The Latest

Can an employee expect privacy at work?

Can an employee expect privacy at work?

Posted in office operations / emergency / policy

Office environments have changed over the last few years. We went from working in a central office to being required to work from home during the pandemic. When it was finally allowed to go back to work in a central office, many employees continued to work from home or embraced varying...


Make it Easier to Meet Quorum

Make it Easier to Meet Quorum

Posted in board of directors / board meeting

Non-profits are legal entities, governed by a board of directors. The decisions a board makes, happen at board meetings. Decisions might be simple, such as approving the agenda, or complex, such as deciding employee wages. To prevent a splinter group of board members from meeting privately...


The Strategic Plan IS a Non-Profit’s Road Map for the Year

The Strategic Plan IS a Non-Profit’s Road Map for the Year

Posted in strategic plan / board of directors

The new calendar year has us all writing new year’s resolutions, spending some time reflecting on the past year, and making plans for the new year. We spend time in the office supply store sorting through planners and deciding the system we want to use to map out our goals for the coming year....


First 30 Days for a New Non-Profit Executive Director

First 30 Days for a New Non-Profit Executive Director

Posted in job description / executive director / staff team

Whether it’s a first job as an executive director or a first day at a new non-profit, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. That’s because the 4 key areas of a non-profit executive director’s job are massive. Those 4 areas are: governance/board support and policy management; making sure...


Risk Management is the Umbrella You Didn’t Think You Needed

Risk Management is the Umbrella You Didn’t Think You Needed

Posted in emergency / risk management

Non-profits are complicated organizations. Strategic plans are directly tied to the wants and needs of clients, members, and stakeholders, which creates a big responsibility to protect those needs from something damaging or undesirable. Most non-profits are usually funded through grants,...


3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

The holidays are right around the corner and taking time off from work can provide a much-needed break. Whether a non-profit closes for one week, two weeks, or a set number of days, a holiday office closure isn’t a simple weekend, with everyone back at their desks on Monday. The longer time...


Offices are Closed for TWO Weeks

Offices are Closed for TWO Weeks

Posted in executive director / vacation / staff team

Non-profits are not typically wealthy organizations. No matter how many grant applications are approved, or donations are received, those funds are used primarily for fulfilling the vision and mission of the organization. That sometimes translates into paying salaries that are not quite as high...


Take the Guess Work Out of Non-Profit Gift Giving

Take the Guess Work Out of Non-Profit Gift Giving

Posted in policy / staff team

Here and there throughout the operating year, a non-profit will give different kinds of gifts. It might be a gift when an employee reaches a work milestone. It might be a gift to thank a summer student. It might be a farewell gift for a departing board member. There is nothing like the...


Create a Program Evaluation to Gather Useable Information

Create a Program Evaluation to Gather Useable Information

Evaluation, measurement, KPIs and assessment are all part of the work of a non-profit. Feedback is collected to help determine if the organization is meeting its strategic priorities. But that flow from strategic plan to program to feedback and back around, can feel overwhelming and the creation...


This Meeting Could Have Been an Email

This Meeting Could Have Been an Email

Posted in staff meeting / board meeting

With the shift to a digital workplace these last couple years, virtual meetings have become the norm. Without having to worry about a meeting location, catering preferences, drive time, or road conditions, meetings became easier. Easy meetings soon became meeting more often, which turned...


Filing System Basics for Non-Profits

Filing System Basics for Non-Profits

Posted in office operations / filing

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague from another organization. She confessed she had all her hard copy files in order but didn’t really understand how to make a computer filing system. Whenever she created a document on the computer, she would print a hard copy for filing but leave...


Create an Agenda for ANY Meeting

Create an Agenda for ANY Meeting

Posted in staff meeting / board meeting

From board meeting to staff meeting, or member’s meetings, a successful agenda will help to keep the discussion organized and orderly. Agendas that are poorly constructed will waste attendee’s time, important decisions might be missed or handled incorrectly, and an inexperienced meeting chair...


