Create Extraordinary Impact: Fund Your Most Difficult Challenge

Your Ingenious Nonprofit
Karen Eber Davis
July 2013

“If we used government money,” said Joe Carbone, CEO of The Workplace in Bridgeport, Connecticut, “some businesses wouldn’t have been interested. They fear the potential interference.” Three years ago The Workplace successfully launched a new program:  Platform to Employment (P2E). To pilot P2E, The Workplace raised $600,000, over half from corporations. Supporters sponsored individuals at $6,000 each.

Born in the Great Recession, P2E provides those who have been unemployed longer than two …

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Create Board Diversity for the Long Haul

In a stack of thirty grant applications, one stood out. It was well written, brief, and contained a mix of clarifying facts and stories. The nonprofit’s answer to the board composition was exceptional. It included a small table showing that the board had representatives from every demographic group. At the review meeting, a panelist praised the board’s makeup. “Your board diversity is outstanding. Do the numbers still look like this?”

“Yes, well about that . . .” said the CEO, …

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Give Your Strategic Plan a Work Out

Several years ago, I worked with a nonprofit that proudly showed me their current strategic plan. It was filled with engaging pictures, handsome graphics, and charts. A remarkable amount of work had gone into it. It was meticulous, detailed, and cleverly laid out. It was a great document–but unfortunately, it was useless. The proof? They literally blew the dust off it as they handed it to me.

A great strategic plan gathers no dust. Instead it becomes ratty at the …

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Four Steps to Corporate Dollars

Your Ingenious Nonprofit

June 2013

Extend a Government-funded Program with Corporate Dollars

What is the key to obtaining corporate support for your work? “It’s all about the leverage,” said Pam Nabors, President of Workforce Central Florida. Ms. Nabors was explaining that her former employer, Capital Workforce Partners in Hartford, used corporate dollars to fund services for more than 500 summer youth. Each youth was supported by a business scholarship of $1,000 to $1,600. In turn, Capital Workforce transformed this investment …

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Increase Your Success With Bequests 

Increase Your Success With Bequests 

Olivia Thomas, Executive Director of the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) opens a thick legal envelope. The return address lists the name of a law firm. Inside the letter states that SPARCC has been named in the will of deceased women. After sharing the good news with other SPARCC’s supporters, Olivia finds that no one knows her. When SPARCC researches its records, it learns that long ago the woman bought one five-dollar T-shirt. …

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Become a Volunteer Magnet to Reduce Your Expenses

Your Ingenious Nonprofit

May 2013

“Beating the mouse,” is the goal of volunteer experiences at the Houston Food Bank according to Brian Greene, President and CEO. “The mouse” is a day at a Disney theme park. Almost all nonprofits offer volunteer experiences. Few nonprofits design operations, buildings, and processes with the goal of offering better-than-vacation-day ones.

The value of creating extraordinary volunteer experiences includes tremendous community branding, and something critical to the Food Bank: reduced labor costs. Envision organizing 70 …

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Setting Fees for Services and Goods: Nonprofit Options

You have options when it comes to setting fees for your services or products. Use this chart to consider your fees their consequences, with your leadership team.



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Overcoming Name Confusion

Helping Donors Recognized You

Dennis Stover, Regional Vice Chancellor of Advancement at the University of South Florida and I were having coffee at Starbucks. On the jacket of his lapel, Dennis wore a USF lapel pin. Two couples sat near us with beverages in hand. They saw Dennis’ lapel pin jacket and began to compliment him.

“We love on what you are doing with the museum.”

“And the art students.”

“And the Bull’s.”

“And everything.”

As they talked, it became …

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On the Joys of Singing and Fully Participating

I like to sing. It can be in the car to an oldies hit that takes me back to my teens, in worship with new songs and old hymns, or at a ball game, as we stand for The Star Spangled Banner.

Singing is about reciting poetry and making melody. Singing is about using our voice in a different ways than we use them daily. Singing with others is about coordinating efforts and creating more. I know that science …

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The Gap Between Now and Your Vision

Finding The Best Strategy to Bridge The Gap

Are you energized by an exciting wonderful vision for your nonprofit? How can you close the gap between where you are now and move to your vision as effectively and as efficiently as possible? With effective strategy, of course.

This Visual, Strategy Options “Hurricane Tracks” gives you a picture of a nonprofit engaged is examining several strategies and the possible impacts of  their choices. It is helpful because:

  • It illustrates that developing
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