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The Role of a Nonprofit CFO

Running a nonprofit can be rewarding but also challenging, especially for leaders juggling various tasks. Success hinges on a strong financial foundation, with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) playing a critical role. In this post, we explore the nonprofit CFO’s role and offer key hiring questions to ensure the best candidate selection.

The Role of a Nonprofit Chief Financial Officer

When I first began my career as a nonprofit CFO, I vividly remember an interview with the board’s treasurer. They were also the retired CFO of a massive global corporation. I was in my late 20s, incredibly nervous, and still relatively new to the world of nonprofit finance. Despite my anxiety, the treasurer shared a piece of advice that has stuck with me throughout my entire career. Their advice? The role of the CFO is to see around the corner.

This simple yet powerful statement set my career on a trajectory that has led me to where I am today. It’s a perspective I carry with me in every aspect of my work as a CFO.

Seeing Around the Corner: Key Responsibilities of a Nonprofit CFO

  1. Scenario Planning and Financial Forecasting: A CFO should be able to think through various scenarios that may impact your organization and financially plan for them. This involves forecasting and making projections based on different circumstances, ultimately guiding the decision-making process.
  1. Engaging with Stakeholders: As the hub of the organization, the CFO should be able to bring together different teams, such as development, leadership, and program teams, to discuss financial matters.
  1. Identifying Patterns and Trends: A CFO should be skilled in using data, KPIs, and analytics to identify potential risks or future opportunities, helping the organization make informed decisions.

Hiring a Nonprofit CFO: Essential Questions to Ask

When searching for the ideal CFO candidate, it’s crucial to ask the right questions and listen for stories that showcase their experience, expertise, and passion for nonprofit work. A candidate who can share stories demonstrating their ability to navigate complex financial situations, collaborate with various stakeholders, and effectively communicate financial information will likely be a strong fit for your organization.

During the interview process, encourage candidates to share stories that illustrate their past experiences in the following areas:

  1. Experience in Financial Management: Ask the candidate to share a story about a time when they faced a challenging financial situation and how they navigated it.
  1. Nonprofit Experience: Request examples of how the candidate has made a significant impact within a nonprofit organization through their financial expertise.
  1. Financial Planning and Budgeting Approach: Have the candidate explain their approach to budgeting and how they have successfully collaborated with different departments in previous roles.
  2. Risk Management Strategies: Invite the candidate to discuss a situation where they identified and mitigated a potential financial risk for a nonprofit organization.
  1. Communication Style: Encourage the candidate to provide an example of how they effectively communicated complex financial information to various stakeholders.

By understanding the role of a nonprofit CFO and asking the right questions during the hiring process. Then, you can ensure that you’re bringing on a CFO who will help your nonprofit thrive. A strong CFO is not just a financial expert. They’re an essential partner in your organization’s journey toward achieving its mission and making a lasting impact.

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Building a Balanced Funding Strategy and Becoming a Grant Writing Unicorn for a Prosperous Nonprofit

As a nonprofit leader, you face the constant challenge of securing funds to keep your organization running smoothly. With so many grant opportunities available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why I want to introduce you to Meredith Noble. Co-founder of Learn Grant Writing, who discovered her passion for grant writing during the 2008 economic recession. Through her online platform, Meredith shares grant writing tips and strategies with others in the nonprofit sector. Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets to working smarter, not harder, in the quest for funding. By implementing these grant writing tips, you’ll learn how to build a prosperous nonprofit organization that thrives in today’s competitive landscape.

Meredith Noble’s Journey

Meredith began her career in grant writing after graduating during the 2008 economic recession. Unable to find work, she conducted informational interviews to identify potential career opportunities and ultimately discovered her passion for grant writing. After working as a full-time grant writer for an engineering firm, she burned out and vowed never to write another grant again. However, she soon found herself consulting and teaching others how to write grants, eventually leading her to create Learn Grant Writing, where she shares grant writing tips and strategies.

The Global Grant Writers Collective

Learn Grant Writing is best known for its Global Grant Writers Collective, an online community for those looking to improve their grant writing skills or build their careers in the field. The platform offers a comprehensive course, community group, and coaching program that aims to provide unparalleled support and education for grant writers. Participants in the program include both freelance grant writers and those working within nonprofit organizations, all seeking to learn and implement grant writing tips.

