Conflict of Interest: Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Grace Armstrong Uncategorized

When the majority of us hear the words “conflict of interest” in relation to a not for profit board of directors, we generally think there is trouble ahead. That is certainly possible, but it is not necessarily so.

Let’s start with the law. Florida Statutes 617.0832 very clearly tells us how to handle a conflict of interest on a not for profit board. Since the law tells us how to handle a conflict of interest, we should feel pretty comfortable believing that having a conflict of interest is not always taboo.

When we invite individuals to join our boards, we do so because they bring something of value to the organization. Sometimes it is their wisdom, but often it is their connections to resources, including products, services and people. Should we avoid doing business with a board member who has our best interests at heart and will give us the best price and the best service?

It depends. It has to be handled properly. Consider the public perception. Think about the potential consequences if the product or service has troubles down the road. Then, follow all best practices (as stated in the law) regarding documentation of the conflict of interest, documentation of other bids, abstention of the conflicted party from any vote, and having a majority vote of the board. Taking all of the right steps will insure that the conflict of interest is handled properly and that the best interests of the organization are well served.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

There is no greater gift to a nonprofit organization than a board member who is motivated to be involved in his own education. When most of us join a board, we think that we bring a great deal of wisdom because of our backgrounds in business, education, or whatever our field of work is. We believe that we are sufficiently prepared because we excel in our own fields. Often we don’t realize there is so much more to board membership.

Naturally, we know that as a board member it is not only our talent, but our time and treasure that we must give to our nonprofit organization. The problem is that most of us don’t know what we don’t know. As a result, not all board members realize that there is much to learn in order to be an excellent board member. Not all board members realize there is a robust body of knowledge easily accessible through in- person classes and online.

And what is this knowledge that we don’t all know about? How many of us as board members know that we are stewards of the public trust; that, legally, we have a duty of care, loyalty, and obedience? And what does all that really mean for each of us personally? No one teaches us the deep responsibilities of board membership unless we take it upon ourselves to learn and own our own education…all for the greater good.

Speaking Your Mind

Grace Armstrong Uncategorized

The role of a board member in a nonprofit organization is to govern and guide the organization to achieve its mission effectively. Board members have the care of the organization in their hands as representatives of the public trust.

With that in mind, their wisdom and experience is necessary in order to reach the right decisions. Why is it then that board members are often reluctant to speak up during difficult decisions? It takes courage to ask difficult questions and it takes even more courage to disagree with what the majority may be saying.

Board members are human beings and as humans we fear rejection and we fear being wrong. Board members often feel that they may not know enough to express an opinion. Or, a member might think that others are right because they have served on the board for longer.

Please, board members, speak your minds fearlessly and respectfully. Every organization deserves the benefit of the wisdom around the table. It is these nuggets of fearless wisdom and questioning that will drive the right decisions. Silence has killed a lot of people in the history of the world. Don’t let silence based on fear of being wrong damage your organization. Our organizations deserve better than that.

Fair Pay for Great Work

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

I was involved in a project recently with a group of business people who were not overly familiar with the nonprofit sector. The project was to identify a nonprofit that was well run and employed what the group perceived were best practices. Nonprofits had submitted many documents to help the group make their decision.

What I found interesting in this group is what they thought was most important. The two things of most interest to the group of (for profit) business people were CEO salary and the administrative cost. In this process the administrative cost was determined purely as a percentage without consideration of each nonprofit’s particular situation.

One nonprofit was excluded solely because the CEO’s salary had just slipped into six figures. This CEO had served for 25 years in that position and had consistently grown the organization. Many other organizations were excluded solely based on a subjective observation that their overhead was “too high”. “Too high” was never quantified. I know this is appalling for those of us who understand what it takes to run and grow a nonprofit organization with excellence.

Then, recently, I was in a meeting with nonprofit CEOs. The first topic that was mentioned is how the nonprofit sector could work on changing the public perception about nonprofit CEO salaries.

