Nonprofit Management Archives - TurnAround Social Sector Coaching

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Battling with the Board? Frustrated by Fund Raising? Join me for a Zoom Executive Director Cocktail Hour at 5pm Eastern on Thursday, December 20. Bring your own wine and hors d’oeuvres.  I’m your host. Ronald Dale Tompkins. As with all good cocktail hours, I’ll have questions such as who is the most interesting person you met this month? Who is your most successful client this year? And what do you need to solve before you enjoy your holiday feast?  Register at the link below and see you soon!

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Dec 19, 2019 05:00 PM Eastern Time. Click HERE to Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

NonProfits rarely see the need to find a business partner. At best, they find a favorite auditor, attorney or supply vendor and essentially develop no-bid contracts with their favorites. Stuart Mendel and Jeffrey Brudney found that nonprofit and business partnerships were only 10% of partnerships.

Partnerships mean that both partners get something that they want from the relationship. Nonprofit CEOs are nervous about relationships that might make a business – more profitable. Actually, every time that you pay your auditor, I assume that they get richer! So there is nothing illegal or unethical about partnership with business.

What are bad partnerships with Business?

Brand Risk – The biggest risk is Brand risk. If you choose to partner with businesses that don’t match your values, mission, or values of your clients, you can seriously damage your brand. Partnerships with business should hire a coach to help you review partner proposals with your leadership team, board, and stakeholders before you proceed. For example, the company in New York that has done audits for Mr. Trump also pushes aggressively in the nonprofit space locally. Would it affect your nonprofit brand if you chose the same auditor? What questions would you raise before you made the decision? Your coach can help.

Kentucky Fried Chicken partnered to give money for breast cancer cure. They printed a month of pink buckets for chicken. Media quickly seized on the links between calories, obesity and breast cancer. There was nothing unethical with the business relationship but the nonprofit failed to consider key implications of their brand. Proceed slowly and use a coach!

Process Risk – A second risk is process risk. The processes and corporate cultures of all companies are far different. When any two groups develop a partnership, there needs to be a written charter that the coach helps you to carefully spell out details

Both Brand Risk and Process Risk can be managed. Leaders lean into the danger, use a coach, and do risk management! You can partner with business.

What’s a good reason to partner with Business? Mendel and Brudner list four reasons and I add two more!

  1. Your nonprofit needs money – Pampers diapers and UNICEF were partners for a long time and UNICEF got funding for its mission. Pampers added to its brand strength by being interested in children. Find a business owner who really likes your mission.
  2. Your nonprofit helps a Business that helps your clients – A family doctor has a practice locally that easily accepts cash and his prices are low. Any nonprofit that helps low income families would be helping their clients by referring them to the doctor if there are not other good choices.
  3. Your nonprofit needs more expertise – A local construction company is willing to partner with your nonprofit with internships. You have a training program for people released from prison but no expertise in introducing your best graduates to the job market. The construction company gets a supply of semi skilled workers that come there with your recommendation.
  4. Both you and the Business want market share – You realize that a local bakery attracts young parents whose children would be eligible for your school. You already have 200 parents who don’t go to that bakery. If both companies give discounts to each other’s customers for a month, then both groups of parents are now potentially interested in both companies.
  5. Sumo Number Four – Bernie Brenner suggests that you find a partner who is 10x bigger than you and partner with them. For example, a real estate developer suddenly gets bad press about rodent infestation. They need a brand partner who will help them clean their brand. They donate money to your nonprofit and rebrand as the safe rental for families. This partnership is the most risky for the nonprofit but potentially the most effective.
  6. More Respect Than Government – Government partnerships are often take it or leave it contracts. They add conditions without reflecting on the costs of compliance. They assume that they are the head in the partnership and your nonprofit is the hands and feet. Business partners can be different, You can search until you find the right business to partner but you can’t easily choose another government to partner if you don’t like the first one!

Conclusion: Partnerships are critical in the growth of nonprofits and often welcomed by business. You will be treated as a co-equal partner by the right Business. Remember:

  • This is not a plan for next week – it’s in your three-year plan.
  • Use a coach and develop carefully.
  • Avoid brand and process risk
  • Involve your leadership and board in the decision
  • Enjoy the expansion of your good work!
  • Federal cash for social programs will drop massively by 20%
  • Federal cash for NonProfits is lowest in 40 Year Average of GDP.
  • In 2019, it drops to 11.1%.

Social Security and Medicare costs place incredible pressure to shrink community development, education, arts, afterschool, LGBT civil rights, etc.  Some of that money flows to states and cities and then to your agency –it’s drying up by 10% right now. I see frantic responses to save great programs that are cash starved,

  • Contributions are declining. Tax Law changed in 2017 so there is no tax benefit for most people to make a gift.
  • Religion is quickly declining. Religion has been an important teacher about charity and volunteering. Belief has dropped 12% in a decade.

On Giving Tuesday, I’m offering five NonProfit leadership teams relief from the stress. Apply here. It’s not a miracle but you may get a new direction. I’ll give a two hour coaching session to each team over the holidays. There is no cost at all. Part of the discussion will be planning multiple cash streams to keep your agency stable. I use the proven Four Decisions system (People, Strategy, Execution, Cash).

Apply here. Like the lottery, the only way to win is to try!  I hope the best for you.

Remember, things can grow even in deserts.

Many nonprofits are being damaged by fundraising. The change is like being hit by a fast freight. Next year will not feel like last year. Nonprofit leaders often regard charitable gifts as the first and major provider of money. It’s critical! Cash pays staff and helps clients. Three forces are changing the giving landscape. Are you ready?

NonProfit leader about to be hit?

First, Tax reform in 2017 doubled the standard deduction. Only richer people and tithers (people who have a spiritual habit of giving) benefit financially from gift-making. Reports indicate that gifts from individuals declined by 1.1% in 2018. Charitable gifts from corporations increased. Gifts from those over 70 years old who made gifts from IRAs also increased.

Second, the number of corporations that received half of all profits in the USA declined. In 1975, 109 companies made 50% of all profits. In 2016, the number dropped to 30. There are very big gifts but not as much capacity for small and medium gifts.

Thirdly, Christian religious affiliation is declining rapidly in the USA. Christianity has been a major inspiration for giving. Pew Research shows a decline of 12% in the last decade! It’s hard to describe what changes this rapid rejection of religion will make in American society, but charitable gifts will be affected.

Are you watching your dependence on gifts and making appropriate changes?

I coach nonprofits who face turbulence. Contact me at tompkir1@gmail.com for a free consultation.

Sources: Richard Eisenberg (Forbes, June 18 2019), Pew Research (October 2019), and Richard Wolff (Democracy at Work)