Becoming a Grant Writing Unicorn

Meredith’s journey continued with her book, “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn.” She developed an efficient process for writing by outlining, audio recording, and transcribing her thoughts before editing the final version. The book is divided into three sections. The first answers the top 10 questions she’s asked as a grant writer. The second section addresses questions she wishes people would ask. Lastly, the third section focuses on mindset, including the Dunning-Kruger effect and its impact on learning new skills.

The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a pattern in which people initially feel highly confident when starting something new, but their confidence quickly drops as they realize how much they don’t know. Understanding this principle helps individuals embrace the learning process and persevere in gaining competence.

Building a Successful Grant Writing Business and a Balanced Funding Strategy

Meredith emphasizes the importance of a solid funding strategy for nonprofits and advises against the “spray and pray” method of writing as many grants as possible. Instead, she encourages grant writers to focus on creating a well-rounded revenue portfolio for their organization, with grants serving as the icing on the cake rather than the foundation. A diverse funding portfolio can include individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and earned income, among other sources.

Meredith also explains that a grant should ideally make up no more than 20% of a nonprofit’s overall budget to ensure financial stability. A well-planned funding strategy should outline the grants you plan to pursue over the next 12 to 18 months, ensuring that they have a high likelihood of success and offer a good return on investment in terms of resources and time.

Strategic Grant Writing and Building Strong Relationships

The key to successful grant writing lies in critical thinking and research. Rather than blindly applying for any and every grant opportunity that crosses your path, take the time to carefully evaluate each one. Determine whether it aligns with your organization’s mission and if it’s worth the time and effort to pursue. Additionally, it’s essential to build relationships with grantmakers throughout the year. This will not only help you gain a better understanding of their priorities and requirements, but it can also increase your chances of being awarded funding when the time comes to submit an application. Implementing these grant writing tips can significantly impact your organization’s success.

Creating a Prosperous Nonprofit

Meredith believes that a prosperous nonprofit is one that invests in its employees and supports their professional development. This not only helps retain valuable team members. It ensures the organization stays up-to-date with the latest grant writing techniques and strategies. By working smarter, focusing on a comprehensive funding strategy, and diversifying revenue sources, nonprofits can build a stronger foundation and ultimately achieve greater success.

Meredith emphasizes the importance of finding patterns in our work, planning ahead, and being intentional in our actions. This approach creates spaciousness, which she believes is the key to a prosperous nonprofit. By focusing on high-impact tasks and following Pareto’s principle (the 80/20 rule), nonprofits can prioritize their most important work and create a viable, prosperous organization.

Ongoing Support for Grant Writers

One of the unique aspects of Learn Grant Writing’s program is its focus on providing ongoing support for grant writers, even after they’ve completed the initial course. Members can access additional content and resources as they reach new career milestones. This ensures they continue to grow and develop their skills over time and learn new grant writing tips.

Resources for Aspiring Grant Writers

To learn more about grant writing, Meredith recommends visiting for a free class and a helpful budget template. You can also find her book, “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn,” on Amazon or at your local bookstore.

Becoming a grant writing unicorn takes dedication, mindset, and strategic planning. By understanding the principles that underpin the learning process, finding patterns in our work, and applying effective grant writing tips, we can create spaciousness in our lives and achieve success in the nonprofit world.

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Building Your Nonprofit Finance Dream Team

Creating a thriving nonprofit is no small feat, and having the right people on the team is crucial to your organization’s success. In this comprehensive and engaging guide, we’ll discuss the importance of building your nonprofit finance dream team and identify the key roles you need to ensure your organization flourishes.

The Bookkeeper: Laying the Groundwork for Your Finance Team

  • Enters and codes transactions
  • Reconciles bank accounts
  • Handles day-to-day financial management and operations

Think of your bookkeeper as the unsung hero of your finance team. They lay the groundwork by keeping your financial records accurate and up-to-date. When searching for a professional bookkeeper, look for someone with experience in your specific accounting software and a keen eye for detail. A skilled bookkeeper will provide a solid foundation for your finance team, ensuring your organization’s financial health stays in check.