It is surely not an easy task. I recommend the book Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta for a very insightful description of the puritanical beginnings of the nonprofit sector. Because of this history, the public perception is that nonprofit staff make a choice to work for less and that because it is a charitable organization, employees don’t deserve pay that is comparable to the for profit sector.

This view holds communities back. The nonprofit sector is a powerful business force in most communities. Not only as an employer but as a purchaser of products. Growing our sector supports communities economically and socially. To grow the sector and its impact, talented people are needed. Talented people will stay in their jobs when they derive satisfaction and are fairly compensated.

It is good business sense for our communities to pay our nonprofit leaders a salary that is commensurate with their performance. It is the leader of a business (for profit or not for profit) who makes things happen. It is the leader who is accountable. It is the leader who performs his or her role with excellence who should be appropriately compensated. Leaders in the nonprofit sector accept their positions because of the challenge, because they care to make a difference, and because they want to run businesses that grow and thrive.

It is a mistaken notion that nonprofit CEOs should receive limited pay. If the public believed this about for profit businesses, our economy would be in worse shape than it is now. Leaders deserve fair and appropriate compensation commensurate with their performance. Spread the word.

Lessons on Leadership from Fantasy Football

Scott Edinger, Edinger Consulting Group Uncategorized

Football season is upon us, and while the link between these two may not be obvious at first blush, stay with me for a moment. Before I detail the similarities between these two seemingly disparate topics, it makes sense to highlight my qualifications to do so. I have been playing fantasy football in the same league since 1995, and in the last four years have won more games than anyone in my league, including two super bowl appearances and a championship in which I vanquished my arch-rival. Take that Eric! As a leader, I have been an SVP and EVP of Sales for two different companies, both of which grew steadily through recessions and achieved record levels of revenue and profit. So I know a little bit about both of these topics.

There are many connections between leadership and fantasy football and in both disciplines (it is fun to refer to fantasy football as a discipline), strategy is of the utmost importance. These are the key strategies that are the same for both:

  • It’s all about results. As a leader, you are responsible for getting results and in both fantasy football and in business, it’s results or bust. In business, it may be increased profit, launching new products, improving processes, and so forth. In fantasy football, it is winning week in and week out.
  • Get your players in the right positions. Leading teams is all about putting people in the position to use their knowledge, skills, and talents for the overall benefit of the organization. That may include cultivating talent and developing skills that are needed. In organizations, for instance, that means making sure that your team members with great customer-facing skills are spending their time in the field, on activities related to client service or new business acquisition. Leaders need to ensure that they are clear on the skills needed in all positions, and that they are staffed with people who have the ability to succeed in their given role. In fantasy football, you need to ensure that your roster is complete with the right players to fill each position from Quarterback to Kicker.
  • Make win-win trades. In fantasy football, nobody wants to make a trade that seems lopsided. Similarly, nobody wants to work with people who are not good collaborators. Improving your ability to work cross-functionally with colleagues enables you to get things done in an organization. Most projects today involve multiple constituencies and multiple stakeholders and your ability to influence them by appealing to their rational self-interest is your best chance for success. Teamwork and collaboration are increasingly valued skills because of the complexity of work in organizations today. And in fantasy football, if you want to make a trade, you better offer fair deals or nobody will trade with you.
  • Know when it is time to cut your losses. In the last decade I have been in scores of discussions about whether or not someone should be let go. When the person was eventually let go, I have never heard a leader say, “I did that too fast.” Most of the time, we suffer incompetence for too long. I am not suggesting terminating someone’s employment at the first mistake, but when performance problems are persistent, we need to recognize that both the organization and the individual would be better off elsewhere. But sometimes leaders get emotionally involved in making someone a success, or don’t feel like dealing with an issue, and provide much more time than is warranted to improve. Similarly, fantasy football GMs get emotionally attached to a player because they play for a favorite team, or think “just one more week and they will break out of their slump.” In both cases, those in charge need to take swift action for the benefit of their respective teams.
  • You can’t win ‘em all. Even the best players have a clunker of a game now and then. Your best seller may lose an account or your six sigma expert may get a process messed up. It happens, and you need to be able to take it in stride and stick with your strategy. When you do suffer a setback, take some time to understand why it happened and how it may be prevented in the future. Do what you can to learn from it. Maybe there is a lesson to be gleaned that helps you get better. But above all you then need to shake it off, because there are still objectives to be achieved, deadlines to be met, and a job to be done. Just because one project didn’t go well doesn’t mean that everything else in the organization stops, so take your lumps and move ahead. In fantasy football, there is always next week or next season.

