hands-on expertise in research, public relations, marketing, proposal writing, and organizing events. Winkler has directed the graduate students to become fully immersed in the work of the NSRI, a win-win for the student and for the Institute. NSRI is now being positioned to be a center of thought leadership in the regions nonprofit sector, an innovative organization housed at Seton Hall University and built by its graduate students, faculty and administration.

On a personal note, the re-launch of the NSRI has allowed me to build an understanding of running a successful organization. I have been able to apply what I learned in the classroom through hands on experience with organizing various projects, coordinating and conducting research specifically in the area of Board Diversity, and networking with nonprofit professionals. I intend to remain an active participant in the future of NSRI through the balance of my studies, so that I can continue to benefit from the interplay between textbook studies, classroom discussion and the organizational management experience that the NSRI provides.

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Internship Opportunities

Through the graduate internship program at SHU, many students contact the NSRI eager to work with us as we connect with nonprofit organizations. The Institute has begun to further explore the options, strategies and untapped potential in assisting the nonprofit community. Accordingly, these internships will allow students to be on the forefront of cutting edge research, best practices in leadership and managerial skills, as well as networking with thought leaders in our sector. As of November 4, we have the pleasure of working with graduate students to further the commitment of the NSRI: to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector and support groups so they may better serve their clients, constituents and audiences.

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