The CFO: The Visionary Captain Steering Your Financial Ship

  • Senior-most finance person
  • Predicts trends and makes data-driven decisions
  • Guides financial strategy and growth

Your CFO is like the captain of your financial ship, guiding your organization’s strategic financial decisions. With their ability to predict trends and make data-driven decisions, they help your organization sail smoothly through challenges and maximize its potential. Look for a CFO with a strong background in nonprofit finance and the ability to effectively communicate with both finance and non-finance team members. With a visionary captain at the helm, your nonprofit is bound for success.

The Controller, Accounting Director, or Finance Manager: The Versatile Middle Ground

  • Bridges the gap between the bookkeeper and the CFO
  • Manages financial reporting and compliance
  • Assists with budgeting and forecasting

These versatile roles serve as the glue that holds your finance team together. They bridge the gap between the bookkeeper and the CFO, taking on more junior aspects of the CFO role and more senior aspects of the bookkeeper role. While these roles may vary between organizations, they are crucial in ensuring your finance team remains balanced and effective. Seek out candidates with strong analytical skills and experience managing finances in a nonprofit setting. With these adaptable team members, your finance department will be a well-oiled machine.

The Accountant: Your Trusty External Expert

  • CPA who works outside of your organization
  • Files your 990 or conduct audits
  • Provides financial advice and guidance

An accountant or an audit firm with nonprofit expertise is like your organization’s trusty sidekick. Building a strong relationship with an external expert helps ensure your financials are accurate and compliant while also providing valuable financial advice and guidance. By having a reliable accountant in your corner, you can confidently navigate the ever-changing world of nonprofit finance.

Building your nonprofit finance dream team involves having a skilled bookkeeper, a visionary CFO, versatile middle-ground roles such as a controller or finance manager, and a trusty external accountant. By assembling this dream team, your organization will be well-equipped to make informed decisions and maximize its impact. Take a moment to assess your current team and consider adding or adjusting roles as necessary to create a solid financial foundation for your nonprofit. With a top-notch finance team in place, your organization will be primed for success and ready to make a lasting impact on the world.

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How to Use Co-Creation to Build a Prosperous Nonprofit

In the past, many nonprofits focused on their mission at the expense of infrastructure, leading to overworked and burnt-out teams. Thrive Impact’s CEO, Tucker Wannamaker, offers a groundbreaking co-creation approach to empower nonprofits to thrive without sacrificing their team members’ well-being.

The Scarcity Mindset

Nonprofit leaders often face the challenge of the scarcity mindset, where they feel like there is never enough time, resources, or progress. This can lead to overwork and undervaluing their own worth. To combat this, Wannamaker advises nonprofit leaders to reflect on their progress and wins on a weekly basis. By creating a space to reflect on the best of who they are and have been, nonprofit leaders can actively get out of the scarcity mindset.

Unlocking the Heads and Hearts of All Team MembersUnlocking the Heads and Hearts of All Team Members

In today’s rapidly changing world, traditional top-down approaches to change are no longer effective. Instead, Wannamaker emphasizes the importance of unlocking the heads and hearts of all team members and inviting them into co-creating the organization’s future. This approach allows nonprofit leaders to discover themselves and their solutions, creating conditions for conversation and learning and building the collective identity of organizations.

The Power of Great Questions

Leadership is not about having all the answers but rather inviting team members into the struggle and co-creating the organization’s future. By asking great questions and empowering team members to craft what they want to create, organizations can achieve better impact, revenue, and culture. Wannamaker’s personal story highlights the importance of shifting from the few who have the answers mentality to engaging the many and the power of great questions.

The Co-Creation Approach

Co-creation is the process of creating something new by engaging with stakeholders to foster innovation, transparency, and buy-in. Wannamaker believes that co-creation is the greatest form of humanity. It creates conditions where people are empowered to craft what they want to create, leading to more engagement and energy. By breaking away from traditional top-down approaches and embracing co-creation, nonprofit organizations can adapt to the exponential rate of change and achieve better impact.