For those of you who play fantasy football (it is estimated that there are more than 27 million of us), who are also in some kind of leadership position, what other lessons do you see that are applicable for both environments?

Shared with permission by Scott Edinger.  Originally published on  Scott Edinger is the founder of Edinger Consulting Group. He is an expert in helping organizations achieve measurable business results. Scott is a consultant, author, speaker and executive coach who has worked with some of the most prominent organizations in the world including AT&T, Harvard Business Publishing, Bank of America, Lenovo, Gannett and The Los Angeles Times.  Connect with Scott at    

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8 Nonprofit Resources to Help You Measure Impact

Ashley Pero Tips

Your organization does great work. You’re changing the world. But can you prove it? Measuring your program’s outcomes — the benefits or results your organization has on your constituents or participants — provides you measurable proof.  The ability to measure and show your impact is critical for fundraising. But finding nonprofit resources to help you demonstrate impact isn’t always easy.

So how do you determine your outcomes and indicators? How do you collect the data? What do you do with it once you have it?

Here are some great nonprofit resources on outcomes, evaluation and measuring impact to help you.

8 nonprofit resources to measure impact

Nonprofit Resources & Tools

Nonprofit Articles on Measuring Impact

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Last-Minute #GiveDayTampaBay Social Media Inspiration from Nonprofits #DoingItRight

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay is so close you can almost taste it, right? Or is that just a cold sweat? So much to do, so little time!!

Let’s all take a couple of deep breaths and gain some inspiration for our social media posts from a few nonprofits who are #doingitright.


So here, Alpha House is having a little fun with it and using a really cute image to grab your attention. Notice the image is directly related to their campaign (“honor your mom” is a nice tug at the heartstrings. Kudos!), and they’ve made excellent use of not only the #GiveDayTampaBay hashtag but also created their own hashtag for the campaign.


Community Food Pantry took full advantage of our Give Day Tampa Bay (GDTB) trainings, which were underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, by bringing the entire team to each one (Yep. We saw you there). Gold stars to these teacher’s pets for showcasing the No. 1 social media engagement tool: video. Nice call to action, too.


We can’t resist this two-fer because we LOVE the way The ARC Tampa Bay has used the GDTB logo in their photos and the clean way they included a (mini) story of impact, their logo, the event date, and the web address in one, strong visual element. We dig that #AchieveWithUs hashtag, too.


And this one from Quantum Leap Farm has us drooling (yes, we know it’s from last year’s campaign, but it’s still a #bestpractice, so we’re going to label it #FlashbackFriday). If you can get a celebrity to post your GDTB campaign on their feed, your reach could increase by a factor of 10. We’ll still call your attention to the very attractive infographic they created, and we’re willing to bet that they coached Chris on the content of the post. Make it easy for your friends and followers, no matter their star power: give them images and sample posts to make it quick and simple for them to support a cause they believe in.

Please check this out and pledge if you can! Quantum Leap Farm, Inc. HELPS OUR VETERANS! #GiveDayTampaBay starts at…

Posted by Chris Jericho on Monday, May 4, 2015


The Center for Great Apes gives us a super-simple checklist for a strong GDTB post:

Striking image, Give Day logo, your logo, hashtag, call to action, and link to the website. Voila!


Wondering how to get the word out about your GDTB campaign? Answered Prayers Cross can tell you: talk to everyone, everywhere. Got an event at your facility? Going off campus for a speaking engagement? Giving tours? Those folks are the proverbial captive audience. Come up with a compelling, short script about your GDTB campaign and how they can get involved. Deliver it often.