Non-Profit Budget Basics

Non-Profit Budget Basics

Posted in financial management / operations plan

A non-profit budget is a partner to the operational plan. Together they provide the road map for what the organization aims to work on for its operating year. It sounds so simple, but when it comes time to sit down at the computer to create a new budget, that blank spread sheet can make the...


The Impact of a Non-Profit’s Vision and Mission Statements

The Impact of a Non-Profit’s Vision and Mission Statements

When a non-profit first starts up, a handful of strategic documents are created to chart the course for the road it will travel over the years. Each year after that, the non-profit will hold a strategic planning session to examine the needs of clients/stakeholders/members and adjust the...


Why an Executive Director Shouldn't be a Jack of All Trades

Why an Executive Director Shouldn't be a Jack of All Trades

Posted in job description / executive director

There is an expectation, real or perceived, that the executive director of a non-profit needs to be a jack of all trades – someone who picks up all the left-over little tasks and handles them as part of regular work duties. The executive director is often expected to handle all the accounting,...


How to Write a Job Description

How to Write a Job Description

Posted in job description / executive director / staff team

A clear job description is an important part of every position. Potential employees want a clear picture of the position before applying, to be sure the job is the right fit for them. Current employees want a clear picture of the work they’ve been hired to complete. Employers need a place...


Honest Actual Costs

Honest Actual Costs

Posted in financial management / bookkeeping

I want you to compare two scenarios. In example #1, a new executive director is looking at the budget numbers for fundraising events for the last year. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing wrong. The cost for prizes is 25% more than it was in the years when her predecessor planned the...


Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Posted in office operations / executive director / staff team

Its easy to think time sheets are only for hourly employees that work a shift, no more, no less. Salaried employees often have an unwritten expectation to ‘just get the job done’ no matter how long it takes. But that’s a system that favours the employer and can quickly burn out an employee. If...


What should be included in board meeting minutes?

What should be included in board meeting minutes?

Posted in board meeting

Board meetings can be complicated and messy, filled with opinions, side conversations, heated debate, dead silence, …and also all the official decisions the board makes. How do you know what to record in the minutes? Board meeting minutes are the official and legal record of decisions made at...


How to Plan a Board Meeting

How to Plan a Board Meeting

Posted in board meeting

A non-profit board meeting has a lot of components. There are the standing agenda items to be discussed, reports to receive, research to evaluate, and decisions to be made. What goes on behind the scenes to prepare for a board meeting? When do you start planning? What documents do you...


Understand the Basic Financial Statements for Non-Profits

Understand the Basic Financial Statements for Non-Profits

Posted in financial management / bookkeeping

Each month a non-profit executive director will prepare basic financial statements for the board or finance committee to review. The statements need to be approved following the reporting process outlined in the organization’s policy. It is rare for a board to approve the monthly...


A 5-Question Social Media Audit

A 5-Question Social Media Audit

Posted in marketing

Social media is everywhere. It has become a major communication tool both personally and professionally. But with multiple platforms and increasing pressure to be available 24/7, it can be easy for a non-profit to jump into more social media than it can handle. Once the reality sets in...


The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

The Emergency Red Binder – Peace of Mind for HR Emergencies

Posted in office operations / emergency / risk management

What is the emergency red binder? Let’s imagine you’ve just won the lottery (sigh); 60 million dollars in your name, received the very day after the board chair chewed you out over a trivial matter. Think you’ll give two months’ notice before you leave? I think we’re talking more about a text...


Can you describe what your non-profit does, in ONE sentence?

Can you describe what your non-profit does, in ONE sentence?

Posted in operations plan / marketing

Non-profits are complex organizations. There are usually many programs, many services, different clients, and a complicated set of strategic priorities and outcomes driving the work. If you had to condense all of it into one simple sentence, could you do it? Not a marketing ploy. There...


How to debrief, well, …anything

How to debrief, well, …anything

In the heat of the moment, everyone has a comment (or 15) about the workshop/event/meeting they are experiencing (usually about the bad coffee). A week later, at the official debriefing meeting, the comments have dried up and no one really has anything to share. Don’t waste an opportunity for...