Transparency Builds Trust

Transparency is a key component of building a prosperous nonprofit. Co-creation creates a space of buy-in that is more efficient than any kind of top-down approach. Wannamaker advises nonprofit leaders to implement a strengths-based approach, which involves reflecting on what has been the best of their organization, identifying the factors involved, and creating a rhythm of learning to move forward. By implementing co-creation principles or activities, nonprofits can foster innovation and trust.

Creating a Prosperous Nonprofit

A prosperous nonprofit creates conditions that allow for its people to thrive, which subsequently helps the people they serve. It is a learning organization that has a clear and unique value proposition and creates rhythms of learning that allow for it to reflect on a regular basis. Wannamaker believes that creating a prosperous nonprofit is a journey that requires a willingness to learn and iterate.

Join the Movement

Thrive Impact’s co-creation approach is a new way of working that fosters innovation, transparency, and trust for nonprofit leaders. Reflect on progress and wins on a weekly basis and implement a strengths-based approach. Ask great questions, invite team members into the struggle, and co-create the organization’s future. Join the movement towards creating prosperous nonprofits that thrive without sacrificing their people. Check out Thrive Impact’s free workshop, “The Six Shifts that Every Nonprofit Leader Needs to Make to Lead in the Next Normal,” and connect with other nonprofit leaders who are going through similar experiences.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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Which Nonprofit Accounting Software Is Best for Your Organization?

As a nonprofit leader, you understand the importance of sound financial management. And to effectively manage your finances, you need the right accounting software. In this post, we’ll discuss the two most popular options, QuickBooks Online and Blackbaud Financial Edge, and compare their strengths and weaknesses to help you identify which accounting software is right for your nonprofit.

QuickBooks Online: Affordable and User-Friendly

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software that is popular among nonprofits for several reasons. Firstly, it is affordable. Nonprofits can take advantage of the discounts offered by TechSoup and get a subscription for as little as $100 per year. This makes QuickBooks Online a great option for small to mid-sized organizations that need a reliable accounting software on a tight budget.

Another advantage of QuickBooks Online is its user-friendliness. The software is designed for non-accountants and is easy to navigate, making it an excellent option for organizations that don’t have a dedicated finance team. QuickBooks Online is intuitive, and users can set up and run reports quickly and easily. The software also integrates with many third-party tools, including for bill payment and Gusto for payroll management.

However, QuickBooks Online has its limitations. It is not ideal for larger organizations that require more robust reporting capabilities. It may not be able to handle complex accounting needs, such as fund accounting or grant tracking, making it a poor choice for some nonprofits.

Blackbaud Financial Edge: Robust and Integrated

Blackbaud Financial Edge is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that is tailored specifically to nonprofits. The software is designed to handle the complex accounting needs of large nonprofit organizations. It is a highly robust platform that can handle fund accounting, grant tracking, and complex financial reporting.

One of the significant advantages of Blackbaud Financial Edge is that it is tightly integrated with other Blackbaud products, including its donor database software Razor’s Edge. This makes it easy to reconcile donations and other programmatic data with financial data, streamlining the process and saving time.

However, Blackbaud Financial Edge is also more expensive than QuickBooks Online. It may not be a cost-effective option for smaller organizations that don’t need all its advanced features. Additionally, the software can be challenging to navigate for non-accountants and requires a significant investment in training to use effectively.

NetSuite for Nonprofits: Comprehensive but Costly

NetSuite has gained popularity among nonprofits for its comprehensive ERP system that goes beyond accounting to provide financial management, CRM, e-commerce, and programmatic data tracking features. Its scalability makes growing your organization a breeze, accommodating extra users and complex processes as needed. NetSuite’s high customizability addresses the unique needs of your nonprofit while offering real-time reporting and analytics for well-informed decision-making. Plus, as a cloud-based platform, it gets rid of the need for on-site infrastructure and allows remote access.

However, there are a few downsides to consider. NetSuite can be pricey for smaller nonprofits when you factor in the costs of implementation and ongoing maintenance. The platform’s complexity might also require a steep learning curve for staff to become acquainted with its features. Additionally, although NetSuite integrates with numerous third-party applications, there could be limitations depending on the specific tools your organization uses. The capacity to merge programmatic data into the same platform as accounting, as demonstrated by one of our clients, underscores NetSuite’s wide-ranging capabilities.