Such a wonderful turn out tonight! We're here telling everyone about Give Day! #givedaytampabay #blessed

Posted by Answered Prayers Project on Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Speaking of events, Mothers of Minors created a Facebook event to promote their GDTB campaign. So very easy for folks to share on your behalf and to “attend” to show their support.


Make it clear what your donor’s GDTB gift will do like the University Area CDC did with this fun photo and call to action. Who wouldn’t like the idea of giving a child a safe space to play? (Nice use of personal pronouns to address the donor, too.)


Here’s another great image from Animal Coalition of Tampa. Notice how many FUN images we’ve pointed out; they work, folks. Check out their use of hashtags, too. Judicious use of multiple hashtags puts your post in front of a broader audience with affinity for your cause.

Woohoo! It's #FunFriday What could me more fun than cuddling with a pot-bellied pig?! Pledge your support of ACT on…

Posted by Animal Coalition of Tampa on Friday, April 15, 2016


And it’s not too early to start thinking about how you’re going to thank your GDTB donors. This Center for Great Apes post is a good model: pick out an image, add a colored bar, your logo, and a placeholder for whatever your measure of success is, and you’ll be ready to fill in the blanks and post first thing on May 4th.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for all of your posts on May 3rd (and 4th) and can’t wait to celebrate #GiveDayTampaBay with you!

A BIG thank you goes out to everyone who donated yesterday for #GiveDayTampaBay! We were able to raise $13,675 for the apes!

Posted by Center for Great Apes on Wednesday, May 6, 2015







The Most Overlooked Tool in Your Give Day Tampa Bay Kit

NLC trainer Louanne Saraga Walters Stories

Video is the best way to tell your nonprofit’s story. Think about it. What is America’s favorite pastime?  WATCHING TV!

And what is the second largest search engine in the world?  YouTube!

With that in mind, here are 3 quick tips for using YouTube to maximize your impact on Give Day Tampa Bay.

Blog Admin’s note: Team NLC always says, “if we teach it, we have do it.” So we’re sharing images from the NLC YouTube channel so you can see what another nonprofit has done–and might still need to do!

1. Use your channel to spotlight who you are as a nonprofit.

Your YouTube Channel has several fantastic areas where you can really tell the world (and potential new donors) who you are:

  • The Channel cover photo: It only takes a few minutes to update your channel’s cover photo, but that few minutes could be all you need to gain new donors.
  • Trailers for subscribers and new visitors: If you’re not using trailers now, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to greet people with your mission and message.
  • Playlists organized by your programs or testimonials: Playlists are like candy to folks watching your videos. When they see one they like, they want to watch others within that playlist. Organize your playlists with your viewers in mind and make it easy for them to get to know you.

Blog Admin’s note: Check. Check. Check. Feeling pretty good so far….

2. Use your video descriptions to tell your story.

A lot of YouTubers miss out on this simple but extremely effective area. Your video’s description should not only give a GOOD synopsis of the video (think about how your favorite TV show’s new episodes are teased) but also what your nonprofit does. Be sure to use keywords that tie into your mission or organization. Why?  Because YouTube is owned by Google. This means that Google searched your video description block to learn about the content and decide where to place it!  Maximize that area and make sure you link back to your website (and include your Give Day Tampa Bay link!!) for easy access.

Blog Admin’s note: Uh-oh. Looks like we’ve got some work to do here!


3. Use links and annotations to direct people to your Give Day Tampa Bay donation page.

Another opportunity often missed in YouTube videos is maximizing the real value of the share links and annotations YouTube has thoughtfully and creatively built into its platform. This may take a little planning, but with some forethought and experience, you’ll be happily rewarded with greater engagement and visits to your page!

And don’t forget to use #GiveDayTampaBay on each of your posts to ensure your nonprofit shows up in the online conversation on May 3, 2016.

