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Planning FAQs
Non Profit Succession Planning

There has been an explosion of new non profits in the last few years. Many of these organizations are small by most standards. Many have less that $500,000 in revenue and most are less then $1million in revenue. This small size creates some special challenges to their success.

In order to be successful, a non profit must acquire the resources and skills necessary to manage and grow the organization. These skill sets fall into three categories as follows:

Keeper of the Vision - The organization needs someone who can clearly articulate the vision of the organization and communicate that vision to the people and organizations that will provide financial support. This person is the face of the organization and will develop relationships with donors in the public and private sectors.

Technical Supervisor of the Programs - The organization needs someone who has the technical skill to develop and deliver programs to meet the needs of the target population. These skills are specific to the type of service provided by the non profit. If the organization provides early education services to young children, then someone needs to have the education and experience to develop education programs that will be effective.

Manager of the Operations - Finally, the organization must have someone with the managerial skills needed to design and manage an efficient and effective operation. These skills include those needed to hire and retain good employees, manage the financial resources, and measure and monitor the daily operations for quality and costs.

Small non profits sometimes think they can hire an Executive Director with all three skill sets. It may be possible but it rarely happens in the real world. In fact it is a luxury when an Executive Director has two of these skill sets. In the real world, you try to hire an Executive Director with one of the skill sets and use other means to acquire the other two skill sets.

The non profit often looks to the Board to provide one or more of the needed skills. This is where the term "working board" comes from. The Board is an extension of the staff. If the ED is the keeper of the Vision, they may hire a program director to provide the technical skills to manage the programs, and recruit a board with administrative and managerial skills to help ensure operational effectiveness. On the other hand, if the ED has a strong operational background they may build a board with the passion and connections to raise money and also add a few board members with the technical experience to guide the programs. Either way, all three skills sets are necessary to be successful.

Poll Question
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Our poll question this quarter is: How likely is it the Democrats will lose the House or Senate in the 2010 mid-term election?

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    The New Normal
    As I have talked to business leaders around the country over the last two quarters, I have been interested in their insights on the future of the economy. They seem evenly split between those who think the worst is behind us and those who think it will get worse before it gets better.

    Unfortunately, almost no one expects a return to the conditions of just a few years ago. Leaders seem to be searching for the "new normal". Most are preparing their organizations to be successful in an environment of slower growth, leaner operations, and higher customer demands. The best organizations have spent the last year taking cost out of their operations and focusing on the products and services the market needs most. Some are also looking for partners, acquisition opportunities, and new business models. Successful companies will be those that have adapted to the new normal. Just because the new economy may be more difficult, doesn't mean companies can't be just as successful with the right strategy.
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  • Business Leverage
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