Wave for Nonprofits: A Budget-Friendly Option with Some Limitations

Wave has become a go-to choice for small nonprofits due to its free accounting software, which is particularly appealing when budgets are tight. Designed with non-accountants in mind, Wave is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it ideal for organizations without dedicated finance teams. As a cloud-based solution, Wave enables remote access and eliminates the need for on-premise infrastructure. It offers essential accounting features, such as invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting, while also integrating with some popular third-party applications for streamlined workflows.

On the flip side, Wave does have its drawbacks. Its limited functionality might not be sufficient for larger or more complex nonprofits, particularly those requiring fund accounting or grant tracking capabilities. Additionally, Wave lacks a dedicated nonprofit version, which could lead to less efficient financial management. Limited customer support may also pose challenges when addressing issues or concerns with the software. As your organization grows, Wave’s limited features and functionality might not be able to keep up with your expanding needs. Furthermore, compared to other accounting software options, Wave offers fewer third-party integrations, potentially hindering your organization’s ability to create a cohesive software ecosystem.

Which Software Is Right for You?

Choosing the right accounting software for your nonprofit organization requires careful consideration of your needs and budget. QuickBooks Online is an excellent option for small to mid-sized nonprofits that need a reliable and user-friendly accounting software at an affordable price.

For larger organizations with more complex accounting needs, Blackbaud Financial Edge may be a better fit. However, it comes at a higher cost and requires more extensive training to use effectively.

Ultimately, the best nonprofit accounting software is the one that meets your organization’s unique needs and is user-friendly. Both QuickBooks Online and Blackbaud Financial Edge have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to decide which one is right for your nonprofit.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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How to Build a Strong Organizational Culture: Lessons from Hope for Haiti

In the heart of Haiti, Hope for Haiti, a nonprofit organization, has been changing the lives of Haitians for over three decades. It all started with a mission to build a brighter future for the Haitian people, but the organization’s CEO, Skyler Badenoch, quickly realized that it couldn’t be done alone. He understood that people are essential in driving sustainable and scalable impact, and he knew that to make a lasting impact, he needed to build a strong and sustainable organizational culture.

Key Pieces to a Strong Organizational Culture

Hope for Haiti’s culture is built on autonomy, clear growth trajectories, fair compensation, personal and professional growth, collaboration, accountability, and humor. These key pieces work together to create a culture that nurtures people, encourages growth and personal development, and values autonomy, accountability, and collaboration.

Autonomy: Empowering Employees to Innovate

The foundation of Hope for Haiti’s culture is autonomy. It was founded on the belief that people work best when they have a sense of ownership over their work. Badenoch believes in empowering his team to make their own decisions and use their creativity to solve problems. This approach not only helps employees feel more invested in their work but also leads to more innovative solutions.

Growth and Development: Investing in Employee Growth

The organization places a significant emphasis on personal and professional growth. They understand that investing in their employees’ growth is an investment in the organization’s future. The organization provides opportunities for its employees to develop new skills and advance in their careers. This helps create a sense of purpose and a feeling of being part of a team that is making a difference.

Compensation: Fair and Competitive Pay

Hope for Haiti understands that fair compensation is essential in creating a sustainable organizational culture. Badenoch is passionate about paying employees fairly and competitively for their work. This helps attract and retain talented employees and shows that the organization values and respects their contributions.

Collaborative Leadership: Everyone Has a Voice

Collaborative leadership is another value that Hope for Haiti’s culture emphasizes. Badenoch believes that everyone on the team should have a voice and contribute to decision-making. This approach fosters a sense of community and helps ensure that the organization is making the best decisions for its mission.

Embracing Mistakes: Learning from Failure

Hope for Haiti’s culture is also one of embracing mistakes. Badenoch understands that mistakes are inevitable when trying new things, and he encourages his team to take risks and learn from their mistakes. This approach helps create a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Transparency in Nonprofit Work

Hope for Haiti believes that transparency is a crucial component of nonprofit work. They proactively share their audit financial statements and 990 with their donors. This practice is a powerful way to build trust with donors who want to dig deeper into the organization’s finances. Sharing audit financial statements is not common practice among most nonprofits. But it is a way to set an organization apart.

