On the Ground Fighting Suburban Hunger

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in health disparities, nonprofit, nutrition, obesity, public health, Uncategorized |

Hunger is the most basic food issue. While not the flashiest, food shelves are on the front lines. Recently I visited the food shelf at Neighbors, Inc. located in S. St. Paul. Neighbors, Inc. is a relatively small organization with roots going back to 1972 when Swift and Armour closed their meat packing operations in S. St. Paul. Neighbors, Inc. depends on volunteers, many of whom are seniors who live in the community (they joke that the...

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Prospect Research Tips for Nonprofits: Tax Forms

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in foundations, fundraising, grants, grantwriting, nonprofit, philanthropy, research, Uncategorized |

Today I’m going to talk about the exciting topic of tax forms.  Recently, the Star Tribune published a piece about why it is important for nonprofit organizations to do a good job in preparing their 990 form because it provides information to funders, donors, the media, charity watchdog groups.  (http://www.startribune.com/for-nonprofits-the-990-is-more-than-just-another-tax-form/339051401/) The 990 document can give either a positive or...

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Tips for Working with Consultants

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in consultants, consulting, grants, grantwriting, nonprofit, philanthropy, Uncategorized |

As an independent consultant who helps nonprofits secure grants and in my former career as an in-house lawyer, I’ve worked with a variety of clients. As an in-house lawyer, my clients were employees of the business (as was I), while currently I consult with organizations as an independent contractor.  I’ve found that in both situations, similar considerations contribute to a good working relationship, better value and best results. Here are a...

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Big Challenges, Crazy Ideas

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in community development, evaluation, foundations, global health, international development, nonprofit, philanthropy, research, social policy, Uncategorized |

The Charities Review Council couldn’t have brought in a more appropriate presenter than Michael Faye to speak at its recent conference on Disruptive Philanthropy.  Michael is one of the founders of GiveDirectly, a private international development organization that gives cash to the poor in Kenya and Uganda via cell phone technology, no strings attached.  As Michael observed, giving cash to poor people-what a crazy idea! This is in contrast to...

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Ten Habits of Highly Effective Nonprofit (and Other) Leaders

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in leadership, nonprofit, Uncategorized |

In my work as a nonprofit consultant, I have the privilege of working and interacting with a variety of organizations.  While there are many factors that go into what makes an organization successful, it is apparent that effective leadership (at all levels) is one of the most critical.  It’s not easy leading a nonprofit, juggling lots of balls, usually with a scarcity of resources.  Recently one of my favorite blog posts, the Blue Avocado,...

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The Arts Take Center Stage

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in arts, community engagement, creative arts, foundations, grants, nonprofit, philanthropy |

While most of the work I do focuses on social services and health, I have a soft spot for the arts.  I truly believe that participation in the arts has the potential to energize people, promote physical and mental health and ultimately improve communities.  I couldn’t say it better than this: “The arts are the highest form of human expression. They describe beauty, speak to our soul, engage and enrage. They celebrate our community’s diversity...

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