Blog Admin’s note: Yes. Some work to do here, too. If only there was a class to help us… Oh, wait, Louanne wasn’t quite done: 

For even more best practices and tips, join us for YouTube 101 for Give Day Tampa Bay on April 13th

 **NEW** Bring your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone for this hands-on “YouTube for Beginners” class with special emphasis on YouTube and videos for Give Day Tampa Bay campaigns, where you’ll learn the basic how-tos of using YouTube to promote your organization, its mission, and its impact through videos.

Over the course of 4 hours, Louanne Walters will lead you through all of the features of YouTube. Through examples and hands-on exercises, you will learn:

  • How to upload, edit and manage videos from your desk and from your smartphone or tablet
  • How to create keywords that work for each video AND your organization
  • How to use YouTube’s editing features to enhance your videos and promote your website
  • How to create a playlist and organize your videos for easy viewing
  • How to use videos and YouTube to make your Give Day Tampa Bay campaign successful


Louanne Saraga Walters is co-founder of My Video Voice Productions, a video production company specializing in helping nonprofits tell their stories. She and her wife, Sharon, co-founded The Philanthropy Show, an internet talk show, as a way to connect and inspire philanthropy around the world by educating, uplifting, and empowering the nonprofit sector and its supporters.

Jump Start Your Volunteer Engagement Efforts with Give Day Tampa Bay 2016

NLC trainer Liz Wooten Reschke Stories

The nonprofit sector runs on the power of volunteerism. The power of volunteerism depends on the level of volunteer engagement. And the power of volunteer engagement is driven by personal motivation.

Do you know what motivates your volunteers? When was the last time you asked them?

Give Day Tampa Bay 2016 is coming…. And it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit (or start!) this conversation with your volunteers.

Here are three reasons you should consider participating in Give Day Tampa Bay (GDTB) as part of your year-round volunteer engagement strategy:

GDTB gives you a reason to strategically assess your volunteer base. So many of us get bogged down into the day-to-day details and operations of our mission work. Chances are our volunteers are a crucial part of this work, but many of us aren’t thinking about how else we can engage our volunteers… and perhaps more importantly, how they want to be engaged with us. GDTB empowers us with some very specific questions to ask: what can we do to promote this event, and how do you want to help?

GDTB can create a sense of urgency and rally their support. Giving events are, YES, a great way to raise awareness and funds for your nonprofit’s mission work. But they also provide you with a unique opportunity–a tangible, extraordinary effort to mobilize and empower your volunteer base…. And to recruit others to your mission! They provide you with a specific day/campaign/event to ask for insight and assistance from those who know you best and have the greatest interest in seeing your mission succeed. They also allow you to spread the word about your agency to your supporters’ spheres of influence: Chances are these “friends of friends” might have a personal connection to your mission; they just might not have “met” your agency yet. GDTB is your chance for a quick introduction with tangible results!

GDTB allows you to celebrate your success together. Whether this is your first GDTB campaign or your third year of success, everyone has the opportunity to celebrate your giving success. That’s the great part about making goals; it gives you something to strive for, and if you don’t hit those goals, it gives you a reason to evaluate why not and strive for the next time. Give Day Tampa Bay gives you a common effort to help meet your mission, and—equally as important—it gives you a chance to share your mission and your efforts to achieve it with the masses.

Give Day Tampa Bay 2016 is an agency-wide effort, to be sure. Its success requires that all levels of stakeholders are involved. Start the conversation with your volunteers today… and see where the Give Day ahead takes you!

Don’t forget that participating nonprofits registered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are eligible to receive free GDTB training from the Nonprofit Leadership Center! Register your nonprofit today!

**FREE GDTB training generously underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay**

NLC trainer Liz Wooten Reschke has served in a variety of capacities including volunteer, staff, board member and consultant for a number of nonprofit agencies in the Tampa Bay and Key West communities, state of Florida, and the United States. As President of Connectivity Community Consulting, she works collaboratively with clients to create strategic solutions that address a variety of areas including: nonprofit capacity and community building, organizational development, philanthropic advising, training & workshop facilitation, and coaching & mentoring.