The Importance of Cash Forecasting for Nonprofits

Having a cash reserve is critical for the financial stability of nonprofits. However, many organizations struggle with cash flow and are unable to keep a reserve. This struggle can create stress and limit an organization’s ability to plan and implement programs effectively. Hope for Haiti’s capital campaign to build a new healthcare campus is an ambitious project that will serve as a model for sustainable healthcare in the region. The organization’s commitment to green technology and collaboration with other organizations is a testament to their dedication to creating a brighter future for the Haitian people.

Hope for Haiti’s strong and sustainable organizational culture is a testament to the power of autonomy, growth and development, fair compensation, collaborative leadership, embracing mistakes, transparency, and cash forecasting. By taking inspiration from Hope for Haiti and focusing on these key pieces, nonprofit leaders can create thriving organizations that can have a significant impact on communities. Let us strive to create cultures that nurture and empower our people, foster innovation and growth, and ultimately make a positive impact on the world.

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The Power of Niching Down for Nonprofits: Boost Your Impact and Attract the Right Donors

As the Founder & CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting, I’ve learned firsthand the power of niching for nonprofits. By applying a concept from the entrepreneurial world, your nonprofit can attract the right donors, boost your impact, and improve efficiency in the long run.

The Importance of Niching Down

When we try to please everyone and talk to everybody, our message becomes too generic and fails to resonate. Niching down means being very specific about what we do and who we do it for, focusing on one ideal client or customer. This approach helps attract the right people to our work and creates a deeper connection with donors.

My Experience: A Living Example of Niching Down

I experienced the benefits of narrowing my focus by shifting from working with small businesses and nonprofits to exclusively working with nonprofits. This clear focus on doing one thing really well allowed me to attract more of what I wanted, resulting in increased growth and impact in my business.

Discovering Your Nonprofit’s Niche

  1. Identify who you want to help
  2. Determine your area of expertise
  3. Create a client or organization avatar

Fear Rooted in Scarcity: The Nonprofit Dilemma

Many nonprofits use watered-down marketing messages and take on programs outside of their expertise due to a fear rooted in scarcity. This approach often leads to broken backend systems and a lack of focus. By embracing the limitless nature of money and niching down, nonprofits can overcome this fear and achieve better results.

Developing Your Programs and Offers

  1. Brainstorm a list of possible programs or services
  2. Assess each idea based on time, cost, and impact
  3. Select the most promising ideas that align with your niche and passion

Examples of Niching Down in Nonprofit Messaging

Here are two examples of how being specific in nonprofit messaging can create deeper connections with potential donors:

Generic: “Donate now to help this community in Africa.”

Specific: “Join us in our all-out effort to reduce maternal and child mortality in Kenya.”

Generic: “We help high school students get into the college of their dreams.”

Specific: “We help high school girls from underserved communities in New York City attend Ivy League universities.”

Can you see and feel the difference between these statements? The niched messaging will resonate profoundly and evoke emotion for your cause.

Crafting Your Niche Mission Statement

  1. Use a template to guide your statement
  2. Clearly define your target audience, the transformation you provide, and your methods
  3. Consider how this new mission statement may apply to different aspects of your organization

Embrace the Limitless Nature of Money and Get Specific

Your nonprofit can thrive by ditching the notion that money is scarce and focusing on attracting specific donors passionate about your cause. Refine your marketing messages to be more specific, focusing on the unique aspects of your organization’s mission and target audience. This will help you attract donors who are passionate about your cause and willing to provide more significant support.

Sharing Your Niched-Down Message

  1. Update your online presence with your new focus
  2. Use your refined message to guide your fundraising and marketing efforts
  3. Embrace the power of saying “no” to opportunities that don’t align with your niche

By niching down, your nonprofit organization can attract the right donors, make a greater impact, and improve its overall efficiency. Don’t be afraid to be specific in your mission – the right donors and supporters will find you and appreciate your clear and focused message. Remember, by trying to help everyone, you may end up helping no one – so embrace the power of niching down for your nonprofit.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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How Nonprofits Can Use ChatGPT to Increase Their Impact

As a nonprofit leader, it can sometimes feel like you’re perpetually running on empty, struggling to balance numerous responsibilities while striving to create a positive impact in the world. With your attention divided between managing teams, securing funds, and tackling a myriad of other tasks, the obstacles you face are immense and time and resources are frequently scarce. In this blog post, we delve into a variety of productivity-enhancing strategies, including how to use ChatGPT for your nonprofit. From harnessing the power of AI-driven tools to refining processes and prioritizing tasks, we’ll provide you with essential insights to help you optimize your time and resources.

Grant Writing and Democritizing Funding: 

Krista Kurlinkus, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Krista Kurlinkus, LLC, is an expert in grant writing. She has won multimillion-dollar federal grants, global development grants, and corporate, private, and community foundation grants. Her consultancy helps nonprofits, government entities, and academic researchers improve their grant writing skills and get the funding they deserve. Kurlinkus’s work helps democratize grant funding for small organizations and provides university-level writing education to grant writers.

Focus and Productivity: 

Many nonprofit leaders struggle with focus as they juggle multiple responsibilities. Krista Kurlinkus, founder of Focus In, has created a program designed to help nonprofit leaders stay focused and productive. The program offers two daily sessions, Monday through Thursday, allowing participants to drop in whenever it fits their schedule. Kurlinkus incorporates body doubling in these sessions, where participants can see each other on video while they work, providing an added benefit of accountability and mirroring.

Investing in Ourselves: 

Investing in ourselves is critical to our success, and nonprofit leaders must prioritize their well-being and success. Kurlinkus’s program talks about self-care in a broader sense, focusing on how you put together your entire life rather than just taking bubble baths or other temporary self-care activities. It’s essential to change the perception that investing in ourselves is not as important in the nonprofit sector.

Financial Management: 

As a nonprofit leader, you know that funding and resources can be hard to come by. That’s why having a solid financial routine is so important. Stephanie Skryzowski, the Founder of 100 Degrees Consulting, understands the struggles that nonprofit organizations face and has created a free finance routine checklist to help. This tool outlines what to focus on monthly, quarterly, and annually, so you can stay on top of your finances and make a real impact. With this resource at your fingertips, you can ensure your nonprofit has the resources it needs to succeed.

The Potential of AI: 

Krista Kurlinkus believes that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the nonprofit sector. She recently spoke about her work with ChatGPT, a machine learning model that uses a deep learning technique called transformer architecture to generate human-like text. Using technology like ChatGPT in your nonprofit can streamline communications and reduce the need for certain positions, such as those in communications departments. It can generate fresh ideas and logical connections, making it a valuable tool for program design and grant writing. However, she cautions that ChatGPT is still bleeding edge technology and not a perfect solution, and ethical concerns should be considered.

So there you have it, a look into the world of nonprofit leadership, self-care, and AI. We hope this blog post has given you some insight into the challenges and opportunities facing nonprofit organizations today. From grant writing to financial management, it’s clear that nonprofit leaders have a lot on their plates. However, by investing in themselves and embracing new technologies like ChatGPT in your nonprofit, they can streamline their operations and stay ahead of the curve. We encourage you to continue learning and exploring new ways to improve your nonprofit’s impact and effectiveness. Thank you for reading!

Read the podcast transcripts here.

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How to Build Confidence in Doing Scary Things

Have you ever experienced a situation where you feel intimidated by a challenge, unprepared or lacking the confidence to face it directly? You’re not alone. Many of us experience these emotions when faced with intimidating tasks. However, there are ways to build confidence and overcome these fears.

I recently encountered this scenario while preparing to give a TED-style talk at the ROI Millionaire Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (You’ll get to listen to my talk in this podcast episode!) My journey towards building confidence in public speaking is a powerful testament that confidence often comes after persistently facing your fears and repeatedly taking on the challenge.

In high school, college, and grad school, I never raised my hand to answer a question in class, fearing the prospect of speaking in front of people and possibly getting it wrong. But during the first few months of owning my business, when someone asked me to speak to a group of new entrepreneurs, I gathered the courage to accept the invitation. Even though I was terrified, I followed through, and by repeatedly putting myself on stage, I slowly built my confidence.