5 Must-Have Social Media Tools for #GiveDayTampaBay

NLC trainer Louanne Saraga Walters Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay (aka May 3, 2016) is exciting and fun and…BUSY! To help you plan and execute a successful 24-hour online giving campaign, check out these five social media tools. You may find you’ll want to use them year-round!! (Click on the tool name to visit the website.)


I’ve long been a Hootsuite fan to schedule post to multiple social media accounts, but for free access, Buffer is becoming a top choice. It took me less than three minutes to create an account and set up my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles for free. If you manage multiple Facebook pages or a Pinterest profile, you can upgrade to Awesome (the plan’s name) at 50% off for Nonprofits – or $5/month.

In addition to being nonprofit friendly, Buffer offers cool features like running a scan to see the optimal times to post to your different social media platforms; tracks how many people click on links within your tweets and posts; and has a handy extension you can add to your browser to easily “Bufferize” a page and share it with your social media networks.

(Blog administrator’s note: NLC uses Buffer, too, as you can see below. We agree that it’s easy to set up and use for scheduling across multiple accounts and pages. The Power Scheduler can sometimes freeze—resulting in lost time/work—but we still give it 2 thumbs up.)



If having an assistant dedicated to pulling social media content specific to your cause sounds good to you, you’re going to LOVE Feedly. You can stay on top of key issue trends, hashtags, posts, and much more with this very versatile tool, and it’s fabulous for curating content!

I set up a search for #nonprofit and found more than a dozen great social media sites to follow for news in the nonprofit sector.

What issues does your nonprofit cover? Homelessness? Hunger? Environmental concerns? Tell Feedly what you’re interested in, and it will “automagically” find the most relevant posts for you. That’s heaven when you need quality content! Feedly also integrates with Buffer.



This app is both a tool and a toy. I could play for hours creating awesome graphics to share to my social media sites! Using a technique the app calls “Remixing,” you can easily grab a photo/graphic from thousands of choices, change the color, text layout, size, etc. and create fabulous, eye-catching posts.

This app is perfect for those written testimonials or must-be-tweeted quotes you’ll hear at 3am during Give Day! You can upload photos from your phone, select from thousands within the app, or use your camera to take a new photo. The color palette, fonts, and size can all be changed to fit your remix. Post to any social media site that you have as an app on your phone, directly from within Adobe Post.

You may want to set a timer for this one, though. You might get sucked in just like I did! (Enjoy the photo of our new rescue pup, Reno!)



If you want to jazz up your posts with visually stimulating graphics, this free download from HubSpot can go a long, long way.

30 square and 30 rectangular backgrounds come in a variety of color combinations. The fact that these are based in PowerPoint means the learning curve is shallow and you don’t have to be a Photoshop expert.



Chances are, your nonprofit will see a spike in Facebook and Instagram posts – all in favor of your organization – in the days leading up to and during the Give Day Tampa Bay 24-hour cycle. So don’t let that go to waste!

My Social Book is a fun and affordable way to capture those posts in a colorful book. Prices start at just $14.90 for 25 pages. Imagine your Executive Director or Development Director being able to take this book with them on donor meetings, your Board members being able to talk about your Give Day success, success stories about clients, and how awesome your volunteers are!


Plan now to capture the moment and stretch the energy that fuels the 24 hours of Give Day Tampa Bay!

Don’t forget that participating nonprofits registered with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay are eligible to receive free GDTB training from the Nonprofit Leadership Center! Register your nonprofit today!

Guest blogger Louanne has developed 3 webinars and an in-person class to help you create a complete, ready to execute social media plan for Give Day Tampa Bay. The webinars are available on-demand—anytime any member of your team wants them. Be sure to complete the webinars and homework before the in-person class with Louanne on April 6th to get the most from this time of peer exchange and expert review.

**2016 GDTB training generously underwritten by  
Community Foundation of Tampa Bay**

Louanne Saraga Walters is co-founder of My Video Voice Productions, a video production company specializing in helping nonprofits tell their stories. She and her wife, Sharon, co-founded The Philanthropy Show, an internet talk show, as a way to connect and inspire philanthropy around the world by educating, uplifting, and empowering the nonprofit sector and its supporters.