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking Through Entrepreneurship

When preparing for the conference, I had to choose between delivering an informational or inspirational talk. Initially, I opted for the informational route, which I was comfortable with. However, after receiving invaluable feedback from a renowned speaking coach, I took a leap of faith. I stepped out of my comfort zone to rewrite my entire talk, making it more story-driven and impactful.

Although I didn’t have the confidence to immediately dive into this new format, I was committed to doing my best. If you’re holding back from doing something because you lack confidence, remember that readiness often comes from repetition. As I’ve discovered throughout my career, it’s crucial to keep pushing forward, and the confidence will follow.

Another critical aspect of building confidence is practice. Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes confidence. I practiced my speech in various settings: the car, the shower, on the treadmill, and in bed. Each time I practiced, my confidence in delivering my talk grew stronger.

Building confidence in doing scary things comes from embracing opportunities, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and practicing consistently. I hope that my experience and the lessons I’ve learned along the way can inspire you to face your fears and build confidence in your abilities. Embrace the challenge, and you may surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

Read the podcast transcripts here.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Nonprofit Marketing Strategy: Skyrocket Your Organization’s Growth with the Power of Facebook Ads

In today’s digital world, social media plays a crucial role in shaping how nonprofits share their stories, engage with supporters, and raise funds. Therefore, having a well-planned nonprofit marketing strategy for social media is essential. Leveraging social media platforms and utilizing Facebook ads effectively can significantly impact a nonprofit’s reach and success. So, we had Dana Snyder on the podcast to discuss how to choose the right social media platforms, the difference between organic and paid social media, debunking common myths about social media advertising, and how to effectively use Facebook ads for nonprofits.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms: 

Nonprofits should focus on a primary and secondary social platform rather than trying to be present on all platforms. Use Google Analytics to determine which platforms drive the most quality traffic to your website. Facebook and Instagram are common primary platforms for nonprofits but don’t overlook YouTube as it’s a search engine that can drive valuable traffic.

Organic vs. Paid Social Media: How to Decide? 

Organic social media refers to posts and engagement that occur naturally, without any financial investment, nurturing existing supporters. On the other hand, paid social media allows organizations to target specific audiences, reaching beyond their current supporters, which can be helpful in reaching new audiences, promoting events, and driving donations.

Are Ads Really Effective? 

Common misconceptions about social media advertising include believing that ads are expensive or ineffective. The truth is that ads can be cost-effective and reach a large audience on a small budget. Ads may be perceived as ineffective if the approach is wrong, such as asking for donations from cold audiences. Instead, warm up audiences through strategic ad campaigns that build relationships over time.

Building Relationships Through Facebook Ads:

Facebook ads for nonprofits are all about building relationships with your audience. It’s not just about asking for donations right away; it’s about letting people know about your organization, its mission, and its impact. This process takes time; the key is patience and consistency.

Targeting Warm Audiences:

Target your warm audience, such as Facebook followers or people who have engaged with your content, as they already have some familiarity with your organization. By targeting your warm audience, you can see a higher return on investment in your ad spend.

DIY vs. Hiring Help: 

Nonprofits can either learn to run ads themselves or hire someone to manage them. There are step-by-step courses available that teach you how to create and run visibility, lead generation, and donation ads. If you prefer to work with a third party, educate yourself about the process to ensure you’re working with someone knowledgeable. Understand the goals and strategies behind the ads.

Test and Optimize Your Ads:

 Running successful Facebook ads requires testing and optimization. Test different audiences, copy, and content to see what works best for your organization. Start with a lower ad spend, monitor the results, and amplify the ads that are performing well.

For nonprofits looking to maximize their impact, a strategic approach to social media and Facebook ads is essential. By focusing on the right platforms, leveraging both organic and paid strategies, debunking common myths, and employing a long-term approach to Facebook ads, organizations can harness the power of social media to drive growth, engagement, and success.

Read the podcast transcripts.

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Connect with Stephanie on Instagram
  • Connect with Dana on Instagram
  • Don’t let finances hold you back from achieving your nonprofit’s mission. Download our free income forecasting and budgeting template today! With this tool, you’ll be able to confidently plan for the future and avoid any unexpected financial surprises.

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